Video Tutorial: Hybrid Scrapbooking, My Process

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking, Tutorials52 Comments

I get questions frequently about my process. Where do you start? How do you proceed? And lastly, Can I come over and have you teach me in person?

My process isn’t a set in stone kind of deal, but it definitely follows a pattern that goes something like this:

1. Have story in mind.

2. Have photos in mind.

3. Have design in mind.

4. Begin.

That said, I don’t like to make a page if I don’t have a legitimate story to back it up. Now back in the Olden Days aka B.C. (Before Clean&Simple), I scrapped just for the sake of scrapping, and made slightly empty and meaningless gems like this:


And this:

Flower of youth:lr

And this:


I’m sorry? What ‘gifts’? How long did it take me to come up with THAT title. Nice.

The pattern here is the same. No context. No story. No heart. No soul.

Sure, the kid was cute—despite looking a tad constipated on the Flower of Youth page—but you see my point, yes?

So I start with a story most of the time, then see if I can find photos to match. It goes like this:

Last weekend, I had Aidan take some pictures of me in my bedroom to tie in with my monthly weight loss shots. I want a head shot each month, taken in the same place, to also help me visually document this journey. She took this photo:


Although just a titch soft on the focus, I hit it with the Lux Soft action from Totally Rad, and voila: new favorite head shot to use on both Twitter and Facebook.

Then Dan popped his head into the room, and because the light was good and because I never take pics of him anymore, I said, “Sit still for a sec,” and took this:


Mmmm. Tasty.

Then Aidan says, “I want a shot with Daddy,” resulting in this shot (post a little skin clean up at the request of the teen-aged girl):


And then I told them both to look up a bit, and what followed was the basis for some really goofy pics, and the impetus for the layout that I’m finally getting around to show you, and that looks like this:


SUPPLIES: patterned paper (BasicGrey) • scalloped edge (Fiskars blade) • ink (Tim Holtz Vintage Photo) • Journal It Journal Card Brushes & Stamps (Cathy Zielske) • PSX alphabet stamps.

And if you’d like to see how I got from the story and the photos to the final page, as well as learn how to break apart and re-color a PNG, well then I’ve got a video tutorial for you!

If you have any questions, be sure to post in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Hybrid Scrapbooking Tutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Note: Keep in mind there are always many different ways to achieve the same results in PSE and PS. For example, you can break apart a PNG by highlighting the works, cutting, and pasting on a new layer too! You just have to move the words back into position.

EDITED TO ADD:  Thanks to Robert, who told me this:

Shortcuts to break apart the PNG words onto a new layer:  highlight the words as shown in the video, then hit Shift + Cmd + J (cut) onto new layer. SO much simpler. Love learning something new!

Cathy ZielskeVideo Tutorial: Hybrid Scrapbooking, My Process

52 Comments on “Video Tutorial: Hybrid Scrapbooking, My Process”

  1. #1

    Your story is so true. There is so much difference between scrapbooking pictures and scrapbooking stories.

    On occasion I try to persuade scrapbooking friends to do the story stuff, but they tell me they are scared of the writing bit. For now I will drag them over here to show them (once more) what I mean.
    Cathy, thank you for this post.

  2. #2

    This is a great video, I have been digiscrapping for a few months, but still picked up some nifty tricks! thanks! lovely page too!

  3. #3

    I loved your process video in class Cathy, and am glad you shared it with the world. Some days you just want to play and make art and other times you want to scrap a story.

    It’s really good to hear about the process for various professionals. You start off with such very open ended ideas and end up with clean and simple. Anna Aspnes has a very structured start and ends up with a very complex layout. I find this reversal from planning stage to final stage fascinating.

  4. #4

    Oh Cathy, thank you for all you do! Those are the only words I can muster up right now, but I know you know I’m a fan. 🙂

  5. #5

    Great stuff! Another way to break apart a png is to select, in this case, the words as you did and choose Layer->New Layer via cut. It will save you a few steps.

  6. #8

    Lauren, it doesn’t paste it in the exact same place though, does it? That’s the only reason i did the round about way. I’m going to add a little note to the post!

  7. #9
    Monika Wright

    Cathy-You are delightful. And, I am loving your somewhat longer short hair on you. The little flip in the back is cute without being cutesy. Just thought I’d pass that along, because a few nice words go a long way…at least for me. Have a wonderful day today.

