Monday, 31 December 2012

Project 365? What a load of ...

I hate, loathe, detest and despise Project 365/52/12. For the uninitiated, Project 365 is the thing where you take a photo every day of the year, no matter how boring this will be for the poor soul expected to look at it, and put it in a daily/weekly/whatever scrapbook page/album. For Project 52 you take photos once a week, and so on.

 Did I mention I hate this sort of thing? Here's why:  

It's Marketing

It's designed to get you to spend money on more kits once you've finished buying all the Christmas and Winter stuff you don't need. There's a brief flurry of "New Start/New You/Resolutions" junk every January but that runs out of steam. Incidentally, I hate that stuff too. It says to scrapbookers, "You and/or your life is a big failure. What are you going to do about it?" How rude.

It's too soon for most stores to start selling Valentines junk. I'm not keen on that either. In the UK you send cards to your romantic other, not to your children and friends - which would be considered a bit weird - and hubby and I gave that up long ago.

So what are they going to sell? Ooh, I know, a whole book of stuff designed for a year (and therefore expensive...). Templates for putting seven photos on a page, like you couldn't work that out for yourself. A whole load of little bits that say "Monday, Tuesday ... January ... February. Puhleeeze!! Are we five years old?? 

It's Manipulative

Last year the biggest B word-y scrapbooker on the planet started a Facebook group for Project Whatever peeps. The woman is a control freak and lost no time in pushing people around and - big surprise - flogging her friend's "here are your bits of Wednesdays in case you can't spell it" kit. It was supposed to be "supportive". Ha! It was a vehicle for the playground bully. I was the first one out of the door. I will not be amused if anyone adds me to any of these groups this year. I much preferred it when you invited friends to Facebook groups rather than added them against their will.

So you've failed already at the "create a new you" stage on January 1st. Now you're going to fail to take photos every day, fail to put them in a layout, fail to impress your new buddies unless you use the right bits of kit and then you're going to fail to do all the other important things you should be doing while you're wasting time pratting around with this silly project. Which leads me to ....

It's horribly smug

The "I married my best friend and we have 10 kids" brigade love Project 365. They can flaunt their family, big house and SAHM lifestyle every day to those who have to work three jobs, those who have nothing, those who have lost someone. Vile.

It's a colossal waste of time

Life is too short to be taking photos because someone says you have to. Yes, that might be fun for one challenge project. It's always good to leave your comfort zone for a while to see what you can create. But every day? Every week? Surely you have better things to do. I know plenty of people who haven't backed up their computers in months, haven't unzipped hundreds of kits, haven't written in their blogs etc etc to say nothing of real life constraints on their time. Scrapbooking is a hobby meant to be enjoyed, it shouldn't turn into a job you have to do. That destroys creativity.

Be brave. Say "No, I'm not doing that!" There will be albums on Digi Scrapping Tips for those who would like to show use their Project 365 pages and we have daily and weekly challenges for those who would inspiration without doing it. No selling you anything!

There's a poll on this topic on Digi Scrapping Tips. Come along and give your views (or comments are welcome here). There would be a witty layout to go with this post but - hello - I'm busy doing more important stuff.

One Photo - Two Different Pages

.. and a question to be answered. Why on earth is she using that photo showing the fat belly ???

D'oh.... DH didn't warn me to hold it in!

I used it "as is" on this first page. The kit is Getaway by Rosey Posey. I used a stacked paper background so can't take credit for the cluster bottom right. I added a couple of bits! The frame over the photos is from Lindsay Jane's Another Day In Paradise. I like wonky frames that don't fit the photo.

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For the second page I added a frost effect to the photo in Picmonkey and adjusted it so it created quite a wide matte effect. Then I used Rosey Posey's Island kit and, again, used a stacked paper background. I think I prefer this one. The first one wasn't wasted though as I used it with another photo. It's very easy to right click and duplicate a page in MyMemories so I often make several versions.

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Monday, 24 December 2012

So the world didn't end on 21st December...

