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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jan 28, 2009

Online Scrapbooking and Your Family Tree

by Aubrey Fredrickson

Photographs are a valuable part of family history. Family pictures can become treasured keepsakes whether they're of living family members or long dead ancestors. But how do you ensure that those precious photographs are seen and cherished, rather than hidden away in the shoe box under the bed?

One possible answer is scrapbooking, which has become something of a craze. Craft stores are filled to the brim with paper, stickers, stamps, and a wide assortment of other decorative knick-knacks to liven up that old photo album. I enjoy scrapbooking myself, but I don't get around to it very often. Why not? Well, it's time consuming, money consuming (all those knick-knacks add up), and tends to leave behind a huge amount of mess and clutter on my kitchen table. So recently I've been exploring a new option: online scrapbooking.

You can find endless scrapbooking information and tools online. Some sites give tutorials and advice on making scrapbook pages by hand. Others provide programs or online platforms that allow you to put together your scrapbook entirely on your computer. It is this second category of sites that I'll focus on today. I've found two sites in particular that I think offer a good digital approach to scrapbooking.

Scrapblog - http://www.scrapblog.com/
So far, this has been my favorite scrapbooking site. It's free, easy to use, and allows you to design some really beautiful pages. And perhaps the best part is that whether you're an avid scrapbooker or just a beginner, you can enjoy Scrapblog. You can use pre-made templates called "themes" or create your own pages from scratch.

Scrapblog is entirely online. You don't need to download or purchase anything to start making your pages. Just register a free account and you're ready to go. You can create multiple scrapblogs, each of which is like an individual album, and you can add as many pages as you like to each. If you're using a pre-made theme, all you have to do is click and drag your own pictures and add your own text. It takes just a few minutes and the resulting pages look great. There are, however, only a limited number of themes and not all would work well with family history pictures.

Of course, you can always just start from scratch with a blank page. This takes a little more work, but can be a lot of fun. Everything is click and drag, so it's simple even if you've never used the program before. There's a large collection of backgrounds and decorative bits and pieces (called "stickers") for you to choose from to personalize your page. (Scrapblog has recently added the ability to purchase decorations created by professional artists. Still there is a lot that you can use for free.) Just pick what you want and move them around on the page until you're happy with the result.

One feature I particularly like about Scrapblog is that you can do some basic photo editing. You can crop pictures to different sizes or shapes (for example, you use the circle tool to crop a photo so that it will fit in a circular frame). You can also adjust the brightness and color of your pictures or instantly change them to sepia tones or black and white. There's also a redeye reducer, which is always handy when you're working with digital pictures.

When you're done with your scrapblog, there are several ways to share it. Scrapblogs are meant to be displayed online as a kind of slide show. (You can add special transitions between each page and music to make it even more entertaining.) When you publish your scrapblog, you'll be given a web address that you can include in emails or on a web address to share with friends and family. If you would rather have a hard copy of your pages, you can order prints. Pages can be printed as cards, calendars, or books. You can have your scrapblog printed as a 6"x4" softcover book for $9.99 (plus shipping and handling). (A full list of their prices can be found at http://www.scrapblog.com/print/.) And you don't have to buy paper, stickers, stamps, or any of the other supplies you would use to scrapbook on paper.

I've put together a scrapblog to show you a few of the pages I made. Click the "View Full Screen" option on the scrapblog to maximize it for better viewing. (Please be patient as it may take a minute or two to fully load.)

Click here to view my scrapblog

*I did have some trouble viewing the scrapblog with Netscape, but it works fine with Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Smilebox Scrapbooking is Easy

Smilebox offers a slightly different approach to online scrapbooking. Rather than building individual pages one at a time, Smilebox allows you to take a pre-made album and add your own photos and text. I put together a complete album, containing four pages and ten pictures, in less than ten minutes. It couldn't be easier.

To get started, you first need to download and install the Smilebox program. Then you can browse their catalogue of free designs. There are hundreds of designs to choose from and you're sure to find one perfect for any occasion. There is even a category of designs specifically aimed at family albums and some of those work perfectly for family history pictures.

Once you've found a design you like, download it and begin personalizing it by adding your own text and pictures. Now, I should mention that you have very little control over the design of each page. Certain designs allow you to change the color scheme or to choose how many pictures to display on a page, but generally what you see is what you get. You can't move things around on the page or even change the font of the text in most cases. If you're a beginner or just looking for a fast and easy way to put those family pictures together, this could be great. But if you're more interested in using your creativity to design your own pages, this could be a big frustration.

After you've finished personalizing your album, you're ready to share it. Using the basic service, you can send your finished album to friends and family by email or post it online. Like scrapblog, the album displays as a slide show. Many of the designs include animation and you can choose music to accompany it as well.

