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2) A fisherman

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3) The water

4) The fish

5) The land on which the fisherman is standing

This makes it much easier for you to make changes to individual parts and

move them about to change their relationship to other items in the picture.

With a page for a scrapbook, you might have the paper on one layer, text on another, then each picture or other embellishment on its own layer.

If the program you use does not support layers, you have fewer options.

Compare this to a traditional scrapbook page where all the items are moved

about until you get an arrangement which you like. Then, you glue all the

parts of the page together.

With layers, you set up an arrangement which you like, merge the elements

and save that for your scrapbook.


Many commercial programs have pictures and other useful resources

included in the price. You won’t know exactly what is included and it may not even be clear until you unpack everything if there are any restrictions on

your use of these materials.

Some companies provide pictures and other materials which may be used for

your personal projects but which cannot be used for any project which may

earn you or someone else any money.

These materials can be handy or completely useless for what you intend to

use the program for, so I would ignore them when deciding which program I

would get.


Many computer programs have similar functions and features but the quality

and power may vary from program to program.

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For instance, one program may let you undo the last seven things which you

did to your picture if you find something is not developing the way you want while another program may allow you to undo just the last two steps you did.


The level of support which you get from the supplier is usually tied to the cost of the program. You won’t often get one-to-one support with free

programs or trial versions of most commercial programs. That’s

understandable and fair in my opinion.

But, you should search those forums related to commercial programs which

you are considering buying for feedback about the quality and speed of

support that customers have been getting recently.

Upgrade Policy

With commercial programs, check what the company’s policy is when they

release a newer, better version of the program which you bought.

Most companies offer discounts for customers that have bought recent earlier versions but the terms vary greatly between different companies.

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Editing and Enhancing Your Images.

When you have the image in your computer, you can use features like bevel and emboss in your image editing program to add shadows to parts of the picture to give the impression of raised edges on the objects.

Another effect I have used is to make a black and white copy of a color photo and use an almost transparent version of the black and white image as the

background for the page.

You can use textures which you create yourself or which you download from

the Internet to give a realistic look to the embellishments which you draw.

Use shadows to provide an illusion of depth.

The metal effects which are available with some programs can give a realistic appearance to metallic objects you create.

Check forums about the particular program you use for tips about creating

special effects which are not available with the program as supplied. Just

type something like Photoshop metallic effects into Google or whichever search engine you prefer.

You will find it worthwhile to invest some time in experimenting with the

features of your image editing program.

When you find an effect which you like, please make the effort to contact the company or individual who provided it and thank them. You might think that

is a very small thing but it does provide some encouragement for them.

Cropping is a common technique where you remove a section of the picture which is less relevant to your story or contains material which could distract the reader from the most important elements of the picture.

Saturation is a means of changing the intensity of the colors in a picture.

Some pictures benefit from an increase in the intensity and I have also found that more muted or almost colorless versions of some photos can be effective as backgrounds for the originals.

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Silhouettes are usually easy to create by painting a single color over a copy of an object or person. You can have silhouettes in any single color, not just black. They are great for backgrounds, decorations and alongside the

headings of some pages. This is particularly helpful for people like me that cannot draw but can make an outline and fill it in.

Blur adds an impression of speed to one or more images. It can also be used to obscure some details in a photo.

The Opacity of an image can be reduced to give a ghost-like image. This can encourage the reader to focus more on the other images on that page.

Tints can be used to highlight parts of an image or to give a period look to images.

Don’t use too many effects on a page. That will be less effective than using just a couple of powerful effects.

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How to Write Interesting Journal Entries

The term journaling is usually used for writing in a diary.

But, scrapbookers use the term for writing the information which

accompanies the pictures and other materials which you include in your


Please don’t become fearful and think that writing this text is difficult

because you may not have formal training or good writing skills.

You don’t need them. This is not a technical report; it is a personal view

about something or someone that is important to you.

The people that read your scrapbook will appreciate the care you put into

assembling the materials and your description of the people and events.

You need to give some details of the way they lived because the scrapbook

may be read years afterward and those readers will probably have little

knowledge or understanding of the way of life or values of their ancestors.

Keep in mind the professional journalist’s stock questions and explain the, who, what, where, when and how of the story you are telling. If you leave any important parts of that information out of your scrapbook, your readers may not get a full understanding of the story you tell.

The combination of words, pictures and additional elements used for

decorating the pages of your scrapbook should give any reader a full

understanding of the subject, the people (and animals if any), and what life was like when the events occurred.

