Project Life: A Little Trick That Goes A Long Way

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Hello everyone! Zakirah here. I’m so excited to be posting on the newly-designed site. I think everything looks so beautiful!

Today I want to share a PL trick that I’ve been using since February.

It’s no secret that our very own Gennifer Bursett makes great Project Life pockets. They’re the only ones that I use for my PL pages this year. I love how realistic they look. They make my PL pages shine.

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One of the most common questions I get about my PL pages is how I get the shiny & bright pocket look, like on this page:

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If you notice, there’s some feathery light effects on the pocket that I use. They come from Gennifer’s PL pockets, but I manipulated it a bit in Photoshop to enhance its appearance.

 

Here’s how:

1. Open one of Gen’s pockets in Photoshop. For this tutorial I’m going to use her Back to Basics V1 pocket:

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2. Let’s create a white background so we can see the pocket better:

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3. Now let’s manipulate it. Copy the pocket layer 3 times. Set the layer setting for the layers like so:

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4. Now your pocket will look like this:

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5. Let’s turn off the white background to see the pocket better:

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Notice the light ‘streaks’? They make your pages shine brighter! The secret is in the layer settings above.

6. Now you can group the layers together & slip your photos & journal cards under the group layer (not in the group).

 

To make it easier for you, I’m sharing the action that I created from the steps above so you could have the wispy, feathery light effects ready in 1 click! Download the action below:

DOWNLOAD HERE

 

Feel free to play with the layer opacity of each pocket layer. You can get different results like below when you edit just ONE layer’s opacity:

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Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.

Challenges March 2015

March is coming in with a bang around here. How is your weather? Is March a lion or a lamb?

Get ready to scrap and jump into our challenges. First up is our Photo Challenge hosted by Missy. This month you should get up close and personal with your subject. Take a look at Missy’s layout:

Pixels & Company March 2015 Challenge

I took on the Journaling Challenge this month. Journal about your week, there are a few ideas to get you started, check them out:

March/April Journaling Challenge

Raquel has a template for you to download, helping to get you started on a new layout. Here’s her layout for inspiration.

Pixels & Company March 2015 Challenge

 

Tori has a list of items for you to include on your page, hop over to get started on this month’s recipe challenge.

Pixels & Company February 2015 Challenge

Next up is Jen with the color challenge. Her challenge: GOLD! I can’t wait to see all the bling in the gallery.

Pixels & Company March 2015 Challenge

 

If you complete all 5 challenges by 11:59 PM MST on the last day of the month, you will receive a coupon for 25% off. Each page counts for one challenge, and you cannot use one layout for multiple challenges. Challenge layouts must contain at least 25% P&Co products to be eligible for prizes.

Participants will earn the following rewards for completing these challenges:

1 challenge = 5% off
2 challenges = 10% off
3 challenges = 15% off
4 challenges = 20% off
5 challenges = 25% off

Check out our member’s only challenges in the subscriber area. We will regularly host 2 challenges, with occasional bonus challenges or double point opportunities. These challenges will earn participants points which can be redeemed for free or discounted products in the store. 100 points = $1.00.

Here is a peek at what the subscribers will be using as their inspiration this month:

Pocket-page Challenge Hosted by Jan

Pixels & Company March 2015 Challenge

February 2015 Hybrid Roundup

Hi all! It’s the last Saturday of February, and that means it’s time for our hybrid round up! It’s also the last day of the month, and you know what that means – new subscription collections debut tomorrow! EEK! Each month I’m blown away by what our talented designers create together.  As you’ll see in this months’ hybrid roundup, many of us made good use of the February collection.  Let’s have a look and these fun projects. Each photo is linked to the gallery, so be sure to click over and leave some love!

Kate Christensen not only made these adorable Valentines but turned them into temporary tattoos as well!  So clever!

 

 

Planners are a big trend in the memory keeping world right now, and this month’s hybrid really reflects that. Kym shares some of her planner pages she put together using some fun stuff from Gennifer Bursett and Jen Allyson.

