Project Life App!

Oh my gosh! Have you seen the new Project Life App?!?!? This app is a must for people who love to scrapbook, have a smart phone and use that phone to take pictures! It makes scrapbooking so quick and easy. Not to mention – all at a great price!

Ok, let me back up a bit. First of all – some people may not be familiar with Project Life. So, I will give some background. (I really need to make a post about it – because I love it that much!) Project Life was developed by Becky Higgins – she is a familiar name in the scrapbook world. About five years ago, she created a system to make scrapbooking go so much quicker so you would get those photos into albums then they could be enjoyed! I have played (a lot) with the Project Life physical product. Yes, I am a digi scrapper, but I still LOVE to play with paper! I love how the pocket pages will fit a 4×6 photo perfectly and the Project Life kits have awesome journaling, title, and decorative cards that you can slip into the other pockets. A page comes together so quickly. Of course you can add a little extra to the cards, like stickers, rub-ons, or if you are like me – ink the edges to give them a weathered look.

You can learn more about Project Life at their website:

_project-life

You can also do Project Life Digitally – all the information about Digital Project Life can be found on Becky’s Project Life website as well.

BUT – Let’s get back to the REAL reason we are here – the awesome, new Project Life App. I just recently went on a family vacation and I took tons of pictures with my iPhone. I had heard about the app, so I thought – why not try the Project Life app with these? You can get the app at the App Store. Right now it is only available for Apple users, but it is in development for Android. So soon, everyone can enjoy it!

When you buy the app (for $2.99 US dollars) you get: 11 different templates for creating 12×12 or 8×8 pages, you can buy more templates if you wish as well. You also get 12 – 4×6 templates and 6 – 6×8 templates for creating cards. It also comes with 3 Project Life kits that are just like the physical Project Life kits you can buy. You can purchase additional kits (full size!) for .99 or 1.99. That is a FABULOUS price!!! They are always adding new kits so soon, there will be a huge selection of scrapbook kits for an incredibly reasonable price.

So, like I said before, I downloaded the app while on vacation. I was SO impressed! Not only could I add my pictures and artwork from the kits, but there is a decent selection of fonts so I was able to journal as well. Riding home in the car I could whip out a layout in minutes! That is right – MINUTES!!!

Here is my first page – the first has a white background and the second a brown. I still haven’t decided which one to go with. But that is the beauty of the app! It gives you choices of background colors that match the kit you are using.

project-life-app

Let me show you a little how it works. I put the app on both my iPhone and my iPad. I will admit, it is a little easier for me to work on pages on the iPad, but that is just because it is bigger!

Excuse the glaring photos – I took pics instead of screen shots.

project-life-demo-1

project-life-demo-2

After your layout is completed, you can save it as either an 8×8 or 12×12 scrapbook page. Upload it to your favorite print shop to print. Soon, there will be an option to print directly from the app! Talk about a ‘take care of everything’ app!

I just can’t say enough about this awesome new app! Imagine being able to scrapbook events as they are happening! Spend the day at Disneyland and scrapbook it later at your hotel after the kids are asleep. You will never have an excuse to be behind again! Thank you Becky Higgins and the Project Life App!

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Fun Family Photos!

Taking family pictures can be so hard! Especially if your family is large or they live far away. Well, I saw this idea on Pinterest (don’t you just love Pinterest?) so I had to give it a try. The original project I saw can be found on this blog – My Mix of Six.

Now there are several things that are appealing about this type of family picture. For me, the best part is I didn’t have to try to get all those little ones to look at the camera and smile at the same time. Also, it is easy to change one photo out when a family has a new addition. You can also do a picture like this without the letters, but I thought spelling out the name made it a little more fun!

family picture with letters

This picture was really easy to do. I cut my letters out of white poster paper, making each letter the size of the paper. If you want sturdier letters, you can also cut them from foam board. I tried that first, but a couple of things made me change to poster paper. First of all, foam board is hard to cut! I used an Exacto knife and my edges were so rough looking. I realize that I could have sanded the edges to make them smoother, but I also realized that foam board is smaller than poster paper. I wanted big letters so they stand out. If you are going to take your pictures somewhere windy or if you are worried about them flopping over, then definitely use foam board. Just plan on smoothing the edges unless you can cut smoothly.