Because you were close to the people and events shown in your scrapbook,

you understand why that man is smiling or that lady has tears streaking her make-up. But, you need to explain the reasons for those expressions to

people that read your scrapbook but don’t have your close knowledge of the


Adding clippings from newspapers or family letters and other material can

help make the content more interesting for your readers.

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If you were not present when the events you are writing about occurred, try to contact other family members who were. They may have more information

or mementos which will make your scrapbook more interesting.

They may even be the source of information which you can create other

scrapbooks from in the future.

If you can write the journal entries in your scrapbook, they look more

appealing. But, if your penmanship is like mine, you could look for a script font which looks like handwriting to use on your computer.

Be sure that the text is clear enough for people to read whether it is on the computer screen or printed out on an average computer printer.

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A Store with More

I have no commercial

connection with Scrapstreet or

any of the other sites or

suppliers which I mention in

this book.

I found scrapstreet.com

when I was looking for more

ideas for my scrapbooks.

This would be a great way to

start if you are new to


The staff are scrapbookers and their interest in their visitors’ scrapbooking aims seems genuine.

The ‘flagship’ of the site is a free monthly online magazine which seems to be about four years old. It has relevant ideas, articles and examples of good

scrapbooking from readers.

They also provide a few free scrapbooking packs on the site. Some free offers on the Internet are unimpressive but the kit I downloaded had several paper colors as full 12 inch by 12 inch pictures and about 20 extra embellishments.

That was about 50 Megabytes to download.

There were no instructions but there are examples of how to use the kit in

the online magazine.

They have an online store and I’d guess some very loyal customers.

When you complete your first kit, you’ll know what to look for when you

decide to buy a kit and have some ideas about making your own.

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The papers in the free kit I downloaded.

Some of the


included in the kit.

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How to Choose and Use Fonts

You probably have many fonts available on your computer and you can find

thousands of others, either free or paid, very quickly on the Internet search engines.

Before you get another font to put on your computer, check those you

already have to see if any of them would be equally suitable for use with

your project.

Adding one extra font should not be a problem but each one increases the

number of files which your computer system has to track. Fonts, pictures and other files which collect on your system can reduce the speed at which your computer operates over time.

Some people get carried away with the ease and low-cost of producing highly decorated pages.

Remember the design rule, “less is more”. Use no more than three fonts on

any page unless you have a very good reason to use more.

Don’t drop random fonts into each section; that tends to destroy the

consistent look of the project.

Check the rights you will have to use any font that you get. If there is no clear explanation about rights, either contact the site owner or go

somewhere else to get your fonts.

When you have set up your page, look how the fonts used work with each


Don’t use a different font just for the novelty value. The fonts you see many places have become popular because they are easy to read or for some other

reason. Don’t change without good reason.

You can use any fonts you have available in your pictures but, if you use

fonts which are not available on the reader’s computer for text, their

computer may show that text in similar fonts which are available on that

computer. The effect which you used that particular font for will be lost.

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You can get programs which will help you to keep your fonts organized.

FontLister ($USD 5 after a 30 day trial period) is recommended for Windows versions up to XP by some designers.


You can see many other free font related tools at my favorite software

download site, Snapfiles.com


Mac users can find free font tools by putting something like freeware font tools Mac into their favorite search engine. That gave me thousands of links but I don’t have a Macintosh so I could not check their quality.

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Topics for Your Scrapbooks

The reasons why different people start to assemble scrapbooks vary widely.

But, the most common are:

1) Record important events in their lives or those of other family

members. They may not be confident that they can write the story in a

clear and interesting way.

But, they can put the most important points briefly in the notes they

write (called ‘journaling”) and provide interest and context by including

mementos of the events and the time when they happened.

Scrapbooks about your children or your grandparents are likely to

become family treasures which will help your descendants to

remember them and you will special affection.

2) Tell of a special interest they have; mountain climbing, growing roses, traveling, a beloved pet.

3) Produce a tribute to a special friend or to that friendship, containing pictures and words about fond memories they share. The scrapbooker

can then present it to their friend as a unique and personal gift.

Scrapbooks are a good way to organize and protect your important pictures.

They also provide a much more enjoyable experience for other people than

just going through a box of family photos of people and events which no-one remembers or has any reason to care about.

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Forums – Help and be Helped


Forums are web sites where people that have a common interest, such as

scrapbooking or using a particular image editing program share their

knowledge, experience and opinions.

You can use these forums to get help with programs and also information

about other people’s personal experience with the program which can help

you when you are considering buying or using a particular program.

