Wednesday, August 29, 2007

For Photos With That Vintage Look From The 1940s

If you've got some old photos from the 1940s, you've probably got one or two with deckled edges. I don't know if deckled edges on photos was a style unique to the 1940s or not but all the photos I have with deckled edges happen to be from the 1940s.

Anyway... that deckled edge adds a nice vintage look to photos. If you'd like to add the deckled edge to some of your photos you'll be happy to know that you can do it in Photoshop Elements 5.0. Linda Sattgast has a quick and easy tutorial in this week's edition of her weekly newsletter. If you'd like to check it out you can do so on her digi scrapping site. It's her tip of the week this week. If you're reading this after the week of August 27, 2007, try here.

If you give this tutorial a try and you like the results you might want to enter your results in a Challenge on the forum at Linda's site. If you do, let me know. I wanna see!

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Place and Time: Holland, Egypt, Scotland

This week's Monday freebies are for those of you with roots in Holland, Egypt, or Scotland. I have three freebie kits to show you that I'm sure you'll enjoy creating scrapbook pages with. Without further ado, take a look at these...

First we have a large kit from Holland. Take a look at this kit. Isn't it great? It has so many wonderful images of Holland. You can surely show off your Dutch ancestors with this kit!
You can get this kit for free on this message board.

Next we have an Egyptian kit for those of you with Arabian ancestors. This one is called "Henna" and has a look of the desert sand. Isn't it great? This kit has
- 10 papers
- 2 Henna swirl
- 2 Henna golden swirl
- an arabian poetry as a word art
- Alfa

You can get the Henna kit for free at:

And last but not least, I have a fantastic kit you will absolutely love. Actually, this blogger, Snowraven, has had a series of kits (8) she made for Scotland. This is the last of her series but you can still download all of them. Each kit has a lot to choose from so you'll certainly find something you can use to create fantastic pages about your Scottish ancestors.

You can get the kit Bonnie Scotland Autumn here:

I hope you download and use these great kits. There's no better way to get creative with your genealogy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

How to Create a Good Looking Scrapbook Page Using a Poor Quality Photo

Sometimes no matter how long you work on editing a photo you can't make it look good. It's the old, "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", story. This is often the case with photos taken back in the 1960s and 1970s. Remember those Kodak Instamatic cameras that used 110 cartridge film? Many of us have a slew of poor quality photos taken with those once popular models.

Here is a picture of me taken in 1972 with a Kodak Instamatic camera using color slide film. You just can't make this photo sharp and crisp.

I can't go back and retake the photos of my teenage years. I'm stuck with the photos I have, poor quality though they may be. The photos are still precious to me because of the memories attached to them. So I'd still like to create a scrapbook page to capture the essence of those days. But what can I do about that poor quality photo?

The best thing I've found to do when scrapping with a poor quality photo is to only use a small portion of it (enough to jog the memory) and surround it with elements that will pull your eye away from the photo. Bright colors and or a busy layout will direct your eye around the page rather than focus on just the picture.

In the layout shown below, I used the "cookie cutter" tool in Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 on my photo and "cut" it into a flower shape. Once the photo was cut out I layered it with two other flower elements to draw the eye out from the photo. When you have a great photo, you want your scrapbook page to emphasize it and set it off. But when you have a poor quality photo you may want to consider de-emphasizing it.

When you first look at this page your eye is naturally drawn to the photo. But it doesn't stay there. It's pulled away first to the bright orange flower that frames it and then further out to the peace sign, up the green ribbon to the bright yellow smiley flower, and then to the text areas.

So there you have it. A way to make a scrapbook page look good even with a poor quality photo. No excuses now... get busy and get creative with your genealogy!

