Posts in Freebies
Explore Your Family History: 3 New Classes

Hi there!

If you're like me, you probably have a box (or bag, or envelope, or more) with a whole hoard of vintage photos. Perhaps they're from your own childhood, or those of previous generations. For six weeks, starting June 28, I've got THREE new classes that celebrate our heritage, and I think you'll find that stash of vintage pics handy as you learn to restore vintage snaps AND build your own gorgeous projects with them! 

I've designed the courses to begin one after the other, for a full SIX WEEKS of family history goodness, plus a discount for registering for all three courses! Check that out at the bottom of the post. 

Check out below for a chance to WIN a free Family History Bundle ($118 value!)

Family History Course 1

Four-Generation Family Tree Poster

This one-week course begins June 28, and features a detailed video and the poster .psd we'll use to capture FOUR generations of your family in one place! This course is great for beginners! I'll show you how to add the photographs to each block in the tree, how to add an overlay so all the pictures are the same tones of black and white, AND help you make the cute name bracket you can see in this sample:

Plus, you'll even get a discount for the printing of this 16x20 beauty, to get it off your computer and into your home for all to enjoy! 


Family History Course 2 (begins July 5)

Family History Album, 2016 Edition

Okay, this one right here - is important. Even if you never do another family history project, you NEED to do this one. This album captures an overview of the lives of the three generations that came before you: your parents, your grandparents, and your great-grandparents. In class, I'll show you how to search for, gather photos and stories, link up, plan, and create a gorgeous 20-page album. You might not know a lot about these members of your family, so consider this an opportunity to get to know them. If you DO have a lot of information on "Your Three Generations," consider this an opportunity to capture the essence of their history in an easy-to-read book for all your family members to enjoy. 

Basic Photoshop skills are required, and we'll have great fun telling stories in class, too! You'll receive a discount on printing this as a 12x12 or 8x8 photo book!

*You can begin gathering photos and stories of your "Three Generations" now, to be ready for class to begin!


Family History Course 3

This Old Photo: Restoring Vintage Snapshots (2016 edition)

This is a before and after example from the photo restoration class : This Old Photo!

This is a before and after example from the photo restoration class : This Old Photo!

This Old Photo is a complete remake of my original 2012 class of the same name. In this three-week class, we will focus on photo restoration in Photoshop: bringing those beautiful vintage snapshots back to life!

The tools and techniques for photo restoration are completely different from those we use to edit modern photos. I'll show you how to repair photos, including fixing rips, scratches, folds, dirt, and spots. I'll also show you how to repair color shifting in early color photos, as well as restore black-and-whites and sepias to their original glory.

When we restore photos, our goal is to remove the signs of aging, while honoring the photograph for what it is: a snapshot of a moment in time. These memories and their stories are waiting for you to bring them back to life! I can't wait to share the experience with you! Class begins July 19!


Family History Course Bundle 

Poster, Album, and Restoration for one Great Price!

I've designed each Family History class to follow right after the other: SIX weeks of awesome education, storytelling, technique building, and creative fun, for one great price! Essentially, you'll be getting the poster class for FREE by registering for the entire bundle. Check it out!

If you're as excited as I am, enter at the bottom of this post to win! Five Lucky, Lucky people will win a free Family History Bundle ($118 value!)

Hello Future Me - Free Printable Cards!

May is Mental Health Awareness month. From depression to anxiety to schizophrenia to PTSD and other mental illnesses, mental health issues affect 1 in 4 people. 

Having positive reminders, little notes that you can hang on your mirror, on the visor of your car, in your wallet, anywhere you can see daily is important. I have just the printables for this occasion! 

Check out the Hello Future Me collection of FREE printables. The first card in the collection is the You Are Totally Awesome card! Each card is 4x4 inches, which prints GREAT on 4x6 photo paper. 

Click here to download the first card.

Keep an eye out for this week's Photoshop Friday, which will feature an instructional video on how to print the Hello Future Me cards on letter sized paper! All of these cards print amazingly on 4x6 photo paper, too! 

Kindness Coin Jar

I was asked to make a little gift for a Relief Society (the LDS women's organization) activity last week. I was given this quote to work with:

"Our small & simple acts of kindness accumulate into a life filled with love and a sense of peace & joy" -M Russell Ballard

I love the idea of our simple acts of kindness accumulating into a life of love, and wanted to do something with the idea of "accumulating" I bought mason jars (in bulk from Walmart), and I created a little tag to wrap around the jar with baker's twine. And you know I used my corner rounder punch. Because I use it on everything. I have two of them, in fact. Okay! Moving on!

The jar can be used to collect coins each time someone in the family provides an act of kindness for someone else (making us consciously seek out more ways to be kind, and recognizing kindness as little things, but love that builds over time). When the jar is filled, the coins can be used for ice cream or some other treat. 