But the Facebook jokes were amusing. I love Grumpy Cat and this was one of his best. Isn't that just exactly what you'd expect him to say? Kit is mostly FayETTE designs' Reality Bytes:

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I liked the Doctor Who joke too. Background (I reduced the opacity) is from a set by Helena Monteiro

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CLICK HERE for an extra large zoomable version to see what he's saying.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

How Not To Sleep....

I'm at that age where everything wears out. So to delay the awful inevitablity of double knee replacement I had a clever surgeon do arthroscopy and cartilage repair on both knees. This is what happened the first night after the surgery (click HERE for a larger version if you can't read the text). Kit is mostly Sweet Slumber by Colie's Corner:

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There's a larger project going on - well, of course there is, we have to scrap EVERYTHING - and I'll show you the other pages when they're finished but I couldn't resist making a 12/12/12 page. Kit is Booboos and Bandaids by A-manda Creations:

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OK, one more since this ridiculous showering routine is such a big part of my life at the moment (currently with one knee bandaged and less dressings but it still means no enjoying the shower for ages). There will shortly be a roots crisis since that takes a lot of time in the shower. Kit is Bubbly by KStudio:

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Saturday, 10 November 2012

We Will Remember Them

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Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday. It's an international day when we commemorate the war dead. I hope the layout above puts it succinctly.  It really isn't a difficult concept. I get that the US Veterans Day is slightly different and wouldn't expect American people to honour it any way except in their own way. However, there are (mostly) American digital scrapbooking stores who have international customers and international Facebook subscribers/fans. It really isn't a difficult concept to grasp that Facebook is international and a quick look at their paypal receipts will tell them where their customers are.

They just can't resist a marketing opportunity with money off and ridiculous games. One store last year offered 11% off 11 kits at 11 o'clock and other nonsense. It was as if she was trying to find 11 ways to offend people When you write to complain they will tell you they're celebrating a holiday and that everyone loves it. Really? Is this what the American people want? Sell, sell, sell at every opportunity with no respite to commemorate the dead? I can't believe that. Fight back. Write and tell them this is not acceptable. This is NOT some jolly holiday to turn  into a marketing opportunity. They should be ashamed.Very ashamed.

My grandfather did not spend four days trapped in a flooded trench with the dead bodies of his friends so that someone can make a quick buck. I can't tell you how disgusting that is to me as I don't have the words. It makes me feel physically sick.

I wrote to a few stores last year but this year I have more clout. I run the Digi Scrapping Freebies group and have banned any links that go to the"holiday" offers. No posts will be made at all tomorrow. It's already lost me some friends but so be it. I'll be unsubscribing from their newsletters and Facebook pages and those designers don't get to post on my FB groups either. we all have to do what we can to stop this vile practice. Clearly only money talks. So withdraw your spending!

Artist credits:

Remembrance Sunday: The kit is Natali Designs' In My Garden and the photo is Tyne Cot Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium]

Joe Hills: Quickpage from Belle de Nuit by Laitha's Deigns and Valentina Creations. Poppies from Natali's kit above.

Here's my grandfather:

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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Getting The Most Out Of iDSD

The hoodley what now? You'd have to be VERY new to digital scrapbooking not to know that iDSD is International Digital Scrapbooking Day. The first confusing thing about it is it seems to be more than a day. It's more of a 4 day thing from 1 - 4 November as different stores start at different times but TODAY is the big day.

There are a gazillion freebies and special offers BUT, make no mistake, this is a MARKETING event run by the digi stores and their aim is to sell you as much as possible. Your aim is to get as much free stuff as possible whilst getting some good deals on kits you've been lusting after.

First of all, DON'T PANIC. Brits -  feel free to shout that several times in a Corporal Jones voice.


We have that covered. Join the Digi Scrapping Freebies group on Facebook and you'll find links to all the cool stuff and a list of blog trains and Facebook hops (in the File section). It's useful to know the links are there so you haven't got to rush round frantically finding and saving them. Of course, if you do find one we haven't got please post it!

The most important tip about Freebies is don't download stuff just you don't want or need just because it's free. There lies madness.

There are more detailed tips on how to save time, work efficiently and get a ton of stuff on our main site HERE.


