Tag Archives: mini album

December Daily Dilemmas – Paperclipping 207

paperclipping 207

It’s the fourth day of December. Are you four days into a holiday-themed minibook?

I’ve been finishing up my past December Daily and Merry Days mini-albums and, of course, ran into a few common dilemmas. You’ve probably run into them, too…

  • Making 2 side by side pages look decent next to each other
  • Accidentally missing an event and trying to fit it between the pages you’ve already got
  • Adding just the right details to make a boring page look interesting and complete
  • Making the items you have work with the size/type of page you’ve got in general design terms

Minibooks are the best scrapbooking schools for creativity. They pose unique challenges, which are wonderful opportunities to exercise these creative minds of ours!

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I created a video for anybody wanting help with these challenges, or for anyone just wanting a bit of mini-book inspiration. In this video I take you through my process for making pages in two separate December Daily mini-albums…

  • adding in an event to what I had thought was a complete book (resulting in 3 new pages)
  • changing a page that wasn’t working design-wise
  • sprucing up a page that had potential, but so far was boring and didn’t feel like Christmas

This video is for the Paperclipping Members. Click here to learn about a membership!

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Easier Vacation Scrapbooking

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How many un-scrapped vacations do you have?


I really don’t mean to initiate a state of guilt. Most of my vacations are unscrapped, too, so I’m right there with you.

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But this summer we took our biggest vacation ever, and guess what? I actually made the mini-album! I made it within a few weeks of returning home, and I’m going to share a few secrets for how to turn your vacation memories into a giant mini-album in a very short amount of time.

1. Start with the foundations.

Don’t complete each page at a time. You’ll start off ambitious, have a few spectacularly amazing first pages, and then you’ll never finish. Either that, or all the remaining pages will be suddenly simple compared to those first ones.

Instead, quickly make a bunch of foundations for pages, then go back and add the photos (although sometimes the foundations pages ARE the photos).

Your ephemera can be foundations too. Don’t worry about the embellishments, journaling, or other detailing yet.

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To me this is the funnest part because we get to come up with ingenious ways to solve the dilemmas of how to display the vacation stuff in an interesting way.

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Here I made an 8×10 photo fit into my 8×8 album…

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And here I turned an amusement park map into a fold-out page…

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2. Hold off on the embellishments and other details until after all the photos are on pages.

I know, we get so excited about the embellishments. But they are a common cause of overwhelm. If you wait until all your photos are down on page foundations, you can now assess your book with a good honest reality check.

How much time or motivation do you have left for lots of embellishing? If you’re getting tired of your project at this point, or if you have other things you need to do, you can decide to add embellishments sparingly. You’ll have a nice consistent album, front to back.

If you’re still excited and still have lots of time, you can go to town with your embellishments.

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I demonstrated how to make that flower embellishment out of patterned paper in Paperclipping 178 – Transform Old Products Into Ones You’ll Love. Paperclipping Members can find it in the archives.

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(Note to Paperclipping Members who have the video of me creating this “page.” To reduce the bulk I moved the corner embellies to the opposite side).

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Task-Batch Mini-booking

I call this approach (building all the “foundations” before adding any detailing) Task-Batch Mini-booking. Before it occurred to me to mini-book this way it was very hard for me to complete mini’s because they took so long. But in this way you can make intricate books in no time! Even BIG ones (mine are always big).

If you have a vacation from this summer that deserves a mini-album, you might want to try it!

Shine on,

P.S.> I have a video tutorial where I demonstrate the Task-Batching process on two different mini-books — one is a dimensional tactile book, while the other is mostly digital and graphic. Paperclipping Members can watch it — it’s #150.

Not a member? Click here to find out about membership!

CHA 2012 – Prima Launched Their Prima Press Stamp System and Mixed Media Albums

The Prima Press was in the top 20 innovations for CHA! Sharon shows it to us, along with their new Mixed Media Albums. They have a resist effect, which can be used with any color art medium.

36 Merry Days: Nov. 28 + 29

36 Merry Days: Nov. 28

I think it’s time I catch up on posting my Christmas book pages, which documents much of our Christmas season for 2011.

