To start out today we have a little bit of business to take care of. First, notice that the July gallery, The Love of Color, is up to my right! Please take a few minutes to check out the new layouts from all of us here. I'm so impressed with what these gals create. Next, look down below the list of our names and check out our new flickr tab. It's showing the latest layouts uploaded to our flickr gallery, which is pretty cool. I'll hope you'll begin sharing layouts in our flickr gallery. We plan to have challenges or sketches each week (mine's coming on Friday), and we hope everyone will start playing along. We've loved the layouts that have been shared there already. Next, check out the new tab (to the far right) for the Craft Diva Lounge Radio show. Members of the WCS will be regularly featured every first and third Wednesday of the month! Elizabeth Dillow will be the first interview - listen to her live today at 12-1 pm EST! If you miss it, don't worry, you can listen anytime. And finally, if you want to tell even more people about us here, grab a blinkie for your blog, either on our navigation bar, or down below our list of sponsors.
Oops, I said finally, but that's not the last announcement. I've been telling you that we'll have our very first guest blogger coming to visit tomorrow, and it's finally time to tell you who she is. Check in tomorrow to meet digital scrapper extraordinaire, Renee Pearson. She'll be answering digital questions and bringing something to give away to one lucky commenter!
My last little bit of business is to thank everyone who has left comments or questions. I've had a wonderful time hearing from you - it makes posting so much more fun knowing there's someone out there reading this. And some of you have asked really great questions which I'll answer in my post today.
Part A: Journaling
I've talked a lot about how important I think journaling is, and it might sound like I think every layout requires a lengthy chronicle of your life. The truth is that I almost always think a page with journaling is more interesting, but some of my pages end up with little or no journaling. That's because journaling takes some time, and it takes some work. And the bottom line is that I scrapbook because I like it. Yes, I want to preserve memories, but that is really secondary to the fact that I like making layouts. I don't believe in scrapbooking because I feel like it's something I should be doing. It's something I want to do. So some of my pages look like this:
I loved this picture but really had nothing to say about it. So instead of journaling I focused on the design, which is something I also really enjoy.
But you've probably figured out already that I try to journal on the majority of my pages. But what do you do when you really don't know what to say about the pictures you have? What do you do when journaling doesn't come easily? Pasha commented yesterday that sometimes she doesn't finish a page for months because the journaling just seems daunting. Sue commented that she'd like to add more journaling, but doesn't feel like she's a very creative writer. Where do they begin?
In this layout you can probably guess that Jack likes catching grasshoppers, so I added the detail that I don’t like them. This detail gives the journaling a little conflict (writing lesson: conflict = interest). What I should have done is add one more detail: why I don’t like them (think lawnmower holocaust). But I didn’t, and that’s ok. As it stands, my journaling still tells us something the pictures don't.
I struggled with the journaling for this next layout for a while, because I could not come up with anything to say other than the fact that my kids looked cute in their dad's graduation hat, and the pictures already say that. So I just started typing anything and everything I could think of that relates to this picture. This is called free writing, and I do it all the time. It's a great way to get started when you aren't sure what you want to say. One sentence generally leads to another, and it doesn't matter if they are good sentences, because your aren't writing the actual journaling yet - you are just writing down thoughts as they come. As I wrote, I realized I had two details down that the pictures aren't saying already: 1) that all three boys want to grow up to be BYU professors just like Dad, and 2) that Jackson wants to work there for the food. I did a quick rewrite based on these two details, and my journaling was ready.
If you have a little more time to play with your layout, include more than one detail, maybe even a whole list of them. I liked this picture that my son took of me and decided it should go in my scrapbook, but I didn't have much to say about it. So I spent a day or two thinking up random details about myself that haven’t been written down anywhere (remember, your journaling does not have to be about what was happening when the picture was taken). I wrote down the sort of thing I might say if someone asked me to tell them a little bit about myself (after I had covered the where I’m from and how many kids I have and suchly). And then I made this layout:
So next time you find yourself staring at pictures you have nothing to say about, take a minute to think about what the pictures aren’t saying. Try to come up with one detail, something you wouldn’t know just by looking at these photos on a layout, and add that to your page.
