Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Time of Change

Have you sensed my restless spirit lately? Sometimes you can't quite put your finger on it but things just seem to be changing at a swirling pace all around you. It has been a challenging time for me trying to keep up in the midst of frustrations, illness, questions, sadness. Most of this change is good. This change is growth. It's time for something new.

Please come visit me at Stitches of Grace. I'll keep my other blogs (links at right) and any home education friends can join us at Pathfinder Academy.

Thanks for the journey everyone. I've enjoyed it here, but I'm looking forward to a new adventure! I hope you'll join me in the next phase!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanks on Thursday

It's time for another Thankful list.

1. I said it last week, but I'll say it again. I am thankful for God's Word. It bears repeating. In the midst of an ever changing world, His Word is unchanging and stands forever! This week we purchased an MP3 Bible, hoping to soak our souls with the Word as we go about our days.

2. I am thankful for FREE things available on the Internet. I find so many things for school just by searching on search engines. There is a free Turkey Cookbook available at Natural Mom's Recipes that I downloaded and will read and Freebie of the Day is a great source for interesting and unique home school resources. And for knitting fans, how can you beat Knitty?

3. I am thankful for Home School Legal Defense Association who tirelessly fought for my right to choose the mode of my children's education and continue to be available to my family and others around the world.

4. I am thankful for my Nikon DSLR camera that allows me to record what I see and feel as I explore God's world.

5. I am thankful for The Christian Artisans List where we go through growing pains from time to time like any family, but where I am able to fellowship with women who share my love of Jesus and the fiber arts!

6. I am thankful for Blogger who lets me have fun on the computer for free.

7. I am thankful for the beauty of fall's colors that soothe and comfort me as we ease into winter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proud of Veterans!

Bruce - Foster brother serving in Navy since 1992
Jack - Step brother, re-enlisted in the Army and served in Iraq about 1 year
Anthony - nephew serving in the Army about 2 years
Jim - Kimberly's husband who just safely returned from a 1 year deployment - Praise The Lord!
Kyle and Kelly - My college Pastor's sons serving in the Marines
All the men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces around the world. And to all the families who wait at home and pray. I am proud of you!
Mark - My cousin who flew many years with the Navy and later served in top security positions.
Dan - My cousin Jan's husband who has given his life to the US in military service and recently retired from the Pentagon, having narrowly survived 9/11.
Billy Pelton - My Dad's best friend from childhood who was killed in Vietnam.
Larry Sundquist - My cousin who died a hero in Korea on his 18th birthday. His death saved his unit.
Andy Glick - My Step Dad who raised me and served in both the Korean Conflict and the Pacific front during WWII as a Navy navigator. And to his brothers Fred and Hank who fought on the continent.
Mr. Porter - A Family friend who lost his legs in WWII.
Ron Jones - My cousin who served in the Marines during WWII and after.
Philip Hopkins - My Uncle who served in the Navy in WWII.
Alden Hopkins - Who could not go to war but worked a dairy farm in Carnation, Washington as an "essential worker" so that the farmer would be able to go to war.
Evelyn Larimore Wilson - My Grandma's sister who was a "Rosie The Riveter" in the shipyards during WWII.
Ray Beigle - My Grandpa's cousin who welded ships during WWII.
Albin Johnson - My great Grandpa who was born in Sweden but served his chosen country in WWI in France, Belgium and Germany with the 101st Engineers.
Fred Tisdale - My great Grandpa who tried to serve in WWI but was not accepted due to age. He worked with the YMCA and relieved a male teacher so that he could go to war.
Alexander Burczinski Smith - my gg Grandpa from Poland who served in the US Army in the west in the 1870s and 1880s.
William Wadsworth Hopkins, George Hopkins and Dan Gilbert Hopkins - Three brothers from my Michigan family who served in the Civil War. Dan never came home from the Battle of South Mountain, William (my ancestor) died afterwards of Typhoid Fever and George went on to a political and military career including adjutant to Alger, the Secretary of War of the United States.
Silas Wolcott, Consider Hopkins, Abraham Crittenden, Andrew Parker, James Larimore, Jonathan Kellogg and countless other familiy members (ancestors) who fought for freedom in the Revolutionary War and before.
To all of YOU, I am proud and thankful. You are all fine examples of what happens when we work together for a cause. God bless you!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sewing Sensibility

