Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Creative Process: Organizing Inspiration

A little while ago I told you about my love of sketches and scraplifting.  I get most my inspiration materials either from the internet (blogs and such) or from magazines (either print or digital) and books.  I'm still struggling to find the most useful way to organize and keep this inspiration so that its most useful to me.

One thing I'm sure of is that I want to keep it all digitally, for a couple of reasons:
1. It takes up less space - always a positive for me!
2. It's more portable - so I can access it anywhere anytime.

As soon as I get a chance, I'll scan in printed magazine pages and digitize it that way.

I began keeping sketches and inspiration photos using Evernote, a web-based program that allows you to keep digital data, including .pdfs, and access it anywhere.  It allows for tagging and multiple virtual notebooks, and has an app for the iphone.  I really like this program, but adding photos to my notebook became somewhat cumbersome.  I couldn't resize them, and you have to open each note to view the images.  I can't just scroll through the images all at once, or see .pdfs without opening them.

Recently I've switched systems to just saving images and .pdfs to a folder on my desktop.  This has been easier since I can use Picasa to view them all on a scroll.  On the downside, it is on my hard drive, so its not accessible away from that.

Either way, I divide my inspiration into the following categories, and file them away under each:

  • one-page layouts
  • two-page layouts
  • embellishment inspiration
  • home dec inspiration
Some folks prefer to organize by number of photos on a page.  I don't because I am usually able to adapt a sketch to fit my needs that way.

I'm still working on my system.  How do you keep your inspiration?  Have you found what works best for you?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 25

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Christmas...Early

I must've been a very good girl this year, because Santa (via Amazon) has visited my house a couple of times already!

First, he brought me an Epson V30 scanner.  My mom gave me hundreds of photos from my childhood, and all of them are stuck to those awful magnetic photo album pages permanently.  The Epson will help me preserve those photos, and complete what will from here on out be known as Project X, on they very far off chance that a family member discover my blog and reveal the surprise.

The other thing helping with these two tasks is the awesome self-paced class by Jessica Sprague  - This Old Photo.  I'm learning how to get rid of that red cast all photos from the 1970's get with age.  Now if I could only figure out how to remove my mom's finger from the bottom of all of those pictures...

Santa visited me again last week with something I've been wanting for a long time now...and upgraded camera! I've outgrown my Pentax K100D, and after saving my pennies and my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, and a generous but temporary price drop, I was able to get it - the Pentax K7!

Isn't she beautiful!  Mark has named her Big Bessie.  Now I just need some time to spend learning what all of these new buttons do!  It's already been a very Merry Christmas!

Just a note: I used a website to watch the prices on these two items.  CamelCamelCamel will send you alerts when the price on your watched item drops.  It saved me $100 on my new camera.  I don't get a kickback or anything.  Just trying to share a good way to save.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker

I was hoping to have this review for you a lot sooner, but I guess the shipment of books to Amazon actually traveled the Amazon, so they were two weeks late shipping it to me.  I never bought the first addition.  At that time, I was just starting out in scrapbooking, and couldn't fathom why somebody would need a book to help them organize their stuff.  After all, I only had some paper, a glue runner, and a sheet of stickers.  What more could any scrapbooker need?

I got really excited when I heard about the second edition.  Timing was perfect since we had just decided to move and I will have my own scrap room instead of just a small area to work with, which I showed you in this post.  I pre-ordered The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker from Amazon as soon as I could.

Having just finished reading all the chapters and taking the quizzes, I have to say this is a beautiful and well-written book.  I really liked the way the authors lead you through your scrapbooking as a process, not just an activity.  Sure, they help you organize your room, but your stories as well.  Because I don't really know what my scrap space will look like in our new house, since we haven't actually found that house yet, some of the quizzes were difficult for me to complete, but will come in handy later.  

Although this book is filled with gorgeous photos and many ideas, I wish there were a few more photo examples of some of the storage concepts detailed.  I also think that in the future, a discussion of digital photo organization would be beneficial, since a large number of scrapbookers organize their photos this way instead of actual hard-copy prints, whether they are digital scrappers or print on demand.

Overall, I think The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker lived up to all of the hype.  The quizzes really got me thinking about my process and how I can streamline it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pink Cupcakes and Tiaras: More Photos from the Ancient Past

My sister got married back in 2008.  I have had the photos edited and in my "to order" folder since then.  I finally scrapped them in 2010 (barely).  It was perfect for scallops and pink, frilly embellishments and glitter.

Blinged Out Bridal Shower

Products Used:
DCWV - cardstock; Jillibean Soup - patterned paper; American Crafts - patterned paper, sticker letters, chipboard letters; Scenic Route - patterned paper; Echo Park - patterned paper; Basic Grey - laser cut paper; K & Company - embellishment flowers, journaling cards

Tools Used:
Martha Stewart punch

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Go Broke One Buck at a Time

I'm not a digi scrapper; I'm a hybrid scrapper if anything.  But something pulls me in every Wednesday, when I open up the email from  With (oooo) Echo Park, (ahhh) Ella Publishing, and (gasp!) Cosmo Cricket, her One Buck Wednesdays are just impossible to pass up!  Here's a sample of the things I've purchased over the past few weeks.  I'm sure one day I'll print some of them!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm a Winner!

If you haven't visited The CLASSroom blog, you should right away!  It's chock full of tutorials and great ideas for your pages and home decor.  Ellen just finished up her version of Tim Holtz's 12 tags of Christmas, but hers have a feminine bent, and are just lovely.  So neat to see such a different take on the tags!

