Using Professional Scrapbook Services

Okay, you have boxes loaded with pictures you’ve taken over the years, or your hard drive is stuffed with digital pictures, and they’re ever increasing.  You want to put them in albums or scrapbooks, but . . .

When Should You Consider Using  A Custom or Professional Scrapbook Service?

New to Scrapbooking? Have Limited Time to Scrapbook? Don’t Know Where to Begin?

These are often asked questions for individuals who lack the time, motivation or desire to get thoroughly engaged in this big time paper craft program.  The growth of scrapbooking over the years has been astounding.  This $2 billion dollar plus a year industry includes professional scrapbookers as a part of this growing crafter’s commerce.

So, what are the pluses and minuses of engaging the use of a “custom” or “professional” scrapbooker or service?


These individuals and/or services:

  1. Are experienced and know what they are doing.
  2. Have the time and resources to get the project done.
  3. Can help provide insight and suggestions on layouts, materials and journaling.


These individuals and/or services:

  1. Cost.  The cost for these services may be more than you want to pay.
  2. You need to find an individual or service which has a creative style of your liking.
  3. The process time may be longer than you prefer.

If you choose to use a Custom or Professional Scrapbook Service these tips may be of help:

  • One must keep in mind the pluses and minuses noted (in a generalized way) above.
  • Shopping around is a must . . .  unless you have been given a referral by someone you have great trust in who has used a service, and you’re pleased with the work they received.
  • Find out what background and experience is being offered to you.
  • Review their online gallery showcase to visualize the type of work they produce.
  • State specifically (and in writing–email, etc.) exactly what you are looking for–which could include themes, number of photos per page, colors, album style, whether to use the digital form or the old-fashioned hand produced cut and paste book, kinds of embellishments to be used, types of paper, to name a few.
  • Establish the cost per page (typically from $7.50 upwards to $50.00 or more) or per book (rarely used by scrapbookers).  Obviously, prices vary based on the amount of pictures used, amount of embellishment, journal entries, and whether you are  using the “old-fashioned glue-and-paste or digital books.  Be sure to establish what additional cost may potentially occur, and receiving notification when the costs exceed your originally agreed to amount.  You must give your approval for issues exceeding your original agreement–whether change in colors, embellishment, journaling, and certainly cost, etc.

These services can be a god-send when you can’t engage in the craft yourself, or at least to the extent you wish.  You will be involved in the process because you will be the selector of the photographs you want to use, the theme, color choices, etc.  The “dirty-work” will be the service’s to take care of.

“Time is money,” as they say, and you may find using one of these services is money well spent.  Check out several of these services online, and follow the tips suggested here before you get too committed to going forward.  Still, this opportunity may well be just the answer you’ve been looking for.

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Ron on December 18th, 2010 | File Under Design, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Using Eyelets and Grommets in Scrapbooks

Embellishing your scrapbook pages with grommets and eyelets can add a touch of flair and elegance.

Scrapbook crafters are always looking for additions or embellishments they can add to their pages to create a special look of panache.  Eyelets and grommets can be that added touch you’re looking for.

Eyelets and grommets have been around for a long time.  Eyelets have mainly been used in sewing to provide added strength to stress areas to apparel and shoes.  Grommets are used primarily to provide reinforced holes for threading things through and are generally larger in size than eyelets.  Scrapbooking has given them both a new twist and provided them with an additional beneficial life.  Eyelets and grommets are most often thought of as elements for attaching various facets together, i.e. vellum to card stock or scrapbook page paper.  Yes, this is an often used option, and continue to use them for that purpose, but consider their decorative value also.  Think about using them in place of other touches you might otherwise use, i.e. eyelets in place of bullets when journaling, the center bud of flowers, etc.  Let your own creative mind open to new an fun ways to use them.  Be artistically creative!

These special embellishments come in a wide variety of colors.  This is great!  The broader the spectrum the better to be able to find a color and size just right for your special projects.  Applications of these fun adornments are much easier with the tools available for you to use to apply them.  See our article on “Eyelet and Grommet Setting Tools for Scrapbooking.”

These decorative  embellishments are available from a number of popular brand makers and suppliers: Karen Foster Design, Provo Craft,  Making Memories to name a few.  They can be purchased through many online outlets such as, JoAnnA Cherry on Top, CreateForLess to name a few.  These providers often have great sales–take advantage of them.

One note of caution: when purchasing eyelets and grommets be sure they are non-rusting and paints or coloring used on them are safe for scrapbooking–acid free in particular.  You don’t want them to be a damaging effect to your handy work, but a wonderful addition.

Grommets and eyelets offer you a fantastic opportunity to add a special touch of panache to your scrapbook and card  projects.

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Ron on June 13th, 2010 | File Under Cards and Invitations, Design, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Prevent Scrapbook Embellishment Overload

Too much embellishment can be a disaster for your scrapbook page.

