21 posts.

Guest Post: Picking Photos

Please welcome our guest blogger, Contributing Editor Polly Maly, as she shares her process and tips for picking photos to print and scrapbook.

One would think, after having been a scrapbooker for ten years, that my process for choosing photos to print or scrapbook would’ve been well established long before now. Think again. Having finally diagnosed myself as a “Perfectionist Messy” (according to the awesome book, The Messies Manual), I finally got some insight into why I was always swimming in thousands of photos, too many ideas, and too few finished albums.

While I certainly did take a boat-load of photos, and have filled many albums over the years with layouts, I was continually overwhelmed with the volume of photos and never-ending list of stories to be told through my scrapbook pages. The problem was, I couldn’t decide which way would be best to deal with it, so by default, I decided not to decide. Not very productive.

And then, over the Christmas 2008 holiday break….an epiphany. (Pun intended.)

I may not scrapbook all the time, but I look at my photos constantly. Daily. I love them. I collect them. I cherish them. But as I lounged on the couch while the kids watched movies, I realized that while I liked all my photos, I was only really crazy about some of them. Maybe, since some shots stood out as favorites, I just didn’t need 75 more photos from any given event to make me happy. 10? Maybe 14? Perhaps. But sometimes, it was just a single photo that caught my eye, and was quite enough all by itself.

That day I decided to create twelve new folders to hold the copies for only my very favorite photos from each month. I went through each and every folder from the month I was working on, and copied and pasted only the photos that made me happiest into the new folder.

Fave folder

When I came to a folder from an event that seemed too big to pick just a few, or that I definitely felt had a story brewing, I knew I had a topic to add to the to-do list of scrapbook pages I decided to keep in a Word document. (I was already in the habit of putting photos from really big events like Christmas or vacations into their own Shutterfly photobooks.)

I found I easily had the attention span to look through a month’s worth of photos at a time, which took about the same amount of time as watching a DVD. Finishing a month felt like an accomplishment, and one that was so much fun.

This process gave me a focus for dealing with my photos I hadn’t had before. It was so exciting! Suddenly, the process seemed so much more manageable than it had before. Granted, I’d taken a LOT of pictures in the years since I went digital, but I always advise scrapbookers to start where they are, and work backwards if they choose. I took my own advice.

The only thing that’s changed since then is that now, once I have all the photos from a month added to a folder, I open up each of the winners in Photoshop Elements, edit if necessary, resize to a 4×6”, and add simple journaling (a name, a date, or sometimes a little more) right onto the photo. (Mind you, I’m working with a copy of the original file which is still stored safely in two places. I may never go back to it, but its there if I need it.)


While I’m working on a particular month, if there’s a group of photos I want to scrapbook, I either print off a set of photos in various sizes for a traditional page, or create a collage using the Quick Collage templates found at This isn’t just a plug for the SBE website…I use these ALL the time to manage big groups of photos for a page.


When all those photos come back from the developer, I put them all in We R Memory Keeper photo pages, and slide the groups of shots or collages to be scrapbooked in 12×12″ page protectors. It’s made preparing for crops so much easier! Everything’s in order, and I can see what I had in mind just by opening my photo album.

Is my system perfect? Of course not. But its so much better than the way I was doing things before, which was haphazard at best. Though I may not always be working on the current month, I’m not too far behind at any given time, and it never takes too long to catch up. This Christmas, you can be sure, I’ll be snuggled under my favorite chenille throw, sorting photos again.

Enjoy your holiday!


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Guest Post: Up-cycling Containers

Please welcome former Creative Team member Janna Wilson as our guest blogger this week!

Something I like to hold on to {hoard} to up-cycle into fun crafty things is sturdy packaging and containers!  I especially love drink mix containers (think Crystal Light) and oatmeal boxes!  These cans are useful and can be up-cycled into useful containers around the house as well as great gift packaging -especially around the holidays!

For the holidays we make homemade goodies for family and friends- simple stuff that the kids can help with.  This year I’m using my stash of containers to gift instant hot cocoa mix and dipped peanut butter Ritz crackers.  The round drink mix containers (I find these at Wal Mart and Aldi’s) are perfect for stacking several cookies into.

I used the Crystal Light (oval shaped) containers for hot cocoa mix.  Just add simple instructions to the back of the container.  You could do this anytime throughout the winter for a sick friend or a thank you gift.  These containers can hold edible treats or just a special gift you are giving.

