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Archive of the Paperclipping Email Newsletters

A Photography Tip for You: See the Lines

Hi, again!

Through years of dance classes I learned to pay attention to lines. The lines of the body in dance are key. The curving line of the back. The line of a neck. The long — or sometimes bent — line of a leg or an arm or a hand.

Now I use things other than my own legs, arms, and torso to make visual art. Like you I use paper, photos, text, and embellishments. But lines are still a key component, not just in designing a scrapbook page, but in photography as well.

A great way to improve your photography is to identify the lines in your favorite photos, and then practice noticing lines when you’re taking photos. Let me share some examples…
A line of people. The line of a bar. And if you’re lucky, the lines of two pursed lips that mimic the slanted line of a protective piece of glass.
The back-lit line of an arm leading toward the subject. The angled lines of a game board. The vertical lines, like spires, of game pieces.
Repetitive vertical lines. The diagonal line of a slide and a body, both leading to the subject of the photo. The lines of a frame around that subject.

Lines lead the eye. They add structure. And if there were no other relevant purpose, it would be enough that lines can be truly beautiful in and of themselves. So when you’re done reading this week’s newsletter, why don’t you open your photo manager and make an assessment?

Are you making use of all the beautiful lines around you?

Your Suggestions — My Responses

Last week I asked you what you would like to see if you could choose the next Paperclipping Video Tutorial. I got so many great responses, and I am happy to find that most of what everybody asked for were topics I had rolling around in my head. Your responses helped me to prioritize the specifics of those topics you want to see. So first, let me say thank you for your help! I hope you like the episodes we’re planning for the coming months.

There were some questions or requests that I want to respond to. I’ll share one here today and a few more in the next two newsletters…

“I’m not sure if you work with sketches but if you do I’d love to see your process. I struggle with scrapping with a sketch and maybe you have tips and techniques we can learn from?”

While I know sketches are great tools for many scrapbookers, sketches are not good for the way I personally get creative.

  • I prefer not having visual inspiration in front of me while I am trying to create something. I feel more creative when I work from within my head.
  • I like my photos and my story to dictate the structure or design of the layout. When working with sketches in the past, I felt like I was trying to force my story into someone else’s strict structure.

I do have a system that I use, though, that is more fluid and flexible than a sketch. The system is a set of visual starting points that I call Flexible Templates.

My Flexible Templates are very loose and general foundations — ways to lay photos and lines that always work. I don’t sketch out the placement: instead I share an image that you can visualize in your head, such as Moving Panels, and show a number of examples of how you can place your photos, titles, journaling, and embellishments in and around that image. Here are two Moving Panel layouts:
Most of my Flexible Templates can vary from single-photo layouts to multi-photo two-page spreads. That’s how flexible they are!

The episode where I first introduced my Flexible Template concept is free for anyone to watch. You can view it, even if you’re not a member, by clicking here. Then, if you have a Paperclipping Membership, or if you choose to become a member, you can watch some of the other Flexible Templates I have shared so far…

I have more Flexible Templates that I will share in the future, so keep an eye out if you like the idea of having a jumping off point that doesn’t strap you down before you’ve taken flight.

Don’t forget!

I hope the tips and tutorials I mentioned in this newsletter give you a stronger foundation in design from which you can let your creativity spin free this week! Have fun paperclipping!

Best Regards,

Host, Paperclipping

Even Your Teens Will Love You For This

Hi again!
You know Pam from the television show, The Office? I saw her face in an issue of O Magazine once, and since The Office is one of the only TV shows I watch, I had to find out what the actress, Jenna Fischer, had to say to O readers. Surprisingly, what she said applies directly to us as scrapbookers.

Jenna had the same teenage angst most teens feel toward their parents. One day, while fishing through a drawer that contained memorabilia from her childhood, she found an old datebook her parents kept while she was a baby. Periodically, they would write a quick note on a particular day about what she was doing, or how they were dealing with the struggles and wonder of a having new child.

This is how those simple notes affected Jenna…

As I read, I realized for the first time ever that my parents were human beings. It had honestly never dawned on me that the people responsible for incarcerating me in my bedroom, who forced me into the manual labor of taking out the garbage, had once been two kids who were overwhelmed and excited about having their first baby. And they adored me. To see that kind of humanness in them at a time when I felt so disconnected from them was deeply affecting. I could have hugged them immediately, told them how much I loved them. But I didn’t. In my own subtle, teenage way, I just…appreciated them more.

