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Amazon New Releases

New PhotoShop Elements 14 – feature reduce blurry photos!

PhotoShop Elements 14 - reduce camera blur!
PhotoShop Elements 14 – reduce camera blur!

 

Adobe just released PhotoShop Elements 14, and this one really caught my attention!  They have a new feature that will help to reduce the amount of blur in your photos. Years ago I saw a video in which Adobe gave a sneak peek of this feature – they were still figuring out the algorithm for it, but boy was it impressive! It is a feature they could easily keep in their full PhotoShop version, but I’m so glad they are making it available in the more affordable Elements version.

Here is a brief video that demonstrates this feature:

One other feature version 14 has that 13 doesn’t is haze reduction that is said to be especially useful for landscape photos. I wonder if it would help with my scanned photos from the 1990’s? If you use the organizer, this version is also said to have some improvements in facial recognition. I am way back on version 9… I’m thinking it is time to upgrade!

The above link contains an affiliate link – Amazon will provide me with a small amount of Amazon store credit for referring you to their site to make a purchase. This involves no additional cost to you. If you’ve found this post useful, please consider using the Amazon link above.  Thank you! 🙂

Do you have this version? If so, let us know how you like in the comments below.

Categories
Crafts Tutorials

Use Evernote to create a searchable inventory of sewing patterns

I recently finished my 3rd runDisney race, and only have a few months until my next one.  I enjoy creating costumes for the events, but seem to go out and buy new patterns each time I need something new (this goes for Star Wars costuming as well, which I also do). While I was looking through patterns online the other day, I realized I probably already own some patterns that would fulfill the needs of at least part of my current/future projects.  I’ve been sewing since 7th grade and have accumulated numerous patterns over the years – of course styles come and go, but when you are mixing patterns sometimes you can utilize a neckline of this pattern or an a-line silhouette of that pattern.  Unless you can catch a sale, patterns can really be expensive, so I decided I should check my stash before running out and buying more… but it’s hard to do with so many patterns (especially if you store them in multiple locations). I recently cataloged all our DVD movies using a phone app and wondered if a similar app exists for patterns.  I didn’t find anything specifically for patterns. There are some general “inventory” apps (I am trying one out for all my embossing folders), but since some of my  patterns are really old I knew I couldn’t rely on the UPC symbol.  So I turned to my old friend, Evernote!

Organize your sewing patterns with Evernote!

 

I made use of my ScanSnap iX500, which you can pick up on Amazon here: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005)  I bought it to try to organize/get rid of some of my mounds of paper.  While I’m slowly chipping away on the mounds (baby steps!), it does scan very quickly and easily.  The hard part is getting organized before scanning – once that is done, scanning is a breeze.

You could also take photos of all of your envelopes (or maybe find images of them on the internet), but the ScanSnap does the job really quickly, so my intention today is to show you how I used it to catalog my patterns.

 

ScanSnap Manager settings

I opened up ScanSnap Manager and created a new “Profile”.  I just called it “Scan sewing patterns”.  On the “Applications” tab, I selected “Scan to Evernote (Document)”

scansnap-a

 

On the “Save” tab, I left the default in the Image saving folder field, but I suppose I could have added another folder to organize a little better. But my goal is Evernote and not so much my hard drive.  I checked the “Rename file after scanning” box.  This way it gives me an option to change the name before it saves it.

scansnap-b

 

On the “Scanning” tab, I changed the “Scanning side” to “Duplex Scan (Double-sided)” so that it would scan both sides of the envelopes.  I also changed “Image rotation” to “Rotate 180 (vertical bound)” – it’s not essential to change this setting – just personal choice based on how I wanted the envelope to go through the scanner.  I was thinking face down (but right side up) would create the least heartburn.  I don’t think “Blank page removal” comes into play for this single page scan.

scansnap-c

 

If you click on “Option…”, you’ll see this dialog box.  I didn’t change any of the settings, but good to know they can be adjusted if needed.

scansnap-d

 

On the “File option” tab, I made sure “PDF (*.pdf)” was selected.  I also made sure “Convert to Searchable PDF” was checked

scansnap-e

 

