Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Digital Studio—Reusing a page, and alignments

When I spend time creating a custom layout/page, it’s nice to be able to use it again!  Here is the layout from the other day:
henry's mess-002
And here’s the same layout, with changes in color and Designer Series paper:
elise's party 2-20-13-002
I can do this two ways—by creating a “duplicate page”, or click save as and rename the project.  Then in the layers feature in the resource palette on the left side of the MDS screen, I can click on each layer on the page (quite a few layers for this project), and change each layer to be a different color scheme.
image
You can see a few of the layer in the picture above.
Some info and tips:
  1. In this layout, I added the circle embellishments along the top leading into the text title.  To keep them aligned, I selected all of them by holding down the control key and clicking on each one so they were all selected, then I can click on Arrange in the menu at the top, and then Align, then space evenly horizontally, and then “middle” to line make sure they are all lined up with each other.image
  2. I love, love, love this collection of Designer Series Paper, “Ice Cream Parlor”.  I used it to make her invitations, which was a hybrid project with MDS and real paper, and for a few other party things which I’ll be posting later.
Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!
Thanks for stopping by!
Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net
Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Digital Studio—single page, rounded corners, polaroid frame

Sometimes I have 5 minutes of “free time”, and sometimes I have a couple hours after the kids go to bed to sit down and mess around with photos and layouts, etc.  As I have mentioned before, the great thing about doing your pages/scrapbooks/projects in My Digital Studio is that you can just work for 5 minutes at a time and come back to it later without making a big mess on your dining room table ; )
Tonight I had a little time—there was a hockey game on in the other room—so I started with a pagemaps layout idea from October 2012 and just played around.  Here’s the fruit of my labor:
henry's mess-002
It’s not hard to find pictures of my little 2 year old’s mischief and shenanigans.  Ah, the beauty of a camera phone.  Most of my day is spent cleaning up one mess while another is being made.  It’s a good thing he is really, really,  cute!  If you can’t tell from the small pictures, he has 1-spilled about 8 oz of milk all over the counter while I was drying my hair upstairs, 2-squirted a whole gogurt tube into his lap while I was driving, and 3-emptied the cupboard full of puzzles all over the floor and mixed up 10-12 puzzle boxes into a jumble of thousands of pieces.
Some info and tips:
  1. All my patterned paper comes from the same collection called, Number One.  Keeps things coordinated and saves me time searching through hundreds of patterns to find things that go together.
  2. I can print this page as a single sheet to add to any “traditional” album or I can just save it and when I’m ready to put a whole printed album together, add it as a page in a new project.
  3. To make the “polaroid” style frame, just add a page layer in whisper white, then add a photo box on the top of that layer
image
Then to round the corners of the white frame, just right click on the frame and select “round corners”.
image
Then you can choose which corners you want to round (I chose all for this frame), and how much curve/radius you want.  I chose a pretty subtle curve, moving the radius to 10.
image

image
Now I have my “polaroid” frame ready and I can copy and paste it as many times as I want in the layout.
Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!
Thanks for stopping by!
Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net
Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Digital Studio—tags

According to this website, kids are supposed to have a recent photo and a list of important addresses and phone numbers in their 72 hour kits.  Read more about my efforts to be prepared here.  Of course when I started to get things ready to put kits together for my list, making a really cute tag for their packs was easy to put at the top of the list.

One of the professional print choices from My Digital Studio is a 2.5 x 4.25 inch tag with a pre-punched hole in it that can be used for a variety of cool things.  It’s a perfect size for a “luggage tag” or identity tag for our 72 hour kits.

I started with this template:

blank tag-001

And changed the backgrounds and text to have this:

bag tags with photo_blank-001

Then on the back I have listed a bunch of important info (which I changed to fake info for this blog for privacy)

bag tags with photo_blank-002

So now I have tags for all my kids to clip on their 72 kits, and if we get separated or something weird, they’ll have the phone numbers and addresses for important things, plus a photo “ID”. 

bag tags with photo_2-001 for blog

bag tags with photo-001 for blog

bag tag henry-001 for blog

You can download My Digital Studio free as a 30 day trial!