I have kept the datebook in that drawer ever since, as a reminder of how much my parents did for me, how much they love me, how much I love them.

This article moved me — so much so that I’m writing to you about it three years later! What is it about her story that causes me to recall it again and again? It’s so human. We all relate to it. I found five tips from Jenna’s experience — and from her own way of telling the story — that you and I can use as scrapbookers to encourage a similar result of mutual understanding and compassion between ourselves and the people we scrapbook about.

  1. Talk to your subject, instead of about your subject. Example: “You always wanted me to hold you facing outward so you could see all the action that was going on,” instead of, “Trinity always wanted me to hold her facing outward so she could see all the action that was going on.”
  2. Be real. Be honest. Share some of your struggles.
  3. Sometimes it’s better to let your family members come across your messages to them on their own. You don’t have to show them every page you make right away. They’ll find it later. You also don’t always have to see their responses, or be assured of your impact on them.
  4. Simplicity in communication is beautiful.
  5. Writing something down — no matter how small or mundane — is better than not writing anything at all.

And if I can add my own tip — one that is totally unrelated to the article — it would be this: spend a meal passing the camera around and make embarrassing faces when it’s on you. Your kids will love you for that, both now and in the future.

Weekly Paperclipping Roundup

Save The Date

  • The Paperclipping Festival – June 22nd! Members should have received their second email regarding how to participate. If you’re a member, and you’re not getting these, please email me. (If you’re not a member, you can learn about a membership here.)
  • Paperclipping Live! – Don’t forget to come scrapbook with us every Tuesday night at 6:30 pm PST!

How To Navigate Around the Changes to the Paperclipping Website

You probably noticed some things are in different places all of a sudden (And we’re not done making changes). You might be wondering how you can make sure you’ll see everything. Here’s the scoop…

The homepage (what you see when you go to www.paperclipping.com) only houses recent video tutorials.

The blog is where you’ll find all of the posts, including…

  • Video Tutorials
  • Roundtable
  • Digi Show
  • Newsletters
  • Monthly Challenge Highlights
  • Festival
  • anything else we want to share

You can find the blog and see everything by clicking on the link that says “blog” in the navigation bar at the top of the homepage (or any page).

You can also subscribe to the feed by clicking the RSS link in the upper left-hand corner of the site, or the RSS button inside your browser. If you were already subscribed to the old feed before we posted this newsletter you will only get the videos. To get everything, please resubscribe now.

Thanks to everyone who actively participates. You’ve shown us a need to grow and expand all that we’re doing. Many thanks to our members who make all that growth possible!

Best Regards,

Host, Paperclipping

The new Paperclipping Festival

Hi, again!

We’re excited to announce a new Paperclipping event!
The Paperclipping Festival!
Date: June 22nd, Tuesday
Gathering Place: the Paperclipping blog

In past times, festivals were times when the elderly shared stories and transferred certain knowledge to the next generation.
From Wikipedia

The new Paperclipping Festival is where our members get to showcase how they take the principles I share in the videos and make them their own! During the Festival, I’ll send you to their layouts and projects around the web, and you’ll get to see what members made after they watched any one of the many tutorials. I will also choose at least one to highlight for great story-telling. In return, the highlighted member(s) will get three free months added to their membership!

Whether you’re a Paperclipping member or not, you will love seeing all the ways people are using the principles and skills they learn from our videos. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member and want to participate, please sign up right away. Instructions will go out to our members later today! You won’t want to miss them!

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The Paperclipping Pieces

We’ve noticed some people get confused about what the Roundtable is and and how it is different from Live!, or our members videos, and everything else we do. Izzy thought this would be a good time for me to show (or remind) everyone how it all works…

  • Paperclipping Video Tutorials

    These are pre-recorded, professional quality videos. There are free samples in the left-hand column of any page on the website (take a look right now — there they are). To get access to all of our videos, you become a Paperclipping Member. Members get access to the archives (currently there are almost 150), plus two new episodes every month.

  • Paperclipping Live!

    This is a weekly live show that we stream over the internet. I get to interact with you and the rest of the audience, who also share their own very cool tricks and tips. You can watch Paperclipping Live! every Tuesday night at 6:30pm PST during Daylight Savings (from spring through fall) and at 5:30 PST during the other half of the year. You don’t have to be member to watch this.