If you click the “Option…” button, you’ll see this dialog box.  I selected the “Multipage PDF (whole batch in one PDF)”.  You could select the other option and use 2 pages and it would yield the same result.  If you generate a PDF for each 1 page, then you can later select the scans from the front and back of the envelope and merge them to one note.  I like the way the merged note looks on my laptop, however I don’t like the way PDFs look on my smart phone (they are attachments that I have to open with a separate app).  If you ‘merge’ documents, you have 2 PDF attachments… one for the front of the envelope and one for the back.  It’s bad enough I have to open one at all – I don’t want to have to open two. 😉

scansnap-f

 

On the “Paper” tab, I changed the “Multifeed Detection” to “None”

scansnap-g

 

…. otherwise I would get this error:

scansnap-post1

 

I already had the value on the “Compression” tab set to 4, so I left it.  It is not a setting I have researched too much yet

scansnap-h

 

In Evernote, you can either set up your tags before you scan, or do it while you are scanning.  I ended up adding tags while I was scanning, but it’s good to have an overall plan for organization.  But if you don’t (or change your plan later) it’s super easy to move tags around.  Here is what my tags looked like when I was all finished (this was after I did lots of fine tuning). I think it will work for me for now.

Because I’ve gotten in the habit of starting all scanned items with a period, I created a “.sewing pattern” category and a few main subcategories:

  • .pattern categories
  • .pattern company
  • .pattern cut status
  • .pattern difficulty
  • .sewing theme
  • .style

Evernote pattern tags

We are now ready to start scanning. First I removed the contents from the pattern envelope (this is one of the patterns I bought for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary… but I ended up using a different pattern, lol).  It would be too bulky to send the whole thing through the scanner.

20150909_123442

I then loaded the envelope into the scanner as such (this is where the “Image Rotation” on the “Scanning” tab comes into play. If you want to run it through differently then you may not need to change the orientation).

20150909_123611

After pressing the scan button, I was prompted for a new name. I saved the file as the pattern number.  in this case, “MP434”

scansnap-post-2

Below the image I put the year the pattern was created (look for the copyright on the envelope – most have it but a few old patterns didn’t).

scansnap-r

While I may never use the year for searching, it is nice to have for reference, and I didn’t want to add a tag for each year.  Another thing I could do since I have some really old patterns is tag with the decade, like ‘1980’s’.  Who knows, I might want to create an 80’s outfit sometime (not like I don’t have some leftover clothes from then, haha).  Another bonus of having a little bit of text in the note is that I’ll see a smaller thumbnail of the pattern when I view the entire Notebook (otherwise it is a larger thumbnail of PART of the image… the entire image doesn’t show).

TAG, TAG, TAG! 

Once the envelope is scanned, start tagging.   When in doubt, tag it.  Tag all the elements in the pattern (shirts, pants, belts, hats, bows). Tag the theme (e.g. princesses) and style (e.g. v-neck, sweetheart, etc). There is virtually no limit on the number of Evernote tags you may use.

Once you add a few tags to a pattern (around 3), you will have to add all subsequent tags through a pop-up.  It takes extra clicks and is tedious, so to alleviate some of that you can do a few things to free up some additional room on the right side of the screen:

I unchecked “Show Left Panel”.

scansnap-q

 

I also unchecked “Show Labels” and I removed a few icons using the “Customize Toolbar…” option  (to access this menu, right click on toolbar where tags are displayed)

scansnap-s

 

Once you are finished tagging you are done with the pattern. Here is how Evernote looks.  You can see I have tagged this McCalls pattern with ‘.dresses’, ‘.halter neckline’, ‘.mccalls’ etc.  There are a couple of ways to configure your screen for viewing purposes. I like seeing a large photo of the pattern in the right panel

scansnap-j

The only thing I don’t care for with my cataloging method is that I have to hover over the image in order to find the arrow to go to page 2 (showing the back side of the pattern).  But I wanted to keep it a pdf (jpg is another option, but the text wouldn’t be searchable), so I will live with the 2 page pdf.

scansnap-k

Scan. Rinse. Repeat 🙂

Once you’ve cataloged all your patterns, now you can search by your tags.  Click the tag icon and select the options you wish to filter on.

scansnap-l

Here the view is filtered on dresses, and I can see 7 dress patterns in the center column.

scansnap-n

I can also search on multiple tags.  Here I’ve filtered for strapless dresses.  This is so exciting!

scansnap-o

Here I filtered on “.sash”.  Who knew I had 4 of them??