  8. #11

    Thanks for the video! 🙂 Two quick questions: 1) When you added in all the four smaller photos, what buttons did you hit you do to make the windows smaller? Love that and need to know it! 🙂 2) How did you get that blue guideline to show up and stay put? I have PSE 7 and when I drag a guideline it disappears as soon as I stop holding down the mouse key. I’d LOVE to have quick and easy guidelines like this! 🙂 Thanks again!

  9. #12
    Laura Liddle

    Cathy – I have a Macbook Pro and use PSE. I also have Picassa, although I’m not very familiar with using it. How do you organize all of your photos AND all of the digital scrapbooking materials?

  10. #13
    Stephanie Wheeler

    Totally non-scrapbook related, but looking at these pictures…I hope that when the husband and I have kids, that they will want silly & serious pictures with their dad.

  11. #14

    i love to see how your scrapbooking style has changed over time. from cute (very cute! gotta love that, too.) to deeply meaningful. i have found the same to be true for me. looking back at the “more evolved” stories in my albums brings back all the feelings i had when they happened, and the feelings i had as i experienced them again with paper or digitally. means so much more. this is from a woman who started out trying to stay as far away from journaling as possible, but now almost can’t stop running my mouth (or writing or typing!). ideas constantly run thru my head in the course of a day! (and the metav class did nothing less than light a spark for me that hasn’t died yet—loved it!)thanks for being such an inspiration once again, cathy!

  12. #16

    Cameron, i hit Command plus the dash key to go smaller, and you’d hit Command plus the “plus” key to go larger. On a PC, it’s Control + -.

    PSE 7 does not have draggable guides that stay. 🙁 That’s a new feature in 8!

  13. #17

    I use iPhoto and i break it into smart folders by Month and Year.

    My digital stuff is on an external hard drive, and is broken down loosely like this:

    Patterned Paper
    Holiday Themed

    : )

  14. #19

    It is fun to look back. I still love old pages, but i realize now that i just want to share and preserve stories. Photos? They’re a plus.

  15. #20

    Oh, thank you so much! I’ve been deciding whether or not to upgrade to 8 and you just made the decision for me! So, can you tell me how to do it in 8? 🙂

  16. #22

    Hey Ms. Cathy,

    So what you basically have is a glorified journal….kind of right? I say that because you start with the stories first where most seem to start with the pictures that trigger the journaling. Love it either way! Are photo albums still a major part of your collection?

    You are just the best!

  17. #23
    Mary Mitchell

    Great video……..a lot for me to absorb. I’ve just started working with your digi templates. Love them…..but I find myself still very challenged and at times scared to do a lot of layer manipulating.

    I need to find some written instructions to go along with your video…..I find having both really helps me retain the new information.

  18. #24
    Mary Mitchell

    Out of my 4 kids…..only the youngest which is a girl is into doing the goofy photos with or without Dad. I tried to have someone take a quick and casual family photo this year and the 20 something boys acted like it was the end of the world.

  19. #25

    Katie, yep. Journals with just a bit of design and scrap goodness.

    I do have photo albums too. Although i have a year and a half of photos waiting to go into one. I just haven’t gotten around to doing it!

  20. #26

    Cathy this video was so helpful. After you are done arranging your pictures & journaling card, they get printed separately right? Jouranling on cardstock and pictures on photo paper then trim and adhere to your pattern paper? I would love to see the entire process on how you completed this layout. What if you had more elements or even this particular layout, how do you arrange digital image you are working on to look like your final hybrid product?

  21. #27

    Yes, i print them separately! If i had more elements, i would also print those separately, or just add them after all of the pieces were printed out (if they were real products, and not digital!)

  22. #28
    amanda gibson

    Super cute!

    If only my family would let me take pictures of them…..I could actually make some multi-photo layouts… know, the kind with more than one hastily shot, forced, or secretly taken photo on it!

    Thanks for the video!

    Oh, and what kind of printer do you use? I would love to be able to print my photo collages from home instead of having to send out for them – usually once I get the pictures back I’ve forgotten the layout idea that I had in mind.

  23. #29
    Kathleen S.

    That is a great shot of you, captures your character. And I like the longer hair, softens your face, and also like the touches of grey, looks like an expensive salon job. Goes well with the thin(er) face, but what really makes it all work is the smile. Twinkling eyes maybe? Do your eyes twinkle?