Beyond the holidays, I find uses around the house and for gift giving all year up-cycling packaging from store bought things.  It’s part being frugal, part being green and the biggest part is getting creative!  Check out my laundry detergent  container (in it’s previous life a Quaker Oats box).  Just cover and decorate with scrapbook supplies and a cute label…really perks up the old laundry room!  You can even find the recipe for homemade laundry soap here on my blog as well as the printable label.

Now you’ll think twice before throwing out those containers won’t you!?  I hope so!

(All the patterned papers I’ve used on these projects are Cosmo Cricket)

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Guest Post: Card Sketch

Please welcome back guest blogger Valerie Salmon with another iScrap, u Scrap exclusive card sketch!

Hey, cardmakers, this sketch is for you!

I love making cards because they are quick projects.  With a sketch to go by, all you need is a little time, some scraps, and you are good to go.  It’s always good to make some to reserved for future use, too.

And let’s face it.  Who doesn’t love to receive a handmade card?  I sure do.

We’ve created some lovely examples for you to give you some ideas.  Special thanks go out to my crafty friends Jennifer, Brittany, and Polly for sharing their fabulous creations below.

“Happy Birthday to You”

Designed by Valerie Salmon

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper.  Patterned paper: KI Memories.  Metal tag: K&Company.  Punches: Fiskars (circle, corner rounder), Marvy Uchida (scallop circle).

Designer’s Notes:

This card literally took only several minutes to complete!  The sketch made it easy to pull exactly what products I needed.  I simply layered a couple of circles behind the accent metal tag, following its circular shape.  I rounded the corners of the card, just for fun.  I chose to do a birthday card since I can never have enough of them.  It’s great to have them pre-made for the next time I need one in a jiffy.



Designed by Jennifer Perks

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (purple), Stampin’ Up! (lilac), Wausau Paper (white).  Patterned paper, sticker: BoBunny Press.  Rhinestones, pearls: Queen & Company. Punches: Marvy Uchida (large scallop circle), EK Success (open scallop edge). Die Cuts: Cricut by ProvoCraft (used the Joys of the Season cartridge to make the snowflake).  Adhesive: Tombow Mono (dry); EK Success (3D foam). Thread: Coats & Clark.  Silver cord: Stampin’ Up!.

Designer’s Notes:

Lately I’ve been pulling paper primarily from a single product line which makes putting together pages/cards a lot quicker, since it takes the work out of coordinating papers.

I pretty much stuck to the sketch.  Instead of a circle, I used a snowflake I had die-cut using my Cricut, which I suspended from a thin silver cord.  I backed the snowflake with a large scalloped circle that I had punched out.

The horizontal piece of cardstock is cut from a single piece. I embellished the snowflakes at the bottom with rhinestones and added an open scalloped edge to the top.

I like to make things dual purpose, so made it possible to remove the snowflake from the card.  It could then be hung from your tree or re-purposed as a gift tag.


“Love You”

Designed by Brittany Hopkins

SOURCES Cardstock: Die Cuts With A View. Patterned paper: BoBunny Press.  Chipboard accent: Cosmo Cricket. Stickers: Anna Griffin (border), SRM Press (“love you”).

Designer’s Notes:

I used a chipboard heart to house my sentiment and help reinforce the theme of the card. I covered the heart with patterned paper, trimmed it out using a craft knife, and sanded the edges. For the sentiment, I used a clear sticker—it has a similar look to rub-ons, but without the stress of lining up letters.



Designed by Polly Mally

SOURCES Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Patterned papers and stickers: Sassafrass. Ribbon: Michaels. Punches: EK Success (circle), Stampin’ Up! (scallop circle). Die-cutting tool: Cricut by ProvoCraft.

Designer’s Notes:
* Cardstock tends to dominate my scrapbook pages, and on occasion I add a touch of pattern to the design. Making cards is my chance to have fun with lots of patterned papers.

* Mixing patterns is easy when you use coordinated papers from the same line. I love the fun patterns from Sassafras, and for this card got to incorporate their famous decorative edge on the bottom of their paper at the seam of two other patterns.

* Whenever I use patterns, I make sure to have a little relief from the busyness by adding solid colors. On this card the ribbon and scallop medallion are solid to give a little breathing from from all the patterns. The concept works in reverse…if those two items were patterned, I’d have made the oval plate, and the upper background area beneath the oval solid.

