Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The December Buffet

We're doing something a bit different with our daily word challenge for December. Instead of a fixed word per day you get to choose any number of words you like from the buffet table and see how many twofers, threefers etc you can get. I think we have a eightfer so far and it's only 4th December!

Here are your words:

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Don't forget to show us your pages in our Facebook group!

Are you checking our Digi Scrapping Freebies group every day? Some freebies are only available for a short time and you don't want to miss out. This page was made with a free MMS template Home For Christmas by CatDesignz:

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

What About Close-ups?

What do you think about close-ups?  I love close-ups but I can remember the day when my main goal with photos was to get as many as I could on a page, in an album!  Nothing fancy just a photo album.  I was doing great not to keep them in photo envelopes and boxes.  Film and developing wasn't cheap so I never had very many photos!

I've changed over the years I guess. Today, we can get such great digital shots, we can take way more than we need, delete what we don't like and use the cream of the crop for our scrapbook pages. Now I want them in a digital scrapbook with lots of papers, embellishments, and journaling.

Depending on the occasion, I may still want to put several pictures on a page but for the most part I like one or two photos per page now.  And when I have a photo that I really love, I like to blow it up almost full size and zoom in for a very tight close-up.  Digital photography and digital scrapping make it so easy.

Another technique is to use a photo as a background image then have a few related shots grouped together.  There are a lot of special effects that can be done if desired.  In the layout below I changed the background photo to black and white then reduced the opacity slightly.  I used My Memories Suite photo tiling technique to divide the photo up across three photo boxes.  Put these scrapbooking ideas to use and make your pages pop.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Documenting the Disappointment

No, I don't scrapbook the very moments of disappointment and disaster. Only when it's funny, as Jessica Rabbit would say.

Friends and avid readers (OK, those are the same thing) will have noticed a recent foray into pocket style scrapbooking about which more later. Or you can take a peek at my new website Easy Pocket Scrapbooking. It's not all there yet as the W word is getting in the way but you get the general idea and yes, I am doing some of the paper version too and no, I'm not getting involved in the P365/P52 malarkey.

Here's the left hand side of DH John's Grand Day Out at the Bournemouth Air Festival. It's full of hope and excitement with the obligatory walking away shot. I wanted that to be a big photo but it looked a tad dull so I added the word art overlay by Karla Dudley's Anywhere frames set. She is so good at these, I have several sets. You can get them at Pixels And Company. I recoloured the PNG file in PSE 11 (easy peasy, I'll do a tut when I have time) and then I added a shadow which is no doubt against the rules but Rules Schmules. Add a shadow to anything you like. If it looks good leave it, if it doesn't then you can undo it. I really don't know why the self appointed Rule Makers make such a big deal about shadows.

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Now where to begin with the credits for these pages ...I used mostly Digital Design Essentials' Par Avion and Sarah Sullivan's Fly Away With Me. The weather card is from Sahlin Studios'/Britt-Ish Designs' Mouse Project and I used a few elements from Scrap Orchard's August 2013 Mega kit Friendly Skies. I used a striped background paper from the Par Avion kit then added a smaller plain paper on top to get the frame effect.

So on the right hand side it all goes wrong for poor John :(

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Let's hope the Vulcan does fly again. They said it wouldn't fly again last year but it did. John did at least get a video of the Chinook and you can see that by scanning the QR code. It's the first time I've added this to a layout. It was very easy, you can get your code at Unitag and it can link to anything you like, it doesn't have to be a video. I ignored the whole idea of QR codes on layouts for a long time as I thought for some reason they could only go to videos and you can count the videos I've made on one hand. Most of those are the "what's the matter with this camera, why is it taking a video?" kind of videos  that require much bleeping out!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Newsletters - Love Them or Hate Them?

What about newsletters?  Do you love them or hate them?  I have mixed emotions myself.  Each morning I scan down the email list from scrapbook stores and designers.  I'll usually pick out the ones I don't want to miss and leave the others for later or delete them altogether.

I get a couple of store newsletters that I really like.  One is the home of several of my favorite designers.  I love getting their weekly newsletter to see all the new releases.  The other usually includes a personal story of life in Germany by the store owner stationed there.  I look forward to her stories and her great photos.

There are a lot that give wonderful, high quality freebies.  I'm thankful for those.  Be sure to check the quality before having anything printed though.  It's very disappointing to get a scrapbook printed then find out some pages were created using low quality freebies that don't print well.

I prefer a clean, uncluttered look.  I don't like extremely busy ones  with ads from beginning to end of a very, very long newsletter.  Especially if they're  two or three columns wide!  It's like they're trying to put half of their store in every newsletter.  Ugh! 

But most of all, I don't like the ones that really have nothing to say; they just want to say they put out a newsletter!  Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A bold experiment ...

