April 2010

12 posts.

Scrap Your Life

Documenting your life is tricking:  General scrapbook pages tend to only highlight the big events. Online blogs inhibit crafty creativity, plus leave you with nothing touchable to pass on. Diaries are too private to share with others. And writing your autobiography, well, may never actually make it to the top of the “to do” list.

My prescription? A scrap page a day.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or even pretty. It just needs to reflect your day.
You can include pictures, journaling, a quote someone said, a receipt, a ticket stub, how you felt, what you are excited about, what you’re dreading, a phone call, the weather, your horoscope, your dream last night, or even just what you ate- anything goes! By the end of the 365 days you will have an irreplaceable book of memories.

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TIPS:

  • Use a big 3-ring binder or album (like the one above) for removable sleeves and pages. If the binder becomes too thick, you can always separate your book into seasons or months.
  • Leave your book open with markers or pens on your coffee table for guests to contribute to that day’s page (they are, after all, part of your day!)
  • Use bright-colored paper on good days and dark-colored paper on the not-so-good days. It will create an interesting contrast when you are finished.
  • Let your environment help create your page for the day. Did you spend the day with your child or pet? Let them contribute to the page (i.e. kid’s drawing or paw print)

Have you already started doing a book like this? Are you going to start one? Let me know!

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Make Your Own Rosettes

On the back page of our June issue, we featured these super simple gifts by Lisa Storms. The rosette-photo bottle toppers got a lot of oohs and aahs here in the office, so I wanted to share with you how you can make your own.

Remember this page from the April issue? The rosettes used on both the layout and the bottle tops are very similar!

1. Cut a 12″ strip of paper. (The width is dependent on the diameter of your lid, but Lisa used 1-1/4″ strips for lids that were 2-5/8″ in diameter.) Score every 1/4″ and accordion fold.

2. Adhere the ends together.

3. Push the center down into a rosette. Adhere the piece to a punched circle in order to keep it in place. Add another circle on top with plenty of adhesive, and top with a photo punched into a circle.

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My Favorite (Free) Photo Editor

On the quest to edit a photo: 

  • Photoshop is scary (even with experience). It is also expensive.
  • Paint is free. But does close to nothing.
  • A lot of online programs are either extremly slow are pricey to use.

If you are stuck somewhere in between too complex, too basic and too expensive photo edit programs,  I  recommend Picnik.com.  I thought the whole world new about this website by now. But then one of my friends saw me log on the other day and she was blown away. She was an on-the-spot convert. Now I feel responsible to spread the word. It’s free and easy to use. I use it all the time for photo touch-ups, making goofy photos for Facebook, and  even to add effects to professional photos for publications.  For a monthly fee you can upgrade to more features (however, I still haven’t and love the free version). 

Here are a few quick edits I did to a photo of mine. 

Original:

m&m 

 “Holga-ish” Effect: 

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“CinemaScope” Effect + “Matte” Effect:

 

 “Gooify” Effect + Text + Stickers: 

 Have you used Picnik before? Do you have a favorite photo edit program? I’d love to know!

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Make a Watermelon Accent

One thing that always makes a scrapbook page stand out is an unexpected accent. On our June issue cover layout, Lisa Storms modified a technique used to create flower accents and transformed it into a yummy watermelon embellishment.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Punch or hand-cut a center circle from watermelon-colored cardstock.

2. Adhere the circle to a piece of the same cardstock, adhering only at center. Cut a slightly larger circle around it.

3. Adhere the layered circle accent to another piece of cardstock, placing the adhesive only in the center. Trim another slightly larger circle around it.

4. Repeat steps two and three for several layers.

5. Once you have the layered look you like, distress the edges of all the circles and add punched seeds in the center.

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Coffee-Inspired Ideas

I am not a morning person. I am, however, a coffee person. The two projects below are inspired by the caffeine that takes the morning blues away!

The small shots in this layout showcase events from a recent trip. I crammed in large chipboard letters and layered sticker strips under the photos to create a busy look.

TIPS:
• Crop photos using a punch to keep grid snapshots unified
• Trim accents from patterned paper, as with the two birds on this page.
• Make an easy coffee mug piecing — Create two circles (one slightly smaller than the other) using a circle cutter. Cut off the tops of both circles so they are flat. Trim a handle from a smaller, punched circle. Add hand-drawn steam for a finishing touch.
• Prop up photos with adhesive to add dimension

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SOURCES Patterned paper: BasicGrey. Chipboard letters: Pressed Petals. Circle cutter: Fiskars. Photo corner: Crate Paper.  Stickers: SEI (“london,” green and white strips).

On a recent Starbucks run, I spotted this create-your-own tumbler. The customizable container is a great gift idea. However, there isn’t much room for embellishing. (To insert the design, you remove the bottom of the tumbler, then slide in the design around the actual drink container inside.) I made mine using rub-ons and letter stickers — and the letter stickers were a tight fit. It would probably be best with only rub-ons and a couple photos.

tumbler
SOURCES Patterned paper: American Crafts. Letter stickers, rub-ons: SEI.

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June Issue Sneak Peek

Last week, Michelle shared the June cover and the super-cute Kid On the Cover contest winner. I thought I’d share a few more sneak peeks before the issue hits newsstands.

