Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

August 3, 2011

Week In The Life 2011 | Working With The Layered Template Album (Video Tutorial)

I’m in progress on bringing all my content together for my Week In The Life album.

I’m working at a bit of a different pace since it’s summer time and I’m taking advantage of the good weather around here for some quality family time.

Today I put together a video tutorial that shows how I work with the digital layered templates in Photoshop Elements (I use Photoshop CS5 but do my tutorials in Elements). Check that out here:

Week In The Life 2011 | Layered Template Tutorial from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.

I’m happy to try to answer any questions you might have about working with the layered templates. Feel free to leave them in the comment section of this post.

Here’s some of the things links I mentioned in the video above:



Hope you are having a chance to get started on bringing your content together.

Remember to embrace the photos and stories you have rather than the ones you don’t.


  • 1.
    Shannon said…

    Ali, I have never done any digital scrapbooking. The only “program” I currently use is Picasa…is Photoshop an absolute requirement to use your templates? Thanks for your time.

  • 2.
    Heather B said…

    So…. what are your thoughts on using this template for a week long vacation where I took WAY too many pictures? It happened to be WITL week when we were gone (last week)….. I haven’t fully looked through all of the pages to see if you have text that would make it silly… but I’m really thinking about making this my vaca template for last week?



    • ….
      Ali said…

      I think you could totally make it work. All the text is editable so you could make it work with your own content.

  • 3.
    Sandi M said…

    Great tutorial – think my beginner self might just be able to make this work. Thanks so much for the time and effort you place in ALL of your projects.

  • 4.
    Heather B said…

    Ok – so just had 5 minutes to start the video & your txt “Week in the Life” is a layer – so I can change that to “Week in Duluth”. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…


    • ….
      Heather B said…

      Ok… not an editable layer… but still I can delete it & create my own…. better than it being on top of a graphic & mixed in with it. ;)

  • 5.
    Barbara said…

    ugh! Now I wished I had participated!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Never too late – you could start tomorrow!

    • ….
      Marie A. said…

      Hi Barbara,

      Just wanted to let you know my WITL will begin next monday (August 8th). So I highly encourage you to do it whenever you want. :-)

    • ….
      Maureen said…

      Barbara, my WiTL this year will be the end of August when I have a girls week down on the Alabama coast. This year, it’s gonna be a summer project and just for me and about me. It can work any way you do it, that’s part of the beauty of the project. No rules, remember? ♥

    • ….
      Barbara said…

      Thank you for the encouragement – I think I will. I will look at preparing for the last week in August. I was feeling like it wouldn’t be as exciting if I didn’t do it the first week with everyone else. Now I am going to do it!!!

  • 6.
    Tanja said…

    Hi Ali…love all your fabulous ideas and your pictures are amazing. Love your unique take on the daily things.

    Wondering if you have thought more on the idea of putting a Shutterfly book together with some of your amazing ideas?

    I would love to see a drag and drop book of a “year in the life of…” with a 7 day, weekly approach for the year. Including your verbage templates.

    Just an idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • ….
      Sheryl P said…

      I second the motion!! I would also love to see you do a “Week in the Life” or a “Life Right Now” type Shutterfly book!!!

      While you are at it (!), even a “December Daily”! :)

      I so appreciate your blog, Ali…helps us remember to focus on our life stories as they are happening, and to capture those memories while we can.

    • ….
      LindaAZ said…

      Love that idea too! Sometimes things just get too busy that this would be a great option for those stressed over time.

  • 7.
    dawn said…

    Hi Ali,

    I don’t have photoshop so not doing a digital album. Just wanted to say how cute that picture of Anna is, love her smile and how tiny she is. I see that big brother popping up in the back too, great first page for you. Can’t wait to see it all together. I’ve been going over my pictures and finding some stories. Hope to get started next couple weeks, hard with kids here all day.

  • 8.
    Jo said…

    Fantastic I’ve been looking forward to seeing how you are planning to use your templates. Thanks for the video Ali. Oh and love those cut up words by Katie Pertiet, must check them out.

  • 9.
    maryannk said…

    Wow ! for everyday journaling it makes it really easy , and the price is right.
    I just might have to pick this software up.

  • 10.
    Sarah Martina said…

    Thanks for sharing this Ali. I took the majority of my photos via cell phone, so I knew going into this that photo quality would be an issue (and I’m ok with that :) ). But one of my concerns is the ability to expand and minimize my photos to fit the different layers of your templates without too much distortion… even for photos taken with my regular camera.