The growth of scrapbooking over the years has spawned a miriad of companies offering us a plethora of products to help us spruce up our scrapbook pages.  There are so many things to choose from it almost gets impossible to select just the right ones for our project–which means we usually purchase too many, and thus we tend to use way more than we should.  You know, if I have them, I should use them.

We want the new products and inovations.  What we as crafters have to do is decide which items are best suited for my project.  One new look or product may not be any better than another.  Each scrapbook endeavor we design probably has several looks and feels we could employ. 

“Variety is the spice of life!”  Too much variety, however, can spoil what we are attempting to accomplish.  Using good judgement, tempered with some common sense will help us complete our pages with the appropriate amount of embellishment to accent and drawout our photographs.  REMEMBER, THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE THE FOCUS OF THE PAGE.  What we add to any scrapbook page should be focused on augmenting the pictures.

Things to consider in selecting our embellishments would be color, shape, texture and size.  These helpful additions should not overpower our theme, and definitely not the photographs.

A good practice to follow when considering what embellishments to use and to what extent is to follow the “rule of three.”  This is the rule used by artists where odd numbers are used.  Three is more than adequate in most cases.  Much beyond three and gaudiness tends to set in.  When designing your pages consider no more than three technique types, colors, sizes, etc. of embellishments.  Most often, a little goes a long ways.

When designing your scrapbook pages be sure to make your photographs the focal point and core of your effort.  Let the embellishments enhance your pictures.  When the embellishments become the focus of your page, you’ve missed the boat.

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Ron on June 7th, 2010 | File Under Basics, Design, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Scrapbook Design Tips To Consider

Here are some helpful hints for organizing and designing a scrapbook pages.  These suggestions are not to be considered all inclusive, but simple helps.  Your own creative juices will guide you in the end.  These ideas are not presented in any order of priority.  We will direct you to some of our articles that go into more depth regarding a particular suggestion.

  • Select a Focal Point
  • Photographs should be arranged in a strategic manner to draw the viewer to the focus of  your page
  • Scrapbook pages should be designed around a visual triangle
  • Construct your page using the “Rule of Thirds”
  • Everything in its place–arrange items with thought and purpose–for continuity and relationship
  • Repetition is beneficial in the design helps provide unity of elements
  • Contrast can provide interest and focus
  • Embellishments should be consistent and coordinating
  • Eliminate white space and voids
  • Utilize the “odd number” element

Select a Focal Point.

As you begin the design and layout of your scrapbook page, the first thing you want to do is identify what your purpose is.  What is the pictorial story you want to convey.  What are the most important elements which would help you say what you want to say to the view of your page.  There is only ONE focal point per page, but you can have ancillary or secondary points–just limit them, or your page will loose its purpose with too much busyness.  See our article “Select a Focal Point” for more detailed information.

Photographs should be arranged in a strategic manner to draw the viewer to the focus of  your page.

Photographs are the spine of a scrapbook.  Scrapbook pages are crafted for photographs.  Each page is designed to tell or add to a picture story.  The alignment or arrangement of photos on a scrapbook page should be structured to focus on the theme of the page.  Pictures should be placed to draw attention and to provide a flow of the viewers eye from one picture to another to complete the story in a logical sequence.  See our article “Balancing Your Scrapbook Page Layouts” and “Plan Your Scrapbook Page First

Everything in its place–arrange items with thought and purpose–for continuity and relationship.

When designing your scrapbook pages everything has it’s place.  Every aspect, from pictures, journaling to embellishments, should be placed in an order that provides fluidity, harmony and continuity to all the other elements of the page.  The placement of items should provide a natural flow from one facet to another in an orderly fashion.  The colors should enhance and augment the theme of the page.  The two articles above should help provide more detail about this continuity concept, and the importance of putting each element in an appropriate place on your scrapbook page.

Construct your page using the “Rule of Thirds.”

The “Rule of Thirds” is an design tool to layout your scrapbook page into thirds–both horizontally and vertically.  This provides you with 9 imaginary boxes.  A companion rule is the “Golden Ratio.”  Both of these rules help you identify areas on your page where you would or could begin placing the focal elements.  These are not a hard and fast rules for scrapbookers, but the give you a starting point.  For more information and detail on these two design tools see our articles: “Scrapbook Layout: “The Rule of Thirds” and “Scrapbook Layout: “The Golden Ratio.”

Everything in its place–arrange items with thought and purpose–for continuity and relationship.

Based on the information provided thus far you can see where everything on your page should be coordinated and focused on the theme you are presenting.  Each element should add to or enhance the pictoral story you are presenting to the viewer.  Like or related items, when grouped together or in close proximity to one another, will help create a stronger visual image.  This process adds emphasis and focus to a specific element on the page.   All related elements should help direct viewers to the primary focus of the created page.