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I have to say, this is one of my favorite issues of SBE ever. I can’t wait for you all to get your copies! The issue is full of theme layouts (the family and wedding articles are two of my faves!), techniques (including creative adhesive tricks and cool ways to use punches), and inspiring papercrafting projects.

Once you get your hands on a copy, stop back here and let us know what you think! We always love to hear your feedback, so we can make future issues even better.

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Scrapper Spotlight

If you follow us on Twitter or are a fan on Facebook, you may have noticed that we’ve started featuring a scrapbooker and their layout, card, album, or project each week. We’re calling it “Scrapper Spotlight.” (#ScrapperSpotlight, on Twitter) Every Monday, I choose a photo from our gallery and post a link to the project along with the designer username and project title. Below are all the projects featured so far!

“Love Birds” by hiskid3232335

“10 Things I Love About Me” by zakirahzakaria

“Birthday Wishes” by janaeubank

“Wearing Your Hat” by sammarco54

“Fringe” by Margy E

Submit your photos to our gallery for your chance to be featured! Plus, leave a comment below if you have any feedback on our gallery. What do you like? What don’t you like? What could be added?

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Our Cover Boy

Hey, gang! When we announced the winner of our Kid on the Cover contest a couple of weeks ago, we promised we’d give you a sneak peek of the scrapbook page we designed using his photo. Lisa Storms made this super cute, easy-to-do page.

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I just love the watermelon piece made out of paper circles! And isn’t Frankie Heck, our winner, just the cutest? His mom Greta, who took the stellar pic, says Frankie is planning to sign some copies of the magazine for his classmates!

The magazine should start appearing on newsstands soon, so be on the lookout! It’s filled with tons of great ideas!

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Stickers Galore!

Xyron 150Today I tried out Xyron’s new “Create-a-Sticker” (aka 150 Machine). I had never used a sticker maker before, but wow! I’m addicted! You just stick whatever you want to turn into a sticker (photos, clip art, letters/numbers, ribbon, buttons, fabric, etc.) into the top, then pull it out at the bottom- and vwa-la! No mess, and no waiting! I’m impressed.

It can only fit things that are less than 1.5″ wide, but I find it perfect for the casual sticker maker, like myself. Although now I think I might become a sticker maniac with my new found freedom machine.

Pretty much, the Create-a-Sticker just distributes adhesive evenly and smoothly, without mess, onto most any thin surface. But wow, I will never go back to gluesticks or double-sided tape!

Price: $9.99 (refilable catriges are about $4.99)

Tips:

  • Wash fabric before using (the adhesive won’t stick to unwashed fabric)
  • Use glossy photos or shiny paper to get the “professional” sticker look.
  • To save tape, double up on thin items.

My Experiment:

Here is a very quick card I made using the Create-a-Sticker.  Everything on the card was ran through the Create-a-Sticker. And every piece stuck amazingly well. I even restuck the button four different times (I couldn’t make up my mind where to put it), and it is still sturdily intact!

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Waking Up in the Land of Glitter

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It’s a well-known fact around SBE headquarters that I am a sucker for scrapbooking novels. What could be better than something that combines two of my favorite hobbies (reading and scrapping)? So I was thrilled when we received a copy of Kathy Cano-Murillo’s debut novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter.

The story follows three women as they form an unlikely craft group to make the centerpieces for the Craft Olympics. Star, a recent college grad, has been living with her parents while she figures out what to do with her life, and this is her last chance to figure it out before her parents cut her off. Ofie, a craft-obsessed wife and mother, is struggling to balance her hobby with the needs of her family. And Chloe, a local television personality known as “Crafty” Chloe, is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the secret that she isn’t so crafty and to get ahead in her career.

The women find themselves in situations that straddle the line between reality and fantasy. For example, some of the situations, such as Star accidentally ordering 350 pounds of German Glass Glitter, are humorous and believable—we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve missed a decimal point, or know someone who has. But other situations, such as the crochet rumble in the craft store parking lot, seem much less likely to happen in real life. As long as I kept reminding myself that this book wasn’t meant to be real, it was simply an escape from everyday life I could usually accept the situation and move on, but the book would have been just as good without some of the less believable events.

I also was distracted by some of the cutesy language used in the book. (The phrases “cockatoo switcheroo snafu” and “felon falsie” come to mind.) At times the alliteration seemed forced, and it distracted me from what was actually happening in the story. The glossary at the back of the book was a nice touch, though—especially for someone who took French instead of Spanish in high school.

If you’re thinking about reading this book, or sharing it with a younger crafter, please be aware that this book isn’t appropriate for all readers. Chloe’s character, in particular, is involved in a less-than-appropriate relationship with her boss in order to get ahead in her career, and Star is also in some situations that may be considered questionable for young adult readers.

All in all, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is an entertaining, lighthearted read, especially for people who enjoy books about crafting. Curious to learn more about the book? Visit the publisher’s Web site (where you can read an excerpt of the book), or check out Kathy Cano-Murillo’s Crafty Chica site.

Have you read Waking Up in the Land of Glitter or any other crafting/scrapping books? What did you think?

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