    Do you mind sharing what size and resolution you save your photos to when you’re editing them in batches (before putting the album together)?

    Thanks again for sharing this… I could go on and on about how much last week means to me, but I’ll save us all the story. ;)

    • ….
      Gina said…

      I’m not Ali but I thought I would address your question since I used a lot of phone photos. I did make sure I selected the highest quality option on my phone. Before dropping them in the templates, I would change the resolution to 300 DPI. I didn’t change the size. I will say the phone pics were fine for the smaller photos but looked pretty grainy on the big template.
      Ali’s tutorial from last year about putting it all together – the pictures has a really good explanation that covers resizing too.

    • ….
      Sarah Martina said…

      Thanks, Gina! I’ll stick to 300 dpi. :)

    • ….
      Maureen said…

      Sarah, I do all my photos on my iPhone4 and resize them to 300dpi also. However, my default size is way to large so I usually resize them to 4×6. I’m fine with the resolution because the bottom line is it gets done.

  • 11.
    Rosie said…

    Thanks for the fantastic tutorial, I was fighting with PSE 9 last night but I’m pretty certain I can conquer it tonight!!!

  • 12.
    Liz said…

    really love the digital overlays…very sleek and clean looking

  • 13.
    nancy faith said…

    Ali.. Just purchase PSE 9..loaded it on my feel intimidated. : ( Do you think with your video it is good to work w/PSE9 or should I start ‘smaller’?
    thank you..
    Love your BLOG, thank you for all your ‘time’…

  • 14.
    Cynthia said…

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tutorial! I have all the photos and documentation (planning to do a hybrid album) and this tutorial is so excellent! I love your first pages! Too late to dive into to my photos tonight (I did some prep by saving each days photos into a separate folder) but I know what I will be doing tomorrow!

    On a separate note, while I didn’t post about our WITL it was a really interesting process(this was my first time). We don’t have a young child any more (he’s 18) and our life is really unstructured. It was neat to see that it’s still interesting (lol), how busy we are, how nuclear our little threesome is even though a bit unconventional and how there was lots of content (although not too many overheards…not like when Nick was much younger) and it gave us the opportunity to focus on favourite moments and things we are thankful for. Thank you Ali, for helping me to focus on and reinforce for myself what I love about my life!

  • 15.
    cinback said…

    So, I was away during “the week” and have two Scrapbook on the Road projects going, but I still plan on doing the WITL project later this month. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • 16.
    Damiane Lucas said…

    Is anyone else having difficulty with the audio on Ali’s tutorial? It’s too low, and I have the volume slider all the way up.

    Also, I’m on a PC computer, and I can’t get the photo inside of the template. I pressed the “option” key and toggled between the layers as stated by Ali. I wonder if she’s using a Mac Computer. Maybe this is why I am struggling.

    This is my first “Week in the Life” and I would like to have success in this project.

    • ….
      Cynthia said…


      I am having the same problems and it is frustrating! I cannot get past the toggle part (not able to hold down the option key as shown in the video to get the overlapping circles and have the mask work – I can get the layers by going to the bottom but they won’t conform to the curved shape). I am also working on a PC.

      I would love feedback from others as well!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      On a PC you use control + G as the keystroke command to mask.

    • ….
      Cynthia said…

      Thank you Ali!

    • ….
      Toni said…

      Hi Damiane and Cynthia.

      I use PC also and have always used ctrl G for masking. I believe control for PC is the same as Command for Apple.

      But watching Ali’s video I thought there must be a way to do it the way she was and might be quicker sometimes if already using the mouse in the layers palette. So I have just tried the Alt key (I think on a PC we use Alt where Mac use option) so try that and you might have another way of using a shortcut. It allowed me to do the ‘two circle’ thing that Ali was doing. Well it worked for me anyway.


  • 17.
    Amy Wathen said…

    I am on a PC and this is how I do it. Have your photo layer right above the mask layer and just do CTRL-G. Then you can position your photo layer however you want in the mask. Hope this helps.

    • ….
      Damiane Lucas said…

      Thanks for your help! I’ve been pulling out my hair trying to figure this out.

    • ….
      Cynthia said…

      Thanks Amy and Ali! That was easy! I haven’t really figured out all the ins and outs of the PSE9 and I don’t do enough digital scrapbooking to always remember what I might have done before (usually from a class). Thanks again!

  • 18.
    Gina said…

    Hi Ali, love the video and soo excited about putting it all together! this is my second year doing this and even though i am not as happy with my photo taking for the week I am super excited to put the album together!!
    I wanted to ask you what is the name of the Katie Pertiet packet for the words that you used as an example on the Monday opening page, i think it said “i’ll always love you”. I really like the way those look.
    Thanks again and so excited to get going on this!!