* I tend to need cards the mostly for birthdays, but by adding the sentiment “celebrate” to the card, I’m free to use this card for a variety of occasions.


It’s your turn to gather your supplies, make a card, and brighten someone’s day!

I’ll see you next month with another sketch to inspire you.

Happy scrapping!

Visit Valerie’s sketch blog, Got Sketch?, for 100+ sketches ideas and classes!

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Guest Post: Holiday Treats

Please welcome former Creative Team member Jennifer Perks as this week’s guest blogger!


Years ago, I had my first taste of peppermint bark that one of the high-end kitchen stores sells every year. Determined to make my own for much less, I started searching for different recipes online. I tried many, and eventually found one by Rita Heikenfeld that I tweaked a bit to my liking.  It’s quick, easy, and makes a great gift. With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I’d share!

Peppermint Bark

12 oz chocolate chips
1 pound white chocolate
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup peppermint candy, crushed
Preheat oven to 250°. Line a 9×13″ pan with foil, letting it hang over the sides. Lightly spray foil. Pour the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until almost melted. Remove from oven, smooth with an offset spatula or knife. Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.
Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bottom of bowl touch water), until chocolate is almost melted. Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in extract. Let cool a little bit so it doesn’t melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top. Pour this over chocolate layer, and, working quickly, spread to cover. Sprinkle with crushed candy.
Chill until both layers are firm. Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy. Trim edges. Cut into 2” wide strips. Peel bark from foil and cut each strip as desired. Chill in covered container. Makes about 2 pounds.

Easy, right? I can never get the top spread as perfectly smooth as the store-bought stuff, but I figure that just makes it look like the homemade bark that it is. For the chocolate, I prefer the Bittersweet by Ghiradelli. And for the white chocolate, avoid the white “chips” (they didn’t melt well when I tried it, which was frustrating). Look for White Chocolate bars (like Ghiradelli White Chocolate Baking Bars (in the baking aisle) or Lindt White Chocolate (in the candy bar aisle). I know this sounds obvious, but it goes without saying…the higher quality the chocolate, the better the peppermint bark.

I tend to make this every year for teacher gifts. Each year, I have fun with different packaging. Always I aim for fast and easy, since my kids (at least when they were all in daycare) tend to have a lot of teachers.  Here are just a few ideas:

You can add ribbon and a tag to a store-bought jar:


I designed the tag in Adobe Illustrator. Printed and punched out using a circle punch. Punched a snowflake out of the center. Glittered the tag, and tied ribbon to the jar. (These were made before I found the recipe with the dark chocolate base).

SOURCES Jar: IKEA. Punches: EK Success (circle, snowflake), McGill Inc. (hole). Glitter: Martha Stewart Crafts. Ribbon: Offray (red grosgrain), Stampin’ Up! (silver).

Another option is to dress up a cellophane treat bag:

cellophane bag

I cut a piece of red cardstock 4-1/4” wide by 5-1/2” tall and folded it in half lengthwise. I then punched the bottom edges with a decorative punch and ran it through my Cuttlebug using an embossing folder to make the polka dot pattern.

I stapled the folded cardstock over the bag in two spots to keep it closed. Then hid the staples with some ribbon.  Last, I added the holly sprig and tag, which I cut out using the Joys of the Season cartridge and my Cricut.  I outlined the edge of the tag with a red pen and added red “berries” using self-adhesive red pearls.  In hindsight, it might have been nice to run the holly sprig through my embosser, as well, to give it some texture. There’s always next time!

If you you don’t have a Cricut, you could add other seasonal elements, like a big jingle bell, instead of the holly, use a store-bought tag or decorate a tag with a stamp.

SOURCES Cellophane bags, ribbon: Michaels Stores. Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (red, green), Stampin’ Up! (white). Pearls: Queen & Company. Pen: Stampin’ Up!. Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts. Die-cutting tool, embossing tool: Provo Craft.

Get the kids involved:

paper bag

My 7-year-old LOVES crafts, and has fully endorsed this one. :-)

Here, we took an 8-5/8” tall white paper bag, put the peppermint bark (wrapped in a cellophane treat bag) inside, ran a single brown pipe cleaner through one side and out the other, and tied it loosely shut around the middle with a “scarf” cut out of felt. To finish off the “sticks,” we cut another pipe cleaner in half and wrapped one around each “arm.” For the head, we added bunched tissue paper above the scarf line and stapled the bag shut (not the prettiest, but it did the job).