Repetition is beneficial in the design helps provide unity of elements.

Repetition in your page construction process adds to the overall continuity of the page.  This process helps pull the page together.  This technique is especially important when you are creating double or multiple pages on the same theme.  Repeating such items as: color, texture, shapes, sizes, embellishments, etc. will help hold an tie together your page.

Contrast can provide interest and focus.

By varying various aspects and elements of your scrapbook page you create interest through contrast.  You can change or add contrasting features such as: color, size, font type, shape, etc.  Contrast can be over done to the extent the prime focus or theme of your page is lost.  This is one of those areas where “a little goes a long ways.”  Use it, but be judicious in the application.  Start simple and add as needed.

Embellishments should be consistent and coordinating.

Embellishments on your pages should be added to provide or enhance your page’s theme or focus.  Use them consistently and in a coordinated way.  This is especially true when creating double or multiple pages.  The principle here is similar to “Contrast can provide interest and focus.” noted in the previous item.  A reminder, a little goes a long way.

Eliminate white space and voids.

Generally speaking, what you want to do is fill your page with material that adds, or speaks to, the focus of your page.  “white space” (open or blank space) can distract the viewer’s attention to your theme.  You don’t have to have “every space filled with something.”  You want the page to flow from element to element with the least with the least amount of distraction to draw the viewer away for the purpose of you picture story.

Utilize the “odd number” element.

In the art world, artist hold to the element of “odd numbers” (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.).  Scrapbooker’s should hold to this rule as well.  Viewers find odd numbers to be easier and more pleasant to look at–the understanding of this is not fully understood, but it works.  Most pages should not exceed 5 items of point.  This may well be one of those “don’t fix what ain’t broke” sort of things.  Just use it!

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Ron on May 28th, 2010 | File Under Basics, Design, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Centering Ruler

Scrapbook creations need the help of a good ruler.  A centering ruler is a plus.

centering ruler Centering Ruler

A centering ruler is a very useful tool for scrapbooking use.  The prime benefit of a centering ruler is to quickly and easily figure out centering objects that are in relationship to one another.  Calculation and measuring with out the benefit of a centering ruler can provide uneven results.

Layouts are much easier to handle with the help of a centering ruler.  Little or no guess work is involved.  There are enough other issues to have to deal with than guessing the center points of related objects.  This tool is especially  perfect for centering words on your scrapbook or craft projects.

EK Tools – Centering Ruler Pro

EK Success has a great tool–their Centering Ruler Pro–that was designed primarily for help in your centering tasks.  This 2″ x 15″ ruler offers these benefits:

  • Flexible – allows for perfect center alignment on flat and 3-dimensional objects
  • 7″ measurement from right or left of center
  • Easy to read “black and white” numbers which can be read on both dark and light surfaces
  • Has both inches and metric measuring gauges
  • Has a sticker release surface so you can use the ruler to line up stickers–lettering in particular–for perfect centering
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Ron on May 19th, 2010 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Design, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Gypsy Portable Personal Handheld Design Studio

Cricut Gypsy Makes Scrapbooking Design A Versatile and Portable Option

cricut gypsy Gypsy Portable Personal Handheld Design Studio


The Cricut Gypsy is the newest innovative scrapbooking tool from Provo Craft.   Now scrapbook designers have the capability of creating and designing great scrapbook pages on the go.  The Gypsy’s portability expands the crafter’s capacity to create and produce their designs just about anywhere they go: on a trip, to the doctor’s office, scrapbook parties, just to name a few places where you might want to take it with you and use while waiting.

The Gypsy is the portable design studio to be used with your Cricut cutting machines.  This amazing little tool can be hooked up to your computer, your Cricut machine, or used by itself alone.  Gypsy is a compact dynamo hand held tool that can store Cricut cartridge’s contents (it comes with two cartridges preloaded in its memory), CD contents from your computer, and information from your Cricut machine itself.  This machine’s storage capacity can give you up to 10,000 designs to work from–awesome!  The vast pool of resources you may add to your Cricut Gypsy  can easily by found by searching for the title of a cartridge or keywords of a design–how easy is that?  Once this information is stored in your Gypsy it can be used in any Cricut machine–whoa, talk about being functional and versatile!

The Cricut Gypsy allows you to perform several important design functions: slant, size, rotate, flip, stretch, and weld.  All of these functions give the designer optimum creative ability in constructing scrapbook pages or greeting cards.

The machine’s touch screen allows you to see the feature or function you are looking for, or working on at the moment.  A stylus is used to make navigating through all of the functions and features available with the machine very easy.

At approximately 8″ long and weighing just under a pound, the design dynamics of this machine allow the serious scrapbooker to design just about anything anywhere.  A purse, backpack, or its own carrying case will let you take it just about anywhere you want to go.