[Scrapbook kit used: Hippy Chic by CanDesigns]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Place and Time

There's nothing like starting the week off with nice free gift. Therefore, I'm going to start each week off by letting you know about a freebie digi-scrapbooking kit (or 2 or 3 :-) that would be of particular interest to genealogists and family historians. It might be an era-themed kit, an ethnic kit, or maybe it will just have a timeless genealogy theme. The best part is it will be free for the taking. But it may be a limited time offer so you'll want to hurry on over and download it. (Don't forget to say thank you with a comment for the designer ;-)

This week I'd like to tell you about 2 era-theme kits that I'm sure you'll like. The first is called Retro Glamour by scrapteam. This is a great kit that captures the golden age of Hollywood (1930s-40s). If you've got an old photo of an ancestor in one of those "strike a pose" poses, this may be just the right kit to make a sensational page. Make your ancestor a movie star! Here's a preview of the entire kit:

The second kit is by a designer who I've just recently discovered. She has her pulse on another great era... the Hippies of the 1960s and early 70s. So far she's just released the first segment of her kit called Hippy Chic, there will be more to come. But there's no reason to wait! Head on over to Candee's blog and download Part 1 of Hippy Chic. Here's a preview:

Don't ya just love it already? I remember those "flower power" days... and I have a few photos that will look just great with this theme. Remember the music... Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Lovin Spoonful, Joan Baez, The Grateful Dead, The Stones, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles of course. Pull out those long-hair photos and get creative with your genealogy!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Reason to Celebrate on November 3rd!

A new holiday has been declared... Digital Scrapbooking Day! (DSD) It will be celebrated on the first Saturday of November each year, and this year that date will be November 3, 2007. It's a great day for celebrating if I do say so myself ;-)

This commemorative day was established "to encourage scrapbookers, photographers, crafters, and genealogists to set aside some time to preserve, document, and archive their memories digitally." The official announcement appears on the Digital Scrapbooking Day blog. You can check there for future information about sponsored activities and tutorials.

I learned about DSD from Hummie's blog (it always amazes me how "in-the-know" she is on the topic of digi scrapping). She's sponsoring a DSD Tail Gate Party. You can get the details from her blog post but the gist of it is this... we all create a digital scrapbook page using " 'heirloom' photos and/or memorabilia". Then we upload it to our blogs. After that we submit the blog post links to her blog (Mr. Linky?) where others will submit their scrapbook page links too. Then we all visit each others blogs and check out the heirloom photo layouts. There's even going to be prizes given out. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. Who knows, maybe I'll even submit one of my own pages. What about you? Here's another great way to get creative with your genealogy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

5th Digital Scrapbooking Carnival is Posted

The 5th Digital Scrapbooking Carnival is posted. Check it out on the Legacy Lady blog. This time it's nicely organized by category. Enjoy!


Let me begin by saying THANK YOU! to Kimberly Powell of She wrote a very nice post featuring this blog and my article about vintage and ethnic themed scrapbook kits. I really appreciate your help in getting the word out Kimberly!

Next I'd like to announce that I've been invited to be a part of the creative team at Stone Accents Studio (SAS). I'm really excited about this opportunity and I look forward to all that it has to offer. Let me take a moment here to explain what this is about if I may.

The digital scrapbooking (DS) community interacts online a little differently than we genea-bloggers do. For the most part, they use their blogs to offer free scrapbook items they've created, announce and promote new kits or tutorials they've created, and chat about their personal lives. The comments on their blogs are generally "thank you" messages and " I like your kit" messages from site visitors. There is little comment conversation on these blogs compared to say genealogy blogs.

Most of the DS bloggers belong to forum groups where they offer their kits for sale if they are designers, or meet and help each other out if they are scrapbookers. Think of it as an online community where people can meet up with others who are excited about their hobby and share ideas, show off their creations, and ask for help. Unlike genealogy forums, these are very visual. A big part of what they're about is showing what they've created using a given scrapbooking kit. So you can browse for hours to get ideas of how you might layout a page or create a special effect. And if you want feedback on a scrapbook page that you've created you can get that too.

