Sunday, May 27, 2018


Today I'll be sharing my photos from my weekend trip to the Finnish island of Åland. The island is just a 2 hr boat ride from where we live. When I was little we'd spend a week there every summer, camping and fishing.

I'll also be talking about how I use digitals on my pocket pages. Digitals are my go-to because they are versatile and cost-effective. Pay once, use them forever! In times when we have to be aware of how we treat our environment, digitals are also the better choice because there is no packaging or shipping involved.

On this first page I've used three types of digital products. I used this card set by In A Creative Bubble and these digital stamps from the same line. (All digital stamps in this post are from the same set.) I also used two sets of templates by Paislee Press. You can find them here and here.

If you clicked on the link to the printable En Route card above, you noticed that the originals were black and white. I wanted a bit of color so I layered a light blue rectangle on top of the title before I printed the card. My only gripe when using digital cards is the difficulties I have cutting them straight. My best solution so far is to layer two cards together on a 4x6 canvas and printing them in pairs. That way I only have to make one cut down the middle. When I print out a whole batch on an A4 paper I always manage to cut them crooked!

One reason for using these templates is that they help brighten up the page by adding a bit of white. They're also perfect for quickly adding collages, like the triple one below. If you are digitally challenged templates are the way to go! Just drag your photos to the layer that says "photo", adjust size and position and click merge layers. If there's text, click the text and write what you want. You can either go with the pre-selected font and size or select your own.

On this page I used this set of templates, also by Paislee Press. The template had some additional text below the title that I removed by using the eraser function in PSE. Just click the correct layer and erase! I then used the filler tool (that's the paint bucket) and filled in the stars with yellow.

On our second day on Åland we spent the day in the city of Mariehamn. We had amazing salads at the old bakery, did some shopping at a vintage clothing store and took a walk along the coast line

The "Let's wander" card is from the same In A Creative Bubble set as I linked above. This time I layered a blue circle and a pink rectangle over the title. I merged the layers and then used the filler tool to turn the letters black again. I used an analog date stamp because I like that messy look.

When adding a digital stamp to a photo always add it to a second layer. That way you can change the size and move it around until you're happy with how it looks. 

In the evening we had a barbeque and went down to the lake for a bit before we drank bubbly in the woodheated bathtub. It was so warm outside even though it was only mid-May. So wonderful!

On our last day we trekked around the Castle of Bomarsund. It was built by the Russians in the early 19th century. Not long after, it was conquered by the French and English. They tore it down to keep the Russians from returning. Åland has been demilitarized ever since. One of the six towers were located on a hill with a beautiful view of the ocean.

I remember driving past the ruins with my dad on our way to his favorite fishing spot. I've always been a huge history nerd and I remember being disappointed that we didn't stop to take a closer look. I loved getting to see the ruins now and reading up on their history.

This is the third card I used from the In A Creative Bubble card set. I used the filler tool on the title to change it from black to red. The blue color is added in a second layer, and then I used the eraser tool to remove color in the centre.

I used the Scenic Route Elements Pack from Paislee Press to create the bottom two cards.

It was such a great mini vacation and it felt surreal to sit in the hot sun looking out over the ocean, and think that we'd be back at work the next day. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Today I thought I'd talk about how I put together the color combinations of my pocket pages. Those of you that took my Candyland Documenter Kit Workshop at Studio Calico in February of this year, could see that when I get a new kit I sort the cards by color. If the front and back have different colors I pick the side I like best. Black and white gets their own pile. Multicolored cards that match several color combinations also get their own pile. 

Sometimes there's a card that stands on it's own. In that case I will try to match it up with cards from older kits. I keep all my old cards sorted by color as well and, since Studio Calico has a set color scheme, cards from different kits go well together. 

