Archive for August, 2011

Cost-Friendly Custom Invites {get it printed no.11}

michelle shefveland. simply friendship pak, say it again 2 scrap.words (to love), this is life 2 scrap.words (ornate frame)

Hi all! Just finished designing a custom postcard invite for my mom and dad’s 45th anniversary party and thought I’d share a little tutorial on how you can make your own, too.

Making a custom design not only allows you to add personality to the invite, but can also be quite economical depending on size/shape/print vendor. For example, VistaPrint’s standard postcard size (5.5 x 4.2) is just $.19/each for 100 and their jumbo postcards (8.5 x 5.5) are often priced as low as $.29/100. I’ve been printing holiday cards with them for years and am very satisfied with their quality. They offer many upgrade options such as paper type/cardstock to fit any budget. The two things I do not care for are the high shipping costs for anything less than 2 week turn-around-time, as well as all of the cross-selling they present to you during the checkout process. The former can be avoided by signing up to be on their e-promotions list and watching for Free Shipping specials. These seem to occur about once per month and more often around the holidays.

Here’s how to design a custom invite using Adobe Photoshop Elements (Adobe Photoshop follows similar steps):

  1. Download Photoshop format (psd) design template for specific size/product you want to design from your preferred print vendor (almost all have downloadable templates to fit their specifications)
  2. Unzip design template
  3. Open design template (File>Open>browse for design template>OK)
  4. Open paper for background (invite used paper from Simply Friendship Pak)
  5. Drag paper onto design template. Position and size using Move Tool as desired, as it’s much larger than the template.
  6. Open photo/photos desired. Repeat Step 5 for photos.
  7. Open embellishments/overlays (most from Simply Friendship Pak). Repeat Step 5 for embellishments.
  8. Select Type Tool from Toolbar. On invite, draw text box where you want text.
  9. Choose font, font color, and font size (invite used JohnHancock, size 13-20 pt, color #482f25)
  10. Type party information. Adjust leading (spacing between lines) as needed. Journaling tutorial and free quick page download on our site here.
  11. If desired, simplify type layer and distress with eraser tool and distressing brushes (Grunge Paints 1, 2, or 3)
  12. Important note: keep all important elements, photos, and type well within safe margins shown by blue guidelines
  13. Save as layered psd to edit at later time. Save also in preferred format for print vendor, such as pdf, tiff, psd, or jpg. Here are VistaPrint’s.
  14. Choose custom design card type from print vendor. Like this jumbo postcard from VistaPrint.
  15. Upload to print vendor and follow instructions for ordering. Note: VistaPrint normally charges a $5 fee for custom designs.

Another even simpler and more affordable option is to design your invite as a standard 4×6 photo, save as a jpg file, and upload to your favorite image lab. I did this for both Alyssa and Rachel’s grad party invites. Shutterfly allows you to pick-up at a local Target.

invite template available in blanc de noir elements

Our preferred hometown lab also offers 4×6 envelopes at an additional fee. For $.28 per invite plus envelope, we can design a card, upload to our local lab, pick-up within an hour, and mail out the same day. How convenient is that???

nature’s garden papers, world  travels (frame,staples), sweet midori (mat)

If your budget allows, 4×8 or 5×7 cards are another beautiful option. VistaPrint, Snapfish, and Shutterfly offer custom design uploads in these sizes (just to name a few). As stated before, I use WHCC for my client printing. Below are a few I designed for recent photo shoots, plus a coordinating 12×12 print to frame for a grad party. So many possibilities with digital printing!

just sayin’ pak, scrap.templates 20 (modified size to 4×8)

scrap.templates 20, this is life scrap.words, just sayin’ pak

Happy creating! Michelle

Soft and Dreamy {ideas}

kelley quigley

beth ervin. budding romance

Time for some creative team inspiration! This week we focused on soft and ethereal for our theme. Lots of blending with Click.Masks using desaturated dreamy images.

michelle shefveland

For my layout, I set the blend mode of the Photo Art Blend 3 paper to Hard Light to soften the Butterfly Wings 2 paper, changed the click.mask color to white on Multiply blend mode to blend the black and white wedding image into the background. Here are how the layers are stacked in the Layer Palette.