We have thirteen of these - at the last count - on Digi Scrapping Freebies so you don't have to go chasing around the web.  Yikes! Thirteen!! The article on the link above has lots of tips on blog hops.

Start with the My Memories one because you add the freebies to your account and can download them later which saves you a ton of stress. You don't need to have My Memories software to use the freebies. Just download the "general" files. as everyone knows, though. I use My Memories all the time and have made thousands - really - layouts easily. Go HERE for a good deal on MyMemories and access to our private tutorial group.


I regard at least 40% off as a good deal and tend to ignore the rest BUT lots of stores do deals at other times of the year so don't stress over it. Just make you sure really need (OK, want ...) the kits before exercising credit card.

There will be coupons - Some will come in the kits you download and some will come in emails. Save them in separate folders for later.


Designers tend to move about a lot from store to store or one store takes over another one. When the designer is new to the store their kits will be in the new products section. This is fair enough but they might not be new to you. It's really annoying to buy something you already have! That is definitely not a good deal. I file all my kits twice on two separate external hard drives - once under themes and once under designer names. There will be more tips on this in an article shortly. However you do it try to make sure you haven't already got the kit. If it looks familiar to your there might be a reason for that!


If you download stuff all day then you're faced with a mammoth unzipping task guess what will happen? You'll get fed up and delete the lot. That's what I did one year when I got to August and realised I hadn't unzipped stuff from the May NSD. As you're unzipping, if you don't like it or you're not going to use then delete it! There is no point in clogging up your computer.


Sick of people trying to part you and your cash? Take a break in the Digi Scrapping Tips group on Facebook. It's a completely advertising-free zone where you can show your layouts, get help, join in challenges etc. We have a weekly challenge every Monday and a daily word challenge. Plus chat of course. And absolutely no ads!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Eva Kipler

Eva was one of the first designers I ever came across when I first started in digital scrapbooking. She was immensely talented and I must have about sixty of her kits. I was so sad to learn she'd passed away suddenly on 30 October. I learned this just after I learned another friend had gone to prison. Some days you just wish the internet never existed and Tim Berners-Lee had invented a new vacuum cleaner.

Here are just a few pages made with Eva's kits. We have an album on Digi Scrapping Tips here if you'd like to add to it.

Finally, a tablet thingy....

We are well behind with technology in our house. I have one of those phones that's attached to the wall and my mobile phone is a...well, it's a telephone. That's all it is. I rarely leave the house anyway and when I do I want to get away from the internet, thank you very much. I even have one of those old lady phones with the big buttons!

 Since we were a bit worried about being left behind we bought a Kindlefire. That was our excuse anyway. It's hours of amusement with the added joy of not owning any i-junk. If you fill it with high res photos you'll soon fill it up and adding high res photos to it is pointless anyway. The screen resolution is 1280 x 800 and I found that about a third of my scrapbook pages ( so that's at least 700 pages) looked pretty good cut down to that size. There's an article on Coastal Scrapbooks telling you how to do it. You also get to see a slideshow of my cut-downs!

 Kindlefire tip: You can hook the Kindlefire straight up to your computer and transfer photos over. However, if you do that they will all end up in one album and that's not very convenient. If you add them to your Amazon Cloud instead you can put them into albums. They won't take up much room since you already shrunk them. Then access your cloud the Kindlefire and download each album. You can access them on the cloud any time but it's nice to have some photos for when you have no Wifi (like at my Mum's house!)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Welcome to our new blog

Thus blog is "attached" to the Digi Scrapping Tips group on Facebook.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New Tutorial for MyMemories Fans

Here's a question for you. No, I don't need you to find Wally. I already live with him ... Is this layout

1) Two circles surrounded by odd shapes? Or ...

2) Rectangles with circles in front of them?

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If you believe in 2) then you can make this layout! The tutorial is on Coastal Scrapbooks HERE and there's an album set up on Digi Scrapping Tips for your layouts. There's no excuse. It's easy! There aren't many things you CAN'T do in My Memories Suite! Come and challenge us!