The hat is an old mismatched sock we found in my 3-year-old’s sock drawer. It made the perfect cover for the stapled top. We found a big white pom pom in one of our craft drawers, which I helped sew onto the end.

Last, my daughter added the nose (cut from one of those wavy looking pipe cleaners and pushed through the bag), self-adhesive pearls for the eyes and mouth, and buttons for the cheeks and down the front.

This went together really fast and my daughter loved it (I’m thinking she’s going to hang onto this one!).

SOURCES Paper bag: Michaels Stores. Buttons: Rusty Pickle (pink); Autumn Leaves (blue). Pompom, chenille sticks: Westrim Crafts. Pearls: Queen & Company. Felt: Hobby Lobby.

Hope this inspires you to whip up some holiday treats of your own!

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Guest Post: Thanksgiving Place Cards

Please welcome avid scrapbooker Kelly Goree as our guest blogger today!

Hello, everyone, and thank you so much for having me here today as a guest blogger.

Before I get started, I want to first take a minute to wish each of you a very safe, blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. I know personally that I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, most especially for my wonderful family and friends. I’m so grateful that I’ll get to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by those I love most. And can I tell you? My family really knows how to “do up” Thanksgiving as my grandmother would say.

I come from a tradition of wonderful southern cooks and any family event is cause for a feast that could feed the entire town. Unfortunately, the cooking gene has passed my generation (or at least that’s the excuse I offer!) and I prefer to give my contribution in the form of holiday decor! And one of my favorite things to do is to set our holiday table.

Today I want to share with you these beautiful favor boxes/place cards that are super-easy to create and be sure to add a bit of extra pizazz (and sweets) to your Thanksgiving table.




The boxes start out as 6×6″ squares of double sided cardstock that are scored 2″ in from all the edges.


Fold along all the score lines.


Then score on the diagonal in the four corner squares.


Fold the corners in on themselves to form the box.


Open the box back up and add adhesive in the corners. Fold box back up and press the folds to secure.

Create the box top in the same manner as the box bottom starting with a 4″ square of double sided cardstock. Score in just under an 1″ all the way around and then again on the diagonals. Fold in the same manner as the box bottom until the top is formed.

Trim a 12x 1/2″ strip of scalloped paper and add it as embellishment around the bottom of the box top. Trim off any excess.


Punch four large butterflies.


Layer the first butterfly on the box top. Then with adhesive just applied at the body (center) of the butterfly, layer the remaining three directly on top of the first.


Once dried, fluff up the butterflies so it resembles a flower.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial and again, please accept my wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Guest Post: Using Sketches

Welcome to our weekly guest blog post! This week, former Creative Team member and frequent contributor Valerie Salmon will share a sketch and different ways to use it. Check back next month for another sketch from Valerie, or visit her site for more inspiration.

Who doesn’t fancy a good scrapbook sketch?

I love them.  They make a scrapbooker’s life so much easier, don’t they?  I know many of you will agree.  These little blueprints take the guesswork out of creating sharp-looking layouts.  Gone are the hours spent shuffling photos and embellishments, trying to figure out the best placement for everything!   The bottom line is:  Sketches save time.

One sketch = multiple uses.  There are countless ways to alter it to fit your photo needs.  With each simple rotation or a flip, you can easily turn it into a different sketch to interpret.  This comes in handy when you want to accommodate horizontal photos instead of vertical pics on the sketch.

Whether you already have a collection of sketch printouts or just starting out, they are ready when you have some time to create.  There’s no easier way to get a jump start on your layout!

Each month, I will introduce a brand new sketch on the Scrapbooks etc. blog to help spark some inspiration and get your creative wheels spinning.  Some of my fellow Scrapbooks etc. designers and I will share our layouts and show you a few ways to interpret the same sketch.

Original Sketch

Generally, sketches work as a starting point.  You may find that while working on your layout you have to make some slight changes to make the design work with your photos and page elements.  My sketch motto:  Make the sketch work for you—not the other way around.

