December 2010

10 posts.

Guest Post: Picking Photos

Please welcome our guest blogger, Contributing Editor Polly Maly, as she shares her process and tips for picking photos to print and scrapbook.

One would think, after having been a scrapbooker for ten years, that my process for choosing photos to print or scrapbook would’ve been well established long before now. Think again. Having finally diagnosed myself as a “Perfectionist Messy” (according to the awesome book, The Messies Manual), I finally got some insight into why I was always swimming in thousands of photos, too many ideas, and too few finished albums.

While I certainly did take a boat-load of photos, and have filled many albums over the years with layouts, I was continually overwhelmed with the volume of photos and never-ending list of stories to be told through my scrapbook pages. The problem was, I couldn’t decide which way would be best to deal with it, so by default, I decided not to decide. Not very productive.

And then, over the Christmas 2008 holiday break….an epiphany. (Pun intended.)

I may not scrapbook all the time, but I look at my photos constantly. Daily. I love them. I collect them. I cherish them. But as I lounged on the couch while the kids watched movies, I realized that while I liked all my photos, I was only really crazy about some of them. Maybe, since some shots stood out as favorites, I just didn’t need 75 more photos from any given event to make me happy. 10? Maybe 14? Perhaps. But sometimes, it was just a single photo that caught my eye, and was quite enough all by itself.

That day I decided to create twelve new folders to hold the copies for only my very favorite photos from each month. I went through each and every folder from the month I was working on, and copied and pasted only the photos that made me happiest into the new folder.

Fave folder

When I came to a folder from an event that seemed too big to pick just a few, or that I definitely felt had a story brewing, I knew I had a topic to add to the to-do list of scrapbook pages I decided to keep in a Word document. (I was already in the habit of putting photos from really big events like Christmas or vacations into their own Shutterfly photobooks.)

I found I easily had the attention span to look through a month’s worth of photos at a time, which took about the same amount of time as watching a DVD. Finishing a month felt like an accomplishment, and one that was so much fun.

This process gave me a focus for dealing with my photos I hadn’t had before. It was so exciting! Suddenly, the process seemed so much more manageable than it had before. Granted, I’d taken a LOT of pictures in the years since I went digital, but I always advise scrapbookers to start where they are, and work backwards if they choose. I took my own advice.

The only thing that’s changed since then is that now, once I have all the photos from a month added to a folder, I open up each of the winners in Photoshop Elements, edit if necessary, resize to a 4×6”, and add simple journaling (a name, a date, or sometimes a little more) right onto the photo. (Mind you, I’m working with a copy of the original file which is still stored safely in two places. I may never go back to it, but its there if I need it.)


While I’m working on a particular month, if there’s a group of photos I want to scrapbook, I either print off a set of photos in various sizes for a traditional page, or create a collage using the Quick Collage templates found at This isn’t just a plug for the SBE website…I use these ALL the time to manage big groups of photos for a page.


When all those photos come back from the developer, I put them all in We R Memory Keeper photo pages, and slide the groups of shots or collages to be scrapbooked in 12×12″ page protectors. It’s made preparing for crops so much easier! Everything’s in order, and I can see what I had in mind just by opening my photo album.

Is my system perfect? Of course not. But its so much better than the way I was doing things before, which was haphazard at best. Though I may not always be working on the current month, I’m not too far behind at any given time, and it never takes too long to catch up. This Christmas, you can be sure, I’ll be snuggled under my favorite chenille throw, sorting photos again.

Enjoy your holiday!


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Guest Post: Up-cycling Containers

Please welcome former Creative Team member Janna Wilson as our guest blogger this week!

Something I like to hold on to {hoard} to up-cycle into fun crafty things is sturdy packaging and containers!  I especially love drink mix containers (think Crystal Light) and oatmeal boxes!  These cans are useful and can be up-cycled into useful containers around the house as well as great gift packaging -especially around the holidays!

