Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Daily Update

I'm back from our wonderful Christmas getaway. We had a great time - lots of festive food, beverages, outdoor fun and indoor relax time. I DID find time to update my December Daily pages - and I have to say I loved scrapbooking at the little kitchen table, looking out at the woods and snow.

Truthfully, I hadn't done much in the actual album since I showed you my initial set-up in this post. But knowing I'd have some downtime while we were away, I printed out the daily photos and packed up my album kit and brought it with me. I got up early on Boxing Day morning before the rest of the family to work on them. (Funny enough, the one thing I forgot to pack was my photo trimmer, so I hand trimmed a few photos down to the 4x4 size with the kitchen brought back many a memory of my early scrapbooking days before I had all the trimmers and tools!)

The album came together easily as all I had to do was adhere the photos, do a little journaling (I used a simple 4 line stamp I've had in my stash forever to add the journaling lines - sorry, I have no idea of the manufacturer) and add the date circle and any embellishments. It took me about an hour to finish the pages for the 22 days I had brought photos for. Here they are...

I'm liking the overall look of the album...its cohesive, but not too matchy-matchy or precise, which is sometimes a downfall of mine with my perfectionist tendencies. Once I committed to the plan and the pre-made page layouts, I tried to let go of the other little details and not worry about which paper ended up with which photos. Luckily, everything has blended together nicely! As you see, some days ended up being a two page spread, and some are only single pages. Some days I had so many photos that I had to narrow it down and choose which ones to use, whereas on other days there was only one, lone picture to use plus the one I took every day of the Santa countdown. (And a couple of pages still need photos - I obviously missed them when I was selected photos to send to the printer.) I didn't worry about the little details and just enjoyed seeing all the moments - holiday and everyday - captured together in one place.

I'm working on finishing our yearly family album as well so I'll be sorting and sending a big batch of photos in tomorrow and then finish up the December 23-31 pages in a few days.

Until then, I hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

We are heading out to our family cabin for Christmas and looking forward to snowshoeing, having some roaring fires and just relaxing and reveling in the beautiful snowy scenery. I'm also planning on doing some scrapbooking - I've packed my December Daily kit and plan on finishing up some pages so I can finally share them with you next week. (Interestingly, I've found that the hardest thing about keeping up with it this year is actually getting the photos printed - maybe next year a personal photo printer is in order!)

Until then, here is my Christmas card to YOU! I love sending and receiving photo cards, but I was running low on time to get photo cards printed and delivered, so I made up a 4 x 6 "card" on Artisan software (formerly CM Storybook Creator) using the CM Woodland Christmas Digital Additions. I had them printed as 4 x 6 prints locally in 1 hour and was able to adhere them into regular Christmas cards to send out in time for the holidays (well...mostly in time - but my far flung relatives may not get them until after Christmas!)

I hope you have a wonderful holidays with family and friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to make 32 Christmas Cards in 2 hours

Bulk card making is awesome for when you need a lot of cards for a lot of people...this year I need 30 for the students in my homeroom class, and another 30 for the classmates in my two sons classes.

Over the years I've tried many things to streamline my card-making, but I have never tried using a formula from a papercrafting company. I have had this awesome book by CTMH for a while...

...and have made a few cards loosely based on the great sample shown inside it. A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through it looking for inspiration and came upon this workshop for making 16 cards (pgs 111-112):

The instructions said that this was a simple and economical workshop, requiring only the card bases themselves, 1 piece of 12 x 12 patterned paper, 1 coordinating piece of 12 x 12 solid cardstock and another portion of a piece of 12 x 12 solid cardstock to create the accents for 16 cards! The cutting diagrams and instructions seemed straightforward, and it looked like an easy recipe to create lots of cards quickly.