I have never tried a downloadable pattern before, have you? Now I have an opportunity. All I need to do is tell you about some beautiful patterns now available for download at Sense and Sensibility Patterns. I have been drooling over these historic costume patterns for a long time. I love the beauty of 19th century clothing and now I have the chance to download. Now I have to decide if I will order the Regency gown pattern, the Regency dress for children or the Edwardian Apron, because the Edwardian period, which is really 20th century, has some of the loveliest clothes in my opinion. Hmm.... now where would I wear a Regency gown? Anyone hosting a ball in the near future? :o)

Pray For The Persecuted

Voice of the Martyrs has called all Believers to pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. More information can be found here. Persecution of Believers occurs on a daily basis and even though it is rarely shown on the secular media. Do not embrace apathy, Liberty is maintained only through vigilance and in the US, Christians face attack in different ways. Pray for the persecuted and the families of the Martyrs and pray for the maintenance of Liberty and the Freedom to share His Word around the globe! A hat tip goes to Amanda who wrote an article at Growing In Grace, an online magazine for Christian young women for making me aware of this important cause.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thankful On Thursdays

Well, I planned to do gratitude lists this month and I knew I wouldn't be able to do it every day and keep up. Then I would feel guilty about missing. So I am doing seven things each Thursday this month.

1. I am so thankful to see God working in my children's hearts and that God gives me glimpses of that work to encourage me in what some days feels like an eternal up hill battle.

2. I am grateful that I can still home school my children in spite of legal attacks this year.

3. I am thankful for digital scrapbooking which has given me a stress releaser and a lot of creative fun.

4. I am thankful for all the health changes we have made this year and that even though I am stuck on a plateau at the moment, I have made a lot of progress!

5. I am thankful for my Bible and God's word that comforts, teaches and guides me every day.

6. I am thankful for the apple seeds growing on my kitchen windowsill (homeschool project).

7. I am thankful for the man who calls me Mrs. L and loves me in spite of all my ideosyncrasies, but continually encourages me to better myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Heritage Scrapbooking

To those who know me, or are getting to know me :o), it will be no big surprise that my favorite type of scrapbooking is heritage. From the time I was a little girl, I have loved to hear stories about the "olden days" and began researching my family history when I was 14 years old. I felt like Tasha Tudor - that I was born in the wrong century. I don't have any romantic ideas about the "olden days". It was tough and I love my modern conveniences, like this computer I'm pecking away at. But still I longed for a time and place where I would have fit in more. That is probably why I enjoyed all the hours I spent with my two grandmothers.

This layout is a baby picture of my Great Grandma Beatrice Estelle Smith who was born in Carp Lake, Emmett County, Michigan in 1905. As a child I thought it was odd that my great grandmother was only ten months older than my Grandma Hopkins. I had a lot of fun doing this layout, which is the left side of a two page spread. The journaling with further information will be on the right side. I used Verena Karolyi's Tenderness kit, which I loved for the purple and green but also the flower elements. The tag comes from another kit, but I can't recall the name. I learned a lot doing this layout and ended up re-doing some of it after I learned that it is best to keep important elements 1/2" away from the edge for printing purposes.

In high school, many moons ago, I was involved in two journalism classes - newspaper and year book. These classes taught me a lot that has helped me in scrapbooking. When I taught heritage classes, I shared some of this information with my students. Most scrappers and artists tend to be eclectic. Why not? It's fun to experiment and "play" with a lot of different medium! But, when you are preparing a book (or newspaper), there needs to be some type of uniformity. This could be in the page layout, the colors, the design or other elements. Something needs to take your eye through the whole book thinking that it all belongs together as a whole. For me this is often accomplished with color.

For my Smith family, or at least the branch that goes with Grandma Bea, I have chosen to use purple and green and a cottage/shabby chic with a hint of Victorian design style. In addition to Verena's kit, I have chosen A Vintage Dream by Penny Springmann and Champs de Lavande by Teri Hanson at Digizines. You can see how they have similar styles and colors. A nice book can be made with one kit. However, I find that if you mix kits appropriately (i.e. you wouldn't likely use Victorian on one page and modern graphics on the next), this will keep the eye and mind visually stimulated with subtle differences as you move throughout the book without looking monotonous or homogenous.

