Posts Tagged ‘digital scrapbooking’
I have to admit it: The future of scrapbooking seems to be limited.
Yep, I said that out loud. In public. For the world to see.
Today, Becky Higgins and Cathy Zielske posted on Facebook a link to a Studio 5 production called “Is Scrapbooking Dead?” that will air tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 14. My gut reaction, as sad as it makes me, is, “Yeah, I think it’s close.”
Somehow, I don’t think Becky, in particular, would agree. (And frankly, I hope I’m wrong.)
You see, Becky Higgins pioneered a new way of memory keeping for one-time scrapbookers who were faced with the challenge of having little time to scrap. It’s called Project Life. It sounds great in theory, and honestly, the product is beautiful.
But here’s the problem.
Project Life requires very little product – and all of the product is available from one source: Becky herself. Becky’s popularity within the scrapbooking industry is admirable. There’s hardly a scrapbooker out there – at least anyone who has been scrapping since Becky’s days at Creating Keepsakes magazine – who doesn’t know Becky’s name.
Basically, the important part about that statement is that there is very little need for Becky to pay for advertising, because other scrapbookers the world over are promoting her site on their own blogs and in their publications.
But advertising is what drives this creativity-inspired industry.
Project Life’s simplistic view of scrapbooking – and the resulting lesser need for the stickers, specialty papers, fibers, stamps, die cuts, die-cut machines, adhesives, albums, page protectors, buttons, beads, embossing inks, border punches, standard punches, idea books and other must-haves paper scrapbookers have used for years – could very well be contributing to the problem of a dying artistic scrapbooking industry.
Without demand for products, product manufacturers’ businesses will fail. When the scrapbooking product lines can’t survive, neither can the advertising-driven magazines. When the magazines started dying a few years ago (Simple Scrapbooks, Digital Scrapbooking Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens’ Scrapbooks Etc.), I’m afraid, so did people’s (mine included) regular, predictable, delivered-to-your-door, don’t-have-to-hunt-for-it-online stream of inspiration. When inspiration dies, so does the industry.
I was once a twice-weekly scrapper, but I haven’t scrapbooked in months. I have completed fewer layouts this entire year than I would have done in a month or less a year or two ago. It’s not for a lack of time. I have more free time, likely, than I did a couple of years ago. And it’s not for a lack of interest in the art form. I absolutely love creating layouts that capture stories, photos and memories. LOVE IT. But I don’t have that hard-copy inspiration source in my hand every night as I fall asleep. I used to subscribe to four scrapbook magazines. Only one survives. I have to supplement that with other reading materials (other magazines and novels) to make it through the month or two before my next scrapbook magazine arrives, which means that during a large chunk of the month, I ‘m not getting my daily dose of scrappin’ inspiration. And while it’s true that there are plenty of inspiration sources online – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – I find that I rarely take the time to sit in front of a screen simply to find inspiration. It’s just not the same as shutting down mentally and flipping through a magazine as I relax before falling asleep at night. It’s just not the same.
Before I go, I do want to acknowledge that digital scrapbooking also uses fewer products than traditional ones – but there are still many designers and many products being produced on a daily basis. I am hopeful that someone out there will find a way to create a business model that will thrive on inexpensive advertisements from digital designers, who are making very little income on their designs (largely because so many designers offer so many freebies, that many digital scrapbookers do not pay for the design elements they use…another problem to tackle on a different day). In the meantime, I’m hopeful that each of you reading this will make a trip to your local scrapbook store or digital design shoppe and buy something to support this industry we all love…and then share with me what you feel about the future of the scrapbooking industry.
What do you think? Is scrapbooking dead?
My husband just finished a week of playing Drill Sergeant Willgo at Vacation Bible School at our church. It was a little bit of a stretch for him, mainly because he was tasked with talking to the kids about Jesus, sharing the Gospel each night with 30 young people. It was a little nerve-racking for him at first, but he did it, and it was awesome.