That's about all you can do with the basic free service. However, you get some additional features by subscribing. They offer a 14 day trial and after that subscription prices are reasonable at $5.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Subscribing gives you access to more designs and songs and some different options for sharing your finished creation. First, you can save your creation as a jpg file, which would allow you to print it yourself. Also, you can burn your creation to a DVD, which would make a great gift for your family members.

I've posted one of my own Smilebox creations on my blog. To view it click here.

Other Online Scrapbooking Resources
Scrapblog and Smilebox are just two of the many online scrapbooking resources. Here are some other sites that you might want to check out:

  • Shutterfly (click to learn more) - Design your own calendars or scrapbook pages and order prints.
  • ScrapEase- Allows you to create your scrapbook online. It is a paid service, but there's a month trial and the subscription price is minimal.
  • Scrapo- A free scrapbooking site. It only works with Internet Explorer.
  • CropMom- Another free site that allows you to create your scrapbook online. I had some trouble getting my pictures to look right once I had uploaded them, but it's worth a look.
  • Canon Creative Park- This site has some fun scrapbook kits that you can download for free.
  • JessicaSprague.com- A great resource for anyone using Adobe Photoshop to scrapbook. There are some free scrapbook kits you can download as well as tutorials for using specific techniques in Photoshop. You can also purchase video/online courses on scrapbooking.
And there are many more sites out there. If you are a beginner, looking for some help on getting started, or a pro who just needs a few fresh ideas, try looking online for fun scrapbooking tips and tools.

Copyright ©: 2011 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article written by Aubrey Fredrickson

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jan 28, 2009

Online Scrapbooking and Your Family Tree

by Aubrey Fredrickson

Photographs are a valuable part of family history. Family pictures can become treasured keepsakes whether they're of living family members or long dead ancestors. But how do you ensure that those precious photographs are seen and cherished, rather than hidden away in the shoe box under the bed?

One possible answer is scrapbooking, which has become something of a craze. Craft stores are filled to the brim with paper, stickers, stamps, and a wide assortment of other decorative knick-knacks to liven up that old photo album. I enjoy scrapbooking myself, but I don't get around to it very often. Why not? Well, it's time consuming, money consuming (all those knick-knacks add up), and tends to leave behind a huge amount of mess and clutter on my kitchen table. So recently I've been exploring a new option: online scrapbooking.

You can find endless scrapbooking information and tools online. Some sites give tutorials and advice on making scrapbook pages by hand. Others provide programs or online platforms that allow you to put together your scrapbook entirely on your computer. It is this second category of sites that I'll focus on today. I've found two sites in particular that I think offer a good digital approach to scrapbooking.

Scrapblog - http://www.scrapblog.com/
So far, this has been my favorite scrapbooking site. It's free, easy to use, and allows you to design some really beautiful pages. And perhaps the best part is that whether you're an avid scrapbooker or just a beginner, you can enjoy Scrapblog. You can use pre-made templates called "themes" or create your own pages from scratch.

Scrapblog is entirely online. You don't need to download or purchase anything to start making your pages. Just register a free account and you're ready to go. You can create multiple scrapblogs, each of which is like an individual album, and you can add as many pages as you like to each. If you're using a pre-made theme, all you have to do is click and drag your own pictures and add your own text. It takes just a few minutes and the resulting pages look great. There are, however, only a limited number of themes and not all would work well with family history pictures.

Of course, you can always just start from scratch with a blank page. This takes a little more work, but can be a lot of fun. Everything is click and drag, so it's simple even if you've never used the program before. There's a large collection of backgrounds and decorative bits and pieces (called "stickers") for you to choose from to personalize your page. (Scrapblog has recently added the ability to purchase decorations created by professional artists. Still there is a lot that you can use for free.) Just pick what you want and move them around on the page until you're happy with the result.

One feature I particularly like about Scrapblog is that you can do some basic photo editing. You can crop pictures to different sizes or shapes (for example, you use the circle tool to crop a photo so that it will fit in a circular frame). You can also adjust the brightness and color of your pictures or instantly change them to sepia tones or black and white. There's also a redeye reducer, which is always handy when you're working with digital pictures.

When you're done with your scrapblog, there are several ways to share it. Scrapblogs are meant to be displayed online as a kind of slide show. (You can add special transitions between each page and music to make it even more entertaining.) When you publish your scrapblog, you'll be given a web address that you can include in emails or on a web address to share with friends and family. If you would rather have a hard copy of your pages, you can order prints. Pages can be printed as cards, calendars, or books. You can have your scrapblog printed as a 6"x4" softcover book for $9.99 (plus shipping and handling). (A full list of their prices can be found at http://www.scrapblog.com/print/.) And you don't have to buy paper, stickers, stamps, or any of the other supplies you would use to scrapbook on paper.

