More Louisiana trip pages and plans for my album

I tried to think of a clever title for this post, but really I think the next 25 posts I do will be pages from our LA trip, so I’m kind of drawing a blank at this point. I made up a partial list of all the pages I want to make, and it’s well over 100. I’ve done 23 so far. I know everyone is going to be thoroughly sick of them long before I am 🙂

This week’s new releases at GingerScraps worked right into my theme, so I was pretty happy!

2014-11-23 Alabama map web

2014-11-25 Louisiana in Text web

Queen Wild has a new entry in her State of Mind series. (You can see my New York and New Jersey pages here). These are so fun!

For Alabama I journaled about our brief drive through. For Louisiana, I took random photos of signs and text from New Orleans and Abita Springs. I’ve never seen Jason so excited about a page! He has a thing for signs, so I always try to snap as many as I can when we’re traveling.

Credits for both-
Tell Your Story- November by JB Studio
State of Mind: Gulf Coast by Queen Wild Scraps

Turning Leaf collabSnips and Pieces template by Little Rad Trio

2014-11-23 rest stop web

The next two pages use templates from the Snips and Pieces pack from Little Rad Trio. They were super easy to use and my pages came together pretty quickly. They look similar, but there will be a few pages separating them in my book, so I’m okay with that. I think next time I’ll space it out more between LO’s from the same template pack though. I was so busy trying to scrap that first day that I didn’t think of it until I saw them together.

Brick house credits
Turning Leaf collab
Snips and Pieces template by Little Rad Trio

Crestview rest stop credits
What A Man collab by the Gingerbread Ladies
Snips and Pieces template by Little Rad Trio

I’ve given a lot of thought to what I want the final product of these pages to be. For my whole scrapping life I’ve been quite happy to scrap a page here and there, adding to my albums whenever inspiration struck.

While I still love doing that, I wanted to try something different with this trip. I’d really like to scrap this trip to completion. Tell all the stories, show off all the photos, and make an actual book out of it.

Part of my reasoning is financial.  We took a lot of pictures, and I kept a lot of notes too. I’m going to make a lot of pages for this one. And that gets expensive. Blurb books are a lot cheaper than doing individual pages.

I’ve never “completed” a trip album before, and I’m curious to see how that would feel. I’ve been scrapping this trip for over a month and I’m still excited about it. And I’m lucky enough to have plenty of inspiration in the form of products and challenges right now.

I’ve made a separate page to house all my LO’s from this trip, similar to how I did for Summer 2013. That should be ready next week. It will be part of a bigger change to the blog that I hope to have ready by the end of February.

February will also be my blogiversary. I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for almost three years now!

Okay, enough rambling… thanks for stopping by 🙂

*I am a Creative Team Member. This means that I receive free products in exchange for making and advertising layouts for designers. However, the opinions expressed here are my own. The enthusiasm expressed here is definitely my own. See more of my CT layouts here.

Catching Up with Project Life- Challenge One


Earlier this year, I decided to take a hard look at some of my projects and to see what it would take to actually finish some of them. I made a document in Evernote, which I would revisit from time to time. I made Next Action lists, and slowly worked through them. My plan was to finish some of these projects sometime before 2025 or so.

Enter Catch Up with Project Life, a class at BPC.

The first lesson mirrored what I’d already been doing, and gave me added incentive to make more progress. Assessing my gaps took a lot of work. My first couple of years’ worth of PL files were a Hot Mess. That was before I’d settled on a naming structure for my files, plus some of them were in a program that I no longer use (Pixelmator) and my computer couldn’t figure out what to do with them. It took HOURS to straighten out 2011 and 2012, but I did it!

2013 was easier to sort out, but I got pretty discouraged looking at all that I needed to do to make it come together in a cohesive way. (That was the year I did PL three different ways, remember?)

2014 isn’t too bad. I’ve finished the first volume, and I’ve made decent progress on July-September. The summer months are going to be a challenge, but I’ll talk about that in a later post.

The hardest (but most fun) part for me is always the question of what form is my finished project going to take? I have a different plan now that I’ve really assessed the cost of my different options.

2011 will definitely be a blurb or artscow book. I had that intention from the start of 2011, and I think it will work best.

I had originally wanted to print out 2012 as individual LO’s with inserts, like I’ve shown here. The problem with that is, it will be crazy expensive, even though I’ve printed out several weeks already. So that probably will be another blurb book. I’m a little disappointed, but I can’t justify spending nearly $100 to get all those pages printed out when I can get a cheap book for $30.

2013… I just don’t know yet. It makes my stress levels skyrocket, so I’m putting it aside for now.

So that’s where I am right now. My goals for the class are to finish 2011, and continue on with 2014 as usual. I’ll get to everything else eventually. I’m feeling pretty confident. I love that the class is set up as a series of challenges, and the lessons have been fun and informative so far.

Workspace Wednesday: Save It action by Wendy Zine


I follow quite a few paper scrapping blogs, and I’ve noticed a lot of “Workspace Wednesday” posts popping up lately. I’ll never need to know how to organize rolls of wash tape, but it’s interesting to see how other people set up their creative spaces. Since my creative space is my computer I didn’t think I would have anything to offer in that area.