Posing everyone was fun. It is great to include props like the motorcycle to show family personalities if you want. I like to take a lot of shots of each group in different poses, etc. You will want to take your photos portrait rather than landscape, so group your families to fit a picture that is portrait oriented.

After you have all your pictures, the fun begins! Go through and find the best shots of everyone. I wanted all my photos to print 4×6 so I first sized all my pictures to print 4×6. You don’t have to size it down to a 4×6, just the dimensions that will print 4×6. I like to use my guides in Photoshop to make a 4×6 size box at the top of my picture and then I hold down the shift key and drag my crop box to the size I want and then I move it to center the picture. When you hold the shift key, the box proportions are locked. So even if you end up with a picture that is 30×45, it will be the right proportions to print 4×6 – is that clear as mud? Here is a screen shot to give you an idea:

photoshop screen shot

You might wonder why I don’t just size my pictures down to 4×6. Well, I like to keep a full resolution of ever picture – even if I only print it as 4×6. Maybe someday I will want to print it bigger. When I do size my pictures down, I save them with the size in the file name. Something like family_4x6.jpg.

Once you have sized all your pictures you can either print them as individual 4×6 photos or merge them together like I did in the top picture. To merger them, create a new page in Photoshop that is 6 inches tall and as wide as 4 times your number of photos. For instance, I have five photos so my new canvas was 6 tall and 20 inches wide – make sense? Then you will place each 4×6 photo on the new canvas in order. It is a good idea to put guides at each 4 inch interval to help with spacing and placement since you will probably need to reduce each picture to fit.

When it is merged like this, you can take it to a photo lab and have it printed the size you want. I figure with mine, I can create a new Photoshop page that is 24×20 and put three of my finished product on it and then get a 24×20 print and cut it apart for three separate photos to share.

Originally I planned to convert all my pictures to black and white, but when I got the pictures done I loved the vibrant colors. But, I may print black and white for my kids. I found this great frame at Amazon for only 7.99 (plus shipping) and it will work perfectly for 4×6 photos and it will look great when they are printed in black and white. I digitally added my pictures to the frame so I could get an idea of how the finished product would look.

5 opening picture frame

I am very happy with my latest family picture project – I think I have found a keeper! And of course, I need to thank Pinterest for having all those fun pins for me to get inspiration from! BTW – feel free to pin from my site as well.

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Christmas Is Around The Corner – Have You Got Gifts Ready?

Wow – can you believe that the holiday season is upon us again! Where did the year go? It is time to start thinking about what you want to give as gifts to your family and friends this year. Homemade gifts are great, but so are gift baskets full of scrapbooking supplies, memory cards for cameras, darling scrapbooks for them to fill with their favorite pictures during the coming year. The point is, you don’t have to make an elaborate photo book or calendar to give the gift of memory making. If the person you are giving a gift to loves to scrapbook – indulge their habit with a gift certificate to their favorite online store or give them an album to complete during the year.

Here are a few ideas for giving the gift of memories – whether it is a completed project or the supplies to make their own!

This is a gift that I gave to my in-laws last Christmas. It was my daughter’s idea to make a photo family tree for them. So, she took care of collecting all the family pictures and I created the digital background. The end result turned out great! We printed it 16×20 so they could really see the faces in the pictures well.  I had a lot of people really like the idea, so I decided to sell the background. You can buy it at www.ndisb.com and it is only $2. For $2 you get the complete background that you can just add your photos to and print. If you want to choose your own background, or want more creative freedom – the png format of just the tree is included as well.


