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Scrapbooking Tutorials & Tips for Traditional, Digital and Hybrid Scrapbooking
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How to beat Scrappers Block

If you’re a writer and you can’t come up with the right words to get started on that blank sheet of (virtual) paper it’s called Writers Block.

And if you’re a scrapbooker and you just can’t seem to get any ideas to get you started on that next scrapbook layout it’s called Scrappers Block.

And let’s face it, we’ve all experienced it. I defy any scrapbooker to tell me they’ve never had Scrappers Block at some time in their scrapbooking life. But if you’re that person feel free to share in the comments section below. I’ll happily bow down to you. My friend Antoinette is going through a severe case of mojo collapse at the moment and that has inspired me to write this post.

So getting past your Scrappers Block and into the land of free flowing creative juices is the challenge. And here are some ideas you might like to try to help you smash through the block.

  1. Take a browse through your scrapbook albums. A stroll down memory lane will not only help to relax your mind but it rekindle your enthusiasm, and hopefully your creativity, as you revisit some of your favourite moments and scrapbook layouts.
  2. Take a browse through someone else’s scrapbook albums. Check out your friend’s scrapbook layouts. Some may just reach out to you and plant little seeds in your creative mind. And if you don’t have a handy scrapbooking friend to turn to you can always turn to the Internet. Many scrapbooking sites host layout galleries and scrapbooking blogs like this one are a great place for creative information. You can check out all the Scraps of Mind articles which feature a scrapbook layout here.
  3. Scrapbook magazines can also provide a wealth of ideas. You can relax your mind as you flick through them and see what you’re drawn to. Try not to be too focused as this can inhibit your creative side from being receptive to any ideas.
  4. Try looking at magazine advertising with new eyes. Some of the best graphic layout artists around are behind the design and layout of the advertisements that you see in your magazines. Try looking at some which catch your eye and think how they might be adapted to make a scrapbook layout. The scrapbook layout on the left is an example of how I have used this scrapbooking blocker buster.
  5. Learn a new technique. Often I find that the inspiration for a new scrapbook layout design will come from learning how to do something new and then building the design around the new thing I’ve just learned. You’ll find plenty of ideas on Scraps of Mind. Just check out the Articles tab at the top of the page. And if you’re a digital scrapbooker (or would like to become one) take a look at my Step by Step Digital Scrapbook Tutorials. There is something for everyone from Beginner to Advanced.
  6. Make a card or an ATC. Working with a smaller canvas and without a focal photo will give your creative brain a different direction. And once you’re in the creative mode again it’s much easier to come up with ideas for your scrapbook layout.

All of these ideas have one thing in common: move away from trying to force your way through Scrappers Block and move your mind to a more relaxed state by taking the pressure off. It’s hard to be creative when you feel you’re under pressure.

And if all else fails, give yourself a break. Sometimes just going away and throwing yourself into doing something else, even if it’s something like cleaning out the linen cupboard, can provide your brain with the break it needs to enable it to be receptive to creative ideas again.

Do you have any particular things that you do to break through Scrappers Block? I’d love you to share them with us in the comments below. After all it’s something we all suffer with from time to time. So all ideas are welcome.

And if you enjoyed this article please share the link with your scrapbooking friends and click the Facebook Like button. Or maybe give it a thumbs up on Stumbleupon.

Other related Articles:

Madison Avenue Scrapbooking

ATC Swaps

Try some Repetition in your 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

 

Budget Scrapbooking Idea – Fixing Chalk

I was talking with my sister at the weekend and she shared this great budget scrapbooking tip with me.

Both of us make greeting cards and love messing around with stamps, embossing powder and paints and chalks.

Anyway my sister had made this card for a friend’s 50th birthday. She’d used some chalk to color in a background and it came up with a nice soft mottled effect. But if you’ve ever used chalk on your cards or scrapbook layouts you’ll know how messy things can get. Every time you touch your card you end up with chalk all over your hands.

When it’s only in a small area I find that pressing down with a clean sheet of paper helps to set. But for a large area, such as a background that’s just not going to be enough.

Now you can buy spray cans of fixative that will do the job. But they usually come in larger cans than you need and are fairly pricey unless you’re going to use them a lot.

But here’s a budget scrapbook idea that you can find on your bathroom shelf.

Hairspray is the answer!

Just give your chalked area a light spray with your can of hairspray and set it aside to dry for half an hour.

One thing you do need to watch out for though. The hairspray will have a strong smell. It’s a good idea not to use it on the same day that you’re intending to give the card to your recipient. Leaving the project out in the air overnight will dissipate the smell and then you’re good to go.

Other sort-of similar articles you might enjoy

Hybrid Scrapbooking a 50th Birthday Card

Digital Scrapbooking on a budget

Tips for making your own embellishments

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.

Frames

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.

Borders

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

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.

Matts

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.

Backgrounds

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


Free Word Art and Scrapbooking Quotes for Spring

Digital Scrapbook Freebie time again

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you’re probably celebrating the arrival of Spring by now. We in the Southern half of the globe are settling into Autumn of course, and in Australia we managed to dispense with Summer altogether this year; especially in the southern states.

Anyhoo, let’s stay focussed on Spring. I’m looking forward to coming over to Europe in a few weeks to sample some of your northern Spring weather. So if any of you have influence in high places, please put in a good word for excellent weather throughout May across the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and Northern Italy.

And to help things along and set the mood here are some Spring quotes for your scrapbook layouts and cards. And some word art digital scrapbooking freebies for you too. Just right mouse click on the word art image and select Save File As… or Save Target As…

Hope you enjoy them.

Spring has come when you can put your foot on three daisies.

Proverb

digital scrapbooking freebie - free word art

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

Anne Bradstreet

digital scrapbooking freebie - free word art

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.

William Shakespeare

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.

Doug Larson

digital scrapbooking freebie - free word art

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.

Bishop Reginald Heber

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”

Robin Williams

digital scrapbooking freebie - free word art

Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly.

Lauren Bacall

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.

E.E. Cummings

Other related articles you might like to explore:

How to Download and install free fonts

How to Digital Scrapbook – from Soup 2 Nuts

Create Word Art Yourself

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