Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hello, Sunshine!

This morning it was *so* cold when we woke up. The skies were grey and cloudy, and all I could think was, "Where has my sunshine gone?" Living in Northern California, October is still usually a pretty warm month for us, but it seems the cold and grey are a little eager this year. Ah well...time to fire up the heater and craft a little sunshine instead, I guess! :-) Today I have a couple of cards to share with you that were made with our "Hello Sunshine" set to do just that. After all, everybody needs a little extra sunshine in their lives sometimes, right?

This first card, at the top of today's post, is by Carol Longacre. Carol added so many fun details to this! From the beautifully-inked blue sky and clouds to the glittery rays of the sun, this one is sure to convey that feeling of, "I care!" to a special someone.

Here is one made by Jerusha Borden.  She used the patterned blue paper to create such a sweet little sky behind the sun, and the fun shape of that piece is really eye-catching against the yellow gingham, don't you think? Those blue Dew Drops give it just that extra bit of pop, and the whole card brings a big smile to my face. I'm sure it will do the same for its lucky recipient!

As you can see, whether the sun is actually shining or not in your little part of the world, no day needs to be without sunshine. :-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Digis 101 (Tutorial)

Are you new to the world of digis? Are you struggling to understand what, exactly, they are, and/or how to use them? If so, don't feel bad -- we've all been there! Crafting with digis, just like any other hobby, does require a bit of learning, but once you get the hang of a few simple principles, you'll be dazzling us with your masterpieces in no time at all! Here is a tutorial to help answer your basic questions, and get you started on your journey. I will warn you that there is a lot of information here, but by the end of this tutorial, you should have a strong grasp on what digis are and be able to get started using them. Welcome to Digis 101! :-)

NOTE: This tutorial was originally published in June 2012 at the "Clearly iStamp" blog for
Clear Dollar Stamps (TM). As the original author of this tutorial, and with full permission of Clear Dollar Stamps(TM), I have retained all rights to revise and reprint it.

Digis 101

A. What Are Digital Stamps (aka "Digis")?

Digital Stamps, also known as "digis," are computerized image files. You might think of them as stamped images that have been scanned into your computer. You store them on your computer as you would any other computer file, and can print them out to use in your papercrafting projects in place of stamped images. Because digis are computer files, you can also use them in your digital projects, such as digital scrapbooking.

 At Deedee's Digis, our digis come in three varieties -- "outline," "color," and "layering."

"Outline digis" are black-and-white images that you can print and color as you would any stamped image.

"Color digis" have been digitally pre-colored for you, so all you need to do is print them to add fun to your crafty creations.

"Layering digis" are digis that have been colored in with solid white, while the background (the canvas area outside the lines of the drawing) has been left transparent. These are specially designed so that you can layer one digi on top of another to create a scene, without unwanted lines from the bottom digi showing through the top digi.

All of our digi sets include images in both JPG and PNG formats, at a resolution of 300 dots-per-inch.

JPG images have a solid white background, and this white background will always print as a "frame" around the image, no matter what kind of paper you print it on.

PNG images have a transparent background. This means that you can layer them on to any kind of paper, and only the outline and/or colored parts of the image will print, with no white frame around it.

"300 dots-per-inch" means that, assuming your printer is of good quality and is working correctly, the images will print clearly every time, and that they can be resized without losing much in image quality.

B. How Do Digis Compare to Stamps?

Digis can be used in most of the same ways that you would use stamps. You can print them out and color them up, as well as paper-piece, and even heat-emboss them. However, digis offer some benefits that stamps do not that are worth noting:

  • Low Price -- Digis cost less than stamps, so you can get more of them for your crafting dollar.

  • Near-instant Access -- Our digis are emailed to you within about 24 hours of payment clearance, so you have nearly immediate access to your new goodies!

  • Easy Storage -- Digis are stored directly on your computer, so you need never find a place to store them in your home.

  • Versatility -- Digis can be resized, rotated, and flipped to meet your crafting needs.

  • A Clear Image Every Time -- No need to stamp and restamp until you get it right!

C. Is Special Computer Software Needed to Use Digis?

As with all computer files, some basic software is needed to use digis. However, you most likely already have what is needed on your computer, and if you don't, there are many downloadable versions available for free on the Internet.

