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Monthly Archives: July 2014

CHALLENGE: Big News, Baby!

Are you looking for card making inspiration? Check out Pals Paper Arts, a fun way to get inspired, show off your creations, and possibly win a prize! This was a recent sketch challenge, PPA 212. This week is an odd 5th Thursday, so there won’t be a challenge this week (but have you checked out the sketch challenge on my recent Formula to Fabulous article, a sneak peek at my August newsletter challenge?). New PPA challenges are released the 1st-4th Thursday of every month, and if you’re wanting to upload a card for the contest, entries are due by the following Tuesday.

Photo: PPA 212 Sketch ChallengeThe fun part about these challenges is that you can interpret them however you want! Copy the sketch exactly, change the horizontal orientation to vertical, make the circles something square… it’s meant for you to put your spin on it!

Here’s my PPA 212 card, using the Big News stamp set by Stampin’ Up!:

Photo: Big News Baby card

 

The lovely flowers were made with the Pansy Punch. I simply punched 3 flowers from Crisp Cantaloupe cardstock, crunched them up well in my hands, layered them together, fluffed the petals, and finished it off with a Rhinestone Jewel. Cute, right?

Photo: Closeup of Big News BabyDid you know that people who join my team get lots of things before they’re released to the masses? See new catalogs and pre-order Stampin’ Up! products a month early, get news about upcoming promotions to help you plan your spending the most efficiently, and always be a step ahead with Pals Paper Arts challenges– members of my team get to see the challenge schedule for the whole year! Being a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator is great for so many reasons, whether you want to build a business or just get all the perks for making your own purchases. Want to learn more? Click the links to visit my Becoming a Demonstrator FAQs page, and an informative Opportunity page.

See you next week for a fresh Pals Paper Arts challenge!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

 

Formula to Fabulous {series article #2}

Bite-sized Article #2 of series on www.thesocialstamper.com

Do you feel like there’s a large divide between your paper crafting projects and the lovely pictures you see of others’ creations? Sometimes following the rules can be boring, but sometimes it’s just what you need to launch your crafts into the major league. Follow this series of bite-sized articles and share in the comments what you’ve learned so we can all improve together!

Rule #2: Think in Thirds

Have you ever heard of the Rule of Thirds? It’s a design principle that guides art and photography composition, and it’s changed my paper crafting life (for the better). Let me explain how the rule works. Imagine a grid placed over a project, like a tic-tac-toe board. That will divide the canvas into thirds horizontally and vertically. The rule states that our eyes are naturally drawn to a point on a canvas where the lines intersect, like so:

Photo: Rule of thirds grid with highlighted intersections

How does that translate into paper crafting projects? In short, this rule will guide you in placing a focal point (typically a sentiment if you’re making a card, or a photograph on a scrapbook page) on your project. The goal is to draw attention toward one focal point. So, for a visually appealing project, pick an intersection and work to draw attention toward that point using horizontal, vertical, or diagonal flow.

The lines and grid boxes are helpful as well when designing for maximum visual appeal. As you’re planning placement of layers, embellishments, or even stamped images and focal points, think “along the lines” or “between the lines”. These areas can be “hot spots” for visual appeal as well, and they shouldn’t be forgotten. Anything that is centered in a row, column, or box, or along a line, will bring order to a project and therefore make the most visual sense. Our brains appreciate order, oftentimes trying to interject order into chaos, such as constellations from a sky full of stars. I figure my brain has enough to worry about, so I try to design with some sort of order in mind :o)

Photo: grid over blank canvas with grid lines highlighted Photo: Canvas with grid lines, highlight down the center row and circle in center grid box

 

 

 

 

 

Now let’s put things together with some examples!

Photo: grid over canvas with elements along lower third line and focal point on lower right intersection

As you can see, the sentiment (focal point) is centered over the lower right intersection, with a large circle helping draw even more attention to the focal point. Additionally, I added a flag centered along the lower horizontal grid line to add an element of horizontal flow toward the sentiment. All together, this card layout has good flow and visual appeal, all because of the Rule of Thirds.

Are you feeling comfortable with using the Rule of Thirds? Now I’m going to give you an example where the layout may not make immediate sense in terms of our new rule. Can you see how the Rule of Thirds works in this layout?

Photo: card layout without grid

Just in case it’s not jumping out at you, here’s the layout with the grid lines added. I’m here to help you, not make your brain hurt!

Photo: card layout with grid lines

I’m sure you are dying to apply the rule of Thirds to your own projects! As a start, the card layout above will be the “Monthly Challenge” in my August newsletter. Lucky for you, my blog readers are getting the chance for a little jump-start on creating. I would love to see what creative things my readers do with this unique layout, and if you do design with it, please take a pic and post it to my Social Stamper Facebook Page. Let me know in the comments here when you’ve done that and I’ll put your name into a drawing for a prize! Yippee!! The drawing will take place on August 20th so you (and my newsletter subscribers) have a chance to get creative with it.

Let me leave you with a few real-life examples: my This & That journal and a card I made, both layered with the Rule of Thirds grid lines.

Photo: grid over my This & That journal

Remember: the Rule of Thirds is a guideline, and real-life creating will rarely yield perfect examples. But, do you see how the Epic Day Washi Tape is centered in the left column, how the tickets and hexagon embellishments give good diagonal flow toward the sentiment, and how the sentiment is centered in the middle row as well as along the right vertical line?

Photo: card with grid lines

In this card example, the sentiment comes very close to being centered along the right vertical line and inside the middle row. Stamped images offer good horizontal flow, with additional embellishments behind the focal point drawing extra attention to that area.

