Showing posts with label Scrapbooking With Picasa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrapbooking With Picasa. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Scrapbooking With Picasa: Using Digital Scrapbook Papers (For Your Blog Headers Too!)

I am catching up my 2010 scrapbooking these boring months of January and February.  See my handy dandy spreadsheet Jeff made for me?  (I am refusing to attempt to learn how to make an Excel spreadsheet…I don’t want to learn, I just want other people to do it for me.)   The little schedule on the bottom of the spreadsheet is the reminder I need to print out my photos for my albums.  Last year I missed a date and ended up printing out 6 months of photos and that wasn’t too fun.

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Here are a few pages I made with Picasa:SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS-2SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS1A two page layout:Collages2
I just love doing this and I’m so glad I made the switch from paper to digital…it saves me SO much time and money.  Here’s what the pages look like when they are inserted into the actual scrapbooks.  They look just like I pasted, and glued, cut and framed and all that other work that I didn’t do!  I just pressed a few buttons and WALLAH!
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For BEGINNING Picasa collage tutorials go:
HERE…a written lesson from me with photos and screen shots.
or
HERE….a video lesson series. (Thank you Chari…these are excellent video tutorials that will take you through everything from downloading Picasa to making a beautiful scrapbook page step by step.)

HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE SCRAPBOOK PAPERS INTO PICASA When making a scrapbook page, Picasa allows you to choose a solid color, or an image as your background (like the page above.)  Did you know you can download digital scrapbook papers and use those as your background image?  It really opens up the ability to get a lot more creative.

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You can buy these pages from many digital scrapbook companies, but I am always on the lookout for free papers. 

Recently I found some beautiful free papers at the Persnickety Prints blog.

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Persnickety Prints is where I have had all my scrapbook pages printed…they are the least expensive I’ve found ($1.99 per page), AND the quality of the prints is just beautiful.  Not grocery store quality…professional photo lab quality…trust me there is a difference!  I really researched it all when I began digital scrapbooking and after reading a gazillion reviews, it was quite obvious that Persnickety is on the very top of the list.

So here’s how to download scrapbook papers into Picasa:
1. Once you press the button to download the kit into your computer, you will have to find the file and UNZIP it.  (Look for a button on your screen that says Extract Files…that’s unzipping.)  As of now, you can only import JPG files into Picasa.  Why do you even need to know this?  Because many digital scrapbooking papers come in “kits”…in addition to the papers they come with some cute things called elements.  They are little tags, or ribbons, or frames…cute scrapbooking doo-dads…but they will NOT work in Picasa because they don’t have the .jpg after them.  So just stick to downloading the papers and don’t waste your time trying to get the other stuff in there.

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2. Next open Picasa, and press the Import button at the top of the page.  Go to the drop down menu (Import From) and press folder.  Now find your unzipped file that you downloaded and check them or highlight them, and press Import All and you will see them in your Picasa folders.
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HOW TO CREATE A COLLAGE WITH DIGITAL PAPER AND PHOTOS IN PICASA
1. Go back to your library and choose your images…your papers and photos…don’t worry if you want to add (or subtract!) some once you are creating your Collage you will be able to do so!
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2. You are offered 7 types of Collages.  I like Picture Pile because it allows you to place every photo where you want it to be, and what size you would like also.  But Mosaic makes the collage for you and that is quick and easy.  You can choose your background image on any type of collage.
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3. Select size…I scrapbook the 12x12 size.  You can type in your own custom ratio also.
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4. Select your background image.
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5. Start moving things around.
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6. Create.  For the page below, I selected a collage I had made earlier using the Mosaic type, and I'm adding it onto a scrapbook paper.  Remember you can discard and add selections as you are creating the page.
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7. Add text…remember there are lots of text options…try the Wingdings for symbols, dots, circles, dashes.
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8. You are finished!
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You can use these papers, along with my tutorial on making your own free blog banner using Picasa, and get creative with your blog too! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scrapbooking With Picasa

SECTION ONE : Why Scrapbook?
First of all, thank you all so much for your hundreds of ideas….when I asked for help in catching up on my really, really procrastinated scrapbooking albums, you really came through.  I looked into each suggestion and took into consideration cost, creativity, and most of all…time.  I didn’t want to spend a year doing pages everyday, and having five kids….I have to streamline.  I did intensive, sort of obsessive 3 week, one really late night*, thank God for naptime catching-up sessions, and I’m just about there.  I can hardly believe it myself.