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Digital Studio—8 1/2 x 11 Vacation Album

After I started working on my son’s baptism/name album (see part 1, and part 2), I decided to do another album for a vacation my husband and I took to Cancun about a year ago.  It was the first time we had left our children for more than one day, and our youngest was just barely a year old.  It was way overdue, but also really, really, hard!!  Luckily my niece was able to fly out and watch the kids for us. 
I chose an 8 1/2 x 11 landscape size.  I didn’t want to fuss too much with each page, just get the photos together in an album, so I made a title page for each group of photos I included (mostly locations we visited), and then just chose photo only templates to fill the rest.  Here’s the cover:
cancun 2012-002Just a simple patterned paper background from the Comfort Café DSP, then the framelits label punch and some extras.
Here’s the title page for a couple of the different sections of the book.
cancun 2012-013cancun 2012-023
After I designed the first one, I just created a duplicate page and changed the text and titles.
cancun 2012-012cancun 2012-022
I loved doing the full page prints of these pictures at Chichen Itza and Ek Balam.  It creates so much impact in the book to have a full page photo.
Here’s a few other pages:
cancun 2012-006cancun 2012-014cancun 2012-024
Info and tips:
  • The photo only template options within the My Digital Studio 2 software are a GREAT option for getting lots of photos in an album with out a lot of fuss or time.  You can always add extras too if you want by changing the background paper or adding a few embellishments here and there.
  • To save time, and for a consistent look, you can design a title page, then just “insert duplicate page” and adjust text, titles, etc. for each section of your album.
image
image
Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!
Thanks for stopping by!
Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net
Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Digital Studio Downloads for 3-19

Each Tuesday, Stampin’ Up! releases a batch of new downloads for your MDS software OR to use in your preferred design software (photoshop, etc.).  Here are today’s downloads, don’t miss the FREE one!


Remember you can order them anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Teacher Appreciation Easter Treats & Wedding Favors using “sour cream” containers

One of my favorite things about papercrafting is making favors, treat boxes, goody bags, etc. for special occasions.  Each year our PTA organizes dinner for the teachers during the week of conferences—so instead of signing up to bring food, I usually try to make a little treat in some cute packaging that the teachers can take back to their desks or eat on their way home.  This week I am taking 40 “carrot” treat boxes to the school.  I started working on this a couple weeks ago and 2 other moms helped me punch and stamp these little cuties (thanks Gina and Amber!)

IMG_4805

These are filled with Reece’s and Butterfinger eggs. 

It’s a super simple “sour cream” container style pattern (though I’ve never had sour cream from a container shaped like this, nor would I consider it a pattern!).   All you do is make a tube with your paper or cardstock—any size will work, but mine are 4 x 6.  I usually secure them with sticky strip, but I was all out, so I actually ended up using my tombow multi glue (the green and white one).  Which crazily enough worked really well.  I had to hold the paper together for about 20-30 seconds after I glued it, but then I just set it aside and it dried just fine.  Once the seam was dry, you just pinch one end together and glue it, then you pinch the other end together in the opposite direction.  There’s a great video tutorial here.

I used these same style containers a couple years ago for a friend who needed them for a wedding favor for rehearsal dinner:

IMG_2595

Elegant don’t you think? See how versatile they can be?  These ones were a little more involved because they had more layers, and the added ribbon, but they turned out so pretty!  I think we filled these with wrapped Hershey nuggets. 

They coordinated with their place cards:

IMG_2638

Some info and tips for the sour cream container treat:

  • Using Designer Series Paper (DSP) or any kind of patterned paper is easier to work with, but can be less sturdy if you are using a heavy item inside.
  • Crimping the ends of the sour cream container is not necessary to hold it together, but it adds a little extra style to the project
  • The ribbon (for the wedding favors) looks tricky, but it’s pretty simple.  Just cut a nice length (maybe 12 inches to start with), then thread both ends about halfway through a punched hole and tie a bow just like you’d tie your shoelaces.  The part left at the back becomes the loop—you can use the ribbon to hang it somewhere, or just to look pretty.
  • Sticky strip (red-liner tape) is the strongest bet for keeping this project together, but the green cap tombow multi purpose glue will work (it’s messier and you have to have a little more patience).

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime from www.melissab.stampinup.net

Monday, March 18, 2013

Breaking News! My Digital Studio software price change

Starting today:

  1. The software from will now just be called MDS (not MDS 2 and MDS 2+)
  2. The price is lowered!  What has been known as MDS 2+ is now $19.95 US/$24.95 CAN.

