Good morning fabulous people!
It’s developed into something of an annual scrappy diary for me, and I’ve practised, lamented and eventually honed it down to being just what I want as a momentous record of the year that was. I’ve been keeping it since December 2008. Sometimes successfully! Before that, I was writing onerous Christmas letters - during late December - and calling it a yearly round-up! Pfftt!
A lot of people get turned off by the overwhelming chore of it all. And that’s such a shame, because it makes such a beautiful, detailed keepsake for your children and grandchildren. Imagine how interested you would be to read and view the daily happenings of your ancestors, in “real time” as it happens!
Well, I’ve developed a way to make it slightly easier (I hope!). I think if you stick to a sketch or digital template each week, and get into the habit of decorating or embellishing and updating it every Sunday night (for example) then it becomes easier to just slot in your photos/ journalling whenever your inspiration hits. No creativity required, just pure unadulterated recording. And it does pay off – when your children or friends glance through your 365 Challenge albums and actually reminisce about the occasion depicted, it reminds you what scrapping is all about. Recording the memories. In such a way that they need no explanation from you. They just browse through that album & get a great sense for who you are as a family. Where you are up to in this phase of life. Ok. So I admit I can get a few months behind sometimes, but the joy of recording our year is what drives me to keep at it. And when I’ve pre-prepared pages like the one I’m about to show you, it is so much easier to catch up!
This tutorial is written for beginners using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The names of various actions may vary from one program to another, but the basic functions are the same across most photo editing software.
Open a blank canvas (file > new blank file) measuring 24inch wide, 12 inches tall with 3000dpi on a white background. This is our double page, which we can later crop into two 12 x 12 inch pages when our layouts are finished and we are ready to print.
Turn on your workspace grid (view > grid). Create a new layer. Select your rectangular marquee tool from the left-side menu and draw your photo shape. I take a lot of portrait-orientated photos, so I’m going with a tall rectangular shape. Select any colour other than white as your foreground colour, and click inside your marching ants shape to fill it with colour.
Control-D to get rid of the ants. Select the move tool (cross at top left menu). Press Alt and hover your mouse over the shape until the cursor changes to a double arrow. While still holding Alt, click your left mouse button and drag away to create a copied shape. Continue for the seven photos of the week, positioning them as per your design. They will automatically all be on their own layer. If you run out of space for all your shapes, there is a way to move and re-size them all together. Activate all the shape layers in your layers palette (control > click on each separate layer). With your move tool on, drag a corner in/out to resize, or move the whole lot by clicking anywhere within the bunch of rectangles and drag your mouse to their new position. Make sure a photo mask doesn’t cross the 12inch crop line in the middle of your canvas.
With your photo masks in position, add text boxes for journalling later on. You will need to add some “blah blah blahs”. Add your title, in this case “Week 1”. We can change this each time we make a new layout. I also like to include the actual dates. Save as a PSD file. Your template is now ready to use week after week by simply adding some digital paper and embellishments after you’ve clipped your photos to the masks. To do this, activate the layer the mask is on, drag your photo onto the canvas, and press Control-G. The photo layer slips into the shape. You can move the photo around or resize it as long as you have the photo layer active. Remember to save your completed 365 page as a different name and a jpeg file, and close your PSD template file without saving changes.
** There are a range of 365 Challenge template sets available in my shops at Funky Playground Designs shop, and Two Little Pixels. Some of them are:
I'm also giving away the tutorial template! Yay!
Credits for Tutorial Layout: Brine Design patterned paper (365 Challenge kit), date tab, circle stamp, sticky notes, floss stitch; Siamese Studio staples; Traci Reed stitching (altered); Misty Mareda doodled camera sticker (First Day kit); One Little Bird “Smitten” alpha (altered).