Ths layout is from Lindsay Jane's Simple Set 6 Bonus (currently free on her blog). Word art is from StoryRock's Destinations and other elements from SAS Designs' Flying the Flag. Photos? Me, John and our friends Lionel and Barbara during Oriana's sailaway from Madeira in December 2009.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Prettying Up The Tower of London

The Tower of London was not a fun place. The website portrays it to be a fun place NOW, of course, but you wouldn't want to be there a few hundreds years ago unless you were prepared to come out without your head. My husband, John, works in his firm's London office occasionally and he took this photo in May on a wet, grey day. Not that our summer days have been much different since...

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

It would make an interesting old study but I decided to use a mask to remove almost everything except the Tower. I also used the Auto Enhance in Paint Shop Pro X4 to brighten it up and change it to how it looks on a sunnier day. We've given up all hope of a summer here in the UK and have to do what we can to pretend! Generally I've found PSP X4 auto enhance to be completely useless - my old PSP 8, Paint Shop Album and virtually any other program you can think of is better. However, while the photo is on the screen waiting for its mask you might as well hit the button and try it and this time I got lucky.

I used Wendy Tunison's World Traveler London Add-on kit and a free border cluster made by Simply Creative by Thao. I covered up a few bits like suitcases with a few extra embellies mainly from the New York kit. I don't know why designers think London is full of Victorian objects! It's very difficult to find British kits that aren't extremely annoying to any British person I might show the layout too. Even DH remarked that it must be obvious it's London in this page. I just liked the postmark effect.

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Monday, 9 July 2012

Don't like Mondays? Try our challenge!

Every Monday on the new Digi Scrapping Tips group on Facebook we'll have a Monday challenge. You don't HAVE to make a page on Monday but it could improve your Mondays if you do! It's not a speed scrap and there are no strict rules. You'll just get a design idea or sometimes an easy tutorial and you can interpret it how you like - and add as many pages as you like. We're putting them in an album each week so they don't get lost down the busy page.

Today's challenge is to use three photos in a row but make one of them a bit different. That's it. Easy! Here's one example. I used Lindsay Jane's Sea Breeze template for MyMemories, tilted the middle photo so the name of the ship was straight then put the frame BEHIND it.

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I have a few more examples for you here: Slideshow ~ Gallery. Have fun!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

New Facebook Group - Digi Scrapping Tips

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I hope the noticeboard says it all. Someone is obviously ignoring the request to keep it tidy! I used Heather Roselli's Cubicle with a View to make it.

The new Digi Scrapping Tips group is a completely ad-free zone with pretty strict posting rules to make it a nice place to be. There is far too much "Look at my new kit" garbage on too many Facebook groups and pages. We're quite capable of spending our money without any help! There are several tutorials on there and there will be even more soon. We don't mind which  program you use for your scrapbooking. Whatever it is I bet we can teach you new tricks with it.

We even have a plan to make Monday something to look forward to. Hey, we have a noticeboard for that too!

The Digi Scrapping Freebies group we started a few months ago has a fancy new header, a daily photo challenge - see post below for yesterday's and you can now post good deals you find in the Files section. So I think we got it all covered!

Many thanks to my team of "admin" for both groups - Kimmie, Catherine, Diana, Yobeth, Rachel and Debbie - smart, tough cookies!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Chair With History

Today I wanted to make a layout with a chair. Like you do. This Lloyd Loom chair was the first thing my parents bought, along with a matching linen basket, for their new home when they got married in 1949. I say new home but in those days that consisted of what my Mum called "Furnished Rooms" so I suppose it was nice to have something that was actually theirs.

As you can see Mum and Dad thought it was hilarious to have a photo of me sitting in the chair holding a bottle of gin. I suspect that was Uncle Ernie's doing and he would have been the one with a camera.

When we got married Mum and Dad gave us the Lloyd Loom set and we painted it dark green (it was Olive green before) to go in our bathroom. The linen basket has remained green - and we actulaly use it as a linen basket - and the chair has been painted blue. This might  be its last incarnation as it's a pain to paint!

So why on earth am I making a layout about a chair? Well, apart from wanting to share the thrilling story, today Photo word of the day on the Digi Scrapping Freebies group is "chair".The challenge is fun to do and you can use pages you've already made. There's nothing worse than having to make a page each day when you don't have time. So it's not a P365 thing. I can't abide those. But that's the subject for another long rant another time.