Coming soon:

The upgrade will be free! If you have been holding onto the original My Digital Studio software, you will be able to upgrade to the new software for free.

Contact me for more details or watch the www.mydigitalstudio.net website for the latest changes.

My Digital Studio 2—single sheet printing, pattern scale adjustment, and changing stamp brush colors

Against better judgment, we are taking our 4 children on a long long long drive from Colorado to California for spring break (20 hours from point A to point B which means about 25+ for us, since we have to add an hour’s worth of stopping time for every 4 hours of driving time).  I’m trying to plan ahead with games and activities for the car.  And movies.  Lots and lots of movies.

One of the activities I am putting together is a collection of worksheets, word puzzles, coloring pages, sudoku, etc. for each kid in their own binder.  I thought it would make it kind of special for the kids if they had a “personalized” cover for their binders.  I know I always loved things with my name on it when I was a kid.  Do you remember searching the racks at the store for the mini license plate with your name on it or the key chains?

Using My Digital Studio 2, I started with a 12 x 12 designer template that looked like this:

binder cover original-001

I had to change it to 8 1/2 x 11 to fit the binder cover, and adjust a few other things to get to here:

binder cover grace_2-001

Once I resized the template, I had to move a few of the embellishments around, but that was about it.

binder cover grace_2-002

For this page I just swapped out the background paper for a different style in the same collection, as well as the layer behind the photo. 

binder cover grace_2-003

I deleted the flowery, butterfly embellishments for my boy, and just changed the patterned paper.

binder cover grace_2-004

Another swap of patterns for this one.

Henry isn’t getting a binder for the road trip, but I made him a page anyway.   Adorbs!

Some info and tips:

  • Instead of using the background paper feature in the design center, I use a square punch, then enlarge it to be the size of the project.  Then I can zoom in or out of the pattern to get the scale I am looking for.

image

image

See how in the bottom picture the flower image is larger/more zoomed in?  You can adjust the scale of any patterned paper by filling a punch shape rather than just using it as the background paper. 

  • You can recolor stamp brushes now in MDS2 as well.  Just double click on the image and the stamp image coloring tool window will open.  You can custom color any svg type stamp brush to match your photo, color scheme, etc.

binder cover grace_2-002

 

binder cover grace_2-006

Single sheet printing through Stampin’ Up! has two options, a regular photo paper weight and a heavier cardstock weight.  For my project I chose the regular weight paper since these are going into the protective cover on the front of a binder.  The regular weight is $1.45 each sheet, and the cardstock weight is $1.95.

Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Digital Photo Organizing Tips