In my example below, although I followed the photo sizes on the sketch, I chose a bolder alphabet for my title which left me little room for journaling strips.  I adapted by opting for block journaling which takes up less space.  I also resized my accents to work with the available areas on the layout.  The beauty of a sketch is that it allows you the flexibility to move and change things around to get the look you want.  Feel free to tweak to your heart’s content and make it your own.

Layout by Valerie Salmon | Got Sketch? blog

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper.  Patterned paper:  Scenic Route Paper Co. Chipboard letters: Heidi Swapp. Punches:  EK Success (border, circle), Fiskars (scallop circle).  Dies:  Cuttlebug by Provo Craft.


Rotated Sketch

{Rotated once, clockwise}

I like the way Lisa Storms used strips of patterned paper in her layout below, instead of the solid block of paper in the sketch.  She has made it her own by framing the whole layout with floral patterned paper and using a delicate frilly trim (in place of a scalloped border) to mimic her daughter’s soft tutu skirt.

Layout by Lisa Storms

SOURCES  Cardstock: Worldwin Papers. Patterned paper: Chatterbox (orange), Heidi Grace Designs (pink floral), KI Memories (teal), My Mind’s Eye (cream floral, green, yellow). Font: Traveling Typewriter off the Internet. Stickers, ribbon: American Crafts. Flowers: Prima Marketing, Inc.


Flipped Sketch

{Flipped horizontally}

The touches of stitching and the felt swirly trim give Mellette Berezoski’s layout a cozy feel.  The machine-stitching frames the photos, keeping the focus on them.  She also arranged the accents to suit her layout, making this an eye-catching page.

Layout by Mellette Berezoski

SOURCES  Cardstock: BoBunny Press (brown dot, blue solid), Sassafras (blue with white filigree). Font: Bookman Old Style. Rub-ons: Anna Griffin (“style,” flower), Fancy Pants Designs (title letters). Felt border: Queen & Co.  Flower: Die Cuts With A View. Photo turns: 7Gypsies. Brads: Making Memories.


So, gather your photos, supplies, and try this sketch out!  You’ll be amazed at how quickly everything will come together.

We’ll see you next month with a new sketch to inspire you.

Happy scrapping!

Visit Valerie’s sketch blog, Got Sketch?, for 100+ sketches ideas and classes!

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Elizabeth’s Interactive December Daily Album

One of the “rules” that I grew up with and have adopted in my own household is that all Christmas decorations are banned until after Thanksgiving. This was a particularly important rule to have growing up with a mother whose love of holiday decorations and collectibles probably rivals that of Mrs. Claus. So when I first heard my coworkers from Scrapbooks Etc. discussing their December Daily projects, I was both intrigued and apprehensive to start my own book. The last thing I wanted was to burn my hypothetical Yule log too early and be low on Christmas spirit come December. However, once they explained the concept behind December Daily albums and I checked out some of scrapbooker Ali Edwards’ postings about her December Daily processes, I couldn’t wait to get started. Down with rules! If department stores can start piping “Jingle Bells” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” over their speakers in late October, then by gosh, by golly I can start scrapbooking early, too!

All my scrapbooking in the past has involved documenting life events and creating large albums that span multiple years. This has seemed very daunting lately, so I absolutely fell in love with the concept of concentrating on one theme or month and breaking it down into individual days. For my December Daily project, I began with a three-ring album with an acrylic cover and chipboard pages by Little Yellow Bicycle. I started by creating a four-page design that when stacked together the layers spell “NOEL.” I liked the results so much that I decided to use this as my “cover” instead of creating a separate piece. I love that the acrylic cover helps protect the pages and glitter chipboard letters.

Image 1-NOEL coverUSE

I love mixing vintage elements with more modern style and design. I think that is why I was drawn to the Noel holiday collection by Making Memories and the Cottage Christmas line by Imaginisce. I also incorporated a lot of embellishments from Little Yellow Bicycle’s Christmas Delight collection and also some rub ons and glitter cuts from Fancy Pants’ Traditions collection. I used a simple color palette of green, red, brown and turquoise throughout the pages for consistency. Here are some of my favorite details…


1. Using an inkpad, I added some shading to chipboard letters to help them pop from the page. 2. I created a simple banner that spells “BELIEVE” out of small paper scraps, a ¾” circle punch, foam letters and a bit of ribbon. 3. Simple rhinestones add sparkle to the tips of elf shoes. 4. A fun way to add journaling using pocket and little tabs from Little Yellow Bicycle. 5. A simple paper pocket stitched in place holds a list ready to be filled in with Christmas wishes.