Most quality programs attract loyal and enthusiastic users over time. Some of the users of low-cost or free programs offer help to other users from their own web sites or, more often, through these forums which are specifically set up to share information and advice about that particular program.

I find the advice I get from forums is often easier to understand than the

official instructions in the manual which comes with a program because the

advice comes from users like yourself rather than “experts”.

Some experts forget the simple in-between steps which are vital for

inexperienced people to get a working understanding of the programs they

talk about.

Of course, information in forums can be misleading or even completely wrong at times while the content of the manuals has usually been carefully tested.

To find these forums, just type forum: followed by the name of the image editing program which you use or are considering buying into your favorite

Internet search engine, eg. Forum: Photoshop Elements.

Some Forums are operated by businesses which supply services and/or

products related to the subject which is the focus of the Forum. These forums are usually monitored but not censored.

I have been impressed with the sharing and caring shown by the people I

have met in all the Forums and the helpfulness of the various businesses I

have dealt with so far.

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Scrapbooking Forums on the Internet are a great source of ideas and help for all scrappers, whatever level of knowledge we currently have and whether we prefer digital or traditional methods does not matter.

Sharing a common interest and helping each other as our own knowledge

and experience grows can lead to lasting friendships even though you may

never actually meet many of the people you become friendly with through

these contacts.

I’ll give you some tips and cautions which will help you get the most

enjoyment and help from them while making sure that you earn and keep

the respect of other members of those forums which you join and participate in.

Finding forums about scrapbooking on the Internet is easy. Just type

Forums: Scrapbooking, and be amazed at the number of choices you are offered.

Select a forum from the list after reading the text in each of the entries. You can’t tell which will be the most useful for you from the couple of lines in the search engine entry, but you will get a better idea when you visit the forum and read a few posts.

I suggest you do that with at least three forums before you join any unless you get a very strong feeling about one when you first visit it.

Some questions to ask yourself:

Are there many questions which are not answered?

Are the answers easy to understand and helpful?

Do some of the answers just tell the person who posted the question

that “she should know that” or put them down in some way?

Do the posts contain more advertising than helpful information?

Are there any signs of abusive or other inappropriate language?

You will have to register for most forums before you can post any comments

or questions of your own.

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Fill in the registration form. Be careful about giving too much personal


For instance, I see nothing wrong about using a fictional date of birth in a forum (make it the same year, just a different day or month). That’s because many financial services use your real date of birth as one of the questions used to confirm that you are really yourself when you contact them to do


Keep that sort of information to yourself.

You will usually have to reply to a confirmation email as part of the

registration process. This shows that you have control of the email address you supplied when you registered.

Then, you can use your username (often that is the email address you used)

and your password for that forum to log in to the forum with full member


Although there are several different kinds of forums, they are usually laid out in a similar fashion.

Each page will have navigation links to the various sections at the top of the page, and there will be sections of the forum for comments about particular areas of interest.

Start by reading the Terms of Use and any other rules which are posted for

using the forum.

Read the F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) or other helpful entries which are usually at the top of the first page of the forum.

If you don’t understand anything in these sections, send a private message

or an email to the administrator of the forum. Don’t post that sort of question in the forum.

Asking Questions

One of the most important uses of a forum is to get help.

But, please don’t post questions on your first couple of visits.

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Many forums see the same beginner questions every few days. It saves your

time and that of other members if you do a search before asking questions.

If there is something you want help with, put your question in the search box and check whether it has already been answered before.

Browse a few pages of the forum when you have time so that you can see

who are the most helpful members and if there are any who don’t contribute

much more than links to their own web sites.

Check the rules about signatures (the couple of lines of text you can include with your name when you post something in the forum).

Some forums will let you post a link to your own web site. Do not put a link to any commercial web site (your own or somebody else’s) in any post you

make or in your signature without checking first whether that is permitted.

Keep to the topic which was raised by the person which started the particular thread you are responding to. Do not make irrelevant comments or respond

to any irrelevant comments from other people.

Always start a new thread (Click on “New Post” at the top of the forum page) for any new subject you want to write about or get help with.

Always post your thanks for the help you get from other members.

Never use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in the subject or content of your post. This

is considered shouting – very rude.

Never respond to any insulting or other inappropriate posts in a forum. They will be dealt with by the Administrator or Moderators who control and

supervise the forum.

Enjoy yourself but keep a check about the amount of time which you spend

in a forum. Make sure that you are getting good value for it. If not, cut back and either go to another forum or do something else more productive with

some of that time.



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I did that deliberately to show you that all capitals are confronting and hard to read.

This is much better, isn’t it? Forums are useful and fun but you can waste too much time very