This layout was made with Lindsay Jane's Essence of Blue MMS template.

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Friday, 29 June 2012

My Lovely Molly

My beautiful bunny Molly left us for the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday. It was a traumatic day and I'll write about it on the bunny blog soon. I don't feel I can do it just yet but I can't get on with things on this blog and not show you a page for Molly so here it is. I used Indigo designs' Spring Mask Memories Mask MMS Template.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Two birthdays, just like the Queen ...

My Mum was 85 last week. The Queen gave us an extra day's holiday to celebrate. well, some say the day off was for the Jubilee but Mum knows it was for her birthday;-) She got a card from Lilibet to prove it!

We didn't make it for her birthday so she had a second party with even more jubilee decorations (she already had plenty ...)

The frame and embellies are from Snappy-Scrappy. I put a plain shape between the frame and the photo to mask the corner. It's coloured to match the background - one of those optical illusion tricks. I even recycled this layout into a page for the Street Party scrapbook which I'll show you soon.

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How cool is this?

I had an "Aha" moment and imported the old Arcadian Scrapbooks blog posts into this one. So there's a whole load of junk you can read... it does at least mean I can have old MMS advice posts on here much quicker than I can write them for the new website.

I do rather like the new Blogger interface even though it's a question of hitting buttons at random until you find out how to do stuff. btw if you want to import or export a blog it's all under Settings - Other.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sleep is for wimps

I thought I'd beaten the only-stressed-peeps-get-this virus but it turns out the cough comes back as soon as you lie down which rather puts paid to sleeping. The new website has got to the stage of needing brain power. Putting links and pictures on it is a bit like putting together an MFI wardrobe, for those old enough to remember. You really don't want bits left over. Fortunately, Weebly is a joy to work with and a lot less clumsy than it used to be - and infinitely better than the waste of cyber space who used to have my scrapping website.

So with brain addled from lack of sleep I made the new header for the blog. Working out how and where to change the background and load an image took up a lot of brain power. I was very fast on the old system!

It would be much much better if I could just make a long thin scrapbook layout but the designer TOUs are a minefield. I don't mind at all paying for a commercial/professional license for a kit if I can actually use it for the site and blog BUT CUs are designed primarily for designers making kits for others. I'm not interested in that and wouldn't have the skills anyway. Some refer to a "personal website". CS might not be regarded as purely personal. That leaves us with "professional" licences which specifically allow business marketing. They're expensive and I've only seem them one site and haven't seen any suitable kits yet. The last option would be to pay a designer to make a header for me. That would no doubt be expensive and since I'm about to give up my income ...Right now I can't be bothered to get into licence shenanigans so we have to stick with what I can make with photos.

I can't give you a link yet as new blogs get removed if they have too many links and not enough content in the first few weeks but , let's see, you might just be able to work out the site name from this blog and take a peek. There are lots and lots of albums, naturally. It's always good to have more eyes on the layouts! Tutorial-wise the list going on there gets longer and longer. I started backwards a few weeks ago and made some tutorial slideshows (the easiest way to do it) so my friends could do some of the more geeky things. All those will be there but I'm going to try and get on with the Newbie tutorials so new scrapbooking friends can get started quickly. We're getting there!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Out with the old and back in with the old again

Welcome to my new blog. I'm typing this for purely selfish reasons as I need to know how the text looks. There will be lots of playing with the design. It might even have some content soon. But then it's gardening season. This blog title basically says everything about how I waste time - scroll down and there's a beach. There's a ridiculous font, there are/will be scrapbooks. If only it had a cat and a bunny... I'm not too sure about the mauve colour but then I'm even less sure of my skills in manipulating this new fangled blogger system. I just hope it allows HTML or there will be no slideshows. Oh, right. There's a big button there that says HTML ...

EDIT: Since writing this I discovered how to import the old Arcadian Scrapbooks into this one so now it's a new blog with about 65 posts!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

How To Use MMS Templates That Aren't There...

