I decided that I didn't want to stress about finding a photographer and coordinating outfits for a family Christmas picture this year. Ellie won't look at the camera anymore anyways, so when I saw these holiday cards by Rifle Paper Co. I had to copy.  I usually design my own Christmas cards and print them off at Costco (so cheap and high quality), but I didn't think that the photographic finish would fit this type of artwork.  I turned to two other sites to print my cards, Persnickety Prints and Viovio. I was surprised at how different each came out. Here's the breakdown. (I apologize for my horrible lighting and photography skills. All of the cards turned out much better in person than they look in my photos.)

Persnickety Prints.

the original file straight from my computer
Colors very true to original
Cost: $29.99 for a package of 30 plus envelopes, $0.85 for spares (not including tax)
Shipping: $5 flat rate
Ease of upload: Medium, it was easy to upload but getting the bleed right was very confusing
Finish: Matte
Feel: Regular card stock, somewhat sturdy
Colors: True to the original
Other: They printed their logo on the back, which I did not like, nor did I see an option for taking that off. I also had 8x10 wall art printed through them in the same order. Some of the prints came back fuzzy with crazy colors. I emailed them about it and found out that I was supposed to upload them in RGB, not CYMK. Even though it was (sort of) my mistake, they quickly reprinted free of charge. They get 5 stars for customer service.


the original file straight from my computer
So ORANGE! It looks like the original in this photo, but it was really orange in real life.
Cost: $0.99 each plus an envelope (not including tax)
Shipping: less than $5 for super slow shipping (but I got them within a week)
Ease of upload: Very easy, but I've used the site before
Finish: Matte
Feel: Heavier card stock than the Persnickety Prints cards
Colors: Way too orange! Like almost ugly orange especially when next to the green.
Other: There was no logo printed on the back which I liked.


the original file straight from my computer
deep brick red and glossy
Cost: $0.85 for two copies
Shipping: I picked them up at the store, so free
Ease of upload: Easy, but I've used the site before
Finish: Lustre
Feel: Like a heavy weight printed photograph, very sturdy
Colors: Way off! I was surprised. My photos never turn out with wonky colors, but the orange on this card turned out more like brick red than the original.
Other: I printed here just for a comparison. I didn't like the photographic finish and feel for this type of artwork. For photos, I still think Costco is the place to go.

final words.

To me, printing is the worst part of digital scrapbooking. Bleed, slow uploading, covers....agh. But it is so nice to have it when it is done. For the future I will go with Persnickety Prints for printing cards and other matte prints (like 8x10 wall art) because the colors turned out the best. As for printing books, I will still go with Viovio because they are the cheapest and I have never had any problem with books that they have printed (I've printed 6 books with them now). The colors are never off in their books. Costco will be my go to place for printing photos.

Questions about printing? Just ask in the comment section below!

on ship template and quickpage.

I've had several requests for a template for the On Ship page that I did for my cruise (see this post). Here it is. Also you can download the entire Woodland Adventure kit for free under the My Freebies tab. ***Since it is a two pager, remember to put non-important or scenic photos in the circles where the photos will be cut in two.
Download HERE

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment or message!  It means so much to me and encourages me to start thinking of what freebie I'm going to create next!
If you haven't checked it out already, Pixelscrapper is an excellent resource for free scrapbooking supplies. This month she is releasing a new kit, Birds in Snow, and doing a community blog train with coordinating freebies. Here's my portion. Find the rest of the blog train HERE. If you are new to Elle Designs, be sure to check out the My Freebies tab where I have several free full digital scrapbooking kits. Enjoy!
I apologize for my absence.  I'm 10 weeks along with baby #2 and feeling pretty sick. So my scrapbooking/designing motivation has gone down to almost zero. I'm feeling pretty good today so I thought I'd share two layouts I've done that were inspired by layouts I pinned.  I'm taking most of my pictures on my phone now; therefore the quality has decreased and the quantity has increased. I'm mostly looking for layouts with lots of small pictures so I can scrap these photos. Be sure to scroll to  Scroll down for the download link.


Love the idea of quote bubbles in cute patterned papers! by Tomomi Hiramaru

my layout.

I used my Color Me Spring kit found under the My Freebies tab.
I'm not in love with the background paper so I might be doing some changes.


I love April Elcich's clean style!

my layout.

Simple layout for lots of photos and lots of writing.

free template.

Download link:
hexagon template 1

Yesterday I showed you some examples of collage art that has inspired me lately.  I was surprised at how easily my layout came and I thought I'd share some tips on how to copy this fun style.

choose a theme.