Of course a family tree isn’t the only thing you can create for holiday gift giving. Now is the perfect time to get busy creating photo books and calendars! We covered the basics of digital photo books in this post so you can go back and check it out. Grandparents love to look at pictures of their grandkids all year long so a photo calendar is a perfect gift. You can go to sites such as Tiny Prints or Shutterfly and use their templates to create a calendar, or use a fun calendar kit from your favorite digital scrapbook store and create your own.

Do you have a scrapbooker in the family? Whether they scrapbook digitally or traditionally, all scrapbookers love a scrapbook gift! Here are some fun gifts for the scrapper in your family:

Traditional Scrapbookers:

  • Scrapbook Albums – What scrapbooker doesn’t love albums? There are so many cute albums to choose from – and of course you can never have too many!
  • Embellishments! -Embellishements make the page! We have all created a page just to use the cute embellishments we have on hand. Come on, you know you have!
  • Scrabook Storage – If your going to have all the gear, you need a place to store it right? Well, scrapbook storage can get a bit expensive, that is why scrappers love to get this kind of stuff as a gift. There is no guilt involved!

Gifts for traditional scrapbookers can be put in a cute basket or bag and presented in a fun way. But what about digital scrapbookers? How to you wrap up a virtual gift? Well, first of all, there are many gifts you can give a digi scrapper that they can hold in their hand! Here are a few:

  • Scrapbook Software – How can someone digi scrap without software? There are many different scrapbook programs on the market, but everyone has their preference so make sure you check with the person (or their husband) before you buy a program they might not like!
  • Flash Drive – These mini storage devices have dropped so much in price the last few years it makes it far easier to give them as a gift. Digi scrappers love the convenience of a small storage device, they can take them along to crops or just carry them in their purse ‘just in case’.
  • External Hard Drive – While we are talking storage, and external hard drive is a must have for anyone who uses a computer. But a vital must for digi scrappers. The rule is – back up, back up, and back up again! With an external hard drive you can have an extra copy of all your photos and scrapbook pages just in case.

Wow – that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun gifts for Christmas. Just remember – grandparents LOVE photos – so make a photo book or calendar for them. For your scrapping friends and family, give them a fun scrapbook gift that they will use and love!

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Picture Memory DVD’s

Have you ever met a kid who doesn’t like to watch their favorite movie? It might be Toy Story or The Little Mermaid, but when they are watching it they are so absorbed by the story. It is fun to watch kids enjoy their favorite movies – and it is even more fun to watch movies that have them as the star! Put in a video of when they were babies or the latest trip to Disneyland and they get so excited! It is better than Toy Story – and that is pretty good!

DVD’s are a great way to share and view memories. One great way to enjoy those memories is to get a Picture Memory DVD made of the big (or small) events in your life. You may have seen videos like this at a wedding reception – you know where they show photos of the bride and groom from birth on up to the wedding day? These videos are not only fun and entertaining for those who are waiting in line, but they are a treasured keepsake for the happy couple and their parents.

However, keepsake DVD’s are not limited to big events like weddings. Why not have a special DVD made for your child’s first birthday or your father’s 80th? What about a collection of pictures and videos from the latest soccer season and then hand them out to the team? You could have a fun ‘end of the year’ DVD made for your child’s school teacher or a cousins DVD for grandparents.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless! If you are looking for someone to create a DVD for you, look no further than Kylee’s Picture Memory DVD’s. Her prices are excellent and the quality is excellent. She will help you create the perfect memory for your favorite people! Head on over to her blog for contact information, and start thinking of the next memory you are going to create!

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Create an Annual Yearbook

I have a friend who is really on top of picture taking and scrapbooking. Every year she takes pictures of family parties, events and general everyday living then she puts it all together in a book at the end of the year. Okay, so this just sounds like the scrapbooking we all do right? Well, she takes it a step further and makes it more like family history keeping! She creates a spiral bound, 8.5 x 11 book for every member of her family. In this book there are several pages for each family member and their pursuits throughout the year. She also includes family vacations, get togethers and just fun stuff. I have to tell you that this friend is the party queen and she hosts fabulous event parties for Easter, Mother’s Day, etc. She includes the invitations and pictures of these events. Is there any better way to remember the year and create a wonderful history for posterity at the same time?