    • ….
      Gina said…

      Never mind!! I found them on your links!!
      thanks! you are the greatest and such an inspiration!!

  • 19.
    Heather B said…

    Ali – thinking about diving into 8.5×11 for my album – I really like the look better in this template. Do you print your own or where do you print? Most places don’t seem to print 8.5×11 – although mPix does…. anywhere else that’s a little less $$? I love mPix quality, but it’s not cheap…. Shutterfly & Costco etc. seem to do 8×10.

    I have a photo printer & paper… but I also have two grandmothers who usually get a copy of my digi pages.



  • 20.
    Danielle said…

    Hi Ali,
    I have a question concerning your layered templates (not these though). I downloaded the ones from Designers Digitals. They are the ones with the sentiment tags. I have a question concerning how to change the date. They say 2010. I did it successfully when there was a white background (title page). But with the gray, its not working. Any help would really be appreciated.


  • 21.
    robin said…

    hi Ali
    I have never done any digital scrapbooking before, but it looks like fun
    I have paintshopphoto proX on my computer and really want to give this a try!
    Do you have some samples we can download so we can experiment with it, before buying a lot of stuff and being unable to use it ?
    I really like your journaling boxes and overlays

  • 22.
    hannahk said…

    Hi Ali

    can you recommend some good quality white digi papers? I’m having trouble finding one that is not too grey, flat or over dominated by texture. It’s seems to be pretty hard to beat the physical quality of basil and AC cardstock but I really want to stick to digi this year. Thanks :) Hx

    • ….
      Maureen said…

      If you’re printing at home, you can print on cardstock. Just use Best Setting, not Photo Paper setting.

    • ….
      hannahk said…

      thanks Maureen ~ this may become my back up plan.

      I’m actually thinking of making WIL into a small book for print so would like to include a white digi paper in the layout first…

  • 23.
    rini said…

    Wonderful tutorial Ali, will try to make it Digital this year!! I still remember the first album I did way back in Dallas….lots of cutting. Love this one, easy and simple. Thanks.

  • 24.

    where do you get the pages printed for your album? do you then add stuff to it that isn’t digital? I just ordered my prints at Costco today, now to drive the 30 minutes to pick them up! At least I did all my journaling! I don’t have a base for my album yet though. I wish I would have purchased these and done it this way!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      This year I’m printing them here at home because I’m testing out a new printer (Epson Stylus Photo R2000). Last year I had them printed through

  • 25.
    Christina said…

    Ali is there a flickr site this year with peoples contribution in this project as there was last year? I realise that some are adding their pages to Big Picture.

  • 26.
    Nina said…

    Hi, Ali! Thanks so much for the wonderful inspiration you always provide. I just wanted to share that I printed out your free daily sheets onto 4 x 6 sized white cardstock and inserted them into the existing diary I already have. I was so happy to capture this week. Thank you.

    Here is the link if you want to see:


    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love how you did that Nina – cool!

    • ….
      Nina said…

      Thanks, Ali! Thanks for the inspiration. =)

  • 27.
    Toni said…

    Hi Ali

    Great video and some neat extra ideas – Thank you.

    When resizing the boxes – do you have things ‘snapped to grid’? Still learning how that works. Just wondering how you make sure the boxes are a uniform size if you have two or do you always duplicate them? For example if we made one of the long boxes into two or three for photos instead.

    Also I am flipping my templates to landscape and it has worked really well for the daily sheets but I am struggling a little with the ‘share your story’ templates when I flip them. Because then they are landscape which worked fine for the photos but I quite like the idea of some ‘portrait’ photos and portrait journalling. So after flipping the template to make a landscape page I am then rotating the boxes but then obviously the fit is different across the page. Seems to fit a 4×2 layout rather than a 3×3. Do you make them a particular standard photo size?

    I have tried selecting the box and tab layers (not the words) and locking them togther and rthen resizing them to fit better across the page but I wondered if there was a quicker way. Or whether I should just stick with the size you have made and leave uneven white spaces top and bottom vs the sides. I’m still fairly new to this and playing around with it all to learn. But I would definitely appreciate shortcuts if there are some :)

    So many questions I hope this made sense.


    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Toni – I like using snap to grid (an easy way to keep things lined up). I also like to just duplicate the box layers if I’m wanting them to the the same size. You can then use snap to grid to get the margins between the boxes to be the same.