But I needed more than 16 cards, so I thought that just like other recipes, I could "double it" to get the amount that I needed. I found two pieces of pretty red and aqua Christmas patterned paper in my stash and knew that a card project like this was the perfect way to use them up. I had lots of red 12 x 12 cardstock, but no coordinating 12 x 12 aqua cardstock, so I used a few pieces of  8.5 x 11. I figured I could use the scraps from both to cut out some snowflake embellishments with the Accent Essentials Cricut cardtridge. I selected two sentiment stamps and a "Lagoon" ink pad from CTMH that I thought would work well with the patterned papers.

I started by doing all the cutting. I followed the guides, first stacking and cutting the patterned paper, then doing the same with the cardstock. That took about 25 minutes. (Tip: write the Number/Letter on the back of piece as you cut it will save you time later when you are finding all the pieces for each card.)

Then I assembled each type of card..all the #1's, then #2's etc. That took about 45 minutes. Finally I figured out how many snowflakes in each size and color I needed and set the Cricut to work. I used the same snowflake for all, just changing the size and color. While my Cricut cut, I stamped all the the sentiments, then adhered the snowflakes as they finished cutting. The embellishing process took about 45/50 minutes all together. Not bad...two hours for 32 cards! Here's the finished batch...

And these four are my favorites of the bunch...

...but they are all cute and I love the red and aqua together! I still need about 28 more cards, so I might do another bulk workshop, or simply mass produce one of my favorites. Either way, it's nice to know that it won't take more than 2 hours to finish all the rest of my cards.

If you need a lot of cards and happen to know a CTMH consultant, ask them to see the Wishes book and give bulk card making a try!

Happy Card Making!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Snowflake Card

Still making Christmas cards!

I wanted to do a few extra techniques on a card for my MIL (hope she doesn't see this post!) so I broke out the Cricut, Cuttlebug, embossing powder and heat gun and some special silvery shimmer paper, inks and twine.

Card Size 4.25" x 5.5"
Creative Memories White and Cloud Cardstock and Gray Shimmer Cardstock
Sissix/Hero Arts "Snowflake" Stamp and Embossing Set
Colorbox Silver Inkpad
Stampin' Up Silver Embossing Powder
Snowflake cut with Creative Memories "Tis the Season" Cricut Cartridge
Michaels Dollar Bin Sentiment Stamp and Silver Twine

Tomorrow I'm planning another bulk Christmas card making session - I'll be back next week to share the cards and the first few pages of my December Daily. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

My Improvised "Scraprack"

It seems that organizing a crafting space is a never ending process. I started a major overhaul of my scrap-space earlier in the spring but it got put on the back burner when we did some other house renovations. And since I wasn't in there very much, I sort of just let it as is. Now that I've started using the space again, I need to finish what I started so I can keep on crafting.

I've been home sick the last couple of days along with my son, and I had the luxury of cuddling with him on the couch while he watched movies and I surfed Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs. As I surfed from link to link I arrived at the website for the Scraprack, an ingenious organizational system for almost all your scrapbooking and papercrafting supplies. I had heard of the product but never really investigated it. The site is loaded with helpful hints and excellent video tutorials. The products themselves make a lot of sense, and if I didn't have so many Creative Memories storage items that already work pretty well for me, I'd be tempted to buy the whole system - the Scraprack, Create and Carry bag and the fabulous Crop Crate apron (which transforms an Office Depot rolling crate into a super functional way to get all your supplies to a crop). Ooooh...its all so delicious, and it comes in lots of colors!

As I mentioned, many of my systems work pretty well but the main category of supplies that I still needed to get a handle on was stickers and flat embellishments. Most recently I've tried keeping them in an accordian style folder, clear plastic shoe boxes and the drawers of my cube system. These options worked OK, but I found that when I needed something I would typically have to pull out the stack of items, go them to find the one that worked for my project and then have to put it all away again. As I watched the Scraprack videos I loved the premise that flipping through pages lets you see what you have without having to open a box or dig through a drawer. The less steps you have to take to find the item that works, the more time you have to work on your layout or project.

I thought about what I had and how I could adapt it for my collection of stickers and embellishments. I realized that I still had my old CM Accessory Binder from the early 2000's that had similar divided pages like the Scraprack ones. Remember these...?