 

 

Kym also shares this very useful chore chart, included as part of The Everything Planner set by Gennifer Bursett:

 

 

Jennifer Barksdale wowed us with not one but two beautiful cards this month:

 

 

 

Oh, how I love a good mini album! This little album by Kate Christensen is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen:

 

 

Kate’s also shared a few planner pages for us all to drool over.   I think I could get on this bandwagon now that I’ve seen how cute it can be!

 

 

 

 

So inspiring right?  We love seeing what beautiful things you can create, so if you’ve got a hybrid project be sure to upload it to our hybrid gallery, and we just might include it in our round up too!

February Gallery Highlights

Have you taken a look at the gallery lately? There are so many fabulous pages and the gallery is just brimming with amazing inspiration!

I was immediately drawn to this page from Natacha. I love the paper at the top, the little curly doodle on the side of the pictures, as well as the little scatter of hearts and one triangle at the bottom.

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I love the grid design on this page by terresa. And the gold accents, especially the heart over the picture at the bottom right are just lovely.

 

 

Oh my goodness… I love little girly pages. I adore this sweet page from FuzziePixel. I adore the triangles, as well as the way she mirrored the shape with her journaling.

 

The large photo on this page from gleestormont really drew me in. It just looks so warm and inviting. And I really like the gold accents.

 

 

I love this page from RaquelSabido. I love the whimsy of the hot air balloon and the picture is precious! I also really like the contrast corner paper at the bottom and the date tag. Super cute!

 

 

Last up, I really like this page from melscrap. I love the one picture and touches of ribbon and tape.

 

 

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Trend Tuesday – Roundup: FEBRUARY

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Well, I’m happy to report it is still Tuesday in my part of digiland. I find it very hard to believe another month is finishing up. February flew by!

This month we discussed the trends of rainbow colours, pocket cards, and Bokeh photography. Were any of these trends eye openers for you? Are you excited to try to capture Bokeh in your own photography? What inspires you about the trends this month?

Here is my layout using the February trends. Ornaments by Melanie Ritchie

Post a link to your own trendy layout in the comments. See you next week when we start a whole new month of Trends!

For 2015, Pixels & Company will be featuring Trends in Scrapbooking every Tuesday. Follow along as we explore trends in the areas of: Color, Imagery, Words, and Photography. Every final Tuesday of the month, I will reveal a layout using all of the highlighted trends and challenge you to make one too. I warn you though, trends may become habit forming. Once you spot a trend, you’ll start seeing it everywhere!

Looking for the perfect light

If you start getting more into photography one of the first things you often hear or read is that you should look for a perfect light, as it’s the light that makes or breaks a photo. And that’s absolutely true. You might have a wonderful composition, but if the light sucks your photo will rarely look appealing. On the other hand, if you can use the light to your advantage even the most mundane and simple objects will look beautiful in your photos.

So what light is the best? Firstly – natural – so no flash and light bulbs if you can avoid them. If you have to use your flash, bounce it off a white wall/ceiling (if you have an external flash) or cover it with a tissue/white card – it will make it less harsh. You can also try (if your camera allows) to turn down the strenght of the flash. And if you shoot without a flash but using artificial light – it’s always a good idea to change your White Balance settings (a short introduction to WB here) to match your lightening conditions. Go for tungsten or fluorescent – this will make the colours look more natural. White balance can also be changed in post-processing (always when shoting in RAW, sometimes in .jpg), so you might try that too if your photo has some unwanted color cast.

Therefore, try to shoot without a flash if only possible – even if it means increasing your ISO setting or using a wider aperture setting (lower number of f-stop) or longer exposition. In my opinion even if a shot is a bit blurry or grainy it usually looks better that the one shot with a flash.

Now, let speak about natural light – what kind of it works best. In general – it’s best to avoid harsh sun rays, as they cause strong shadows and are usually difficult to expose correctly. For this very reason professional photographers do not shoot at noon but they go for the so called “perfect hours” that’s an early morning and a late afternoon when the sun is lower and less strong.

When shooting outside – and if the weather is sunny – look for open shade. What is open shade? Any type of place that is not in harsh, open sun but still gets enough light. You object should face the light but stay in shade – for example on a porch or under a tree. Another option for good lightening conditions is a cloudy day – when the sky is overcast, but clouds are not too dense and heavy – so there’s still enough light, yet it’s beautifully diffused and even. It makes it very easy to spot on the exposure and take nice, softly lit portraits. If you’d like to read more about open shade and overcast light check this article by Kelly Tuohey.