Gypsy come with a rechargeable battery.  The battery’s charge life is ” . . .  about four hours with continuous use, and up to eighteen hours with intermittent use.  Battery life may vary depending on how bright the screen brightness is set.”  An AC adapter and car charger are provided.  A computer connection cord is also included, along with an instruction booklet, protective cover and carrying case.  (We recommend watching the videos provided by Cricut) to speed you along your way in using this powerful portable design tool.)

This powerful, yet little tool, is for the dedicated scrapbooker and greeting card designer.  While it may not be the least expensive scrapbook tool for its size.  The Cricut Gypsy does provide the serious paper crafter with a light weight, huge memory capacity, easy to operate, dynamic and portable design tool.

You can purchase just the Cricut Gypsy packet, or what we recommend is the Cricut Gypsy Machine Bundle.

Here is where you can find good prices for your own

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Ron on October 19th, 2009 | File Under Cards and Invitations, Design, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Design Accents and Embellishments

embellishments Design Accents and Embellishments“LET THE FUN BEGIN”

Next to the photograph, accents are the heart and soul of your scrapbook page or book. For most scrappers this is where the fun begins. These embellishments should highlight and enhance your focal point. You never want to over power your focal point or photos with too much embellishment. All elements of design should direct attention to your focal point–make it say what you want if to say!

You don’t have to be independently creative here. Using the benefit of others creativity can be a starting point. Where there is scrapbooking there are ideas: shops, magazines and friend’s scrapbooks–just to name a few. There is no want for ideas in this scrapbook crazed era if you take a little time to look around and explore.

One Note of Caution: As you use accents, be sure to use acid-free paper to keep your pages from yellowing or breaking down over time, and that your embellishments won’t cause damage or problems with your page, or your book.

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Ron on January 1st, 2009 | File Under Design | No Comments -

Balancing Your Scrapbook Page Layouts

“Are My Pages on a Teeter-Totter”

see saw Balancing Your Scrapbook Page LayoutsWe all need balance in our lives. Too much of a good thing often turns into a distasteful thing.

In design, balance is a fundamental principal.

Scrapbook pages should have good and effective balance–not too much of any one thing. When proper layout is accomplished your balance looks and feels comfortable, easy and right.

Elements of your page have weight. If there is an over abundance of any one element then the element becomes over weighted. One big picture improperly placed can dominate, but give balance when other smaller pictures are added. That doesn’t mean to say you have to do pages with more than one picture, but if you do a one picture page you need to add balance with embellishments, title and journaling.

You are looking for symmetry (balanced proportions). There are two forms we are concerned with: Asymmetrical–where there is a lack of proportion–not symmetrical. Symmetrical items are parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane, a center or axis–like two children on a “teeter-totter.” Each creates its own effect. For those of you who are more detail oriented and would like to know more about these two forms of balance- see the article on Balance and Symmetery in Scrapbook Design.

Balance is a visual effect. Item placement helps the eye move across and through the page. This eye movement promotes connectivity to unrelated items…a back and forth or up and down movement. Placement of items in a “Z” pattern or “diamond” form helps the viewer move fluidly about your page.

In art there is the rule of “3″ (or odd numbers 3, 5, 7, etc.) The easiest and most useful number is “3.” When you use more than three items your page can become to busy and the theme is hard to follow. If you have several photos you want to use it may be best to break them up into to coordinating pages.

Your prime focus item should be placed on those (imaginary) divisional third lines dissecting your page . . . it gives you a “tic-tac-toe” frame to work from. You don’t need to use drawn lines–just visualize them in your mind. Perfection isn’t required here.

You need to give your eyes a rest by leaving enough background space. This helps with letting the focus be on your photograph(s).

For additional information (a little more technical see: The Golden Ratio and The Rule of Thirds).

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Ron on January 1st, 2009 | File Under Design, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

More Information About Balance and Symmetry in Scrapbooking

seesawwithkids wb 300x120 More Information About Balance and Symmetry in ScrapbookingEach of us uses balance every day in our lives. We need balance to walk or even stand up–physical balance; or functionality to balance our checkbooks. We even try our best to balance our lives between family, work, recreation, hobbies, religious participation, etc.

Because scrapbooking is a visual activity, balance and symmetry are essential and the KEY to making a page look pleasing and functional. Balance in our scrapbook composition can be created with using different colors, sizes, material, shapes, etc. How you use each of these elements, which you control, is what creates the VISUAL INTEREST.

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Ron on January 1st, 2009 | File Under Design | No Comments -

Plan Your Scrapbook Page First


“Plan Your Page”

blueprint Plan Your Scrapbook Page First

As you plan your page(s) you need to have some conceptual idea of how you want it to look . . . what you want it to say. You need a plan for your scrapbook page just like a builder needs blueprints (a plan) to build a building.

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Ron on January 1st, 2009 | File Under Design | No Comments -