Print This One Out!

I've saved the quote as a 5x7 printable here, which you can download by right-clicking, or just Pin it to your quote board (I know you have one! My quote board is here, btw). 

What the Font?

The font is Fling by Linotype, which you can find right over here at MyFonts.com. Yep, it's a spendy one. But the alts are juuuuuust right to create a look that's modern and feminine without being too flourishy, and best of all it's readable even in a chunk like this. And would you just look at that letter K? Ah. I die from cuteness.

This is one of my top 5 favorite fonts, actually, and one of those I'd recommend investing in if you have the extra funds. You'll turn to it again and again. 

Have a great Monday and I'll see you soon!

xo, -JS


Free Halloween Banner Printable!

Halloween is my favorite time of year! I love decorating my house and yard, and getting dressed up! I love the color scheme too! Orange, black, gray, brown.. the fall colors come together so well.

In honor of October, I created this so-cute Halloween banner using the Chillingsworth Manor kit from Echo Park. It's my favorite Halloween kit. Seriously. 

So I created flag and coffin shapes, and you'll find lots of cute vintage-style ghoulies! The download comes with two .jpg files you can print onto letter-sized photo paper or presentation paper. Cut them out, hang them on baker's twine with little clothespins, or sew them together, or tape them, whatever you like! 

When you're done, take a pic and post it! I'd love to see what you make!

Here's a preview of the banner:

And here's what the pages look like when you download them (these are the low resolution images - be sure to click the download link to get the printables!)

Click here to download the FREE Halloween Printable Banner!

 

Credit goes to Echo Park Paper and their Chillingsworth Manor collection digital kit. Here's a preview of the whole collection. Go grab it today!

Geek Girls Society: Welcome!

I've decided to start one of my New Year's Resolutions early this year! Welcome to one of my new regular posts for 2014! I hereby officially (ok, unofficially) form the Geek Girls Society, and invite you to become one of the founding members! (Blog badge to follow).

Here's what I'm thinking. We are the women who love and embrace technology, not only because it is shiny (mmm! shiny!), but because tech has a real and lasting influence for good in our lives. Let me rephrase. Technology enables us to do more good FOR and WITH the people in our lives. Which matters so, SO much more. Right?

So, if you:

  • Have ever named your computer, printer, camera, or external hard drive
  • Find yourself randomly daydreaming about how to organize your digital photos and/or digital supplies
  • Will freely admit to asking for RAM for Mother's Day
  • Blog, or wish you blogged more often
  • Consider as lifelong friends a bunch of people that you've never actually met
  • Know or can easily find the exact dimensions of the images you need to update your Facebook profile and header
  • Have more computers in your house than people
  • Hoard fonts
  • Own AND have installed, AND have used Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • Have created gifts, crafts, or home decor with the help of your computer
  • or wish that any or all of these were more true in your life,

Welcome!

The Geek Girl's Guide to Pixels & Resolution

To begin, let's talk about a subject I get a lot of questions about: Pixels & Resolution. This is an area that is critically important for getting great images in different contexts, but it isn't a subject that is easy to get your head around. Here's an infographic I think will help (click on the image to enlarge it).

Geek Girl's Guide to Pixels & Resolution.

The key thing to remember about size of an image is that it has TWO measurements: 

  • The number of pixels on each side of the image (1000+, big image; 600-, small image)
  • The resolution of the image (how many pixels are squeezed into each inch of space)

The main reason why this is important is that there are two contexts in which we use images - print and online. To get a great, crisp print, your image will need a lot more pixels at much higher density than a great, crisp image for the web

Big Images: Print great - way too huge for the web

The same image - let's say 3600 pixels wide - will appear 50 inches wide on a computer monitor (72 pixels per inch), and only 12 inches wide printed out. 

If you try to squeeze a huge number of pixels into an image for the web, it will either spread out to vast distances, or get squeezed down automatically by Facebook, your blog, whatever, and end up less crisp than it could be if you posted the image at its exact dimensions. There's just way too much data there.

Small Images: Look great online and terrible in print

Conversely, a small image - let's say 700 pixels wide - will appear 8 inches wide on your computer at 72 pixels per inch, but only 2.5 inches wide if you print it out. 

Worse though, is trying to print a very small image. If you try to spread out the 700 pixels to get your image to print larger, it will look gross. There's just way too little data there, so you'll get pixelated, grainy images.

And there we have Pixels and Resolution. Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

Next lesson: How to find the size & resolution of an image.

xoxo

-JS

BasicGrey + Jessica Sprague

I am so, so excited to announce that legendary scrapbook company BasicGrey has gone DIGITAL! They have joined JessicaSprague.com as a digital designer, and their first  collections are available starting TODAY at JessicaSprague.com! I swear I have been in a breathless tizzy for the last several weeks waiting for their launch today! 