For the holidays we make homemade goodies for family and friends- simple stuff that the kids can help with.  This year I’m using my stash of containers to gift instant hot cocoa mix and dipped peanut butter Ritz crackers.  The round drink mix containers (I find these at Wal Mart and Aldi’s) are perfect for stacking several cookies into.

I used the Crystal Light (oval shaped) containers for hot cocoa mix.  Just add simple instructions to the back of the container.  You could do this anytime throughout the winter for a sick friend or a thank you gift.  These containers can hold edible treats or just a special gift you are giving.

Beyond the holidays, I find uses around the house and for gift giving all year up-cycling packaging from store bought things.  It’s part being frugal, part being green and the biggest part is getting creative!  Check out my laundry detergent  container (in it’s previous life a Quaker Oats box).  Just cover and decorate with scrapbook supplies and a cute label…really perks up the old laundry room!  You can even find the recipe for homemade laundry soap here on my blog as well as the printable label.

Now you’ll think twice before throwing out those containers won’t you!?  I hope so!

(All the patterned papers I’ve used on these projects are Cosmo Cricket)

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Michelle’s December Daily: Week 3

Happy Solstice! I hope you are all enjoying the first day of winter! I spent some time over the weekend getting caught up on my December Daily album. Last week was busy, but didn’t include many festive activities. so instead I took the advice of Ali Edwards (who originated this project)  and focused on some of my favorite traditions and decorations in my pages for the week.


Christmas card from December 10

Another thing I decided to do was to put the Christmas cards in the book as we get them. I considered just putting them in after the holidays, but I like how they chronicle the day-by-day festivities.


December 11 (see the foundation page)

For this felt page, I decided to stitch the collage to the page. For the journaling, I added a to-do list for the busy day, complete with Sharpie marker check-offs.



December 12 (see the foundation page)

Since this is the week for which most of my pages involve favorite traditions and ornaments, I added an acrylic Christmas tree tag with an intro on it. It doesn’t appear to show up well, however, so I’m debating whether to redo it. The page itself is just a photo of the ornament with a little empty space left in the crop for journaling.

IMG_8500December 13

This was a pretty simple page. I just printed a photo of another ornament and the story behind it. I love simple pages!

IMG_8503December 15

This foundation page was merely a page protector adorned with rub-ons. I took a bokeh photo of our tree (where the lights are out of focus) and used it as the backdrop for a list of my 2010 holiday playlist—one of my favorite traditions!

IMG_8504On the other side of the page protector I tucked in part of a coffee cup from Caribou Coffee with writing on it about my favorite holiday drink and a napkin that had a fun journaling prompt on it (“What do you stay awake for?”).

IMG_8506Dec. 17

I hosted my book club at my house on this day, so a collage of photos from the evening worked well. I used a journaling block I printed out at the beginning of the month from Ali Edwards’ Advent Boxes Brushes and Stamps kit.

So that’s Week 3. To be honest, I’m a little surprised at how easy it has been to keep up. But this week is getting busier, so tune in next week to see if I made more progress. Until then, Merry Christmas!

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Guest Post: Card Sketch

Please welcome back guest blogger Valerie Salmon with another iScrap, u Scrap exclusive card sketch!

Hey, cardmakers, this sketch is for you!

I love making cards because they are quick projects.  With a sketch to go by, all you need is a little time, some scraps, and you are good to go.  It’s always good to make some to reserved for future use, too.

And let’s face it.  Who doesn’t love to receive a handmade card?  I sure do.

We’ve created some lovely examples for you to give you some ideas.  Special thanks go out to my crafty friends Jennifer, Brittany, and Polly for sharing their fabulous creations below.

“Happy Birthday to You”

Designed by Valerie Salmon

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper.  Patterned paper: KI Memories.  Metal tag: K&Company.  Punches: Fiskars (circle, corner rounder), Marvy Uchida (scallop circle).

