Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 1 - Advent Calendar

Welcome to Sharing Memories Scrapbooking's version of the 12 Days of Christmas! We have 12 days of fun Holiday projects lined up for you.

And first up to kick off December is this fun, cute, easy and reusable MUFFIN TIN ADVENT CALENDAR!

I certainly can't take credit for designing this project - I have seen many variations of it online and at craft shows. I have always thought they were cute, so this year I decided it was my turn to have a go at making one! It was easy and best of all I was able to use things from my kitchen (the mini-muffin tin) and from my stash of scrapbooking supplies. The only thing I bought especially for this project was a peel and stick magnet sheet for the back of my date circles, which set me back $4.99 at Wal-Mart. (And really, although the magnets make it easy and fast to sick the numbers on the muffin tins, you could adhere them with double sided tape. But since I would like to re-use it for a few years, I thought it might make the paper circles more durable.)

Here's a list of all the materials you'll need:
  • Mini-muffin tin - 24 muffin capacity
  • Paper scraps in Christmas patterns or colors.
  • Number 1 through 24 (like my FREE December Daily Date Circles) or an assortment of rub-on, stickers or chipboard numbers.
  • Paper adhesive to attach your numbers.
  • Coordinating ribbon(s) - about 12 inches.
  • Assorted small embellishments like gems, stickers, rub-ons, buttons etc. (optional)
  • Peel & Stick magnet sheet (handy, but optional)
  • Drill (to drill hanging holes in your muffin tin if there is none already)
  • 24 little treats to fill muffin tins.

So let's make it!
  • First drill one or two small holes in one of the short ends of the muffin tin. The metal used in baking tins can be of varying thickness, so if you have a very thick, coated tin you may have to use a special drill bit. Mine was quite easy to drill through using a regular drill bit. I drilled a single hole in the centre, but you could also drill two holes about 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • Prep your circles. Measure the distance between each muffin hole and decide on the size you want (I decided on 2.5 inches). Cut or punch 24 circles (or squares!) from your paper scraps. I used my CM Custom Cutting System to cut circles from the scraps that I used to make my December Daily Album, which was the "Christmas Party" line from American Traditional Designs.
  • If you are using magnet backing, cut your magnet sheet into 24 circles the same size as your paper.  (My circle cutter went through the magnet sheet easily, making short work of cutting the magnetic circles!)
  • Now get your numbers ready. I used my December Daily Date Circles (which you can download, print and cut out using a 1.5 inch circle punch). Now you are ready to assemble your calendar!
  • Peel off the protective paper on the back of each magnet and mount your paper circles on them.

  • Before you adhere your number to the circles, take a few moments to arrange your shapes on the muffin tin. Once you like the arrangement of patterns and colors, start adding your numbers to each of the circles.
  • If you like, add some small embellishments to a few of the date circles for some interest and variety. I added a just few snowflake stickers to the solid colored circles...the rest of the circles were colorful enough because of the patterned paper I used.
  • Fill each of the cavities with a small treat, candy, coupon, note etc.
  • Tie your ribbon(s) through the hole on the top of the muffin tin and hang it up! Each day remove the number square corresponding to the days date to share the treat! (Tip: As you remove them, pop each of your date circles in a baggie or little box to keep them all together and ready for re-use next year!)

Note: My older son is very excited to start this project...he watched me make the Advent Calendar last week and we talked a little bit about it's significance. To help him understand Advent a bit more, we are going to use "My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas" by Dr. Mary Manz Simon that I picked up at Chapters a few weeks ago. This colorful board book has a story, bible verse, prayer and activity for each day leading up to Jesus' birthday. I plan on combining the calendar and book into a little Advent ritual each morning!)

It's not too late to make one of these Advent Calendars... grab your mini-muffin tin and your paper stash and you can whip this up tonight in time for tomorrow! Have fun and if you make one, post a pic and send us a link!

Now, on to our kickoff prize! Since we had two lovely gals who posted our 12 Days of Christmas button on their blogs, I think they should each get a little goody bag! So,  Julie and Nina - please email me your addresses and I will get your goodies off to you asap! Thanks!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Day 2 and some fun and easy Christmas card ideas. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don't miss any of the fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas is Coming!

What a blast the Blog Hop was! Thanks to Georgana over at Adornit for organizing it and including us all! SHE IS AWESOME! Her posts throughout the week were full of ideas for the upcoming holidays and inspired me to do something fun on my site! I have been working hard getting Christmas items ready for the store and some upcoming craft fairs, so I definitely want to showcase the new products. Also, I was blown away with the comments about the blog hop tutorial and I'm so glad that so many people enjoyed it. So I am going to share some how-tos for fun and easy projects and want you to have a great time along with me!

