Archive for the ‘Team Inspiration’ Category

Loving our Moms {ideas}

Friday, May 9th, 2014

spring-green2-resize beth ervin

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, and some of us recently losing our beloved Moms…our team created some special tributes to them.

May the memories and love of those no longer with you bring much peace, knowing they live within us always.

rememberingmom2013_quietheart_springfreebie michelle shefveland

Layout details can be found in our Mom gallery here.

ca_momandme karen wilhelm

14_05_mothers rikki donovan

mom_2014_600 michelle shefveland

momtulip2013-1 michelle shefveland


Michelle and Team

Exciting New Partnerships {ideas & sale too}!

Friday, January 24th, 2014

14_lake_reflection rikki donovan

Hello all! We’ve been busy around here the past many months with some exciting partnerships and wanted to share the news with you, too.

Many of our long-time followers will remember our partnership with Jasc/Corel that started 11 years ago. I was blessed to write a book for them in 2003, Scrapbooking the Digital Way, as well as license all our CDs for re-sale in their format. This wonderful relationship has been renewed, and we are excited to have a large collection of our art bundled with Corel PaintShop Pro Photo for special promotions. Stay tuned in their newsletter for future announcements.


Some may also know that I worked with Creative Memories in 2006-2007 to help develop their digital product/software division, as Creative Memories’ headquarters is here in St. Cloud. With their recent re-structure I have been able to again work with the co-creators of StoryBook Creator Software, Panstoria, and am selling our art in their shop in their proprietary format. More of our kits will be added weekly.


If Photoshop Elements is a bit overwhelming, give Artisan (their version of StoryBook Creator) a try! I am thrilled to again be a part of the software side of digital scrapbooking (using my technical degree) and look forward to seeing all Artisan will be in the upcoming versions.

  hexagon1 melinda vermeer

And, the team has had creative fun mixing patterned papers and geometric shapes. See details and more layouts in our patterns and shapes gallery.

See our current sale in the shop on all purchases, for a limited time.

201312_snow_fun tonya regular

201310_gorgeous tonya regular

adorable_boy1_resize1 beth ervin

As always, keep learning and happy creating!

Michelle and team

Cardinal Christmas Freebie!

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

We recently released our Cardinal Christmas Collection and have a little freebie below for you made from it: a 4×6 Quick Page Photo Card (or frame cluster for your digital layout). Instructions are included in the zip file.

Here are some of the 2013 holiday art collection kits and layouts made with them from the team. Layout details in our gallery here.

And here’s some holiday Pinspiration from our curated collections. Click to enlarge.


Click here for FREEBIE download (3 mb png file). Enjoy!



Michelle and team

Creative Borders {ideas}

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Ever make a scrapbook page and say, “there is something missing here, but I have no idea what?” Well it could be missing a border, or at least for me that’s often the case. Something that forms a decorative edge on your layout, giving it a balanced feel…something that draws your eye into the story of the page. You don’t have to use actual borders; you can use just about anything in your digital stash! With the new products in the shop this week, you can make a variety of unique borders for your art. Check out these simple ideas!!

scrapbook_page_622 rachel shefveland

Stack two papers on top of each other, with two edges of the bottom paper sticking out from beneath the top. Give the top paper a custom drop shadow to make it look realistic. This will give the scrapbook page a composition that draws the eye back towards the main focus of the page, instead of drifting off the side.

featheredferns_lordsong_frameblends2 michelle shefveland

Lay the edge of a paper with complementary colors over one side of your layout like Michelle does below. It will look almost like a ribbon, and you don’t even have to add a drop shadow! But it doesn’t end there: On the same page, she also uses the bottom of a frame cluster from Scrap.Frames 28 as a border at the top. The two custom borders work beautifully to bring everything together as a cohesive layout.

assisialyssa2011_festive_fall michelle shefveland

You can do the same thing as above, but with all 4 sides of the paper showing, giving the layout a full border that keeps everything nicely balanced.

festivefall_smile rachel shefveland

Use the edges of our Scrap.Journals for a chunkier border to fill a large space. This one includes a little word art, which gives it a double use – score!! Be creative and layer elements to get even more unique effects!

enjoyjourney_offbeaten15_roadtrip-copy michelle shefveland

Below, Tonya creatively uses stitching and mini accents to make two opposing side borders, and an embellished ribbon to balance her travel journal page. So eye catching!

201307_lions tonya regular. supplies

201210_explore-1 tonya regular. supplies

Enjoy more inspiration with these new product layouts and those in our creative team gallery! – Rachel & team

scrapbook_page_621 rachel shefveland

italyalyssa2011_journals17_featheredferns michelle shefveland

201309_grade_3 tonya regular

ca_john-bday karen wilhelm

festive_fall1_resize beth ervin

One Template = Endless Possibilities {ideas}!