  • A Zip Utility

    When you purchase our digis, you download them to your computer as "zip files." Zip files can be thought of as electronic "suitcases" into which we've packed the digis for easy transport, and you need to "unzip" each suitcase before you can use the digis inside. This process is also known as "extracting." A "zip utility" program is required to do this. Most computers, whether Mac or PC, come equipped with one of these. If you do not have a zip utility on your computer, you can download a free copy of Zipeg (TM), which works on both Mac and PC computers, HERE.

  • A Program That Allows You to Resize and Print Pictures

    Once you've unzipped your digis, you will want to be able to resize and print them. There are many programs that allow you to do this, but I find that Microsoft Word (TM) (aka "Word") is one of the easiest to use. So for the purposes of this tutorial, all directions for resizing and printing the digis will apply to Word 2010 (TM). However, you could also use Works (TM), Publisher (TM), Photoshop (TM), or any photo editing program.

    If you'd like to follow along with my directions for manipulating your digis using Word 2010 (TM), but don't currently have this program installed on your computer, you can download a free trial of Microsoft Office 2010 (TM) HERE (Microsoft Word (TM) is included in the Office (TM) suite of programs).

D. What Kind of Printer is Required to Use Digis?

You will need to have a printer if you plan to use digis in your papercrafting (versus digital crafting). For outline digis, you need only have a black-and-white printer. To print color digis and/or digital papers, you will need a color printer.

Both laser and inkjet printers work for printing digis, but the differences in how they print can affect how the digis will work with various coloring mediums, so it is good to know which type you have. Laser printers work great with watercolor and other non-chemical coloring techniques. However, I recommend heat-setting the digis before using them. This is because laser printers use powdered toner (like embossing powder) to print instead of ink, and particularly when printing on cardstock, the toner may rub off as you handle the digis for crafting. Also, be careful in using Copic markers or other chemical-based mediums with laser-printed digis, as the chemicals may eat right through the toner. If you have an inkjet printer, watercolors and markers may cause the ink to smear. I recommend testing an image with your coloring medium before you start an important project, and if you find that the ink smears, try heat-setting the ink -- that will usually solve the problem.

E. Delivery of Your Digis after Placing an Order

Once you've completed the purchase of a digi through our online shop, you will receive an email from Diane Noble at Diane's Daydream Designs (TM) (the larger store that hosts our shop) that includes attachments of the zip files of your digis. At this time, the shop does not have an "automatic download" function, but whenever possible, Diane emails out the digis within 24 hours of payment clearance. You will need to save each zip file individually to your computer, and then unzip it using a zip utility program before you can use the images inside.

F. Creating a Special Folder in Which to Store Your Digis

After you've received the email with your digis attached, you may want to create a special folder on your computer in which to store them so that you can find them easily at a later time. To do this:

  1. With your mouse, right-click on the desktop and select New Folder from the pop-up menu.

  2. Rename the folder to something you'll recognize later, such as "Deedee's Digis." 

G. Unzipping/Extracting the Digi Zip Files

Now you are ready to "unzip" or "extract" the digi files so that you can use them. The steps for doing this will vary depending on the particular zip utility you have on your computer. However, these basic steps will work with most:

  1. Locate the digi zip file on your computer.

  2. With your mouse, right-click on the zip file, and select either "Unzip" or "Extract All" from the pop-up menu.

  3. If/when you are prompted to choose a location in which to place the digis, select the special folder you created for your digis in the previous section. If you are not prompted to choose a location, then you will want to note the location where your digis get placed.

  4. If you like, move the digis into the "Deedee's Digis" folder you previously created.

To unzip/extract your digis using Zipeg (TM), the free, downloadable zip utility that I linked above:

  1. Locate the digi zip file on your computer.

  2. With your mouse, right-click on the zip file, and select Open With… from the pop-up menu.

  3. A second menu will appear at the side. From this menu select Zipeg.

  4. The Zipeg window will open, showing the contents of the zip file. At the top center of this window, you will see a path for where the digi files will be placed after extraction ("Destination Folder"). If you want to change this location, click the Choose button, and navigate to the new location.

  5. Once you've selected a place to save the digis to, locate and click on the Extract button in the Zipeg window.

  6. Zipeg will extract the contents of the zip file to the location you selected, and place a new folder containing the various elements of the digi set there. Double-click on this folder to access these files.

