Michelle Anderson

10 posts.

How To Stop “Page Flippers”

We all know them- they pick up your scrapbook, flip it open, and don’t stop flipping. In a matter of seconds they have flipped through your entire scrapbook- which took days, maybe even years to make!
So what went wrong? Your photos.  I know this because I have been guilty of being a “page flipper.” The layout might have a lovely design, but unless there are several photos to linger on, I’ll get into “flip” mode. If there is just one photo, I will look at it and feel that I am done with the page. But with multiple photos, I have to stop, and then I become submerged into what is happening on that page. Multiple photos will put the breaks on someone who is page-flip happy.
But still, a layout is like a written story- while it needs good sources (good photos), it also needs beautiful language (beautiful design) to capture an audience. Having one can’t make up for missing the other. To help with your multi-photo designs, I suggest modeling your pages after some of the reader layouts featured below.

NYC“Autumn In NYC” submitted by akchristyn

Future“We Don’t Know” submitted by shannon500

GoneFishing“Gone Fishing” submitted by  rebeccas

Canyun“Having a Bowl” submitted by devere1707649



“Saucelito Canyon” submitted by  shannon500

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For the Graduate

I will be graduating from Drake University this Sunday. Everybody keeps asking me what I want for a gift. This would be money, duh. But realistically, looking ahead 20 years, the greatest gift I could receive would be a way of remembering life as it is right now, by people I know. So if you are struggling to figure out a gift for the graduate in your life, here are my suggestions:

Print their pictures. Social networks like Facebook may not always be there. Someday your graduate will want to close their account, or pictures may get deleted, etc. My graduating generation overly relies on internet as a safe storage of memories. Print off all the pictures they are tagged in and put them in a box. Then, one day, your Facebook-less graduate will be able to look back and remember these days.

Write your memories. Write down all your significant memories of them. Start from the day you first met. Just keep writing until you feel like you have covered the essence of that person and your relationship. It is one thing to think back on your own memories, but it would be amazing to have someone else’s to keep as well.

Film each other. My grandfather is actually doing this for me. He is doing a graduation video and asked me if there is anything in particular I would like him to catch on film. I would obviously like footage of the ceremony and my fellow graduates. But I also asked that he film my visiting friends and family. This day is not just about me. It is about starting a new chapter in my life, which includes everyone in it. I want to remember them just as much, if not more, than how I was on this day.

Give advice. The other part of my graduation video request was that my friends and family give me advice on graduating and on life. Some of my relatives were in this exact same place many years ago and I would love to know their thoughts. I even would like advice from friends of my same age. Insights from other people, especially those that I love, are priceless when it comes to starting the rest of my life.

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Celebrating Mexico!

In honor of Cinco De Mayo, I’ve gathered my favorite Mexico-themed reader submissions. Be inspired!

Cruise Stops

This reader took a 7-day trip down the Mexican Riviera and scrapped the postcards from each stop they made.

submitted by sandy289

Colorful Cabo

A digital layout of photos our reader took on her trip in Baja.

submitted by puffinliz

“M” is for Mexico

A hanging letter M with landscape beach photos and text “MEXICO.”

submitted by kidsmom1999

Honeymoon in Mexico

This reader celebrated her honeymoon in beautiful Mexico!

submitted by nrkohlmeier

Last, but certainly not least…

Two of our devoted readers standing in front of the Mexico flag in Ensenada, Mexico with an issue of Scrapbooks, etc!

submitted by mandytaylor82

Have you made any Mexico-inspired layouts or crafts? Please share! You can submit photos of your work (or yourself!) in our Community Gallery. While you’re at it, submit all the other layouts and crafts you’ve done lately!
Happy Cinco De Mayo!

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Scrap Your Life

Documenting your life is tricking:  General scrapbook pages tend to only highlight the big events. Online blogs inhibit crafty creativity, plus leave you with nothing touchable to pass on. Diaries are too private to share with others. And writing your autobiography, well, may never actually make it to the top of the “to do” list.

My prescription? A scrap page a day.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or even pretty. It just needs to reflect your day.
You can include pictures, journaling, a quote someone said, a receipt, a ticket stub, how you felt, what you are excited about, what you’re dreading, a phone call, the weather, your horoscope, your dream last night, or even just what you ate- anything goes! By the end of the 365 days you will have an irreplaceable book of memories.