And what about the indoor shots? When inside – try to place your object close to a big window, preferably it should face north (best even light). Again if the light is too strong (=it’s too sunny), you should disperse it by hanging a white/cream curtain/sheet. If your object faces the window, it will be evenly lit, so you should have no problem getting correct and even exposure. Yet, if you place your object parallel to the window, then you should remember that the side of the object that’s further from the window will probably be in shade, so it might be too dark. To brighten up those dark shadows try placing a white or bright panel that will reflect the light. If you shoot a little object it’s quite easy as a plain sheet of white paper will do. With people it might be more tricky, but maybe you have a white wall nearby or someone can hold a light fabric for you. Here’s another short article by Karthika Gupta that provides more information on using natural light indoor to your advantage.

 

Certainly, it’s not always possible to shoot in perfect light, as sometimes objects in your photos can’t be moved, but whenever you can, try to make sure you use the best lightening option available. Sometimes it is as simple as moving a few steps to a side, crouching or asking the person you’re taking a photo of to move a bit. And if you take a photo of a still life object it’s usually possible to move it to a place that’s better lit.

 

I hope this short introduction to lightening will make you see the light and use it better in your photography. The key is practice – so just take out your camera and shoot in different lightening conditions. Then compare the results and see what works and what doesn’t for you.

 

Have fun looking for the light!

 

 

 

Documenting Everyday: Let’s Talk About Work-flow

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I accidentally discovered last week that I have a work-flow. This was news to me. I found myself falling into a routine – writing stuff down, dealing with photos, getting each pocket built, saving my files. There’s a flow to it all.

And I got to wondering whether or not others have a work-flow, too.

They do!

So I asked a few of the CT members to take me through their work-flow when documenting their everyday. Whether new (like me!) or an expert (like these ladies!), I think there are some wonderful tips here.

Kat says:

I’m returning to pocket scrapbooking this year after a two-year hiatus … and failure. Okay, so the failure was for a couple of years, but this year I’m determined to see it through. What I had to figure out was how to keep up. If I fell too far behind – again – I’d be sure to quit and, you know, just pick things up again in another year.

A few months ago, I started using a day planner for work. Keep in mind, up until then, I’d had a few planners, but never really got into using them, and doing things online just isn’t for me. I don’t know what’s clicked this time, but it is. In my week-at-a-glance pages, I write down projects or tasks that I have to complete for work, plus scrapping things, appointments, meetings, and events … and this last piece is really helping. My pages vary from week to week in how they look – similar in style, but still different.

Templates are my starting point, finding what might work for what I know is planned for the week. I’ll do this pretty early, like Sunday or Monday. As the week progresses, I’ll add photos to the templates as we go, spending 30-45 minutes in the evening to document the day. Sometimes nothing of any note happened, and that’s okay – I’ll use the time to play with journaling card fillers, or start my journaling. Working this way does require some flexibility on my part. I mean, not one week has gone by this year when I’ve started a week and finished with everything right where it started. I might have something unexpected that comes up, so I plan for the unexpected (sounds a little strange, I know), and leave some blank spaces on the template, deliberately. I can always use filler pieces in them at the end of the week if I need to.

I’m sticking to just one designer for the entire year, so that gives me the ability to mix and match her kits and still retain some measure of design similarities to the elements.

So, for me, the work-as-you-go approach is working. I’m wrapping up Week #7 in my 2015 album and already have a few things for Week #8 done, as I type this.

2015-MyTurn-web

Jen says:

When organizing my week, I like to use a 2015 planner. Its just a little pocket sized, coil-bound one that I store in my purse. At the beginning of the week, I put what week number it will be at the top of the page. Throughout the week I add what I did, or any ideas of what I wish to include on the upcoming layout. Sometimes life gets in the way, and I may not be able to finish a layout for a few weeks. Those are the times I would have forgotten the little details, if I hadn’t quickly written them down. I’m thankful for my little planner! It takes the pressure off of having to remember everything.

