Michelle Rubin

57 posts.

Tape Love

Decorative tape—from Japanese washi tape to patterned gaffer tape—has become a fun and easy way to add some color and pattern to your scrapbook pages and papercraft projects. It’s so much fun, we featured an entire story on it in our December issue (on newsstands Oct. 18), and now, of course, we’re all smitten.

So we decided to share our obsession with you and give you a list of our favorite decorative tape sources. Enjoy!

Also, check out how to use decorative tape creatively in your layouts here. 

7Gypsies Gaffer Tape

American Crafts Mixtape

Cute Tape

Hambly Screen Prints

Love My Tapes

MT Masking Tape


Pretty Tape on Etsy

Tim Holtz Idea-ology Tissue Tape




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Here Come the Holidays!

Here at SBE HQ, we’ve just wrapped up our December issue, which means we’ve had Christmas on the brain. So we wanted to share with you some of our favorite holiday scrapbook lines from the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in July. (If you’re looking for ideas on how to use them, check out our December issue on newsstands October 18!)

In the December issue, we featured this cute Dr. Mr. Claus line from Cosmo Cricket. We love how it combines traditional colors with whimsical images. Fun!

Speaking of cute, Doodlebug Design‘s Santa’s Workshop Collection is all kinds of adorable with it’s modern colors and prints.

Also, have you seen the new Doodle-Pops? They are fun dimensional stickers that work well with Doodlebug’s card line or on a page. They’re great for holiday cards. We love this guy. (Sorry for the poor-quality photo! We took it at CHA in the card rack!)

Another favorite is the Peppermint Collection from Crate Paper. It’s very vintage.

And check out this giant rosette that humg over the Crate Paper booth at CHA.

My Little Yellow Bicycle’s Wonder & Wishes line take a simple, straighforward approach with traditional holiday colors:

If vintage is your thing, you’ll love the new Christmas line from Jenni Bowlin Studio.

Fancy Pants Designs’ St. Nick line combines traditional color with aqua and yellow for a unique look.

And while they aren’t paper lines, we couldn’t resist adding these new dies from Sizzix. See the dies in action here and here. We might have to consider these dies for our holiday cards.


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Calls for Projects

Hey, gang! We’re on the hunt for some projects for our April issue, so check out the list and send us your best work!


It may be back-to-school time, but we’re already thinking about spring! We’re searching for your best spring-y layouts and projects, from scrapbook pages about Easter, flowers, and playing outdoors to paper craft projects such as Easter baskets and DIY flowers.

To submit your pages, e-mail a scan or photograph of your layout to submissions@meredith.com by Thursday, September 22. Please type “Spring” in the subject line. Limit submissions to three per person, and keep attached files less than 500k.


We’re looking for great ideas for birthday pages we can share with our readers. To submit your pages, e-mail a scan or photograph of your layout to submissions@meredith.com Thursday, September 22. Please type “Birthday” in the subject line. Limit submissions to three per person, and keep attached files less than 500k.

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There are a ton of awesome scrapbook designers in the October issue, but we accidentally left one out. This digital layout by Smitha Katti was incorrectly credited to someone else, so we’re here to make it right. Sorry about that, Smitha!

The good news is, if you’d like to see more of her work, you can check out her blog, Smiling Colors.

Have a good weekend!

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Back-to-School Notepad

It’s back-to-school time, and in the October issue, we’ve got a great way to get your kids involved n making a teacher gift. Jen Lessinger and her children made cute notepads featuring the kids’ artwork. Here’s how you can make one, too!

Have your child draw a picture on white paper. Scan or photograph the picture and open the file in your image-editing software. Crop or erase any stray marks. Then create a new 11 x 8.5” document and place the artwork onto the page. Duplicate it so you can print two notes from one 11×8.5” sheet (the notes will measure 5.5x11”.)

Print five copies. (If you don’t have image-editing software, have your child draw on each note sheet.)

Perforate each note 1″ from the top of the note. (We used a perforating blade on a rotary trimmer.)

Cut a piece of chipboard that is the same size as the notes.

Staple the notes to the chipboard.

Use piece of heavy patterned paper to make the decorative piece. First score the paper at 1”, then at 1 1/4”. Fold it and adhere it over the top of the note sheets. This covers the staples as well as making it prettier.

Place the notepad under a heavy book overnight to make sure it all sticks together.

Jen added an Avery label to the back on which she’d printed “Made for you by,” then had her children sign it. How cool is that?

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Paper Pumpkins

Have you seen the back page of our October issue? It features these super cute pumpkins from Jennifer McGuire. The best part about them? They’re easy to make!

Start with about 16 1x8” pieces of patterned paper or cardstock. Punch a small hole at the bottom and top of each of the strips. (We used a heavy-duty hole punch to punch the stack at one time.)

Put a knot in the end of a ribbon and put it through one end of the paper strips. Then put the same ribbon through the other end. Pull the ribbon through until the stack of strips bends. Tie it off with a knot at the top.

Fan out the bowed strips until you have a lantern/pumpkin. Add a bow and twine to finish it. (Jennifer used a rolled piece of dark brown cardstock for the stem.)

See? It’s fun and easy!

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Motion Scrapbooking

Around here, I am often chattering away about all the ways people are scrapbooking but just don’t know it. I don’t mean the traditional mode of making scrapbook pages or photo books, but a broader practice of sharing stories via social media, video, etc., which I see as other forms of memory keeping. For instance, I’m always trying to tell friends who’ve never seen a paper trimmer or used an image-editing program that they’re scrapbooking just by posting photos and status updates on Facebook.