  • Use a big 3-ring binder or album (like the one above) for removable sleeves and pages. If the binder becomes too thick, you can always separate your book into seasons or months.
  • Leave your book open with markers or pens on your coffee table for guests to contribute to that day’s page (they are, after all, part of your day!)
  • Use bright-colored paper on good days and dark-colored paper on the not-so-good days. It will create an interesting contrast when you are finished.
  • Let your environment help create your page for the day. Did you spend the day with your child or pet? Let them contribute to the page (i.e. kid’s drawing or paw print)

Have you already started doing a book like this? Are you going to start one? Let me know!

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My Favorite (Free) Photo Editor

On the quest to edit a photo: 

  • Photoshop is scary (even with experience). It is also expensive.
  • Paint is free. But does close to nothing.
  • A lot of online programs are either extremly slow are pricey to use.

If you are stuck somewhere in between too complex, too basic and too expensive photo edit programs,  I  recommend Picnik.com.  I thought the whole world new about this website by now. But then one of my friends saw me log on the other day and she was blown away. She was an on-the-spot convert. Now I feel responsible to spread the word. It’s free and easy to use. I use it all the time for photo touch-ups, making goofy photos for Facebook, and  even to add effects to professional photos for publications.  For a monthly fee you can upgrade to more features (however, I still haven’t and love the free version). 

Here are a few quick edits I did to a photo of mine. 



 “Holga-ish” Effect: 




“CinemaScope” Effect + “Matte” Effect:


 “Gooify” Effect + Text + Stickers: 

 Have you used Picnik before? Do you have a favorite photo edit program? I’d love to know!

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Stickers Galore!

Xyron 150Today I tried out Xyron’s new “Create-a-Sticker” (aka 150 Machine). I had never used a sticker maker before, but wow! I’m addicted! You just stick whatever you want to turn into a sticker (photos, clip art, letters/numbers, ribbon, buttons, fabric, etc.) into the top, then pull it out at the bottom- and vwa-la! No mess, and no waiting! I’m impressed.

It can only fit things that are less than 1.5″ wide, but I find it perfect for the casual sticker maker, like myself. Although now I think I might become a sticker maniac with my new found freedom machine.

Pretty much, the Create-a-Sticker just distributes adhesive evenly and smoothly, without mess, onto most any thin surface. But wow, I will never go back to gluesticks or double-sided tape!

Price: $9.99 (refilable catriges are about $4.99)


  • Wash fabric before using (the adhesive won’t stick to unwashed fabric)
  • Use glossy photos or shiny paper to get the “professional” sticker look.
  • To save tape, double up on thin items.

My Experiment:

Here is a very quick card I made using the Create-a-Sticker.  Everything on the card was ran through the Create-a-Sticker. And every piece stuck amazingly well. I even restuck the button four different times (I couldn’t make up my mind where to put it), and it is still sturdily intact!



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Remember to Enjoy the Trip


As I write this, I am flying over the clouds in an airplane, excited for my first-ever trip to New York.  I have heard it is a crazy and beautiful place and I can’t wait to start capturing every moment. But wait- not every moment. Too often I become obsessed with archiving my trips in photos and collecting keepsakes that I forget to just sit back and actually enjoy the moments I’m recording.  So, for this trip, I’ve made a few commandments to ensure I capture enough memories, while having a time worth scrapping.

1. Take One Picture.  Ok, maybe two, if needed. I’ve become digitally spoiled. I have a whole computer drive of thousands of the same picture with a slight variation. I take pictures because I know I can- not because it is a moment worth capturing.

Tip: Go Old School- buy a disposable camera. The quality might not be quiet as professional, but it is sufficient for snapshots. You only have a certain amount of pictures per camera to take so you will only take the absolute memory-maker shots. By not seeing the instant photo feedback like you do on a digital camera, you won’t be tempted to retake the photo until your hair and smile are absolutely perfect. Instead you will have one great photo of how the actual moment was, wild hair and all.

2. Only Collect Ticket Stubs. You don’t need the flier, brochure and napkin holder. One little ticket stub will be sufficient to bring back the memory back. Only keep things with true sentimental value. Don’t make it a mission to find stuff to keep. Instead, enjoy your trip and whatever sticks around; whether it is a sea shell or just a receipt, it will be the most memory-induced.

Tip: Take a small empty box with you. If it doesn’t fit in the box, toss it. This will help you sort out what is a real souvenir and what is trash.

3. Talk about it. When you get back, talk to someone close about your trip. Then think about what stood out in your conversation. You might be surprised what points in your trip actually stand out. Those are the moments worth scrapping. Also talk to about the trip with whoever went. They will remember things you didn’t, and visa-versa. Maybe it wasn’t the actual trip to Disneyland, but rather when you just ordered pizza and talked all night.

