Artisan 5 Is Here!

I know you've heard from me in the past few days about the release of the upgrade to Artisan, Artisan 5.

If you haven't seen it yet, I even posted a quick video about it.  (Definitely not all-inclusive, but that's coming.)  I originally recorded this as a Google Hangout on Air, but had to pull it down to make a few edits.  It's back up again, you can view it below.  Please be aware, this is a bit humbling.  It's the first time I've actually put my face on a video, and I'm not as young as I sometimes think I should be. :0)


Treason #2 – Competing Software

Last fall I wrote a post about my first act of treason when I used a competing digital photobook printer instead of the Panstoria Print Shop.  Although I love the offerings from the Panstoria Print Shop, they aren't the only quality provider on the block.  That knocked my loyalty gene a bit, but I don't regret it.

Now, I'm contemplating my second act of treason.  There are so many other digital scrapbooking blogs supporting Photoshop Elements users that I have to see how it compares.  I can't imagine that it could be as easy as using a dedicated piece of digital scrapbooking software like Artisan, but we'll see.

If you've ever been curious, please stay tuned.  If you've tried it, I'd love to hear your comments.

Until I get that done (hopefully soon), Enjoy!


Covering Some FAQs

Question and Answer Q&A Sign And 3d Character Is Symbol For Support

I realized when I was talking with someone last week, that there are some things about digital scrapbooking that I feel like I've covered before, and I always feel that I don't want to rehash something.

Of course, I haven't sat down and cropped through every single photo and page with each and every one of you.  I've been making some assumptions that are not helpful, and I apologize for that.

So, here are a few of the FAQs that I've thought of recently.  If there's a question that you have that comes up, leave me a comment and I'll tackle that one, too.

Scan Quality

My first “digital” scrapbook (created in Microsoft Word in 2000) was completely compiled of scanned photos.  I've since scanned thousands of photos, both for myself and for others.  I've learned a few things from those photos.  There are several factors to consider when scanning photos to use in a digital book.

  1. Consider the size of the photo you are scanning.  If you are scanning a 3×5 photo, like many printed in the 1970s and 80s, it will create a different resolution image than one scanned at the same dpi from a 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10.
  2. The second thing to consider is that size you'll want to re-print or use it at.  I scanned hundreds of old photos of my grandparents that were about 3×3 in size.  I wanted to be able to use them on digital pages in a larger format without losing quality, so I had to increase the dpi (dots per inch).  I scanned those photos at 600 dpi, which according the handy-dandy calculator I found here, made those photos about 1800 x 1800 pixels.

Memory Manager 4.0 or Historian?  Storybook Creator 4.0 or Artisan?

If you're still running Memory Manager 4 or Storybook Creator 4 and your computer is still running fine, you're in good shape.  Any time I refer to Historian, it's the same thing as Memory Manager 4, just with a different logo.

The same goes for Storybook Creator 4.  It's the same as Artisan, just a different look.

The issue will be, though, that once your computer decides to flash you the blue screen of death, or just suddenly won't boot at all, you'll need to upgrade to Historian and/or Artisan.

Upgrade or reinstall your operating system?  Yes, again, you will have to upgrade.  Any major changes that will require you to reinstall the program, will push you to upgrade.

The upgrade process is not tough.  In fact, if you upgrade to Artisan on a computer that currently runs Storybook Creator, the software will recognize SBC when the installation is complete, and ask you if you want to import your settings and content.  If you have this option, it makes the transition super easy.

If you do have to switch computers before installing Artisan, there's a little more of a process, but it's still relatively easy.  Most of the battle is locating your content, which could be a bit scattered if you've used more than one version of Storybook Creator in the past.  I have a few posts on finding your content, including one with a video.


I'm sure these aren't all of the FAQs I need to cover, but it's all for today.  Until next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

Have You Created Your Christmas Cards Yet?

1071-seasonalFor several years now, I have let December get by me and I haven't managed to send out Christmas cards.  And I always feel guilty for that.

So this year, I'm changing it up.  I am going to create my cards this weekend and hope to get them ordered by Sunday night so that I can get them out before Christmas.

One of the big difficulties for me with Christmas cards is the family photo.  Traditionally, I have not had great family photos to share.  Up until about only a year ago, every family photo we had taken, whether it was a special event like a wedding or just a casual photo with our own camera, we had at least one child frowning or crying.  In many cases, we had two children crying.  Which is odd, because in every other candid photo we would shoot, they would drop everything and smile like they were going to win money for it.

In this past year, my kids finally grew up enough to stop crying during family photos, so it's time to send a photo Christmas card this year.