Here are some tips to create your own yearbook. First of all – take lots of pictures! You can’t have a quality yearbook unless you have great photos to put in it. Don’t just take pictures of the stuff you think is important. Take pictures of everyday events – Mom cooking dinner, Dad mowing the lawn, the family playing the Wii. It is the everyday events that make memories and these things will endear you to your future posterity. Think about it, isn’t it the stories of everyday life that you enjoy most about your ancestors? Make sure you take notes and record the who, what, why, where, etc. No one likes to look though a scrapbook and play guess who!

Next, to avoid an overwhelming task at the end of the year scrap the pages throughout the year. If you stay on top of it, you will remember the details of the events and you will have less stress at the end of the year. You will just need to print, bind and wrap! A ready made gift that you have created with love all year long.

When printing your book you can rely on professional printers to create a beautifully bound book. Or you can print it yourself using a high quality printer (I like HP Photosmart printers, but everyone has their favorites!). Make sure you use good quality paper like the Epson Double Sided Photo Paper. This paper is high quality, shows the colors brilliantly, and since it is matte you won’t have a glare.

NOTE – Anything you print with an inkjet printer is not waterproof so if it gets wet you will get smears. To prevent this, put your pages in sheet protectors or treat it with Preserve-It Digital Photo & Paper Protectant. This is a spray that will create a water and fade proof barrier on your inkjet printed photos. Just to test, I printed scrapbook page on the Epson paper and then sprayed them with Preserve-It. I then ran the page under a faucet and it didn’t run or smear. Of course you would never put a photo under running water, but I was a skeptic so I had to test it!

Start now to create a wonderful keepsake for your family and friends. Not only will you be giving them a wonderful gift of memories, you will be creating an invaluable history of your family.

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It’s A Brand New Year!

Here it is, a brand new year. Have you made your resolutions yet? It seems we like to start the year resolving to eat better, exercise more, and be budget wise. But what are your scrapbook goals? Now, don’t laugh – I am serious! Do you have any scrapbook goals for 2010?

If you haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions that have the word ‘scrapbook’ in them, let me help you. The number one thing you should resolve to do this year is take more pictures!. Keep a small camera with you all the time, because you never know when the perfect shot will happen. There are wonderful compact cameras on the market that take excellent photos. So even though you might prefer to take pictures with your ‘nice’ camera, you will find that having a purse camera is very handy!

Next, get the pictures off the camera! So now that you have taken all these great photos, where are they? If you are like a lot of people they are still sitting on your memory card – in the camera. Upload the photos to your computer and then back them up. It is a good idea to have at least to back up copies of your photos and scrapbook pages. You never know when you might have hard drive failure.

Make a scrapbook plan. Set a goal for scrapbooking so many times per month, or finishing so many pages. Make it a realistic goal that you will be able to attain – we want success, not failure! One idea for the new year is to create a ‘year in review’ book. Start now and take photos and create a layout each month. At the end of the year you have a fun book that has all the highlights of the previous month. This type of book makes a great gift for grandparents too!

Make a photo book. Another fun gift for almost anyone is a professionally bound photo book. These books become treasured keepsakes and look wonderful – just like something you would pick up at a bookstore, but it is all about your family!  Learn how to make a photo book today!

Print your pages. As you finish your layouts – print them! Everyone loves to flip through a scrapbook and relive memories. Sure, you can look at the layouts on your computers, but having them in a book you can hold is wonderful. Polka Dot Potato does wonderful scrapbook printing, any size including 12×12. Their prices are great and the quality is fabulous!

Sit down and write your scrapbook goals for the coming year. When you get to next December you will be glad you did!

