Saturday, March 20, 2010

Geocaching Washout!! Ugh!!

Well we finally have an absolutely beautiful Saturday and no other plans for the day, so the youngest and I decided to go geocaching! I guess the popularity of geocaching must be picking up around here, because when I logged on to find caches in the area that we haven't found yet there were actually quite a few. We found three in a fairly close area only about 3 or so miles from our house -- that's three miles as the crow flies, so the real distance is actually a bit further. Anyway, I guess we've been away from it for too long and we've lost our geo-sense because we had no luck on either of the first two we tried -- and they were supposed to be easy. I hate when that happens. :(  And of course I neglected to print out the hints, which actually probably would have helped quite a bit. The third one we couldn't even try because the road was closed. So total wash out. Oh, well, there's always next time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big News!!

Well, I have big news -- I joined a digi-scrapping store!! Yes, I answered a design call and was accepted! The store is relatively new and is called A Moment in Scrap. I have posted more information about the store and about my debut kit over on my scrapbooking design blog: (Of course, I'll add a previews to the end of this post also!)

I've also decided to officially change the focus of this blog to general musings. I'll be posting all scrapbook-related  stuff on my designsbyjmdt blog.

So here are the previews (by the way, Irish Eyes is a freebie!):

Thanks for looking and don't forget to check my other blog.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learning Photoshop

Here is it mid-February and as of yet I haven't posted any freebies on my other blog. There's actually a couple of reasons: with all the snow my kids have had a really long, extended vacation the past week; I've gotten a couple of genealogy-related emails that have prompted me to do some (as of yet unfruitful) research; and I downloaded and am trying out photoshop! Yes, after all these years of being a HUGE fan of PSP, I decided to give photoshop cs4 a trial run.

It all started with Corel releasing a new version of PSP. I downloaded the 30-trial and was really disappointed in the new feature set. They really focused on some of the photo-editing features, and particularly work flow using the organizer. Personally, I am not a big fan of the organizer. In earlier releases it slowed my computer down so much so that I created my custom workspace without it - and, yes, PSP performance on my computer was greatly increased without it!! What I was most hoping for was better text support -- like creating text within a shape -- and also better support of layer styles.

So the timing could not have been more ripe when a few days after checking out PSP X3, I got an email from Adobe for a special offer for Photoshop CS4! So I downloaded the trial to give it a try. The last week or so I have been trying out all the photoshop tutorials I can get my hands on (one of the best sites is scrapbook-bytes). I am absolutely loving clipping masks and layer styles!! Naturally I'm still on a learning curve with much of the product. It's a little frustrating - especially learning a new set of keyboard short cuts, but I am really enjoying the added functionality that I have come across so far!!

At this point, I am trying to learn the product better by working on tutorials and making some scrapbook layouts. Hopefully before long I'll be back to creating some papers and elements. So stay tuned - I will hopefully have more freebies ready soon!!

P.S. A special thank you to Rachel who left a comment on my last blog post confirming that Shutterfly books are glued, not sewed. It is, however, reassuring to know that Shutterfly stood behind their product when some pages came loose from her photobook.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My First Shutterfly Photobook

I got my 8x8 Shutterfly book a couple of days ago and I am totally thrilled with it!!! It is a hard cover book with a custom cover. I chose to make this book about my children and so the cover is a layout featuring all three of them. I left the back cover blank and added a title to the spine. The whole look of the book is very professional!!

Inside the pages have a nice, substantial feel. Since I ordered the book spur of the moment in order to take advantage of a coupon, I was mostly pulling together previously made layouts. I used 12x12 layouts that I sized down to 8x8 at 300 dpi. I then uploaded the 8x8 jpegs to Shutterfly and drug them onto the pages in the order I had previously decided. I guess at first I must have clicked on the wrong option because Shutterfly wanted to automatically populate the pages with the pictures. The easiest thing was to quit out of that and have it start over with a completely blank book.

The pages themselves look amazing. The color is very good. The full bleed was perfect -- no white slivers. Compared to the originals, some of the layout edges were slightly trimmed, but as I didn't have text or photos up to the edge, they were not affected. The biggest consideration in terms of the design is to be careful of the gutter where the pages come together in the center of the book. Since the book is glued and "perfect-bound" it is really important to keep design elements and especially photos and text away from that edge. And even though this book is really gorgeous, I think if the pages were coordinated and made with a consistent color pallet it would be even more amazing!!

All and all the process was very easy and the quality is as good or better than I had hoped! The only (slight) reservation I have is that I think I read somewhere that the binding is glued and not sewed, so it is possible that the pages may eventually come loose. Hopefully that won't happen to my book -- at least for a very long while.

Well, that's my update on Shutterfly books! I would highly recommend them, especially when they are running sales and/or specials.

That's it for now!!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

So Many Changes...

Well 2010 is really starting out with change in the air! Both SAS (StoneAccentsStudio) and DDR (DigiDesignResort) are moving to new servers and SAS changed names to Digital Scrapbooking Studio. The good news is that DSS (formerly SAS) is mostly back online. As of this posting, however, DDR is still down. That's too bad because I was really hoping to do all of their challenges. Hopefully they will be back soon so that there will still be enough time.

I also finally ordered my very first photo book from Shutterfly. They sent me a coupon for a free 20 page hard-cover 8X8 book. All I needed to pay was tax, shipping and handling - quite a bargain! The problem was that the coupon was only good for a few days. There was no way I was going to have my ancestor book ready in such a short amount of time, but I had some layouts of my children and decided to center the book around them. Many of the layouts were made for challenges, and some I had made and never posted online. They really weren't made with the idea that they would be put together in a book, so the colors and designs are not at all coordinated. But, it will give me a chance to see the Shutterfly book quality for myself, and the price really couldn't be beat! I will probably get the book in about a week. I'll post a mini-review on it then.

I also just finished up a mini-kit for the January color challenge at DSS (formerly SAS!). I went with a vintage theme and decided to call it Grandma's Parlor. The preview is posted below. If you click on it, it will take you to my design blog with the download links.

Till later..