- Sergeant Willgo, BOOT Camp logo and camouflage artwork: Truth Quest VBS materials
- Fonts: Stencil (title) and Gill Display Compressed (journaling)
In just a couple of weeks, we will celebrate 13 years of marriage. Thirteen! And what is even more amazing, we have been together almost 18 years…more than half of my lifetime. Wow. We have come a long way in those 18 years. We started together as just kids, teenagers in love who believed that as long as they loved each other, a shared life would be a piece of cake. And while we were admittedly a bit naive, especially when our two individual lives joined in marriage at young ages (22 for me, six days shy of 23 for you), I think we were wiser than anyone (including we) believed at the time. Because as it turns out, all we need IS love. Well, love and trust in God’s plan for us. God has clearly shown us that love will get us through this crazy life together. After all, if we didn’t truly love each other, surely one of us would have given up by now! We are both type-A personalities, fiercly independent, sometimes impatient, often stubborn and “always right.” So how on earth we have managed to survive for 18 years without killing each other, honestly, is beyond me! But I’m glad we have. I’m glad we have had our trials and our hard times. Because they have confirmed for me, over and over again, that with faith in God, love will prevail. It always does.
I would never call my 9-year-old son a “mama’s boy” in front of him, for fear he would be immediately embarrassed and determined never to do anything ever again that would make him appear to be such. But the truth is, I love that he sort of is, for lack of a better term, a mama’s boy. One of the best things about that is that he’s not afraid to talk to me about what is on his mind – something I pray will continue throughout his lifetime.
I wanted to scrapbook this relationship (carefully avoiding the term “mama’s boy” in the journaling!) while he’s young, so that if he does eventually stop telling me how he feels about these important little moments of his life, I can at least remember that there was a time when he felt free to open up to me. (Then I can take comfort in blaming it on the fact that he’s just too old or too cool to talk with his mom; it can’t be anything personal, right?!)
I hope I never get into a habit of making bedtime such a rushed thing that we miss out on these opportunities. It’s easy to do some days, especially when we’ve had practice for sports and the kids’ showers take so long that we’re way past what we shoot for as a “normal” bedtime. I have to consciously remind myself to stop, relax and take the couple of extra minutes to be there for each of my kids as the day winds down. It’s truly one of my most treasured blessings as a parent to tuck the kiddos in at night.
I also included the words to the JJ Heller song, “What Love Really Means,” because there’s a part of my journaling that triggered a connection to that song. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it here. It’s worth the time!
Gabe, you and I have a relationship that is very important and very precious to me. You are my only son, my first-born child and one of the brightest lights of my life. I value the fact that you talk to me about all kinds of things, from sports you play or watch, to what you want to do when you get old enough to work, to the things kids at school say or do that hurt you. We often talk at night, when you’ve just crawled into bed and I’ve come in to say goodnight. I try not to rush those moments, because they’re some of the best of my day. It’s a chance for the two of us to talk about what’s on your mind. Sometimes it’s nothing more than that you’re looking forward to your next basketball game or that you got an A on a math test. But sometimes it’s more, and I get a peek into your mind and heart and soul, something that doesn’t happen as often as I would like during the rest of our busy lives together, but something I treasure among the best rewards of being your mom.
I love you, Gabe. I know you feel you’re “too old” for kisses and hugs from your mom (even in the privacy of our home), and I respect that, even though I feel I am missing an opportunity to show you I love you when I pass up a chance to hug you. But I want you to always remember that there is nothing you could possibly do – nothing! – that would ever make me not love you. Nothing. (Allow me to say that once again, for good measure: There is nothing you could do that would ever make me not love you!) As you continue to grow up, you’ll probably do things you’re not proud of doing, and you might be ashamed to tell your dad and me about them. But I hope you do anyway. Because if you can gather up that courage to tell us even your deepest secrets or regrets, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to see that we love you for you, not because of what you have done but because of who you are. And when you add “courageous” and “honest” to the long list of all of the other descriptions of who we know you to be, how could we not still love you?
