It’s basically a tool to capture data. You can create “notes” using text, photos, web pages, video or audio clips which you then file into folders or “notebooks” as they call them. You can use it to store recipes you’ve found on the web, as a spot for your to-do list, or a place to keep all those cool scrapbook layouts you’ve seen. The possibilities are really endless.
Here’s how I use it as a stamp index.
Step 1: Scan or photograph your image, and upload it to EvernoteWhen I’m stamping my index sheets, I take a moment to scan it into my computer. You could also scan the stamp case itself, or even take a photograph of it if that’s easier for you. The idea is to have an image of all the stamps in the set so you can see it easily on the screen.
(Click on the screenshots to get a bigger view.)
Step 2: Enter your stamp informationOne of the super-cool things about Evernote is that it can search for text that is in your uploaded photos or images. So in this example, since you can see my handwritten “Lovely as a Tree” when I type that into the search box this photo will come up. Unfortunately, as with all technology, it’s not foolproof. I find it works much better when searching actual type (like words in a picture of a sign) than it is recognizing handwriting and hand printing. So just to be certain my searches pick up everything, I re-enter my stamp catalogue information right above the image using the “edit” button.
Step 3: Tag your stampsThis step is where Evernote really shines and makes all your work worth it. Have a good, hard look at your stamp set. Now create a tag for absolutely every possible thing you think you can use that stamp set for. To go back to Lovely as a Tree, I’ve used the tags trees (obviously),leaves, nature, backgrounds, fall, winter, masculine, sympathy, Christmas. Since I scrapbook, I've also have added camping to the list. You can make your tags as broad or specific as you want. Do this brain-crunching exercise for every stamp set you have. If your stack is huge like mine was, don’t try and do it all at once. Set a goal to do 5 sets a day. Slowly pick away at it, and it will get done.
So why am I doing all this work?Can you see where I’m going with this? *drum roll please* Excited? Now that I’ve got all my stamps tagged, when I want to make a sympathy card all I have to do is type “sympathy” into my search box, and *poof* through the magic of technology every single stamp set I own and could possibly use on a sympathy card pops right up at my fingertips. I choose the set(s) I want, write down the catalogue number so I know which drawer in my studio to find them in, and voila! No endless hours aimlessly sifting through stamp sets looking for “just the right one”. (You’ll also notice in the image below, there are also references to blog posts and online tutorials relating to sympathy cards. I’ll tackle that in another post!)
This is the main reason I take the extra time to fuss with all this computer stuff. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this system and how much time it has ultimately saved me. Yes, it takes time to set up. Yes, you have to keep adding the new sets you buy to keep it accurate. Is it worth it? You' have to decide that for yourself. For me, the ability to search through my entire stamp collection with just a few clicks is well worth it.
Tagging TipsWhen tagging, here are a few things to keep in mind. Start by tagging the obvious. Whether its a heart, a flower, a tree or a cat, make a tag for it. You want to be able to search “cat” and come up with all your cat stamps. If you’re a card maker, be sure to assign “occasions” to your stamps. Think birthday, thinking-of-you, get well, retirement. If you are a scrapbooker, be sure to tag with “themes” like travel, baby, swimming, etc. That way you have a nice set of tags to search from when you go to make a specific kind of card or scrapbook layout. If you do both, you may find your themes and occasions overlap. Birthday is a good example of this, and it’s perfectly OK. The point is whether you are making a birthday card or scrapbooking your son’s 5th birthday party, you can put your fingers on all the birthday stamps you own. You may also want to consider tagging by “function.” This would include tags based on how you use the stamps. Examples include backgrounds, basic shapes, borders, alphabet. Finally, because Stampin’ Up! creates so many wonderful stamps to coordinate with specific tools, why not make tags of those too? Think how nice it would be to search 1” circle punch and see all your stamps that would fit!
A few more nifty Evernote thingsHere’s another cool tidbit to tempt you. Evernote also makes mobile versions for iPhone and android. Imagine standing in the aisle of a big craft store (we won’t name names and I know you’d much rather shop from me). You’re staring at the stamps trying desperately to remember if you already have a Santa-hat-wearing cat stamp in your collection. Imagine whipping out your phone, opening Evernote, typing “cat, Santa” and discovering you already have 3 stamps like that including the very one you are staring at on the shelf. How much money did you just save? Was that worth the time invested?
One more cool thing, then I’ll let this all sink in for you. Another ability the mobile versions have is to allow you to upload a photo you’ve taken with your phone directly to Evernote. Why is this cool? Remember how I said Evernote can search for text right in a photo? Why not take a picture of all your stamp pads, making sure you zoom in on the text with the name of the colour? Now the next time you’re at a class and wondering if you have Melon Mambo ink at home, just pull out that phone and hit the search button!
I’m still not done with the wonders of Evernote. In a future post I’ll discuss how I use it to organize all those great stamp ideas you come across on the net.
So there you have it. I hope I’ve inspired you to at least have a peek at Evernote and explore what it can do for you. Even if you’re not the most technologically savvy, it’s easy to use and their support page is full of great video tutorials and tips. Best of all it’s free, so why not give it a try?
Please add your comments or questions below, I’d love to hear from you!