Since I am new to digital scrapbooking, I wasn't sure what I would find for heritage scrapbooking papers and elements, but I am pleasantly surprised by what is out there. Most of the galleries and forums have a "heritage" section that is filled with amazing art and ideas. Some even have heritage challenges, which I would like to participate in, in the future, when I am a little more oriented with what I am doing. I thought I would list a few options here:

Digizine DigiShop is a great first stop. Teri Hanson and Jean Daugherty are incredible artists. I highly recommend Jean's Heritage Chest kits. Volume one has pages where you can fill in your pedigree and awesome tree "stamps" that make gorgeous patterned papers using blending modes in the layers palette. It's quite easy to do and if you get this kit, I will help you if you need assistance. For me it would have been worth it for the lovely tree, which reminds me of the 500 year old oak trees in northern California. The tree could be used on other papers if you did not like the papers in the kit, but she does include the papers in several color families so you are likely to find something that works.

As I mentioned above, I am using one of Teri's kits for my Smith line, but she has many other beautiful ones as well. I could drip all kinds of adjectives, drooling on my keyboard as I go through their site. They have some great sales going on right now for digital scrapbooking day, but they will not last long! While you are there be sure to check out Teri's and Jean's family heritage blogs. Be sure to check out Teri's links and layouts and Jean is currently highlighting layouts from the Heritage Chest kit I mentioned above. At the moment, each has a free gift to download too.

Heritage Scrap is a bit like the "mall" of heritage scrapbooking resources. You can stroll through the aisles and see heritage appropriate kits in several artistic styles. In addition to shopping they have galleries, forum and blog. This is where I first learned about Jean and Teri and another designer...

Lynn Griffin at Digital-Scrap-Boutique. She and Linda Cumberland have a similar style and I loved almost everything I saw there.

Dusty Bear is a charming little shop I found on the Treasure Hunt this weekend. It's worth a second look!

The Dapper Doxie is another little shop I came across on the Treasure Hunt. How can you resist a cute shop like that? She doesn't have a lot, but what she does have is nice. I have bookmarked her to see what she comes up with in the future.

Scrapper's Guide has many wonderful kits that would be suitable for heritage, including the recent October kit and one earlier this year called English Garden (June I think).

While KB And Friends is not an heritage specific site, I found lots to love there. The Little Jake collection of papers and elements have a lot of potential for heritage layouts and I chose Mother's Kitchen as a starting point for a family history/cookbook project.

Digital Scrapbook Place has a heritage section and also appropriate elements all throughout the shop. They have a lot of smaller kits too. The quality of their kits varies by designer, so look closely.

Designer Digitals has so many lovely kits. On their site you choose to look by designer. Katie Pertiet has some fun vintage childhood designs and her botanicals kits would be marvelous! I have one with her roses that I will use in pictures of Grandma Hopkins who loved anything pink, but especially roses. Several designers there have a 70s retro look - and some people scrapbooking right now - the 70s is their heritage! LOL Kellie Mize has an architectural kit and some nice botanicals that would also work well.

2Peas In A Bucket has extensive galleries. Search for "heritage" and you will have lots of inspiration.

Scrapbooking Heaven and Weeds and Wildflowers are great places to get photo realistic flowers to decorate your pages.

Jen Ulasiewicz also has photo real flowers, but look at her "stamps" ! Aren't they awesome for heritage pages?

Stone Accent Studios has a good heritage selection.

Digital Resource Heaven has some cute vintage clip art looking sets. I like the Thanksgiving one.

Well, I'm sure I've missed something, but it's hours since I posted this and now it's time to sleep! :o) This will get you started.

Another Source

If you would like to watch (seeing is believing - in some things!), You Tube has some decent videos on digital scrapbooking. Just type "digital scrapbooking" into their search engine and enjoy! Remember, as always, use discretion.

Digital Scrapbooking Magazines

Well, Digital Scrapbook Day/Weekend continues. I was able to complete all five of the treasure trails, which was fun. The only frustrating part was that 4 shared was down this weekend.

We are all dragging and it was a long day with plumbing issues from start to finish. Praise God they were able to be taken care of for $12 including a $6 flashlight and Hubby's elbow grease. Wouldn't you know, we had record rainfall yesterday! LOL By the time he got done, he really deserved the HOT shower that he worked so hard to make possible! We also had toilets overflow. We're not sure if it was girls who like T.P. or because of the storm and we are at the end of one of the lines.