My Memories templates are the best thing since sliced bread, right? A quickpage where you can move stuff around. What could be better? You even get to download the elements and papers as regular files. I wish Memory Mixer would let us to that too. Apart from that bit everything I say here can be done in Memory Mixer.

Unfortunately having lots of templates installed slows the program down, basically because every time you add an embellie the program is thinking "I wonder what embellies I have in my templates?". I had over 100 installed and had Memory Mixer templates (quickmixes) installed in MMS and vice versa. It was dead slow and stop!

Here's how you use the MMS templates WITHOUT having them in the program. Instructions are written for MMS v3 so you might need to adapt them if you have a different version.

1) Install your template if it isn't already installed. What? Didn't she say we didn't need it in the program??? You're only putting it in the program temporarily!

2) Create an album with the template BUT don't add any photos or move anything or tinker around with it in any way.

3) Go into Windows Explorer (or Mac equivalent) and look at where you save your albums. Create a new folder called MMS Template Albums. (If you're flummoxed by Windows Explorer I'll have more on that on the main site. For now ask someone to help you set this up)

3) SAVE the album and call it Nameoftemplate Template. See the box for album location right under where you choose the name? Choose your new folder, MMS Template Albums.


4) Close MMS.

5) Uninstall the template. Not as difficult as it sounds because the program is already set up to allow you to do this.

In Windows Explorer you need to find where your MMS program lives. It will probably be in C Drive - Program Files. When you find it click on the little arrow to the left and it will show you what's in it. Don't worry, you can't do any damage this way!

Now click on the little arrow to the left of Digital Templates Uninstallers. It will show you all the templates you have installed. As you can see I only have one in there and I installed that to create this tutorial!

Click on the name of the template (follow blue arrow). You will now see the Uninstall option in the window to the right (red arrow). Double click on this to uninstall the template.

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Arrows are from The Ettes' Fabulous 4th.

Brilliant. You've got rid of the template, so now how do you use it? This is so simple you will kick yourself and think "I should have thought of that".

6) Open MMS and start a new "from scratch" album.

7) Go to "Insert" in the top toolbar and "Import from my projects". Find where you stored your Template Albums and choose the one you want (this is why you named it NameofTemplate Template and not "Easter Bunny"). Import the first page.

8) Repeat for as many pages as you want - or import them all at once. Delete the first page of your album as it will be a blank page.

Et voila.... there's your template. But, you are thinking, this is an ordinary album. Add some photos, move some embellishments ... it works the same as when you open a template! When you're finished with this new album make sure you save it in your regular album folder. When I started doing this I occasionally edited the template album by mistake instead of importing it into the new album. If you completely mess it up you can always install the template again. Keep and back up all your template files.

Have fun with your fast running program! Next time I'm going to look at how you can use a simple "outside" template in MMS.

(c) 2012 Sharon Horswill All Rights Reserved.

Easter. It's not about the bunny.

I love Easter. I love that Christ died and rose again for me. I also love rabbits and every year I join in campaigns to stop poor rabbits being sold as toys over the Easter period. So for me it's a LITTLE bit about bunnies!

Here's my Bunny prayer for Easter:

I'd love to give credit to the photographer but the bunny pic was going around Facebook so I don't know who took it. Kit used - for both these pages - is Valentina Creations' Pretty Eggs.

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Here's my page for Easter Sunday. Photo was purchased from istockphoto. When I visited Jerusalem many years ago some of the passengers from our cruise visited Golgotha to see Jesus' tomb, or what archaeologists assume was his tomb. When they returned one said "It was a waste of time. His body isn't there". Mouths dropped in amazement and a baptist minister who was standing nearby was nominated to explain things. If you ever get a chance watch the film "The Body". It's all about what happens if Jesus' body is actually found. And it has a youngish Antonio Banderas in it ....

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There are a couple more Holy Week layouts in the gallery HERE.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

How To Use SVG Shapes in MyMemories

I left paper scrapbooking behind a few years ago, probably just as the Cricut and what my DH calls the "Robocop" were becoming popular so I had no idea what svg files were. When I found they were files used in these cutting machines I thought they had no relevance to me


Did you know you can use svg shapes in your My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking program? Lots of svg files are available free so that means you could have dozens of new shapes to use in MMS.

