Thursday, 14 March 2013

Creating a Stamp Index Using Evernote

In my last post on organizing your stamp sets, I had mentioned that in addition to using a binder to hold the index sheets I create, I also store all my stamp sets electronically. The program I use is a wonderful little tool called Evernote. You can download it for free to use on your computer, or just create an account and use it online.


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 Evernote

When 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.

Scan stamps

(Click on the screenshots to get a bigger view.)

new note
attach

Step 2: Enter your stamp information

One 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.

Image text

add text


Step 3: Tag your stamps

This 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.

Tagging

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!)

search tags

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 Tips

When 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 things

Here’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!

19 comments:

  1. I use Evernote and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! The search feature and the fact that it syncs automatically across my iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop!

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  2. This is an amazing program, Your Tutorial is Terrific! Just wanted to let you know I have recommended it to others. I love your suggestions, had not even thought about ink pads and definitely want to do punches.

    I started with this program in July, just want to mention I believe they allow 60mb every month on the free version, which is quite a bit and sufficient just keep a watch on it. A person does have the option to upgrade to premium for about $5 a month which gives you 1 gb a month and access to notes offline.

    Doris B

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  3. I just started using Evernote and have not even realized its full potential. Your tutorial was a great help. I am glad I just got started because I am going to use your tips to help me set it up even better right up front. The "tag" section was really helpful! I have a lot of stamp sets and supplies .... so I liked your note about doing 5 sets a day --- that way it won't be so overwhelming and I will still have time to make some cards or scrapbook.

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  4. Thanks for a great post on organizing stamps (your February post) and this one on using Evernote to keep everything at the tip of the finger via computers and mobile devices. I've noticed you haven't posted recently and I hope it is just a busy end of summer. You've got some great ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

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  5. Excellent tutorial! Guess what this girl will be doing today?

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  6. Another way to get images of your stamp set (or anything else) is to do a google image search. I found most of the stamp sets, punches, embossing folders, dies already out there. Saved me a lot of time.

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  7. Found you through FB group Organization Challenge. Thanks for taking the time write up this tutorial.

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  8. I'm Floored! This is so great and your writing is really great, too! Tells me everything I need know. I was curious though, about how many stamp sets do you have? Single stamps???

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  9. I love this idea! I'm a Preschool Teacher and was thinking this would be great for the tons of books I've purchased over the years. Unfortunately I have duplicates due to not sure I had one already. I'm hoping once I've looked into this program that this could help me get my books organized.

    Thank you for sharing

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  10. Thanks for this I just finished cataloging my CRICUT cartridges and am working on stamps next. That will be my goal for 2014.

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  11. WOW - amazing; thank you for the incredible tutorial!!!

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  12. Your blog is becoming a source of inspiration for a lot of people on the facebook scrapbook chat group. Thank you!

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  13. Thank you so much for the helpful tips!

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  14. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to have created this incredibly easy to follow pictorial tutorial for all of us. Thanks to you, I was able to just get started right away and now 2 months later have gotten quite a lot completed. Thank you!

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  15. lones@comcast.neet6 May 2015 at 15:02

    This sounds wonderful! Would you do a new note for each stamp set then?

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  16. Thanks for this It's been 3 years since you posted this. I didn't see any kind of search bar on your blog so I couldn't search for other Evernote posts. I tried your organization tag to see if they might be in there, but no luck. You mentioned other future posts and I hope you did because you are wonderful at explaining. Please do more or let us know how to find your other Evernote posts. Thanks!

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    1. I too am new to evernote and could find no new helpful tips. So I just jumped in. I keep thinking of you as I am entering my "ex Large" inventory. So if you have any questions or tips feel free to contact me. Some of the info Pam has stated is no longer true as evernote now has a web cam that you take a photo of your stamp set (or whatever) and it goes right into your notebook, then you just add any other pertinent information. gail

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  17. I have just started to organize my stamps, both alphabetically and into catagories. I have spent hours so far working on this (by hand)very much the same as you have done on Evernote. I do have Evernote on my computer, but didn't look into what all you can do. Thanks so much for this info. I will have to see if I an figure it out. I am also a SU demonstrator.

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