  24. #32

    I happen to love those older pages, Cathy, but not necessarily for the story they tell about Aiden, but more for the story they tell about you as her mother.
    You love her, clean and simple.

  25. #33

    Shortcuts: cmd-J (copy) and shift cmd-J (cut) onto new layer both work for a layer itself as well as a selection.

    Use cmd-J all the time when wanting to isolate or manipulate a particular part of an image. Can then adjust the opacity separately or throw the layer away if it doesn’t work out.

  26. #35

    Hi Cathy,

    I just love your tutorials. They are well paced and very easy to understand. I have viewed them all. Several times.

    My goal (although I haven’t tried it yet) is to make several digi layouts; save them as JPEGS; put them back into iPhoto; make a slide show; and set the whole shebang to music.

    Thanks for all your hard work. I’m sorry I missed your class. I have your book, though, and am loving it.

  27. #36

    Really helpful video, Cathy – thank-you! And everyone else for their tips; have tried them all and they also work in Photoshop. Never knew you could cut ‘n colour a png file this way! When I think of the hours I’ve spent laboriously with the magic wand tool and all that peering and clicking… Brilliant!

  28. #38
    Judy Webb

    Thanks so much for the instructions. I am 70 years old and still learning. Have found that learning is part of enjoyment I get from scrapbooking. Digital scrapbooking opens up a huge way to learn. I must get a balance from reading blogs, to using what I learn. Happy Valentines.

  29. #39

    Many thanks for the tutorial. I have wanted to know how to break apart an element to recolor different parts and thanks to you I can now do it! Yea!

  30. #40
    Judy Webb

    I watched video again and have several questions. How do you adjust settings of grid for 8 sqs to inch? Where do you find settings?

    When you were selecting color for The story and date, how did you bring up the eye dropper? Going now to PSE and see if I can find the answers.

  31. #41

    Judy, that is under Preferences, and Grids, Guides and Slices. There is an area to change the increments.

    I brought up the Eye Dropper by clicking on the Eye Dropper tool in the tool palette!

  32. #46
    LeAnne S.

    Just started learning PSE and am loving your tutorials! Also love the fact that I can print my 8 1/2 x 11s at home but all my traditional scrapbooks are 12×12. Any chance you’ll share with us some tips on putting 8 1/2 x 11s to a 12×12 page while keeping the design element in balance?

  33. #47
    Mindy Johnson

    I love the photo Aidan took of you. Read up on the Lux Soft action from Totally Rad. I am now slightly obsessed with purchasing this $159 action business. Do you swear by it? Use it all the time? Actions are only for PS not PSE right? I need some action education, Sister.

  34. #48

    Love you, love your blog, but I must say that I was a little bothered by your scrappin for the sake of scrappin’ dig….not all of us are so poignant with our stories and sometimes find it very hard to write them down. …just sayin’.

  35. #49
    Dawn in NJ

    Just dropped in here from I really appreciate your story about scrapbooking stories. I can’t tell you how much time I spend convincing and cajoling my friends to “write the story behind the pics”! I am definitely a story person, and although I have recently “slipped” this reminded me to get back to the priority- what’s the story? I like to tell people “if you have to stand next to someone and convey the story of what happened on your layout, then you didn’t journal enough! Generations later, your descedents will have no appreciation for 100s (or in my case 1000s!) of vacation pictures, but if you use those pictures to convey a story, they will love getting to know YOU and your family through your scrapbooks! Thanks for a great post. I’ll alltop you and keep an eye on your blog 🙂

  36. #50
    Debbie Pugliese

    Ahhh, Cathy, you crack me up! I have to say, when I saw your bedroom–and, I’m sorry, I looked, but only until you told me not to!–my first thought was, “Oh, look at all the books! That looks just like my room!”
    This was a great tutorial. I always wondered how to change colors on digital elements. You are definitely giving me the courage to try this stuff out. And keeping me entertained in the process!

  37. #51
    Mary M.

    Ok Cathy…..I’m feeling a new BP class in the future. Maybe a series of different looking hybrid pages that all work together in an album. Each week we tackle a new layout so that we can hone our skills through repetition. There will be a video and pdf file instructions to help us glide through each lesson with minimal stress.

    I’m putting this on my 2011 Christmas wish list !!!

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