Designer’s Notes:

This card literally took only several minutes to complete!  The sketch made it easy to pull exactly what products I needed.  I simply layered a couple of circles behind the accent metal tag, following its circular shape.  I rounded the corners of the card, just for fun.  I chose to do a birthday card since I can never have enough of them.  It’s great to have them pre-made for the next time I need one in a jiffy.



Designed by Jennifer Perks

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (purple), Stampin’ Up! (lilac), Wausau Paper (white).  Patterned paper, sticker: BoBunny Press.  Rhinestones, pearls: Queen & Company. Punches: Marvy Uchida (large scallop circle), EK Success (open scallop edge). Die Cuts: Cricut by ProvoCraft (used the Joys of the Season cartridge to make the snowflake).  Adhesive: Tombow Mono (dry); EK Success (3D foam). Thread: Coats & Clark.  Silver cord: Stampin’ Up!.

Designer’s Notes:

Lately I’ve been pulling paper primarily from a single product line which makes putting together pages/cards a lot quicker, since it takes the work out of coordinating papers.

I pretty much stuck to the sketch.  Instead of a circle, I used a snowflake I had die-cut using my Cricut, which I suspended from a thin silver cord.  I backed the snowflake with a large scalloped circle that I had punched out.

The horizontal piece of cardstock is cut from a single piece. I embellished the snowflakes at the bottom with rhinestones and added an open scalloped edge to the top.

I like to make things dual purpose, so made it possible to remove the snowflake from the card.  It could then be hung from your tree or re-purposed as a gift tag.


“Love You”

Designed by Brittany Hopkins

SOURCES Cardstock: Die Cuts With A View. Patterned paper: BoBunny Press.  Chipboard accent: Cosmo Cricket. Stickers: Anna Griffin (border), SRM Press (“love you”).

Designer’s Notes:

I used a chipboard heart to house my sentiment and help reinforce the theme of the card. I covered the heart with patterned paper, trimmed it out using a craft knife, and sanded the edges. For the sentiment, I used a clear sticker—it has a similar look to rub-ons, but without the stress of lining up letters.



Designed by Polly Mally

SOURCES Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Patterned papers and stickers: Sassafrass. Ribbon: Michaels. Punches: EK Success (circle), Stampin’ Up! (scallop circle). Die-cutting tool: Cricut by ProvoCraft.

Designer’s Notes:
* Cardstock tends to dominate my scrapbook pages, and on occasion I add a touch of pattern to the design. Making cards is my chance to have fun with lots of patterned papers.

* Mixing patterns is easy when you use coordinated papers from the same line. I love the fun patterns from Sassafras, and for this card got to incorporate their famous decorative edge on the bottom of their paper at the seam of two other patterns.

* Whenever I use patterns, I make sure to have a little relief from the busyness by adding solid colors. On this card the ribbon and scallop medallion are solid to give a little breathing from from all the patterns. The concept works in reverse…if those two items were patterned, I’d have made the oval plate, and the upper background area beneath the oval solid.

* I tend to need cards the mostly for birthdays, but by adding the sentiment “celebrate” to the card, I’m free to use this card for a variety of occasions.


It’s your turn to gather your supplies, make a card, and brighten someone’s day!

I’ll see you next month with another sketch to inspire you.

Happy scrapping!

Visit Valerie’s sketch blog, Got Sketch?, for 100+ sketches ideas and classes!

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Michelle’s December Daily: Week 2

Greetings! I’m back with my second week of December Daily entries. This week was a little harder than last week, because there were some days where I didn’t feel there was anything “scrapworthy” about the day. But I thought about Ali Edwards‘ advice to tell just one story for the day, and then I was able to pinpoint something I wanted to document in my album—even if it was just a picture of my dog with the Christmas tree!

So here are a few of my pages:


Dec. 5 (see the foundation page here)

I think this is one of my favorite photos—and I probably wouldn’t have taken it if I weren’t doing this project! I had started to decorate the tree and got everything out, but then ran out of time after assembling the tree. So I took a quick shot of all of the ornaments clustered together. (And FYI—I noticed the photo was crooked and fixed it, but then forgot to take another shot! sorry about that!)