I've taken this blog off Amazon Kindle. You didn't know it had been on there? Great marketing then ... Kindle readers are available on all kinds of devices and you can read books in colour, right? Not so with blogs, apparently. Blogs are only available on your main Kindle device and it has to be one of the old fashioned ones.

Hubby took out a trial subscription to the blog. There is no way for the author to see what their own blog looks like. Stupid ... He then wrote and asked why he couldn't see it in colour on his Kindlefire and Amazon wrote back and told him it must be something I'd done wrong as the author. WHAT ??? There are actually no options for this kind of thing when you publish your blog. Not only that but Amazon don't respond to emails from blog publishers so you can't even ask them about it (or complain that they're telling porkies to your customers). There is a forum but when I tried to post on it it told me I had to format my query in Javascript. Yea, right. Geeks only!

So that was a lot of time wasted. Now y'all will have to wait for me to get my books on Kindle. It was amusing though that John said "Some of your blog posts are quite interesting." Ha!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Let's lose some of those boxes!

Or, for some Facebook friends, "loose" some of those boxes. Ouch. I've been playing with some Becky Higgins' Project Life templates. No, I don't do Project Life as in document every boring thing that happens every week. I'd rather stick pins in my eyes. I bet Becky's accountant wishes she'd never called it that as it must put some people off buying these rather fab templates. You can get them in every combination of 3 x 4 and 4 x 6 you could possibly think of and they have darling little rounded corners and just the right amount of shadow so that it really does look like a paper on paper when printed.

Excellent. So now I'm going to change them!

In these two pages I removed some of the blocks so that the background shows through. Here's an IMPORTANT TIP: When you want to remove blocks/layers from a psd template DON'T delete them. Just click on the little eye icon next to the layer name in the layers template and they will disappear. This avoid the "D'oh" moment when you decide you want one of the layers back again. Do as I say, not as I do!

I loved the camera paper and the colours in Becky's Honey kit so I removed some blocks to let it show. It was then a bit busy looking behind the photos so I added a layer and some yellow paper behind the photos. We took a lot of photos of each other taking photos on that trip! (Shadow added so you can see the edges)

This page uses the Project Life Cherry kit and, again, I liked the design on the paper and removed some of the blocks, this time on the side of the page. I then used more papers instead of photos in a couple of blocks, resizing them until I got a section I liked.

 Try it - remove stuff from your page and see what happens!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cloudy Weather Photos

We were lucky to have glorious weather on our recent trip to Bournemouth. The books and games didn't even make it out of the box. There was just one day when it clouded over in the afternoon - fortunately for mother in law who was visiting that day and doesn't like the sun. I still wanted to include the photos and a picture of hubby walking barefoot on the sand is rare indeed and not to be missed.

I ran this photo through Picmonkey, first using the auto enhance then increasing the saturation slightly. I also made a Holga version. This is one of my favourite effects. If the picture is dark anyway why not make it atmospheric too!  All these effects are free.

I used Mandy King's A Shore Thing, including pre-made borders, and made two versions of this page. First, using the photo for the background:

Then I used a sandy paper background and added the photo and another border at the bottom of it.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

How to Catch A Rhino

Well, OK, extract a rhino! We have a herd of rhinos on display around Southampton and took lots of photos at the weekend. Here's the first page of my album with one I extracted:

The background is a stacked background from Trixie Scraps' Sunshine Day. I thought the extraction in PSE would be easy since I'd already done a few. Just use the magic wand and refine it with the add/subtract function... Unfortunately this doesn't work with painted rhinos! The program kept trying to choose different coloured sections of the rhino and actually left out all the white bits, as I found out when I cut him out and those were still there on the page. So I did it the old fashioned way - the way I extract objects in PSP (8 and X4).

Choose the lasso and draw a rough shape around the object.

This was like using one of those contraptions where you move a ring along a bent wire without setting off the buzzer. It only has to be a very rough shape. Go to edit - cut, then File - new and open a new canvas with a transparent background. Click Edit - paste and your roughly shaped object will appear. Now use the eraser and start removing the bits you don't want. You can see here that I started under his chin...

Start with a large size brush and go all round then zoom in and use a smaller brush so you can work in fine detail. It really didn't take very long!

There's a website which tells you all about the Rhino project HERE. To see more photos, go to my album HERE. I've started the scrapbook HERE. We only got about half of them so more to come!

K for Kaleidoscope

Today's word challenge on Digi Scrapping Divas was kaleidoscope. These are very easy to make in PSP, PSE and no doubt several other programs. Crop your photos square first or it can look weird. I made these kaleidoscope images from photos of my Dad's funeral flowers. He would have found it amusing - even more so that I used mostly Connie Prince's fresh Start to make the page.

Next I'm going to try it with my latest photos from the garden.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Yay! Some Beach Somewhere is Back!!

