42 posts.

Chalkboard Menu Board

Hi everyone, we’ve been busy this week preparing for our big photo shoot of the Crafts Lab. The lab was opened just one year ago, and it continues to be an inspiring place for the Scrapbooks etc. staff to play and create. (We’ll take you on a tour of the Crafts Lab in an upcoming issue!)

In getting ready for the shoot, I pulled out a simple, but oh so fun product from my stash: Wallies peel-and-stick chalkboard sheets. It’s not a new product (and in fact its on sale right now on their website), but it just never ceases to be useful and fun in creating. I’d been thinking about adapting an idea I’d seen on Pinterest to make a chalkboard menu board in our kitchen, and while I had it out, I thought I’d give it a shot. This fabulous idea comes from Heather at WhipperBerry. Do yourself a favor and check out this blog. You’ll find a tutorial for this chalkboard project, as well as many other clever ideas.

menu board

Isn’t it awesome?! I wish I had the beautiful cabinet Heather used to recreate the board, but instead the end of my kitchen cabinet was available. To create my version of this ultra-cute board, I used two sheets of the peel-and-stick chalkboard sheets (in slate), and rounded two corners on each sheet. (You’ll get four 9×12″ sheets in a package.)

The next step was to die-cut words and circles from self-adhesive white vinyl sheets using my Plantin Schoolbook Cricut cartridge. (It looks like Heather used the Doodletype Cricut cartridge for her board.) I didn’t have good luck punching the circles from the vinyl, so I die-cut the white circles, and then die-cut the initials for each weekday out of the chalkboard sheets. The whole project took me about 30 minutes start to finish.


A dear friend of mine did remind me that I actually need to fill it in with menu items now. Small technicality, but I will. Next week.

Have a great weekend! Polly

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Who Doesn’t Love a Good Deal?

Recently American Crafts launched their new ScrapZoom website offering daily deals with rock bottom prices on scrapbooking and crafting supplies, tools, and kits. When I open up my email each day, the deal’s just waiting for me to click “buy”. It’s pretty tempting most days. While AC’s site is pretty new, the ”deal-of-the-day” idea’s been around online for a while, and there are other great sites you can get plugged into to find great prices on scrapbooking products. Here are a few of today’s offers:

Pebbles in my Pocket has Pocket Change with a tagline of “deal today. gone tomorrow.” You can nab an American Crafts Thicker Pack today for just $11.97.

At Crazy Scraps you’ll find get the JW Deal’s Scrapbook Deal of the Day which is 75% off of a Cricut Jasmine Alphabet cartridge.

Molly’s Square posts a new deal every day at 5am. Today you can get some just released Spellbinders Nestabilities dies for a great price.

Crop Chocolate advertises “one sweet deal at a time”, and posts new deals at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm daily. As I write this, they’ve got a tasty deal on Echo Park Happy Days chipboard stickers.

At Scrapbooking for Less you can “Steal the Deal” right now on a whole Echo Park Happy Halloween kit for just $6.88.

Scrapbook Steals has a sweet set of Pebbles pastel and bright chalk pencil bundles for 52% off the retail price.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the places online you’ll find a daily bargain, so keep looking for more. Some sites allow you to subscribe, and others you’ll need to bookmark. Remember these deals are usually offered for a very short time, or until supplies run out. They may not be around if you wait too long. Also, you haven’t sealed the deal just by placing an item in your cart. You’ll need to go through the checkout process to secure your stuff.

In this economy, we scrappers can use all the help we can get keeping an eye on the bottom line. These sites, and many more like them, will help!

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I Have a Senior…

This was our view from the stands last Saturday as our son’s high school marching band unveiled their fall show to the parents. This means the fall activities will now kick into high gear, and we’ll be catapulted into our son’s senior year. (Photo by Sanae Vaniman)

I knew this day was coming, and I’ve known it since 1994, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Today was the first day of school. Many of you know how this feels, and can relate to how unbelievable this is. Whether you just delivered your college student safely to the dorms, or are taking a ”first day of school” photo for the first time, you know how memorable these moments are, and how quickly they come and go. Before I know it, my husband and I will be sitting in a crowd of people, proudly watching our boy receive his diploma.