A nice reader showed me how she used pages to create a beautiful adoption album using Picasa.  Because most (not all) of my photos were in my computer (not nicely organized mind you…that’s what really slowed me down in the earlier years), and I know Picasa pretty well  because I use the same procedure for making my blog banners (no time consuming learning curve), and it’s free, I knew that it was going to work for me.

SECTION TWO: Organizing the Process
I know a few readers asked and here’s what the finished Picasa scrapbooking pages look like…I did all different styles…they are mostly simple, but some have more of the “scrapbooking” look to them.   In some collages I would add a blank area, where I knew that I needed to glue some type of memento.  I had anywhere from 6-15 pages a year per kid…depending on how terrible/great I was at taking photos that year.  (With the exception of Patrick’s…I find a fill a whole album the first two years of a child’s life.)  Remember that I didn’t always have a great camera, and I was completely computer illiterate up until a couple years ago.

Here’s how I broke down the task at hand:

1. For each child, I took a blank piece of paper,  divided it into sections by year (2005-2010!!!), and went through my pics, and decided what events to record.  

2. I also used the little folder I keep for each kid with paper mementos…old report cards, tickets, etc…so I knew what I wanted to include on each page, and left a blank space if needed on the collage.  (If there was major stuff, more on this below, I just glued it on piece of actual scrapbook paper and inserted that into the scrapbook next to the digital photo page.)

3. I went down the list on each page, laying next to me at the computer, and using Picasa, found the photos for each event (not the fun part), and created each page (the fun part but stopped being fun at about 2008).

4. Sent all to printer.  (I did this by child and although it cost me $5 each in shipping, it saved me my sanity.)

5. When I got them back (the super fun part) I put them in order (I was smart and marked each page with the year in the corner) and assembled the scrapbook making sure I included the mementos where necessary.
I do a cover page for the year…usually a collage of random photos of that child…or again, maybe just one picture if it was a bad camera year.  Usually vacations, the birthday, holidays, summer fun, sports or dance recital, and school are what comes next.  After the school page, I usually use the old-fashioned method of creating pages with glue and scissors to put special mementos on a couple of blank paper pages.  (It  IS extra work, but I wanted to keep the effect of “old-fashioned” scrapbooking with past report cards, tickets to events, cute drawings, pool ID’s, hospital bands, little notes, etc….during the year I throw those in a little box with plastic folders with each kid’s name, and then I sorted through them to decide what to include in the scrapbook.)

All said and done, we all DO love them…even Jeff, who took up a lot of bedtime slack the last 2 weeks while he let his crazed wife work compulsively (and spent some of his hard earned cash)…he knows how I am once I get rolling with a project.  Using Picasa was just enough of a creative challenge and I was thrilled…jumping up and down…when I opened the boxes sent from the printer and looked through them.  They turned out beautiful…even the ones I got really, really lazy with.

Now that I’m caught up I will enjoy doing this SO much more.  Jeff kept saying, “If you don’t enjoy doing it, then DON’T do it!!!”  But who really enjoys catching up on anything?  I feel like I can quickly do more journaling on the pages too, in addition to the photos… I was able to do this for Patrick more than for the other children, because my mommy memory bank averages about 2 years…after that, it’s all white space, drained by hormones, lack of sleep and stress.  In  the future, I think if it comes down to it, I could finish an entire year (with ALL five) if I took a day to myself when Jeff was home at the end of the year and really got down to it…which is nice to know. 
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EXAMPLES OF PICASA PAGES:

2009-08-261

2009-05-114 A simple photo, but some great memories:  Pictures8More traditional with a scrapbook looking background:
I found that when adding text, Webdings, and Wingdings have little circles and dots that add to the creative factor: SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS_115Simple collages…these are SO easy…select the pictures and Picasa does it for you..you can manipulate the photos where you want them, too: 2010_09_29
2009-04-19 seaside2 More traditional again:  (The blank space at the bottom if for the little menu I saved and will glue on later.) 2009-05-112 Sometimes I had to showcase my very favorite photos: 

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If you are interested in knowing more about how to use Picasa here are some tips and links:
SECTION 3: How to Use The Picasa Collage Feature To Scrapbook

HERE is an excellent and easy step by step video tutorial on how to make scrapbook pages.