So, today we have chosen a Sabbath of Rest. We do that from time to time, and no, we don't feel guilty about it at all! :o) Sometimes it is necessary. Hubby starts back up a full, long day tomorrow with his regular job, his tutoring job and teaching at U of P at night, so I'm glad he's resting today.

Now, wasn't this post titled "Digital Scrapbooking Magazines"? LOL

Having been a big fan of Simple Scrapbooks, I became a charter subscriber to Digital Scrapbooking Magazine. Soon I became discouraged because mostly it just showed layouts and what kits they used but very little how to. I think they now include more. And it would have probably helped if I had known a little more too. At the time it was all a big overwhelming mystery! I see now their website has a gallery, community, shop, etc. I will give them another try.

Scrapbook Dimensions is a new to me magazine that I tried for the first time this week. I really wanted Weeds and Wildfowers' whimsical new kit Just Earthy. It's on special now for $5.60 and normally is $8. They had a note on the description (wonderful of them!) saying that the kit was also available in Volume 2, Issue 3 of Scrapbook Dimensions. You subscribe online and it says that you can save a pdf (which didn't work for me?) or print (way too many pics!). But it is available until March 4, 3007, so I think I will have time to access it! :o) Normally it is $7.99 an issue (yearly rates also available), but this was on special for $6 and included a FREE download for the Just Earthy kit!

Inside there was an article about the Weeds and Wildflowers gals - a Mom and her two daughters, how neat! I loved the fact that the mom didn't allow the girls to have coloring books... only white paper to draw and color and use their own imaginations. She exposed them to art and theater in the Seattle area and always played music. Gee, she could have been a Charlotte Mason homeschooler! :o) It was fun to hear the background of someone whose designs you appreciate.

In addition to Justy Earthy, there is another digital kit and lots of tutorials, so it was definitely worth the $6.00. Now I just need to get used to the online format.

Digital Artisan Notebook is the only digital scrapbooking magazine I have subscribed to at this point. You join the Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild and the magazine comes with it. Several vendors also offer singles issues for sale. The kits that come with it are incredible works of art, no cheap freebies there! Membership can be purchased in 3 month increments, which is nice. There are articles, tutorials, free downloads and coupons. Each issue can be downloaded in pdf format.

Bella Scraps is a little less graphic, softer, gentler on the eyes than some of the digital magazines. I received a free January 08 issue at one of the scrap stores online, but I'm sorry to say that I do not remember which one! Same types of info - free kits, articles, how tos etc. This magazine can be downloaded in pdf format.

Digital Artist Magazine was the first magazine that I downloaded in pdf. There is so much in this that I haven't finished reading! It has the same type of information as the others, but seems to be more advanced.

Ready-Set-Create is another magazine that I would describe as simpler. That's not a derogatory term. There are different focuses in art. Some are really WILD! Some are complex, some simpler. What I like about this magazine is that it describes a lot of different uses for digital scrapbooking besides just pages for a scrapbook AND it is inexpensive. As a matter of fact, you can try it right now in the next couple of days for $2. You download it as a pdf and enjoy!

If you have any other recommendations... I'm all ears!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking Blogs

The following are listed in random order. I have not read every inch of each of these blogs, so use discretion (as you should with any blog!).

Amanda Thorderson

Colie's Corner

Digizine Shop Blog This displays only the current post, so make sure you check out other links. Great heritage ideas.

Kathryn's Digital Designs

Lifesong Creations by Karla This designer is a Christian.

Sweet Shoppe Designs Store Blog

Cat Scrap Shop Blog

Becky Higgins She is primarily a paper scrapper, but I have been following her for 10+ years. She has a clean but artistic style and is highly organized. Her scrap room is "to die for". I highly recommend her layout sketch books which gives ideas for layout designs based on the amount of pictures you have 1-20+! These work no matter your artistic style. They are available in scrapbook stores, at the Creating Keepsakes site and sometimes on Amazon.