I've put together a scrapblog to show you a few of the pages I made. Click the "View Full Screen" option on the scrapblog to maximize it for better viewing. (Please be patient as it may take a minute or two to fully load.)

Click here to view my scrapblog

*I did have some trouble viewing the scrapblog with Netscape, but it works fine with Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Smilebox Scrapbooking is Easy

Smilebox offers a slightly different approach to online scrapbooking. Rather than building individual pages one at a time, Smilebox allows you to take a pre-made album and add your own photos and text. I put together a complete album, containing four pages and ten pictures, in less than ten minutes. It couldn't be easier.

To get started, you first need to download and install the Smilebox program. Then you can browse their catalogue of free designs. There are hundreds of designs to choose from and you're sure to find one perfect for any occasion. There is even a category of designs specifically aimed at family albums and some of those work perfectly for family history pictures.

Once you've found a design you like, download it and begin personalizing it by adding your own text and pictures. Now, I should mention that you have very little control over the design of each page. Certain designs allow you to change the color scheme or to choose how many pictures to display on a page, but generally what you see is what you get. You can't move things around on the page or even change the font of the text in most cases. If you're a beginner or just looking for a fast and easy way to put those family pictures together, this could be great. But if you're more interested in using your creativity to design your own pages, this could be a big frustration.

After you've finished personalizing your album, you're ready to share it. Using the basic service, you can send your finished album to friends and family by email or post it online. Like scrapblog, the album displays as a slide show. Many of the designs include animation and you can choose music to accompany it as well.

That's about all you can do with the basic free service. However, you get some additional features by subscribing. They offer a 14 day trial and after that subscription prices are reasonable at $5.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Subscribing gives you access to more designs and songs and some different options for sharing your finished creation. First, you can save your creation as a jpg file, which would allow you to print it yourself. Also, you can burn your creation to a DVD, which would make a great gift for your family members.

I've posted one of my own Smilebox creations on my blog. To view it click here.

Other Online Scrapbooking Resources
Scrapblog and Smilebox are just two of the many online scrapbooking resources. Here are some other sites that you might want to check out:

  • Shutterfly (click to learn more) - Design your own calendars or scrapbook pages and order prints.
  • ScrapEase- Allows you to create your scrapbook online. It is a paid service, but there's a month trial and the subscription price is minimal.
  • Scrapo- A free scrapbooking site. It only works with Internet Explorer.
  • CropMom- Another free site that allows you to create your scrapbook online. I had some trouble getting my pictures to look right once I had uploaded them, but it's worth a look.
  • Canon Creative Park- This site has some fun scrapbook kits that you can download for free.
  • JessicaSprague.com- A great resource for anyone using Adobe Photoshop to scrapbook. There are some free scrapbook kits you can download as well as tutorials for using specific techniques in Photoshop. You can also purchase video/online courses on scrapbooking.
And there are many more sites out there. If you are a beginner, looking for some help on getting started, or a pro who just needs a few fresh ideas, try looking online for fun scrapbooking tips and tools.

Copyright ©: 2011 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article written by Aubrey Fredrickson

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jan 28, 2009

Online Scrapbooking and Your Family Tree

by Aubrey Fredrickson

Photographs are a valuable part of family history. Family pictures can become treasured keepsakes whether they're of living family members or long dead ancestors. But how do you ensure that those precious photographs are seen and cherished, rather than hidden away in the shoe box under the bed?

One possible answer is scrapbooking, which has become something of a craze. Craft stores are filled to the brim with paper, stickers, stamps, and a wide assortment of other decorative knick-knacks to liven up that old photo album. I enjoy scrapbooking myself, but I don't get around to it very often. Why not? Well, it's time consuming, money consuming (all those knick-knacks add up), and tends to leave behind a huge amount of mess and clutter on my kitchen table. So recently I've been exploring a new option: online scrapbooking.

You can find endless scrapbooking information and tools online. Some sites give tutorials and advice on making scrapbook pages by hand. Others provide programs or online platforms that allow you to put together your scrapbook entirely on your computer. It is this second category of sites that I'll focus on today. I've found two sites in particular that I think offer a good digital approach to scrapbooking.

Scrapblog - http://www.scrapblog.com/
So far, this has been my favorite scrapbooking site. It's free, easy to use, and allows you to design some really beautiful pages. And perhaps the best part is that whether you're an avid scrapbooker or just a beginner, you can enjoy Scrapblog. You can use pre-made templates called "themes" or create your own pages from scratch.

