January 2012

18 posts.

Printable Storage Labels


Sometimes, the easiest way to get organized is to simply put labels on boxes and drawers. We have a variety of labels in different colors to match your organization needs!


Download the labels here. 

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Chalkboard Tags

In our February issue, you were treated to a peek into our Crafts Lab. We share the lab with our quilting compadres who store their miles of beautiful fabrics in baskets alongside our baskets overflowing with awesome scrapbooking tools and supplies. Though the baskets are uniform, the contents of the Scrapbooks etc. baskets are identified with chalkboard tags (see above!). So easy to make, the tags are versatile for crafting, gift-giving, identifying your own storage items, and of course, are reusable! Here’s how we made ours:

We started with an assortment of papers from the Echo Park Dots & Stripes collection.

Cut tag shapes by hand, or take the easy route and cut a tag shape (and its black cardstock shadow) with a die-cutting machine. We used a Cricut machine with the Tags, Bags, Boxes & More cartridge.

Cut self-adhesive vinyl chalkboard into rectangles slightly smaller than the tags, peel and stick. You’ll find the Wallies Peel & Stick Chalkboard sheets we used here. Rough up the chalkboard piece with the long edge of a piece of chalk, wipe it off, and its ready to go.

Add a ribbon and the tag’s ready for your project, basket, or gift!

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Our February Cover Stars

Have you seen both of our February covers? I can’t decide which one I love more (which might account for why we decided to run two—collect them all!). The first features a super cute owl valentine by Valerie Salmon, which you can also see on page 21 of the magazine:

The second showcases a beautiful project from Jenifer Harkin that you can also see on page 46 of the magazine:

Isn’t it yummy? You can find more of Jen’s work on the Jillibean Soup blog,  “Bean Talk”. My current favorite of her projects is this cute baker’s twine snowman (toward the end of the post)!


So if you haven’t picked up the February copy of Scrapbooks etc. yet, be on the lookout for these covers! Have a good weekend!

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Discover Your Organization Personality

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Get Snapshot Savvy with Snow

Shooting powder-perfect shots acn be tricky. We have the answers fro getting pristine photos every time!


1. When is the best time to snap snow photos?

Avoid the harsh high-noon sun that creates heavy shadows. Instead, aim for morning or late afternoon photos when the light is better. Look for open shade with indirect sunlight. If the sun is still too bright, set your ISO to 100 or 200 and bump up the aperture to allow less light into the lens.

2.  Why does snow look gray in my photos?

Cameras see everything as middle gray, so they underexpose stark white objects. To compensate, set a custom white balance, filling your frame with clean, well-lit snow. Some point-and-shoots offer custom white balance or include Winter or Snow settings that automatically adjust for snowy scenes.

3. How do I get rid of harsh shadows?

Outsmart your camera. In auto mode, your camera will shoot without a flash on sunny days. But when there’s snow on the ground, light bounces and creates shadows on your subject. To avoid this, turn on your built-in flash—it will put extra light on your subject, eliminating shadows. Make sure to get close. Most flashes won’t reach more than 10 feet. See the before and after below.



4. What is the advantage of shooting in snow?

Because snow acts as a giant reflector, use your snow-covered landscape to bounce the white from below into your subject’s eyes, creating catchlights. Position your subject so the sun is to the side (not glaring in her eyes), crouch, and get in close for the best reflections. See the example below.



5. How do I eliminate blurriness on sledding, skiing, and snowboarding shots?

To get crisp photos, use your camera’s Select focus and focus on a place slightly ahead of the moving object where you want to capture the image. Press down the shutter when your subject reaches this spot. See the example below.


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Paper Coterie Planners

I was destined to be a scrapbooker. Maybe its more accurate to say I was destined to be a historian. I have a slight obsession with recording things, and have proof that even from the time I was young I kept scrapbooks, lists, and notes of all kinds. Many years later, the passion to record my life is still alive and well, and continues to drive me to seek out journals and calendars of all kinds.

Here is my latest love from Paper Coterie.

Humbly called a planner, this 8×8 coilbound calendar is so much more. Its a calendar, it’s a journal, it’s a list, and a photo album. You’re getting to see mine fresh out of the box. I can almost not bear to make the first mark in it, but you know I will….soon.

I’m most comfortable using a monthly format, but a weekly format is also available if that works better for you. I’ll start mine this month, but since you fill it in, you can start this planner whenever you choose.