Creative Dreams


Kreative Karma A faithbooker

Willro N Company Another faithbooker

Digital Scrapbook Place

Joanne Brisebois She designed the beautiful October kit for Scrapper's Guide

Julie Marie Designs

Mellow Butterfly

Michelle's Heritage Scrapbook Pages

My Little Blog

Shabby Princess Shop Blog


Being Me

Nature Gals Jen Ulasiewicz' blog

Altogether Too Happy (I would be too! Did you see the big brownie on her header, yum!) This is Stacy Julian, founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazines and author of the design book I used to use in teaching basic scrapbooking concepts. She is primarily a paper scrapper, but has awesome ideas for using pictures and emphasizes telling the story!

Amy Edwards

Anna Aspnes I can say I knew her when! LOL Though she wouldn't have a clue who I was. I loved the layouts she did on 2Peas in a bucket using MS Digital Image Pro from her time being stationed in Japan. The photography was so beautiful and her layouts had the appearance of being in a big glossy, expensive magazine! I wrote and asked her a few questions and she was really kind in answering. Now she's a designer with a fesh graphic style and she also blog about her life with an Asperger's Syndrome child.

Blogging Life As It Comes

Cherish Each Day Designer Katie Pertiet

Creative Gigis

Dianne Rigdon

Digital Creations From Millstream Cottage Brenda Mascari, she has an awesome Navy benefit kit.

Heather Ann Melzer

Heritage Scrap Shop Blog

Sprague Lab Jessica Sprague

Altered Scrapbooking

Le Digiscrap

LivE Simply Tons of Freebies

Paislee Press

Scrapbook Ideas

Shutterfly Digiscrap Blog

Create Kate, Living Life The Creative Way

Simply Me, Donna Downey

Steinway's Mom

Tangie Baxter Designs

Wholly Scrap

Verena Karolyi One of my favorite designers

With A Russian Dutch Flair I see her November 1 post has a list of freebies!
Yesteryear Memories A New Zealander with lots of heritage layouts.

Phew! That's enough for now. It should provide you with some inspiration.

Some Fun Sites

One of the fun things for me in learning digital scrapbooking is exploring my eclectic side. Those of you who know me IRL know that I am pretty conservative and a nerd! But I have a fun playful side that usually only those who know me best have witnessed. In my creativity, I struggle with being rigid, keeping things neat and just so. I am trying to "loosen up" and push the envelope a little and slowly it's coming. My work is far from avante garde, but I am playing with some grungy things, some whimsy and a little bit of what is called "realistic" (Generally incorporating a "real" photograph of something into the design, like having a picture of your child looking through a design element which is an actual window. It's hard to explain, but actually quite simple). Now I'd like to share a few sites that let me get my eclectic urges out:

Weeds and Wildflowers I love that their real pressed flowers are all about the lovely things their Grandma made with flowers from her own garden!

Scrapbooking Heaven is a German site with all kinds of funky stuff. A little bit of her stuff goes a long ways for me. The key word is moderation. But it's wonderful. I used her work on my Legacy of Love layout. Be sure to click on the British flag to read the site in English! :o)

Digital Scrapbook Art is another German site (with English available).

Jen Ulasiewicz has a Polish name but this site is American! She has a unique style of her own and I love it! Check out her brushes which would be great for heritage layouts. I have been learning how to blend these to create unique and interesting background papers. She has a lot of live images of flowers and leaves that are very beautiful too.

Most of these sites are having specials for the weekend in honor of National Digital Scrapbooking Day. Check them out.

Why Digital?

Some people have wondered why I would want to do digital since scrapbooking is such a tactile art. That is one of the reasons I will probably always do some paper scrapbooking. If you only knew how many boxes and boxes and boxes of memorabilia and photographs I own!!! This winter and spring I hope to go through all my scrapbooking supplies, photographs and memorabilia so that they can be organized in a sensible manner and I can decide which things to keep and which to pass on or sell and also which to scrap with paper and which to scrap digitally.

Digital scrapbooking offers the following advantages:

1. You can use items or elements on a page that look 3D like a collage, that you would never use in a paper scrapbook, or at least I wouldn't. I know there is a lot of crazy stuff in scrapbooks these days, but if you are trying to preserve photos, that stuff is counter productive. It looks cool though. Now I can use those things on a digital layout. Lumpy bumpy items, real flowers, metal items and poky things can all look wonderful in a collage setting but be damaged to actual photographs.

2. It is easier to share copies of your work. For me this is important because I am the family historian in our family.... on all sides. I am the keeper of the "stuff". This way I can put together actual books and have them printed without having to do it over and over and over.