I bought this kit a while ago and have used it to death. If I had £1 for every time anyone asked me where to get it I'd be very rich! I love this kit so much I've used it - with Fayette's kind permission - for the new blog header. I hope you like it!

Thank goodness Fayette has re-released it at Pickleberry Pop along with some more goodies like the hot mess papers. You can see one in the page below but I made several version of this page as I couldn't choose which background I wanted. Good luck doing that with paper scrapbooking ...

Here's the page I made originally with this extraction (tutorial to follow soon). As you can see it also had part of the Some Beach Somewhere kit on it!  I used a free QP from Cajoline Scrap's Mer De Corail for the background. Water element was from Jasmin Olya's Dreaming Of The Sea.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

It's a miracle....

No, not that I can use a mask. Masks are easy, as I'll show you in a minute. The miracle is hubby John actually being in the water. Wet. Well, we did have a heatwave in the UK recently!

I love being able to do easy and phenomenally fast scrapbook pages in Memory Mixer and My Memories but you can't use masks in those. Not with every trick in the book.

If you see PSE 11 or PSP X4 upwards on sale then grab it and start using masks. Here are the tutorials:

PSE 11

PSP X4 and up (tested by Yobeth in PSP 15)

The background mask and bokeh bits are from Black Lady Designs' Fun In The Sun. Yes, I know bokeh is usually used where there is artifical light but the word means blur in Japanese, not artificial light (Where is my "No Rules" T-shirt?) and I wanted to disguise a boat in the background. The Ocean cluster and wooden jetty are from Et Designs' Paradise Cove. Bottom right cluster is from Jasmin Olya's Dreaming Of The Sea.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Got Journal Cards? Use them!

I'm a great collector of "stuff" (especially free) in the belief that I'll make wonderful pages with it all. Journal cards - I'd say journalling but that would embarrass the bad spellers across the pond who carelessly lose an l - are my latest craze. I must have hundreds of them. The Grand Plan is to use them to fill in those pocket thingies.

Now pocket thingies don't really work for me. No,  that won't stop me writing a tutorial on using them. I tend to go off piste and unless I'm going to create digital holes in said pockets the page would look a bit silly.

In the meantime here are two quite different sans pocket layouts. As you can see, both are designed to mock DH's choice of T- shirt. Both use Little Butterfly Wings' Just Add Water. I tried to add them to her Facebook page but that feature is disabled. Customers' pages not good enough - big marketing FAIL.

First page uses two journalling cards as ordinary elements:

In this one I tried really hard to put stuff in pockets (I used Chelle's Creations' In Pocket template No 7) but ended up deleting that layer. Then I added a ton of extra stuff and a border which is probably against all the rules .If you work in Memory Mixer or My Memories you can use any free block templates like this as a temporary background for photo placements. You might also find that there is stitching and/or pockets in PNG form that you can use .

Just play! Get to love your journal cards - and I'll have some tips on how to make your own in a future article.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Promo Weekend for Newly Released eBook

I'm having a promo weekend for my newly released eBook "Scrapbook Layout Sketches Volume 2".  It's packed full of sketches and color examples for novices and experienced scrappers alike.  If you're in the US just click on the book image below.

If you are in the UK, you can get your free copy here.

If you didn't get Volume 1 yet, you can get it for $2.99 US. Now that's an incredible deal! Two books for under $3.00. Can't beat that. Just click on the Volume 1 image below.

If you are in the UK, you can get Volume 1 here.

Friday, 2 August 2013

How To Buy Underwear

Here's how to buy underwear:

1) Go to online or real life store
2) Choose what's best for you in the right size
3) Remove all packaging and throw it away/recycle
4) Put underwear in drawer
5) It if turns out you don't like it make a mental note not to buy that brand/style again
6) If it is faulty return it to the store.

Here's how to buy digital scrapbooking kits:

1) Go to online store to find a kit you like and buy it.

2) Unpack it. Or, in some cases spend ten minutes rounding it up  from your downloads because designer has not worked out how to put it in a folder.

3) Make sure you have enough capacity on your computer to store all the advertising previews and links that come with the kit, even though the designer has not taken the trouble to name one of the images "folder" so it might be useful to you.

4) Talk about how wonderful the designer is all over the internet even if disappointed with the kit because they work hard, you know, and don't do it for the money, they do it for the love of designing. And have a family to support. Oh wait, that doesn't sound right, they might need to pick one - do it for the love of it or have a family to support ...

5) Never, ever, criticise anything a designer does. Ever. They  work hard, you know, yadda yadda yadda, whereas apparently you don't work hard to earn the money you're spending in their store. If you find someone who dares to criticise something that designer has made, get one of your buddies to let you into their Facebook group so you can jump on that person (without finding out anything about that person or indeed reading the rest of the thread).

6) Make sure you prostitute your hobby by sharing a link to the designer's store everywhere. Don't worry if it bores your friends to death or gets you banned from ad-free groups. Don't worry that it makes you look like a sycophantic moron. The designer works very hard ...