One of the things I struggle with the most when scrapbooking is adding journaling. I tend to leave journaling for the end and by that time I realize that I have already forgotten important details. To help with this, I added specific places for journaling and tried to create a theme for each page. I hope this will help inspire me when it comes to adding content. Here are a few of my favorite layouts…

Image 3-pageUSE

Image 4-pageUSE

Image 5-pageUSE

Image 6-pageUSE

I love surprises, so I got a little creative with mini magnets and added a few interactive elements on a couple of pages. I’m really happy with the way these pages turned out…it’s almost like opening a small present on each page! Plus, the multiple layers give me extra room for journaling or adding photos.

Image 7-interactiveUSE

I also used some simple found materials like envelopes and business card pockets for three-ring binders to create pockets for various pull tags and hidden notes. For many of the pull tags, I stitched small scraps of colorful ribbon to the paper to make pulling them out of their pockets easier.

Image 8-tagsUSE

The more I worked on my December Daily, the more I realized that (at least for me) it was all about breaking the rules. I realized that it’s okay to get a jump-start on your holiday planning and decorating–even if it is (gasp) before Thanksgiving! It’s okay to design layouts with varying page sizes and even have elements expand beyond the page. It’s okay to mix different paper collections and even found objects together. And it’s definitely okay to scrapbook before I have the perfect images printed. I can’t wait for Christmas to arrive, so I can sit back and enjoy my Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte (yum!) while flipping through my month of memories.

{Elizabeth Stumbo is the Assistant Art Director for Quilts & More.}

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Guest Post: Fall Photo Tips

Welcome to the first weekly guest blog post on the I Scrap, U Scrap blog! Our first guest blogger is contributing editor and avid photographer Erin Clarkson.

Fall Photo Tips

Tip 1: Make the most of fall colors as a backdrop when photographing people. This may mean doing a bit of work as the photographer! Perhaps a straight-on shot of your child shows a road and power lines in the background. However, if you crouch down and shoot from a lower angle, you may be able to have a canopy of colorful leaves as your backdrop. You can also take a shot from above, looking down at your subject surrounded by fallen leaves, pumpkins, straw, or some other type of colorful fall ground cover. One of my favorite fall shots I’ve ever taken is of a friend’s daughter and was shot from above in the pumpkin patch.

Tip 2: Wait for the best lighting. Early morning and the evening hours just before sunset are the best times to get a good shot. A photography instructor once told me, “Wait until your shadow is longer than you are.”  When the sun is lower in the sky (therefore casting longer shadows), it is diffused by particles in the atmosphere and casts a softer glow. Overcast days are also an opportune time to take photos, because you can avoid harsh shadows and squinting (see the first photo below) caused by too much sun. The clouds act as a giant filter for the sun’s rays and evenly diffuse light across the surface being photographed

For advanced photographers, you may want to consider utilizing light bounced from another source. When light is reflected off something, that light then takes on a color cast from the first object. In the 2nd photo below, the leaves are yellow and the light reflected from them has a yellow cast, resulting in a warm glow on the little girl’s skin.

Avoid harsh sunlight.

Tip 3: Utilize reflections whenever possible when capturing scenic fall photos. Search for areas where trees border a lake or pond and you’ll get double the color from the beautiful reflection. Windows, water fountains and puddles also work well as reflective surfaces.

Tip 4: Be prepared for fall photo opportunities. Always have your camera with you because this is a season where the scenery is constantly changing. Just because you see a beautiful tree full of colorful leaves today doesn’t mean it will still be there tomorrow. A heavy rain or strong gusts of wind can transform a fall landscape in an instant, so when you see a great shot—take it!

A few of the most popular fall scenes to capture on film are:

  • kids (or grown ups!) playing in piles of fallen leaves
  • families picking apples at an orchard
  • visits to the pumpkin patch
  • seemingly endless golden fields of wheat (this background makes for a classic portrait shot)

One final tip for fall shots is to try to tell a story with your photos (a good tip to remember in any type of photographic situation). In a fall setting, that may mean capturing small details—such as close up shots of leaves—in addition to sweeping landscape shots.