This is a quick example of a shape filled with a glitter "paper". Actually the paper is a sample jpeg of a glitter style that Lindsay Jane thoughtfully provides with her kits. (Glitter and embossed paper from Lindsay's Frosty kit). The chandelier was free from the FreeSVg blog.

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The best way to tell you how I did this is to get you to do it.

Go to one of the sites that offer free svg files. You can Google exactly that or "cutting files".

Download a SIMPLE silhouette type shape. If you're a paper scrapper what we're looking for here is one pass of the cutting machine not multiple layers. You can use multiple layers but not when you're first starting out! For example the chandelier is one simple shape. There are no separate bulbs or cord in different colours.

Download it. It will appear on your computer very quickly as these are small files. If it appears as a web page to to save in your top toolbar as save as SVG file.

Open Windows Explorer and find where MMS is on your computer. It's likely to be in C Drive - Programs - My Memories:

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See "Components"? Expand that until you see Shapes. Put your cursor on this word and right click - new folder - rename the new folder to Free SVG Files or whatever name you like. As you can see, I have a folder called free svg files and one for SVG Cuts with sub-folders for the few shapes that I've bought.

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Right click on the file you just downloaded and select Copy. Go to your new folder in the MMS components section and Right Click - Paste to put your new file into that folder. You can even do this while MMS is open.

In MMS click on the shapes icon, go to the folder where your new shape is and click on it. It will appear on the page and you can click on the paper icon to fill it with paper. Choose a paper that came with MMS. It doesn't matter what. Double click on the shape and a window will open. You can then replace the image (the paper) with another paper or a photo.

Rinse and repeat! Go get lots of shapes. I have downloaded a few free ones that won't work for some reason. I just deleted them from my MMS folder.

More tips on the main site soon. For the geeks - SVG stands for Scaleable Vector Graphics.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easy Peasy Facebook Covers

How would you like a fancy cover for your Facebook Timeline? It's the easiest thing to do. No resizing, no templates, no messing around.

That paragraph apparently makes me a heretic because whenever I try to explain it the know-it-alls jump on it and try to get you to do it the difficult way. The stupid, time-wasting way. I'm not sure why that is other than the know-it-alls having the need to demonstrate their over-powering know-it-allness. Or the need to get you on their blog as traffic fodder.

So, without further rambling, this particular know-it-all is going to tell you the secret then you can join me in eternal banishment.

Imagine you are a normal person. A non-scrapbooker. That thing your family would like you to be! Click on the bottom right of your Facebook cover. It invites you to change the cover. What does it do then? It invites you to choose a photo.

Choose a photo.

Not set up custom size in MMS/Photoshop. Not use a template. Not resize anything.

Choose a photo.

So it stands to reason that any photo will do. After all, the normal people in the world don't have digi scrapping layouts. They have a photo.

Facebook resizes the photo to get the size it wants. Just as it will resize your layout. Ah, but, you say, it needs a cerain shape. No, it doesn't. A certain part of the layout will show but you get to move it up and down to choose the part you want. So what you need - and all you need - is a regular layout where the photos or other bits you want are in about 25% of the page. White space scrappers rejoice!

Now is the time to take a look at my cover layouts HERE. What do you see? Square layouts apart from one - the bunny one - which was a desktop layout.

Some of them lend themselves to being a Facebook cover without any tweaking, like the one I'm using today for my wedding anniversary or the one of my parents' wedding. The family tree ones are adaptations of pages I was making anyway for our family tree site. No time was wasted with tutorials and templates. I have tried the 851 x whatever templates but on my big monitor they look fuzzy. This suggests Facebook is doing something clever with its own resizing. Well done, though, those designers who offer them as freebies. It's good marketing.

Step by step, then:

1) Choose one layout you've already done where the bits you want are in about 25% of the page. They don't all have to be in a line. Don't worry, you don't have to use this as a FB cover. Unless it looks brilliant!

2) Start a new Facebook album called Facebook Cover Layouts or something to make it obvious it's not going to be your kids round the Christmas tree. MAKE THIS ALBUM PUBLIC. This is important because it's where your designer credits will be seen. Later on you will have several cover layouts in here and you can change your cover whenever you want.

