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Keep up with the scrapbooking world through our news and articles. We will help you out of that scrapbooking rut or just teach you something fun and new! Don't forget to subscribe to our fabulous newsletter. Each week we will be giving you an update on fun new products and great deals. We will also be keeping you in the loop through articles and blogs on the latest and greatest ideas for scrapbooking.
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Ask Robin: How do you protect photos against yellowing?

December 27th, 2006

Question: Hey Robin, I wondered what you would suggest to perserve photographs.  Is there somthing to spray on photograghs/pictures to help keep them without “yellowing”  Thanks for your time.

Answer: I have answered your question in our latest newsletter .  Thanks for the inspiration.  Specifically for your yellowing question, you can use some of the sprays I mentioned.  The yellowing effect that used to happen with our ancestors photos, will have a lessened effect nowdays as we try to use acid-free papers and inks.  If you store them well and follow the advice I gave in the newsletter your photos should stay vibrant for years to come.



Newsletter - Top Ten Ways to Preserve and Protect Your Photos

December 27th, 2006

Dear Scrapbooking Gang,

I hope everyone was able to have a wonderful holiday.  Holiday memories need to be preserved - along with all those other photos you have taken over the years.  I have had a few questions lately on my “Ask Robin” blog about preserving your photographs and if there are any scrapbooking supplies that can be used to help those photos last longer. 

Photo preservation is a huge topic out there, especially because many of us have seen our ancestors’ photos yellow or deteriorate over time.  So what can we do as scrapbookers to keep that from happening?  Along with being a scrapbooker, I am also a photographer by trade and have some experience in this area.  I have put together a list of the top ways that will keep those photos preserved for years to come!

1.  Use acid free everything on your scrapbooking pages.  Yes, acid free is a big deal.  Many of those photos you see that have yellowed, cracked, or faded have done so because of the acid in the paper used and the acid in the albums they have been kept in. 

2.  Use sheet protectors to separate photos.  Even if you never scrapbook your photos, you should always keep them separated and protected.  Also, why print a photo if you are not going to look at it or reminisce?  If you haven’t scrapbooked the photo yet (and don’t plan on doing so within the next few years), putting it in a photo album with acid free sleeves is the way to go.  Stay away from any of the sticky albums that use adhesive to hold the picture down or are “magnetic”.  These albums tend to be highly acidic and dangerous to photos.

3.  Print photos on ”permanent paper” or paper that is acid-free, lignin free, and pH neutral. Just check the labels before buying paper - even some photograph paper isn’t suited for long-term photo preservation.  Of course, if you have a store or company print them, you shouldn’t have to worry.  But you may want to ask about the paper they print on and the ink they use to make sure it is acid free.

4. Use acid-free ink with your inkjet for printing photos.  As a general rule, most inkjet printers use acid-free ink, but some do not.  Make sure you check with your manufacturer to see if their ink is acid free.  Many companies also make statements about their ink and how fade resistant it is.  If you do use an inkjet printer and want the images to stay vibrant - keep all images out of direct light and keep all images away from water or liquids.

5.  Acid-free photo boxes can be safe as well.  Just keep in mind that photos can stick together if moisture gets into them.  The best way to preserve them in this method is to separate them with acid-free envelopes or sleeves.

6.  When labeling photos, always use acid-free ink and/or labels.  Most regular ballpoint pens can eventually bleed through your photos or onto other items.  If you will not be scrapbooking your photos, an acid-free, smudge proof pen/marker would be the easiest option.  And if you are like me (overly organized and neat), you can print onto acid-free labels and adhere them to the photo.

7.  Coating your prints with veneers or sprays can be a solution - especially for those photos you have on display.  For example, I have a family photo that has been framed without a mat and glass for protection.  I had it sprayed with a UV protection spray (UV resistant fixative) at my local photo lab (not all labs will do this), but you can buy the spray at photo supply stores or online.  I have had the photo on the wall for 4 years now and there doesn’t appear to be any fading and it can easily be wiped down for dust particles.  I have also found some water-based varnishes that do a similar task and are also supposed to protect against the yellowing effect.  I found one at . Although these topcoat sprays and such are a solution, many of the product labels say that they are not a permanent protection, but they can help your photos last longer and protect against some environmental factors.