Dec. 6 (see the foundation page here)

This page started out as just the letter-pressed square. I went to a party that night, so I made a photo collage (using this template) and just wrote the journaling on the card. Done and done!

IMG_8428Dec. 7 (see the foundation page here)

This day wasn’t very festive, so I took photos of our first Christmas card and the steaks that arrived from my grandmother! And while I do enjoy steak, this is not exactly what I had in mind when I made the foundation page. But part of the process is working with the parts of the album you’ve already finished! I’m also thinking I need to include more ephemera, so I’m toying with the idea of punching holes in cards and envelopes and including them, too! Right now the cards from this day are going in the page protector between the pages.


Dec. 8 (see the foundation page here)

Another single-photo page that shows my finished Christmas tree and my dog—who looks about as tired as I was that night! I’m thinking of saving a shot of the finished tree for later, when a) there’s more light, and b) I’m in need of a festive image!

So nearly two weeks in I’m still enjoying the process, but I’m noticing a tendency to be gratuitously festive on days when there’s nothing Christmasy going on just to have something in my album. In some ways, it prompts me to enjoy the season more than I might normally. But I’m trying to be sure I’m not manufacturing the holiday spirit in ways that aren’t meaningful. Sometimes it’s a fine line, but I’m hopeful it will result in a richer holiday season! Tune in next week to see if I’m successful!

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Brittany’s December Daily: Weeks 1-2

So it’s the ninth day of December and the  fourteenth day of my December Daily. I guess it’s about time I shared some of it, right?

I’ve learned a couple things during this process so far. 1) Taking photos mostly at night in low-light situations and mostly with my point-and-shoot leads to a lot of photos that aren’t stellar. And 2) I need to get over it. What’s most important is that the photo captures the moment, records the memory.

As I enter my third week of doing December Daily, I’m trying to embrace that. I’m trying to let go of my quest for perfectly exposed and composed photos, and I’m going to stop wishing that I  had designed some of my base pages differently. Because this album? It’s me. It may not be the most creative, or the most inspiring to look at, but it’s recording my memories in a new way and I love it for that.

Opening Page: I decided to switch things up a little from my original plan and use this photo of my family in front of our tree for the first page. This photo captures what this season is all about for me: Family and fun holiday traditions.

Day One: The left-hand page has a photo from cutting down our Christmas tree, and then one of the decorated tree. I have several more photos that I just didn’t have room to include, so I’m thinking about printing all of those and putting them in an envelope or divided page protectors at the end of the album. The right-hand side has my journaling, handwritten on a die-cut from Little Yellow Bicycle.

Day Two: The front of this page features an ornament that my mom gave my fiance and I to celebrate our engagement. I journaled about the story in strips on the back of the page.

Days Three and Four: On the left-hand side, you can see the journaling strips from Day Two. For Days Three and Four, I used the envelopes on the right-hand side. When I designed the base, I stuck pieces of cardstock in each envelope. To tell the story of these days, I wrote my journaling on the front side of the cards, then added a single photo on the back.

Day Five: You can see my photos from Days Three and Four on the left. For Day Five, I included a photo of a fabric tree we made at work, and a strip with some handwritten journaling. Nice and simple.

Day Six: My fiance was sick on Day Six, so I spent most of the evening taking care of him and forgot to take a photo. I decided to include a journaling block explaining why there isn’t a photo. (The journaling block is a die cut from Little Yellow Bicycle’s Savor Collection—I just trimmed off the top and bottom to make it a bit more generic.

Days Seven and Eight: I have to admit, these pages aren’t finished yet. I have the journaling written, but the photos/ephemera I’m including aren’t printed or ready yet.

