Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 19, 2008

Translating, Gratitude, + Digital Layout Prints.


[ As seen in Creating Keepsakes magazine : Supplies : Andrea Victoria Autumn Crush Patterned Paper; Katie Pertiet Notebook Paper Pack; Ali Edwards Layered Template #15 ]

Today I want to write a bit about the idea of translation.

In my creative work (and in lots of other parts of my life) I often think of myself as a translator. For me, translating is taking in information/content/daily life/inspiration and then expressing it in my own creative language through scrapbooking. Each of us has our own personal creative language; our own way of seeing and expressing the stories and experiences of our lives.

Translation also relates to how we view the creative work of others. When looking through magazines or online, I take in so many different ideas – a bit of this + a piece of that + how cool that they did that with those embellishments – and then translate those themes, ideas, concepts into my own creative language. Just because I have a boy doesn't mean I only look for boy pages; I look to the overall design or the clever way an embellishment was used or a cool use of type.

I love looking at all kinds of things for inspiration. I love seeing the ways in which people create with and without a lot of products. I love seeing how people tell their stories and how they express their existence through the pages they create.

The digital layout above is one of those pages that is easily translated into either a paper or digital scrapbook page. I originally created it with paper back in 2004 and then used that design as the basis for the template. Here's a look at the original that I think I created for the Two Peas in a Bucket Creating Garden:


Here's a look at other examples of this template in action from the Designer Digitals gallery. Each person took the template and translated it using their own creative language. They made the template work for them and the story they were telling. Click on the names below for links to the specific pages and larger versions of the layouts:



If you normally look at the design of a project/layout why not try focusing on the theme/subject. Or if the subject is usually what draws you in, make an effort to look closer at the design. What can you take away from what you are seeing and translate into your own creative language?

Remember, we each have our own unique creative language. Working with digital templates, using a previous foundation design we created (what I call not reinventing the wheel), or "scraplifting" (being inspired by the design of someone's layout and using that as the basis for your own) are all simply different ways to begin the process of creativity. I also think they are each a great way to gain confidence in your creative choices.

What can you translate today?


Another thing I wanted to share with you today is in response to a couple questions I recently received regarding how I deal with and store my digital layouts. This is a shot of some recent 12×12 layouts I had printed at (I don't print these at home) laid out on the dining room table:


And in the album:


My digital layouts go right into my 3-ring albums along with my paper pages. Just as I love the mixture of sizes in my albums, I love the mixture of traditional and digital pages. They all go together because they are all our stories, documentation of our existence and the lives we are living.


For more on digital & hybrid scrapbooking check out some recent tutorials here.


  • 1.
    rosa m. neno said…

    good morning from nj…..i loved the pages you showed this morning, and the templates are really useful to me; i have many photos left to scrap from last christmas, and i think it will really help! i love how your layouts have clear crisp lines!

  • 2.
    Tracy said…

    I just want to really stress: PRINT YOUR DIGITAL LAYOUTS! It is so worth it to hold them in your hands. I am doing the same as you, placing them in albums alongside my paper layouts–although those are quickly becoming a thing of the past :)

  • 3.
    jenny said…

    Great LOs and inspiration.

  • 4.
    Maureen said…

    I love seeing the actual how of what you do. It’s also fascinating to see others’ use of your layouts – so inspiring.

  • 5.
    anna aspnes said…

    YES! I’m a huge advocate of printing your digital pages and mixing them in with paper. It’s so easy to for them to get left on your harddrive. Great post Ali!

  • 6.
    sheila c. titcombe said…

    Hi Ali
    This may be a really stupid question but … I love the digital sheets you create but how do you transfer these to use in a normal scrapbook? How do they download when you only have an A4 size printer?
    I am totally excited by the way you create your pages but digital … I haven’t got a clue.
    Thank you.

  • 7.
    stacie said…

    I know you have told us a million times over but i can’t figure out how to find it quickly in the archives…what sort of 12×12 binder do you keep your masterpieces in?

  • 8.
    amber said…

    Hey Ali, I’m a huge fan and hope to one take a class from you. You’re layouts are beautiful, clean and not overly complicated…just my style. My question though has nothing to do with scrapbooking…it’s about light sabers since you write about them frequently. I was wondering if the light sabers Simon plays with light up and if so where did you all find them?