Tip: After talking about the trip, write it all down. Even pictures or a beautiful scrapbook page won’t bring back the details. Plus, by talking and writing about it, you will get the core essence of what made that trip special, which will help focus your scrapbook pages.

Now it is time for me to go enjoy and record my trip. I would love to hear about yours!

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Spring Nature in Your Scrapping

Sorry Frosty- I'm so over you!Sorry, Frosty- I’m so over you!

It’s finally spring! I’m so over snowflakes, sweaters, Santa Claus, and anything red and white. I’m excited to start seeing everything come back to life- outdoors and in scrapbooking. The snow is melting and green is finally starting to show up everywhere. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of nature’s little wonders of the transition of the winter to spring seasons.

Dried Leaves

PRESS PLANTS AND FOLIAGE- Don’t wait for the flowers to blossom. I have found that dried leaves, pine needles, and other small plants can make beautiful additions to nature pages.

Here is a simple how-to:

  1. Pick/gather your plants (if you pick it fresh, try to press it ASAP to restore greater color)
  2. Lay a piece of wax paper inside a large book.
  3. Arrange the plants (making sure not to let them touch) on the wax paper.
  4. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the plants.
  5. Close the book and place something heavy (like more books) on top of them.

Wait a minimum of two weeks, then:

  1. Using tweezers to hold the plant, spray a light coat of adhesive spray to the back of the plant.
  2. Stick the plant, wherever you creatively desire, on the paper.
  3. Show it off to your friends and family!

Page theme ideas: hiking, hunting, camping, playing outside, home construction, boy or girl scouts, poems, outdoor adventures.


When the rain has you stuck inside, scrap it! It makes beautiful backgrounds for pages. Make sure to set your digital camera to the highest resolution to ensure a clear picture when enlarged for the background. Also, turn off your flash to prevent a light reflection off the window.  Then enlarge and print your picture on your own computer, or have it printed as a large “non-glossy” picture at your local photo printer.

Page theme ideas: Rainy day activities (The Cat and the Hat theme), your favorite things to do on a rainy day, why you love (or hate) the rain, memories, spiritual memoir, a day of chasing rainbows, a vacation that was moved indoors due to rain.

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Ever wonder how the beautiful pages of Scrapbooks etc. Magazine come to be?

Here is a glimpse!


Our Art Director, Deb, modeling a demonstration for a color wash.


Yes, we really do test-drive our projects!


The crew, analyzing the final photos.


The final image! Look for it in our next issue!

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Creative Outlets

Your creative bone doesn’t have to stop in your scrapbook. These Web sites are my favorite (and free!) creative energy outlets when I’m all out of paper and glue.

Polyvore.com – If you are obsessed with shopping, fashion, magazines, and everything in between- you will become addicted to this. You get to pick from thousands of items (like purses, shoes, clothes, makeup, electronics, etc.), then mix and arrange them on a blank canvas. You can save and share your pages, and even buy the products! Below is a page I created:

Scrapbooks etc.

Wix.com – This is a website design program that is completely visual (no HTML coding!). You can use one of their many templates, or start from scratch. It has the same design and play essence of digital scrapbooking and is incredibly easy to use. Plus they have hundreds of free photos, clip art, animation and design elements to pick from. You can create unlimited free pages and send them to friends or publish it on the web with a Wix URL. To have your own URL and other benefits (like removing their Wix advertisements from your page) it costs extra (starting at $4.95/mo). Use your page to display photos, show off your hobby, sell stuff, list your recipes, promote your personal business, make a club homepage, an “about me” site, or even to promote your scrapbooking skills! You can view my portfolio site I created using Wix at www.ellebomb.com.

BHGLifeinPhotos.com – Here you can create and print your own books. It is free to use their program, however you do have to pay for any copies you decide to print. They also have cards, stationary, calendars, posters and other fun things you can create and print using either their templates or your own creation.

Also, if you want a book you created to be available for the public to purchase, I suggest CreateSpace.com. It allows you to actually sell your personal book on Amazon.com. Even if it isn’t going to win a Nobel-Peace Prize, it gives friends and family the ability to purchase their own copy. My 11-year-old cousin did this with a short children’s fiction book she wrote. You can see it here. And hey, you never know who might stumble upon your work!

Have you used any of these sites? Please share your creations!
Or do you have other favorite creative websites? I would love to hear them!

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