7) Never ever make a mental list of designers who annoy you and/or waste your time. That would be really mean because they're clever and wonderful and are therefore entitled to waste your valuable time. They work hard you know ...

8) Make sure you add the designers' pages to your Facebook newsfeed so they can advertise to you (rather than unchecking the newsfeed option and adding them to a group so you can choose when to see their ads). They work hard, you know, so they're entitled to be in your face all day long.

For comparison. How my husband buys model railway kits:

1) See kits advertised and purchase
2) Check contents and start to build kit.  If kit is not as described send it back and demand refund
3) If refund refused make complaint widely known. If kit is great deliver grudging "all right" on forums
4) If kit has poor instructions and/or wastes time never buy for that manufacturer again and make complaints widely known.
5) On no account write sycophantic drivel about designer of kit for fear of mocking and derision from  fellow model railway enthusiasts.

Coming next: A short essay on Being The Paying Customer.

Get a grip, silly digi scrapping peeps. Stop fawning over designers. No-one is allowed to waste your valuable time. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

August Daily Word Challenge

August is a bit different ... instead of giving you words to use as inspiration we're giving you words that are 1) Alphabetical, and 2) All about scrapping/photo techniques or types of scrapbook page. They are mostly techniques that you'll already know and where you don't know them we'll provide the tutorial. Plus there's plenty of help available on the Digi Scrapping Divas Facebook group, of course!

By the time we get to September - when we have another fun month of challenges planned - you will have tried a whole lot of techniques you'd never thought of using.

Here's the list:

Each day on the Facebook group we'll give you hints/links to the tutorial and suggest alternatives if you're completely stuck. You can still use the words for inspiration, for example the word "texture" could be a photo of a child's favourite blankie as well as a textured paper on the page.

You'll see we're determined to get you using quickpages and Picmonkey. There are plenty of links to free quickpages in the Freebies group and everything we'll show you on Picmonkey is free. The conversations that  go

"How did you do that?"
"In Picmonkey. It's easy and it's free"
"Oh, I don't use Picmonkey"

are getting silly. Why would peeps not use something that's free in order to do what they want to do?

Hint: Never let a control freak make the monthly word list ...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Layout Sketchbook on Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers List

Three weeks ago I published "Scrapbook Layout Sketches" a Kindle eBook on Amazon.  Since then I've checked every day to see how many have sold or been checked out by Prime members.  Amazon updates the numbers throughout the day so I have been known to check more than once during the day!  Today I was very excited to find it was #20 in Papercrafts and #91 in Scrapbooking in the Crafts and Hobbies category.

I would love to get some feedback from anyone that has read it.  You can log in to Amazon to post a review.  In addition, Amazon follows up on books that are purchased and they'll send an email with a link to give a review.  Easy, peasy! It only takes a couple of minutes and I'd really appreciate it. 

If you haven't gotten Scrapbook Layout Sketches yet, clicking the image below will send you right over to Amazon.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Behind The Scenes

.... was our word challenge on our Facebook group today although this stunning page by the very talented Jonyce Ruiz would also fit our "Spontaneous Moment" challenge today.

The journaling reads:

"Three years ago, my Grandma lost her battle with cancer. I love my Grandma more than I can even say. Thinking about when we lost her, brings tears to my eyes. Remembering the special moments brings a smile to my face. My Grandma had a love of life that was infectious. She was spirited, honest and loved her family more than anything. There are so many special memories I have of her, one of them being my wedding day. As with most weddings, there were bumps along the way, but moments shared with my Grandma I will always hold close to my heart. She didn't always agree with me, but I knew that she respected me and my opinions. I love her so very much and miss her more than I can express. She was an amazing woman. I wish she were still here to meet Sarah and see what beautiful girls they are becoming."

How's that for journaling that tells even a complete stranger all about Jonyce's Grandma? It's like we were there when this photo was taken. The whole page is an inspiration and will be treasured by Jonyce's daughters.

I love these Behind The Scenes wedding pages. We can't get to my brother's wedding as hubby has just started on insulin injections and can't travel until everything settles down. I spent ages on the phone yesterday trying to explain to Mum that I need photos of everyone getting ready. It will be interesting to see what I get.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Writing and Publishing an eBook

Writing and publishing a book has never been easier!  Have you ever dreamed of being a published author?  I have!  Technology available today makes writing and publishing an eBook within every aspiring authors reach.  If you've decided to write a book there are many things you'll need to consider.

There are an abundance of formats to choose from.  You may recognize two of the most popular formats.  One is EPUB which can be read by Blackberry Playbook, Apple iBooks (iPhone, iPad, iPod), and Barnes & Noble Nook to name a few.  The other is KF8, also known as Amazon Kindle.