3. I already take digital pictures. This form of scrapping allows me to use them from my camera and size them any way I wish. I don't have to wait until I can afford to get them printed to start playing.

4. As I learn how to do more things in the photo editing software, I am able to make some of my own elements and backgrounds.

5. I feel more free to experiment. It doesn't cost me anymore because I don't have to print if I don't want to. I won't damage materials if I don't like what I initially chose.

6. When I don't have space to work or store lots of materials, I can still work on scrapbooking... it's right there on the computer! :o)

7. The sky is the limit! I can grow and grow and grow with this format.

Getting Started

Ruth wanted to know about getting started... good point. In this post I mentioned briefly that I am using Photoshop Elements 6 and the CD course from Scrapper's Guide. This week we updated to Photoshop Elements 7 for two reasons. The first is that there are some advanced photo editing abilities in the new version that were previously only available in the full Photoshop, which we can't afford. The second is that Costco has an awesome deal right now - $79.99 for the software which includes Scrapper's Guide's new training CD which includes a "My Story" set to tell your own personal history. I believe the CDs sell for about $29, so if you were wanting to buy one and don't have the photo software, now would be the time.

For general photo editing and most scrapbook page building, all of the major softwares are pretty equal. If you are doing more advanced photo editing, look into Adobe's products. They are popular for a reason. They work! My opinion, but I am joined by a lot of professional photographer's in that. I have seen some amazing work done in Microsoft's Digital Image Pro. I would say second in popularity is Paint Shop Pro and I have seen quite a few people use ACDSee. Some people have used GIMP which is a free software imaging program. I have no experience with that - Amy do you want to weigh in? Both Microsoft and Adobe offer free trial versions, generally for 30 days. Others might as well.

Two Peas In a Bucket has great articles on getting started. I have had my current account there since 2003 but have been hanging out there since they started about 1999. They draw from a wealth of knowledge in the scrapbooking community (paper and digital, photography, arts etc.). It's a fun place to spend some time. Yes, you can spend money there as well, but they have a lot of free kits and their information is free.

For help on Photoshop Elements, I can not recommend highly enough, Scott Kelby, who is my favorite photo guru. :o) How can you not love a man who in each of his books credits his Lord Jesus and the Mama of his babies (his wife)?! He is considered THE Photoshop guru and has online photo courses that Hubby and I plan on taking. This book is what I use with my PSE 6. The instructions are with photos of what he is actually doing and the instructions are step by step and make sense. His books are a little expensive, but they are WORTH about 5 of the other books available on the same subject!

When getting started doing digital, for me "seeing is believing". Watching Linda do the different steps made sense. Others might learn by reading. You might check your library. Also CK Media has put out several special issues on digital scrapbooking and have a Magazine. Most of the major scrap sites do have free tutorials.

I'm NOT an expert, so I don't want to come across as a "know it all", it's just that many have commented on wishing to learn about it. I thought it would be fun to do together. By all means, give me any suggestions, tips etc that you have found. I'm all ears! :o)

More Tips On Free Or Discounted Digital Scrapbooking Kits

I thought it might be helpful to make a list of some of the ways that you can receive free digital scrapbooking kits and elements.

In the previous post, I provided several links. Here are ways that I found them:

1. Use a search engine for the web and type in "free digital scrapbooking" and you can be checking links for hours... maybe days!

2. When you like the style of a particular designer or shop, sign up for their newsletter. Usually they send out coupons, discount codes and email you whenever they are having a sale.

3. Find out when your favorite designer or site releases new kits. Generally at that time, they are on sale for 10-30% off.

4. Find out if your designer or shop has a specials day. For instance, once a week Sweet Shoppe sends out an email for their Saturday specials. Some I have seen pretty much every day but Sunday and Monday covered at this point.

5. Book mark the blog of your favorite designers and shops. Many times they will release freebies there or will have add-on and mini kits that coordinate with those they sell.

6. Enter contests and challenges on digital sites, blogs and forums.

7. Read threads on the forums. Sometimes designers post there for loyal users.

8. Look at the coupons and announcements that are included in each kit. Sometimes they include discount coupons or links to free add-ons.

9. Purchase a digital magazine, which usually comes with free designer kits. More on that in a separate post.

Some notes on Freebies...

