Instagram Inspiration

Instagram Photo Inspiration by Natalie Parker

I’ve been on the Instagram bandwagon since June and I love it!  I love how simple it is and seeing gorgeous photos.  It reminds me of what Facebook used to be before it got clogged with other stuff.

It’s fun to explore and see projects others are working on.  Usually I pin design inspiration, but I can’t do that from my phone.  I’ve been taking screenshots instead.

In what is surely a sign of the times, I’m finding a lot of Project Life pages and not as many traditional scrapbook layouts.  No matter, design inspiration is everywhere and I incorporate ideas from all types of projects into my layouts.

What about you?  Do you have favorite Instagram feeds that you use for inspiration?  How do you keep track of ideas you love?

Europe Trip Envelope of Ephemera

Saving Travel Keepsakes by Natalie Parker

Have a look at the big envelope from our recent trip!

For the uninitiated, I use a system (I always have a system) to collect all of the travel ephemera that will eventually go into my scrapbook.  Read more about the envelope system here.

We’ve used this system on every one of our trips since our very first trip together.  Mr. P is so used to it that he asked me in Paris, “where’s the envelope?”  Damn. it. I forgot to bring one.  I finally remembered to grab one when I was in my office in London.  Good thing too because it got filled with a TON of stuff.

Saving Travel Keepsakes by Natalie Parker

I sorted out all the receipts and put those with the rest of our bills.  I’ll shred them once our credit card bill comes back and we’re fine with the charges.

Saving Travel Keepsakes by Natalie Parker

All the ephemera goes back into the envelope to be scrapbooked later or made into other crafts.

Going through the envelope is the best feeling ever.  I love reliving our trips.

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  Click here to see photos from the cities we visited.

Saving Travel Keepsakes by Natalie Parker

Free Download: Happily Ever After Card

Free Happily Ever After Cut File for Project Life or Scrapbook from Natalie Parker

I designed a Happily Ever After card to go with my scrapbook layout celebrating our wedding date.  I spiffed up the file and have it here today for you as a free download!

The card is a cut file you can use in Silhouette Studio or other program that accepts SVG files.  It looks great on a traditional scrapbook layout (if I do say so myself), but it’s also sized to fit in a 3×4-inch pocket page such as Project Life.

Download away and celebrate the happily ever after moments in your life!

Download the Happily Ever After Card for Silhouette Studio
Download the Happily Ever After Card in SVG

Hat tip to Cat Scrap Fever for instructions on converting .studio to .svg.  This was my first time trying it so let me know if the .svg doesn’t work.

Free Happily Ever After Cut File for Project Life or Scrapbook from Natalie Parker

Photo Printer Care

Photo Printer Care by Natalie Parker

My photo printer and I decided to have artistic differences again.  I was going to call them irreconcilable differences but we have reconciled and I’m not divorcing it at this time.

Along the way to solving this issue, I learned a thing or two about photo printer care.  Read on!

The short version

I need to use my photo printer once a week and if I don’t have anything to print, I need to print a test page.  I also need a good print backup in case I can’t use my printer.  Ordering prints at a drugstore is not good enough.

The Long Version

Due to my current creativity issues, a lot of time passed without printing any photos.  I lost track of time and didn’t realize how long it had been until I wanted to print our anniversary photo.

I was worried.  I knew from experience a couple years ago (albeit with a cheaper printer) that when I left the country for 2 weeks and didn’t use it, something happened and it wouldn’t print properly.

Sure enough, after a few weeks of nonuse, the anniversary photo had lines on it.  Noooo!  I replaced a low cartridge and cleaned the ink heads several times.  After each time I printed a smaller version of the picture.  It got better, but not 100%.  At one point, the lines went away but then it printed blurrier than the one with the lines!

Trying not to panic, I took the printer to an authorized repair shop.  He took a look at it and said he couldn’t find anything wrong with it — it was in great shape.  It was as fun as thinking there’s something wrong with you but the doctor not being able to find anything.  He told me to run a couple more cleaning cycles.

So I went home and cleaned it again.  After a couple more cycles (I think 10 total by this time) it WORKED!