(That doesn’t mean we won’t ground you, though!)
Lots of love,
This song pretty much sums up what I mean when I say your dad and I will always love you for you. (And always remember that God will always love you, too!) Hunt it down and listen to it!
What Love Really Means
Artist: JJ Heller
He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please…
Could you send someone here who will love me?”
Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me
What love, what love really means
What love really means
Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner then he would’ve stayed
And she says…
Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me
What love, what love really means
What love really means
He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul,
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home.”
Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said, “I know you’ve murdered
And I know you’ve lied
And I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”
I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
(My apologies to JJ Heller for the technical copyright infringement of posting the lyrics online. I hope you don’t mind! I love your song and wanted to share it!)
- Blue background paper: School Days Primary Papers Paper Pack, Pixels and Pix Digital Design
- Tag paper and tab (greenish items): Personal creations, not part of a kit
Ready for a freebie?
My School Days kits are slowly coming together (much more slowly than I had hoped, thanks to a busy work and home schedule, but such is life!), and I’m trying to release at least one new kit a week until they’re all posted. Watch my Etsy Shop for new releases, and I’ll post them here when they’re up and going, too!
In the meantime, enjoy this little freebie! (Download here.)
This set of eight crayons coordinates with the School Days series and is perfect for embellishing those layouts for elementary school students, preschool kids, artsy types, day care experiences and more! Have fun! And if you use them on a layout you post later online in a gallery, on your blog or on Facebook, please drop me a note in the comments section so I can see your lovely work!
I’m excited to share that my first three kits in my School Days series are finally for sale! Due to Lulu.com no longer supporting the sale of digital products, I have opened an Etsy shoppe and hope you’ll hop on over to pick up my newest products.
Here is what’s available:
Primary Elements Pack
Primary Paper Pack
Buy it now for just $6. (Typically, my paper packs will not be $6, but this one is chock full of 43 papers! If you were buying them in a scrapbook store, they would cost you more than $20!)
Grade Titles Add-on Pack
Oh, it’s so close! I am wrapping up the final steps to preparing my School Days series of kits for release very soon! I have encountered another speed bump (finding out Lulu is definitively not hosting any more digital items for sale as of October) and am working on opening an Etsy.com shop as another method for selling my kits, so that’s taking a little time as well. But things are moving along, and we’ll be up and ready for sale soon!
In the meantime, take a sneak peek at a few of the kits I have packaged and ready to go. I am still working on packaging some variations of these kits, so there will be more to come soon, but these will give you an idea of the kinds of kits that will be coming!
This will be the primary paper pack. While there will be additional paper packs that contain variations of these papers in different tints and shades of the color scheme, this will be the main kit and will contain the most papers. (Again, this is a preview only! It will be for sale soon!)
The Lines & Ledgers packs are perhaps my favorites!
This is the main titles kit, but there will also be another word-art kit with similar titles that include things like “fall school photo,” “teacher,” “field trip” and more.
Well, that gives you a taste of what’s to come! If you want an earlier sneak peek at products in the future, be sure to like my Facebook page!
Hope your kiddos are off to a great start this school year!
Yes, sometimes I do. And sometimes God has a way of doing just that — knocking me upside the head when I need a reality check. The last half of July and the first half of August have flown by in a blur as I have been dealing with some heavy-duty family stuff (plus a little light-hearted family vacation, which was pleasant but not particularly productive!). Digital scrapbooking (as much as I totally love it) needed to take a back seat for a while, and thus, I unintentionally fibbed by promising I’d have my School Days kit ready in time for going back to school. (Our kiddos start tomorrow. Yours might have already started??) Anyway, it’s one of my priorities for this week, so hold tight for me, if you will, please. It’s coming.