I chose an outside/Spring/Summer theme because it matched my pictures.  I also knew that I wanted to include bees because my daughter has been obsessed with bees and buzzing lately.

gather ephemera.

Guess what? You can find tons of royalty free ephemera for FREE!  The Graphics Fairy is a good site, although kind of hard to navigate.  I really like Old Design Shop because if you follow her board on Pinterest, you can see the new scans that she adds daily and save them as you go.  Sahlin Studio has some excellent ephemera kits that cost money. I found myself buying the school themed one this weekend just because it would take me too long to gather all of those items myself.  She has an eye for matching and clustering.

Examples of things to search for:
-seed packets
-old valentines/cards
-old documents like birth certificates
-old illustrations (I searched for bees)
-book pages

find a poem that fits theme.

This is optional, but I think it adds to the "artiness" of the piece.  I just typed in "Emily Dickinson nature poems" and found mine.

cut creatively.

If you don't know how to do this in Photoshop, see my tutorial HERE.  The good thing is that the cuts don't (and shouldn't) be perfect.
cut out parts of ephemera
cut out random angles in photos and use the cut out part as another layer.
cut out parts of pictures and layer

layer on the ephemera.

Layer it on!  And shadow them well. See my shadowing tutorial HERE.

play with composition.

My high school art teacher would always make us have a reference for everything. He would walk by and say, "Where's your reference for that rock/fence/tree/cloud?" and you had better have something out or else you'd be cleaning dried up paintbrushes.  The reason being that it is so much easier to copy when you are learning, than to start from scratch yourself. 
Play with proportions. The boy is much larger than the boat full of people on the left.
Play with orientation. I flipped on picture and word strip upside down.
Repeat similar elements. I repeated the bee and flower in my layout.

have fun!

Recently I became obsessed with collage art using vintage pictures, illustrations, and ephemera.  I don't really know what it is called, so I'm just calling it collage art for now.  One of the artists, Aprile Elcich, creates art for Anthropologie--swoon.  Here are some examples. (click on the picture to find the original source)
I thought that it would be fun to try on a layout of my own.  Here's how it turned out (of course I used more pictures and words than any of the examples--my lot in life). It was actually pretty easy once I got some basics. Tune in tomorrow for a tips on creating collage scrapbook layouts.
Earlier this summer my in-laws took my husband and I on an Alaskan cruise for a graduation present.  I know, awesome graduation gift.  Anyways, how do you thank someone for a gift like that?  I decided to scrap all of our pictures and print them into a book to give them.  I wanted to try to use the same kit for the entire book for flow purposes.  Also to prove that it could be done.   I love how it turned out!  It is the first time that I could say that I actually made/drew an entire scrapbook all on my own (except for the font-High Fiber, and one template from Shabby Princess).  The cover was my favorite!  I love drawing on my tablet in Illustrator!
my cover

woodland adventure kit.

This kit works for anything outside (all those summer camping trips or playing in the backyard) plus it will be perfect for fall photos.  And it's another kit that is boy-friendly.  Two in a row-hooray for me!  I kind of skimped on the elements, sorry, but I ran out of ideas.  If you have a suggestion of something you need, feel free to shoot me an email with your request! (chocolate2550@yahoo.com)
.............................................................click on "Read More" below to get the download links and see example layouts

This post is a continuation of the article found HERE.  To see real layouts using this trend, visit this article HERE. This post covers:
cutting text out of splatter
cutting shapes out of splatter
cutting splatter out of shapes
cutting splatter out of text

cutting splatter out of shapes

1. paint splatter

Make sure that you always paint on a new layer!
...................................................................................click "Read more" below to continue reading

Yesterday I showed you some layouts with the new airbrushing trend (go here to see the article).  Designers are actually selling paint splatter clusters.  I think it's ridiculous to buy them because they are so easy to do yourself.  Especially digitally.  And I'll let you in on a secret: you can find thousands of FREE airbrush and paint splatter Photoshop brushes online.  For today's tutorial, you will need to go to http://chriswahlartbrushes.blogspot.com/ and download his free brushes. There will be four parts to this tutorial (I will cover the bold ones in this post):
cutting text out of splatter
cutting shapes out of splatter

cutting splatter out of text
cutting splatter out of shapes

cutting out text

1. load brushes

While on the brush tool, click the double arrows to find this menu. Select "Load Brushes".
This menu will pop up. Find where your brushes are saved. Select the brushes and click "load".
...................................................................................click "Read more" below to continue reading

    about elle designs.

    I'm not really a designer, just a digital scrapbooker who wants to encourage others to scrapbook by sharing my  finds and creations.  For free.

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