  7. If you like, move this folder into the "Deedee's Digis" folder you previously created.

H. Opening a Digi for Viewing

Opening a digi for viewing is easy to do:

  1. Locate and select the digi you want to view on your computer.

  2. Double-click on the digi with your mouse.

  3. The digi should automatically open with whatever default "image preview" utility is installed on your computer.

I. Resizing and Printing a Digi using Microsoft Word
 2010 (TM)

As previously mentioned, there are many programs that you can use to resize and print your digis. Remember, digis are just image files, so pretty much any program that allows you to manipulate and print images (pictures/photos) will work. However, some programs are easier to use than others, and I find Microsoft Word (TM) to be the easiest to use for these basic functions. Here are directions for resizing and printing your digis using Microsoft Word 2010 (TM). Please keep in mind that I use a Mac, and that these steps may vary slightly if you are using a PC.

Placing a Digi in a Word (TM) Document

  1. Open a new, blank document in Word (TM).

  2. With your mouse, click on Insert on the menu bar at the top of the Word (TM) window, and select Photo from the pull-down menu.

  3. A second menu will appear to the side. From this menu, select Picture from File.

  4. The "Choose a Picture" window will appear on-screen. In this window, navigate to the digi you wish to open, and then click on the Insert button at the bottom right corner of the window.

  5. The digi you selected will be placed on your blank Word (TM) document, and will have a blue rectangle around it. This indicates that the digi is selected and able to be edited.

Making the Digi Moveable within the Word Document

By default, because Word (TM) is a "word processing" program, the digi will be set to appear behind any text you might also type into this document. In order to be able to move the digi around on the document and place it where you want it, you will need to adjust this setting.

  1. If the image is not already selected in the document window (blue rectangle appearing around it), click on it with your mouse to select it.

  2. With the digi selected, locate the Wrap Text button on the toolbar above the document window. Click on this button.

  3. A pull-down menu will appear on the screen. From this menu, select Tight.

  4. The image can now be moved to wherever you wish to place it on the document. To move the image, left-click the image with your mouse and, while holding down the left mouse button, drag the image to where you want it in the document.

Resizing the Digi

Once you have made your digi moveable within the document window, you may then want to resize the image to fit your crafting needs. Please note that resizing a digi in Word (TM) only affects how the image appears in and prints from the current Word (TM) document -- it will not change the actual digi files that are stored on your computer.

To resize the digi in the Word (TM) document:

  1. If the image is not already selected in the document window (blue rectangle appearing around it), click on it with your mouse to select it.

  2. With the image selected, locate the "Size" setting boxes at the top right on the toolbar above the document window. You will see two text boxes, indicating the "Height" and "Width" of the image.

  3. IMPORTANT:  To the center right of the "Height" and "Width" boxes is a small checkbox -- the "Lock Aspect Ratio" box. Before making any changes to the Height or Width of the image, be sure that a check-mark appears in this box. This will keep the image proportional as you resize it.

  4. To change the size of the image, click inside either the "Height" or "Width" text box and, holding down the left mouse button, drag the mouse to highlight the current number.

  5. Type in the number you wish to change this measurement to, and then press the Return/Enter key on your keyboard. You need only change one number -- either "Height" or "Width" -- and the other will automatically change proportionally. The image will instantly resize according to the new setting.

Selecting the Paper on which to Print the Digi(s) & Testing the Paper with your Printer

I recommend that you do two more things before printing your digis. First, consider how you will be using your digis when selecting the paper on which to print them. Thinking ahead to what you want to do with the digis will help avoid wasting your paper. Second, test the paper you select with your printer to make sure it will feed properly. Most papers and cardstocks will feed through most printers just fine, but occasionally they don't. Better to know ahead of time than to encounter a problem when you're in crunch mode to meet a project deadline!

Printing the Digi(s)

Once you have your Word (TM) document set up to your liking, you are ready to print:

  1. Load the paper on to which you wish to print your digis into your printer's paper tray.

  2. In the Word (TM) window, click on File on the toolbar at the top left of the screen.

  3. A pull-down menu will appear on the screen. From this menu, select Print.

  4. Follow the prompts specific to your printer to complete the printing process.

J. Post-Printing Tips for Using Digis

Once you've printed your digis, you're all set to color them up, cut them out, and add them directly to your crafty projects as you would any stamped image. (Or, if you're using color digis, just cut and go!) Please be sure to consider the information given in section D above about the differences between the types of printers in order to ensure best results when coloring. Also, I strongly recommend that once you finish coloring your digis, you seal them before applying them to your craft projects. Sealing them helps prevent smudging from handling. To seal the images, you can use a clear acrylic sealer. You can find this in spray can form in most art and craft stores. Be sure that you are completely finished coloring your digis before applying the sealant, as you won't be able to make any changes afterwards. Follow the specific directions on the can to use the sealant, and be sure to spray in a well-ventilated area away from children, pets, and open heat sources. After sealing, you'll want to let the images dry for a bit before applying them to your projects. 

