Monday, October 5, 2009

Going digital?

I will never stop "traditionally" scrapbooking.

I love the feel of the paper, the velum, the ribbons, the brads, the ink, and the super-cool die cut letters I cut out on my wishblade. I love texture!!

And when you create that perfect page for that perfect memory? The page you want to look at over and over just because it's so flippin' pretty?

It's magical.

But let's be honest. It's messy. It's expensive. And it's very time-consuming. So it's nice to know that there's an alternative.

I have always resisted digital scrapbooking. I have yet to ever make a book from any of my designs, because if you're going to make a book, why not really make a book? (To be honest, even though I'm creating pages now, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet, since I still get prints of my photos to scrapbook!)

Unfortunately, that mindset is exactly why I have three partially-finished scrapbooks and thousands of photos unscrapped.

This week, I interviewed digital scrapbook designer Kelly from Late Night Scraps for my craft blog , and I love what she had to say about "beautiful" scrapbooking.

"The main concept of scrapbooking is to preserve your family memories," she said. "Your pages do not have to win awards to mean something to you and to your family."

I tell people this all the time, but to be honest, I don't want to practice what I preach because I'm such a perfectionist! I do want my pages to be so great that they win awards! (They don't.)

I think a lot of people shy away from scrapbooking because they don't feel like they're very creative, and at the same time, I think a lot of people shy away from digital scrapbooking because they're not super-computer savvy. And the non-creative person who's not computer savvy? They usually tell me to just forget about it!

But the bottom line is this: if you want to preserve your family's memories without sacrificing a lot of money or space, digital scrapbooking is the way to go, and here's why.

An entire digital kit of hundreds of elements will cost you about $5. At Hobby Lobby? Um, a lot more.

Quick page kits
Quick pages (QP) are a life-saver for new digital scrapbookers or for those wanting to save some time. Many times, these will come free with a kit when a kit first comes out, and all you have to do is add your photos and journaling and you have a perfect page in minutes.

"Buy my store" deals
A lot of times, when designers go out of business or move stores, they will do a big sale of everything in their store for a flat fee. I bought hundreds of dollars worth of digital scrapbook stuff for $25 from Creations by Rachael, and I did the same with Late Night Scraps when she moved stores.

Reusable materials
Like Kelly points out in her interview, you can use a digital scrapbook kit as many times as you want to. This is a huge cost-saving feature. Plus, digital scrapbook kits include so many more items than I would even think to buy at the store, and they can be re-colored and repurposed for other pages.

Some web sites have free digital scrapbook stuff (though it's very limited) that you can download and use for personal scrapbooking, and many times designers will put free downloads of add-ons or mini-kits on their blogs for you to download. A lot of designers also participate in blog trains, which get you a huge kit for free if you're willing to visit a bunch of designer blogs to download their stuff.

Some things to remember

  • You can't use a digital scrapbook kit for commercial purposes without a designer's permission. That means that when I sell a blog design to somebody using a designer's kits, I have to have the designer's permission to use that kit (or all their kits). Most of the time, you'll also need the designer's permission to use the kits on the web at all, so if you're designing your own blog with digital scrapbook stuff, you'll still need to ask. Free downloads are pretty much never able to be used for commercial purposes. I've found that most of the time, designers are completely awesome and will give you this kind of permission for kits you paid for.

  • Back up your data! I had a scare a few months ago because I lost the thumb drive on which I kept all my digital scrapbook stuff. I had hundreds of dollars worth of files on one and only one drive, and it was a really good thing I found it. Needless to say, the files are now on multiple hard drives.

  • Unzip your files right away. I downloaded one designer's entire store once, and instead of unzipping the compressed files immediately, I just put them in their folder to do it later. When I went to unzip them when I needed them, I found that some of them had been corrupted during the download and it was too late to re-download.

  • Pay attention to specials before you check out. A lot of times, a new kit will include the quick pages for free, but you have to have them in the cart for that to work. I've missed out on a few deals like that because I didn't pay attention to what was in the cart before I bought it.

For more tips on digital scrapbooking, check out Kelly's interview on my craft blog !


Also possible posts this blog series (we'll see how long it takes for me to actually write them!):

-A simple page-building tutorial
-Tips on creating a great page (digital or not!)
-Helpful tools in Photoshop Elements for digital scrapbooking

Would anybody care to see any of those posts? Leave me a comment and let me know.


Kimberly said...

I would like to see posts like the ones you mentioned! I am just stepping into the world of digital scrapbooking and blogging, and teaching myself through online material. You write so clearly and concisely (and with feeling and humor!) that it’s easy to understand what you’re saying (err, writing, ha ha)! You’ve been a big help, thank you :)