 

If you missed the other articles in this series, I will keep this list updated for easy navigation:

Rule #1: Have a Plan

I hope you’ve been inspired to create even better paper crafts as you read the Formula to Fabulous article series. Remember to share with your friends!

Happy stamping,

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

SPECIALS: Week of July 29th, 2014

Weekly Deals

New deals released every Tuesday. Here are the discounted products for July 29th- August 4th, 2014 (click to view and order current weekly deals in my online store):

Photo: Weekly Stampin' Up! deals

Additional specials:

Photo: Paper Pumpkin 50% off promotion through September 10, 2014

  • New Paper Pumpkin subscribers can get 50% off the first 2 months– that’s around $10/month for your first two boxes! Don’t miss this great deal that ends September 10, 2014. Click the photo above to sign up today using promo code HALFOFF2

Buy 3 Designer Series Paper Packs Get 1 Free. Shop now!

  • Designer Series Paper is buy 3 get 1 free through the month of July! Check out the lovely Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper and save some money by stocking up. ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT!!

  • Click the photo below to shop from the clearance rack with doorbuster deals every day! New products are added frequently and products are only available while supplies last.

Stampin' Up! Clearance ProductsSTAY TUNED FOR AUGUST SPECIALS, THERE IS A “BIG” PROMOTION COMING UP! (hint hint)

Happy sale shopping!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

DIGITAL: Baby Book, Brand New Little One!

It’s MDS Monday here at The Social Stamper! MDS stands for My Digital Studio– it’s the digital crafting software produced by Stampin’ Up!, and it’s fabulous because it’s like having a fully-stocked craft room… on your computer! That means it takes up zero real estate in your house, there is absolutely no mess when creating, and you can pick up a project (and put it down) at the click of a computer mouse.

Today I am sharing the second page of my oldest son’s baby book. This is real life, I’m not pretending to be close to caught up with my memory keeping. If it gives you any insight, my oldest will be turning 4 next month. I’m so ashamed! LOL Creating is what I love to do, and I really enjoy the ease of My Digital Studio, and I still haven’t prioritized my time well enough to be done with his book.

Here’s the good news though. Perfection is exhausting, and if my aim early on in his little life was to stay perfectly caught up on memory keeping, I might have completely lost my mind. So here I am, nearly 4 years later and adjusted to life as a mom of two precious boys, and *almost* cured of my perfectionism, and ready to get serious about finishing those beloved baby books. I’m positive others out there have better systems in place to keep pace with their books, but my system right now is simple: consistency. Just do it, page by page, and eventually, get ‘er done! Feel free to share what works for you in the comments, I always love new ideas!

Drumroll please…

Page 2 of Eli’s baby book! We were so tired after 18 hours of natural labor, but oh my goodness was it worth it to see that sweet little face!

Photo: Baby #1 pg. 2 My Digital Studio page By Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

I used photo layout #2 as a starting point, but chose to delete the standard text boxes and embellish with some journaling, stamps, and elements in those places. Using photo layouts as a starting point is a super simple way to get inspired because the spread is already visually appealing. Just drag and drop photos or a Designer Series Paper into the photo boxes, place text boxes where you want some journaling to go, embellish a little (or not), and you’re done!

Photo: MDS Photo Layout #2

Photo Layout #2

I used elements from the Downtown Grunge Photobook Template on this page, which comes standard when you purchase the MDS software:

Here are some resources to help you discover and learn to use My Digital Studio, click the links to access the content:

Software: Buy the software or download a free 30-day trial

Training: Learn to use the My Digital Studio software, from beginner to advanced techniques

Classes: A digital content download plus a video to walk you step-by-step through creating a project

Inspiration: the mydigitalstudio.net community gallery is full of samples to help you get inspired

Content: Expand your digital content collection in my online store!

Happy digital creating!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

SPECIALS: Week of July 8, 2014

Weekly Deals

New deals released every Tuesday. Here are the discounted products for July 1st-7th, 2014 (click to view and order current weekly deals in my online store):

Additional specials:

Buy 3 Designer Series Paper Packs Get 1 Free. Shop now!

  • Designer Series Paper is buy 3 get 1 free through the month of July! Check out the lovely Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper and save some money by stocking up.

  • Click the photo below to shop from the clearance rack with doorbuster deals every day! New products are added frequently and products are only available while supplies last.

Stampin' Up! Clearance ProductsHappy sale shopping!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

DIGITAL: Making things happen with My Digital Studio

Raise your hand if you’re behind on your baby book(s). My hand is held high– very high. Isn’t that terrible? My passion and my job is paper crafting, and I haven’t taken the time to complete baby books for my 2 sons. If I do an honest evaluation, I notice that my issue is printing pictures. Usually I’m not an indecisive person, but when it comes to picking photos for printing, I crumble! It’s weird. For the everyday mom moments that I want to remember, I use my This & That notebook to quickly add a picture and some journaling. For the baby books though, and more major events like holidays and first day of school, I need something more substantial. Stampin’ Up! has recently partnered with Project Life to create an amazing product line for easy memory keeping, and I have that in my sights for post-baby-book scrapbooking. For now though, I am using My Digital Studio software (which is like having a massive craft room right on your computer) to make things happen for my sweet boys and posterity. (Pssst… did you know there is a free 30-day trial of My Digital Studio available in my online store??)

Let me share my first page with you today. To keep me on track and moving forward until completion, I will be sharing more pages on a regular basis, and linking them to one another so you can see the progression of the book. Maybe it will inspire you to keep pressing on in your own memory keeping journey, too! Be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you can follow my posts in a weekly email digest, and not miss a thing.

Baby #1 pg. 1 My Digital Studio page By Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

Cheers to the finish!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

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