Day Nine: We went to my grandparents on Day Nine, so I had several photos I wanted to include. Since the divided page protector I had designed for the day wouldn’t work for a couple of the photos, I trimmed two pieces of patterned paper and adhered them together, added a photo to the front and back, and punched holes in the paper so I could attach it to the binder. On the first page, I included a photo of my extended family, and on the back and in the divided page protectors I included photos from a holiday event we went to that evening.

Day Ten: We spent most of the day either watching the Vikings game or in the car, and I just didn’t snap any photos that I felt captured the day. Instead, I decided to write about “5 reasons to be jolly” on December 5. Design-wise, it’s not my favorite page, but it was a good way for me to journal about memories from that day.

Days Eleven and Twelve: These are two of my favorite pages. I added a piece of green cardstock to the cardstock pieces I had placed in the envelopes for these two days, and included a mix of letter stickers and written journaling to tell the stories. On the back, I included a photo of a half-empty eggnog bottle for Day Eleven, and use sticker letters in the place of the photo that I forgot to take on Day Twelve.

My other goal for the rest of this project is just to take more photos. I’ll check back in next week and let you know how I do!

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Guest Post: Using Your Scraps

Please welcome scrapbooker and photographer Becky Novacek as our guest blogger today!

I enjoy scrapbooking year-round. But there’s something about settling in and scrapbooking in the winter. Here in the Midwest, it’s cold outside, so there’s no temptation to spend time outdoors, like in the summertime. But whatever the time of year, I know that creative time for me is essential to my well being! It’s something that I just have to do to be a happy person!

Whether it’s crafting, home decor, or my wardrobe, I find such satisfaction in using what I have and making it look the best it can. As far as applying this to scrapbooking, I am a huge fan of using scraps. I love to find uses for little bits of paper, ribbon, sticker negatives, etc. So I thought it would be fun to explore this with a couple of layouts.

The first layout, “Each Other,” features little skinny strips and punched pieces. I really love the look of a graphic design paired with pops of pattern and color through pattern papers, texture, and different shapes. For the past 3 years I’ve been on the Fiskars design team, so I’ve had access to many different punches and tools. Since tools are non-consumable, I’ve been able to really use scraps much more than before. For years, I’ve had Ziploc bags with scraps organized according to either patterns or colors. In years past when I didn’t have many punches, I would go to a local scrapbook store with my bags of scraps and use all their tools to punch shapes and do title work with their machines. It was always a fun, sort of mindless afternoon, visiting with friends, while accomplishing something that I knew I would use, without spending a ton of money.

The second layout, “Home,” features skinny strips again. I really favor homespun looking layouts, so the more imperfect the strips, the better. I cut them with scissors, rather than using a trimmer to get them perfectly straight. I used border punches for two of the strips. Actually I already had those strips sitting on my desk, so I picked them up and tried them on my page. That happens a lot when I’m creating. I pick a scrap up from my desk and end up liking it on my page. I also used the negative of some alpha stickers. I’ve been doing this for years. When a letter is used before the rest of the stickers, I will place a scrap of pattern paper under the sticky and cut it out and use it with adhesive. I also used a favorite chair stamp created by my friend Denise, stamped on a little piece of pattern paper. To add interest, I used an exacto knife to cut the chair back out, then added a scrap piece from a vintage book to the negative. So easy!

Both of these layouts were created entirely from scraps, other than the cardstock background. I get the same sense of satisfaction creating layouts like this, that I do when I use what I already have in a fresh way in my home. No money spent, yet the finished project is something that makes me happy.

Thanks for letting me share my ideas for using up your scraps today!
Happy Holidays!

Find more ideas from Becky at

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Michelle’s December Daily: Week 1

Greetings! Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was fairly productive, in that I finished more pages in my December Daily album. Here are a couple of them:

Dec. 2 (see foundation page here)

My niece conveniently had her first-ever band concert Thursday, and it was a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. I had so many photos that I picked a few and used this Quick Collage template (which I sized to 6×6” to get it to fit on my 8×8” foundation page).