Jessica Sprague BasicGrey Instant Album

In honor of our cause celebre'  I've designed a so-cute, so-quick Instant Album using the new BasicGrey Clippings collection available at JessicaSprague.com.

Jessica Sprague BasicGrey Instant Album FREE Printable

Jessica Sprague BasicGrey Instant Album FREE Printable

This FREE mini-album requires just a little bit of prep in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and then a little assembly after you print it out, and then you have an amazing little book to toss in your bag or purse, hand off to someone as a gift. Or print several and stack them up on your coffee table to let guests flip through. 

The book itself contains ten photos and requires only three ingredients: 

  • Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, plus 10 pictures
  • A printer and one sheet of matte presentation paper (I recommend Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte) 
  • A bone folder

Ready to get started? Follow the instructions below! 

Step 1: Download the Album Template

Here's what the template looks like when you download and unzip it, and open it in Photoshop:

Album Template Preview

Album Template Preview

Step 2: Complete the Album in Photoshop

Here is a video tutorial to show you how to complete the album:

Step 3: Print and Fold

After you've completed your album by adding photos and making any customizations you need, print your album onto a single sheet of letter-sized matte presentation paper, borderless if your printer does that, and then follow these instructions: 

1. Fold your paper in half length-wise, with the album print facing up.

2. Unfold, and fold your paper in half width-wise, with the album print facing up.

3. With the fold facing away from you, flip the edge toward the fold and crease down.

4. Turn the print over and repeat step 3. Your print looks like one mountain with two flat edges on either end. 

5. Unfold until step 2 - a simple width-wise fold.  

6. Cut along the length-wise fold from the fold to the first "page" 

7. Pull the two cut pieces away from each other and press the album open. 

8. Fold and crease the pages.  

Your print. Hooray!

Your print. Hooray!

Fold in half length-wise (we used to call this the Hot Dog fold, because it's long and narrow. ;)

Fold in half length-wise (we used to call this the Hot Dog fold, because it's long and narrow. ;)

Unfold and fold again width-wise (this is the Hamburger fold ;)

Unfold and fold again width-wise (this is the Hamburger fold ;)

Turn the paper over and fold both ends in toward the middle in "Hamburger Mode"

Turn the paper over and fold both ends in toward the middle in "Hamburger Mode"

Now unfold back to the Hamburger (one width-wise fold), and CUT along the hot dog line (the horizontal fold) until you reach the first crease.

Now unfold back to the Hamburger (one width-wise fold), and CUT along the hot dog line (the horizontal fold) until you reach the first crease.

Pull the cut pieces away from each other and down, so the pages are now back-to back.

Pull the cut pieces away from each other and down, so the pages are now back-to back.

Crease all the pieces REALLY well.

Crease all the pieces REALLY well.

And Done! After you do this even once, it will make so much sense.

And Done! After you do this even once, it will make so much sense.

Customize your album with ribbon, stickles, pop dots, ink, or anything you like!

Customize your album with ribbon, stickles, pop dots, ink, or anything you like!

NOTES: The pattern for this album is from the book called How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith.  

Special thanks to my bestie Kristen Creech for the lovely step shots. :) 

Have a wonderful day, friend! Don't forget to check out classes at JessicaSprague.com, and grab some of the gorgeousness that is BasicGrey today! 

xo, 

-JS

It's Our Birthday Celebration All Week Long!

There are three big things happening today over at JessicaSprague.com, as we celebrate our SIXTH birthday as the leading site for online classes and products for photographers & digital crafters. 

FREE CLASS Begins Today

First up, of course, is my brand-new FREE class, Photo Frame Ups, which starts TODAY - so don't miss it! Just go here for all the information you'll need!

Semi-Annual Sale! Up to 40% off Products & Classes

We are also having an awesome sale we only do TWO times a year, with 40% off of ALL our digital products, and 20% off of all self-paced classes. Go fill up that cart, you won't get another chance til Christmas! :)  Click here to start shopping for classes, or click here to start shopping for digital goodies!

Seven Days In June Challenge, Day 1

And the third one is our awesomely popular SEVEN DAYS challenge series, which started today as well. All you need to do to participate in this super-fun free week-long challenge event is to grab the challenge and its associated freebie each day, make a layout or other project, and then post back to the thread! It is fun, fast-paced, frenzied, and filled with friends!  

Today's challenge is to make a layout inspired by comics. Liv Esteban has a super cute freebie all ready for your photos and finishing. Check that out here. I can't wait to see what you make!

 

Seven Days in June Challenge, Day 1 Freebie!

Seven Days in June Challenge, Day 1 Freebie!

Have a wonderful Monday, and I'll see you over at JessicaSprague.com!

xo, 

-JS

Video Tutorial: First Digital Scrapbook Page
I get asked about digital scrapbooking a lot. This is probably the understatement of the year, but you get the idea. I have created a new video tutorial to walk you through an entire digital scrapbook page from start to finish. In fact, this is the first lesson in my brand-new Up & Running with Photoshop class.