As a scrapbooker, I’ve documented so much of our son’s life in scrapbooks pages and photo albums, but I’d like to take a slightly different approach to this special year. I’m considering sort of a Project 365 album, taking a photo each day of the school year to capture his experience. I’ve always scrapbooked to provide myself with evidence of this time of our life, and that’s what I’m still after. I want a reminder that even though the year flew by at blinding speed, we lived it all, and took a moment to savor a bit of each day.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your ideas about creatively documenting these milestone years. Whether you’ve had a senior, or are just sending your kindergartener to school this fall, tell us how you’ve captured the memories of these sweetest of days.


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Wild Wild West

It’s so much fun to see new trends emerge and envision how we’d adapt it to our own crafting. At the show one of our favorite new lines was October Afternoon’s new Sasparilla line. It’s got a country feel that makes you want to drink lemonade from a mason jar, but the collection includes other great patterns that make it a limitless option for all kinds of projects.

We also spotted a more feminine take on the Old West theme with Western Romance from Webster’s Pages.

Not surprisingly, when we see trends in scrapbooking products, we also see them in decor or fashion. Keep your eyes open for more inspiration from the Old West in the months to come. Here are a few other things we found that take us to the OK Corral.

Found this ultra-cool throw from House 8810. They’ve actually got several themed throws to curl up under including the Tin Star Throw, the Cowgirl Chenille Throw, and the Chenille Cowboy Throw. Giddy’up.  

Wild West 1

Just in case you wanted to eat your Swanson dinner on the t.v. tray

Wild West 2

…or celebrate your little buckaroos birthday in wild west style.

Wild West 3

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Small Space Solutions: Punches

We’re welcoming talented scrapper Michelle Lanning to the blog today. We came across her clever idea for storing punches in a small space, and asked her to share it with you. Thanks Michelle!

Hi there!  My name is Michelle Lanning and I am so excited to share one of my favorite storage tips with you.  I am lucky enough to have a designated scrap space, but it is a very long and narrow closet and I have had to become very creative in how I store things.  One of the first worries I had was how to store my punch collection.  I have many punches and use them regularly so they needed to be in an accessible place.  I had an extra shoe organizer on hand and decided to use it for some of my supplies.  Well it quickly became obvious to me that it was the perfect punch organizer. 

The easiest way for me to label these was to use kraft paper and punch the design in black.  It makes it really easy for me to “see” what is inside the pocket. The pockets are pretty deep and hold up to four punches.  As I collect more I move them around a bit and add punch sample to front.

It is such a simple way to organize your punches and a definite space saver.   I hope this gave you an idea for your own creative space!

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A New Sketch from Valerie Salmon

We’re always excited to welcome back Etceterista Valerie Salmon (and her talented friends) to the blog, who’s here with a sketch that’s just right for four photos.

Hi everyone, we’re back with a new multi-photo sketch!  

The examples below really show how adaptable sketches can be.  This 4-photo sketch works whether you have one or more photos.

Designed by Valerie Salmon of Got Sketch?


Designed by Valerie Salmon

SOURCES  Cardstock:  Bazzill.  Patterned Papers:  DCWV.  Chipboard shapes:  American Crafts.  Rubber Buttons:  KI Memories.  Circle punches:  Fiskars (2″), EK Success (1.75″).  Border punch:  Martha Stewart.  Title:  (ATD).  Paper doily border:  Basic Grey.  Other:  foam adhesive, pen for journaling.

Designer’s Notes:  

Instead of using multiple photos, I chose to highlight one large photo from our cousins reunion last year.  If I told you how quickly this page came together, you probably wouldn’t believe me.  Having a sketch to work with is a time-saver!  I followed the sketch closely.  Instead of a punched strip above the photo, I used a pre-cut sticker trim.  Chipboard shapes were used for the accents to keep it non-feminine (which my male cousins & brother would probably appreciate).  ;)


“Precious Moments”