I chose to write a Kindle eBook.  Here are some of the things I really like.  First of all, it's easy!  You need a word processor such as, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, Pages for Mac.  I use Microsoft Word.  Amazon has a huge, worldwide customer base and I thought their royalties were generous.   I think the behind the scenes faqs, helps and reports are great too.  I have a Kindle myself and a lot of other people have Kindles.  If you don't have a Kindle you can actually download a Kindle reader for free on you PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod, laptop, Blackberry, Android & more.  And if you are a Prime member on Amazon, and the author participates in KDP Select, you can borrow books and the author still gets paid royalties.

If you use Microsoft Word you can set up the formatting that works best for Kindle and save it.  Kindle doesn't "like" a lot of spacing or returns but you can set the formatting for the entire book and save it as a template for future books.  Word has spell check and grammar hints but you can also use to check for spelling mistakes, grammar, plagiarism, etc.

You'll also need a Cover.  You can hire a freelance artist to design the cover or you can do it yourself if you have a digital design application to create a .jpg file.  If you design it yourself you'll need access to artwork, either your own or public domain.  And you'll need public domain or purchased fonts.   Of course you'll want your cover to "pop".   It needs to catch the shoppers attention, have clearly legible fonts, few words and contrasting colors.

You can use keyword searches to decide on topics.  How-to books are great.  If you have an area of expertise search some of the keywords associated with your topic.  See how much competition you would have and what the price points are.  You don't want to select a topic that's already saturated!  If the topic looks like a good choice you'll need to set a competitive price.

Here is the cover I designed for my book "Scrapbook Layout Sketches".  I created it with three different background colors then before uploading it I asked a couple of friends for feedback.  We all agreed on this one.

And here are links to my eBook on Amazon.  If you are in the United States click here. And I just found out, duh, there's a different web address for my friends across the pond.  Here's the link for the UK.  If you get my eBook I hope you'll consider giving me a great review.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

July Daily Word Challenge

Our daily word challenges are strictly "No Rules"! Use the words how you like - they could be the subject of your photos, the title on your page, a jumping point to something completely different or just vaguely inspirational. Also we don't expect you to make a new page every day. You can show us something you made any time.

Here are the words for July. I made the page with Fayette Designs' Beach Therapy:

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Show us your pages on our Facebook Page!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Do You Have Embelliphobia?

I often hear people comment that they don't like adding embellishments to their scrapbook layouts.  When they do add them, they keep it to a minimum!  As a self professed cluster queen I can't even imagine that! I think it must be some kind of phobia but when I googled it I couldn't find a phobia for a fear of embellishments. So I made one up.  It's embelliphobia.   Maybe the first time you tried it you weren't satisfied with the results so you gave up.  Maybe it looked something like this....  Not good.
But fear not for there is a way to conquer your fear and turn a haphazard mess into a smashing design.  Check out this article for pointers on some essentials to bring order to chaos and face your fear!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Not in MY newsfeed!

Are you sick of the latest "Exciting News! We're brain dead and can only copy and paste rather than construct actual sentences for ourselves" post from designers on Facebook? The one that says "Hey, we can now advertise to you all day long on Facebook"??

Well, here's the thing. I'm on Facebook to catch up with family and friends and join in my groups. I'm sure I do my fair share of responding to external ads on the site and making money for Facebook but I'm not there as advertising fodder for the "I'm too thick to think of anything to say other than 'here's my new kit'" brigade. If you're sick of them too all you have to do is hover over the "liked" button on their newsfeed and uncheck the "Show in Newsfeed" option. You can then add them to an interest list if you like. I have a Digi Designers list. It's public, you can see it here (you don't have to make your lists public). I look at it several times a week when it suits me, not when it suits them.

It's up to you what you see in your newsfeed, not up to the people whose pages you like!

If you want to hear the latest news and get freebies from your favourite designers you can simply sign up to their newsletter. Make sure you use one of your junk emails. I have one that I only use for newsletters and suchlike. Never give any store your private email addy!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Daily challenge words for June

Another month has gone by really quickly and we're already collecting blog trains on the Freebies group. On Digi Scrapping Divas we have lots of new members (welcome!) and a new month of daily word challenges. Remember you don't have to make a new page every day. We're happy to recycle so come and join in the fun!

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This page was made with Catdesignz' Midsummer Papers and A Butterfly's Touch

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Scrapping life before it happens

Sometimes it's good to get ahead of the game! We just booked a vacation apartment at one of our local beaches only about 25 miles away. We had a "staycation" last year in one of Britain's worst summers and now we REALLY need a summer holiday, as we call vacations here. I was so excited I made a page before we get there! I used all kinds of kits for this one but just ask if you need to know the designers. The block design is from a Simple Set template by Lindsay Jane.

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Monday, 27 May 2013

If You Build It, Will They Come?

