I follow a number of blogs and today, Lain Ehmann’s caught my eye with this:

“When I saw this blog post from Internet marketer and author extraordinaire Seth Godin today, it reminded me of a saying I quote to my journaling students again and again:

Basically, it’s impossible to have journaler’s block if you think of your journaling as a conversation rather than as A Piece of Writing.”

So have you HAD talker’s block? No? I know that anyone who’s ever asked me what I think of a layout hears back “you need to journal on there so people know” then says “I don’t know what to say.” And *UNBELIEVABLY* and invariably, they go on to tell me all about the photos and what they remember and how they felt. So, why can’t they put it down?

I recommend that you read both Lain’s and Seth’s blogs. Then tell me: what is it you are afraid of? As Seth very succinctly puts it “The second best thing to zero is something better than bad.” So even if you think what you are writing is “bad” it still beats zero.

Do it today. Write down those thoughts and why you’ve scrapbooked the story you did.

I bet you can.

You know me, I’m the one who keeps bugging everyone to put some journaling on the page – even if it is “who, what, when & where.” and here is the WHY. I read “Where Old Photos Go to Die” at Scrappers Workshop and it hit me. THIS is why I scrapbook. THIS is why I keep asking people to tell me MORE about the layouts they do.

We all think of our pictures as “current stuff.” That “WE” know who it is and when and why we snapped that picture. But you know what? in 50 years, you might not be able to tell someone anything about that picture. You might not be able to tell them the joy in that photo. Heck, you might not be able to do that tomorrow even.

Think to the box of photos you inherited from your parents or grandparents. What do you know about those pictures? What do you wish you knew about them? Even if your parents or grandparents are still alive, can they tell you about them?

Sadly, we all eventually will never be able to tell anyone why we snapped a picture or who that is in it. This is why many of us scrapbook – to leave a legacy. While some of us do it for ourselves, at some point, someone else is going to sit down and sift thru them (unless you destroy them before then LOL). Those people who see them later will make a decision as to whether they are “worth” keeping for themselves or doing whatever with them. I believe that if the legacy they are is meaningful, they will want to keep them.

Read the article at Scrappers Workshop. If you don’t do anything on the front of the page – at least put it all on the back for someone to see later.

While working on a digital keepsake book, I was looking for the “right” font to put the sentiment in the book. While it needed to be sentimental in appearance, it couldn’t be too casual as the book needed to have a look of having come straight from the printer in a very professional manner. So, I did what nearly anyone else would do, Google fonts, or more specifically “typeface and design.” In the process, I landed at one of my favorite sites, Smashing Magazine, with an older article “60 Brilliant Typefaces for Corporate Design.”

What I was looking for so much wasn’t a FONT but the right typeface. I needed the right look. While, the article is more for corporate design, the same principals apply to any design. And scrapbooking, is design, whether we think it is or not.

Design is more than just moving the visual from left to right, top to bottom, but allowing your viewer to feel the emotion in the pages too. Typeface helps to convey that emotion.

For my project, I needed to make sure that I wasn’t conveying too casual an emotion, yet not too formal. The balance had to be just right. I already knew that my title had to convey a sense of the ice and cold for hockey (the unusual “PlAGuEdEaTH” font for this) is my primary subject. But it also has to be “readable.” There are thousands of really fun fonts that you can download. But ultimately, whatever font you use, you have to be able to read it without difficulty. You really can’t pick one just because of “cuteness.”

I knew I wanted to use a serif font because my title was a serif font. Mixing fonts can make the page lack cohesiveness. Although I already knew that the “signature” from each sentiment would be in a handwritten font (I chose “JohnLennon” for this one), I didn’t want to throw a third font out there that lacked cohesiveness.

And then, I found a fresh article also at Smashing Magazine, “What Font Should I Use?” I really could have used this when I was working on the project.  But on the other hand, I really enjoyed this article. I found that for someone who is really a little lost on choosing fonts, it is a must read. The rules, the lack of rules and describing fonts as putting on “your favorite pair of jeans,” yep, that’s about it. I do still gravitate to that one font, all the time…

So, for anyone still a little confused about fonts and how they work together, I really recommend both articles!