Dec. 2 (back)

I hadn’t planned to use the back of this page, but when we all showed up in argyle Thursday, I knew it would be a fun addition. So I printed two pics together, wrote some journaling on the photo, and put it on the back.

Dec. 3

I ended up doing some shopping and snapping some iPhone pics while I was out and about, so I journaled on the envelope and tucked my photos (printed to 4×6”) and receipts into the envelope. Done!

(A note on the journaling: I used a Sharpie right on the photo, because I couldn’t find a photo-safe marker when I needed it. Because Sharpie uses solvent-based ink, it may not be good for my photos in the long run. However, I decided that I probably wouldn’t be too upset if the random image of my favorite Christmas cookie box is damaged in a few years. It helped me get the job done and will preserve a good—but not precious—memory for a while.)

I haven’t had the time to update the album on a daily basis, so I blocked off some time Saturday to select and print photos. Then Sunday morning, I did the journaling and assembled the pages.

But even though I’m doing several pages at a time, I’ve found it helps to take notes on my layout ideas and journaling each day. I use the Evernote app on my phone to write in-the-moment (or shortly-after-the-moment) journaling and ideas for what photos to use in what formats. Then when I start working on the page, I can consult my list and e-mail the text for my journaling if needed. So far, it’s working pretty well.

Though I’ve only gone through about half a week, I’m feeling pretty good about my December Daily progress, and already I’ve found that I’m more aware of the holiday spirit. Check back next week to see if the trend continues!

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Happy December!

Here at SBE HQ, we’re busy putting together the April, June, and (can you believe it?) August issues of the magazine. But thanks to Ali Edwards, we’re doing our best to enjoy December and the festive spirit it brings.

In our December issue, we showed you Ali’s 2009 December Daily Album and her tips for making your own. The concept of the December Daily album is to chronicle the holiday season by creating an “empty” scrapbook before the season starts. You make a page for each day, then when December rolls around, you document your life day-by-day.

In October, we all made our foundation pages and showed them to you here. Here’s a list of all of those blog posts:

Michelle’s December Daily Album, Part 1

Michelle’s December Daily Album, Part 2

Brittany’s December Daily Album

Jennifer’s First Advent Album

Jennifer’s Second Advent Album

Jennifer’s Third Advent Album

Sarah’s Simple December Daily Tag Album

Deb’s 8×4.5” December Daily Album

Maria’s December Daily Album

Elizabeth’s Interactive December Daily Album

Lisa’s Beginner Sewing December Daily Album

Starting next week we’ll be sharing our finished pages as we make our way through the month and play along with Ali on her blog. I’m looking forward to seeing how  all of the albums  (including mine) turn out!

And before you head off to do your December Daily album, here’s a great quote Ali’s blog today: “My goal is one story a day. Might be short (even just a photo), might be long. I’m not trying to capture every little thing minute by minute. I want to capture a sense of the season and include stories from our life right now.” Be sure to check out her blog for lots more tips and giveaways throughout the month, and see all the other albums out there on the December Daily Flickr group.

Have fun, and be sure to let us know how your album is coming along!

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Guest Post: Holiday Treats

Please welcome former Creative Team member Jennifer Perks as this week’s guest blogger!


Years ago, I had my first taste of peppermint bark that one of the high-end kitchen stores sells every year. Determined to make my own for much less, I started searching for different recipes online. I tried many, and eventually found one by Rita Heikenfeld that I tweaked a bit to my liking.  It’s quick, easy, and makes a great gift. With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I’d share!

Peppermint Bark

12 oz chocolate chips
1 pound white chocolate
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup peppermint candy, crushed
Preheat oven to 250°. Line a 9×13″ pan with foil, letting it hang over the sides. Lightly spray foil. Pour the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until almost melted. Remove from oven, smooth with an offset spatula or knife. Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.
Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bottom of bowl touch water), until chocolate is almost melted. Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in extract. Let cool a little bit so it doesn’t melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top. Pour this over chocolate layer, and, working quickly, spread to cover. Sprinkle with crushed candy.
Chill until both layers are firm. Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy. Trim edges. Cut into 2” wide strips. Peel bark from foil and cut each strip as desired. Chill in covered container. Makes about 2 pounds.