Most years I buy a something new for the holiday decorating, and this year it was two boxes of these beautiful peppermint-themed ornaments from Martha Stewart. I also finally bought a tree skirt after years of wishing I had one.

36 Merry Days: Nov. 29

One of my most favorite pages from my December Daily 2009 album was a page very similar to this glittered scalloped partial circle. I loved it so much I decided it deserved a redo.

36 Merry Days: Nov. 29

36 Merry Days: Nov. 29

Available Supplies:
American Crafts Twinkling Eyes and Red Suit patterned paper.
Christmas Red Stickles
Barn Door Distress Ink – I inked my scalloped chipboard page red before adding the glitter to ensure even red coverage. The scalloped paper on the left side was a scrap of red paper.
Apron Lace Border Punch by Fiskars
Martha Stewart fine glitter in green – I think it’s Peridot
American Crafts Elf Thickers (numbers and top asterick chipboard piece)
Studio Calico Wood Veneer Asterick – These are on clearance!
Ali Edwards Love You Circle Overlays and Frames

Affiliate links where possible.

Q&A: Do I Use Digital Templates?

After seeing my mostly digital summer album last week, long time Paperclipping Member, Jana, wanted to know if I used a digital template.

Why I Don’t Use Digital Templates

I’m definitely not opposed to templates. I’m sure I’ll eventually use one some day — I’ve seen some by Cathy Zielske that appealed to me. But counter to popular opinion — as I often tend to be — it seems faster and easier to me to devise my own pages than to search for templates and then try to match the numbers and sizes of photos to it.

I have a simple method that has to do with…

  • identifying my individual stories within the larger story
  • knowing which photos I want with each story
  • knowing the basic design principle of dominance

It’s the simplest thing, especially with small page sizes. So here’s how I formed my pages for this 6×6 album just by looking at my photos (instead of using a template):

1) Decide which photos I want to use for each individual story.

  • Story = topic for each page.

The story is the photo(s) + what you have to say.

Some stories get one side and some get the whole two-page spread. For example, these pages are two different stories.


The story on the left: Tuesdays were show production days. At the time we recorded the Roundtable, the Digi Show, and Paperclipping Live! all in one crazy hectic day.

The story on the right: The funny homemade pop-up card that Aiden made for Izzy and me for our wedding anniversary.

Most of my stories have 1-3 photos, but there are a couple of exceptions, which I’ll share below.

Okay, let’s move on to how you can easily decide on your own how to format your pages (’cause I’m all about independent scrapbooking, yo).

2) For single photo stories: decide on square vs. rectangular photos.

If it’s rectangular, you can keep its 4×6 ratio and size. The rest of the page will be paper.

Each of the pages on this two-page spread has its own single-photo story:


If you want it square, crop the photo to 6×6 and it’ll be the entire page.


When it’s time to add journaling, decide whether there is a solid spot on the photo itself for journaling. If so, add it there. If not, add it to the paper part of the page or on a journal block that you’ll place on the facing side of the two-page spread.


See how easy it is? You’re just deciding on the needs of your photos.

  • Some photos crop well to squares. Others don’t.
  • Some have solid areas for journaling. Others don’t.

That’s how to determine your page design. It’s so much easier than trying to make your photos work with a template!

(IMHO — of course!)

3) For 2-photo stories: decide on an up-and-down format or side-by side.

Side-by-side can mean on one single page for vertical pics, or two separate pages for square or horizontal ones.

Is there a dominant photo? Make it slightly larger than the other one if you want them both on the same page.


Or make one photo square and keep the other rectangular if you want them on two separate pages.


4) For 3 or 4 photo stories: decide on photo dominance and hierarchy.

Is there a dominant photo that should be the focal point? You can keep its 4×6 ratio and size, and then re-size two supporting photos to 2×3 to place underneath.

Journaling can go on the opposite page.


If you have 4 photos, you’ll want a dominant photo, a secondary photo, and 2 supporting photos.