  • 9.
    Ali said…

    Amber – we opt for the non-light up/non-noise versions :) . They are the least expensive and work just fine. We have gotten most of them at Target.

  • 10.
    Melissa LaFavers said…

    I really love the concept of translation, the language and vernacular we all use to interpret what we see into our own creative pursuits. Really a new way to think about it.

  • 11.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Thanks Ali, this layout is great. I am loving the digital scrapping now that I have photoshop elements. It just takes it to a different level for me.
    Just got your december layouts and some other templates!!
    Loving it.
    Have a great day.
    Nicky from Canada
    PS – saw you on facebook – pretty cool

  • 12.
    Ali said…

    Stacie – check out this link for more info on the albums: /2008/03/anatomy-of-an-a.html

  • 13.
    Abby P. said…

    Hi Ali, love your layouts – all of them! Question: what kind of paper does print 12×12′s on? I have lots of digital 12×12′s waiting to be printed but can’t find 12×12 photo paper!

  • 14.
    Jodi said…

    I would love to get into digital—but curious how do you print them? Do you have a printer that allows you to print the 12×12 pages?! Would love a post on a quick “how to” on digital scrapbooking–and the printing part of it too!

  • 15.
    Amy said…

    They print it on regular photo paper and you can get them matte (looks the best I think with the 12×12 page) glossy or metallic finish, They really are great quality. They come to you 12×12.
    If you were to print at home with a large format, I think you need to buy larger paper and cut it down.
    I totally recommend The quality is great and the shipping is only $2 no matter how much you order.
    I ordered over 1000 prints(all differnet sizes and the order came in 3 different boxes) last summer and it only cost me $2 shipping!

  • 16.
    Janaina said…

    can we do this template in 8 1/2 x11
    to print?

    • ….
      Amazons said…

      As always, thank you for your inspiration. I love how you freely share with us. After reading your posts I want to dive right into a project!


  • 17.

    I love these tips! I just started digital scrapbooking…as in last week…and appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks for sharing!

  • 18.
    Ali said…

    Hey Jodi – I don’t print these pages at home. I upload them to You can check out some tutorials I have done on digital scrapbooking here: /hybriddigital-scrapbookin.html

  • 19.
    {vicki} said…

    I would be thankful too if my husabnd did the dishes.

  • 20.
    Anne Alley said…

    Thanks for the thoughts this morning; I’ve been in such a rut lately, and I needed a new way of approaching my projects.
    And thanks for the digital tips, they are always helpful!

  • 21.
    HeatherC said…

    I often print my 12×12 pages in an 8×8 format — but print on an 8×10 (then I just trim the sides) and can print at my local Walgreens or WalMart and then keep in an 8×8 book.

  • 22.
    Peggy said…

    I bought this template last weekend (during the big sale) and created my very first digital page with it. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  • 23.
    Marianne said…

    It’s funny that this should be the topic today. This is how I translated my gratitude yesterday =)

  • 24.
    molly said…

    I like this post, and I can see that it’s true. Just as a musician or vocalist interprets a melody or lyric — in your work you do the same, “translating” your emotions to the page. It’s the element that distinguishes one artist from another. I think we all strive toward that point of development and can only get there through doing MORE in whatever discipline we may choose.
    Such happy pages! Have a great day, Ali.

  • 25.
    Margarita said…

    I am getting into Digital Scrapbooking now – I have never done paper scrapbooking – but I would like to do a little bit of paper later. (I guess I am doing things “backwards” but I am a graphics designer and I am more comfortable using Photoshop than cutting paper!)
    I am glad you mentioned you mixed both techniques in the same book, I was thinking about doing that too but wasn’t sure.

  • 26.
    Wilna said…

    How do I love you?
    a million m’m's
    I made a page from your template!
    Loved it! I posted it on my blog.

