You may have noticed that layouts are getting a good way.  I don't mean ugly and hard to see layouts, but ones with tons of paint splatter and airbrushing.  I like this trend because it gives digital layouts an extra dimension of realism.  This week I'm going to focus on airbrushing.  Airbrushing can look cheesy, so be careful when using it (i.e. I don't really like butterfly cutouts). As with most things, less is more. Below are some fun examples (click on the image to see the source). Tune in tomorrow to see tutorials on how to copy this trend!
doily cutouts
tastefully done butterfly cutout
star cutouts
A couple of months ago, my husband graduated with his doctorate.  It was a day that we had worked towards for so long and I had so many plans in my head for the perfect photos to document it.  Did any of those photos happen?  Nope.  In fact, I spent the entire time trying to figure out the best setting for taking inside, far away photos that I MISSED HIM GETTING HOODED AND WALKING ACROSS THE STAGE!  I can't even explain how angry that made me.  I only got one fuzzy photo of him when I freaked out and realized that his name was the one called.  I was so focused on taking the perfect photo that I missed what I really wanted to see and experience.  I've decided that from now on I'm ditching the perfect photo idea.  I even got a smartphone and take most of my pictures on it.   They are fuzzy and have bad lighting, but the important thing is the moment and not the picture.

However, Photoshop can be a miracle saver when it comes to photo editing.  After all, that's what it was created for.  Your pictures will never look like professional photos, but that's ok. Today I will share my tips on editing photos in PSE.

spot remover.

This is your new best friend.  Sometimes I feel guilty that generations that follow me won't see the 'real' me, but then I look at that pimple again and have no more guilt. "Read more" below to continue reading

Using natural wood in design is everywhere right now.  Just search "wood palettes" on Pinterest and you will see thousands of projects to do with wood palettes.  I love it in weddings and houses, but I especially love it in scrapbook layouts.  I think it adds a natural and Anthro-ish look.  Even though it is popular, it is really hard to find any free wood papers.  I've been known to buy kits simply because they have a wood paper that I have to have.  Here are some layouts to get you inspired.  If you need some wood paper, look at my Easter kit, or in my California Dreamin' kit, which also includes a wood alpha.  Find those here. (Click on the image to find the sources below)
Just love this. Hmm, future kit inspiration?

natural wood.

Mine. Kit: What Matter's Most by the Lilypad, Font: Heather Hess On the Deck

doodled wood and alphas.

This is mine. Kit: WMSquared The Great Outdoors Font: Wood Stick from dafont
Also mine. Kit: Chelle's Creations Fireworks, Little Red Dotty Alpha, and wood paper from California Dreamin' by Elle Designs
I'm soooooo close to the end of another book.  Our days in Memphis are over, so the book containing layouts from those years is almost done. Almost.  I just had a couple of random photos to put together and I felt so uninspired.  Then I remembered seeing lots of layouts like the one below.  It uses tons of photos, but still has some style to it.  Great for as "catch up" layouts.
the inspiration--found through Brittish Designs
I turned a couple of my "catch up" layouts into templates for you to download below.  My layouts aren't perfect, they aren't my favorite layouts, I may not even really like some of them, but bing batta boom, done. Sometimes done is better than nothing. (I also included the page I did with the California Dreamin' kit as a quickpage)
Normally I would spread the photos out evenly across the pages, but the photos on the other page went with a blog post I wrote.
Download links:
template pack 2

Don't forget to download the coordinating California Dreamin' kit!
I finally finished another free kit for y'all!  I'm averaging one kit a season, which I think is pretty good for a beginner designer with a toddler.  It's all summer, beach, and surfing, but you can use it for anything.  And for once, I designed something that y'all can use for your boys too.  My husband is a surfer and misses the ocean terribly.  The California Dreamin' kit is dedicated to him.  (He was very picky about my surfboards. I finally stopped asking him if they looked okay.)

Download links (you must click all of them to get the entire kit)
--Elle Designs is now Citrus and Mint so find the links at

A simple layout I did with it.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
I just spent the last two months traveling all over the United States, allllll over.  It was kind of crazy and now I have lots of traveling pictures to scrap.  I'm sure that y'all have pictures like that to scrap too. There have been some really fun layouts lately with a traveling theme.  Check them out and be inspired to get your pictures scrapped! As always, click on the photo to see the source. Also don't forget about Chelle's Creations daily download!
I like the large title and how she scanned ticket stubs to include.
This uses lots of pictures and fun elements. The sunburst paper background helps the flow of the layout.
Love the map, ticket stub, and sewn skyline. I also like how she cut out a new york shape out of a map.
I love the suitcases! And the blended background photo. Maybe I'll try to draw y'all some suitcases for a freebie.
The best for last. I am copying this layout for sure! I love how she used blending modes on the map and pictures.
Here's a travel layout that I did a while back.  I liked it because I was able to put lots of pictures and journaling on a page.  You could easily copy the idea and use a car and road, or a plane and the outlines of states or countries, instead of the subway and subway signs.
Like the new design?  I love color (obviously), but I thought that the other headers were too much.  I've tried to simplify them a bit, but they still need something.  If you have ideas, let me know.  I'm working on a beach/summer kit which will be out soon.

For now, here's freebies I've found this week. (Click on the images to go to the site to download)
Chelle's Creations is doing a daily download on her blog.  It will go through the entire month of July. Download a part every day and by the end you will have an entire kit.  I think it looks really cute. She's on day 5 now, but you may be able to still download the previous days.