See more blog tutorials on evoking softness with blending here and here.


Rachel created this Pinterest board of her soft and dreamy loves. Enjoy the eye candy!

See layout details in our team gallery here.

Happy creating! Michelle

Getting to Know Beth Ervin {creative team}

simply friendship, nature’s sketchbook brushes

Hi all! Stopping in to start a new series on our blog…getting to know our Creative Team. A few weeks ago we introduced Kelley and we’ll now periodically feature the rest of our wonderfully artistic team, some who have been with us almost the entire eight years!

beth ‘s gallery.      blanc de noir 5 papers, blanc de noir 2 elements

One of the long-timers is Beth Ervin, who joined us in early 2004 as an avid stamper and card maker, eager to delve into digital scrapbooking.

plum haze pak, nostalgia elements

Here’s a peek into Beth’s life…

Tell us a bit about your family…

I live in St. Paul, Minnesota and have two sons, ages 20 and 22 already! I live with my boyfriend of five years, my youngest son and two furry babies (dogs).

What are your favorite hobbies…

Scrapping (both digital and traditional), rubber stamping and card making, reading, skiing, walking outdoors

What do you like most about digital scrapbooking?

The ability to have everything at your fingertips, no mess, no fuss, no ink, no clean-up! And, of course, the reusable part of all the elements and papers a million times over!

butterfly wings 5, simply faith 6 scrap.words

What type of camera do you use?

An affordable point-and-shoot Canon that does the trick. I’m not a great photographer, so click and shoot suits me just fine.

Do you work outside of the home?

Besides being a professional scrapbook artist, I’ve also recently been dabbling in working as a paralegal from home.


What is your favorite type of digital scrapbooking product?

Frames! The more frames in a kit, the better, they can be used in so many different ways.

What digital technique would you like to explore more in the coming year?

Definitely my photography skills


Thanks, Beth, for sharing your beautiful creations for the past seven years!


Button Up {get it printed no.10}

Time for some more photo/art display ideas! So quick, easy, and affordable.

We’re in the midst of decorating Rachel’s first apartment with re-purposed, re-painted vintage finds and are making all of her wall art. We can’t wait to share her bedroom in a few weeks when it’s all complete!

Today we’re all about buttons…over the years I’ve grown a huge collection either from estate sales or from both of my grandmas.

Here’s a wall art piece we made using a twig, string, and oodles of vintage buttons. Using our fave Ikea clips, we’ve hung photos at alternating lengths of strung buttons.

Another timeless idea…curl a photo inside a bottle or canning jar and fill with buttons (or not). The glass adds such sparkle.

Happy printing! Michelle

On the Go {photo shoot tips}

michelle shefveland. simply friendship, click.masks 15

Photographing babes is one of my most happy places! These are from a recent shoot of a little guy just learning to crawl. I wanted to capture the excitement of this momentous occasion, while also giving the sensation of movement. Note…click on images to enlarge.

michelle shefveland. simply friendship

A few tips when photographing little ones on the go:

  • Shoot from all different angles, capturing their different positions
  • If using natural light as I did, set your ISO high enough to get crisp focus with a moving subject (I often shoot AV mode almost wide open aiming for a shutter speed of at least 1/80 to have good focus)
  • Have their little legs moving out of the frame to show they are scooting away!
  • Shoot some landscape and some portrait
  • Move around and get some wide angle shots and some close-ups
  • Shoot by a window and try to have babe’s eyes facing window to capture best catchlights
  • OR have someone hold a reflector bouncing soft natural light into their eyes (my favorite natural light tool!)
  • Have someone other than you talking to them to get them to look up and smile
  • Share the progression of images in a photo story as I did above or in a digital layout
  • You don’t need an expensive lens or even DSLR to shoot gorgeous portraits…just awesome light, good composition, and knowledge of your camera and what is does best (and see below for how to enhance bokeh/depth of field with our Photo Art Blends 4)

FYI…to enhance softness, creamy tones, and luminosity these images were blended with our bokeh/textured Photo Art Blends 4, most set at Overlay blend mode masking out the little guy. Tutorial included with each set of Photo Art Blends.

Happy shooting! Michelle

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