There is a line from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come”.  That line worked great for the movie but we live in the real world.  If you are an excellent cook some people may say, “Wow! You make THE BEST Mexican food! You should start a restaurant.”  In fact, you may actually make the best Mexican food in the world but that won’t guarantee success.  The truth is, if you build it, they may not come!  Sometimes people with cheap, inferior products are successful while the guy with the fantastic product fails.  Obviously you have to have more.

Consider this, two businesses are located in close proximity, they both sell reasonably priced, quality products and the owners have the finances under control. One will succeed the other will not.  Business ‘A’ welcomes you when you walk in the door; they are happy to answer your questions, they give you their undivided attention and show you they appreciate your business.  When you leave you realize your smiling. Life is good!  On the other hand, no one at business ‘B’ notices when you walk in. One of the employees is texting her boyfriend and the other one is a little ticked because she waited on the last customer and she’s tired of “doing all the work”.  She ignores you.  You find what you’re looking for but can’t decide between two items.  You aren’t really sure what the differences are.  You leave the store without ever being acknowledged and make a mental note not to come back.
Lesson number one for success, customers want to be appreciated.   So if you build it they might come, but if you treat them bad they may not come back!

Read the full article How To Fail In Business.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Front Door

Are you following the Daily Word Challenge in our Facebook group? The challenge the other day was "front door". Own front door is a disgrace. Someone - that would be DH - cleaned out the drain with acid and spilt it and the painted door looks as though it has chickenpox. Not to mention the wooden porch that has been a Fix-It project for ten years ...

Fortunately my Mum had just had her front door painted when I took this photo and she always has a wonderful display of plants. I used a Scrap Your Heart Out template by Janet Phillips and the alpha is from In My garden by Natali Designs.

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Saturday, 4 May 2013

It's Blog Train Time with CatDesignz!

We've had loads of fun with the new CatDesignz kit, Spring Comes Softly. Here's my Dad with my Auntie and Uncle showing it off for you:

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Do you like the stacked paper background? That's good because the set of stacked backgrounds is free for you!

CLICK HERE to download them free at the MyMemories store. 

MyMemories is having a store-wide sale giving you 25% off and you can use this coupon code Catz25 for an additional 25% off anything in Catherine’s store.  The coupon code and store-wide sale are both good through May 6th!

You don't need My Memories software to use the freebies, you can download regular files. If you would like to try the My Memories program and get $10 off AND $10 to spend on kits go HERE.

Would you like some tips on making your own stacked paper backgrounds? That tutorial is HERE.

Step aboard our blog train to collect loads of fabulous goodies to go with this kit:

Sharon - That's me!
Digi Scrapping Divas

Have fun!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Focus on what matters

Storyteller 2 is here! You'll be amazed how the ideas in Storyteller 2 will transform your scrapbooking and make life easier so you can concentrate capturing those memories. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Three Impossible Things Before Breakfast

So, I got PSE 11. I actually bought it last November when it was cheap on Amazon. I then left it in its box for months because I hated PSE 7  (or 8, or whatever I had before) so much I couldn't bear to look at it. I could never find anything. I don't mind a learning curve, it all exercises the aging brain, but I object to a constant headache from a black screen and stuff plainly being hidden to make people who use it think they're clever.

PSE 11 is a whole new ball game. The interface has been much simplified and the black screen is gone. This simplification has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the PSE snobs. As I mentioned on the Divas blog last week, it reminds me of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory: "Windows 7 is much more user friendly than Vista. I don't like that."

I signed up for two courses on PSE 11 which I'll tell you about in great detail later. I've been through a bit of the general PSE 11 one and haven't looked at the digital scrapbooking one yet. I just introduced myself last week on the forum where they were obviously appalled at the thought of someone making thousands of pages, owning two websites and teaching scrapbooking when she has used OTHER PROGRAMS. Horrors!

I've written a few tutorials on PSE 11. How did I do that when knowing nothing about it? Well, I've used PSP so I understand layers and much of what you need to know is blindingly obvious. If you have PSE 11 get it out of the box because you will be able to follow these tutorials without studying anything else. Here they are:

Using Masks in PSE 11

Using Templates in PSE 11

Why am I writing them now before I've learned anything? Partly because I wouldn't want the peeps running the course to think I'd stolen any of their material to write my own tutorials and partly I wanted to keep it simple and easy to follow. I know the tutorials are simple because I only know the simple stuff.

Will I switch to PSE for all my scrapbooking now? No, of course not, Memory Mixer and MyMemories a gazillion times faster. I do like PSE templates though and bought lots at 50% off recently. I like the block ones best. I can make those on MM/MMS but my hands are not as steady as they were and sometimes I accidentally shift a photo which spoils the look.