sash

I thought I’d also try using a combination of tags and the search feature since the optical character recognition (OCR) means I can search text on the back of the pattern.  I also wondered if I could use a “-” sign to exclude certain tags, and it seemed to work!  Here I searched pants that don’t have a zipper listed on the envelope (notions).  So what if this pattern is from 1990… it might work for my next project!

zipper

As I mentioned, you can change the view.  Here is how it would look if you hide the “Note Panel” and changed the view from “Snippet” to “Card”.  I like seeing multiple patterns at once, but it loses points for not being able to show the entire image of each.  So for now, I’ll leave it as a snippet.

scansnap-i

When I was all finished cataloging all my patterns, I had 91 of them, which surprised even me!  It took a few hours to get organized, but going forward, all new patterns will be a snap (pun intended) to add.  So I think it was well worth the time investment.  Now next time I need a pattern for a project, I will check my stash first!

Categories
Scrapbooking

How Mousescrappers Changed and Saved my Digital Scrapbooking Life

Hi!  I am Sheryl Gibson (disneysheryl65 around here) and have always loved Disney.  In 1998, my husband and I took my son for his first trip when he was 4 years old.  Well, now he is 21, and we still go just about every year.  It is our special place together (along with millions of others – hee hee) and to this day every trip is joyful and full of family traditions and memories.

In 2000, I discovered the art of scrapbooking.  I had always taken lots of pictures and put them into albums.  A friend took me to a Creative Memories home show and I was hooked immediately.  I love arts and crafts, but never felt I had any real ability in that arena.  My sister was an art major and I thought she got all of the family talents!  Scrapbooking was the perfect way for me to feel artistic.  My sister and I worked on a book for my mom and dad’s 40th wedding anniversary and we both loved it so much we both became Creative Memories (CM) consultants.  When CM introduced digital scrapbooking, I was a bit skeptical, after all, the joy I found in scrapping was the art part.  How would I fulfill those needs on a computer?  Well, after some tentative tries, I realized that my creativity actually grew with all of the options in sizing, coloring and effects.  Not to mention the fact that a digital book takes up far less space than the 50+ monster traditional style books stacked on shelves around my house!

Skip forward to summer 2013.  CM consultants received the news that the company will be shutting down operations including the digital scrapbook software and support.  I was devastated.  I didn’t know anything else.  I began to search for ways to continue with my hobby (passion, really) without CM.  During this time is when I discovered MouseScrappers (MS).  I was floored.  Previous to this time, I didn’t really even know there was so much digital content out there, and most importantly, Disney related content!  (Cue angelic music and bright shining lights.)

And so began a new journey for me in digital scrapbooking.  So many wonderful things have happened:

1- I have learned so many new techniques and creative things to do on my pages.  I had never made a cluster or used paint or layering before.  I used to strictly fill in a template, put a few stickers on and journal the page.  I feel even more creative than ever thanks to the MS community.

2- I’ve made new friends.  The MS community is so generous and helpful and fun!  I never really thought about being able to build relationships and connections through a website before joining MS.

3- The connections I’ve made have allowed me to spread my wings and venture to apply for some creative teams, and guess what? They accepted me. This just expanded my friendships and love for the craft!  I’ve even started a blog!  If you knew how hilarious that would have sounded to me a couple of years ago….

4- MS has introduced me to some amazing designers.  Not just because their work is so great (it is), but because these women are so supportive and generous to sponsor this website and its many fun challenges and events.

5 – I am getting pages done!!!  By completing weekly challenges, speeds scraps and participating in Project 2015, I am completing 3-5 pages on a weekly basis!  That is the icing on the cake!

I want to thank Carol for inviting me to post a guest blog on MouseScrappers and for all of the wonderful work she and her team put into keeping this site running!  I hope that my story will inspire others out there to get involved with this community.  I promise you won’t be sorry!  If this old dog can learn so many new tricks, I know you can!  Just for fun – here’s a before and after to show you how my style has grown.

MS Blog 1

c. 2008 – Creative Memories predesigned page, Jewel Power Palette (no embellishments, no frames, pretty plain, huh?)

MS Blog 2

July 2015 – Kellybell That Covers It template vol. 2 #2, Go for Launch, Reflections of China, White and Silver alpha; Journal card from Bella Gypsy Snap Happy May; turkey leg from Scrappy Bee picnic blog train.