Archive | Scrapbook Layouts

How to Make an AZZA Scrapbook template

I’ve written before about AZZA scrapbooking. You might remember it’s a European style of scrapbooking which uses very few embellishments. The design of the AZZA scrapbook layout is based on creatively cropping your photos.

To do this you often have to buy special AZZA scrapbooking templates which you can place over your photos to help you cut them into the design you want. And these templates can be quite expensive.  Plus, let’s face it, you don’t want all your scrapbook layouts to have the same look to them, so you’ll need to buy quite a few templates to give yourself a variety of choice.

But there’s actually another way you can do this.

I’ve been using the AZZA scrapbooking style to create a digital scrapbook album of a trip I took a couple of years ago. And it lends itself brilliantly to digital scrapbooking.

But if you’re a paper scrapbooker you can use this idea too.

Make your own AZZA scrapbook templates.

Now if you have a photo editing software program such as Photoshop Elements (or Paintshop Pro, or Photoshop or any of the other programs that let you work with layers) you can do this easily:

  1. Open a file in your editing program that’s the same size as your scrapbook page. I suggest you make the resolution 200-300 pixels per inch for good quality printing. I usually go for 300ppi.
  2. Now create a new blank layer and fill it with a color. The color doesn’t matter so any one will do.
  3. Go to you cookie cutter tool and select a shape that you want to use for your AZZA design. It might be a diamond, a star, a hexagon. Whatever.
  4. Drag the cursor across your colored layer and release when it’s the sort of size you want.
  5. Now you can duplicate the layers; move the shapes around; change some of the sizes on the shapes; or follow the above steps to add a complementary shape and just play around until you have a design that you like.
  6. So now you bring your photos on to the file and position each photo layer directly over a shape. You can do this by dragging the layers around in the Layers Palette
  7. Go to the Opacity Slider in the Layers Palette and reduce the opacity of the photo so you can see the shape behind it.
  8. You can drag the photo to reduce its size so it better fit the shape you have created or you can position it so your crop only includes what you want.
  9. When you’re happy with the positioning of your photo bring the opacity back up to 100%.
  10. Now click on the photo layer in the Layers Palette and crop it to the shape underneath it using the clipping mask. Ctrl+E should do it. If you’ve made a mistake just Ctrl+Z will step you back.

Now all you have to do is print out your pre-shaped photos and cut them out. I suggest you open a new file in a paper size that your printer accepts (eg. A4 or Letter) and the same resolution as your other file. And then drag your shaped photos onto it, print (best quality) on good photo paper and cut out.

Job done.

By shaping your photos this way you can create as many different shaped templates as you like at no cost. Plus you can make sure that you get the best parts of your photos into the shapes regardless of the size.

And if you save each template as a layered file then you can use them and modify them over and over again.

If you need some extra help in creating your own digital templates pop over to Step by Step Digital Scrapbooking and check out Intermediate Tutorial 11 (you’ll find it at the bottom of the page). This tutorial will show you how to do a number of  techniques including how to make a digital template using one of your favorite scrapbook layouts as a base.

Other related articles:

Azza Scrapbooking

Create Word Art Yourself

How to Digital Scrapbook – from Soup to Nuts


Tips for making Scrapbook Embellishments

Scrapbooking embellishments can be used in many different ways. You don’t need to stick just to the purpose for which they were designed.

This applies to both digital scrapbooking elements as well as traditional scrapbook embellishments. Although with digital scrapbook elements you can get lots of extra mileage because you can duplicate an element as many times as you want.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you might use your embellishments to create different elements.


Although frames exist as scrapbooking elements in their own right, you can create your own frames by grouping other elements around your photo. This works especially well with flowers or ribbons but you can use pretty much any small sized element to do this. Digital scrapbooking makes your choice even wider as you can easily reduce the size of an element to however small you want it and then duplicate it as many times as you need to.

But if you’re a traditional paper scrapbooker try surrounding your photo with small flowers and leaves for a beautiful Spring-looking frame. Or a collection of buttons mounted around the photo makes another striking frame.


You can make borders out of pretty much any element you want to as long as you have enough of them to line up across your page. Borders made from unexpected scrapbook elements can be great for making a statement or reinforcing the theme of your scrapbook layouts. In the scrapbook layout on the right (making this layout is demonstrated in Step by Step Digital Scrapbook Advanced Tutorial 7) I’ve used a wreath element combined with a bow element to create a border which echoes the woodland theme of the scrapbook layout.


Flowers are a wonderful addition to most scrapbook layouts. And you can design your own easily by combining other elements together. Heart shaped elements positioned in a circle with their points to the centre form a terrific base for a flower design. You can layer a circle of smaller hearts on top and finish off with a fancy brad or a button. And you have a unique flower that no one else has got.


You can make photo matts out of so many things. Try collecting all your ribbon scraps and weaving them together to form a matt for your photo or for your journaling tag. You can do the same with left over strips of cardstock and patterned paper.

