Creative Ways of Using Your Paper Stash

August 20th, 2014

Hi everyone, Samantha here with my first blog post for Jen Allyson Digital Designs. I am so excited to share a few of the techniques I used on one of my most recent pages featuring Jen’s beautiful Truly Madly Papers and Flourishes.


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Getting The Most Out of Your Digital Scrapbooking Kits

August 4th, 2014

Hi everyone!  It’s Katherine (or Kat) here and today I wanted to talk to you about getting the most out of your digital scrapbooking kits. Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you browse digital stores and galleries and think, “Oh, there’s a cute kit,” or “Wow, I must have that!” only to realize that maybe there’s things in the kit that, well, just don’t work for you. You then wonder if the dollars you’ll investment in the kit are worth it if you’re only going to buy it for just a few items. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Come on, fess up. How many times have you purchased a kit because there’s one or two things that you totally love, but that’s all? Well, I’m here to tell you a little secret: Psst (you listening?), you can change digital elements, if you want to. *gasp!*

I have a great deal of respect for digital designers. I’ve been lucky to meet quite a few in person and have even had the opportunity to watch them work – amazing. I’ve seen Jen (yes, Jen Allyson!) work magic with a laptop touch pad and keyboard shortcuts. Now, that said, I’ve been known to change design elements or papers a bit when what I have doesn’t quite fit with what I need. We’ve all done that, right? Recolored an element, blended papers, added filters, or run actions. What I’m going to show you today is actually breaking down an element, or deconstructing it, and creating something new. Now, before I go too much further, there’s something really important that you need to remember: If you change any piece of a digital scrapbook kit, it is scrapbooking etiquette to indicate in your layout or project credits that you modified something from the original kit. For example, you could include the words modified, or some elements recolored in your credits when posting in online galleries, blogs, or on social media platforms.

One of the newer releases from Jen Allyson Digital is these watercolor days of the week and numbers:

Watercolor Days

By themselves, these are great; a bunch of hand-drawn (or painted) days and numbers. My immediate thought was, “Oooh, these would be perfect for Project Life pages!” … but I’m not doing Project Life this year. Okay, so I could still use them on all kinds of things. Then I had one of those ah-ha moments and thought, “Hey Kat, how about you change things around a bit?” — and so I did. Although there isn’t a full alphabet represented in the letters, there was just enough to create the perfect title on a layout I was working on. I needed “Then” and “Now”. Here’s how my page turned out. I’ve included a close-up of the word “Now”, so you can see the detail:



Credits: Watercolor Creations (modified) and Cork Elements – Jen Allyson Digital Designs;
Travel Adventures and Back to Basics - Digital Scrapbook Ingredients; My Tribe - Gennifer Bursett


So, the big question is – how the heck did I do that?!  It’s actually easier than you might think.

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Father’s Day Father & Son Silhouette Project DIY

June 12th, 2013


I asked my very crafty friend (and landlady) Katie to create an awesome father’s day project for my blog. She came up with this great idea to do a father/son silhouette. I suppose if you have a daughter you can do a father/daughter silhoutte, or a father/pet one etc. I’m not sure how you’d do multiple children, maybe a really long frame. I’m sure there’s lots of ways you can play around with this idea.


I just love how the silhouette turned out. The script paper in the back makes for a super elegant art piece for your mantle or gallery wall.

The first step is to get a photo of your guys. Good luck keeping them still for that one second it takes to hit the shutter button.


Then you’ll need to import the pictures onto your computer. Katie used Adobe Illustrator to build her silhouettes in. If you have a wacom tablet, you could also use photoshop or some similar program. The benefit of using Illustrator is that your silhouette can become a cuttable file for your Cricut or Cameo pretty easily. If you’re just not computer savvy, you can create a silhouette the old fashioned way by projecting light past your subject and onto a surface –  hand-drawing while they sit there, or you can take photos and print out the photo the correct size, and trace/cut your silhouette from the photo.


In Illustrator you’re basically making a line with points that define change in direction. You want to have as few points as possible in order for your shapes to be as smooth as they can be. Create a new layer, and use your pen or pencil tool to follow the outline of the faces. You can see here that the lines are white so that they show up against the photos.


Once the silhouettes are complete, you can switch the white line to a white fill to make sure that they look correct.


When you’re happy with the shapes, you can delete the photo layer, and turn the white fill into a black fill.

Then you can figure out how you want the project to be composed.


Katie tried the faces nested, but it created some visual confusion. So she settled on them overlapping.


To keep the necks from having odd starting and stoping spots, Katie created an oval and used the pathfinder tool to make the shapes fit perfectly together.
She sent me her illustrator files since I have a Cameo (which I LOVE and highly recommend). I saved each silhouette in it’s own file, and exported as a .DXF (make sure there are no groups). Then I imported into the Silhouette Studio (Cameo’s free software), and cut each of the silhouettes out with my Cameo. Katie cut the background circle by hand, and then we glued the silhouettes onto the background and mounted them in the frame.

silhoutte_table1This turned out to be a pretty quick project, and the results are stunning. Thanks Katie!