The guy at the shop told me that long periods of nonuse can cause the print heads to dry.  He recommended printing something often to prevent this.

Trying Prints at Walgreens via Snapfish

In the middle of this, I really wanted to finish the anniversary page.  So before it was fixed, I used Snapfish to send the photo to my local Walgreens (hoping for instant gratification).  Not so much.  The color was off and the quality was noticeably poor.

Download a Test Page for Your Printer

I made a PDF to print once a week if I don’t have anything else to print.  The printer guy told me to print something that will use each of the cartridges.  Many printers come with four cartridges (CMYK – cyan, magenta, yellow, black).  My Espon printer has those plus a red and orange.

download a CMYK test page 
download an Epson, 8-cartridge test page

So, if you order prints, whom do you order from?  What should I use as a backup service?

Photo Printer Care by Natalie Parker

There’s a Glue Stick in my Fridge

Glue Sticks by Natalie Parker

Random, I know.

I use Avery glue sticks for scrapbooking.  No muss, no fuss, no special/precious/gimmicky scrapbook glue.  I tried to use my glue stick a couple of weeks ago.  It had turned to mush.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  Perhaps goo is the right word?

I buy Avery glue sticks in packs of six.  The pack will last me for over a year.  I checked the new one I had left in the package and it was mush as well.  Any ideas?  Do your glue sticks expire?

I thought it might have been the slight heat wave we had at the time.  I put it in the fridge to see if the cold would harden it back up.  Mr. P found this puzzling.  “Why is there a glue stick in the fridge?”

The fridge treatment didn’t work and I replaced the glue sticks with a new set.  You will, of course, be the first to know if these new ones go downhill.

Glue Sticks by Natalie Parker

On the Two Peas Closure


I was in the middle of work yesterday when I got the email from Two Peas that they were closing.  I’m just so bummed.

You might be surprised to read this because I’m someone who always talks about the process rather than the supplies.  I don’t post product hauls.  I’ve only started using eensy bits of patterned paper.  But the closing of Two Peas still bums me out as a scrapbooker.  I was happy to see the community thriving there and always wished I had the time to participate.  I don’t have any inside scoop about why they’re closing but to me it means that there aren’t enough of us to sustain the business model.

In my research, I know that those of us who diligently catalog our memories are the exception, not the norm . . . the little salmon swimming upstream.


Using Google Maps & Street View in Scrapbooks

Google Maps and Street View in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

I’ve been using screenshots from Google Maps and Street View in my scrapbooks lately.  Here’s a small roundup of examples.  I love how a simple screenshot can add so much meaning to a page!

Using Google Maps

I took screenshots directly from Google Maps and printed them on heavy cardstock.

Google Maps and Street View in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

It’s important to get the shot you want on the screen at once — you can’t knit pieces of the map together from multiple screenshots because the map is dynamic.  The names on the map will move when it is repositioned.

Google Maps and Street View in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

Using Street View

Sometimes I just don’t remember to take pictures. Despite being a scrapbooker and archivist, I can live somewhere and never remember to get a picture of it.  Enter Google Street View.

Google Maps and Street View in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

The trick with Street View is: as long as you’re printing a small photo, the resolution will be fine.

Google Maps and Street View in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

I find the location I want on Street View, take a screenshot, and save it as a .jpg.  Then I’ll open it in Picasa and crop it to the shape I want.  Finally, I’ll print it just like any other photo.

That’s it!  Very simple and I’m really happy I have these images in my scrapbooks.  I’m imagining my again-fictional children having a photo to look at when Mr. P and I talk about where we first lived.

Pages: Our First Home Together (2004), New Home (2005)

My Antarctica Journal

Antarctica Travel Journal by Natalie ParkerAntarctica Travel Journal by Natalie ParkerAntarctica Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

At sea.  We crossed the Antarctic Convergence overnight and are now in the Southern Ocean.  The temperature outside has dropped below freezing.  See some whale spouts in the distance.

Every single night.  Sometimes during bits of time the next day.  Our boat would chug along in the Antarctic waters and I would write in my journal.

After breakfast, rest up and get into our gear.  Zodiac to Brown Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.  Officially step on our seventh continent for the first time.