8.  Always keep a copy of your photos on other types of media.  After I have printed my photos, I always burn them to a CD or DVD.  Although there are some critics out there that will argue that CD/DVD’s won’t last forever, I believe that if needed in the distant future, I can convert my CD into whatever the new media is at that time.  I then store these photo CD/DVD’s in protective cases and boxes (make sure to label them!).  As a scrapbooker, I also like to include CD’s with some of my scrapbooking layouts - especially if I took 100’s of photos for one occasion and don’t want to print all of them.

9.  Give copies to other people!  If you have a flood, hurricane, fire, etc. there really is no way to know if your photos will survive, unless you have shared them with others.  Go photo-happy and send your photos to relatives and friends.  I know that my mom has sent most of the kids in the family treasured photographic prints and CD/DVD’s with photos and recordings.  If she were ever to lose her treasured memories in a fire, she would probably be able to recover most of them from us.  Don’t have a lot of family and friends (I sure hope that is not you!)? Another option is to use an online photo storage website.  There are many free or very inexpensive sites out there - check out,, and  The great advantage to these sites is that you can share your photos too.

10.  Store your scrapbooking albums, photo boxes, digital media, and photos in environmentally safe places.  Remember that light, moisture, and temperature can harm your photos. The garage or cold storage room may not be the best place for your photos.  A dark closet that keeps the same temperature most of the time would be a better choice. 


Latest and Greatest - Product of the Week

Since we have been talking about photo preservation, I though it fitting to highlight some of the new products out there that can help keep your scrapbooking alive from generation to generation.

Preserve It - Digital Photo and Paper Protectant Spray ($7.99)


More than doubles the life of your digital photos and prints. Moisture-resistant, UV protection against fading, acid free and archival safe. Use this unique spray to add a layer of protection to any item printed by your computer, fax, copy machine or other digital product. Also great for traditional photos, address labels, greeting cards, scrapbook materials and artwork. Your presentations and important documents are less likely to become damaged with a coating.

Archival Mist or Make it Acid Free Spray ($5.99)
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This acid-free spray comes in many sizes. Spray on your treasured keepsakes and momentos that are not printed on acid free, safe paper…and you’ll prolong their life for years to come. (I use this on newspaper clippings and kid art projects that I want to save in my scrapbooks.)


Keep those photos super cute AND protected so that everyone can enjoy you and yours for all future years.  Have a happy New Year!



P.S. Don’t forget – if you have questions about products or scrapbooking ideas, email me or check us out at

How do you distress & age when it comes to digital photography?

December 19th, 2006

Question:   Robin, I just read your newsletter about distressing and aging scrapbook pages. What about digital scrappers.  Is there a method to distress elements to antique and age them, such as crinkling them, staining them, etc. 
thanks for any help you can offer?

Answer:  That is a great question with some complicated answers, but I will try to keep it simple.  All of this will depend on the program you use for digital scrapbooking.  Since most digital scrappers are familiar with Photoshop, I will address distressing using that program (most other digital scrapbooking programs have the same tools).

To antique or distress the edges: Just select the brush tool.  I usually pick a color like brown or black.  I use many different types of brushes, but my favorite one leaves a look like that of an actually paint brush brushed lightly on the egdes.  I just run the brush all on the outside of the page, photo, or embellishment.  It looks the best when you aren’t trying to be perfect.  Changing the opacity of the brush can help make the distressing look lighter or darker depending on the look you are trying to recreate.

Wrinkle and Crinkle:  The easiest way to do this is to buy a filter that you can use as a layer over your paper/photo/etc.  You can get some templates as well. When searching for one, use the word “crumple” - it seems be be the same effect that “wrinkle and crinkle” have.  I found a one at: and Just download it and insert it as a layer in Photoshop (most places give more detailed instructions to help you step by step.).

Staining:  Tea staining or coffee staining work the same way as distressing the edges (there is a great tutorial on tea stained edges at: ).  You can also purchase filters or overlays that do this same thing at any of your online digital scrapbooking stores (I have seen them at &  Don’t be affraid of trying out some of the filters already a part of you digital scrapbooking program.  Photoshop has some great ones already built in to the program too.