Friday, August 30th, 2013

2013_vacation1 tonya regular. supplies

My absolute favorite products to use when scrapbooking are templates. They’re already set up to be beautiful layouts, so all I need to add my photos and grab a kit or paper pak to match. SO simple. But the other fantastic part about them, is that you can move everything around, change the colors, add word art and additional elements, duplicate layers, remove layers, and completely transform them! That’s what our creative team did with this beautiful new set of templates made by Melinda. Introductory sale through Monday, September 2!


As you can see, just by using a different page pak, the templates take on a completely different look. So every time you use one, it’s like you have created a totally new layout. Don’t be afraid to mix and match kits to make something really unique! This first template is perfect for Project Life or Instagram photos!

scrap_template_52-1_resize beth ervin. supplies

scrap-templates-52-page-layouts-7-1 melinda ver meer. supplies

13_07_bikerboy rikki donovan. supplies

ca_yellowflowerseason karen wilhelm. supplies

2013_vacation2 tonya regular. supplies

13_08_tirschenreuth rikki donovan. supplies

Follow us on Pinterest for more digital art  and photography tips/inspiration!


Happy creating! Michelle and team

Capturing the Everyday with your Mobile Device {fave iPhone apps & new art}

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Lots to share today! We just released 6 fun new everyday products (our newsletter with sale goes out Friday morning – check your inbox!), and the team’s been busy showcasing their summer memories with them.

One main reason most of us scrapbook is to remember the daily happenings in our lives…those little things that make our life ‘our life.’ Like what games we enjoy, what restaurants we like to go to, what activities our kids are in, how we spend our time, our hobbies, and on and on. Our mobile devices are with us when we are living out these moments and they make capturing them slick and easy.

With my iPhone 5 I use Camera+ as my camera app of choice. It allows me to select separate focus and exposure points via touch screen. Awesome! Our favorite go-to apps for editing on the iPhone and Rachel’s iPod Touch are Mextures, VSCO Cam, Snapseed, and PicTapGo. And then we use Dropbox or email to get the images onto our computer where we can play with them and our art.

Here Rachel shares snippets of her week using her iPod shots blended with our newest Click.Masks 40.

everyday19_myjam_eatplay_0 everyday17_wingedbeauty_wednesday

She gave the two layouts’ photos more depth using Snapseed’s Tilt Shift function (a type of selective focus blur effect mimicking a shallow depth of field). This works for these images since they were all shot at eye level and have a foreground and background. Here one before and after:


Here’s how to achieve the effect in in Snapseed:

Open Snapseed app (available for Apple or Android)

Open photo

Scroll along bottom and select Tilt-Shift button


Four horizontal lines will appear. The blurred section will be between the two centermost lines. To increase this space, press two fingers on screen and spread them outward. Press Apply when satisfied. Note: you can rotate the lines to rotate the direction of the blur, as well.


That’s it! Press save. Share to your desktop via preferred method (Dropbox, email, etc).

With this next layout, she captured a fun birthday meal at a local eatery. Since it was shot from above, everything is on the same plane and a Tilt Shift effect would not be recommended. Another great everyday design element is to take photos of road signs, city signs, restaurant logos/menus and use them on your pages.


While on our recent vacation to Montana, we made fast friends with the neighboring horses. I always had my iPhone with me when going for walks and this beauty, in particular, loved posing! A quick moody edit in VSCO Cam and the photo was ready for making a poster. For a unique design twist, I layered our new Everyday Art Journal Cards 2 all over the landscape background, using Multiply blend mode within Adobe Photoshop Elements (Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro would give same results). It gives a fun patchwork texture effect without being overpowering.


Here are how some of the layers are stacked and blended (click to enlarge):


Rikki loves using our Scrap.Templates and Scrap.Frames with her iPhone/ Instagram shots to quickly share her everyday moments. She says she is now completely addicted to Instagram!

13_06_rabeneck 13_07_goerlitz

These are just a few of the ways our mobile devices and apps make everyday digital scrapbooking even more fun!

And see our Everyday gallery for layout details and more of our newest inspiration by the team!


Happy creating! Michelle and team

Let Music Guide Your He{art}

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

scrapbook_page_616 rachel

Music is a source of inspiration for so many people. It can be uplifting, calming, energizing, and thought provoking. All music is an art form, from classical to hard rock and everything in between. So whatever music gets you in the mood is probably also inspirational in some way. For me, it’s a mix of folk and pop music. Artists such as Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, and Ingrid Michaelson could keep me going for days.