Everyone has stories to tell thru their scrap pages. Even those of us who are chronological scrappers who tell about the events in our lives like holidays and birthdays are telling stories. Albeit, we’ve limited the stories we tell, but we do tell stories.

One of my new favorites for prompts comes from Stories In Hand. What makes this special? Well, sometimes, we really just need a good prompt to get going on telling that story. “Stories In Hand” is Jessica Sprague’s (also at www.jessicasprague.com) latest book and includes the companion website. The book details a chronological set of prompts from your grandparents lives to your life and life with (or without) your children.

What’s nice is that for the chronological scrappers, the prompts are in a chronological format. So if you want to tell your parents’ story, you can follow along the prompts for your parents and work your way thru too.

It can allow YOU as a scrapper to tell your story too. I’ll keep saying it: too many scrappers neglect to tell their OWN story. For those who come after us to know the perspective of your scrapbooks, you really should leave a legacy of your own life too. It isn’t just about the people around us, but about us too. If you are looking for more ways to scrap your story, Debbie Hodge’s “Get It Scrapped” website has some specific telling your story prompts too.

However you do it, don’t forget that scrapbooking is more than just beautiful pictures. It’s the legacy you are leaving. So what do you want to leave behind?

I’ve found a number of photography resources, and sometimes the find is a reminder and sometimes, it’s a cool new idea. Sometimes they are both.

It’s so much easier now with digital cameras. No need to print every photo you take. And really, you can fix a mediocre photo if the color, lighting, etc is off. Composition can be fixed some too. But if you work at that, you learn too what it takes to “do it right” the first time. Doing as much in the camera as possible eliminates the post production. That leaves you to do creative things in the post production – change to black & white, adjust the color, do an action, etc. For some simple adjustment, I picked up this link at Captivated Visions from @DigiShopTalk. While to some degree it is oversimplified on making adjustments, for some people it has to start with the basics. But, it does move on to some of the more important parts of photo adjustments: make that duplicate layer!

With digital cameras you can fill a memory card with photos and then delete those that just aren’t worth making the changes to. It’s freeing. There are few people today still using film, and I suspect that those that do are developing their own film at this point too since fewer and fewer labs exist.

Digital cameras today even in the point and shoot variety allow the user to do so much more than the old point and shoot cameras. It is hardly necessary for the average person or scrapbooker to invest in a Digital SLR unless they are going off “auto mode.” The digital cameras today allow for so many modes and off auto mode too.

In the reminder category comes one from Tasra Mar (“Real Women Scrap”) who includes tips in her tweets. One in particular, is how to get better as a photographer. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded to shoot a lot of “film” and work it. So today, I’d like to remind every one that your photos won’t get better unless you take MORE of them. You learn by doing. No huge revelation here so why am I bringing this up? Because most of us remember the cost of film.

So, get out there and take some photos! And if you feel the need to make adjustments, play with it in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Picasa or whatever software you feel comfortable with!

I’m sure I’ll have more of these why Twitters, so I’m not numbering this one. It really isn’t reason #1 either, but a jumble of reasons.

No one says you have to “participate” by tweeting, but you can get a lot of ideas and resources from Twitter without doing that! I’ve passed tweets along to my friends who tell me that they are cool ideas, but they “just don’t have time for Twitter.” I just remind them that they don’t need to tweet, just read. These will be my gems then!

What generally happens to me is that I find some very cool people with great ideas to follow. Like my trail from @lainehmann today to @kristenrutten. Kristen has the Log Your Memory website. Lain tweeted about the “Layouts that Are So You” at Kristen’s site. The layout made me investigate Kristen’s site a little more.

I *LOVE* the concept of logging memories. How many times do you sit down to scrap a page only to realize that the photo was maybe a year ago and the memory itself is not fresh in your mind. I’m exploring this site more as Kristen is releasing new products now for logging memories, including her 2011 Memory Logbook. I’ve tried using a calendar system to keep my memories, but as I also use my iPhone for keeping track of things, I’m not a big fan of carrying a paper calendar either. However, I do like the prompts and other advantages with her logbook.

There must be an app for this!

