Friday, March 14, 2008

the first step...

It's Friday, and I am glad to say that I have completely finished cleaning our apartment. Isn't that the best feeling... clean.

I've had several people ask me about how to get started in digital scrapbooking.

First of all, there have been several questions about Creative Memories products. Personally, I would not purchase! For one, their is tons of really great products out there (and much better in my opinion). I used to be a huge CM user back in my paper scrapbooking days, but they haven't seemed to catch up with the move to digital.

I'm not an expert at digital scrapbooking, but here are the steps I took to get started:

1. First of all you need Photoshop.

Some people have really expensive versions, PhotoShop CS2, CS3, but what you need to get started is Photoshop Elements 5.0. It will run you anywhere from $29.99 (used on Amazon) to $50.00. You can also try the newest Elements software 6.0. I would suggest trying that for free for 30 days before you buy:

I personally have used 5.0 since I've started, and I love it. I have heard several rumblings of people not liking 6.0. So try it out, if you like it, you can get it at Staples for $99.

2. You need some stuff.

I suggest getting some free stuff first. Don't go crazy downloading free stuff. Trust me there is a lot of poor quality downloads out there. You'll get it printed and hate it. Here some places to get some good quality free products:

Little Dreamer (I think you might have to register to see them. So if my link won't work for you just go to and freebies at the top)

Here's how this works. You download the the paper and elements rather than going to Hobby Lobby to get your stuff. Your products are in zipped folders. You need to unzip (right click the folder and click unzip). Then your set to go. If your computer isn't set up to open jpegs into Photoshop, you can just drag it to Photoshop in your start bar.

3. Learning Photoshop.

I really learned by trial and error. I did read several tutorials, but if you are computer savvy you will pick it up easily. Here are some tutorials about getting started:

Using a Frame by Emily Giovanni
4. Learn from others.

I look at a ton of other people's layouts. There are some really talented people out there, and if you're a visual learner like I am this will help a ton. My galleries are on the right side of my blog (not that I'm saying I'm one of those great scrappers). But I recommend checking out for some great inspiration.
5. Get in there and try it.

You're not going to be a pro overnight. I thought it would be so good since I had paper scraped for some long, um... no. You can't make fun of me. Here is one of my first layouts from last June:

Paper, Button, stitches- christinareneedesigns, lil fan fairRibbon- Christina Renee Designs, skinny minnisPhoto Frams - Christian Renee Designs, Pilled High with AttitudeFont- Pia Frauss, Jane Austen

Okay, but here's one from January:

Vera Lim - If OnlyKate Hadfield- Doodled Black Alpha, Heavy Duty StaplesGina Miller - Off Beat Alpha, Boardy LeavesNatalie Braxton - Fluffy Puffy RibbonsRachel Young - Sequin SpillsMiriam Lima - A Quick NoteChristina Renee - Dream ElementsKimberly Giarrusso - Just the Basic Doodle, Seattle Grunge FrameEmily Merritt - Crumpled Accent PaperAmy Hutchinson - Courthouse Doodles

Better right? Well since I started I've learned a ton: how to make realistic shadows, enhance pictures, make things that perfect color, etc. etc.

7. When you're ready to start buying paper, elements, alphas etc.:

We Are Storytellers

Funky Playground Designs

The Lilypad

The Shabby Princess

Vera Lim (If you like her style she has a grab bag for $2 and they are always good)

There are about a million more, but make sure their quality is good before you buy!

8. Printing your album.

I get my layouts printed through They will bind your pages together in a book, and you can even design the cover.

There are also tons of places to have your layouts printed. You can also do 8x8 pages and print them on your own printer!

Just a couple of random things. You have to give credit when you use someone's product. So anytime you post online, credit the designer of the paper or element. Also, don't steal (I know none of you would). Make sure you never give your friends copies of freebies or products by designers!

I'm sure I've missed something, but if you have any questions, please ask! I hope this helps.

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