Old CDs can make very cool photo matts for teen scrapbook layouts. Even a torn sheet of lined notepaper can look good as a matt for your photo. Just remember that most lined notepaper is not acid free and over time it may degrade your photo so be a bit careful if you choose this or use a protective spray.


Why not try making your own backgrounds? Something I like to do is to blow up a photo and print it in black and white or sepia on a large sheet of paper. use that as your background and place smaller photos on top. I use this technique both with digital scrapbook layouts and also with paper ones.

And another very good look is to stick several strips of the same ribbon across plain or lightly patterned paper to make a textured stripy background.

Photo Corners

There are heaps of different things you use to make photo corners.  A couple of short strips of ribbon across one or two corners of your photo can make a very effective accent. Even the humble strip of masking tape can be a great grungy looking photo corner. Just watch out for the acid free thing again here.

Groups of three brads or buttons in a corner of the photo make a simple but striking photo corner accent.

Once you get started combining your scrapbook elements in different ways you’ll come up with lots of ideas of your own which will help you get even more use out of them. And it’s fun to create something that looks so good and that someone else hasn’t done exactly that way before.

Making your own scrapbook elements is very satisfying.  Plus I find that this can be a good way to kick start my mojo if I’m feeling a bit creatively sluggish. Developing an idea for creating a new scrapbook layout element can lead me onto designing the layout based on that idea.

So how about you? Do you have any favourite ideas for using scrapbook elements in a ‘non-standard’ way. Please share in the comments below. Like everyone else I’m always eager to hear new ideas.

Other roughly related Articles:

How to Digital Scrapbook – From Soup 2 Nuts

AZZA Scrapbooking

10 Speedy Scrapbooking Ideas

10 Speedy Scrapbook Ideas

We all get those ‘no mojo’ days don’t we? Hey sometimes it’s more like ‘no mojo’ weeks even.

So here are ten speedy scrapbooking ideas which I hope will intrigue and inspire you and maybe just kick start that mojo again.

  1. Attach a transparent sheet over your photo with a couple of brads and doodle onto the sheet with marker pens to dress up your photo without accidentally ruining it.
  2. Layer a couple of scrap ends from your ribbons over each other at right angles to make funky casual photo corners. You can dress them up even more with brads or flowers to make a great corner accent for your photo.

    This scrapbook layout is from the Step by Step Digital Scrapbook Intermediate Tutorial 5

  3. Let your journaling flow onto your photos where there is a blank space on the photo. This will help to anchor both the journaling and the photo.
  4. Use your computer to create unique and funky titles instead of buying alphabets. If you have photo editing software you can apply interesting styles and filters to the letters but even in Word you can dress them up or use the Word Art feature. Print out your title and add embellishments and you’re done. It’s best to choose a chunky style font for your titles. Check out my Downloading and Installing Fonts video to show you how easy it is to get a collection of free fonts.
  5. Use your kids words to create the inspiration for your scrapbook layout. Ask them what their memories of an event were and use their words as your title to create your journaling.
  6. Make your own rub-ons by printing your design onto a transparent sheet using your home computer. You can read how to do it here.
  7. Make the key words and phrases in your journaling stand out to add visual interest and emphasis. If you print your journaling use the bold feature on your key words or change the font and font-size for those words. If you hand write your journaling choose a different color for your key words or print them in upper case. You can use a highlighter to make them stand out and even a simple underline will add emphasis.

    This Scrapbook layout is from Step by Step Digital Scrapbook Tutorials – Intermediate 6

  8. Run a piece of sand paper lightly over the top of embossed paper to make the pattern really stand out. It also gives the paper a slightly vintage or grungy look.
  9. Make multiple copies of your focal photo and fan them out slightly behind it. This makes a lovely matt to frame your photo. It looks good if you print the matt photos in monochrome and leave the top one in color.
  10. Try out a completely different style of scrapbooking than you’re used to. If you’re a simple scrapbooker try using lots of embellishments, If you’re a collage scrapbooker try making a minimalist layout. If you usually only use one photo on a scrapbook layout try making one with multiple photos. I became interested in the AZZA scrapbooking style and tried out making an album of a trip down the Rhine River using this style. I found focussing on learning a new scrapbooking style really helped me kick off my mojo meltdown.


How to Digital Scrapbook – From Soup 2 Nuts

One of the most satisfying things about running Scraps of Mind and Step by Step Digital Scrapbook is that I get to help people to surprise and amaze themselves at what they can do.

Marilyn, from Georgia in the US, is a perfect example of this.

Marilyn has been a paper scrapbooker for the past two years and then she decided that she wanted to branch out and try digital scrapbooking on her computer. But as you can see below Marilyn found herself with a few challenges in getting herself up to speed with digital scrapbooking.