Place the secondary photo with its original 4×6 ratio on the opposite page. Journaling can fit in a solid area on a photo or in the remaining paper area on the page of the secondary photo.

For lots of photos: make a grid.

You can fit nine 2×2 pics into a 6×6 grid. Add any remaining photos in 2×2 size to the opposite side.


To keep the spread from being overwhelming, you’ll want contrast and a breathing space. So your opposite page should be mostly white space. If I’d had 2 remaining photos instead of 3, I probably would have designed it the same except with 2 photos in a row instead of 3.

If you do that, don’t stretch your journaling across the whole page. Make your journaling the same width of the two photos, or fit it into a third box where the picture would have been.

You could also keep the center square on the left empty and add an embellishment to that space.

Add Lines

Once you’ve gotten all of your photos onto their spreads, you can go back and add lines the way I showed you how to do in Paperclipping episode 164.

Add Embellishing

When it’s time for embellishing, add your elements…

  • alongside lines
  • on top of lines
  • in corners between lines and page edges
  • as frames around a picture
  • one-third the way in from an edge of the page

Look at my pages above for examples of each type of embellishment placement.

Tutorials on Concepts You Should Know for This Post

For help on all of the concepts and techniques in this post you can watch the following tutorials:

You must be a Paperclipping Member to watch these.


You’re still not a member? Look at all those tutorials topics you’re missing — and those are just for one type of project! To get immediate access to 172 video tutorials, plus 2 more every month, join now!

Or just click here to learn more.

Like I said — I don’t see anything wrong with using templates. I just don’t think they’re easier than simply looking at your story needs and your photos. Give it a shot!

You have what it takes to tell the stories of your life. Hopefully with all the concepts we share at Paperclipping you’re finding yourself to be more and more self-reliant as a scrapbooker!

Big on Photos, Short on Time: A Summer Mini-album with 44 Photos

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Forty-four photos for a mini-album? Plus lots ‘o journaling and some ephemera too? That’s a lot!

But this was one of my easier projects of all time.

I made it last year, then pulled it out yesterday. After we got the kids down to bed, Izzy and I sat with a glass of wine (each) and read through the entire album. It’s interesting in a strange sort of way to read about so many of life’s mundane details just a year later and remember things you already forgot you used to do.




What I’d Do Differently Next Time

It did not take me long at all to make this mini-album, which I’ll get to in a minute.

But there is still one thing I would do differently if I were to do a similar modern-style clean mini-album again.

What would I do?

I would go even more digital.

I’d ditch the traditional paper and do digital paper instead.

But I would keep the metal pieces.

And I would print them on 6×6 prints from Persnickity rather than put four 6×6 pages onto 12×12 canvas prints. When you have to cut the prints down you don’t get exact uniform sizes.

Which is no big deal to some of you.

But those extra millimeters of white from the back pages that peek through on the side or top really bug the types of people who also need to feel like their bodies are laying perfectly symmetrical on the bed before they can relax and fall asleep.

…but we’re not here to talk about my issues. Just my scrapbooking.




My Guest Spot in the Paper vs. Digi Discussion on The Digi Show

When I want my photos to be the bulk of the canvas, if not the canvas itself, it makes sense to me to go digi.

I got to have a fun discussion about this with the girls on the Digi Show this week. We also chatted about the differences and the similarities between product designing, shopping, and starting a page in paper vs. digital scrapbooking.

You can head over and listen if you haven’t already to The Craft Closet of Broken Dreams at The Digi Show.



Why Digital is Great for Summer Albums

There are so many reasons I gravitate toward digital for these bigger summer time projects.

  • You can keep things a lot more simple with digital, especially when your project is mostly daily, as mine was.
  • If you have a lap top you can travel with your “supplies” and work in the car or on the plane, at the hotel or in a family member’s home.
  • You can have different projects going on at the same time to meet your creative mood. When I made this album I was also working on a paper mini-book and I liked being able to choose which I felt like working on at any moment.





I have a tutorial that shows how I task-batch to simplify big projects like these.