Check back on Friday for a writing challenge!
Part B: Digital Q&A
Do you print out your digital pages? Isn’t printing really expensive? Won’t I spend a lot of money buying a bunch of digital supplies? Is digital really any cheaper than paper?
I do print out my pages. Since I make both digital and paper layouts, I like to mix them all together in sheet protectors in a 3-ring binder. Worries about what would be the best way to print my layouts and whether it would be cost effectives is probably what kept me from trying digital for a long time.
The cost of printing depends a lot on the size of your layouts. I scrap 8.5x11 pages, and I have found that the cheapest printing option for me is to put two 8.5x11 pages (or a two page spread) on a 12x18 background in Elements, then print that 12x18 out at Costco for $3. So printing cost for each page is $1.50. I think this is fairly reasonable when you compare it to the cost of cardstock and photo printing for a normal page. I especially like to use large photos on my digital pages, like this one which uses a photo that's 11 inches tall. I would have had to print this large picture out on an 8x12 page, which would have cost about $1.50 for that one photo alone. So I feel like printing digital pages is fairly cost effective, especially for layouts that use large prints.
If you scrap 12x12, printing is going to be more expensive. I don’t think I have found 12x12 prints for much less than $3 anywhere (if you’ve found a better price, let us all know!). However, many people who are used to scrapping at 12x12 make digital pages that are 8x8, which ends up being around $1.50 (or less) at many places.
****ETA: one of our readers, Alex, just posted a great tip in the comments section - she prints her 12x12 layouts at www.scrappingsimply.com, and they are only $1.99 each. Looks like 8.5x11 is $1.89 and 8x8 are only 99 cents. Thanks Alex! Check the comments section for a tip on free shipping from Blurooferika - thank you! Another reader, Kim, posted this website as well, which has great prices. Thanks, Kim!***
If you are willing to save up all your pages and have them printed at once in a photobook, you can save even more money. An 8.5x11 photobook at Shutterfly starts at $30 for 20 pages, which is $1.50 per page, and then you don’t have the cost of page protectors and albums to add to that. Additional pages are even cheaper, at $1 more. (12x12 books are more expensive.) And you can usually find coupon codes on the internet that will save you even more. (Check back Saturday to see the Disneyland album I printed through SHutterfly and hear abut the good deal I got.) I’ve heard that artscow.com is a great place to check out 12x12 and 8x8 photo books (20 page 12x12 books start at only $24.99!). Lots of other places, like Winkflash and even Sam's Club, offer photo books, but I'll tell you on Saturday why I used Shutterfly.
***ETA - another reader, Tiff, recommends you check out blurb.com for photobook printing. Looks like they have lots of sizes and great prices. Thanks, Tiff!***
When it comes to supplies, your cost really depends on you. There are tons of digital freebies available (check here here for a good list of websites offering digital freebies), so if you are willing to take the time to find them, you can end up with a lot of supplies without a big investment. And digital supplies are endlessly re-usable and customizable, which makes them a great value—IF you reuse them. Once you are more comfortable with Photoshop Elements, you might even find yourself making your own embellishments. On this layout, I used a few pieces of purchased patterned paper and an overlay on the photo. But I used fun fonts (free), circles and lines (free), and textures (free) to make the layout even more interesting. So a few digital supplies can go a long way.
So bottom line, I’d say digital certainly CAN be cheaper than paper, but isn’t necessarily so, especially once you see the fabulous supplies out there that you’ll want to buy up.
One last note about all those freebies: Be selective about what you download, and find a good organization system right away! I try to download just a few things at a time, and immediately go through kits and delete items I don’t absolutely love. Then I organize in folders by website and manufacturer, and then tag items by category in Adobe Bridge. This way I only keep what I like, and I know where to find it. It is way too easy to end up with hundreds (or thousands) of digital elements that you may never use on a layout.
Please check back tomorrow, when digital extraordinaire Renee Pearson will be joining us to answer more in-depth digital questions. Don't forget, she'll be bringing something special to give away!
And come see me again on Friday - I'll have a challenge that will include a little freebie to share!