Free or not, they are COPYRIGHTED. Make sure you read the Terms of Use (TOU) which will tell you what legal ways you can use it. Just because it is free does not mean you can pass it along to your friends. Instead tell your friends where the link is and they can download it themselves. You might not agree, but it is the law and using or copying outside the intended purposes is ILLEGAL and considered PIRACY. So please don't ask me to share. (I also don't copy my knitting and sewing patterns or books and music as a photographer and creative explorer, I respect others' work.)

Second, be careful. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing." Download it if you like it or know you can and will use an element or paper from it.

Third, not all freebies are equal. Sometimes freebies are a designer's first efforts and they are trying to get their good work out there. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. Some freebies are JUNK! Some freebies are beautiful art. Sometimes the old adage of "you get what you pay for" rings true!

Digital Scrapbooking... Next To Nothing

I started this post last week. I'm not going to finish it! LOL It grew and grew and grew and grew... and I could spend days making it grow more. There are a lot of generous designers out there. If you are just getting started in digital scrapbooking, you can do a lot with the free kits and then once you know what you like and how to do it, you will know what you would like to buy. Also, If I like a designer and I use a lot of their freebies, I think it's only fair to repay their generosity by buying a kit or two from them. Likely, most of them are Moms and small businesses, not corporate big wigs and they are working hard to grow their design business. Have fun looking at the links.

Faith Sisters is a great site of Christian designers. Many kits have Scripture word art or papers themed to life events in the church, like baptism, communion and missionary service. They also carry regular themed kits as well. They have 84 Freebies in a variety of categories and currently have 34 items in the dollar bin. Their Sisterly Love mega collaboration kit is $10 but the money goes to their World Vision child, Genesis and her family.

Digital Scrapbook Art, a German site, which you can view in English, is one of my favorite sites and I have used several kits from Verena Karolyi, a designer featured there. Currently, if you spend $10 you will be sent a coupon code to receive their Autumn Harvest Mega Kit, free! Check out the Specials Page for some incredible deals! Their Limited Freebies Page has some free page kits which are fun to use when you are just getting started.

Shabby Princess is a charming little shop where the downloads are free! The kits are of a nice quality and worth downloading.

Digi Scrapbook is a French Canadienne store (if it comes up in French, there is a place on the lower left to switch to English). This links to two pages of free sets and quick pages. They have some lovely sets in their regular store, including several pages in their dollar section . The dollar kits are actually slightly less than a dollar in American $. One thing to note, a few of the files come in a zipped format from a different type of software. When I tried to open, Windows Solutions gave me a site where I could download a trial use of the software that opened it. I then unzipped the file and kept a copy of the unzipped kit for future use.

When you sign up for RAK Scraps you receive an email each month for a free download that is available from the 15th to the end of the month. Sometimes the kits are really neat and sometimes I could honestly pass. But these are given as RAKs so I am thankful people are willing to do something like this. Check out the site for free tutorials as well.

I think Scrap Wow is a sister site to RAK Scraps as I first signed up here and then learned about RAK from them. You purchase a year membership which was $19.99 and with that you receive a lot of freebies initially including some ebooks and mega kits. Then each month there is a new kit. This was a good way for me to start out, but now after finding all the cool sites, I don't know that I would sign up for it again. That being said, I have received some lovely kits from here from designers who I have seen on the bigger sites. I surmise that many designers start out with places like RAK and Scrap Wow, then move on as they improve and become more well known. Noteworthy on this site are the beginner tutorials.

Cottage Arts has a Simply $1 section filled with goodies.

Digital Scrapbook Place has a newbie 101 that answers some questions and if you sign up for an account you can access downloads through their "Freebie Gallery".

Shabby Pickle has a section called Free With Purchase so that you can see which ones of their designs come with exta freebies. Usually it is something like buying the kit and getting an extra set of embellishments free or extra papers or a quick page. Don't forget to check The Pickle Barrel for bargains!

Scrap Artist is another of my favorite haunts. They have beginner forums with lots of free tutorials and a Freebie Section. Check out their galleries for some awesome art!

Of course I can't leave out Free Digital Scrapbooking

National Digital Scrapbooking Day

Hello Everyone! Today, November 1 is National Digital Scrapbooking Day, who knew? :o)

I have been participating in a Treasure Hunt at Pixel Guild and there is also a huge shop hop with great sales.

As I can today I will be posting information about digital scrapbooking. Have fun!