Recently Ellen started giving away goodies on the blog, and guess who was the very first winner?  That's right...ME!  I never win anything, so I really couldn't believe it when she contacted me.

And what did I win, you ask?

Tim Holtz's A Compendium of Curiosities!  I received it the other day in the mail, and it is just a beautiful book!  I can't wait until all of my scrapbook supplies are unpacked in their new home, so I can roll up my sleeves and try some of these great techniques!  Thank you, Ellen and The CLASSroom!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

No Post Today

Sorry, folks.  I’m taking today off sick.  My day will involve the doctor, Robitussin, Epic Mickey, and, if I’m very lucky, a visit from my favorite bathroom contractor.  Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SEC Championship

Mark and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the SEC Championship in Atlanta.  Being the Auburn fan that he is, he was really excited.  I was really excited about the corporate box we got to be in!

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Layouts, Old Photos

Like most scrapbookers, I have a backlog of pictures to scrap.  Taking classes at Big Picture has helped get my butt in gear and scrap some of these older photos.  That's a good thing, because I got all of my childhood albums from my mom, and I want to scan and scrap them.  (Let this be a lesson to you -- take your photos out of those old magnetic albums, if you can, and burn those horrible magnetic pages!!  Photos grow to them over time!)

This one is from 2006:

To the Top!

Nic Howard taught us how to do these neat faux pleats in the Color?  Or is it Colour? class.

Products Used:
DCWV - cardstock; Core'dinations - cardstock; unknown swiss dot paper; Jillibean Soup - patterned paper; Adorn It/Carolee's Creations - patterned paper; Creative Imaginations - transparency, sticker; Ranger - stickles; Queen and Company - flowers

Tools Used:
Tim Holtz tiny attacher; Martha Stewart punch; Silhouette - title and flourish; American Crafts slick writer

Friday, December 3, 2010

For the Love of Antique Tractors

What is it with men and antique tractors?  My father in law collects and restores them.  My brother in law keeps a broken on in my sister's garage.

My husband likes antique tractors, although I think he really just likes driving tractors.  My photos of them were by far the best seller in my etsy store, to the point that is almost all I offer anymore.

Our annual trip to Old Time Farm Day offers a plethora of photo ops of antique tractors, some restored, some nice and rusty.

The men that bring them are so so proud of their tractors.  Almost like they are their grandchildren.  Almost.

Farm Day Tractors

Tractors have evidently affected my subliminal.  I didn't intend on the title cluster to look like a tractor, and didn't realize it did until I was done with the layout!

Products Used:
Cosmo Cricket - patterned paper, die cut, sticker letters; Cardstock - Core'dinations; Tim Holtz - distress ink, distress stickles; Deejann - journaling spot; American Crafts - rubons; October Afternoon - stickers; The Paper Studio - brad; K & Company - corrugated cardboard; home made glimmery mist

Tools Used:
Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Happy Things

A couple of weeks back, Big Picture Classes celebrated their fifth birthday by sending out Happy Mail to 500 students.  I was so surprised to get a big padded envelope in the mail!

I just love that little pink button!

And I need to share this:  the oh-so-talented Ms. Christine Middlecamp is about to share with us another of her wonderful project tutorials.  You might remember the doily project from my very first post.  Now she's come up with something new for the holidays, and it looks spectacular!

Hurry over and add her blog Retrospection to your reader so you don't miss a single day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Creative Process: Photo Editing Workflow

Shooting and processing my photos are as important or more important to me as the scrapbook pages I create with them.  I shoot almost exclusively in RAW, with my Pentax K100D, unless there's a special situation when I need to use my point and shoot, then of course its a JPEG.

I have both Lightroom 2.2 and Photoshop Elements 7, and like using them both.   I would correct white balance and boost color and sharpening in Lightroom, then export the photos as JPEGs, open them in Photoshop Elements, and color correct, run actions, resize, etc., and save as a final JPEG. I love using presets in Lightroom and actions in PSE to help me along, but I didn't use the LR presets because of the processing I would do in PSE after I exported my photos from LR.  But I was listening to this Paperclipping Digi Show the other day, and it changed my post-processing world! 

I had no idea, but you can select "open in PSE" from the edit menu in LR, edit your photo in PSE and save, and the photo (as a PSD or TIFF) will be pulled back into LR with the PSE edits!  I can combine the effects of actions and presets, do final crops in LR, which I prefer to the crop options in PSE, and add vignettes.  This has streamlined my workflow tremendously, and opened up a world of options.  Another plus: I don't have 187 different versions of the same photo file taking up space on my hard drive!  I used to get so confused on what was finished, what was in process, and what I hadn't touched.  

Now my final step is in LR, and it is to export my completely edited and cropped file to JPEG into my "To Be Printed" folder.  How do you process your photos?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Day on the Farm

My husband's parents live on a farm, one that has been in his family for generations.  His dad shares the importance of farming with as many as he can, and participates in a non-profit group that holds an Old Time Farm Day on the Thompson property once a year.  They demonstrate old techniques like blacksmithing and mule plowing to the public.  We, of course, go up every year.

Making Sorghum syrup

I always end up with a ton of pictures from the event, because there are so many unique photo opportunities!  It's tough to come up with a layout to capture even a few of them.

Old Time Farm Day 2010

Products Used:
October Afternoon - patterned paper, stickers; American Crafts - number stickers


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