      When I’m creating templates I don’t usually think about any standard photo size since I have so many options. In the case of the Share Your Story template I did make those boxes a similar to size as if you were going to use divided page protectors (you could put the photos in there, print it out, cut it up and place them inside the pockets).

      If I was doing it the way you are (flipping the whole thing horizontal) I’d probably try to do whatever is the quickest – that might be selecting everything and dragging (without any photos in place) to fit the page. You can then go in and adjust the size of the text and the titles (making them smaller because they will get bigger).

      Is that helpful at all?

    • ….
      Toni said…

      Thanks Ali – That’s great. Have managed to play around with them toinght and got it working much better. Hope you had a great weekend in the garden. We did :)

  • 28.
    HannaP said…

    Hi Ali, Thanks for always bringing me inspiration!
    I just bought the layered template 8.5×11 week in the life 2010, and it said on designerdigitals that you should easily be able to change the date, but I can´t seem to understand how to do that…
    I mean for example the little square called “sentiment tab”, on one of the pages. I would like to keep it on my layout and maybe have som own text in it but the only thing I understand is how to take it all away by clicking on the “eye”, but then it is gone all together and that I dont want…Is it not possible to edit or remove just the text and keep the square?
    Hope you can figure out what I mean despite my not so perfect english…
    Hanna, Sweden

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi HannaP – there’s a couple things you can do with that version. The 2010 piece on the sentiment tabs is flattened – you can either purchase the updated sentiment tabs for 2011 ( or you can follow these steps:
      1. Select the sentiment tab layer
      2. Using the marquee tool (with the tolerance set to “0″), select just the date area (draw a rectangle around it) and hit delete. This will remove the date but it will also remove the background of the sentiment tab within that rectangle.
      3. With the eyedropper tool, click on the sentiment tab to make that the foreground color.
      4. Draw a new rectangle shape (should be the same color as the sentiment tab) and place that behind the sentiment tab in the layers palette. You can merge those two layers together or you can just leave it –
      5. Use the Type tool to enter the year. The font I was using is Pica.

      Hope that helps!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Also, that 2011 sentiment tab package includes a PSD file that would make it easy for you to enter in your own text (not flattened).

    • ….
      HannaP said…

      Thanks so much, will try that!

  • 29.

    Hi Ali. Thanks for all you do! I have most of the freebies you’ve so generously offered, but when I tried to use the download links on a couple of the Welcome Page items, they don’t work. Wondering if these are permanently down? I didn’t think so since you are referencing them now. I’m particularly interested in the Weekend Creative handwritten days.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Kay – let me take a look. I thought I had updated all those links…

  • 30.
    Tawnda Andrews said…

    I was wondering how you plan to use the “share the story” template? One for each day or one for the week?

    LOVE this, I’ve been doing it since 2008 and I love seeing how our life changes from year to year and it’s so fun to see what normal is and how much it changes!


    • ….
      Ali said…

      Right now I’m using it to print out my photos (basically just as a template). I’m not going to be using it in my album – that page for me will be a divided page protector and each day will have one of those.

  • 31.
    Roberta said…

    LOVED the video Ali and even though I do not have or use photoshop I was still inspired and learned so much about how to assemble my album now. I was a bit overwhelmed come Monday and I had to start editing my photos, etc. But now I’ve adapted my publisher documents because I know how to use it and did not want to get discouraged and give up. I kept it real simple and I’m really happy with the end result. I blogged about it here if anyone is interested in how a publisher file can work for this album. Fondly, Roberta

  • 32.
    Abby P. said…

    I surprised myself by diving into this project and enjoyed every day of it! Thanks for doing it and sharing your process! One question unrelated to the project itself: what lens are you using on your camera these days? I love your photos! Thanks!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      24-70, 2.8. I love it!

    • ….
      Abby P. said…

      I can clearly see WHY you love it…luckily, my birthday’s next month….hint, hint to my husband! Thanks for the info.

  • 33.
    Michele M. said…

    Hi Ali! Thank you for a great tutorial–seriously watching the video and hitting “pause” so I can do the same thing, step-by-step with you as this is my first adventure into digital scrapbooking! I do have a question for you though–I have an older version of PSE (version 5 I think–old, I know!) and the font used for the little date is one I don’t have. I have not figured out how to change it or substitute a different one. Right now, nothing shows up in the text box. Any suggestions for how to go about fixing that? Thanks!

  • 34.
    Abby P. said…

    Sorry to be a camera equipment pest…I meant to ask you what Canon you’re using too these days…

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