Designed by Lisette Gibbons

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (white) | Patterned Paper: October Afternoon (from Fly a Kite Collection) + Echo Park (from Be Mine Collection) | Alphabet Stickers: American Crafts | Clear Stamps: Creative Café (Everyday Script) + Papertrey Ink (Calendar Basics) | Ink: Stampin’Up (Pink Pirouette, Chocolate Chip) + Papertrey Ink (Tea Dye Ink Duo) | Punch: Martha Stewart (Deep Fan Border) + Fiskars (Heart, Circle) | Dies: Papertrey Ink (Signature Butterfly, Large Scalloped Border, Tiny Tags) | Twine: The Twinery | Buttons | Corner Rounder: Zutter

Designer’s Notes:  

For the heart and butterfly shapes I’ve used pages out of an old book. This is a great way to give extra texture to your layout.


“Love this boy”

Designed by AnnaMarie Mondro

SOURCES  Kit: Studio Calico Mind The Gap main kit (June) and Studio Calico Flat add-on kit (June). Punches: Fiskars, Martha Stewart Crafts. Marker: Bic Mark-it.

Designer’s Notes:  

One of the things I love most about Valerie’s sketches is how adaptable they are! Here, I rotated the sketch one turn clockwise which allowed me to use the bottom photos vertically rather than horizontally. I also substituted a larger 4”×2.5″ vertical photo in place of the two smaller 2”x2.5″ photos displayed in the original sketch. Because of the more playful feel of my layout, I strayed from the linear lines of the sketch by tilting the bottom photos and title-work; I also substituted random punched circles and a large tag in place of the scalloped circles bordering the photos, and a cluster of punched clouds for the larger floral element on the left side. Strips of patterned paper and buttons were also arranged at the bottom of the page in place of the larger double scalloped and patterned paper borders.


“Summer Annual Traditions”

Designed by Kimberly Neddo

SOURCES  Sassafras Sunshine Broadcast PP: Flourish, Kindle, Golden Hour, Enlighten and static; Sassafras Sunshine Broadcast stickers: Borders, Sweet Treats and Blue Graph Alpha; Sassafras Folides: Sunshine

Designer’s Notes:  

I am a big fan of layering with stickers and pop dot adhesives to give my creations more dimention. I love how Sassafras foldies incorperate that easily. For this layout, I clustered stickers with the foldies to utilize different looks with the products. I even used my pop dots behind one of the photographs for a fun look.

Hope you enjoyed all these!

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

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As I’m madly, obssessively, addictively pinning images to my Pinterest boards, I’ve been wondering, did you know you can follow Scrapbooks etc. on Pinterest? We’ve got several boards we’re curating….just another way to inspire you, help you follow trends, gather ideas, and jumpstart your creating!

If you haven’t heard about it, Pinterest is a wildly addictive site that allows you to curate collections of your favorite web images. Started in 2010, it’s picked up the momentum of a steam train this year. Much like bookmarking a favorite website, Pinterest allows you to pin web images to a virtual bulletin board. Your picks are then displayed in a beautiful collage complete with a link to where each image is found online.

It’s a brilliant tool to help you organize your scrapbooking inspirations (or recipes you want to try, or fashion finds, etc.) Find a great scrapbook page on a blog? Pin it to a board. Come across a cool craft idea or color combination? Pin it to a board. Love that organization tip? Pin it to a board. Organize your collection to your heart’s content, follow others’ collections and repin their finds on your boards, and just get lost in the inspiration. It’s one big pinning party.

Pinterest also happens to have a handy app you can add to your electronic toys to feed the obsession while you’re on the go. Fair warning: Once you start pinning, it’s tough to walk away from the screen, but we hope you’ll look us up once you arrive!

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Leah Fung’s Address Card File

On the blog today we’re welcoming Contributing Editor Leah Fung with a quick, and oh-so-fun etc. idea.

I came across this cool address card file that used to be sold at At first, I was bummed to find out it was no longer available. But then I thought, “Hmmm, I think I can do that”.

So using Scrapbook Factory Deluxe, which is a very easy to use digital scrapbooking program, I created my own address cards and index tabs. I printed the address cards on plain white cardstock then cut them out using my paper trimmer. After that, I adhered strips of heavy weight patterned paper along the top and bottom of each (adhering behind the address card) just to perk them up.