The July Blog Train Blog colors.
I'm baaaaack! Well, kind of. We are still getting settled, but the crazy moving/vacation month is over. It's sad, but at the same time we are ready for some normal life again. I have nothing free to give you yet, but I hope to soon.  I got Illustrator online classes for my birthday so once I'm done with those I'll be a master graphic designer---haha, I wish.  Today's inspiration happens to come from the same scrapbooker.  I pinned each of these layouts at different times and when I put together this article, I noticed that Amber R created both.  It must be her signature style. :) Notice how in both of the layouts below, she cuts out some pictures to extend beyond the box.  She also splits pictures between two or more boxes.  Different and fun!  As always, click on the pictures to find the original source.
By Amber R
By Amber R
I loved the last one so much that I scrap-lifted it and created my own layout below. My daughter will one day hate me for posting pictures of her swimming without a swimsuit, but I will remind her then that she refused to wear one.  For a tutorial on cutting out pictures, click here.  Send me any layouts that you do with this cut out style!
Foam Stamp Alpha-Sahlin Studio, word art and sun-Allison Pennington, background paint and splatters and sequins-Sahlin Studio's Life's a Beach, papers-Persnickity Prints
Ok, I said that I wouldn't be back until July, and really should be packing, looking for new places to live in Kansas City, cleaning, etc. but I couldn't leave my readers on the best scrapbooking weekend of the year!  So after this post, I really am moving across the country. I will be back in July.  If you subscribe to my posts by entering your email address in the box on the right hand sidebar, you will know exactly when I return and get updated blog posts as emails. That said, on to the fun...

There is so much going on during iNSD among the different stores that I've divided the information up
into categories.  I'm not listing everything because that would be crazy, only things that I think are a good download or buy.  Also, since I am not part of any of these stores, or sponsored in any way, this will be one of the only places you will find a synthesized list of everything.


  • Scrap Orchard: They are having a $1 Farmer's Market sale.  That is a great deal.  New items are added each day and old ones are taken away.  I will be buying some things here.
  • the Lilypad: 30% off plus a free with minimum purchase kit
  • ZigZag Scraps: 50% off almost everything and 40% off new products plus a free with minimum purchase kit
  • SugarHill co: 40-50% off individual designer shops
  • Oscraps: 20-50% off plus free with purchase kit
  • Brittish Designs: 40% off
  • Mscraps: 30-50% off
  • Scrapmatters: 40% off and free with purchase
  • Digital Design Essentials: 40% off
  • Sweet Shoppe Designs starts their sales on Saturdays.  They look like they have some cute kits coming up and probably a good sale (click HERE for previews). Check them out tomorrow.

blog trains/facebook trains.

Click on the images below to find the blog train where you will get FREE KITS!!!!  I know it's a pain to go through each one, but some of my favorite kits are from blog trains.  Hint: Don't download every part, only the parts you like.
this isn't the blog hop kit, but it will coordinate with this. (this is scrapmatters free with purchase kit)
These shops have announced blog hops, but they haven't started yet.  Check them out tomorrow.
-Digiscrap Addicts
-the Lilypad


Click on the images to find the freebie.


I never really have the time or interest to play the games that stores offer, but some of you may.  They always give out freebies for participating in the games.
The Lilypad has games and chats with prizes. Their games are easier and I will probably do some.  See details HERE.

Scrap Orchard has several games set up at different times.  Click HERE to see what freebies will be offered when you play the games (it looks like a mega kit by the end).

Scrapmatters has speed scraps too.  Click HERE.

please read.

Scrap Orchard just announced that they will be selling photo books.  Wahoo...except when I clicked on the link, I immediately thought that they were printing them through Viovio, a company that I have used to print all of my books.  It is the exact same formatting and everything.  Look at to compare. However, Scrap Orchard states that their partnership is through, which suspiciously looks a lot like Viovio except for one thing. The 12x12 perfect bound softcover book on Scrap Orchard is $15.99+$1.95 a page whereas the 12x12 perfect bound softcover book on is $7.99+$0.99 a page.  THAT IS A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR THE SAME PRODUCT.  Don't be tricked. I love Viovio and highly recommend it.  It is the cheapest option out there with high quality printing.  Go through their website, not Scrap Orchard.
So, I was working on an Easter kit. Then it turned into two different mini-kits.  Oh well, you get both for free.  There aren't many elements because I lost steam and ideas and ability.  The good news is that I finally got Photoshop CS and Illustrator!  That means that once I learn how to use these intimidating programs, you will get even better free stuff.  The bad news is that this will probably be my last post for a while.  I am moving across the country and taking several long vacations over the next two months, and I won't have a computer.  So, I am taking a short break, but I will be back with tons of creative ideas in July.  I'm very sad to leave y'all for so long because I just started the site.  Please stick with me and I promise I will be back!  I will still post freebies to my pinterest board "Scrapbooking Freebies," so make sure that you follow that board for the latest freebies during my absence from the blog.   (scroll down for my free Easter mini-kits)

Here are some inspiring Easter/springtime layouts to help you scrap your Easter pictures. Click on the picture to link to the original page.

free easter mini-kit (number 1)

Page I did with the kit that is also available for download as a quickpage or template
Download Links:
Easter Kit
Easter Template/Quickpage (this is the same download from Friday)

free hoppy easter mini-kit (number 2)

The green gingham and blue polka dot paper from the Easter kit also match this kit
Please, please, please use stitching and string from other kits for this alpha, I don't know how to make those myself yet.
Download Links:
Hoppy Easter Kit

See you in two months!

(I will have access to email so I can answer questions if you have any)

    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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