After each calendar page is what I think will be my favorite part of the planner…..I mean journal…..I mean calendar. These two pages have lined columns marked “to do list:” (with squares to check off….which really speaks to the geek in me), “favorite moments:”, “a funny thing happened:”, “10 things I am grateful for:”, and “ramblings:”. Off to the right is a column of graph paper for sketching. I love it all.

And then there’s the photo album part. Sprinkled throughout the planner are places to drag and drop the photos that make your heart melt. I found it easy and intuitive to add mine, change some to black and white, add text, or resize.



When it arrived, I was so pleased with the quality. The paper’s thick, the photos are sharp, the covers are sturdy, and the elastic band will hold it all together. Bottom line: it makes this list-making, photo-taking, history-recording, journal-loving scrapbooker happy.

And guess what.

The kind and generous folks at Paper Coterie want to offer you a sweet deal to help you start your year off right. They’re offering our readers a $30 gift card so you can make your own planner, or whatever else you’d like to make of the many cool things they offer! Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not kidding. Here’s the fine print:

Valid through Jan 31, 2012
Excludes Gift Cards
No Minimum Purchase Required
Standard Shipping Rates Apply

Enjoy your gift from Paper Coterie, and here’s to making great memories in 2012! Polly


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Project Life Freebies

The staff at Scrapbooks etc. is a little more than 2 weeks into our Project Life albums. We’ve bought all the supplies, recorded all our days, and are having our first meeting this week to share our process and stay inspired.

Check out these awesome freebies from Becky Higgins and other Project Lifers to help make the recording of your life as easy as possible!


Get free album labels from Becky Higgins.


Print these cute cards from Becky Higgins.


Download a list of “100 bits of life” for ideas of what to record in your album from The Mom Creative.



Get Project Life page planner guides from Marcy Penner.



Print fun 2012 cover papers or dividers from Cathy Zielske.

Download our very own journaling tags in a variety of shapes and colors.

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Summer Fun (Call for Pages)

It’s never too early to start thinking about summer! We’re searching for your best summer layouts and projects, from barbecues and pool parties to Fourth of July and beach trips.

To submit your pages, e-mail a scan or photograph of your layout to submissions@meredith.com by Wednesday, January 25. Please type “Summer” in the subject line. Limit submissions to three per person, and keep attached files less than 500k.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Project Life: Inspiration

A group of us in the office are starting Becky Higgins’ Project Life, a way to document your life creatively. Along the way, we’ll share our struggles, our ideas, our projects, and any tips we have! We’d love for all our readers to join in to.

If you plan to join, but aren’t sure how to get started, here’s some inspiration from other Project Lifers!


Here’s info from Becky Higgins on getting started.


And on keeping the process simple.


Here are some other blog posts about diving into Project Life.









What other questions and struggles are you having with getting started? We’d love to help.



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Sort Your Embellishments

Organizing embellishments is a sticky situation. Here are our top 13 tips for corralling your accents.

Sorting Styles

• Sort embellishments by type—stickers, rub-ons, chipboard, or flowers—and group each type together.

• Sort stickers and rub-ons into two categories: letters and everything else. It makes spelling title words so much faster!

• If you like to see what supplies you have on hand, consider placing each group of embellishments in a pretty basket or see-through tub that can be labeled and stored in a closet.

• Partially used packages of embellishments can be bulky. Discard packaging and punch holes in sheets for storing in a binder or hang them from a clip system.

• Keep a basket with your favorite embellishments in it. Clean it out about once a month to make sure it doesn’t get too full.

• Plastic tackle boxes can help tame a pile of chipboard. The small compartments are great for separating and organizing pieces.

• Use boxes, baskets, or jars to wrangle buttons, metal accents, chipboard, and ribbon.

• Store your buttons and flowers in glass containers displayed on a shelf so you can see all of them.

• Keep small embellishments in magnetic tins. Hang metal sheets on the wall to attach magnetic tins and keep them orderly and accessible.

• Hang often-used embellishments, such as your favorite letter stickers, from pegboard using hooks.

• Organize embellishments out of sight in three-ring binders. Label each binder and slip sheets of stickers or other embellishments into top-loading page protectors.

• Use a small plastic storage box, such as a tackle box or weekly pill holder, to sort tiny brads, gems, and epoxy accents.

• Display pretty items like ribbon, felt shapes, and colorful brads. Put the rest into drawers so you don’t have to look at it until you need it.


See how to sort your tools here. 

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