Oh boy.  There’s a lot of ways to do this.  Many of my “middle aged” friends have asked me for help on this subject.  So put your big girl pants on.  It’s really not that complicated.  I am going to share with you how I do it, and maybe it will help you feel more in control of your digital photo collection!
I have four kids age eight and under, so we use our camera sporadically--holidays, birthdays, sports events, activities, and then a few random photos of family time, outside play, etc.  I also have an iphone which I use to take photos almost daily of the spur of the moment things like when my 2 year old empties the pantry onto the kitchen floor.
melissa's iphone pics 1-24-13 503
My iphone pics are usually not super great quality because we find ourselves in motion in places that are not well lit frequently.  But I like to look back on the day to day stuff that makes up so much of my life.  Even if it is blurry or poorly lit.
So here’s how I do things:
I keep a 4G memory card in my digital SLR camera.  When I take a bunch of photos (like for my daughter’s birthday here) I will take the memory card out, plug it into my computer, and dump the photos into my “family 2013” folder.  I do this every few months each time I have a pretty good collection of photos going.
When I am ready (late at night when the kids are all in bed), I will open up the family 2013 photo folder and view it by month (this is an automatic feature for windows based folders, also I’m sure this would work on a mac in iphoto as well).  So for instance, here’s what my February 2013 looks like:
image
Once I am in month view, I can also organize by day.  This is super helpful when you are organizing photos of a vacation or multi-day event.
I try to quickly go through the photos I have uploaded and delete the really bad ones, blurry, bad lighting, etc.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO DELETE BAD PHOTOS, or duplicates either.  I upload all my “preserve for posterity” photos in an account at www.smugmug.com.  I highly recommend this particular photo storage site.  This is a really easy process—I just open my photo folder for February 2013, then open a browser window with my smugmug account and use their uploader tool to drag and drop the “best” photos of the month to my February 2013 album on smugmug.  It does not compress the photos at all (some online sites do), so they are perfectly original and you can share them anywhere you like, order prints, etc. straight from the site. 
THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART—once I upload them to smugmug, I tag them.  You can do this in most photo software applications.  Here’s an example of how I would tag this photo:
082
Stuart; Grace; outside; front yard; snow;
The idea is that when I am trying to find some pictures of Stuart and Grace together, or snow pictures, or whatever the parameter, I can enter what I want within my smugmug site search tool and it will automatically give me all pictures with those tags.
Here I searched for Stuart Grace snow:
image
See where I’m going with this?  It takes a little bit of time to do initially, but there are so many reasons why it is a good idea.  You know the drill—your kids come home with an assignment from school to put together a photo collage of all the birthday’s they’ve had since birth.  Or your sister calls and asks if you have any photos of your mom and any of the grandkids for an album she’s doing for mother’s day.  Or your child is earning their Eagle Scout award and you need photos of scout-like activities for a slide show.  Or it’s 6th grade graduation and you need photos of school friends from the past 7 years of school.  And on and on.  Search tool: birthday, search tool: grandma, search tool; scouts, search tool; child + friend’s name.
One last thing—I keep 2-3 years worth of photos on my computer hard drive, then I also have an external photo drive where I store anything prior to that.  We’ve been digital since 2001, so we actually have 2 external drives. BUT even if both of those crashed, all of my favorite, keep-for-posterity photos are saved on smugmug.
To Review:
  1. Upload your photos off the memory card from your camera to your computer hard drive
  2. Keep them in photos folders at least by year, or if you want, subfolders by month and within the month by event name, etc.
  3. Delete the bad pics and duplicates you don’t need to keep .
  4. Upload the ones you never ever want to lose (and then some), to an online photo service—good for printing, sharing, etc.
  5. TAG THEM!!!
  6. Back up the photos on your hard drive by copying or moving them to an external drive.
Now, if you have all that done already, or have a great system that works for you, here’s the next step:
Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) As Stacy Julian says, do something with some  of your photos.  You don’t need to scrap/print/keep EVERY SINGLE PHOTO you take.  I use a software called My Digital Studio 2 (MDS2) to make quick and easy pages, albums, and more.  Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!
Thanks for stopping by!
Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net
Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I love paper too!

I am still trying to teach stamp classes at my house about once a month—everybody needs birthday cards right?  Yesterday’s class features birthdays and babies, two events people still like getting real mail for!  I am always happy to open my mail box and find something other than bills and junk mail!  If you’d like to come to a class, just email me at buechers@msn.com.  Or if you see a card you’d like, I will make it for you!

IMG_7270

Inspired by this card by Fran Sabad

Supplies:

  • Stamp Set: Itty Bitty Banners
  • Cardstock: Pacific Point, Whisper White
  • Designer Series Paper: patterns and prints in certainly celery and wild wasabi (retired), Sunshine and Sprinkles (spring catalog, p. 28)
  • Ink: Pacific Point
  • Extras: Cloudy Day Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (spring catalog p. 28), Sizzlits Pinwheel Die (spring catalog p. 33), Big Shot with Multi-purpose platform and cutting pads, brads (retired)

IMG_7271

Inspired by this card by Krista

Supplies:

  • Stamp Set: Patterned Occasions (Sale-a-Bration catalog)
  • Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Pool Party, Whisper White
  • Designer Series Paper: Sycamore Street (Sale-a-Bration catalog)
  • Ink/Markers: Pool Party, Rich Razzleberry, Tangerine Tango, Daffodil Delight
  • Extras: Honeycomb Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (spring catalog, p. 6), Hearts a Flutter Framelits Dies (spring catalog, p. 11), Pool Party baker’s twine, Big Shot with multi-purpose platform and cutting pads

IMG_7272

This one was inspired by Maile Belles

Supplies:

  • Stamp Set: Oh, Whale!, Something to Celebrate (retired, hostess)
  • Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Pacific Point, Whisper White
  • Ink: Whisper White Craft Ink, Pacific Point
  • Extras: Happy Whale Clearlits Die (spring catalog, p. 29), Big Shot with multi-purpose platform and cutting pads

IMG_7273

This one was inspired from a website here.

