Today I Learned: Digital Craft Organization
Whether you've got a dedicated craft room or little more than a table in your kitchen corner, craft storage can be a problem. All this week on the TE Blog, we've been sharing helpful tips and clever tricks from our Creative Team on how to organize your crafty stash. Today, designer Kim Singdahlsen guides us through how she puts digital tools to work to keep her stamps and dies organized. Check it out!
How to Make Your Own Digital Stash Catalog
A Note from Kim...

After 15 years of stamping, I have a lot of stamps and dies, which I've organized in my small craft space in a way that suits me. But what I really needed was a way to deal with how to find the stamps and dies once they were filed away. (For a closer look at Kim's storage solutions, visit the TE Blog HERE.)

I turned to technology to see if I could find a way to do this. I’ve tried many other options, particularly apps on my iPad. Some were useful, but none were quite what I needed. I turned to programs I could use on my home computer and finally settled on a popular photo storage and sharing application called FLICKR for a couple of reasons:
  1. It has a multi-level folder structure and a "tag" system for finding what I need.
  2. I can access it from my PC, my phone, my iPad, etc. My PC is on my craft desk so I can be looking up things while I craft and it’s also handy on my phone for shopping to see if I already own something!

For all my organizational purposes, a standard FREE FLICKR account allows me enough access to accomplish what I need (though I do pay for a premium account to access other tools.). Many of the tips I share below can be translated in some fashion to other programs, too. There are now many photo storage, editing, and sharing applications out there, so give them a try and see what works best for you!

First I download the images of my new products into a temporary file on my computer.  To do this, just right-click with your mouse on the image from within the TE Web Store and select “Save Image As”. I save mine into a "Load to Flickr" folder that I have set up just for this. (Tip: As I’m downloading, I also make sure it is named with the set name because you will be able to search by that when it’s in FLICKR.)

At the highest organization level, FLICKR has what are called “collections”. My card-making products are in a “stamp” collection. Below that, I have albums. The photo above shows my TE Stamps Album. (Tip: Keep dies that coordinate with stamps in the stamps album.) I have separate albums for stand-alone dies and embossing folders. FYI – there’s no requirement to use a “collection” in FLICKR. Albums are their main sorting source. But collections are useful if you use FLICKR for multiple things like personal photos or other organization. 

Next, to upload the product images to FLICKR, just click on the Upload icon in the upper right of the FLICKR screen. There’s a Drag and Drop option and a Choose Photos option. I like Drag and Drop, but use whichever is easier for you. In the example above, I am importing die images to FLICKR.
I open my temporary file folder on one side of my screen and FLICKR on the other side. Since I have different FLICKR albums for stamps and dies, I select all the dies in my temporary album and drag them over to FLICKR. Then I click on "Add to albums", which brings up a list of all my albums. Just start typing the name of your album and it will narrow it down until you find the one you want to select. Click on it, hit “done,", and then select “upload photos”. 
As you can see at the top of the picture above, FLICKR has a search function. Let’s say that I want to use a Grumplings stamp set. I simply type in “Grumplings” and it finds everything I have named Grumplings. This will bring up everything that has the word "Grumplings" in the title, which can include photos of cards I have made with those sets. (This can be very helpful if you are a blogger, like me.)  

However, there’s an even more powerful tool called “tags”. You may be familiar with adding tags to Facebook or your blog posts. If not, think of it as a labeling system. I begin by adding a "TE" tag to every Taylored Expressions stamp, die, and embossing folder I own. Then I add specific tags. For example, every stamp set and die related to birthdays has a “birthday” tag added to each product image. Here is where it becomes powerful:

Let’s say there is a stamp set that has just one birthday sentiment in it. I give it a “birthday” tag (along with tags for all the other sentiments). Now, if I were to type “TE” and “birthday” in the search box, then click on the Advanced Search and select to search just by tags, here is what I get:
What comes up is every stamp set that has a birthday-specific image or sentiment, regardless of whether the set as a whole is birthday themed! I love this method because there are always things that I might otherwise have missed. For instance, the third set that appears above looks like Easter and I would never have looked at it. But I tagged it “birthday” and sure enough, there is a “Happy Birthday to Ewe” sentiment in it and now I have a creative springboard from which to take a leap!

You can get really carried away with tags! By adding related tags, you can narrow your search. Even in the simple birthday search, if you had a tag set up for “kids” you could search only for kid-friendly images. Maybe you want to add “stamps” or “dies” tags so you can just search on that type of product. The possibilities are endless!  

  Taylored Expressions
121 SE Shurfine Drive Suite 3
Ankeny, IA 50021