To celebrate our love of tunes, we just released That’s My Jam Elements & Papers:

cottagearts-net_2270_3653906 cottagearts-net_2270_345810

A very fun trend that is happening in the social media world, is sharing lyrics. Whether it’s tweeting them, adding them to Instagram photos, pinning them, or posting them on Facebook, they’re just about everywhere. If you haven’t noticed, just look around and you will start to see them all over the place.


There is a super easy-to-use iPhone app called Over that allows you to choose unique fonts to write on your photos with (for mobile devices). It’s 99 cents, and definitely worth it. But there are plenty of good apps out there that offer similar services for free (such as Phonto for both Android and iPhone), just without as many cute fonts and graphics. Either way, I love to see the creative ways people are using typography in their photos, and my favorite things to write about are music lyrics. There is always a great lyric for basically every situation, so it’s versatile and quite addicting!! Remember to credit artist and use only for personal use.


And of course, lyrics are a great way to express emotion and interest in your scrapbook pages and other digital art. Sometimes a song can bring back memories of a certain time, event, or person, and what better way to hold on to that memory than scrap it?! Other things that lyrics complement well are everyday layouts about the music phase your going through, a concert you attended, or even just to scrap about your absolute favorite band. Here’s a layout I made a while back that features the lyrics to Hey Soul Sister by Train. It was a song I listened to over and over again and felt very connected to. So when I hear that song, it reminds of that time in my life.

scrapbook_page_421 rachel

And lyrics aren’t always necessary to create a music-themed layout. Rikki Donovan kept a record of the songs played at a concert she went to in Munich. Playlists are a great thing to scrap about because when you look back, you can remember certain songs that were specific to a period of time.

13_06_dm_left rikki

Using these fun cassette tapes from our That’s My Jam element pak, you can feature an album that you love in a creative way, like I did with the following page. (I love the Great Gatsby soundtrack that came out recently. I still haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m just dying to!!)

scrapbook_page_617 rachel

Adding a lot of words to a layout can be difficult because it can sometimes look too cluttered. So I’ve compiled this list of free fonts that work well when filling a page with words, such as lyrics. All free for personal use at dafont.


Our creative team came up with more creative ways to use music in art…enjoy!

201305_music_festival tonya

that_s_my_jam4_resize beth

scrapbook_page_618 michelle

Our 7 new releases are on sale through Monday, along with a great sale (newsletter goes out Sunday morning; free sign-up here). – Rachel and team

Summer Shooting and Scrapping {ideas}

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Summer is a cherished season here in Minnesota. After nine months of winter (I’m not kidding this year!) we soak up every last bit of sunshine we can. And it is the perfect time to make memories, which of course must be scrapbooked!! Simple, yet awesome, moments can be made into lasting works of art to display in your home, or share on social media (hello Facebook). So here are just a few ideas of what you can be photographing and scrapbooking right now!

Take in a sporting event (or participate in one!). Baseball is the definition of summer here in the United States. Take your family to a ball game (local, pro, kids) and don’t forget to get a great shot of the field (as well as some of you and your pals enjoying the event). Soccer, rugby, softball, running, bike racing, and swimming are some other great sports to photograph. Great action; great colors! The latest craze here is The Color Run…runners get splashed with crazy-cool colored powder as they cross the finish line. So much fun!!!! And so healthy. We want to find one this summer to do!

everyday17_instantreplay rachel shefveland

everyday17_action_playball michelle shefveland

the_champ1_resize beth ervin

Visit a park.  Local, regional, state, national – any or all of the above. They are perfect for picnics, family photos, reunions, hikes, everything! So pack the car and get on your way to nearest (or farthest) park you can find! Photograph the natural environment unique to the area.

everyday18_sumbreeze_wings_copy rachel shefveland

13_06_summerimages rikki donovan

Take a walk. Such an easy and fun way to fit some activity in your day, as well as smell that sweet summer air. Don’t forget the camera for some really cool nature shots or candids.

everyday17_action_readysetgo rachel shefveland

Make wall art. Here’s a seriously spectacular piece of art made by creative team member Marie. She shares with us below how she brought this collage together showcasing her unique landscape photo. Simple and beautiful What better way to spend a rainy summer day!

summer marie di raimondo

“For this image I opened the layered ShapeBlends #01 and selected a few random squares with the magic wand tool. I then created a new layer with those squares. I changed the opacity of that to about 60%. Using the rest of the ShapeBlends I made a clipping mask of the photo. Merging them all together gave me a nice range of color blocks to add my title to.” – Marie

Celebrate your vacation memories! Cell phone cameras are becoming high quality tools, are with you at all times, and allow you to focus more on the fun and less on the technical aspect of photography. I shot this pretty landscape of the Missouri River with my cell phone on our road trip last summer to Arizona. See our Let us be Adventurers pinboard for fabulous travel photography inspiration!

everyday17-naturessketch-beauty michelle shefveland

201206_summer tonya regular

Enjoy more of the team’s summer scraps in the gallery and the newest products in the shop.

summer_fun gallery

Our newsletter goes out Sunday morning, with our sale on sports, masculine, and summer kits plus 5 new products through Monday, June 24, 2013. Enjoy!