I stumbled on Stone Accents Studio Forum in its infancy (2 weeks ago ;-) and posted a message there asking if anyone knew of any ethnic and/or era theme kits. The response was quick and very positive. The thread took off and the next thing I knew I'd won a contest for coming up with the best forum thread... and the funny part is I wasn't even aware of the contest! It wasn't long after that that I was contacted by Julie Orlee (the owner and creator of SAS) and offered a an opportunity to be on their creative team. The best part of all for me is just seeing the popularity of genealogy themes in this digital scrapbooking forum taking hold. Now there's a forum where we genealogists can hang out and share what we know and find some excellent scrapbooking kits for our own family albums. Is that great or what?

As a part of the creative team for Stone Accent Studio I will be creating 2-3 layouts a month using kits designed by the members of the design team. I'll also be hanging out in the forums and making suggestions to visitors in their most popular sections, "Down Through the Ages-Eras" and "Flavors of the World-Ethnic Themes". They also have a section just for genealogy (I haven't seen this on any other forums) with 2 subsections, "The SAS Genealogy and Heritage Learning Center" and "Genealogy and Heritage Links and Research Sites". And to think this all started with my question, well, it boggles the mind. Who knew I was a such a source of inspiration? ;-)

I'm hoping you'll join me over in the forums. Please stop by and say hello and see if you can't find a great scrapbooking kit for your family album. Even if you're not interested in scrapbooking, stop by and share some of your genealogy knowledge... I know you have plenty of that!

The design team and creative team members are all making layouts (pages) to introduce themselves. Here's mine. I used Julie Orlee's kit "Feelin SAS-y", it's currently a free download on the Stone Accents Studio Blog.

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Vintage Scrapbooking Kits You Should Know About

For the last couple of weeks I've been scouring the Internet looking for era-specific digital scrapbook kits. They are harder to find than you might think. I have some listed in the column to the right but that link list doesn't allow me to detail some of the great "finds" I've made. Here are some era-specific kits that may be just what you need to set off those great family photos of yours...

If you have actors, actresses, theatre goers, or opera lovers in your family, check out the Curtain Call kit by Silvia Romeo at Vintage theatre at its best.

Finding vintage images for men can be a bit of a challenge... those fussy Victorian kits just don't work. Check out these kits and see if they don't suit some of the men in your family tree. I think they're terrific!
Grandpa's Pockets by Tina Williams
Good Men at
Aviation Pilot at
Dear Daddy at
It's a Guy Thing at

You probably don't have any photos of your ancestors from back in the Renaissance Era ;-) but if you have family photos from a visit to a Renaissance festival you might appreciate this kit, Renaissance Manor by Tandika Star.

For general "aged" ephemera that isn't too fussy and could be easily used for both men and women check out Mamaw Lucy's Trunk by Glenda Ketcham.

A really nice vintage jewelry kit is, Jeweled Vintage Kit by Lifesong Kreations.

Were any of your ancestors gardeners? If so, you'll really enjoy this vintage mega-kit, The Garden Kit by Silvia Romeo.

Here's a lovely FREE vintage kit, Vintage Pearls, by Helen.

Got a musician on the family tree? Here's one you'll find interesting, J3 Melody at Also on that same site are vintage kits for Beauty/Barber Shop, Classic Cars, Doc, Fisherman, Sewing, Country Antique, Hunting,

Here's one I love and just have to buy, Art Nouveau by Clohie Watkins.

If you have an attorney on the family tree, this one is a must have. Lawyer's Kit by Cari Lopez. Also by Cari, Sewing and Embroidery Kit, Neo-expressionist Art Collection, Rusted Roots, and a mega kit titled My Family - Genealogical Scrap.

I'm keeping my eye out for those very special themed kits. I'll let you know when I find some more!

