I don't know about you but I'm always looking for little ways to save time. Our time is valuable afterall and there just never seems to be enough of it so today I've put together a few quick tips for you all guarunteed to shave a couple minutes off your memory recording experience leaving you plenty of extra time for making those memories!
QUICK TIP 1: fun & fabulous family photos
Each time you bring your camera out do your children smile directly at you on demand? I didn't think so. Mine don't either but I've definately got a few tricks up my sleeve that help. This tip does not apply to everyday photography but next time you set out to get a decent portrait of yours (or another persons) family pack along:
(a) a whoopee cushion
(b) a bubble maker (this could be a store bought toy - grab one now they're on clearance with all the summer toys - or a trustee bubble blowing assistant)
c) and some small treats
My favorite are smarties, they're called rockets here in Canada and I always stock up on them around halloween time. I'm not opposed to a little bribery now and then and these little treats are perfect for a quick little reward for sitting still, etc. They're bite size, can be chewed quickly and with little mess. They are perfect for busy toddlers because for them you don't want treats that are going to end up all over their face.
These are three of my favorite attention getting tricks and they're sure to make your next little photo session that much funner!
QUICK TIP 2: journaling is easier than you thought
Did you know that you could be scrapbooking and not even know it? Next time you're jotting down that cute little phrase your toddler just said in your daytimer or on the family calender give yourself a pat on the back because you are actually scrapbooking! Yes. You are! You are gathering journaling for future scrapbook pages in those few spare moments...how efficient are you!? After I had my third child I began to find it extremely difficult to squeeze in even a moment or two for scrapbooking. Gone were the days that I could sit and scrapbook for an hour or so at a time and so I began trying to find little things I could do during the day when I had five minutes to spare that would help me make the time I did manage to squeeze in for scrapbooking most efficient.
One thing I have found useful is our family calender. I have a large desk size calender that chronicals all of our daily comings and goings and it is also where I record a lot of my scrapbook page content. It's easily accessible and visible throughout the day which helps serve as a reminder to me to be on the lookout for scrapable moments. When I'm ready to sit and scrapbook all I need to do often times is refer to my calender when I'm in need of some journaling. I record things on my calender like:
-cute phrases the kids come up with
-photo ideas to remind me to take them at an upcoming event
-important dates (first tooth, first steps, etc.)
-thoughts I have about layout ideas based on events that have happened that day
-sweet interactions between my children or other little daily happenings that are worth mentioning
QUICK TIP 3: from simple to shabby in less than 5 minutes
Being a very straight lined, simple scrapbooker I have always admired those 'shabby chic' scrappers with their ellaborate layouts and beautiful techniques! I made an attempt or two at a 'shabby' page but it wasn't until I tried a simple spin on 'shabby' that I was able to create anything I was really happy with. Simple shabby is where it's at baby!
From simple Layout:
To Simple Shabby layout in just 5 minutes!
All I did to add a little 'shabby' to this layout is use my Heidi Swapp edge distresser (before I bought this I would just use my fingernail) and a few dabs of white paint. To keep the painting easy and quick I rarely use a paint brush, I simply squeeze out a bit of paint onto my finger, dab off the excess on a scrap paper and apply directly to my page leaving no brush to wash and keeping the whole process very simple and mess free.
QUICK TIP 4: a simple guide to posting your layouts online
The last tip of the day is a quick tutorial on how to get your layouts looking their best when sharing them online with friends and family. First I'll speak to those of you who prefer to photograph your layouts or those who do not have access to a scanner (that would be me). Most of the time when I photograph my layouts I end up getting something that looks a little like this:
Not too bad really, but it's hard to read the journaling and the background is a little distracting. So next time I photographed my layout here's what I did:
1. I mounted my layout on a blank wall with some scotch tape making sure it was nice and flat
2. I took my photo using a small aperture (use a large f-stop or flip your camera to the landscape setting) to make sure all of my layout was in focus. I was also sure to keep my layout straight and centered in my view finder
3. Next I opened my layout in Photoshop and got ready to crop it. To get your crop in line with all the edges of your layout all you need to do is open the crop tool, define the area you wish to crop but before you actually crop click on the little box at the top of the screen that says PERSPECTIVE and this will allow you to move each edge of your crop box to the exact dimensions of your layout. See the little perspective box up there:
Once I cropped around all the edges of my layout I added a little drop shadow around my layout and here is what I ended up with:
Looks pretty nice don't ya think?? :) Well whether you like to scan your layouts or photograph them adding a simple drop shadow around your edges is easier than you think. I have always admired the clean, professional look I'd seen others achieve by doing this and was fortunate enough to have some of my fellow collective members help me come up with these simple steps to achieve this look.
Adding a drop shadow:
1. With your layout cropped and ready to go in Photoshop open up a new document with slightly larger dimensions than your layout.
2. Drag your layout into the new document
3. In the LAYER window double click on the layer containing your layout as seen here on the right of the screen:
4. Once you've double clicked on the layout layer a layer style menu will pop up. Within this menu check DROP SHADOW and apply the following settings:
Blend Mode: Multiply
5. Now simply flatten your image save and you're ready to upload it to your favorite online gallery!
PS. If you are an elements user or you'd be more comfortable using a premade action to add a drop shadow to your next layout then this drop shadow action is for you!
Well, I think that'll do it for today. Stay tuned for a FABULOUS give away tommorow (hint: it will be from one of the companies I mentioned in my list of favorite products post on monday!) and in the meantime if you've got some other quick scrapbooking tips to share we're all ears!