Good luck with the digital scrapbooking.  I am learning more everyday.  When trying to decide whether to do something yourself or buy a filter or overlay that has already been made for you, keep in mind the time it might take to recreate one yourself.  The great thing about digital scrapbooking supplies you might buy is that you can reuse them over and over again.  Happy scrapping!


Newsletter: How to Mod Podge or Decoupage a Picture Frame

December 12th, 2006

Dear Scrapbookers:

I love using scrapbooking ideas to decorate my home.  The colors of scrapbooking supplies and papers give me inspiration for the color schemes in the rooms of my house.  I also like to use the actual scrapbooking supplies to make accents around the house.  The most recent idea I had was mod podging a picture frame with scrapbooking paper.  I had seen this idea many times before, but the frames looked too cutesy for the last room I was decorating - our master bedroom (don’t we all put ourselves last?).  I wanted our bedroom to have a more classic look to it.  So I checked out some of the latest designs and ordered a few new supplies.  The frames turned out so great that I wanted to share my idea with you.




1.  Purchase some plain wooden frames at a local craft store (I used 2 different sizes - they only cost me $2 and $3 each). You can even use old frames you already have.

2.  Pick a paper that matches your decor.  I chose to do a plain, but textured paper in a solid color (yellow) so that my rub-ons would stand out.

3. Get some rub-ons that fit your style.  I chose these rub-ons from miniMARKS because of the more classic style.

4.  Trace the frame onto the backside of the paper.  Don’t forget to trace the outside and the inside opening.  After tracing, cut the outside and the opening, keeping the cut on the inside of the traced outside line and on the outside of the traced opening line (you want the paper to be exactly the size of the frame or slightly smaller).

5.  Paint the frame (if it came unfinished) with craft paint.  I used the contrasting color of black.  You don’t need to paint the whole front of the frame because it will be covered.  Just concentrate on painting the sides and inside of the opening.

6.  Once the paint is dry, using craft glue or mod podge (I have actually used Elmer’s glue too), paint the backside of the paper with glue using a paint/craft brush or spread around with your fingers.  Quickly lay the glue side down on top of the frame.  Using a bone folder or popsicle stick, press along the paper to get rid of any bubbles and even out the glue.  (At this point you could just go to step 8 if you are not doing rub-ons or other decor on the paper).

7.  Cut your rub-ons out and lay them on the frame where you would like them.  Once they are in the correct position, rub them on using the bone folder or popsicle stick.


8. Paint the edges of the frame and inside the opening edges with the same paint you already used to paint the frame.  This gives it an antique or distressed look (you could sand it too).  I usually use a foam brush and lightly brush the paint along the edges.

9. Cover the whole frame with the craft glue or mod podge, painting all over and pressing out any bubbles that might form on the paper.  Make sure you cover the rub-ons and sides of the frame as well.  The mod podge will protect the frame and give it a glossy finish. Use matte mod podge if you do not want it shiny.

9. Let completely dry.  If you will be hanging these in a high moisture area, I would then spray or paint with a clear finisher for more protection.  Then your frame is ready for a picture!

This project can be great for a gift idea or to add that personal touch to any room.  I love that you can use your scrapbooking skills to make such a perfect decoration!

Let me know how yours turns out!



How can I make a framed platinum album for an aspiring musician?

December 11th, 2006

Question: Robin, I need help. I am putting together a project for a friend and I want it to be really nice and I can’t find no one to guide me. He is an inspiring musician artist with 7 albums done. Question: Do you know when an artist album goes gold or platinum and there record label presents them with a picture frame plaque or something like that (I guess that is what it is called). I was wondering if you can help me figure how I can get this project done somewhere in Chicago or if I can do this myself with a little guidance. I want to put all his album covers and the name of his records label company in this frame with a album that is painted the color of platinum so that it can be an inspiration to him.