For my photos, I use a “2015” file folder on the computer. I dump all un-edited photos in there throughout the week. When I use a photo on a layout, I drag it into the “done” folder (and delete any duplicates). Last year I used the Collect App to easily dump a photo-a-day for each month. At the end of the year, I included a yearly layout using all the months, with the tiny photos. I will probably do it again this year.

PL_Week_5_JenP

Maribel says:

Photos: My first step is working on the most important part of the project, the photos. I select and edit the photos as I take them throughout the week. Since I use more than one device to take photos I have to make sure that I go through them right away on Dropbox (for the phone photos) and Pictures folder (on my computer) and get them in a folder for the week so that I won’t forget them. I always, always use the date as the filename for my photos when importing them from my camera. Phone photos already use the date as the name. That way if I order prints, more often than not, they print the filename on the back and I will know what date they were taken.

Keeping notes: This is a very important step that I started about six months ago, I use a simple planner and write down little notes and journaling daily or almost daily. Then when I start working on my weekly pages I have them next to me to help me with the journaling. It’s really amazing the things I can forget but I’m glad I wrote them down. Keeping notes allows me to create my pages at any point, even weeks later.

Adding Photos:  Now, to start actually working on my pages! I look at my folder for the week and mentally divide my photos for the left and right sides and based on that I choose my template. This is something that has taken me a long time to find. This year I started just placing the photos in the pockets I want them to be in, just roughly deciding where they will be. I like a balance between photos and filler/ journal cards.  I do that for both sides. In the past I used to work on one pocket at a time but I find that for me it just works better to have all the photos there before I start embellishing and adding journal cards.

Journal Cards: Then I add the journal cards and filler cards. I journal on the journal cards and on photos, so this is when I get my notes and journal on my page. I use my journal cards as frames often, if there’s a pretty journal card with lots of space for journaling I like to use it behind my photo. This is also when I decide if I want my photo to take up a whole space or if I want to make it smaller and put it on top of a journal card or paper.

Embellishing: Once everything is where I want it to be I start adding elements and stamps. I love using as many elements as I can including stitching, splatters, frames, buttons, alphas, tags, labels, scatters, enamels dots, tape, etc.! I mostly use flat elements.

Finishing touches: At the end I like to play a little bit with the shadows and with blending the journaling. The last step is saving it, I do save often as I work on my pages because I have had photoshop crash and learned my lesson. I save it as a Tiff file and I also save a JPEG version. I keep the Tiffs only until I get the pages printed, then I delete them. Backing up my JPEGs is a very important part of my workflow. I try to upload them to more than one place, usually Dropbox right away and then Flickr as well as Persnickety Prints.

Left Side

Right Side

Maribel

Becca is a hyrbid pocket scrapbooker! She says:

This is my third year of pocket scrapbooking. The first year I tried all digital, the second year I did traditional most of the year with some digital, and last year I did a mix. This year I’m sticking with the hybrid since I seem to have found my groove with that!

Here’s an overview of the guidelines I stick to for my album- setting it up this way helped me to get my pages done faster. I use the same design every week, with the exception of inserts that I trim to 6×12 or 9×12.  I usually stick with one kit and complete a spread per week. I do most everything digital and print it out to slip in pages. I choose weekly cards that stay the same week after week and tend to put filler cards in the same spot each week too.

To start my workflow, I plug in my phone camera (I have an iPhone 5s) and upload all my photos to my computer using the Image Capture. I then pull them into iPhoto and sort them into events. For example, I pull all the photos from February 8-14, 2015 and pull them into one event, labeled “week 6.” Then, I move all the photos into a new album on the sidebar of iPhoto. Once I have my albums set up, I can choose the week I am working on. When I’m ready to work on my Week 6 spread. I click on the album, and delete any photos from the album that I’m not going to use. When I have the album photos narrowed down, I am ready to start scrapping.