Easy, right? I can never get the top spread as perfectly smooth as the store-bought stuff, but I figure that just makes it look like the homemade bark that it is. For the chocolate, I prefer the Bittersweet by Ghiradelli. And for the white chocolate, avoid the white “chips” (they didn’t melt well when I tried it, which was frustrating). Look for White Chocolate bars (like Ghiradelli White Chocolate Baking Bars (in the baking aisle) or Lindt White Chocolate (in the candy bar aisle). I know this sounds obvious, but it goes without saying…the higher quality the chocolate, the better the peppermint bark.

I tend to make this every year for teacher gifts. Each year, I have fun with different packaging. Always I aim for fast and easy, since my kids (at least when they were all in daycare) tend to have a lot of teachers.  Here are just a few ideas:

You can add ribbon and a tag to a store-bought jar:


I designed the tag in Adobe Illustrator. Printed and punched out using a circle punch. Punched a snowflake out of the center. Glittered the tag, and tied ribbon to the jar. (These were made before I found the recipe with the dark chocolate base).

SOURCES Jar: IKEA. Punches: EK Success (circle, snowflake), McGill Inc. (hole). Glitter: Martha Stewart Crafts. Ribbon: Offray (red grosgrain), Stampin’ Up! (silver).

Another option is to dress up a cellophane treat bag:

cellophane bag

I cut a piece of red cardstock 4-1/4” wide by 5-1/2” tall and folded it in half lengthwise. I then punched the bottom edges with a decorative punch and ran it through my Cuttlebug using an embossing folder to make the polka dot pattern.

I stapled the folded cardstock over the bag in two spots to keep it closed. Then hid the staples with some ribbon.  Last, I added the holly sprig and tag, which I cut out using the Joys of the Season cartridge and my Cricut.  I outlined the edge of the tag with a red pen and added red “berries” using self-adhesive red pearls.  In hindsight, it might have been nice to run the holly sprig through my embosser, as well, to give it some texture. There’s always next time!

If you you don’t have a Cricut, you could add other seasonal elements, like a big jingle bell, instead of the holly, use a store-bought tag or decorate a tag with a stamp.

SOURCES Cellophane bags, ribbon: Michaels Stores. Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (red, green), Stampin’ Up! (white). Pearls: Queen & Company. Pen: Stampin’ Up!. Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts. Die-cutting tool, embossing tool: Provo Craft.

Get the kids involved:

paper bag

My 7-year-old LOVES crafts, and has fully endorsed this one. :-)

Here, we took an 8-5/8” tall white paper bag, put the peppermint bark (wrapped in a cellophane treat bag) inside, ran a single brown pipe cleaner through one side and out the other, and tied it loosely shut around the middle with a “scarf” cut out of felt. To finish off the “sticks,” we cut another pipe cleaner in half and wrapped one around each “arm.” For the head, we added bunched tissue paper above the scarf line and stapled the bag shut (not the prettiest, but it did the job).

The hat is an old mismatched sock we found in my 3-year-old’s sock drawer. It made the perfect cover for the stapled top. We found a big white pom pom in one of our craft drawers, which I helped sew onto the end.

Last, my daughter added the nose (cut from one of those wavy looking pipe cleaners and pushed through the bag), self-adhesive pearls for the eyes and mouth, and buttons for the cheeks and down the front.

This went together really fast and my daughter loved it (I’m thinking she’s going to hang onto this one!).

SOURCES Paper bag: Michaels Stores. Buttons: Rusty Pickle (pink); Autumn Leaves (blue). Pompom, chenille sticks: Westrim Crafts. Pearls: Queen & Company. Felt: Hobby Lobby.

Hope this inspires you to whip up some holiday treats of your own!

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