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Digital Photo Books

It is that time of year again, the sights, the smells, and the shopping! It is so exciting when you find the perfect gift for someone – you know when you have it. You can’t wait until they open it because you just know they are going to love it! But what do you get that person who has everything?  How about a digital photo book? These are great to give grandparents because they LOVE to show off their grandkids!

Here are some ideas to create the best photo book gift.  If you want to drop photos into a pre-made template and have it bound into a book, you can visit one of the many different online printing services like Tiny Prints. If you order a book through them by December 10 you get free shipping. Online photo printing services offer lots of options for your book – different sizes, page styles, etc. You can create a personal photo book very easily. Many online sites also allow you to upload scrapbook pages you have created and print them into a book.

Another idea is to create a fun book of the years events by using quick pages. Quick pages allow you to put your photos into pre-made scrapbook pages. These pages are darling and so easy to use. This is one of my favorites:
layout1_disneylandThis quick page is created using the Adorable Leonardo – Quick Pages by Nandinha Menezes. This quick page set includes 10 8×8 quick pages and is available at Polka Dot Potato.

You can also use scrapbook pages you have created throughout the year and print them as 8×8 pages instead of 12×12. You can print your own with great results! I print my 8×8 pages on my HP Photosmart Printer with fabulous results! you will want to print on a good quality matte paper. I use Epson Matte Photo Paper (I buy it in bulk!). You will get a velvety smooth print with vibrant color. I like using matte paper when I am putting the pages in sheet protectors, I guess I don’t want a double does of gloss! Plus, I really like the way photos look after being printed on the Epson Matte paper – gorgeous!

If you want to make sure the ink doesn’t run, spray your print with Krylon Preserve-It Digital Photo & Paper Protectant when the print is dry. I gave this spray the test – after spraying a page and letting the spray dry, I ran it under water just to see if the ink would run. It passed! The page stayed perfectly printed – of course I wouldn’t recommend running your scrapbook pages under a faucet, but at least you know your prints will be safe from water drops! The Krylon Preserve-It spray comes in a matte finish or a gloss finish. This spray is good for protecting all your inkjet printed photos!

There are many different options for creating digital photo books for gifts. What is most important is you are giving a gift you created yourself – that is far better than anything you can buy at the store!

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Taking The Best Pictures for Photo Christmas Cards

Remember the old days when you would just pick up a box of greeting card at the store, sign them and send them off to faraway family and friends.  Maybe you included a picture of two, maybe not. Well, because of our great digital cameras, we now have modern Christmas cards as well! You just take your pictures and then upload them to a photo printing site. In just a few days you will have fun holiday photo cards to send to everyone you know.

But what makes a good picture for holiday cards? You may want a holiday or winter background – something that just screams “holiday magic, snowmen, & fun!”. Or maybe a traditional family group shot, with everyone perfectly posed. It is your choice, because it is your family photo card!

Here are a few tips for getting a great picture for your card:

  • Prepare! If you are taking your own family photo, spend some time at the location. You should get a feel for the lighting – what direction does the light come from, do you need a flash, where are the shadows.
  • Use your flash! Even in a sunny or bright location you may need a flash to brighten faces that may be shadowed. Use a flash diffuser to soften the light from the flash. You can make your own diffuser by placing a piece of tissue secured with a rubber band over a pop-up flash. Or tape a piece of tissue to the flash on a point and shoot camera. You will find you like the lighting better if you use a diffused flash.
  • Don’t expect perfection. Taking group shots is hard, it is almost impossible to get everyone looking the right direction, smiling at the right time, etc.  Allow yourself to relax! Pictures don’t have to be perfectly posed, and everyone in their Sunday best to have a great photo!  I love this photo for that reason.  This photo shows family love – look how much these kids love being together and hamming it up for the camera.  This might not be the setting you would choose for a holiday card, but it really shows their personalities!Happy kids!
  • Put your self in the picture! How many pictures do you have of everyone else in the family – but not you? Use the self timer on your camera (most cameras have them), or invest in a remote shutter cable.  Remember the WHOLE family – not just the kids!