Here's an easy page I made with a Simple Set template by Lindsay Jane (kit is mostly Sea Breeze also by Lindsay Jane):

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Lots of Freebies on, Freebies

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know that this Weekend/all week is iNSD. (Inter) National Scrapbooking Day. The Inter bit always makes me laugh. Let's be nice to those countries we couldn't find on a map if our lives depended on it because we like the way Paypal converts their currency for us. The daft thing is I would have assumed National Scrapbooking Day was an international thing anyway and included me. I don't need to be thrown a grammatically incorrect crumb, thank you very much.

There are tons of freebies out there and we have them listed in a permanent doc on the Digi Scrapping Freebies group if you get a bit lost. There's an article too on Coastal Scrapbooks to help you Build Your Stash With Freebies.

Obviously the freebies are to entice you to spend but since you spend all year anyway feel free to go nuts without buying a thing, especially from irritating people who want you to jump through silly hoops to get the freebies. BAD stores!! Very bad. The deal is you get our eyes on your blog/site/Facebook page and we get the freebies. The deal is not that you get to waste our time with stupid treasure hunts. Shame on you if you can't master that simple marketing rule. For those who need help (or those customers who like to know what goes on) we have an article about Using Freebies In Your Marketing

Here's another couple of points for the stores to consider while we're at it:

1) iNSD sales should be 50% off or 40% if you're going to be mean. Do not waste our time with a mere 30%.

2) Your customers started spending on Wednesday or Thursday at the stores where the deals started early. If you wait until the weekend to have your sales many of those customers will have no money left to spend in your store. Duh.

Have fun! And if you'd like to do some actualy scrapping instead of spending the weekend downloading stuff we have several challenges on our Facebook group and a new list of words for May:

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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Easy Peasy Photo Outlines

If you like the clean lines of simple layouts with outlines around the photos it's very easy to do using an optical illusion. What do you see on this page? Lines drawn around the photos?

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Actually the photos are sitting on a white shape with a thin black mat. The tutorial is HERE. It's written for Memory Mixer but the technique is the same for any program. (Background and flower embellishment from Lindsay Jane's Spring garden)

Here's another example with a black background and the outline all around the outside of the tiled photo. I struggled for ages trying to use a pastel background for this one. Sometimes you have to be bold and choose another colour! Add another black shape to cover part of the outline so you can create a gap for the title. My "mat" started out white but then I colour matched it to the cream of the embellishments which are by Dee Bee designs and were free with the Artisan Guild magazine. The page was inspired by this free template. You can use any plain background colour for these pages.

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Yes, I use those programs you love to hate ...

Today's challenge word on the Divas Facebook group was "Five reasons". Here's the page I made with Raspberry Road's Domestic Goddess:

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Apparently you can only do digital scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements, or preferably that CS-whatever version that costs the same as a small car in the UK due to us being charged pound for dollar (on a download, for heaven's sake) and THEN having VAT added. It is entirely illegal, immoral and IMPOSSIBLE to make a scrapbook page any other way. Strange then that I've been digi scrapping for nearly 9 years and made over 3000 pages and NEVER used any variety of Photoshop until three days ago.

I started with Memory Mixer and still use that as my main program today. I'll continue to do so regardless of what else I learn in other programs as it's so quick, especially now that you can grab and embellishment you want and move it without having to worry which layer it is. I use My Memories too but I don't find it very stable. Smilebox? Brilliant and great fun! Easy albums with music that you can easily share with people, what more could you want? Oh, you want difficult stuff to impress your friends with? Then you won't want to see  my Smilebox albums HERE.

I bought PSE 11 very cheaply last November. Amazon UK were joining in all the Black Friday malarkey. It's stayed pristine in its cellophane wrapper for almost six months. Although I wanted it for templates and easy use of masks I couldn't face it as the last time I looked it was so un-user-friendly and I couldn't find a thing. Plus I can't even see anything when it's all gothic black. So I grudgingly installed it and WOW it's a nice colour and everything is easy to find. Reading a few reviews rather late in the day I discovered that die-hard PSE fans HATE the new version. They want black and hard-to-find. I find that hilarious. God forbid that ordinary mortals whose money Adobe would like to attract get to use the Sacred Photoshop. It reminds me of an episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon says. "Windows 7 is much more user friendly than Vista. I don't like that."

What's made it even easier for me to learn is signing up to an Infinite Solutions Learning Photoshop Elements 11 class on Udemy. It's excellent material presented in a very professional way by a company that specialises in this kind of training. Now I could give you an affiliate link which would get you right there and earn me a few dollars but Udemy's idea of running an affiliate program is to have the system make it difficult to find the course you want, generate a link to the wrong course and ignore all emails. Don't get me started .... so I'll tell you how to save lots of money. Sign up to their email list or a free course and wait. Every now and then they will send you offers of 50% - 75% off. I only paid about $12 for my fantastic course. I've also signed up to a course on another site  on digi scrapping with PSE 11 so I don't get into bad habits. I'll be writing about my progress every week on the Coastal Scrapbooks blog.

