Before and After

The very first digital scrapbook I created was in 2007 as a gift to my parents chronicling our family's Thanksgiving week trip to Disneyland the year before. I used Creative Memories' free software and themes; it was a low-risk way to try out the then increasingly popular method of scrapping.

The free Storybook Creator software uses pre-designed themes and color schemes, and all you do is drag and drop the photos onto the pages and add journaling here and there. It was a good way to get my feet wet, but at the same time, kind of dull compared to traditional scrapbooking.

Here is one of the pages from the book:

I used the Basic Black theme, can you tell?! It's . . . boring.

Here is another I created using a different theme, Traditional Holiday. (I mixed and matched themes in the book to jazz things up. Not sure now if that was a good idea!)

The Holiday template was certainly more interesting to look at, but probably too stuffy and stiff for the pics I chose. A more whimsical "kid-friendly" theme would have worked better. And the font doesn't match the page's theme either.

Flash forward three years, and I have been playing around with Creative Memories' more full-featured Storybook Creator Plus software for a year and a half now. I've had much more practice creating pages, with or without a template, that grab the eye and are visually interesting. I also have much more to choose from in the way of digital content (ie. papers, embellishments, stickers, etc.) and themes!

Here's a page I created last week, using a layout template that I customized with my own Girl Scout-themed content:

And here is a post-card sized page I did a couple of months ago to send as thank you cards to Thalia's friends who attended her cupcake-themed birthday party:

My level of digital scrapbooking confidence is definitely higher than it was when I first got started! Even with seven years of traditional scrapping experience, learning how to 'go digital' had a learning curve that at first didn't seem quite worth it because of the boring, bland pages I turned out. Learning what you can do with the software really is the key. You go from not realizing what your options are to having too many options available for any given page!

Digital layout credits forthcoming


Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

Well, we are almost through Week 2 of Summer Vacation and thus far, no broken bones! The girls transitioned easily to Summer Camp Mode, which is similar to School Year Mode for us anyway. Rise at either 6:30 or 7:30am, depending on which particular camp it is this week, and then get ready, get set, get dropped off!

The major differences between Summer and School Year for me is the amount of laundry and the amount of driving I do in the summer. Swimsuits, towels and other wet clothing and accessories pile up in my laundry room every single day when the girls are in camp. Thalia and Carys opted for different day camps for the first time ever, so I'm doing dual drop-offs and pick-ups at several different locations this summer. How glad am I that I have a new car with air-conditioned seats as I drive all over town under a blazing hot sun?! At least I don't have to also drive to extra-curricular activities this summer, as Thalia chose not to do tennis lessons this time.

Summer means copious amounts of sunscreen applied to each child, more than once a day. Already, one of the kids is sporting a good-sized sunburn, due to "forgetting" about sunscreen one day. There are, too, the mysterious "lost items"-- kids lose things easily, ridiculously so, at day camp, as there are so many opportunities to lose them. "Where do you think you left it at camp?" The answer could be any of the following: the pool, the playground, the bathroom, the locker room, the cabin, etc. So far, we've "found" a brand-new, worn-for-only-5-days bathing suit which we searched for that same evening on a return trip to the camp, but have "lost," possibly for good, a perfectly good cover-up somewhere else.

Carys is happily reunited this summer with her peeps from her pre-school at 'Camp Shalom' at the JCC. She'll be there for five weeks, taking daily swim lessons, and enjoying a traditional day camp (art, nature, games, Spirit Stick, etc.) with a Jewish twist (there's a good amount of Israeli culture thrown in, always very interesting). Thalia decided to branch out this summer and is doing a week each of Tennis camp, Camp Hogwarts & Half-Blood (a Harry Potter/Percy Jackson-themed camp), and Web Design camp before we leave for our annual trip to the Pacific Northwest next month. She is very, very interested in all things food-related right now, so a stint at Cooking Camp is a definite possibility in August to finish out the summer!

We plan to catch several movies this summer, both at the theater and on DVD, which we never seem to have time for during the school year. Thalia and I are hosting a "release party" for The Lightning Thief later this month; it will be very on-theme of course, with Greek Gods-related games, trivia, activities, food and of course, viewing the new video!

Summertime is also a bit of down time for me, so I've set a few goals for myself: Blog more at all my sites. Finish a few digital scrapbooks that I've prepaid. Reorganize the kitchen pantry (again). Wade through 9 months worth of "masterpieces" my kids brought home during the school year. Practice my fondant and gumpaste techniques. Yes, this is an entirely overambitious list, is it not?! My summer is full of blind ambition for an all-too-brief time that is not even 3 full months.

But that's also what's cool about summer--no promises, no expectations, just living in the moment and being thankful for whatever that moment is.

Happy Summer!


Tiny Dancer

Carys's Little Gym gymnastics/dance class had their Spring Show this week. She had a new teacher this semester, who had not taught a full dance class yet. I think the results were a bit mixed. I liked the dance routines from the Winter Show more than I liked the ones from this week. Carys also seemed a little distracted during the show, but it was still cute to watch.

Keep in mind that her "recital" was very low key, as before, without fancy costumes and the teacher "helps" them through the steps!

Tap Dance Routine:

Ballet Routine:


A Family Scrapbook

I created an entire digital scrapbook online using every single photo from our November 2009 family photo shoot at the Japanese Tea Garden! This is quite an accomplishment, as I have only created six finished digital scrapbooks in four years, and none have focused on any formal photo sessions.

I used an online program, Scrapblog, that allows you create digital scrapbook pages using free and for-sale themes, backgrounds and embellishments. I found the program a little bit difficult to use, but loved the results. It's not your typical drag and drop program that has 20 coordinated pages of pre-designed templates for you to use. It's really great though if you like starting from a blank page and designing everything yourself, which I like to do. I also love all the content you can choose from, including some of my favorite digital scrapbook designers like House of Three, Rhonna Farrer and Peppermint Creative.

You can browse through our new family scrapbook by viewing the slide show below or clicking here. I'm so proud of it!

Layout credits:
All pages done on Scrapblog.com using Scrapblog Builder
Backgrounds and embellishments: Little Dreamer Designs, Moo Tree Designs, Disney D23, House of Three, Rhonna Designs, Amy Hutchinson, Scrapblog
Scrapblog Fonts: Shelley LT Andante Script, Mrs Eaves Small Caps, English, Apricot, Fine Hand
, Cenizas-Alt