We all know that often our photographs are the heart of our layouts. We research and research and pick out the best camera we can afford. Then we study and study to take the best photographs that we can. And then, we send these cared for, belabored, beloved photos to the drugstore to have them printed. And while it is cheap and easy, it doesn't quite give our photos the love they deserve.
Did you know that my best photos are printed at home? Truly. I can control the color balance and the sharpness so much better than when I send them away. And I can control the paper they are printed on. Let's talk about each.
The Epson R2000 is a beauty to behold. Measuring 25 inches wide and 13 inches deep, its majesty will be evident from the moment the box arrives at your door. Setup is easy, and it is wifi, which means that it doesn't need to sit right by your computer to work! I love that!
My favorite part of this printer is that it prints 13 inch wide paper and can handle a photopaper roll. Did you know you can print a photo that is 13 x 44? How cool is that? Imagine the possibilities.
Now, I must tell you, that paper matters. And Epson has so many to choose from. I would suggest their Velvet Fine Art Paper if you have something to print that will double as art. A print, a beautiful photo. Anything where you would love to see the depth of color. And for every photograph hanging in your home, be sure to try Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster. You will love the richness of the image, the thickness of the paper, and the clarity of the picture.
Here are some noteworthy items for those who like the details. When you use Velvet Fine Art Paper, you load the paper manually from the back. (And you can't forget as the printer dialogue box sends you a kind reminder! Hooray!) The instructions say to push the paper in as far as you can, and then wait. I set it politely on the tray and waited. And nothing! You really do need to slide the paper down as far as you can. It disappears about halfway. Really do push it in. This is not the time to be a mambi pambi. And then be sure to have a chair ready to sit down in as you might swoon when you see the results. Just sayin'... This paper is THICK. Think of the chipboard that comes in a paper pack for protection. Nearly that thick. Really. It is meant for display, too, so have place ready to go--you are going to want to put up your artwork immediately! And be patient once it comes out. Let it dry. Really dry. And then hold it gently by the edges and marvel. That you really did take a photo that was THAT good.
The Ultra Premium Luster paper reminds me of the first pack of photo paper that I bought long long ago, back before everything went cheap and light. It is as thick (or a bit more even) as the paper that your photo processing stand uses. Having read all the reviews that talked about how good this printer was for oranges and reds, I opted for a green photo. (Really,me? testing the rules, really? :) ) It was more than I could have hoped for. Which of course meant that I suddenly had to print a fall photo, too! The directions say to remove the printed photo from the tray, cover it with plain white paper, and let it sit for a minute. I did exactly that, letting the colors cure and that they did.
Honestly, I know I am a paper snob, refusing to buy the cheap bulk stuff even when money is tight. But I really believe that it is worth it. Otherwise I may as well send my photos to the random guy down the street. I don't skimp on butter or paper!! heehee.
There are a couple of other things to remember about printing at home. First, you can do it in the middle of the night. Second, you don't have to wait 30 minutes for your photos to print. Third, you can make them any size you want. Fourth, as you get to know your printer and how it looks compared to that which you see on your screen, you will learn the adjustments to make to get exactly what you want. And no matter how much you love your photo guy, he is not going to see it like you do. Isn't it time you took control over getting your photographs to look as good as they do in photoshop? I just know you will love the R2000 as much as I do.
Cricut has a new player in town and it is small and sleek and easy to use! The Cricut Mini has two switches, two internal adjustments, a lid and a couple of cords. That's it! It weighs a mere 5.5 pounds and sits prettily on any desk awaiting crafting fun.
As soon as I took it out of the box, I loved it more than the original. It takes up much less space on my desk. And I don't need cartridges! What?? I know.
Now rather than storing all my cartridges in my desk, I just set up an account in the Cricut Craft Room. You can load all your cartridges into your Craft Room account and put them away. You can buy more while you are there and they will be stored and kept safely away in your account.
In your Craft Room, you will see a virtual cutting matte. This becomes your project background. Here you can add shapes, or type words or phrases. Then you can resize, skew, flip, or rotate your images with a click and a drag of your mouse. You can see exactly where it will cut, allowing you to move your images close together to maximize your medium. Imagine using less vinyl as you can now put all your projects on the matte at the same time!