12 days of christmas logo

A new idea/project will be posted everyday starting December 1st. And we'll also have prizes! What's not to love?

To make sure you don't miss out on each and every idea posted, sign up to receive the RSS feed from the site! (It's easy...just click on the Subscribe/Follow button on the bottom of any blog post and enter your email address. You can also follow in Google by adding the URL
to your Google Friends page.)

So, are you ready for the first prize? Let's do a little link-love!
  1. Grab our "12 Days of Christmas" button to share on your site by copying the code under the picture in the sidebar.
  2. Follow the procedure for creating an HTML widget on your own blog or site.
  3. Add the code to your widget and the picture should show up in your sidebar.
  4. Leave a comment below with a link back to your site.
  5. Everyone who posts the button on their site will be entered in a draw for our first prize on December 1st! it now and good luck!

OK? Check back December 1st for the first project and the prize winner!

This is gonna be fun!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adornit Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Adornit Blog Hop! Thanks for stopping by. If you arrived here by coincidence, great, but if you want to catch ALL the fun, you might want to start at the very beginning. Jump on over to so you won't miss out on any of the great posts!

Since we are "Making it Merry" today on the blog hop, I want to share how to make a merry little mini-album with you. It's easy, quick and inexpensive - I am all about that!


The finished album is 6 x 6 with 10 pages (plus the front and back covers) and 6 pockets. It would make a great Christmas gift or a sweet little book to record all the events that happen during this upcoming holiday season. Let's get started!

1) Gather your materials. You'll only need 3 12 x 12 sheets of coordinated patterned paper, 2 12 x 12 sheets of solid cardstock in colors that will work with your patterned paper, a 24" length of narrow ribbon - again, choose one that will match your paper selections. You'll also need a paper cutter or scissors, adhesive and a hole punch. That's it! Note: I used papers from Stampin' Up that are double sided, but you won't see one side of the paper so single sided is just fine. My patterned papers feature red and green dots of various sizes and I chose to use one piece of solid green and one piece of solid red cardstock (but your cardstock can both be the same color if you prefer). I grabbed a length of red and white dotted ribbon to add to the theme. They are festive choices, but they don't scream Christmas. And one of the great things about this mini is it's versatility - you can use it for ANY event or theme. The first time I made this type of album it was to document the first few days after my youngest son Sam was born (you can see that album here) and I have made quite a few more since.


2) Make the album pages. Find and mark the center of your first sheet of patterned paper.

mark centre

Fold one side in towards the centre mark and crease along the entire length of the paper. Repeat on the other side.

fold to centre

If you like, use a bone folder or similar tool to make your creases nice and sharp.

bone folder

The seam opening will be in the center of your now 6 inch by 12 inch strip of paper. Now fold the strip of paper in half to make a 6 inch square, with the seam opening on the inside of the fold.

album page folded

Repeat steps #2 and #3 with your other 2 pieces of patterned paper. Set all three aside.

all three pages folded

3) Make the pocket pages. These will fit into the pockets you created by folding the paper and make a fun interactive element for your album. Cut each piece of your solid cardstock into four 6 inch squares. If you have two different colors, take three of the squares from each piece of paper and set one square from each aside. If both your pieces of cardstock are the same color, simply set two aside. Now trim just a sliver off of 2 ends of each the six squares. This is to make them slide more easily into each pocket. (Since the pockets you created by folding the patterned paper measure 6 x 6, you have to make the pages that slide inside them just a hair smaller. In the end, mine measured 5 7/8 x 5 7/8.) 

trim cardstock

6x6 cardstock squares

4) Make the decorative seam covers. Take the remaining square from each piece of paper and trim it into four 1.5 inch strips.

trimming strips

Set one from each color aside (or two if you are using all the same color). Each of these six strips will be adhered over the seam opening on six of the pages.


Since these strips will be very visible on the album pages, I decided to emboss each of my paper strips using the Dots and Spots embossing folder and my Cuttlebug - it certainly adds to my dotty theme! You can decorate your strips however you like by inking or chalking the edges, stamping on them - whatever you fancy. And of course you can leave them as is!

embossing strips

5) Create some tabs. These will enable you to pull each of the pages out of the individual pockets. You can use the leftover 1.5 x 6 inch strip of the cardstock you set aside to cut or punch six matching tabs. Or use a circle or square punch a shape which can be folded in half to create a cutom style tab. You could also use strips of ribbon, contrasting or coordinating patterned paper, ready-made office tabs etc. (I used the McGill Tab Punch which I love.)