In the meantime, enjoy a little freebie, an alphabet border perfect for those back-to-school pages. (Click here to download the 12″ version. If you click on the image below, you’ll get a tiny version.)
I know I’ve been chatting about my School Days kit “coming soon” for quite a while now. The truth is, I lost my energy for design for a few weeks and just needed a break. The good news is, last night I stayed up late and worked on my new kit for a few hours. It’s getting exciting again, so I know it’s time I finish this up and release it ASAP! I hope you love it.
Here is a layout (not school-related) I created a week or so ago using some of the papers I had finished to date. I needed to play with them and see if everything would come together like I wanted them to. I was a little concerned that the papers were too grungy for a school days theme, and I was worried about having to start all over with them. But now that I’m back in my groove, I have decided I like them. I hope you do too.
So stay tuned. School Days (the kit) will be release in time for your little ones to return to school.
- All papers: School Days by Pixels and Pix Digital Design by Corie Farnsley (coming soon!)
- Fonts: CK Stars and CK Newsclips (title), Myraid Pro (journaling)
(Warning up front: This is a long post, so if you want to jump to the meat of it – comparing three digital hardbound book printers – click here!)
This is definitely one of my favorite things about digital scrapbooking: Printing all of my layouts together in a hardbound, coffee-table-quality book. I actually just recently received my third hardbound book, and I was giddy with excitement when the UPS man dropped it at my doorstep!
Getting your finished layouts from screen to scrapbook is easier than you might think. It’s simply a matter of organizing all of those finished layouts in a way that makes sense for an album, then uploading those photos like you would any other photo to an online photo developer who offers photo book printing.
For me, organizing my layouts for a hardbound book means I need a beginning and an end for my layouts, and because I don’t generally scrapbook my “everyday” layouts in chronological order, the best topics for hardbound books tend to be theme albums. My three hardbound books include a memorial album for my grandmother, a wedding album and a vacation album. Each had a definite beginning and end, and I knew when I was done scrapping these topics. (This is unlike my normal albums; for example, I still might go back and do a page from my son’s first year, even though he’s now 9 years old, just because the mood strikes.)
It’s easiest for me to organize my layouts before I try to create an album online. This means combining all of my JPGs for the album into one folder on my computer, then naming each file, starting with the number corresponding with the page I want the layout to occupy in the book. (Don’t forget to name the low-end numbers with zeroes in front to keep pages in alpha-numerical order. So, for that first layout of the book, name it something like “01 – cover.” Otherwise, your files will be ordered with page 1 right before page 11, page 2 right before 22 and so on.) This way, your layouts will be organized in your folder in numerical order, so you can see exactly how they will fall in your printed book. If you scrapbook in two-page spreads, you’ll want to chart out your layouts on paper so you know your two-page layouts won’t get separated into two separate spreads.
So, for the wedding album I did, I might chart something like this:
|Page Number||File Name|
|Cover||01 – cover.jpg|
|Pages 2-3 (spread)||02-03 – title and introduction.jpg|
|Pages 4 -5 (spread)||04-05 – bride and groom formal.jpg|
|Page 6||06 – invitation.jpg|
|Page 7||07 – location.jpg|
The added benefit to this numerical file-naming is that when you upload your layouts into your photo book printer’s online software, they will load in the order you want them to be placed in the book, so you avoid fishing through all of your layouts to get them in order at that time. And at the time when you’re uploading everything, you’re just ready to be done, so anything that makes it faster at that point is worth it, right?
Choosing an online printer
One of the benefits of digital scrapbooking (and the simpler, even more popular photobooking) becoming more popular over time is that there are now several options for choosing a company to print your photo book/digital scrapbook. When I started digital scrapbooking in 2006, I only knew of a couple of printers that offered hardbound, coffee-table-style books for digital layouts. Now the options are much greater, but taking the time to decide who will do the best job for your special project can be a little overwhelming.
But it pays to do your research.