When I put together a pocket page, I start out opening up all the photos I'm planning to use in PSE. I look for colors that either stand out, or show up in several of the cards. In the page below I decided to go with the orange I found in my daughter's freckles and the glass of beer. I'm a big fan of color photos, because often the colors are part of the story. But sometimes, in order to make some colors stand out, you need to limit other. I like mixing color photos and black & white photos on the same page. Turning a photo black and white is also a great method for masking grain and blurryness, especially when you increase contrast.

I knew I had the bright orange plus sign card in my stash, so that was the first card I pulled. I used my typewriter to give it a title. It says "sure signs of spring". After that I looked for matching cards. I knew I needed one journaling card and another dark colored card or the orange would be too strong. If you look at the page and picture a white card in place of the grey, you'll see what I mean!

After choosing the garland journaling card I wanted to continue the circle shapes and do a visual triangle. I had gold and orange sequins that matched the garlands and then I used a cut out circle stamp on the grey card to brighten it up a bit.

My all-time favorite color combination is blue/red/yellow. Here I went with blue as my major color and yellow and red for accents. When I use two 4x6 photos on the same spread I most often use a template for the second photo. It brightens the page and also allows the larger photo to become a focal point. The split template is from the 4x6 Photo Templates Vol. 6 by Paislee Press. The "favorite" digi stamp is from the Tour Guide Elements pack by Paislee Press. The rest of the products are from the Be Happy documenter kit by Studio Calico.

Picking the green floral card in the page below seemed obvious. I then brought in the rain drop card to go with the pool photo. If you are looking to make a photo heavy page like this one, you need to pick photos with few colors and simple images. The flower photos are basically filler cards on this page.

 Again, I used a photo template to brighten up the page. This one from the Messy Beautiful line by Paislee Press. I just love digital scrapbooking products. It's the only thing I spend money on aside from the Studio Calico documenter kits. Digital products are versatile, reusable and there is no shipping time or cost involved. 

In this last page I used blue as my main color again with green and yellow as accents. I didn't feel the need to pick up the red since I had already tied in the green from that photo. The journaling card talks about my early morning hedgehog rescue. When me and my daughter arrived to her school there were two hedgehogs in the bushes on the school yard. Lots of children were gathered around them, worried the hedgehogs might be injured during the day. I used my denim jacket to carry the hedgehogs to safety outside the school yard. The happily scurried into the bushes when I put them down. 

I've been binge watching The Bridge this month. It's so good! Really well written and well acted. I had no templete that fit four portrait photos on a 4x6 card, so I put it together myself in PSE.  

I thank all of you that still drops in to check out my blog. Blogs are kind of going obsolete these days, but it's really the best place to share photos and lots of writing. See you soon!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018


It's time to share a few of my April pocket pages. Since Swedish customs are making my kits arrive very late I've been forced to save the cork months for next year. I have a few of the rubber months from last year saved up though, so I'll be using those when I can. 

I'm still trying my best to include more colors in each spread. It's so easy for me to get stuck in a twotone rut. My favorite trick for mixing colors on a spread is to find one card that ties the other colors together, like the middle floral card below.

The next page is dedicated to our new baby cousin. Both kids, but especially our son, is crazy for babies so they're in heaven right now. Big sister also had her second birthday that we celebrated with everything Pippi Longstocking. 

The yellow letter stickers in the Bookmarked kit are my favorite font. I love when we get these stickers in the kit. They're big enough to use as an embellishment on their own, and the bright yellow color is perfect. 

April has been unusually dry and sunny this year. We could really use a bit of rain now to turn the grass green again. Here's a super simple page that sums up the things I did during our week off school over Easter.

In yesterday's blog post I promised to share how I photograph and edit my pocket pages for posting them online. I use my iPhone 7 for photographing the pages and I feel that's good enough for me. To prevent glare I place the cards and photos on top of the page protector. I use a small white sidetable for my background. The table is small enough to be moved to wherever the best lighting is. Try to get your lighting as white as possible. A very overcast day will tint your photos blue, and if it's too late in the day your photos turn yellow. Most often I wait for the perfect day and time and take photos in batches. Take your photos directly from above and as close up as you can. You want your full page to be a perfect rectangle in the picture. I like taking a few closeup shots as well, and I prefer those photos to be angled, as you can see here.