Supplies:

  • Stamp Set: ??? I can’t find the box right now but I’m pretty sure it’s retired
  • Cardstock: Whisper White
  • Designer Series Paper: retired
  • Ink: Night of Navy
  • Extras: Martha Stewart Elephant Punch, Certainly Celery Ribbon, Chevron Textured Impressions Embossing Folder

Classes are open to stampers of all levels.  I cut and prepare the majority of supplies ahead of time.  It’s always fun to get together and go home with a bunch of cards you need and will use! Email me for more info!  buechers@msn.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

See, I told you! My Digital Studio 2— baptism/name album part 2

Here I am again, ready to share some more with you! As I was creating this album for my son’s eighth birthday, I wanted him to know why we chose his first and middle names, and where his last name comes from, what it means, etc.  I asked my mom to write up a little something about her dad, Douglas, which is my son’s middle name.  I know some of these things don’t have great meaning for him now as an eight year old, but I KNOW he will be glad to have this book down the road.  And the other beauty of doing this digitally is that if he ever loses the book or it gets destroyed by an natural disaster (common in our household!), I can just order a new one.  Voila!

Here’s the page my mom wrote up and the photo of my Grandfather:

stuart's name book-006stuart's name book-007

Again, I kept them very simple, just some matting and drop shadows, and the patterned paper is from the Well Worn Designer Series Paper collection.  I used a punch shape for the name box at the bottom of the photo.  Are you dying at his middle name?  Dalrymple?  Crazy Australians!

Some info and tips:

  • Size your photo box first before adding the photo.  If you know your photo is portrait oriented, then make sure your height is greater than your width.  Or vice versa.
  • Keep your accents and embellishments in the same color family as the patterned paper you are working with.  It’s simple to do by using the “match color” tool in the design center.

Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!) Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Try Paper Pumpkin! Monthly kits delivered to your door.

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I’m back: My Digital Studio 2, Baptism/Name Album

It’s been a long, long looooooooooong time!  Keeping up an active blog for my paper crafting has been on the bottom of my list for a while (having four kids under age 8 will do that), but I am ready to get back into posting, mostly because I am really excited to share with you my fun new addiction---My Digital Studio 2.   I still enjoy working with real paper, but I have so much to share with you about my new digital adventure!  I have been using it for everything lately.  I guess when I look at the mess on my craft table, it’s easier to do a U-turn back to the computer and get to work.  Plus I can work on something for 5 minutes (the attention span my 2 year old allows me), and then come back to it later. 

First up—the cover from my son’s 8th birthday/baptism book all about him.  This album was so fun for me to put together.  I got the idea from Stacy Julian’s blog.  It’s basically a book about his name—why we named him what we did, where his names came from, a little heritage, letters from grandparents, what it means to take on the name of Christ at baptism, etc. 

This was my first project with the upgraded software (MDS2), and I was SO HAPPY with the changes that Stampin’ Up! made.

stuart's name book-002

I tried to keep things really simple since it was the first printed book I would be ordering as a print product from Stampin’ Up! and because it was for an 8 year old boy, and because I knew I didn’t have time to custom design every page.   Plus I just prefer the clean and simple style for scrapbooking. 

Some info and tips—

  • The 8 x 8 size printed album is easy to fill, inexpensive (~$20)! 
  • I used the mat option and drop shadow option to give the photos, text and embellishments a 3-d effect. 
  • By choosing Stampin’ Up!’s print service, you are guaranteed the colors will turn out right!
  • MDS2 allows  you to work in a 2 page spread:

image

Here’s a screen shot of the front and back covers of the album. 

Don’t let your digital photos stay trapped on your computer (or worse, on your memory cards/flash drives!!)  Start with something recent and easy—a Christmas album from a few months ago, a vacation from last year, or get something ready for Mother’s Day for Grandma. You can print at home, order single sheets, or get an album!

Thanks for stopping by!

Order anytime at www.melissab.stampinup.net

Try Paper Pumpkin!  Monthly kits delivered to your door.