This was the trip I want to remember most.  But it was the most challenging journal I’ve ever kept.  Snow.  Ice.  Penguins.  Icebergs.  Run up to the bridge.  Head out to the bow.  Watch the sun not actually set.  Share a meal.  Gear up.  Launch the zodiacs.  Down the gangway.  Repeat.

We walk up the beach and follow John to the top of the mountain.  We have to help forge the path because there isn’t one.  Hike has amazing views of iceberg central.  We sit up there and watch the penguins down below.

It was all wonderful but such a blur that if I did not capture what we did by the next day, it would run together.  How many times did we go outside on the top deck to watch the birds?  Checking the map on the wall to get the name of the landing site spelled correctly.  Was it the safety briefing or the itinerary talk that was delayed because we were busy chasing whales?  Don’t even bother trying to remember how many whales we saw.  This was the first time I almost ran out of pages.

We descend and sit watching the penguins for a while, one in particular that keeps stealing rocks from others’ nests for his mate.  An elephant seal lies close to the nests but doesn’t disturb them — he belches and then goes back to sleep.

I would often sit in the ship’s bar with Mr. P and our friend who came with us.  We’d sip happy hour drinks and I’d jot in my journal.  Our friend kept remarking how she would need to photocopy my pages someday.  There was no way she was going to remember it all.  Just one long stretch of awesome.

Back to the bridge for rounding Cape Horn.  John reads a poem as we round it.  “I, the albatross that awaits for you at the end of the world / I, the forgotten soul of the sailors lost that crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world . . .”

Being diligent enough to keep a travel journal is challenging.  I have no idea how people travel blog. I have no desire to travel scrapbook.  Experiencing something wonderful.  Getting it all down in order to relive it.  It’s a clever balancing act.

Christmas Day.  Our first white Christmas.  The snow is coming down sideways.  Chad delivers a Christmas message from one of the 1911 Scott diaries.

Sometimes I’d rather have been napping but I kept at it.  It’s challenging but so gratifying.
I made my travel journal for this trip using the Sapphire Geometric design from Echo Park (I wanted something nice and blue that would remind me of the ocean and ice).  Visit here to learn about my travel journal tradition and here for how I make my own travel journals.  See pictures from our Antarctica trip here.

Ephemera Roundup: Refrigerator Magnets in my Scrapbooks

Football Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fridge magnets are a unique type of ephemera, to be sure!

Where magnets pop up in my scrapbooks: In my scrapbooks, fridge magnets are usually commemorative and are often giveaways from sports teams I support.  They document the schedule from the season and often that season’s “theme.”

Why you might want to save magnets: you may see some for sports teams like I do, and non-sports organizations use them to brand.  I used to print my own magnets years ago for student organizations and hand them out to members.  Magnets have become popular “save the dates” for weddings and I definitely like to save those!

Are they acid free?  Probably not.  However, I err on the side of including them because I think the story is more important than worrying about having one non-archival item on the page.  Ask me again in 10 years and I’ll report back if they degraded other items on the page.

How I attach magnets to my scrapbook pages: I use the same Scotch double-sided scrapbooking tape and Avery glue stick that I use on everything else.  While these magnets have more heft than tickets or newspaper articles, I have not had any problems using my regular standby adhesives.

Have you ever included fridge magnets on your scrapbook pages?  Please share in the comments!  Links to your pages are welcome!

Saying Bye to 2005

2005 Ephemera Box by Natalie Parker

I finished another scrapbook.  You know what that means:  my ephemera box and all the leftovers are going.  Whatever does not make it into the scrapbook gets tossed.

I’m glad this box is going because it was a big box!  The maps and ephemera we brought home from our trip to New York were huge!  Here’s what it all looked like when I started.  It seems like I have a lot leftover and I do.  I over save and then get very choosy when I actually make the pages.

2005 Ephemera Box by Natalie Parker 22005 Ephemera Box by Natalie Parker 2

What’s next?  On to 2006.  2006 was all about our wedding, but there are still bits here and there that I want to put together in their own book.

I don’t think chronological scrapbooking is for everyone, but I really do love celebrating ends and beginnings.  As always, onward!