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April Free Sketch & Template

Each month our members receive new sketches and companion layered templates, plus a digital magazine featuring these tools in action. This year I'm giving away a sketch and template set from our membership library every month on the blog.

This month's freebie is a 4-photo (or 6-photo), 12x12 layout with a grid of circular photos and lots of space for journaling. There are more than 225 sketches and templates instantly accessible when you become a Simple Scrapper member.

April Free Sketch & Template at Simple Scrapper

See it in action...

Here's an interpretation from Kimberly Kalil that uses a photo as the background:


Here's an interpretation from Jamie Leija, swapping the long journaling for lists:


Here's an interpretation from Allie Trumpower that removes two circles and replaces them with a 3x4 photo:


Here's an interpretation from Jennifer Larson with a twist on the title and embellishment placement:


If you use this design concept to inspire your own layout, please come back and leave a comment sharing your page. I can't wait to see how you make this your own!


The No-Excuses Plan to Capture Daily Life with Jessica Upton

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Jessica Upton with her simple tip.


What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

I simplify scrapbooking by making it a part of my everyday life. By that, I mean I am always looking for new photos to take in order to document the big and small things that happen in our lives. I also write down the things my kids say and do every day. I love that I can look back thru my pages and always be reminded of how sweet their toes were when they were babies, the amazingly funny things they said as toddlers, their first attempts at writing their names as preschoolers, how bittersweet the first days of kindergarten were, the difficult days of finding themselves as tweens, of how middle school has some of the same challenges I faced and some completely new ones, and even the awesome relationships I have with them as they enter the teen years. I do something every day for my scrapbooking which makes it that much easier when I sit down to scrap. I also have a Sunday afternoon date with myself every week. This was my husbands idea (makes it even better, right?). From 3 p.m. on, I sit and scrapbook. We order pizza or Chinese so there is no cooking or clean up. I only stand myself up if a family activity comes along.

What problem does it solve for you?

It solves the problem of remembering the details. By writing something down every day, I always have good material to document with my photos. Scheduling time to scrapbook also solves the problem of making sure I have time in our busy schedule for me to spend on my hobby. Everyone knows that I have this time scheduled on Sunday so if they need help with homework or something else, they should ask before 3pm. If I don't have any other time during the week, I know that I will have a few hours of uninterrupted time on Sunday afternoon.

Why do you think it works so well?

I think that both regular documenting and scheduling time to scrapbook work so well for me because then I have no excuses. I always have material to scrap and time to do so. I make it a priority because it is super important to me and I love doing it. I love routine in all aspects of life though, so I think that helps. I don't want it to be a chore or I won't want to do it, but at the same time, the routine of Sunday afternoons makes my heart so happy.

How can others get started with it?

Write something down every day. Good or bad. Not every day is sunshine and roses and you will likely find that you love reminiscing about both later in life. Use a journal or your phone to keep these little notes in. Make it easy for yourself to find when you sit to scrapbook. Also, find a time that works for you to consistently work on your album. Then it becomes part of your routine. Try not to stand yourself up unless absolutely necessary.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.


How to Decide Which Photos to Print for Your Scrapbooking

A version of this post was originally published January 10, 2012.

Printing photos is one of those sticky spots in memory keeping. It is a place where scrapbookers can get stuck if you don't have a game plan.

In this post I want to give you a work-backwards approach that will help you more easily and quickly decide which photos to print.

Selecting Photos to Print for Scrapbooking

1. Don't print everything. In this day and age, there is little need to print all of your photos. Even if you're not a scrapbooker at all, your photo album should include carefully chosen images that represent your life. The rest can be stored digitally. So before you try to make it 'easy' on yourself by just printing all your photos, I beg you to not to do that.

2. Consider the final medium first. Because printing is something we can do again and again, I find it helps to select several use cases for your photos first. Then, work from there. Have specific end-locations for your images in mind when determining which stories will be told and thus, which photos will be printed. Will they go in frames, in divided page protectors, in a mini album, on a multi-photo page or a single photo page?

3. Look for the juicy stories. If you're like me, you have a lot of 'pretty' photos. Those are the ones that should go in frames, rotating in and out, if needed. It is often the images that are less technically correct, less perfect that are more meaningful. Select images for your scrapbooking based on the emotions they invoke and the stories that pop to mind.

4. Decide on a rough design. For each use case, which is essentially a project, determine how many photos you will need. Use this number to narrow down your favorite images. If you get stuck, remember #3 to help you pick between choice A or choice B. Select a few more than you think you need, in case you change your mind later.

4b. If your photos are not already edited to your preferred degree (which could be none at all), now is the time to do that. If your images were already edited, you can skip this step.

5. Outline the sizing. Not every project will need 4x6 images nor will cropping down always work. If your project will need particular sizes, now is the time to do some cropping on the computer. Often, I find it easiest and more cost effective to print a selection of smaller images on one 8x10 print, which is a standard size.

6. Print. Whether you print at home or send them out, working systematically through each needed use of photos will make sure you print the right number and sizes without getting overwhelmed or stuck with too many photos!

Do you have a different system for deciding which photos to print? Share it in the comments.

Before you can print photos, you need to know where they are and what you have. In Photo Crush, a new free event at Simple Scrapper, you'll start to take control of your photo library in just 7 days.


Reduce Guilt with an Annual Collage with Katie Nelson

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Katie Nelson with her simple tip.


What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

As I go through and scrapbook memories from any given year, I keep a folder labeled "end of year layout" ready. As I have to cut pictures from layouts (meaning I decide I don't have enough space or interest to include them there), I simply move them to that "end of year" folder. Then I always do some sort of simple collage style layout using the random pictures that were set aside in that folder. These pages have ended up becoming some of my favorites because they really are simple snapshots of my life in one year of time.

What problem does it solve for you?

I don't feel like I have to fit every photo on a layout any more. I know I will still be able to use my favorite shots, even if they don't fit with the page I'm currently working on.

Why do you think it works so well?

It gets rid of the guilt of not using every photo. It really was a mental barrier for me before I started using this little trick.

How can others get started with it?

Just make a folder! Or you could tag your photos in a similar way. The folder method works best for me though because it's easy to see how many pictures I'm accumulating. Sometimes there are several that fit into a particular theme that are best for an entirely different layout.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.


Save Time with Stash Awareness with Els Brigé

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Els Brigé with her simple tip.


What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

When it comes to simplifying my process, I think that one of the most important things is to know my stash. I try not to have a ton of scrapbooking supplies – partly because I don’t have much room to spare for scrapbooking, but also because I realize that once I lose an overview, I’ll just forget about certain items and then they’ll just sit unused in my closet. I usually only buy what I really like and know I’ll use. And since I love my products that much, I can envision certain items that would fit for a particular project and dig them out in no time.

What problem does it solve for you?

It helps to save time when looking for possible embellishments or papers for a certain project. I can find all the options, or even build myself a little kit in a relatively small time. And not having too many options also makes it easier to choose and construct a page, too many options seems to paralyze me for some reason.

Why do you think it works so well?

I just love looking through my stuff, and especially with new supplies, checking all the items out, and checking them out once more. It just makes me happy. And then being able to build a layout easier and faster, is a nice surplus.

How can others get started with it?

We all love buying new scrapbooking supplies, but I usually ask myself what I would be using that particular item for and do I see myself using and reusing it on a project, and if I’m really loving it. If the answer is not clearly positive, I would probably not buy it. And when buying something new, don’t just throw it in your stash, but take the time to take a thorough look at it, and maybe even have a little play with it (definitely helps you remember better what you have). On top of that, a good de-stash every now and then also works wonders.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.