Here is the page we'll be making:

Make your first digital scrapbook page

Make your first digital scrapbook page

First, you'll need to download and unzip the file that you'll open in Photoshop. Click the button below to download, then double-click on the file to extract it (Mac), or double-click on the file and then choose Extract All (Windows). You'll see a .psd file, which will be what we'll use in the tutorial.

Because the class is 30 minutes long, I've divided it into three segments. Here are the videos (note that you can navigate either here or to YouTube on your mobile device to watch the video while you work in Photoshop Elements:

Please SHARE with me what you make, whether on your own blog (be sure to add your blog URL in the comments here), or on Facebook (upload your layout and then tag me), or in a web gallery of your choice. I can't wait to see what you make!

So Enough About Me...Let's Talk About You!

Almost every year since 2009, my team and I have conducted an annual digital scrapbooking survey. We gather information about everything from products to pricing, from classes to site/community features. And we LOVE to hear what you think! What do you wish for? What do you love? How can your experience as a digital scrapbooker or hybrid memory keeper improve?

I would love for you to hop over and take our 2013 survey today! It will take you about 10-15 minutes, and in exchange, I would love to hand over this LOVELY digital kit I made with my own two hands.

JS-ThankYa2013Prev.jpg

The survey will be open until March 24, and we are dying - DYING! - to hear what you think! Many loves and hugs, sweet friend!

Click here to take the JessicaSprague.com Annual Survey!

Wise Words Wednesday - Be Thou My Vision

I had SUCH a good response to yesterday’s post, so many emails and good thoughts, and me-toos, that I thought I would share this poster today. This song has been running through my head for a few weeks, and I’ve been slowly evolving this poster in bits and pieces, and I think it’s done. I wanted to share it with you for this week’s Wise Words post.

Here is the web-sized version (you can click to see it a bit larger):

The song is Be Thou My Vision, and it’s actually an Old Irish song thought to be from the 6th century. It is achingly beautiful in both Old Irish and in English. I wanted for the poster to reflect the majesty and grandeur of heaven, but also the soaring of our souls as we reflect on our personal relationship with God. I couldn’t decide which words to include, so my hope is that the large phrase can be read from several feet away, and then invite the reader to step closer to read the full text of the song at the bottom.

And speaking of the full text, my favorite line is the last one:

Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

You can read the

full text in both Old Irish and English, as well as some of the history of the song, over here at Wikipedia

.

The best recorded version I’ve ever heard is from a group called The Lower Lights, and you can find it here for a buck as an MP3. (Look at Track 4)

I have formatted the poster to fit an 11x14 print, which I have saved as a high-resolution JPEG and included in a ZIP file. Download, unzip, and send to your favorite printer. I would LOVE to see your finished product framed and hanging on the wall.

Download

Click here to download the

Be Thou My Vision poster in 11x14

.

Please feel free to share this with friends and family, for any nonprofit and noncommercial use.

Digital Project Life Class + Digital Project Life Kit Giveaway

EDITED: Contest is CLOSED!

The winner is: Stephanie C! Contact me to claim your prize, and congratulations!

I loved teaching

Digital Project Life in Photoshop

earlier this year, and the feedback we got from participants was tremendous! Everyone from beginners and seasoned Photoshop users, all wanting to learn to use Becky Higgins’ Project Life system in a digital format, loved the class. I am so excited that the class is now available self-paced – meaning you’ll have access to all of the course materials as soon as you purchase and, as all of the classes over at JessicaSprague.com, you have access to them FOREVER. No need to be online at a specific time or complete the class by a specific date – take your time and take the class at your own pace!

In this online, video-based class you’ll learn the basic Photoshop tools to create gorgeous pages in just a few minutes a week that integrate Becky’s digital Project Life templates, photographs, embellishments, and type.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Download and unzip files
  • Open, close, combine, and save images of different types
  • Save pages for both print and the web
  • Use digital templates to speed up your work and create a cohesive look
  • Add embellishments to your pages
  • Insert, arrange, and resize photos
  • Use the Type tool for journaling and titles

And so much more!

The class also includes an exclusive two-piece background that you can use on all of your Digital Project Life pages!

Click here to learn more and to purchase the class (if you win, we’ll give you a refund!)

Today I am so excited to be giving away a spot in the Digital Project Life in Photoshop class and to sweeten the deal, the winner will also receive one full Project Life Edition of their choice fromacdigitals.com. AC Digitals is the home to all of the Becky Higgins Project Life digital products along with some of the most popular brands in the scrapbooking industry - American Crafts, Crate Paper, and Pebbles. 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. This giveaway will be open until midnight EST on Friday! Good luck!