Answer: My answer to this is project is probably not totally scrapbooking related, but if you want it to look authentic I have a few ideas:

1. Buy a shadow box at any craft store — even places like Walmart have them ( I would get the 8×10 or 11×14 size). Attach the CD (spray paint with a metallic paint if the coloring isn’t right) using glue dots or hot glue). If his CD’s have a cover, that would be nice to include too. If you have ever looked at “real” framed award albums, they usually have a plaque/engraved rectangle (like 2 - 3 inches) with the song/album title name, year, and artist name. If you have someone local that could engrave it, that would be great, but possibly expensive. Your best bet would be to take some paper and spray paint it metallic or buy some metal at a craft or hardware store. Then I would get some rub-on letters and put the album information on it. Then I would attach it below the record. Once framed in the glass, this will look fairly authentic.

2. My next suggestion would be to go to a place that will do it all for you. It can be expensive, but here are some sites that do it all for you (check these out too if you want to see how to make your own):

Where can I buy the book, “LeNae’s Scrapbooking Basics”?

December 4th, 2006

Question: I was wondering if you could tell me where I could purchase the book on scrapbooking. It is called LeNae’s Scrapbooking Basics.  Thank You.

Answer:  You can purchase it at Paper Wishes (we used to carry it on our site).  If you are looking for another great book on scrapbooking basics, check out Beautiful Basics by Simple Scrapbooks Magazine.

Newsletter - Five Ways to Get Organized

December 1st, 2006

Dear Scrapbooking Gals,

I am the first to admit that I feel most at home and relaxed when everything is put in its place in a perfectly organized manner.  In fact, I am almost overly organized to a fault.  But there is something so satisfying knowing that everything has a place and it is sitting there comfortably until I need to use it.  So I am going to share the plethora of knowledge I have of organizing.  Of course, we will focus on scrapbooking!  I have tried to summarize my favorite and best things to do to organize your scrapbooking supplies (keep in mind that I am branching out from the traditional ways to store things):

1.  Embellishments Spice Rack : Use a spice rack to organize your embellishments.  Many stores sell racks that are perfect for wall-mounting or you can get one to rest on a desk like a lazy susan.  Either way, the containers are the perfect size for flowers, tacks, staples, tiles, brads, eyelets, etc. Make sure to get clear ones so you can see the embellishments.  Check out the bathroom and kitchen section in your local stores (like Target, Wal-mart etc.).  You would be surprised what types of storage solutions you can come up with for your scrapbooking embellishments.


Williams-Sonoma Rack

Some companies sell some just for scrapbookers.  See some made-for-scrapbooking spice racks at :

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2.  Hanging Jars: You can adapt the above idea and make is really cheap too.  You can make hanging jars by affixing old canning jars, baby food jars, or other jars with screwing lids to a shelf.  All you have to do is drill a hole through the lid and the shelf and then screw the jar to it.  If you don’t want to permanently have holes in your shelf, just use double-sided sticky Velcro and attach it to the top of the lid and then under the shelf.  This would work the best with the baby food jars or lighter plastic jars.

3.  Traveling Scrapbookers: If you are a nomadic scrapbooker, there are many things you can use to store all those little embellishments.  I have a tackle box that works really well for storage.  Probably the best thing that I have seen besides the traditional storage totes, is the Caboodle (it was a plastic makeup container).  I used to have one when I was a teenager.  It works great with all those compartments.  Find one at a garage sale (or in your own garage . . .) or check out your local stores for something similar in the cosmetics aisle. 


4.  Paper storage:  We all know that you can buy lots of fun shelves, boxes, and trays for your paper.  But while we are all trying to save up for those somewhat expensive items, what are some other ways to store your paper?  I like the idea of using a dish drain (I am not kidding –I actually tried it and love how accessible the paper is!)


5. Hanging Paper Storage:  Ok, this one is a little more traditional for storing your papers, but I think it is so unique that I had to talk about it.  I love the idea of being able to use closet space to store your papers and other scrapbooking supplies.  Check out these great ones from Creating Keepsakes:

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Still having trouble organizing?  Try a book with tons of organization ideas for scrapbookers (Scrapjazz Organization Guide).


Your Organized Scrapbooker,


P.S. Don’t forget – if you have questions about products or scrapbooking ideas, email me or check us out at