  • I show how my process makes it quick and easy to make intricate-looking paper mini-books.
  • I also show how I made the digital summer album you see in this post using the task-batching approach.
  • I explain how, with this process, you can simplify the project at the last moment if you’re getting sick of it, without having a book that looks intricate at the front but simple and plain at the back. You’ll get a consistent look and nobody will know that you have A.D.D!

If you’re ready to become a Paperclipping Member you’ll get instant access to this tutorial along with the other 171 videos!

Click here to get your Paperclipping Membership

Then look for Paperclipping episode 150 in the Member’s Area!


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Favorite Scrapbook Projects from 2010

I’ve been seeing people around the web posting their favorite layouts and projects from the previous year. This activity can be revealing as to what you might want more of in future projects. And it seemed like a great way to portray yourself — to show all your best stuff at once! Ha!

So here are my favorite stories, all designed in 2010 in order of creation…
The story behind this layout is personal and close to my heart, enough reason alone to love it. I also like the balance of a free-flow style with a clean, bright, white and simple one — both in terms of aesthetics and personal style, but also because it feels like an accurate visual representation of Izzy and me and our personalities.

I also really like those hearts I designed.

This is one of my all-time favorite mini-books, not just of the year. It holds so many real pieces of a major part of my life. Plus, the earthiness of it feels so much like me. You can see the rest of the book here.

This page highlights everything about our wonderful, simple, yet fulfilling and happy life. I love all the little reminders in words and photos of how lucky I am. In terms of design, these are some of my favorite colors to scrapbook with. And, just like the first layout, this is another example of the balance of clean and graphic + free-flow style that feels so me.

I can’t fail to mention that I made this on assignment for Ella Publishing’s Top Most Influential Scrapbookers for 2010 after they chose me along with eight other wonderful people. That was definitely a highlight of my year as well. You’ll find this layout and some other awesome ones in a book on finding “Time To Scrapbook,” with 27 tips from Ella’s 9 chosen most influential.

Number one, I love those photos. I love that crazy, crazy, sweet dog that we rescued from the pound. I love that this illustrates the joy we assume we brought him and the joy he has brought us.

I love that I was able to keep the focus on the photos for this page, while also being able to add lots of brightness and happy details. The photos on their own are so brown (it’s our brown living room). They need the energy of the color and the swirling wire, the topsy-turvy tags, and all the fun stuff to portray the happiness this dog brings us.

This was my first big digital project. It’s actually hybrid, but I think of it as digital, since 99% of the sweat happened at my computer. I am so happy that I was able to tell such a large story with so many photos in one simple album. My biggest reason to feel good was that I discovered my own digital work flow as I made this — a workflow that is so simple and enjoyable.

You can see the rest here.

Isn’t this on the opposite end of the style spectrum from the previous mini-album? I love indulging in many different styles. Usually I mix those styles, but once in a while I indulge in one or the other when the time is right. And for Halloween, the time is right for this. I love playing with this look at Halloween time. I also really love the photos Izzy took of the kids and the fun memories they hold. This is definitely a very favorite from 2010, even if that book doesn’t stand so steadily (my only gripe).

See the rest of the mini-book here.

I love this closeup of Trinity. I love the layout and that I was able to play on the bright summery colors while keeping the focus on that beautiful face. This page is more structured and less free-flowing than what I typically love (as was the digital mini-album) but I love it for the story. The style is a definite story-match for me.

Shine on, Trinity — my sunshine girl.

That’s it — just 7 layouts and projects that fit into my favorite list from 2010. I’m looking for another year of designing my stories in 2011. Happy New Year and shine on, all you happy talented paperclippers!

New Year’s Predictions Party Activity & Mini Book

New Year's Predictions MiniBook
I’m getting ready to prepare this book for New Year’s Eve 2011! It is both a party activity and a minibook with a bit of documentation.

New Year's Predictions MiniBook 2
The overall concept is to write questions regarding the coming year that all of your guests (or family members, in my case) can answer as predictions. Next year you can gather again and compare your answers to the reality!