With a little bit of planning and a little less worry about perfection, you can create the perfect modern Christmas cards to send to all your faraway friends and family. And of course you will need to save some to scrapbook!

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Photoshop or Elements – which is for you?

If you ask anyone in the graphic design or professional photography field, they will tell you that Photoshop is the best photo editing and graphics program on the market. True, it is a fantastic product with a wide range of capabilities. But, these are people that use it every day. What about the average user who wants a program for digital scrapbooking that also helps them get the most out of their digital photos?

While Photoshop is the industry standard for professionals, it has features and capabilities that will never be used by the casual user. So why spend hundreds of dollars on a program that has features you won’t need or use?

Announcing Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 & Adobe Premiere Elements 8. Complete photo and video editing made easy. Buy now.

Let’s take a look at Photoshop’s little sister – Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Elements and Photoshop are both made by Adobe. They have similar interfaces and both are capable of photo editing and graphics work.

When deciding which program to buy, you need to look at how it will be used – and how often. Most consumers want a program that will allow them to edit their digital photos – remove red eye, adjust color tone, etc. They also want a program to use for digital scrapbooking or digital card making. While both programs will do these things, Elements is a user friendly program that is easy to learn and use.

One of the major differences in the two products is price. Photoshop retails at around $650, while Photoshop Elements is priced at $99. This makes Elements much more attractive to the average consumer.

Save $30 on NEW Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8 Bundle with mail-in rebate

Adobe designed Elements to have all the Photoshop tools that the average user would need. It is named Elements because that is what it has – the core elements of Photoshop. Some people mistakenly thing that Elements is a ‘dumbed down’ version of Photoshop. This is simply not true. Elements is a product with a different focus than Photoshop. There are many online tutorials and forums that are dedicated to learning both Photoshop and Elements.

In the end, it is really a matter of choice and budget. Both programs will give you everything you need for photo editing and digital scrapbooks and cards. So, which will it be – Photoshop or Elements?

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Journaling – This is a Must!

How many of us have looked at scrapbooks from the past and wondered who was in the photo and what were they doing? Why was Aunt Sally at Cape Cod in 1952?  Did she know someone there? How long did she visit? Was there a wedding or event, that may have had printed invitations? When we scrapbook we need to answer the who, what, where, & why’s of the future.

Who will end up with your scrapbooks in the future? You are preserving memories not only for your immediate family, but for your posterity as well.  By being descriptive in your journaling you are creating a history that will endear you to future generations.

  • Tell the story behind the pictures. Where are you and why are you there? Why is Uncle Bob laughing so hard? Even if the story doesn’t seem interesting, it tells who you are. I cherish my grandmothers journal even though there is only one sentence per page. It tells of her everyday life and brings a human element that I can relate to now that I am a wife and mother.
  • Journaling doesn’t need photos. Did a funny thing happen on your vacation that you don’t have photos for? Included that story in your journaling! You will remember the fun when you read it. There doesn’t need to be a photo for everything. Take a photo of grandpa and then journal stories about his childhood.
  • Be creative! Don’t just put dates and names in a line under the photo. Journal around the photo or in a creative shape! Just make sure your writing is easy to read.
  • Use fun fonts – but sparingly! There are a lot of fun fonts available and they are great for titles and some captions. But make sure your journaling is in an easy to read font. We want people to be able to enjoy the story – not be frustrated because they can’t read it!

Did you know you can have your own handwriting made into a font? You can do your journaling on the computer but still in your own handwriting! Many online digital scrapbook stores offer this service so check it out.

Scrapbooking is a great way to preserve our family memories and stories for our posterity. By journaling we let them know what kind of people we were and what we enjoyed. Don’t sugar coat it – show who you really are. Your future family will love you no matter what. Now get journaling!

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