  • The Paperclipping Roundtable

    This is our first audio talk show. You might wonder why a scrapbooker would want to hear about scrapbooking rather than see it. Well, we thought you might enjoy something to inspire you — or at least make you laugh — while you are scrapbooking and need to look at your project rather than at a screen. Each week we gather a group of scrapbookers who are involved in the industry to talk about specific topics related to our very cool story-telling hobby.

  • The Paperclipping Digi Show

    This is our brand new show that addresses issues more specific to digital scrapbooking! Roundtable listeners said they wanted more, so we’re giving you more. We think scrapbookers of all types will love both The Digi Show and the Roundtable. Watch for it to launch this week!

May Monthly Challenge Winner Highlight!

Speaking of the community and our monthly challenge, we featured a new winner yesterday. You can check out her unique project (made from toilet paper rolls, no joke!) by clicking here! Please be sure to give her some kind of high-five!

You can see the new June challenge with some great inspiration from our Challenge Coordinator, Lesley, right here. And guess what? You can even submit the same piece you’ll be showcasing in our Festival. Double-duty!

I look forward to seeing you around the Paperclipping world. Thanks for being a part of our community.

Best Regards,

Three Tips for the Summer


Have you ever found an old note you forgot you had written about a seemingly mundane aspect of your life? I had that experience a few weeks ago when I decided to finally finish assembling my month-and-a-half attempt at photographing my daily life in 2009. More than a year had passed and I didn’t remember that I had added a note about almost every photo into the metadata.


“Now that Aiden is pretty sturdy on the bike, we went for a bike ride through our neighborhood, over to the neighborhood on the other side of Broadway, and then to Skyline Park for lunch and more bike riding. It was perfect weather and we had so much fun!”

I surprised myself with a reminder of some of my day-to-day intentions…


“Made hot cereal with coconut, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Since we eat hot cereal multiple times a week now, I’m constantly looking for new ways to dress it up so the kids will enjoy it more. The coconut spin was a winner!”

“The kids invaded my scraproom today and we spent a little time with our photos and memories. They made pages while I organized my stuff.”

These observations of the normal, unremarkable things the kids do fascinated me and will probably fascinate them someday…


“Checking out each others’ flavors.”

“Trinity was so happy setting up a home on top of books, which rested on the back of her bed, for her little animal toys. It surprises me that she does this despite the fact that she has a number of doll houses. Maybe they just don’t suit her own imagination?”

“I found Aiden playing his recorder and Blake acting like he was whistling the tune. Just a funny little glimpse of being together and doing your own things at the same time.”

And then there were these notes from a significant event from that time. They’re brief but it was chilling for me to find them in the context of my everyday life. I’m so grateful to have jotted down these quick thoughts…


“Printed up some photos for Mom, and for Israel to frame for his birthday. Grandma Holt died late that night, around 10:45. We got the call just after 11.”

“For Grandma’s viewing Jerry and Debbie gave me a box of pictures to arrange for display. Today I put it all together. What a wonderful chance to spend some time reviewing moments in her life and thinking about her.”

“Today we listened to the Edison music box that Grandma Holt gave us just months before she died. It belonged to her own grandmother and we wanted to listen to it in memory and honor of Irene before going to her viewing.”

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Three Tips For A Summer Project

Today our kids get out of school for the year and I have decided to repeat this daily documentation for the first two or three weeks of our summer, just to capture the everyday pace of all of us being home. If you want to join me, here are a few tips:

1) Locate Your Metadata
Learn where your photo manager stores the metadata for your photos. Metadata is information your camera stores about the picture, including the date you took it. You don’t have to take notes — matching a description of the photo with your date — if you know how to view the metadata of your photos.

2) Add Notes To Your Metadata

Find out if your software will allow you to add your own notes to the metadata. Mine does. It’s called a “caption” and I seem to be able to add as much text to a photo as I like. This is where I jot my thoughts on each daily photo.

If this is not possible, you can keep a notebook. But the ability to embed your thoughts into the metadata is valuable, not only because it simplifies the process of putting your pages together, but it also becomes a backup in case you ever lose your albums.

Even if you choose not to do a daily project like this, you might want to add a thought to the meta data of some of your photos, just in case.

3) Choose A Simple Format
You can scrapbook your daily summer photos in a simple format like this that you can add to your regular scrapbook album, or you could make a daily mini-album like Ali Edwards’s December Daily project. I haven’t decided on my format yet. Either way, I’m sure it will be simple.

* * * affiliate link above

I’m excited to kick off our summer vacation with a little family photojournalism. You want to join me?