New Year's Predictions MiniBook 3
You can also ask for general predictions from each person.

New Year's Predictions MiniBook 4
And if you like the tradition of eating fortune cookies on New Year’s Eve, you can even make a pocket for the fortunes. We added our names to each of our fortunes.

By the way, the intro page to 2011 will go on that blank page on the right.

In the next couple of days I’ll be gathering answers to a few of the questions (lesson learned from last year — don’t ask questions that will be hard to track — I have one of those!). I’ll also type up a new round of questions and add them to the 2011 pages.

If you’re a Paperclipping Member, you can watch Episode 132 in the Member’s Area for a more descriptive tutorial on the book and to learn the technique for that black glossy swirl pattern on the cover. It’s my favorite part of the book!

You can also watch Episode 133 for the design principles underlying the mini-book cover.

Not yet a member? Kick off the 2011 with a new Paperclipping Membership! You’ll learn to how to get scrapbooking ideas more quickly, you’ll be more consistent at making pages and projects you love, and you’ll learn to express your unique story in your own unique way! Learn about a Paperclipping Membership by clicking here.

Twenty-five Merry Days – Days 6-8

Day 6

I’m using Ali Edwards’s 12×12 overlay for almost all of my pages. The only time I’m not is when want to keep a photo’s original 4×6 proportion. For this page I increased the width of the photo to 8 inches, had it printed onto 8×8 paper, and then added a piece of glitter XOXO paper to the bottom. Behind that is a cream patterned paper, but it looks white because of my poor quality photo (sorry!).

Day 7

Even though Ali has been putting her photos within the lined framework of her digital December Daily design, I’ve been using it as a photo overlay whenever I have a photo that I liked cropped as a square. It’s the easiest page ever.

In Photoshop…

  1. Crop the photo to 8×8
  2. Drag the 12×12 overlay onto the photo
  3. Click the Command (Control on a PC) +Apostrophe keys to show a grid for easy scaling of the overlay)
  4. Click Edit > Transform > Scale
  5. Click on a bounding box and drag it to size. I drag the corners to the first group of intersecting lines on the grid, which is a quarter inch into the page
  6. Click the Command + ‘ keys again to remove the grid.
  7. Rejoice in a page that took two minutes and move on!

Day 8

Early on in the process I figured out that with the overlay scaled down to fit my 8×8 pages (sides and corners are a quarter inch away from the edges), then my photo space inside the main box is 7×5.8 inches. If my photo doesn’t work as a square, but doesn’t have to keep the 4×6 proportions either, I can use the overlay as the framework the way Ali does.

I scale the overlay, add my photo, and then add my journaling, printing it as one piece on photo paper.

Easy peezy.

Twenty-five Merry Days – Day 5

Dec2010 5
Journaling reads:Izzy decided it was time to put outdoor lights on this year. I’ve tried to do it a bit in the past, but I’m not really capable and it was either gaudy and embarrassing, or extremely simple.

I found big red bulbs — the type of bulb that reminds us both of the lights everyone had when Izzy and I were both kids. I made a guess at how many strings we needed and it was perfect.

Izzy got up and went to work, even getting up on top of the roof over the garage. And it was one very hot Arizona winter day.

At one point, when Izzy was sweating and close to finishing, a boy we’ve never seen before walked up to us and said, “My mom is putting lights up but she can’t really do it. I’ll see if she’ll let him (meaning Izzy) do the lights for her.”

* * *

I had more journaling than could fit in that little tiny rectangular box at the bottom of the digital overlay. Fortunately, there was plenty of empty space on my main photo. A little scrap of Christmas paper was all I had to add to these pages once I printed them.

Simplified Process

Am I going to add transparency or paper insert pages like Ali Edwards for this project? Maybe, maybe not. I’m applying my principle of starting simple, which I shared in detail in the video tutorial on Task-Batch Minibooking.

Right now I’m doing the fundamentals — the basics of what I need in the book. After the important pages are done, I can add what I want or need to flesh it out. I’m pretty sure my book will mainly be these basic fundamentals without the inserts.