Today, while trying to bring the inspiration spirits into my creative space, I decided it was time to visit the Basic Grey BG TV videos and see what they had to offer today to get me inspired. Just taking a glance through Basic Inspiration level 1, not watching the whole video, I was reminded of several things that I haven’t done in a while. I haven’t used a pen to draw, much less draw dotted lines or around a photo or journaling box. I haven’t used paper in smaller pieces as part of the layouts. Sometimes, it takes looking at manufacturer websites to draw inspiration.

This weekend, I started a layout, still in process, using paint which I haven’t used in a long time. We forget what we have in our stashes and generally use our “go to” products. For me, that’s normally a couple of ink pads, paper and some American Crafts Thickers. I do cut letters & shapes to add things too. But we need to throw some playtime into our creative mix every now and then.

So have you checked out some of your favorite manufacturer’s website lately? They have design teams to give creative ideas with their products so take advantage of it!

Angie Lucas brought up a very cool idea in PRT042 (which I can already envision on some of my next titles since they are all beginning to look the same): do your journalling first, then pull some words out of that and you have your title. Think about collaging those words into a title… I can see it now…. the words overlap in various sizes, fonts, and colors… maybe some of them in clear “ghost” letters….

I think I’m done here. Off to try it out!

I consider myself a hybrid scrapper. While I do from time to time digi scrap, I’m usually doing it for a class or to do a project (like that family heritage scrapbook needing 8 copies or some ridiculous number like that). Mostly, I do it when I am “on the go” and it’s easier to take my laptop rather than all my paper supplies (think laptop bag vs. truck o’ stuff). It takes me just as long to do one or the other – making up my mind on supplies always is an issue.

However, I do accumulate digital supplies on my hard drive and I do use them in my paper scrapping too. And what I do find very useful is the information on digital sites to use in my paper scrapping.

Templates are one of the most awesome finds on digital sites. These little gems are great for fast digital scrapping and they are easily used for traditional scrapbook sketches. Designer Digitals brings the point of multiple uses of templates to the forefront with their post on turning a template, using Pattie Knox’s Speed Byte No. 021.

Turning a sketch, or any layout you love, to create a new layout is always a great idea. If you loved it once, why wouldn’t you love it again?

Inspiration is where you look. And while you are checking out the post at Designer Digitals, get involved in their template challenge! I’m going to need to head back over there for that template…

Everyone knows that it’s so easy to scrap the fun things, the events, the laughter and joy. But scrapping something that is less than that? Well, more often, it goes left undone and unsaid.

Jennifer S. Wilson, at her Simple Scrapper site, posted today about scrapping infertility. Infertility and loss are definitely difficult things to scrap. Jennifer has some links to wonderful digital kits that can help to work through the emotions and record these life events too. (Side note: digital kits can be used for paper scrappers too so don’t discount using them!)

Why scrap this? Because our lives really aren’t just happy thoughts and butterflies even if that’s what we want them to be. There are tough things we all go through. From accidents that may be life changing to the difficulties of trying to bring a child into your life.

Two years ago, we lost a grandchild to stillbirth. The anticipation of a grandchild was wonderful! But as the 20th week approached, our daughter learned that the baby had some issues that would make life difficult if he survived. Ultimately, he was stillborn. As difficult as that was, we did document his birth. After several months, I put a small book together for her and found myself crying often as I was doing it. The process for me was very therapeutic. Hopefully, the book became therapeutic for her too.

When I created the mini book for my daughter, I left places within the book for her to record some of her thoughts as well as some “hidden” places, envelopes for her to write notes to the son she would never know.

note the envelope attached with the binding for hidden notes

Now, I need to do a page for myself, one for grandma to save and put away. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do that yet. Doing the mini book was “easy” for some reason. But scrapping a page for some reason is going to be more difficult for me.

Ultimately, I encourage, no CHALLENGE everyone to scrap the difficult stuff in life. Because life isn’t a bed of roses and by looking at what you have lived through that was difficult, you learn to appreciate the simple, fun and easy stuff of life. In 50 years, when someone looks back through your books, you want them to know, it wasn’t all Christmas, days at the beach and birthday parties.

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