Scrapblog is entirely online. You don't need to download or purchase anything to start making your pages. Just register a free account and you're ready to go. You can create multiple scrapblogs, each of which is like an individual album, and you can add as many pages as you like to each. If you're using a pre-made theme, all you have to do is click and drag your own pictures and add your own text. It takes just a few minutes and the resulting pages look great. There are, however, only a limited number of themes and not all would work well with family history pictures.

Of course, you can always just start from scratch with a blank page. This takes a little more work, but can be a lot of fun. Everything is click and drag, so it's simple even if you've never used the program before. There's a large collection of backgrounds and decorative bits and pieces (called "stickers") for you to choose from to personalize your page. (Scrapblog has recently added the ability to purchase decorations created by professional artists. Still there is a lot that you can use for free.) Just pick what you want and move them around on the page until you're happy with the result.

One feature I particularly like about Scrapblog is that you can do some basic photo editing. You can crop pictures to different sizes or shapes (for example, you use the circle tool to crop a photo so that it will fit in a circular frame). You can also adjust the brightness and color of your pictures or instantly change them to sepia tones or black and white. There's also a redeye reducer, which is always handy when you're working with digital pictures.

When you're done with your scrapblog, there are several ways to share it. Scrapblogs are meant to be displayed online as a kind of slide show. (You can add special transitions between each page and music to make it even more entertaining.) When you publish your scrapblog, you'll be given a web address that you can include in emails or on a web address to share with friends and family. If you would rather have a hard copy of your pages, you can order prints. Pages can be printed as cards, calendars, or books. You can have your scrapblog printed as a 6"x4" softcover book for $9.99 (plus shipping and handling). (A full list of their prices can be found at http://www.scrapblog.com/print/.) And you don't have to buy paper, stickers, stamps, or any of the other supplies you would use to scrapbook on paper.

I've put together a scrapblog to show you a few of the pages I made. Click the "View Full Screen" option on the scrapblog to maximize it for better viewing. (Please be patient as it may take a minute or two to fully load.)

Click here to view my scrapblog

*I did have some trouble viewing the scrapblog with Netscape, but it works fine with Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Smilebox Scrapbooking is Easy

Smilebox offers a slightly different approach to online scrapbooking. Rather than building individual pages one at a time, Smilebox allows you to take a pre-made album and add your own photos and text. I put together a complete album, containing four pages and ten pictures, in less than ten minutes. It couldn't be easier.

To get started, you first need to download and install the Smilebox program. Then you can browse their catalogue of free designs. There are hundreds of designs to choose from and you're sure to find one perfect for any occasion. There is even a category of designs specifically aimed at family albums and some of those work perfectly for family history pictures.

Once you've found a design you like, download it and begin personalizing it by adding your own text and pictures. Now, I should mention that you have very little control over the design of each page. Certain designs allow you to change the color scheme or to choose how many pictures to display on a page, but generally what you see is what you get. You can't move things around on the page or even change the font of the text in most cases. If you're a beginner or just looking for a fast and easy way to put those family pictures together, this could be great. But if you're more interested in using your creativity to design your own pages, this could be a big frustration.

After you've finished personalizing your album, you're ready to share it. Using the basic service, you can send your finished album to friends and family by email or post it online. Like scrapblog, the album displays as a slide show. Many of the designs include animation and you can choose music to accompany it as well.

That's about all you can do with the basic free service. However, you get some additional features by subscribing. They offer a 14 day trial and after that subscription prices are reasonable at $5.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Subscribing gives you access to more designs and songs and some different options for sharing your finished creation. First, you can save your creation as a jpg file, which would allow you to print it yourself. Also, you can burn your creation to a DVD, which would make a great gift for your family members.

I've posted one of my own Smilebox creations on my blog. To view it click here.

Other Online Scrapbooking Resources
Scrapblog and Smilebox are just two of the many online scrapbooking resources. Here are some other sites that you might want to check out:

  • Shutterfly (click to learn more) - Design your own calendars or scrapbook pages and order prints.
  • ScrapEase- Allows you to create your scrapbook online. It is a paid service, but there's a month trial and the subscription price is minimal.
  • Scrapo- A free scrapbooking site. It only works with Internet Explorer.
  • CropMom- Another free site that allows you to create your scrapbook online. I had some trouble getting my pictures to look right once I had uploaded them, but it's worth a look.
  • Canon Creative Park- This site has some fun scrapbook kits that you can download for free.
  • JessicaSprague.com- A great resource for anyone using Adobe Photoshop to scrapbook. There are some free scrapbook kits you can download as well as tutorials for using specific techniques in Photoshop. You can also purchase video/online courses on scrapbooking.
And there are many more sites out there. If you are a beginner, looking for some help on getting started, or a pro who just needs a few fresh ideas, try looking online for fun scrapbooking tips and tools.

Copyright ©: 2011 Fficiency Software, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article written by Aubrey Fredrickson

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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