I had abandoned it a few years ago because it got disorganized and I hated pulling it out of my cabinet, unzipping it, finding what I needed and then putting it all away again. And I never seemed to have a space on scrap table to lay it so it was always a pain to use. But what if it had a dedicated space to live and could remain opened and accessible, just like the scraprack?

Excited by the idea I thought about what I could use as a stand to lay it on and keep it on an angle for easy viewing. A cookbook holder? Mine was too small to hold the open binder. A plate holder or easel? Too flimsy. Then I remembered that I had a laptop desk from Ikea that I was going to give away because I never use it.

I put it on the counter that held my sewing machine. Would it work?

Yes! Success!

So far, so good. I'll see how it works and holds up in the months to come.  It has also prompted me to start purging and organizing the sticker and embellishments I currently have and sorting and organizing them into the binder. I'll let you know how that works out in another post soon.

Now, I'm not saying to NOT buy the Scraprack...but if you already own something that might work, why not try to reuse it and improvise a better solution than the one you have now? I'm betting that many of you have a similar binder from CM or another company, such as Crop In Style. What have you got hanging that might work for you in the never ending quest for craft organization? I'd love to hear and see your ideas!

Happy scrapping organizing!

Monday, December 01, 2014

December Daily 2014

In my previous post I was telling you how excited I was to get into my craft room and use up some of my Christmas stash. In addition to the cards and layouts I made, I also planned and put together my December Daily album for this year. I haven't done one in a few years, but I love how they capture the magic and excitement of the month of December...not JUST Christmas Day. (You can learn all about the December Daily phenomenon at Ali Edward's website.)

I actually plan on documenting all the way to December 31st this year because we have lots of events and activities planned and I wanted to make sure I capture all the fun! For me, part of that fun is thinking about, planning and creating the actual album, and I love pinning pictures of all the December Daily Albums out there that inspire me.

I knew that I wanted to have the album ready before December 1st came so that I could just pop the photos and journaling in. I toyed with the idea of using a 6x8 pocket page book because they are so easy and I love the way they look, but I had a cute, sparkly green 8x8 Creative Memories Album just begging to be used.

I loved the color and the shimmer, but it had the traditional strap hinge CM pages so I had to think a little about how I could pre-make the pages without knowing what orientation the photos would be in advance. I did some quick scrapbookers math and came up with two basic page layouts that were pretty flexible. Each layout uses only 2 pieces of 2 x 4 patterned paper strips (great to use up scraps) and leaves space for one 4x6 and one 4x4 photo, plus a little extra for journaling. Here's the first layout option:

And here's the second:

I figured out that with a 4x6 option and a 4x4 option on each side of a double page spread, I can probably fit just about any photos onto any page.

After looking through my Christmas papers, I found quite a few scraps from a paper pad called "Christmas Party" by Momenta/ATD that I snapped up at Winners years ago for only $6.00! It had tons of papers, die cuts, borders and punch out letter circles. I've used it for lots of projects over the years, but there was enough left for this little album. I started by cutting up the scraps into 2 x 4 strips and adhering them to the pages based on my layouts above.


I added these scraps to every page in the album...all ready for photos and journaling. Next I made a title page with some of the larger scraps, word strips, die cuts and letters. I added CM number stickers to the die cut tag for the year.

I separated all the remaining die cuts, letters and numbers. I sorted them and put them into a little tin for easy access. I plan on adding them in small doses throughout the album for fun and a sense of consistency.

I also printed out a new batch of my very own December Daily Date Circles, punched them out and stored them with the other die-cuts.

Finally I put all the components for my little album in a basket along with the CM Page Protectors, some adhesive and my journaling pens. The basket will live on my desk so it will be a visible reminder of my project and will always be near at hand when I'm ready to add in the daily photos.

So, I think I'm ready! I'm looking forward to making lots memories with my family this December and then capturing and documenting to enjoy again and again. I hope some of these ideas help you with your December Daily. I'll try to post a few layouts each week and I'd love to see yours as well - make sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog or Instagram photos below!

Happy December!