K. Freebies to Try

If you'd like to give digis a try before deciding to purchase some, we have several freebies available here on our blog. Click on the "freebie" link in the "Labels" section of the right sidebar, or type "freebie" in the search box at the top of the right sidebar to locate the currently available freebies.

Thanks for sitting through Digis 101 with me today, and enjoy playing with your digis! If you have any questions, please do leave a comment here. (Click on the title of this post, and the Comment field will open at the bottom of the post.) If you would like a direct reply, please be sure to include your email address, or I will not be able to respond. :-)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Little Scripture

I like to spend some time each day in God's word. Sometimes I am methodical in reading my Bible, but most times I just pick it up and let myself be directed to the verses He needs me to see. Some days the verses I find are clearly for my benefit, but sometimes they are what I need to help someone else. Whatever the purpose in His direction, I find that I am always uplifted, sometimes challenged, and frequently comforted by what I read. As I read, I have a tendency to highlight verses that really speak to me, or to leave them on post-it-notes around the house to remind myself throughout the day. You can find many of those verses sprinkled throughout my digi sets. My hope is that if they speak so strongly to me, they will be equally meaningful to you.

Today I thought I'd share some cards made with some of the Scripture verses we offer. The first card, at the top of this post, was made by Stephanie Wright using the "The Lord is Our Refuge" set, along with the Teddy Frame  freebie (still available here). You can see that there is plenty of sweet stuff going on in this card, from the serene papers to that darling bow and button, and yet it all comes together to make that verse shine out.

This next card was made by Sandy Domelle using the "Helpful Hearts" set. Sandy has paper-pieced and accented these teddies so sweetly, and again the verse shines out so beautifully.

I understand that not everyone enjoys using Scripture verses on their cards, and I respect that. But I think it really adds something extra special. :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Digi of the Month Challenge #1!

Hello crafty friends, and welcome to our first-ever Digi of the Month Challenge! This is a progressive freebie challenge. Here's how it works:
  1. For this first challenge, we are sharing a digi that is free to everyone.
  2. On the first Monday of each month, we will post a photo of a new digi that will be that month's "Digi of the Month."
  3. If you played along with the previous month's challenge, you will then receive that new Digi of the Month for free via email. Please remember to honor the Deedee's Digis terms of use with these freebies.
  4. If you did not play along with the previous month's challenge, you will be able to purchase the new Digi of the Month at our shop so that you can play along with the challenge.
  5. Make any wholesome project using the current Digi of the Month by the end of the challenge month. We will cut off entries at 11:55 PM (Pacific Time) the night before the new set is posted.
  6. Share your project on your blog or in your online gallery.
  7. Provide the direct link to your project using the linky gadget provided on this blog at the bottom of that month's challenge post.
  8. At the start of the next challenge, we will email the new Digi of the Month to all those who participated in the previous month's challenge.
  9. Keep playing, and keep collecting freebies. :-)
That's all there is to it, but if you have any questions, please feel free to post a comment and ask.

Without further ado, here is this month's challenge freebie -- "Fall Bulldog." Please use him in this month's challenge project, and link your project here using the linky gadget at the bottom of this post no later than 11:59 PM on Sunday, 3 November, 2013. If you need a little inspiration to get you started, you can see how designer Melissa Craig used this darling little guy at the top of today's post.

And here he is in full-color.

To download thess digis, first click on one of the images to enlarge it to full size. Then right-click on it with your computer mouse, and then select "Save As..." or "Save Image As..." from the pop-up menu that appears on your screen.

Please remember that these digis, although "freebies," are subject to our Terms of Use, which includes not sharing them except as part of finished projects. If there is someone who you think would like to have these, please send them here to get it, OK? Thanks so much for respecting my work! :-)

To get back to this post later to link up your project, click on the "Challenges" button on the menu at the top of the screen. Happy crafting, and we can't wait to see what you make!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Birthday Challenge Month" Sponsor at Sentimental Sundays

Deedee's Digis is proud to be sponsoring the month-long birthday bash at Sentimental Sundays! Each week throughout the month, there will be a birthday-related challenge, and if you play along, you'll have a chance to win some free digis, among other fabulous prizes.

We hope you'll stop by and play along -- we'd love to see you use your Deedee's Digis on some happy birthday creations!