After uploading my images I open up my favorite shots in PSE. All I do there is to slightly brighten the image, just to make the whites whiter, and crop it to 1019 pixels wide. If that seems like an odd number it's because that's the requested width for Big Picture Class photos. If I ever want to use a photo in a class I don't have to re-edit it. 

After cropping and brightening the image in PSE I head over to Picmonkey for further editing. I realize I could do all my editing in PSE but Picmonkey is so easy to use! In the "Basic edits" section I click "Colors" and then "Neutral picker", then click on something white in the photo. If you had a blue or yellow tint in your image it should now be gone. If it's not, click on another white spot until you're satisfied with the colors in your image. 

My next step is to up the saturation just a tiny bit. I then click "Sharpen" and up both sharpness and clarity a little. On any of these tweaks I rarely go above 4/100. For my full page photos I like to go into the "Frames" section and add a drop shadow. I like how that looks, but it's really just a matter of taste. Add it in if you like! Here's a look at the full page image as it was, straight off my phone: 

And here is the edited version:

It really does make a difference, and make the photos look much more professional. 

Happy scrapping friends! /Magdalena

Monday, April 30, 2018


The Swedish postal service is driving me crazy right now. Customs has a new directive to crash down on international imports, which I don't have a problem with. What I do have a problem with is how incredibly late all my Studio Calico packages arrive because of it. I've been a subber for seven years without any issue, and within the new year not a single package has arrived on time. What used to take 10 days tops now takes at least a month and a half. Since the kits are month specific this is really annoying. Paying for faster shipping has not helped since the package still has to go through customs. 

Anyways, this means I'll be late sharing my pocket pages. Here are the end of March now!

I had totally missed that Stephen King had put out this crime novel in 2016. Unlike his other books it's short and to the point. He still manages to draw loveable characters and to wrap up the story nicely. Joyland is a murder mystery centered around an amusement park in the early seventies. I highly recommend this book!

We had a small and quiet family Easter at home this year. I love Swedish Easter food! Lots of eggs and seafood, so good. Especially sill, pickled herring, is a huge favorite of mine.

One of my tricks for making faster pocket pages is writing my journaling while I edit my photos. I'll either find white space in the photo or I'll crop the photo and layer it over an empty canvas in PSE. I don't use a template for this, I just crop the photo to a 2,4" square. The empty canvas is sized to 2,8 x 4 inches. When printing I layer two 2,8" wide photos on a 4x6" canvas and print with white edges. I then cut the photos just below 3" wide to make them fit perfectly into the pockets.

I use the same fonts when writing, throughout my albums, because I like the continuity. For titles I use Arial in caps, and for the journaling I use Gabriola. I love the contrast between the two fonts.The only exception is when I use my typewriter, as seen on the watercolor card in the top page. 

Tomorrow I'll share my April pages and also write a bit about how I photograph my pocket pages and edit them for online posting.


Sunday, March 25, 2018


I have a new class out at Big Picture Classes. It's called Simple Scrapbooking and is all about how to go about making clean and simple scrapbook layouts that still feel cohesive and complete. The lessons are based on my five favorite formulas for making pages. Each lesson has two videos, one where I flip through several examples of pages I've made using that specific formula plus a process video. I hope to see you in class!

I've promised myself to make more layouts this year. My goal is to do at least two per pages per month. Pocket pages has really taken over for me, and I kind of forget how fun it is to make traditional layouts. I keep everything I make in the same album, and flipping through it and finding different projects and formats is much more fun than a plain pocket page album. In order to give myself a kickstart I've been doing the Studio Calico LOAW challenges this month, plus Kelly Noel's new class Design Recipes

This layout came together with inspiration from one of Kelly's recipes plus March LOAW #2. Lov means break in Swedish, and the layouts sums up my favorite moments from our February Break from school. I used different sized circle punches for my photos and the title is handcut. I first printed out the word LOV on regular printing paper and used that as a template for my title. I love making Week in review and Month in review layouts. They are a great compliment to my pocket pages. 