The biggest question for me now is, where can I get a good deal?  Everyone is competing for Christmas card sales now.  I even learned this morning that tomorrow (Sunday) is the biggest day of the year for holiday card shopping.  So I guess I may have to be patient if I wait to upload my card tomorrow.

But hopefully, that will correlate with some really good Christmas card deals.  The only issue will be finding the card that I like because there are so many choices!

If I can get the cards made this weekend, I've decided to take advantage of a cool offer from Tiny Prints.  I really like some of their beautiful designs.  The reason I chose them is that they are offering 40% off my order of ANY size, AND I'll get free shipping.

If this sounds like a good deal to you, here's the how-to:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and select your holiday card style.  There are oodles to choose from.

2. Personalize your card with your pictures, your text, etc.

3. When you checkout, use the promo code TPCARDS40FS to save 40% and get free shipping.

The fine print is that the offer is only available until Noon Pacific time tomorrow (Sunday, Dec 7th), so make sure you get your cards ordered by then.

Of course, if you don't, there may be other offers available starting Monday.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Stay tuned, I'm working on another quick video post if you'd like an alternative to ordering traditional Christmas cards.

Until then, Enjoy!

~ Deb

P.S. – The links in this post are my affiliate links, so if you do decide to take advantage of this, Tiny Prints will compensate me for recommending them.  I had planned to order through them before this became available, and would not steer you to something I wouldn't use myself.

My New Favorite Gift – Custom Christmas Ornaments

In my last post, I showed you how to create a custom desktop calendar.  But that's not the only cool custom Christmas gift you can make in Artisan.  Last year I tried making one of their cool, metal Christmas ornaments.  This year, I just had to make one for me, too.  This is literally something you can put together in a couple of minutes.

In a little less than five minutes, you can watch the video now to find out how.

If you'd rather read the details, check back to this post soon!

Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

My Favorite Gift to Give

It has been a long time since I've created a post about making calendars with Artisan (formerly Storybook Creator).  This is the most versatile, fun thing to create with in this software, and it's worth mentioning again.  So, since I've shown how to create basic wall calendars in previous posts, this time let's build a desk calendar.


You can watch the video on how to make it right here, or scroll below for the write up.

The Details

This is just as easy as creating any other Artisan project.  Before you start, though, you'll want to at least download the free blank 2015 desk calendar template from Panstoria.  Then you can start the project from the blank template.  (Of course, if you'd rather have pre-designed templates to make the job easier, you can get those, too.)


Once you've chosen the calendar and the blank templates, this is what you'll see.


The first thing you'll notice is that the calendar block is … well, … boring.  Basic.  Nothing special.

I like to spruce it up a little, since someone will have to look at this all year.  Artisan has some amazing built in calendar tools to do this.  Just right click somewhere in the calendar block.


Once you've right-clicked, the top three options in the list will give you all of the formatting and editing options you could want for your calendar.


I like to change the font to something a little more interesting.  Just like in any other project, you have access to use any font you have loaded on your computer.  I chose Cherry Cream Soda.  You can hit the Apply button to see your changes before closing the Element Properties window.


Go ahead and change fonts for the Weekday style and the Date style, too.  It works just the same way.  You can change font, size, color, etc.

Here's the key:  Once you have your calendar block looking the way you want it to, you don't want to have to readjust the elements for each month individually.  So you'll want to right click on the calendar block one more time, and select Calendar style, then select Sample Calendar Style.


Once you've done that, you can go to each of the following pages in the calendar, right click again, select Calendar Style, and then select Apply Calendar Style.  That will format all the rest of the calendar blocks the same way as the one you just changed.

As you can see from the photo above, now all you have to do is add backgrounds and photos.  You're almost done!

You can choose and add papers, embellishments and photos, just as you would for any other project.  The easiest way to add photos is to go to the Insert tab and select Empty Frame.  This adds a blank photo frame on your page that you can shape to any size and orientation you want.  Since your calendar is only 4″ tall, don't go too overboard with this, or your photos may be pretty small.

The last place I want to add photos is to individual calendar blocks.  This is the best part of the whole project.  I find good photos of every member of the family, and then I drag each person's photo onto the calendar date for their birthday.  When it's first dropped, it may not fit the way you want it in the calendar block.


To fix this, right click on the photo in the calendar block, select Calendar Contents, and then Edit Calendar Cells.


From here, click on Crop Image and crop the picture to fit the way you want in the calendar block.


That's really all there is to it.  Please let me know if I've left something out or you have questions.

Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb