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June 05, 2014

 “We all want to get the most from our stamps. This project uses a quick, easy, and fun technique that anyone can try. I used the reverse side of a small round stamp (yep, the cling side!) to create the polka-dot background. Who’d have thought? These Hero Arts cling stamps have a nice, thick foam mount that’s easy to hold on to and stamp with. The three heart stamps came from the same ‘Untitled Hearts’ stamp set as my reverse polka dot!” Shari Carroll

Source: Shari Carroll in Stamping Secrets: 7 sensational stamp sets used 21 ways

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June 03, 2014

“One design arrangement that I frequently use on my cards is a narrow grouping of elements. For this card, I used patterned paper, a punched border, and some letter stickers to create a vertical grouping. Then I embellished the space with a corrugated heart and a bit of ribbon, which I stapled in place. Tip: Take color cues from patterned paper. The color scheme for this card was inspired by the hexagon patterned paper, which also includes bits of red (although they’re covered by the corrugated heart).” Kristina Werner


Source: Kristina Werner in 31 Thank You Cards (co-authored by Kimber McGray and Heather Nichols).

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June 02, 2014

Below is an article  previously published in Ella Publishing's ezine. The author and designer are Amber Daigre.

I am a cardmaker at heart—and thank-you cards are certainly at the heart of my arsenal. If you take a look at my stamps, you’ll find tons of “Thank You” sentiments that are well loved and heavily inked!

It’s a great idea to have a stash of thank you cards on hand and if possible, it’s nice to have a selection of styles and layouts to fit the occasion or the recipient.

Say it with Simple Elegance

Elegant or sophisticated thank-you cards are a wonderful staple to have, and you can save tons of money by creating your own! For my elegant  Thank You card, I used my Cricut electronic die cutting machine to cut out the letter “T,” and then I used stamps to finish off the sentiment. The beautifully ornate letter adds dimension, flair and character to this simple card. To add even more dimension, I heat embossed the stamped sentiment in gold, which injected the perfect amount of class! A card like this would be perfect as a gift set or as a note card for a thoughtful wedding gift. The muted palette of this card also makes it a great option for guys!

Go Graphic and Get Creative

Go against convention by arranging your sentiment in a new and different way! That’s exactly what I did for this graphic and colorful card. By using the negative spaces of each die cut letter, layering a colorful scrap of cardstock behind each one, I created a thank-you grid that is fun and different! Each of the squares is adhered with dimensional adhesive to add depth to the card.

Forgo the sentiment

Who says that the sentiment has to be the focal point of your thank you cards? Why not use a background stamp to convey the sentiment of your card, but add colorful embellishments as the stand out feature of your creation?

That was my thought behind this simple and colorful thank you card. In pale gray, I stamped the Hero Arts Thank You Definition background stamp, which features all sorts of language about gratitude and appreciation. For my focal point, though, I chose to paper-piece several fun flowers and add them to the bottom corner.

Embrace the White Space

I love using white space on my cards, but I’ve heard many cardmakers express some apprehension about leaving open space on their cards. For this card, I took the opportunity to demonstrate a fun way to use white space on a whimsical card.

First, I stamped the banners on an angle to fill up the majority of the top of the card. To keep the eye moving across the card, though, I continued the sentiment into the opposing corner of the card. Even with all the open white space, this thank you card looks complete and well balanced.

Find more card inspiration on Amber's blog and check out our eBook 31 Thank You Cards

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May 29, 2014

 “Eye contact is not prerequisite to a great photo. Some of my favorite photos of my children are profile shots of them looking off into the distance. If we’re outside, I usually accomplish this by asking them to look around and try to spot something specific, like a dog or a red car, or to count how many trees they see. I love non-eye-contact photos; they evoke so much emotion. I took this photo of my son, Carson, while he sat on the lakeshore, watching his cousin kneeboard. He was so absorbed that he barely noticed me.” Rebecca Cooper

Source: Don’t Say Cheese: Capture real smiles with 247 tips for photographing kids by Rebecca Cooper.

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May 27, 2014

“I’ve been jotting down snippets of conversations in small notebooks for over 15 years. The layouts that stem from these memories are among my very favorite. I’ve found it’s much easier to find a photo to support an authentic sound bite than it is to write authentic journaling to support a photo.” Stacy Julian

Source: 20 Simple Secrets of Happy Scrapbookers, a 26-page eBook from Stacy Julian and Lain Ehmann.

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May 23, 2014


No matter what kind of camera or smartphone you use, taking better photos requires a basic understanding of photographic principles and the inspiration to see the amazing photo opportunities all around you. This class will show you that:

  • Your phone camera is capable of much more than you realize
  • Composition and lighting are just as important (if not more so) when you use a phone camera vs. a DSLR
  • You can produce frame-worthy snapshots with nothing more than your smartphone and the right combination of apps

We are so excited about this line-up of teachers and special guests!

Learn more and register here


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May 20, 2014


There are plenty of online classes that will teach you to take well-composed photographs that are properly focused and correctly lit. It's much more rare to find an eCourse that helps you capture magical pictures—those that leave a lasting impression on your heart.

When I take photos for clients, my number one goal is to capture images that they will treasure for years and years to come. I have come to realize that the technical aspects of the pictures (although very important) are not what allow me to accomplish this goal. Rather it is the connections that I capture between them. It is the way in which I record their relationships at that point in time because those bonds are what they hold nearest and dearest to their hearts.” Maggie Holmes

“Sometimes it is hard for us to put into words what an image makes us feel. I have pictures of my own children that are deeply moving to me in a way that is hard to describe or communicate in the written or spoken word. And sometimes it is OK to recognize that an image does, in fact, render us speechless and leave it at that. However, I submit that with some effort and encouragement, most (if not all) of our photographs have a beautiful and wonderful story that is just waiting to be acknowledged and shared!" Maggie Holmes

About the Class

Introducing Photo Connections! In this 4-week guided workshop, Maggie Holmes will unveil her best-kept secrets for bringing photographs to life. You'll learn for yourself that the difference between a good photo and an unforgettable one is how it makes you feel.

Secret 1: How to take group shots that capture the true essence of a relationship
Secret 2: How to snap portraits that are brimming with personality and authenticity
Secret 3: How to create visual connections through the rules of composition
Secret 4: How to connect to the stories behind your favorite photographs

Join the fun!! Learn More Here

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May 16, 2014

Are you a spontaneous right-brainer like Stacy Julian? Or are you an analytical left-brainer like Jennifer Wilson? Scrapbookers are aligning with Team Stacy and Team Jennifer in The Art + Science of Scrapbooking, which started yesterday.

Check out this awesome classroom!

Whether you've already enrolled in class or are waiting until the last minute, you can follow the instructions below to share your team pride. One lucky participant will win a $50 Big Picture Classes gift certificate!

1. Decide which team you're on and download the corresponding image below.
2. Share the image on Instagram with the hashtag #artandscienceatbpc - here's some examples:

I'm proud to be a right-brained scrapbooker like @stacyjulian #artandscienceatbpc
I'm proud to be a left-brained scrapbooker like @jenniferswilson #artandscienceatbpc

Contest Rules
You must use the hashtag and enter via Instagram by 8am PDT on Monday, May 19 to be eligible. Only one entry per person. One winner will be selected at random from all entries and will be contacted via Instagram with instructions on how to claim their $50 gift certificate, good towards any one-time purchase at Big Picture Classes.

Need help getting the image to Instagram?

Option 1:Right click on the image and click save as (same to your device)
Option 2:Email yourself a link to this post to visit it from your device.
Option 3: Use a file sharing app like Dropbox to sync the image from your computer to your device.

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May 16, 2014

We hope you have enjoyed this week with Donna Januzzi's sketches and have gotten a better sense of her precise and approachable style. This last sketch is perfect for any event or story you scrapbook that has a ton of photos. Thanks for sharing with us Donna!

Class starts next week with Donna, get more sketches, 58 to be exact, by signing up for her class here.


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May 15, 2014

 Donna shares why she is such a big fan of sketches.

"Through the years I have continued to use a sketch-based approach. Sketches are like blueprints for my layouts so that I know where I will place my photos, title, and journaling, all before I even get started. Once I have the foundation figured out, I can let the photos and story be my guide when choosing papers, embellishments, and other creative elements." Donna Januzzi




For 28 days starting in May, you'll get a new sketch every other day, accompanied by two layouts and a useful lesson in creative adaptation. With this foundation, you'll learn why and how to harness the power of sketches to truly simplify your scrapbooking process. This interactive online workshop includes 14 main sketches, 14 bonus sketches, and a free copy of Donna's Stretch Your Sketches eBook (with 30 additional sketches inside). A total of 58 sketches to inspire your scrapbooking! Learn more HERE

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