My experience has been that you get what you pay for. I’ll share my specific experiences with three different printers, but keep in mind that these are simply one consumer’s experiences. Take my advice with a grain of salt, and know that not everyone will experience the same challenges. Also keep in mind that I printed these three books over a period of time that spans several years, and things change (often for the better) over time.
Here are the three companies I used and my opinions about each.
I printed my first book with Heritage Makers in 2006. They did an awesome job. The page thickness and color accuracy were high-quality. I paid about $75 for an 80-page, 12×12 book. (Note, though, that when I recently looked into printing from them again, the price had increased quite a bit.) They didn’t offer a custom spine at the time, but I believe they do now. It was a little bit cumbersome (OK, a bit of a pain) to have to make contact with and order my product through a consultant before I could do anything online, but that would be my only complaint. All in all, I loved this book, and it has held up nicely over time. I would recommend this printer to friends without hesitation.
OK, this is where I hesitate a bit. I printed with Blurb in 2007, I believe (or early 2008 at latest). I printed a small book, 7×7, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the quality. The color, specifically the reds, was not quite right, leaving some pages oddly tinted, which was sometimes most noticeable on tan faces. At the time, Blurb did not offer a custom cover, so I ordered a custom dust jacket on their standard album. The dust jacket was not folded on center, so the spine text was not centered on the spine, and the cover images were not centered. There were several small globs of glue on the back cover that were not noticeable when the dust jacket is in place, but when the cover is removed to make looking at the book less clumsy, are rather noticeable. The pages are a little thinner and seem to be bound a little less sturdily than Heritage Makers’ product (a look at the top of the album shows that the pages were cut at an odd angle), and the images inside were not super-crisp, either. The price was hard or impossible to beat (just about $35, I think, for a 74-page album), but I was left a little disappointed in the end. I will say, however, that I believe they now offer a custom cover, and I imagine that over time their color issues have improved. However, I have been nervous to try this printer again. (If you have used Blurb for a photo book/digital scrapbook and have had a better experience, please leave a comment below so we can share that with everyone!)
The most recent book I did was through Shutterfly. I chose a padded cover for a 12×12 book that had 100 pages, and I absolutely love the feel of the padding. The book feels substantial and very high-quality. The pages are super-thick, and the quality of the color and pages is overall very high-quality. I will say that if you design your own pages in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (rather than use Shutterfly’s page-design software), you might choose to turn off the aut0-correct color feature. Mine had a dark gray, lightly patterned background on all pages that turned out black in the final product as a result of the color-correction process. The price of the book was a bit expensive ($120-ish, on sale), but then, when I was researching printing this time around, price hikes were across the board. Shutterfly’s sale brought its prices down to one of the most reasonable of the printers I had researched. (I’ll share more info about that research in another post soon.)
While I was very happy with the overall quality of my book through Shutterfly, I will say that I had two big issues with the printing. First, the title on the spine was truncated. So, while the title was supposed to be “Colorado 2010: A family vacation,” all that printed was “Colorado 2010: A famil.” And page 15 was blank, even though there was definitely a page uploaded and placed in the original layout online. I double-checked my online proof, and both of these issues turned out to be Shutterfly’s mistakes. After a call to customer service, though, I am happy to report that they are reprinting the books for free. I had ordered two copies – one as a gift and one for myself – and they are printing and shipping both at no cost. So in the end, I’m a happy camper, even though I will be waiting for a “good” copy for some time.
From top: Blurb, Heritage Makers, Shutterfly
From top: Blurb, Heritage Makers, Shutterfly
And that’s a wrap!
That’s an overview. I could talk about this all day, but I imagine my wordiness has led some people to move on by now! Just wanted to share my experiences. I would love to hear if you have printed hardbound books yourself and what your experiences have been like. We can all learn from each others’ experiences, and hopefully we will be more prepared to make educated choices for our next album printings!
Oh, and watch for a post in the near future detailing my research (page counts, costs, options, etc.) on several photo book printers!