April Blog Train: No Pirates Allowed!

This weekend I’ve been spending time on a train.  A blog train!  It’s a wonderful, albeit time consuming, way to collect a digital scrapbooking kit.  But the best part about it is meeting new designers and signing up for their newsletters so I can be informed of their future fabulous creations that I may use in my scrapbooking.  I just decided to take a moment in between downloading to share this.  If you’d like to hop on board, here is the Blog Train Blog.

This month’s blog train theme is No Pirates Allowed.  It’s not just a cute pirate theme, though it works as that, with many great uses, such as scrapbooking your children and titling your page “My Biggest Treasure.”  The artists are also spreading the message that digital pirates will not be tolerated.  Unfortunately, there are people who steal the work of digital artists and redistribute it as their own.  This hurts the business of the artists.  Though many are passionate about their work and might do it even if they weren’t in business, many of them rely on the income too.  The best way to share digital art is to refer your friends to the artist’s website.

If you haven’t taken a ride on a blog train before, here are some tips.  Keep the Blog Train Blog open in one tab, right clicking on the artists’ names and choosing Open in New Tab.  The artists seem to be doing better at putting links to the next participant, but in earlier blog trains, I’d often get derailed by broken or missing links, so I like to have the “main station” blog, the Blog Train Blog, easily available.

Now many of the artists are offering direct links now, which is awesome.  You just click on the link and the download dialogue box on your computer appears. The download sites others use are free, but often annoying.  They can take a minute or two to “prepare” the file before you can download it.  Or they give you big pop up ads.  Don’t panic at the pop up ad, just close it with the X in the top corner or right click and close using the button on your desktop toolbar.  And remember, this is all free, so we can’t be too demanding, right?

Where are you going to put all this beautiful scrappin’ stuff?  I download all of my scrapbooking stuff temporarily into a folder cleverly named “scrapbookdownloads.”  Having it download into one folder this way is convenient.  For one thing, I can tell my browser to remember where that folder is and automatically open to that particular folder every time I download scrapbook art.  Now, when I’m going to be downloading a lot of files, such as for a blog train or when I make a purchase, I create a subfolder within my scrapbookdownloads folder.  Then, after I have downloaded everything, I open up that subfolder.  With my Firefox browser that is very easy because Firefox has a window that shows a list of all my downloads and I can right click any on the list and click Open Containing Folder.  Then I also open  my Extract Now program.  [I highly recommend Extract Now or another extraction program if you are going to be collecting scrapbook graphics!]  I highlight all the zip files in that subfolder of my scrapbookdownloads folder and drag them into Extract Now.  With one click in Extract Now, my graphics are being unzipped automatically, and meanwhile I can go read some email or write a blog entry.  When everything is unzipped, I organize it into my file system, which I blogged about here last August.

I’m making more of a point to leave comments for the designers this time around.  First of all, the artists participating in the blog train have worked hard within the confines of the given theme (pirates) and color scheme and we’re getting a lot of great stuff!   I want to thank all the artists who are offering direct links so we don’t have to deal with the download sites.  And I am particularly grateful, now that I’m working on starting a scrap-4-hire business, that several of these artists have made their contributions s4h-friendly.  Thank you!

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