I have a template set up in Photoshop CC for my pages. It’s two 12×12 pages side by side, in a 24×12 canvas. I have each pocket set up as a 4×6 inch or 3×4 inch rectangle, flush with all the other rectangles, appearing in different colors and numbered on the side “1 left, 2 left, 1 right, 2 right,” etc. I usually set up my workspace so that my iPhoto album is on the left of my screen and my PS is on the right. This way, I can drag and drop the photos I want to use right into the layout. I use File ->Place to import any papers, elements, journal cards, or other kit elements into my spread. I then use a clipping mask to keep all my photos and kit pieces attached to their corresponding rectangle, or “pocket.” When I’m all finished with my spread, I save a copy of the file “PL15Week6” in PSD format and flatten it and save it as a JPG as well.

This next step is one of my favorite parts. I discovered this process last year from another scrapbooker and it saves me so much time! This is why I set up my template the way I did, with no spaces or digital pocket protectors – to turn my digital page into a hybrid page. To start, I open the JPG file of my weekly spread. I have automated commands to turn my 24×12 spread (double page) into a 12×12 page. It automatically splits my page in two and saves as two files “PL15Week6-left” and “PL15Week6-right” as well as two web files. Once those files are split and saved, I then open both left and right files of my spread. During this step I can use one more automated command to split my 12×12 page into 6-4×6 files and save them as “PLWeek6-left-topleft,” “PLWeek6-left-middleleft,” “PLWeek6-left-bottomright,” and so on. I do the same thing for the other right hand page. It sounds like a long process, but it only takes a few minutes to do both commands, when it would take me about 30 minutes before to set this up! Once I have all 12 4×6 files, all I have to do is print these, cut the 3x4s apart and slip everything into my physical page protectors. On the weeks I am not doing digital, I set everything up the same way, just editing the photos and including words or text on them, and print. Then I adhere them to cards and attach embellishments and put in pockets. I have two small children, and have small windows in which to scrap, like naps, afternoon playtime or after bedtime, so anytime I can create shortcuts and streamline my process I’m all in!

Here’s a link to my template.

Persnickety has a great tutorial on how to batch process 3×4 photos onto 4×6 photos using automated commands.

Left Side

Right Side

Becca

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  1. After reading this, I think getting all the photos for the week into one folder would be so helpful for me. From there, I can decide which photos I want to use and start the editing process. It seems less overwhelming than my current method of “do nothing”.
  2. Save your files as you’re working. Save often. ALWAYS WITH THE SAVING.
  3. I love Kat’s plan of working-as-you-go. It’s a new concept for me. Building two pages every week can be overwhelming and working a little each night is very appealing.

So what’s your work-flow? What’s working for you? What’s not?

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Trend Tuesday – Imagery: Bokeh

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Well hello there! How have you been? Is it warm or very very very cold where you live? For me it is bitter cold and I’m looking for ways to make February more enjoyable. So, I’ve decided to share the joys of bokeh with all of you. How’s that for a Trend Tuesday?

What is “bokeh”, you may ask? It is the pretty blurred background quality in photos. Think Christmas lights, falling snow, and dew drops. I’m kind of in love with it and from what I see online, so is everyone else!

So, how do we achieve such loveliness in our own photos? If your camera has the ability, set it 0n aperture mode. You can definitely also use manual mode if you’re comfortable with it. Get close to the subject (the part you want in focus) in your photo. Make sure the background part that you want blurry is enough of a distance from your subject. If the background is too close to the subject it won’t be blurry. You’ll want the aperture as fast as possible (fast aperture=small aperture number). A number like f1.4 is ideal but you might just have to set your camera to the smallest aperture number available.

Give it a try! I love seeing good Bokeh photos in scrapbook layouts. That’s one really great way to improve the quality of your photography and your scrapbooking.

I don’t have scrapbooking products to show you this week but I did find some items in stores that have really pretty bokeh as pattern.

 

1. Wonder Overlay Greeting card at Tiny Prints

Tiny Prints card

 

2. Rika Cups and Bowls at Crate and Barrel

rika bowls

 

3. Art Deco Thank You Cards at Chapters

art-deco-thank-you

 

4. Kate Spade New York “All That Glitters” Wallet at Nordstrom

kate-spade-new-york-all-that-glitters-lacey-wallet

I took some time and wandered the gallery in search of Bokeh. I found some scrapbookers who have used Bokeh techniques in their photography.