  • 27.
    Michelle said…

    I used to ignore digital scrapbooking “stuff” . . .until about 6 months ago when Jessic Sprague from CK got me interestered in her tutorials, which was about the time I started seeing so much of Ali’s stuff too! I this has some links to tutorials, but I have linked some on my blog that really got me movin’ in digital: if you are wondering where to start.
    I just want to inspire anyone who is even vaguely interested in digital that YOU CAN DO IT! Photoshop Elements is daunting at first but a few tutorials really make it easy to attack and then learn by trial and error.
    Just a little inspiration + thanks to Ali for all of her inspiration and great “everyday” digit products she’s made!!! Keep sharing your templates, Ali, you make me want to buy them. *wink* (See my current blog post for use of one of her 2008 digi date stamps.)

  • 28.
    Erin said…

    one of the highlights of my day is checking your website…you remind me to enjoy my “everyday gratitudes” and inspire me with my layouts. Thank you.
    I was wondering if you knew of a service that printed 12 x 12 digital pages. I have not invested in a large printer yet. I want to make sure I will get my money’s worth out of it before making the purchase. I am interested in digital scrapbooking and want to have a layout or two printed. Thanks for you help!

  • 29.
    Linda said…

    Great post, thankyou. It was good to see the printed digi pages.

  • 30.
    Maritza said…

    Weird question. Can you do a digital page using PowerPoint?

  • 31.
    tchrtiff said…

    As always, thank you for your inspiration. I love how you freely share with us. After reading your posts I want to dive right into a project!

  • 32.
    Szilvi said…

    Wow. I love this tranlation-concept. How great is this! I’m a translator and a scrapbooker by the way, but never thought about how similar these two activities are. Thanks! :)

  • 33.
    LateBlossom said…

    Thank you for your perceptive comments on translation! I have absolutely zero interest in digital scrapping but still enjoy blogs and magazines on it for inspiration. Ideas come from all sorts of unexpected places and a big part of my creative growth has been opening my eyes to see inspiration everywhere and translate it into my own scrapbooks.
    I am grateful to you for your blog, your articles, and your attitude toward scrapping. Thank you for your generosity!

  • 34.
    Deb Jones said…

    Thank you for giving me the word translation. Now I can name what I do all the time. People ask me why I am always looking at scrapbook magazines, books, and online stuff. It’s the translation. They’ll ask why I pulled out that page when it’s “not my style” or “that’s too busy” or “do you like that?!”. It’s because I see something that speaks to me. I have pulled out layout pictures of say Christmas with no thought of ever doing a Christmas layout but I like the way they combined journaling and pictures or I like the template or whatever. Now I have a better way of explaining. Thanks so much.

  • 35.
    Pascale said…

    As a professional translator, I loved reading your thoughts about scrapbooking and translating. Just as different translators will use different words and sentences and the text will still have the same meaning, different scrapbookers will create different pages using the same pictures and papers… How I would love to be able to turn boring texts such as the one I’m translating today into colourful scrapbook pages!

  • 36.
    Christene said…

    Hi Ali -
    My comment is not related to translating, but I am having an absolute blast pulling items from the mail, flyers and catalogues that have been pouring into the house for my December Daily. In previous years, I looked at them and then threw them into the recycle bin. On second thought, this is translation, isn’t it?
    Thanks for your continued inspiration!

  • 37.
    Expat said…

    Ali, do you mind if I throw a general question out your way? I really love the look of your pages printed at I live in England now. Does anyone know where I can get 12 x 12 pages printed in the UK? I can get photos printed, but only on photo paper and not 12 x 12. Help! Thank you!

  • 38.
    lacey Khoury said…

    Do you find yourself going through a lot of ink? Also what settings do you put your printer on when you print to get the best results?
    I’m considering hybrid layouts but worried about the quality of the printing and the amount of ink.

  • 39.
    Melissa said…

    This is a really random question for you, but here goes! Do you know how D Reeves manufactures their acrylic albums? Specifically the white ones?

  • 40.
    Gabi said…

    So inspiring ! Love these digital layouts !

  • 41.
    Érica Ambrosio said…

    Ali, thanks so much for posting about your album here. I have an A4 size album, for a normal paer sheet and I don’t like it so much. After I read your post I went to a store for looking for an square album They have just 12×12 here and they don’t print this size in Brazil. And I found an 8×8, what is a great size for me. It is realease here. Thanks for posting it.
    I loved the first layout, I have this issue here.

  • 42.
    Ana Paula said…

    Hi Ali, could you tell me where i could buy this 3-ring album? i do love this album!
    Ana Paula, from Brasil

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