Not only can you place images side by side, but you can also layer them up, so that you can see how they will look stacked. When it comes to cutting time, they will cut one layer at a time, just as you have come to expect.
Even though the Mini is not a standalone machine (as you need your computer and an internet connection to use it), you will love what you can do. My two favorite features are having my cartridges linked to my account, and getting to see on my screen what is going to be cut. It helps me feel more brave when I can plot it out exactly. A close runner up for favorite features is that when I push the cut button, it prompts me as to my trimming settings. I no longer have to look up what depth, speed, or pressure is proper for my paper, vinyl, or fabric.
Lastly, Cricut is currently offering a rental program for their holiday cartridges. Holiday Rental Bundles are available for purchase until December 31 and you can choose between two 60-day rental options: the Holiday Basics Bundle (700 images of holiday-themed digital artwork and Cricut Craft Room exclusive images) for $19.99, or the Holiday Deluxe Bundle (Basics Bundle plus nearly 500 additional images from previously released Christmas cartridges) for $29.99.
Scrapbook & Cards Today
Have you though about a subscription to our favorite scrapbooking magazine? Scrapbook and Cards Today is a wonderful stocking stuffer. (One you could buy for yourself! This Mrs. Clause loves to surprise others with the delights in my own stocking!) For the mere price of shipping, you could have the lustrous and wonderful Scrapbook & Cards Today in your hot little hands four times a year. And you will love everything about it. Don't forget to stop by to see the new edition which is hot off the presses today!
Jessica Sprague Project Life Class
It is no secret that Project Life has transformed the scrapbooking world. Much as her original scrapbooking how to books offered us permission to scrapbook with clean lines and lots of photos, Becky's new system offers us permission to enjoy more and record more, with less. Less time. Less guilt. And less stuff. Imagine how fun it would be to give the gift of Project Life this year!
Becky Higgins (creator or Project Life) has given Jessica Sprague her exclusive stamp of approval to teach a Digital Project Life in Photoshop class! This online, video-based class will teach the basic Photoshop tools to create Project Life pages that integrate photographs, templates, embellishments and type. The class will run from January 7 – 13, 2013. But don’t worry if that week is a busy one for you – all class content that you purchase from JessicaSprague.com is available to you forever! Awesome, no?
Support Local Artists
We have some favorites we thought you might like!
Who wouldn't love a print or mini album from Monika Wright's etsy shop?
Francine Clouden has some delightful peekaboo journals in her shop, Callaloo Soup Designs.
And lastly, our favorite irreverent, Cheryl Overton, has a delightful new holiday print that is sure to make you snort.
And for the extra news... Today is a surprise holiday
We have three lovely items for you today. One of you will take home a new Cricut Mini, thanks to the generosity of Provo Craft.
And our third lucky number will receive a seat in Jessica Sprague's Project Life Class. But wait, there's more! We all want amazing pictures for our Project Life Projects, so the giveaway also includes Jessica’s new Photo Editing 1 class. This new and improved version of Jessica’s most popular class will help you take your photos from good to great! This course, which is the first in a photo editing series, focuses on global editing - things you can apply to an entire photo. You'll learn the basic photo editing techniques to take your photos straight from the camera through simple transformations that will have you (and your loved ones) saying WOW!
If you would like to be considered for our amazing holiday giveaway, please leave us a comment telling us your favorite WCS blog features (i.e. monthly gallery, printables, giveaways, etc.) If you would like extra comment opportunities, please like Cricut, Scrapbook Cards & Today, or Jessica Sprague on Facebook. Or you can follow Cricut on their Pinterest page. Then pop back by and leave a comment telling us that you have stopped by the other pages!
We will leave comments open through Sunday evening. Three lucky numbers will be drawn at random and posted on Monday morning. Please remember to check back to see if yours is the lucky number. If it is, please claim it by email (writeclickscrapbook at gmail dot com) by the time the clock strikes twelve on Tuesday night!
Happy Hanukkah tomorrow!
A special thank you to Epson for providing the R2000 printer and papers, and Provo Craft for providing the Cricut Mini for trial and review. We appreciate their sponsorship for our fourth annual WCS For the Holidays celebration!