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Author Archive | Julie Aldridge Kelley

Making Paper Scrapbooking Easy Again: Using Templates

In this guest post team member Julie Aldridge beautifully showcases how simple it is to use a template to create a traditional scrapbook page.

I’m a paper scrapper. I don’t mind being on the computer a little, but I like to get my hands dirty and play with paper, embellishments, patterns, and colors. I like to dig into my craft space and be inspired. I like to keep things simple.

And I am obsessed with templates.

Templates make my creative process easier. They have revolutionized the way I scrapbook. My pages are quicker and easier because the bulk of the work is done for me.  Instead of staring at an empty, blank page, I use a template and finish my project in 3 steps. Quick, easy, clean, and simple.

Step 1: Pre-Planning/Design

My first step is always to set up my design. This requires a little pre-planning. Don’t be scared, all I’m doing here is asking myself, what am I going to make? Usually, I either start with a template or photo that I have in mind. In the following example, I started with a template for 4×6 photos because I had a HUGE stack of 4×6 pictures that I wanted to use. Here’s the template:

Looking through my stack of pictures, I found one that I loved and wanted to use. Unfortunately, the template calls for 2 pictures, and was titled ‘Then and Now’. I nixed the ‘Then and Now’ title since that’s not what I was going to do. Next, I decided to replace the second image with a journaling card. Since my journaling was now planned, I removed the text. Ta-Da! The design was finished!

Step 2: Print

This is the easiest step! Since my picture was already printed, I just printed out the journalling card.

Step 3: Play

With the pictures and journalling card printed, I pulled out my paper and embellishments and looked for complementary colors. I almost always use neutrals and try to stick as closely to the template as I can. After all, I’m trying to make this easier for myself!

Materials: Solid paper is Quicksand by Bazzill Basics; screen print paper is Birds on a Wire by Hambly Screen Prints; flag made with Book Jacket/Memoir Collection by Studio Calico; scalloped stripe made with Letterset/Calico Classic Collection by Studio Calico; Brad by Crate Paper; journal card uses Cathy Zielske’s design from; template by Simple Scrapper Premium Membership; photo taken by Brooke Turner Photography.

This method works for all sorts of templates, and I use it consistently every time I make a page.

For more complex templates, I’ll use Photoshop/Photoshop Elements to pre-plan my design by dragging and dropping my pictures into a template that Simple Scrapper’s Premium Membership provides [Step 1].

Then I’ll print the 12×12 picture directly through a company like Persnickity Prints. Within a week, I have beautiful 12×12 pictures at my doorstep with the pictures already in place [Step 2]. All I need to do then is add paper and embellishments [Step 3].

For further reading, check out the pages made by the design team for July’s Challenge to see more examples of Simple Scrapper Premium Membership templates in use and stop by my own blog to see my method put in action.

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5 Tips for Better Photos

There are so many wonderful things about scrapbooking, but to me the photos, which represent our memories, are the absolute best! To celebrate, let’s go through a few quick photo tips to make your everyday pictures a little better.

 1. Avoid harsh light for faces

Harsh light on faces often translates to dark face shadows in pictures.  Sometimes shadows can be beautiful, but face shadows don’t have the same effect and can be very difficult to remove.

When snapping pictures outside, avoid the bright, harsh, mid-day sunlight. Instead, try taking pictures at the beginning and end of the day. Or, if that’s not an option (such as when you are traveling), try taking the pictures in the shade.

A picture taken in the shade may be darker overall, but brightness can be edited easily in almost all photo-editing programs. When snapping pictures indoors, avoid lamps, and try to find natural sunlight near a window. This natural light will give people a beautiful glow that you can’t get directly in the mid-day sunlight.

 2. Don’t use flash

This piece of advice comes up again and again. Unless you’re trying to take a picture of someone who is standing in front of lights or is in the dark, let the natural lights provide the glow. Almost all editing programs have a way to correct semi-dark lighting, so most of the time there is no need to worry about the flash.

3. Take pictures of children from below for a big impact

This approach might feel weird when you’re on the floor, angling your camera of phone up at your child, but taking pictures from below gives children a “larger than life” feel.  It shows the story of them growing up.  It is especially effective for toddlers when they are walking or running, but it can work for any age. (Think sports and dance!)

4. Move around

Much like the advice to take pictures from below, the advice to move around is meant to encourage you to try new angles for a new perspective. Often pictures from the side of objects like statues, cupcakes, flowers, and food tell more of the story than a straight-on picture from the top can. Some of my best pictures come from me moving around to some awkward positions to take unique angles. It’s totally worth it!

5. Notice beautiful photography

I am not a professional photographer, but I find beauty in other people’s work. Noticing what they do helps me to be a better photographer. I mentally record any tips or ideas, and the next time I have my camera in hand, I’ll try something new. Often these inspirational pictures are from other scrapbookers. They also come from Pinterest and websites for photographers such as

For further reading, try out some creative challenges based on these tips at my

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