Adhere a tab to each of the six cardstock squares so that they will be staggered down the sides of your finished album (think junior high binder divider pages!). You can match the tabs to the paper, or switch it up. I placed a red tab on my green cardstock squares, and a green tab on the red squares.

tabbed pages

6) Assemble your album. First, neatly stack your three patterned papers on top of each other with the centre fold pointing up like a mountain.  Now punch a hole in the same place through all three papers, one on each end of the fold. Hopfully your hole punch goes through all the layers, but if it doesn't try this: punch through one paper, line it up with the next paper, mark with a pencil then punch. Repeat with the final paper.

stack and punch

7) Bind your album. Make sure the holes line up, then thread the ribbon through from the inside to the outside of the book.

bind from inside

Tie the ribbon in a knot.

tie a knot

If you like this look, simply trim the ends of the ribbon. Or, tie into a pretty bow first then trim the ends. 

tie a bow

8 ) Cover your seams. Open the album to the centre page. Take two of the 1.5 x 6 inch strips you cut earlier (use two of the same color, or different colors - it's up to you!) Put adhesive on the back of each strip and place them over the seam opening. Since you will see both strips on this open page, make sure both strips are even and appear to be one continuous strip that goes under the ribbon binding and across the entire center spread.

inside spread

Use the four remaining 1.5 x 6 strips to cover the openings on the other four album pages that have seam openings.

covering a seam

9) Add cardstock pocket pages. Just slide each of the tabbed 6 x 6 cardstock pages into a pocket. That's it - you're done making your album!

book with tabbed pages inside

10) Decorate, add photos and journaling. Now comes the fun! Choose photos and or ephemera such as tickets, brochures, gift tags, holiday cards etc. and start placing them in your album. You have lots of room to play with! My plan for this album is to use it as a holiday highlights album to document with photos and stories all the favorite things we do, people we spend time with, yummy stuff we eat, presents we receive and decorations we put up around our home.


I made the title on my computer (I used CK Ali and Century Gothic fonts) and will use some of our Sharing Memories Journaling Spots to fill in the stories on each page. I don't think I will add a lot of other decorative elements, maybe some word art, or some more of the cute embossed paper buttons I used on the cover (once again coordinating with my dotty theme!)

If you like you could give an album like this along with some decorative supplies as a gift. The recipient could then add their own photos and stories to create a personalized and memorable album.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you try making this fun little album! If you do, I would love to see a pic - post it on your own blog or online photo gallery and send me a link to it in the comments below!

OK...on to the next stop on the hop - Cut the Crazy Out of Christmas! You will be wowed by today's post as well as all the other great tips for making Christmas a little less stressful! And I highly recommend getting the Cut the Crazy Out of Christmas planner book or taking the class of the same name at Big Picture Scrapbooking the next time it is offered. I took it last year, made my planner and now I am more organized and able to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year! Here's my well used and well loved planner (you can click on the picture to visit my personal blog and find out more about the planner).

christmas planner

Anyway...enough from me! Click here to continue on your hop! Have fun and make it merry!


Monday, November 02, 2009

December Daily Freebies!

Halloween was just a couple of days ago, but already many of us are thinking ahead and getting ready for Christmas. There are so many events and activities that happen in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas and it goes by so fast. That's why this year I am so excited to create a December Daily Album. The project is the brainchild of the inspirational Ali Edwards who has been leading countless scrappers through the project for the past couple of years. It is designed to help us capture and record those fleeting, special moments that are as important as the actual day of Christmas. (For more information, background and details of this great project, click here to visit Ali's December Daily 2009 kickoff post.)

This is the first year I am doing a December Daily so I thought a lot about the format I wanted to use and how I could make the album manageable. I decided to do an 8 x 8 album with one 4 x 6 photo and one 4 x 4 photo on each page. This would leave a 2 x 6 space for journaling on each page.

Once I had decided on the format, I started to think about the products and elements I would use to create interest and harmony throughout the album. I really liked one of the date circles Ali used in her 2008 album, so I set out to create some of my own date circles. Although the album technically encompasses December 1st through the 25th, I decided to make date circles for all 31 days in December, as well as a few word and icon circles.

The nice thing is is that even though the circles are red, they don't specifically scream "Christmas", so you can use them for so many other projects. I think they will be great for an Advent calendar I want to make and I can see using a date here and there on a scrapbook page or one of the word circles on a card. And since I am on a freebie roll, I have made them into a PDF file so that you can download them and use them for YOUR December Daily album or any other projects you dream up. Just download, print and cut out the circles to use in all your paper crafting projects. (Note: Each circle measured 1.5 inches in diameter, so if you have a 1.5" circle punch you can make quick work of it!)

In the next few days I will post my album pages. And you know we would love to see what YOU create, so email us a pic or a link to your creation. ENJOY!

December Daily Printables are copyright Sharing Memories Scrapbooking 2009. They are for your personal use and enjoyment only - not for commercial use, sale or re-sale. Thank you.