Advanced Tip: For those of you with SLR cameras, try using polarizing filters to make colors pop. A polarizing filter darkens blue skies and whitens clouds—adding contrast and reducing atmospheric haze. It also intensifies color saturation, reduces glare (particularly useful when photographing reflections in water) and tends to make shadows deeper and darker.

Erin began scrapbooking in 1997 as a creative way to share photos with long-distance friends and family members. She has contributed to numerous idea books with Making Memories, Provo Craft,  and Scrapbooks etc. magazine. Since 2002, Erin has been a frequent contributor to Scrapbooks etc. and currently works as one of their contributing editors. To see more of Erin’s work or to contact her, you can visit her blog at

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Jennifer’s December Daily Album #3

Here it is, my third and final December Daily album…adapted to my “12 Days of Christmas” theme. If you recall, I decided to make mine for each of my three college-age children. {Look here for details of the first and second albums.} Every day includes a space to write a brief personal note from Mom. For this one, I tried to create the album entirely myself using a line of Martha Stewart papers and a ribbon binding that I stitched on.

A little sparkly buckle holds a wire-edge ribbon belt in place. My love of all things embellishing means the book is bulging a bit. Oh well, what’s the holiday season without a little excess, right?

Inside are more of my favorite tiny envelopes with tags that pull out for journaling.

On some pages, I hid the journaling behind paper cut to match the layer beneath it—think matching up the patterns on wallpaper here.

Hands down, my favorite tiny journaling spot is on a red-and-white page made from paper that has a rickrack design and the words “Happy Holidays” printed across it. I stitched down the ends of green rickrack, tacking it also at the book’s center.

Then I adhered journaling paper to the backs of these ornament stickers. I’ll write a short and sweet message on them. The little clothespins really work! They hold the notes in place.

Knowing I’d have more to say than I could fit on the backs of those stickers, I also added some larger journaling places. Inside this envelope (whose edge I embellished with a border punch) is a small notebook page with more room to write.

A little matchbook cover gives me the chance to unfurl another hidden journaling spot. I used a foam-backed sticker to cover the spot where the brad pierces the paper.

Always one to finish up with some sparkle, I added a few jewelry dangles and a key to the top edge of the binding. {I confess, there’s almost nothing I see in the scrapbook store from 7Gypsies or Tim Holtz that I couldn’t incorporate into my projects.}

Now, I’d better get busy working on my little love notes to my kids. Remember, my goal was to simplify. That means I’ve got to have these books done by Thanksgiving so the kids can take them back to college after break. What was I thinking? YIKES! Gotta write….

{Jennifer Keltner is the Executive Editor of Scrapbooks etc., American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts and More.}

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Lisa’s Beginner Sewing December Daily Album

OK, so I’m new to the December Daily album thing. But after flipping through Ali Edwards’ December Daily albums from 2008 and 2009 decided I wanted participate in the Scrapbooks Etc. staff challenge.

Since I’m a first timer, I decided to start out small. I used the Envelope Album Kit from Little Yellow Bicycle. Instead of using the envelopes that were included in the kit, I decided to use a variety of paper collections. I trimmed them to 3-3/4×8-1/4 inches and punched holes to in the papers so I could use the two fasteners included in the kit.

IMG_7895I used red-and-cream-argyle paper (Mistletoe from Making Memories) for the front and back outside covers. One the front cover, I stacked the die cut shapes that form “2010” on top of a cream rectangle. (The die cuts are cut from Die Cuts with a View paper, Shimmer.)

IMG_7907useThe chipboard slider from Little Yellow Bicycle is one of my favorite embellishments in my December Daily album. All my friends and family better be nice to me on December 20. You don’t want your photo by the “NAUGHTY” arrow, do you?

IMG_7904-1useI did a little sewing, both by hand and machine. I sewed a small fabric swatch from the Maison de Garance collection by French General for Moda Fabrics on page 14.

IMG_7989-1I sewed through real buttons and added a dash of hot glue to make snowman on page 24.

IMG_7916-1And I also sewed on a paper button that embellishes a paper gift card envelope. (I used Accuquilt dies for the button and envelope.)

Even though I’m not quite sure what I’ll include on each page of my December Daily, I’m already excited to start adding photos, journaling, and more embellishments! I hope this is a December to remember!

{Lisa Schumacher is the Interactive Editor of}

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