But then I thought, why not do a Workspace Wednesday… digi style?

So for my first WW post, I want to share a tool that I use on every single page I make. It’s the Save It action by Studio Wendy. I have several of Wendy’s actions, but this is the one I use the most.

Here is the product description-

“This combo set combines some of my favorite save and resize actions. It deletes unused layers and saves a layered TIF or PSD (you choose), then flattens and saves a JPG with color pop and sharpen in both print size and gallery size (600px). You save a few clicks, and time as the action does the work for you.”

This action saves me so much time! When I first started scrapping and sharing in galleries, I saved files in all kinds of haphazard ways. But since getting Save It, my file naming makes so much more sense and things are much easier to find.

Here’s how I use the action. After saving my layout in psd form, I click on the icon to start the action. (Note that you have to have a layer selected in order for the action to run). I always use the Save Auto action, but you can use the other actions in the bundle to save files in individual formats. The action starts out with a description of the action and you’re given the option to continue or stop.

It then opens up a new document with the flattened jpeg image. This is where you can manually adjust the sharpness. I always move the slider to the lowest point, then click ok. At this point you can stop the process to make any adjustments to the color pop, then click ok to save the jpeg. The next screen gives you the option to change the name. I always leave it the same. The “copy” at the end of the original name lets me know that’s my high-res print copy. Next, you can choose the quality of your saved image. Since these will be the files I use for printing, I bump this up to the highest resolution. This increases the file size considerably, but you want your print copy to be good quality, especially if you print in 12×12.

The action then continues through the same process, this time making a copy of the image for saving to the web. You go through the same sharpening and naming steps. This is where I always change the name to “Layout Name web”. This just helps me keep things straight in my head. And it’s easier to find files when you’re uploading to galleries. The next screen allows you to choose the quality of the image. This is important because most galleries won’t let you upload files beyond a certain size. 200k seems to be pretty standard, so I adjust the slider to get the highest quality while staying under 200k.

Press ok one last time and you’re finished! This may seem like a lot of steps, but believe me, once you’ve done it a few times, the process is very fast. And if you find that you’ve made a typo somewhere, it’s a snap to re-run the action and replace your files with the fixed ones.

Do you use actions to streamline your workflow? Or do you know of anyone else doing a Workspace post from the digi side? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Something new in my header

I want to introduce you to a new link up in my header. It’s called Summer 2013 Pages. I have so much that I want to scrap from this summer, and I don’t scrap chronologically. But I wanted a spot to put them all in order to give an overview of the fun things we did. This whole Making A List thing seems to be working for me. I’ve made over 20 pages about the summer so far in just a couple of months. Pretty happy about that! I’ll still blog the individual pages, but if you want to see them all together, that’s where they’ll be 🙂


Organizing: Blog Trains

Blog Trains are awesome. They allow me to discover new designers and see what’s new with my old familiar favorites. And you know how much I love freebies! If you don’t have a lot of money for digiscrapping supplies, blog trains are a great way to fluff out your stash. And there are new ones every month, so if a particular theme or color scheme doesn’t float your boat, there will be another train to check out soon.

The downside to blog trains is that they can take a lot of time. Some trains have as many as 100 designers. Visiting each blog, downloading the kits, and unzipping the files can take days. And then what are you supposed to do with all that STUFF?

My organization flow goes like this-

I make a new note in Evernote with the name of the blog train as the title. (You can also use a regular Word document too). Then I copy and paste the whole list of participants into the note. This should copy the links to each designer’s blog. As I go to each designer’s blog to get their piece of the kit, I’ll delete them from the note. That way I know where I’ve already been. This is especially helpful for really long trains where everyone is on different time zones.

As my files are downloading, I start my Pre-Organization Process. I make a new folder in my main scrapbook kits folder and title it with the name or theme of the blog train. Inside this folder I make several subfolders. I’ve developed this system because you can get hundreds of files in blog trains and my standard “elements” and “papers” folders are way too overwhelming with the amount of stuff you get. Here are my sub-folders:

Buttons, Clips, and Fasteners (including stitches)
Flowers, Trees, and Leaves
Other Ellies
Papers- Pattern
Papers- Solid
Previews, TOU
Ribbon, String
Scatters, Smudges, etc.
Tags and Journaling
Word Art

If there is a specific theme for the blog train, like animals, I’ll sometimes make another folder for that specific thing so my “Other ellies” folder doesn’t get too out of hand.

Then as I go through my newly downloaded goodies, I just plop them into the appropriate folder. It makes things so much easier to find.

I especially like to use blog train kits for recipe type challenges or speed scraps that require you to use certain items. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a speed scrap and realizing the kit you’re using doesn’t have stitches and you need them to complete your page. If you use a blog train kit that almost never happens because out of 20 designers, someone’s bound to have put stitches in their kit!

I hope this helps anyone who’s overwhelmed by blog trains. Do you use blog trains? If so, how do you deal with all the files?

Jen 🙂