So I was super excited to hear Izzy Hyman, producer of the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast, talking about “motion scrapbooking,” which he discusses on page 97 of the October issue. Motion scrapbooking is kind of like seeing your stories come to life through video, audio, etc. It’s just a matter of taking your scrapbooker’s eye for photographing those special moments and start using it to capture video (even if it’s just with your phone!) or use video editing software to animate your digital scrapbook pages.

Here’s an example of motion scrapbooking from Izzy.

I’ve had Adobe Premiere Elements for more than a year, but have never used it. After seeing some of Izzy’s examples here, I am inspired to move out of my comfort zone and try memory keeping in a different format. Stay tuned to see how it goes.

In the meantime, you can head over to Izzy Video for some helpful tips on shooting video, and see his handiwork at Paperclipping, where he produces wife Noelle’s in-depth scrapbooking videos. And here’s a video from Izzy on making a micro documentary to get you started!

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Make Your Own Spooky Village

Good morning, scrappers! Our October issue is hitting newsstands now, and I wanted to give you a peek at this spooky Halloween village on page 42—one of my favorite projects in the magazine. The incredibly inspiring Claudine Hellmuth “built” the houses, and our super creative Senior Associate Art Director Deb Berger styled it for the photo shoot.

Claudine posted the directions for the project on her blog last year, and she even offered some templates to make the process easier.

Then Deb added some pumpkin stickers from Reminisce and a moon and bats from Martha Stewart Crafts. She also used a Martha Stewart Crafts border punch to make some fun black picket fences. Clever!

What’s your favorite project in the issue?


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Spooky Halloween Finds

We just returned from the Craft and Hobby Association summer trade show, where we saw a ton of fun new Halloween products. Here are some of our favorites! (Click on the title of each to see better images of them.)

American Crafts: Nightfall

This whimsical collection is appropriate for Halloween- or fall-theme pages. My favorite part was the chalkboard paper and stickers—these were some of my favorites from the whole show (and they look great with AC’s Galaxy Markers).

Fancy Pants Designs: Oct. 31

This pretty collection combines turquoise (which looks blue in my photos) with traditional green, purple and orange.

Doodlebug Design: Monster Mania

This line is just downright cute, but many of the patterns could be used on non-Halloween pages (that versatility is one of the many things I love about Doodlebug), and those monsters are adorable. Note the use of turquoise in this line, too!

Teresa Collins: Haunted Hallows

Teresa Collins offered a fun Halloween line featuring crows, cameos, and candelabras.

Bella Blvd.: Too Cute to Spook

The name of the line says it all; it’s killing me with the adorableness! (And check out the turquoise—again! I didn’t get a good picture at their booth. So this one is from the Bella Blvd. blog.)

Pink Paislee: Phantom

This House of 3-designed line may have been my favorite—I loved the chartreuse combined with orange and black, and the patterns are rich and pretty, with just a dash of haunting images.

My Mind’s Eye: Mischievous

This line took a folk-art angle, complete with cute characters and some great distressed patterns (and notice the hint of aqua). (I wasn’t able to get a photo at the show, but here’s a sampling from My Mind’s Eye’s site:

We R Memory Keepers: Spookville

This line uses classic colors and a design with a retro vibe. (My apologies—I ogled these papers for a while but forgot to snap a picture!)

What are your favorite new Halloween lines?

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DIY Wedding Projects: Save the Dates

Welcome to the second installment of my series on do-it-yourself wedding projects!

One of the first wedding projects we tackled was our save-the-date cards. Save the dates are exactly what they sound like: an announcement of your wedding date, possibly accompanied by travel info for out-of-town guests. They can take many forms, from a simple postcard with the date and location of the wedding and a photo of the happy couple to a themed piece (we almost used this Mad Men-inspired template from Wedding Chicks). Some people send them as a magnet (to hang on the fridge as the reminder it was meant to be), e-mails, or even as an elaborate video.  It’s whatever you want to make it.

Be forewarned, however: It can be easy to get caught up in the idea that this is the first little bit of your wedding anyone will see, so IT MUST BE SPECTACULAR. And that can be a lot of pressure you don’t need when you’re starting to figure out all of your wedding plans. So just remember that your guests will likely just be excited by the promise of a wedding!

I opted to design ours as a two-sided card. Since we didn’t have any engagement photos at the time and we needed to move on to more pressing issues, I decided to design ours digitally and send it to an online printer.

At that point that we knew we wanted our wedding to be a fun, relaxed celebration of our relationship, so after brainstorming, we thought it would be fun to mimic a doodled page torn from a notebook. So I found a digital scrapbooking paper design that looked like a piece of notebook paper, and added the details in our chosen color scheme. This is how the digital image turned out:

Then when our printed cards arrived a week later, it felt like it was missing something. So a notebook border punch helped us finish the look:

We only sent ours to close friends, family, and out-of-town guests, so that helped keep the cost down. (Only send save-the-dates to people you are sure to invite—otherwise you face the choice between an expanded guest list or certain awkwardness the next time you see someone who was asked to save the date but didn’t get an invitation!)

We also created some special wrap-around mailing labels, but I’m saving that for its own blog post!

What I learned: Make it simple! Don’t get burnt out on the first big project

What I wish I’d done differently: I should have made the note at the bottom, which reads, “Formal invitation to follow,” a larger and easier to read. Some of our older guests mistook it for the invitation. Yikes!

Next up: Invitations!

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