No excuses, now. Go get creative with your genealogy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

How to Create Era-Themed Scrapbook Pages

For the sake of those who have old family photos but don't know how to create an era-specific scrapbook page, allow me to help you out. The first thing you need to determine is what era the photos you want to use are from. If the dates of the photos are on the back, you're in luck because then you just have to match it with the era. If your photo is undated you will need to put some time into researching it's era using clues from clothing, poses, hair styles, hats, etc. A great online source for this is the Fashion-Era web site. You'll find costume (clothing) clues from every period of history and you'll be surprised at how easy it is to determine the approximate date of your photograph.

Once you have an approximate date for your photograph you can look at where it falls in the timeline of history. We don't have to go too far back because photography wasn't invented until the early 1800s (From Wikipedia, "1837 - Daguerr'es first daguerreotype, the first image that was fixed and did not fade and needed under 30 minutes of light exposure."). So there's really no reason to consider historical periods before that. Here's a breakdown of eras as defined by social/political events as well as fashion trends:

Victorian 1837-1901 This is the period of highly decorative elements with lots of hearts, pearls, lace, and scroll work. Colors often favor reds and pinks, ivory, and other pastels. Think soft, fussy, and old and you've got Victorian. Definitely leans towards the feminine.

Art Nouveau 1880-1914 Less fussy, less feminine, curvy lines with plant and floral motifs being very popular. Darker colors including black come into favor. Think Tiffany lamps and player pianos which came into popularity during this period.

WWI 1915-1920 Women's hemlines rise for the first time showing the ankle and a bit of the calf. Do to the war, adornments and jewelry are minimal but hats are very popular for both men and ladies.

Art Deco 1920-1939 This includes the exciting time of the "Roaring Twenties" with the Flapper girls, and the gangster/prohibition era. It also includes the 1930s, a time of the Great Depression. The 1920s saw women's hemlines rise to a scandalous peak of "just above the knee" in 1928. During the Depression women were less concerned with home and clothing fashions and more concerned with financial survival. Styles were more subdued in the early 1930s but became more exciting as the decade progressed and economic times got better.

1940s/WWII This era was strongly influenced by the War. Victory gardens and all things patriotic were popular, as was the industrial influence after the war.

1950s The 1950s images include pastel colors (think ice cream, sherbet) with black accents, lots of chrome and plastic, vinyl records, jukeboxes, poodle skirts, and the birth of rock and roll.

1960s The 1960s images include peace signs, tie-dyed t-shirts, "flower power", bell bottom pants, longer hair for men, lava lamps and mood rings. The end of the decade was all about Vietnam as was the beginning of the 1970s.

1970s The 1970s images include unisex clothing for men and women with jeans becoming truly fashionable. A return of the "Gibson Girl" look with "maxi" length dresses and skirts for women for a brief time. Hot pants, Go-go boots, and micro mini skirts were the rage. Fluorescent colors including hot pink were popular.

It would be great if you had personal effects from your ancestor that you could use on your scrapbook page about them. You could photograph or scan their items and include them as theme elements along with a time-related photograph (you don't want to use an adult man's hat with his baby picture). However, we don't all have the luxury of having personal effects from our ancestors. In that case, creating a scrapbook page using period items from a kit would be the next best thing. A consistent theme is what you're after.

So where do you find era-theme scrapbook kits? Well, it's not easy. For some reason these kits aren't popular with kit artists. There are some out there however and I'll be telling you about them them in upcoming posts.

(Scrapbook page shown above was created using the "Art Nouveau" kit by Rachel Turner.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Digital Scrapbooking: 4th Blog Carnival is Up

It's that wonderful time we all know and love... Carnival time! The 4th Digital Scrapbooking Blog Carnival is posted so head on over and check it out. As always, you'll find tutorials on how to do a variety of tricks, learn about computer time management, and lots more. My favorite article was, Build Your Cognitive Reserve. This article discusses the importance of pursuing stimulating leisure time activities (like scrapbooking and genealogy;-) to minimize the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. You just never know what you'll find at the carnival until you check it out... so what are you waiting for? Go visit and then...

Get creative with your genealogy!