So you're thinking I'm spending lots of money? Yes, but I'm not spending money on kits at the moment since I have enough for the next 500 years.

There's one I haven't mentioned from the list on that page - Studio-Scrap. This is from a French company and although almost everything is translated for you it does help to have a knowledge of French for little bits of the program they forgot to translate. Ask in our Facebook group if you get stuck. Also their Paypal link doesn't work even though it appears to so you need to pay by credit card. You can change the currency on the site so you know how much it will be and you can download a free trial too.

I bought it for the hundreds of cool template designs that are include and the photobook templates included with some of the kits. They work a bit like MM/MMS templates in that you can add/move/remove. Oh no, one of those illegal/immoral things the PSE wallahs hate! The kits appear expensive but they're absolutely HUGE. There's a learning curve on this one and I wouldn't recommend it for newbies but I'm going to have some fun with it. here's my first page using the Seaside Cottage photobook template.

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Sharon Horswill

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Tiling in MyMemories V4 and those swimsuit pics...

Several new tutorials and articles have been added to Coastal Scrapbooks this week so, as you can imagine, my house is a tip and I didn't get those New Tax Year letters done. Our tax year starts on 6 April for my friends outside the UK. Actually it's also for those friends INSIDE the UK who forget ...

MyMemories V4 has a cool photo tiling feature. It's about the only useful new feature in version 4. Basically you add a group of photos to a page - your own or one of the photo templates - group them and drag a photo across to the page. The problem is that not all photos are suitable for tiling and there are lots of Eeek moments when limbs are cut off. Not good. So the tutorial tells you how to avoid that and also gives a few tips about grouping and ungrouping. Go to the Tiling in MyMemories 4 tutorial for more info. Here's the page I made with Carolyn Kite's Another Day in Paradise stacked papers and extras.

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To see me in swimsuit in many different pages go to our Same Photo Different Effects article in the Design Ideas section.

I didn't use that photo for years as I thought I looked fat. Then I got fatter and realised I looked raltively thin... I'm sure a lot of women can relate to that!

Here's a slideshow for you. Can't see it? Stupid new fangled i-junk? You can go to the gallery HERE instead.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Sun Ray Tutorial

by Yobeth Puckett

Here's a layout I made using shapes in MyMemories Suite. I used J W Designs kit Spring Has Sprung and the font is Freehand 591 BT.

I used a sunrise picture that I had taken for this layout.  The sun rays work perfect here but you can use it in so many ways.  Sunrise, sunset, landscapes, a sunny day at the park or pool, someone you love with a sunny personality, the possibilities go on and on.

I bet you are already thinking of a shot you've gotten that would be perfect!  If you'd like to give it a go you'll find tutorials here and here that show you everything you need to know.  Have fun!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

We're on Bloglovin !

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Tiling with Memory Mixer and ... more snow

I made this Spring (allegedly) page for a tiling challenge on Touched By A Butterfly's Facebook group. The kit is her Spring is Here. It was meant to be done in MyMemories 4 but I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than tangle with that, it's an unstable mess and needs rewriting from scratch IMHO. It languishes on my old computer while I use MMSv3 and Memory Mixer on the main one.

The tiling effect in Memory Mixer is actually a font. It sounds weird but this picture is the letter b at size 410 in a special font. The fonts are only $4 each and you can find them here. I was going to write a long tutorial for my website but it's all explained brilliantly in a pdf that you download with the font.

These photos were taken in my Mum's garden in Birmingham on Easter Sunday, 31 March.

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We brought Mum's camera card back with us and she had lots more snow pics on it so I made another page with a photo from almost the same angle. Mum was standing on the doorstep not in the snow so it's a bit different! I used Trixie Scraps' Frosted Windowpanes including a clustered border and frame.

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Far too much snow!

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Breathtaking Arrogance

I had my time wasted today.

I sent a support ticket to one of the big "We're God's gift to scrapbooking" stores. More like one of the many "Oh dear, we don't seem to have exclusive designers so the customers can walk and buy elsewhere" stores. So they rely on customer loyalty. So they probably shouldn't waste people's time.

My query, which involved a copyright issue, was resolved but only after they wasted our time for hours with snitty ill-thought responses including the classic "I can give you my attorney's number". Ooooh, I'm really scared. An attorney??? Wow. Does it not occur to someone running a business that the person they're dealing with might have a legal background? Might have worked for many years in an intellectual property company??

It is foolish indeed to assume your correspondent is a scaredy cat who might run away. I've had dealings with this arrogant pair before. Snitty is basically default mode. Ever heard of the Chinese proverb "A shopkeeper should keep a smiling face" ? And a bit of respect for someone who has spent thousands (really) of dollars over the years would not go amiss.

So ... I did run away. And I took my Paypal account with me. "Profile deleted". No-one gets to waste my valuable time.

Sharon Horswill