March started out with lots of snow and really cold temperatures. I still don't have my SC March kit because of Swedish customs but I had this March rubber piece saved from last year.

The second March pocket page is all about cousin Tim's 4th birthday celebration. I love the yellow alphas from the Summit documenter kit.

This year I'm making an effort to use more colors on my pocket pages. Going multicolored is hard for me! I tend to get matchy matchy and stick to two colors when putting my pages together. I really like the multicolored look but there is definitely a learning curve to it, for me.


Monday, March 12, 2018


Winter sure took it's time to reach this part of the world. Not until February did we get to enjoy snow and cold temperatures. I'm so glad we got to have a bit of real winter before spring arrives. 

Since week 8 was "Sports Break" in Sweden, meaning we had the whole week off, I had a lot of photos for this month. February ended up filling ten album pages all together. You can see the beginning of February PL in this post. 

The Studio Calico Summit kit arrived almost two months late because Swedish customs opened the package and then lost it. Thankfully SC quickly sent me a replacement as soon as I found out what happened to my package. This is why I've used the January kit for my February pages.
I even made a page all about me for week 8. It turned out to be quite a busy week for me and I spent much time away from home. It's unusual for me to put together such a colorful page, but I love how it turned out. I've used these templates and these digi brushes by Paislee Press.

Back to school for week 9, and super cold temperatures. Nea had an accident while using a hammer in a friend's garage. Luckily it was just a bad bruise and nothing broken. Also, back to using a limited color scheme!

Dante had his 10th birthday in February. I used a mix of old and new documenter kit items, plus a print by LifeLovePaper, to put this pocket page together.

I do a birthday interview with the kids each year. It's so much fun to see how they grow and their answers change. In the photo he is holding his favorite birthday gift, which was a Harry Potter wand. This patterned paper from my stash made me think of the magic night sky above the Hogwarts dining room. 

After I put the background together, I thought it would be fun to make Dante look like The Man In The Moon. I printed the photo in black and white and used a 2" circle punch to make a full moon shape. The word art and the numbers are also from my stash.

I cut out some extra clouds and popped them up with dimensional adhesive, for a bit of dimension.


Saturday, February 24, 2018


I finally took the time to finish my 2017 Project Life album. As soon as I saw these In Review journal cards by In A Creative Bubble, I knew that's how I wanted to end the year. That is why it's taken me a bit longer to wrap up my 2017 album. Here are the last three pages of December plus my Year In Review page.

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on December 24th. We had a quiet family Christmas this year, just the four of us. In the morning the kids each got a gift that would entertain them until lunch plus some candy in their stockings. We had a delicious buffet style Christmas lunch with lots of veggie dishes, which I love.

For these pages I've used the Northern Lights documenter kit from Studio Calico, plus several Holiday themed digital sets by In A Creative Bubble.

After lunch Santa knocked on our door and delivered the Christmas gifts. Me and the kids watched A Christmas Carol before bedtime. They used their new sleeping masks to hide behind when the ghosts were too scary!

In the week before New Years we celebrated Christmas again with our extended family. For this page I added in pieces from the SC Homestead documenter kit. The stamp I used on the bottom card is from Studio Calico but I don't know what set it came in. Sorry!

And last but not least, here is my Year In Review page. I chose to not use all the cards in the set, because all didn't apply. I really love this review idea and plan to be ending my future albums using the same cards.

How about you? Are you done with 2017? I still have a few pages left of my 2017 December Daily album. It feels great to have wrapped up Project Life for the year though. On to new creative adventures!