When I first started I created all my pages by hand cutting and pasting every piece, as you know this took hours just to do one scrapbook page.  Then I began to start working with my computer to do all the pages, but I wanted to learn more. I invested many dollars into on line lessons that were so advanced that I could not understand what they were trying to teach me.

So she was pretty frustrated by the time she arrived at my Step by Step Digital Scrapbook site, following a recommendation from some of the people in the scrapbooking groups she belongs to.

Anyway she started out with the Beginners Tutorial course and before long she was working her way through the whole Soup2Nuts deal.

Check out the Step By Step Digital Scrapbook

Soup to Nuts Tutorial Package here

She describes the course here:

The levels advance from lesson to lesson starting with Beginners, Intermediate, then to Advance. Each section has several lessons teaching different and new ways to do projects. I have really enjoyed and understood each new thing that Karen is teaching.  Thank you Karen for each and every new lesson and video.

As well as the glowing words, Marilyn also sent me copies of some of her layouts which she has submitted into the challenges run by her scrapbooking groups. I think you’ll agree she’s done a great job with these.

Click on the thumbnails to see a bigger version of the layout then hit the Back button to return to the post)

In just a couple of short months Marilyn has gone from Zero to Hero as a Digital Scrapbooker. And I am seriously chuffed to have helped her to get there.

For those of you who are wanting to create super layouts like Marilyn’s but maybe think that you’re not computer savvy or technical enough to do it why not try out my first Beginners Tutorial which will guide you to making your very first digital scrapbook layout.

You’ll fall off your chair in amazement at what you can do. And once you pick yourself back up off the floor You can either move on to the rest of the Beginners Tutorials or you can get the full Soup to Nuts Tutorial Package which comes with discount and a bonus Techniques Sheet. And I’ll deduct the cost of the Beginners Tutorials you’ve already purchased.

So now you can become a digital scrapbooker the easy and no risk way.

Take a look at the Step By Step Digital Scrapbook

Soup to Nuts Tutorial Package now

Recipe Scrapbooking – Chocolate Bread Pudding

Pudina tal-Hobz

You may remember the Free Yummy Treats Scrapbooking Recipe Book that I organised with some digital scrapbooking Scraps of Mind Readers as a gift for sweet-tooths who enjoy seeing their recipes beautifully presented in a fun way. It’s still available for you to download. And here’s another page that you can download and add to your scrapbooking recipe book.

Recipe Scrapbooking

This scrapbook recipe page is made using the Scraps of Mind Free Garden Party Digital Scrapbook Mega Kit.

To download a  full sized high resolution copy for printing out just right click on the scrapbook layout and choose Save Link As… or Save Target As…

One of the most favourite recipes in our family is Bread Pudding.

This should not be mixed up with that stalwart English dish, bread and butter pudding (although that’s yummy too). No, our Bread Pudding is properly called Pudina tal-Hobz and it’s a native dish of Malta.

My Mum used to make this as a way to use up leftover bread and my daughter and I loved watching and helping her to do it. She has passed on now, and it is part of her legacy to us that we still continue to make it. And whenever we do we think of her.

Her recipe has never been written down before. It’s one of those ones that are made with a handful of this and a dash of that. But I’ve decided to try and put it together and created this scrapbook recipe page which you can download and try it out for yourself.

You can use any bread as the base, but it works better with the ‘non-processed’ types of bread as they absorb moisture better. If you do use processed sliced bread (and I frequently do) then make sure it is several days old because you want it to be as dry as possible. I usually leave the slices of bread spread out on the kitchen bench overnight to dry them out.

And if you don’t want to download the recipe scrapbook layout, here’s the recipe for Pudina tal-Hobz without the presentation pretties.


A Loaf of 2 days old white bread, sliced

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons of custard powder

3 tablespoons sugar

½ a teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs (beaten)

¼ litre milk

1 glass Sherry (rum or port are fine too)

100 grms (or 3.52 oz) sultanas

50 grms (or 1.76 oz) butter


Cut the sliced of bread up roughly and soak for several hours in a bowl of water.

Soak the dried fruit in the sherry for as long as possible. You can give it a boost by putting it in the microwave for a couple of minutes at a low setting.

Drain the bread in a colander and then squeeze out as much of the water as possible.

Put the squeezed bread in a bowl and add the dry ingredients. Mix well. Tip: it’s easier to mix this batter with your hands rather than a spoon.

Mix in the beaten eggs.

Drain the fruit but keep the sherry aside to add to your pudina.

Add the fruit to the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Mix in the sherry and add the milk a little at a time, mixing it in until you have a batter with a ‘fruit cake’ like consistency.

Butter an oven proof dish well and pour the bread mixture into this.

Bake in a moderate to low oven for some 40 to 50 minutes. You will know your pudina is ready when you can stick a skewer into the middle and it comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold.

Give it a try. I’m pretty certain your family will love it as much as we do.

Other Related Articles:

Free Scrapbooking Recipe Book

Scrapbooking your Recipes

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