3) Add your layout. IMMEDIATELY go onto your timeline and click on the menu arrow to the right of the photo. HIDE IT from your timeline or you will confuse your friends. You can upload your original 3600 x 3600 if you want to then go and make a coffee as it will take a while to upload. I save 1200 x 1200 versions of most of my pages for online sharing so I use that.

4) Go to Change Cover on your cover and select the photo. You will see that FB has reduced the size so that the full width of your layout shows. Click on Reposition Photo as slide it up and down until you get the bit you like. Does it look fantastic? Then hit SAVE. If it doesn't then don't save it. You are only doing this for practice.

Easy huh?

Now go through your layouts and see if you have any that would be good for your FB cover. If not, open a regular 12 x 12 page and start creating. You can put all your elements top of bottom or you can make a clever arty page with stuff in one corner too. Have fun. Don't forget the designer credits. Add them to the page itself (you can see where I've done that) or type them into the box when you upload the page on Facebook.

See? No need for resizing. No need for templates. No need for know-it-alls wasting your time.

Boycott MoreThan3Shared!

I can't stand having my time wasted. Maybe that comes from spending years having to account for it so the clients could get billed when I had a Proper Job. There are currently two huge timewasters for digi scrappers:

1) The pesky MoreThan3Shared site. Ok, that is funnier if you're in the UK because we have TV ads for an insurance company called More Than. I won't give its real name because Blogger hates it too.

2) Facebook Covers. The easiest thing in the world but I can bet you've had your time wasted... More in my next post. I'd like to work up to Full Rant Mode.

MoreThan3Shared has always been a pain because it makes you wait to download freebies. Can you imagine going into a supermarket where a demonstrator is giving our samples of a new product, they give it to you then say "Just stand over there for a while before eating it"? How about if they say to you "Before you eat this sample - which we are only giving you in the hope that you buy more of it - we want your personal details and email address so we can sell you other junk"?

Well, that's what MoreThan3Shared does. Enough already. Designers use freebies as a marketing tool in the hope that you will buy the associated kits (it certainly works on me). Everybody wins.There are other download services available so there is no use for wasting our vaulable time. If the link goes to MT3S click off it! Vote with your feet. Or, rather, your mouse.

Yesterday I set up a group on Facebook for those who like collecting fre3bies. You can join it HERE. I've already had snitty messages from designers moaning about the ban on MoreThan3Shared. They know where the door is.

A Tweak Here, A Tweak There ...

Mother-in-law Maureen has a huge box of photos from when she was a child. Her Dad was a keen photographer and developed most of his own photos. Sadly, that has meant the emulsion on some has degraded even more than you would expect for prints from the 1930s. I kept looking at this one after I'd scanned it and wondered what I could do with it:

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Click HERE for a larger version.

So ... I just jumped in and mostly used Paint Shop Pro 8. I have PSPX4 but it gives me a headache. I ran it through the Auto-Fix on Picnik (I really will miss that) and, of course, it brought up every little scratch. The main problem though was cloning bits to replace the missing section. Her arm still isn't right and I'll tweak it even more but it was good enough for a few pages. Here's just one made with Raspberry Road Designs' Seashells and Seashores which I love to bits as it's the right colours for the UK seaside.

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sometimes colour is not worth the trouble!

In this blog colour has a "u";-)

DH was an "oarsman" at school and university. Say what? He rowed the long boats you'll see in any movie featuring Boston. We have several professional shots, usually at the end of a long race so you can't see any faces as they're bent over in agony and exhaustion. One useful one showing an actual race in progress was meant to be coloured but I think someone developed it at home and the colours were virtually gone. There was brown, green and, brown. Whenever I tweaked it the colours of their shirts turned a weird violet colour.

The answer was to make it sepia and not just standard brown sepia (we already had enough brown, remember?) I tweaked the sepia colour in my beloved Picnik and then put the picture in a page created from Mye De Leon's Down By The River. There was a frame cluster I bought with the kit but it looked a bit twee for a rowing shot so I made my own. The text is from the Eton Boating Song.

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