First, here’s where you download Picasa.  Totally free, made my Google, safe for your computer.

Here and here is where I’ve downloaded some free colorful scrapbook pages I use for some of my backgrounds.  (You can just use plain old colors in Picasa too.)

Here is where I downloaded a few cute free fonts.  Just a note: I used the fonts that look like handwriting a ton, and also…I read that adding lots of fonts to your computer slows it down, so control yourselves!

I used Persnickety Prints for printing my 12 x 12 pages.  They are beautiful, crisp, perfect.  They cost $1.99 each, although for a few of my orders I made it in while they were having their semi-annual 25% of sale.  $5 shipping no matter how big your order.  (I also know that you can order at your Costco but they are not convenient enough for me in terms of location, and sometimes get mixed reviews depending on the store.)

Although it seems that ordering digital pages is costly, when I factored in the time savings, including the time it takes me to pick out supplies (stickers, cutting tools, pages, etc) and the cost of all those things, I’m totally sold on the digital way.   I’m not going to lie to you, like I said before, scrapbooking IS time consuming and costly, almost any way you spin it.
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Still interested?
SECTION FOUR: Some Picasa Tips

Here are some Picasa tips:

1. With the newest version of Picasa you can make those 12x12 pages…make sure you specify what size you want your collage to be.
Fullscreen capture 10112010 91428 AM 2.  Here is where you determine the style of collage.  Picture Pile gives you the freedom to manipulate the location, angle, size of your photo.  Mosaic automatically puts your photos into a collage looking format.  Sometimes Mosaic just doesn’t look right if you don’t have a great mixture of pics…then you have to quit being lazy and go to the Picture Pile function.  Remember if you want to journal, to leave blank space to write.  (If you are using the Mosaic function, add a blank scrapbook background into the mix and that might work as part of the collage where you can write.)Fullscreen capture 10112010 91443 AM3. I made copies of my scrapbook background pages, and then took one copy and cropped it…that way I could add a skinny little border on one side…it give you some creative options.  (Under File at the very top of the screen is the option that says Save A Copy…it took me forever to find that darn thing.)Fullscreen capture 10112010 91517 AM Like this: Fullscreen capture 10112010 100508 AM
4. The Set As Background option allows you to use those scrapbook backgrounds…or even a photo.  You can also do that for the Mosaic background…those little borders that peek through don’t have to be a plain color.
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5. When you are in the Library tab (see at the top?), where are all your folders are located, you can go through your folders and select what pictures you want to “bring” with you to the collage.  Make sure you hit the little lightning bolt next to the picture line-up down there, and your picture will stay there.   When you get to the Collage function with your pictures, you can drag and drop each one, or hit “Get More” if you need to go back to the Library and get more.  (Use the Picasa YouTube tutorial I mentioned above and you will understand this so much better.)
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6. Adding text!  The fun part!  You can manipulate the fonts with color, shadowing, size, location…which leaves endless possibilities.  And like I said before, if you have Holiday, Wingding, Webdings…you can get polka dots, a sun, a cute bicycle, a witch…on and on…and set those anywhere you want to.  You can journal or just use one big word.  Again…experiment and you will find the style you like.
Find the Text button: (In the third row)Fullscreen capture 10112010 113302 AM Then choose your font, size and color, then Apply:
Fullscreen capture 10112010 113421 AM 7. Your done!  If you want to go back and edit ANYTHING, you can!  Move the pics, add more, change the font.  When you click on that collage, a tab saying Edit Collage will come up.  Once done editing, you can save it as a new copy, or replace the existing.  (This came in handy when I was repeating the same page again and again for each child…I’d keep the Christmas page the same, but replace a photo of Santa with Matt for Santa with Andrew and so on…all the other general photos would stay the same.)
Remember, when you got to Export the Collages to a folder so you can upload to a site where you want them printed, make sure you click on Use Original Size.  (I use a smaller size for my blog and for my blog headers)  You need the full resolution for sharp pics.

I’M DONE!!!!  THE LONGEST STINKIN’ POST OF MY LIFE!!! 

For more ideas and help with using scrapbook papers and printing go HERE.