Storytelling and Robin-Eggs

Storytelling for me is a process combining both photographs and words. My dad, a man who enjoyed photo albums but rarely made photos himself, was definitely a storyteller. I remember him often sharing stories about family, childhood and life, recalling and describing scenes from memory. It wasn’t until late in his life that he began to write his stories. If a gene for storytelling existed in the human genome, then clearly I inherited the predisposition for sharing stories from my dad. I think he would have loved reading through the books and albums of pages that I have created by combining photography and writing to tell my stories.

Often there are recurring stories in my life, for example robins 2016-05-16 164422who return every year to make nests in our yard, in the eves of the deck, in a dwarf Korean Lilac tree and this year, in a small hydrangea tree close to my front door. I had to use my iPhone to capture this nest because of limited space between the branches of the little tree.

In the past, I have created a few other pages with photos about the beautiful blue eggs. After I finished creating the page with my latest photo, 2011-07-16_Robin's EggI went back to see what else I had done on the topic of eggs. In June 2011, I wrote about my regret that my husband had taken down a nest with only one blue egg. Then good grief I thought, I can’t believe how much my scrapbooking style has changed in five years. Yet, I think my writing voice has not changed at all because the journaling sounds as if I had written it today. Below is another page that I created in 2011, one that I’ve never printed, although I still smile at the memory. I actually thought about my youngest grandson’s first experience with a robin-egg when I wrote the journaling for my latest layout. 2011-07-15_Robin's EggMama bird gets very angry when I approach. She squawks and dives around me as she expresses her displeasure. I have told her that if she’s going to build a nest in my yard, then I am going to photograph the arrival of her babies. However, I also promised Mrs. Robin that when Kate and I peer among the leaves, we won’t touch her eggs or nest. There was an unfortunate incident several years ago when Corbin accidentally dropped one little blue egg.

It’s been five years since I captured those photos of Corbin, but I think that story would make a wonderful two spread combined with my latest page. The more that I look back this year, the more I am enjoying the benefits of connecting past and current stories in this year’s book project. Now comes the challenge of figuring out how to combine the two pages. It’s really best to create both sides for a two page spread at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t always do what is best. I will try to share how I put the two stories together in a future post.

Coloring Elements with Blending Modes and LightLeaks

For the month of May, Anna’s team members are sharing ideas for using blending modes on scrapbooking pages. Earlier this month, I shared a quick tip for using levels adjustment layers and blend modes to change the color of elements. Today, I thought I’d share how I colored the bird from MultiMedia Birds No. 1 using blending modes and LightLeaks.


On the left of the screenshot below, is the original psd file that Anna provided in MultiMedia Birds No. 1. On the right side are the changes that I made to coordinate the bird with my page. After moving the bird and stitching to the left to accommodate my photo, I switched out the orange button for a pink button. I made no other changes to the original psd layers. Instead, to color the bird layer, I clipped brushes and LightLeaks to that layer.


First, I clipped a copy of solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Cultivate to the bird and reduced the opacity to 35% in order to match the color of the bird with the background. I could also have recolored the bird.

Note: In the process of working with blending modes on the glows and brush files to color the bird, I found that I needed to lighten the layers. To do that I stamped a white rectangle on a new layer. I then added a gaussian blur and reduced the opacity to 75%. This technique also works for lightening the background just below journaling so that it is more readable.


To create the wings on the bird, I placed png file 8, a stem, from Watercolor Flowers No. 1, resizing and rotating it so that it created a wing effect. I recolored it white on normal blend mode at 100%. I duplicated the stem, selected a color from the eggs in photo and recolored that layer before changing the blend mode to linear light at 100%.


Next, I added two copies of png file 3 from LightLeaks No. 3. I changed the blending mode of the lower light leak to color burn at 40% and the layer above to color at 40%.


Above the first two LightLeak layers, I placed png file 6 from LightLeaks No. 3. I changed the blend mode to linear light at 100%. To get the pink color, I added a hue and saturation adjustment layer. I inverted the mask and used a round brush to bring in enough color to create a red breast on the bird.


Finally, I added a little black dot with a hard round brush on a new blank layer to create an eye for the bird.


I used the same technique with blending modes and LightLeaks to color the watercolor flower brush 1, Watercolor Flowers No. 1, under the button and thread on the right side. Click on the layout for additional product details.





Focus the Eye with a Frame


  1. Thank you so much once again Linda for sharing your beautiful layouts (both of them!) AND sharing your process!

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