 

1. Joy by NatashyaBay

Joy by NatashyaBay

 

2. December 16: All is Calm by GiadaRolfi

December 16: All is Calm by GiadaRolfi

 

3.  January Photo Challenge by AnnaDrozd

January Photo Challenge by Anna Drozd

 

4. December Daily 2014 14 by Anna Drozd

December Daily by AnnaDrozd

 

There are so many cool things you can do with Bokeh. Learning how is mostly a matter of playing around with aperture and experimenting with the results. That is how I learned. I’ll be looking in the gallery for your bokeh photos!

 

Project 365 – Under New Managment

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to change up my weekly 365 pages. I love documenting my everyday, but sometimes I feel pressure to take so many photos – and truth be told there are weeks where my life isn’t really that exciting! I usually try to create two pages for my weekly spread, but last week I was left with only one layout, as I didn’t bother to take many photos (oops) – and frankly I was out creative mojo to inspire me. It happens.

So the other day I handed my five-year old my camera. I gave her a quick tutorial on how to use it and told her to go take photos of whatever she wanted. She was super excited (and felt grown-up using mommy’s camera! :)), and had a lot of fun being the photographer. So I documented it! Why not? It fills up my week, and gives a cute and unique perspective of my daughter’s day. Below is my layout. I created an ‘under new management’ card to show that my daughter was in charge of the photo-taking that day! Of course the first thing she does is take a selfie! Love it.

PL Hostage_JenP

credits: Loverly February Subscription, Love is in the Air by Meredith Cardall, Authentic mini kit; This Ordinary Life Brushes by Sweet Caroline Studios, Out of the Box template by Gennifer Bursett

If you’re child is too young to hold a camera, why not document ‘a perspective’ of how your baby would ‘see’ the world through their eyes? Or if you do not have children, how about your beloved dog – as suggested by CT Member Nataysha?

Or perhaps just document your own routine – one full day – of what you were up to. Put a time-stamp on it, like I did with the above layout, to make it even more personal.

Don’t limit yourself to pocket-style/365 layouts either, as this theme would make a wonderful traditional layout as well!

under new management card blank_JenP

If you like the filler card I created for the layout, you can download it HERE

Happy Scrapping!

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Trend Tuesday – Imagery: Pocket Tags

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Today’s Trend Tuesday post is brought to you by the letter “T”. Not really. I was just feeling nostalgic and it felt like the thing to say. What we will discuss today is a new trend that I’ve spotted. I hope to see more elements like this included in scrapbook kits. I’d love to know what you think of it. Do you think it is going to be a new trend too?

So, what is it? POCKET TAGS! Yup. That’s right.

Here is what I found on Pinterest when I fell in love with the idea.

1. Mod Bright Folded Tags by Damask Love

Gift Cards by Damask Love

 

 

2. Gift Tag Gift Card Holder by Brittany Sazonoff for Silhouette

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Aren’t they lovely? For me, they are trend worthy because of their contrasting colours and patterns and strong diagonals.

The lovely Celeste Knight has some in her shop:

1. Pocket Tags by Celeste Knight

Pocket Tags by Celeste Knight

 

Aren’t these awesome? I want to use them all.

Would you like to see some fabulous layouts that used them? Me too.

1. Week 2 Page 1 by Samantha BelleroseWeek 2 page1 by Samantha Bellerose

 

2015 Week 3 – Left Side by Lynnette Wilkins2015 Week3 - Left Side by Lynnette Wilkins

2015 Week 3 – Right Side by Lynnette Wilkins2015_week3R

Brian by Diane Howard
Brian by Diane Howard

Week 4 by Melanie Ritchie
Week 4 by Melanie Ritchie

 

I can’t wait to see your layouts using pocket tags! Link me up in the comments if you have a layout in the gallery you’d like me to see. Until then, have an exciting week and see you next Tuesday when we discuss Photography.

For 2015, Pixels & Company will be featuring Trends in Scrapbooking every Tuesday. Follow along as we explore trends in the areas of: Color, Imagery, Words, and Photography. Every final Tuesday of the month, I will reveal a layout using all of the highlighted trends and challenge you to make one too. I warn you though, trends may become habit forming. Once you spot a trend, you’ll start seeing it everywhere!