And if you need a little more summer color in your life, peruse our color love pinboard on Pinterest! It’ll brighten your day, promise ;)


Happy creating! Michelle and team

Travel Journals {ideas & inspiration}

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Last weekend I went to spend a few days with my sister, Alyssa in Arizona. She’s been there since August for a one-year internship, and I’ve been meaning to pay her a visit…time was almost running out! The month of May might not have been the wisest time to go to Phoenix (temps in the upper 90s!), but it still was such a fun time!

scrapbook-page-604 rachel shefveland

We went shopping in SanTan Village, hiking at Superstition Mountain, hot tubbing late at night, walking in the community gardens of Argitopia, and out to eat at a really cool local diner. It was wonderful sister bonding time :) And since I might never make it back to AZ, I made sure to have a camera on hand at all times!

scrapbook-page-602 rachel shefveland

I captured some sweet moments of our little adventure, and now I want to make something special out of them. All over the place I see people making super adorable travel journals and albums and I want to join in the fun! I’m still trying to decide how I want it to turn out, but I’ll share some of my internet inspiration with you. Maybe you have some great travel pics that are just dying to be placed in a an album made from vintage postcards, I know I do!!! -Rachel


#1 – instagram desktop flip album via heidi swapp // #2 – instagram album via studio calico // #3- alaska travel album via saturday morning vintage // #4 – vintage postcard travel journal via a beautiful mess // #5 – diy pocket travel journal via simple as that blog

Don’t forget to check out the new art in the shop & gallery this week!

And see all of the team’s ideas using these new products in our travel gallery here.

cottagearts-clickstamps3-worldtravels-prev_0 cottagearts-clickmask39-prev cottagearts-worldtravels7-papers-prev cottagearts-vintagevibe-prev

Mom made the layout below remembering her and Dad’s photography trip last summer to Bayfield, Wisconsin with the new products. Check out that rainbow!

worldtravels2013-rachel2 michelle shefveland

Oh, and if you’re like us and dream of traveling to far off places (like we do!) check out our Let us be Adventurers pinboard on Pinterest!


Happy creating! Rachel and Team

Not your Ordinary Journal {ideas}

Friday, January 11th, 2013

molokai_mshefveland michelle shefveland. details here

Rachel here with some creative journal ideas. When I was younger, probably middle-school age, I wrote daily in a little diary every night before I went to sleep. I’m sure the majority of what I wrote was pointless little kid silliness and such, but when I look back on it, I recall so many small moments of what life was like for the small-version of myself. Sketching ideas in my journal was another frequent activity. It is a fascinating experience and I wish I did it more often as I got older.

journal10 rachel shefveland. details here

I’m sure many of you had (or still have) similar journals or notebooks, but I find  today there is so much technology available to keep track of those same simple memories, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially digital scrapbooking that it almost makes diaries obsolete. So that is what our Nature’s Sketchbook Art Journals are for. With them you can “write in your diary” in a unique, realistic, and may I add beautiful digital journal. No more trying to remember to record the events of a birthday party or date as you are getting ready for bed, exhausted, and then continually putting it off (I am guilty as charged!). Above is a journal piece Mom has shared before, recalling memories of her photography trip to Molokai…and one of my earlier sketches.

Just releasing our 16th set, each set comes with five different digital collage journals. See all of our Nature’s Sketchbook Journals here.

cottagearts-net_2246_315897574 cottagearts-net_2241_54078524

There are so many more uses for these journals, too. Use them as backgrounds on their own, mats, art accents, layering pieces on your digital layout, or as part of an art journal or faithbook.

Here Beth expertly layers a journal from our newest set with other organic elements as she loves to do.

winter_birch1_resize beth ervin. details here

Journaling can help ease grief, pain, and sadness. Here Mom uses it to journal feelings and photos about Grandma’s difficult breast cancer battle. In creating something pretty, Mom was able to feel gratitude, even while hurting.

mom-faithful-mshefveland michelle shefveland. details here

Below are additional ideas by our team in adding these great elements into your everyday layouts. Hope they spur your imagination as well!

Note: click on any image below to enlarge and open lightbox viewer.

Oh, and see a really awesome hybrid project how-to by Beth for printing your digital journal and making a book on our blog here.

finding_balance_1_resize beth ervin. how-to here

FYI…our newsletter went out this morning with new products, weekend sale info, subscriber offer, and more. Free sign-up here.

Happy creating! Rachel

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