For the index cards, I printed letters onto cardstock then punched out tab shapes and adhered them to blocks of the same type of cardstock. I added a staple to each tab just for fun.

I made these address cards for my desk, so I used pretty patterned papers and flowers to embellish. But I think this card file idea would work well for men too – just switch out the pretty prints with something more masculine or even just cardstock.  If you want to give it a try, come on over to my blog where you can download the address cards (and index prints) to print.  You can also adjust the size of the cards and tabs before printing if you like. 

Here are the sources for the products I used: Patterned Paper: Pine Cone Press. Flower: Prima. Button: Making Memories. Tab punch: Stampin’Up. Mini staple: Tim Holtz. Have fun! Leah

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GelaSkins from Cosmo Cricket

I came across some news a little while ago I wanted to share with you, but not until the mail arrived, and I could show you my new find! In May, Cosmo Cricket announced eight of their patterned papers would now be available as GelaSkins for your electronics. Eight of their popular patterns, including Sea Garden, Flagstaff, or Measuring Up, are now available to decorate your iPhone, laptop, e-reader, or whatever else you tote around. I don’t have a cool phone, but I do have a laptop I’m rarely without, so I thought I’d go for it!

Look at that poor, unadorned PC. So sad.

Skin 1I opened up the envelope that arrived in the mail, and found this!

Skin 2Within minutes, my plain, silver laptop looked like this! I loved the Key Caps pattern (so appropriate for a laptop), and it was a breeze to apply.

Skin 3

Word to the wise: Measure twice, order once. As you can see, I thought I was getting the right size, but undercut myself just a little. I still love it though, and may update it in the future. (See update below!) Check out how cool these are…




What’s even better is that Cosmo Cricket has plans to introduce more patterns as GelaSkins. If you’ve got a favorite pattern you’d like to see as a skin, give them a hollar.

UPDATE: Being the recovering perfectionist that I am, I just couldn’t let the almost-fitting skin be. I contacted GelaSkins and they were terrific! I got an immediate response from them inviting me to send the skin back to exchange it for one that fits to a tee. Turns out my laptop is pretty close to the standard size, but if your gadget’s like mine and needs a custom fit, they’ll take care of that no problem. Just send them the measurements. I’m one happy customer!

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Greetings From the Happiest Place on Earth

Hi! You get three guesses as to where I’m at right now, and the first two don’t count. We decided with our oldest about to be a senior in high school, it was high time we “did Disney”. (And by the way, that adorable hand happens to be some shaped bling from Queen & Company.)  Technically, it will be our family’s second visit to the happiest place on earth, but our first was just one day at Disneyland a few years ago with my husband’s whole family. We did love it, but this time it’s just the four of us going for a full-on Disney vacation, and you know I’ll be all about recording the memories while we’re here, and scrapping them when we get home. I know we’re not alone (judging by the lines we’ve been standing in). We’re in peak vacation season, and I’m hoping you have something on the calendar you’re equally as excited about preserving in your scrapbooks.

One of the best reasons I keep scrapbooking is that it helps me supplement my very poor memory. For that reason, I’ll be taking notes throughout our trip that will find their way into my journaling later. On many trips I’ve purchased postcards to use as journaling cards. I used to bribe my kids to journal on them as well, but with teenagers, let’s just say I’m doing well to get their photo snapped. If you’re keeping friends and family updated on your trip progress, the emails or texts you send will hold some great journaling for you. If you’re a tweeter, pair your trip tweets with your photos when you get home.

If you’re into keeping a real travel journal, you may enjoy this journal from Journals Unlimited. It’s got prompts to help jumpstart your journaling. 

I like the mini version of this journal. It fits better in my travel bag. 

For an alternative way to document your trip, take along a Smashbook from K&Company.  The glue stick/pen goes along for the ride so you can attach ticket stubs, wristbands, pamplets, or other memorabilia you acquire. If the cover gets a little messy from a monster ice cream sundae, or the pages get a little dog-eared in your travel tote, it just adds to the charm of the book.

Fancy Pants Designs also has a fun brag book that would be equally fun to jot down your travel memories.

Often when we take a trip there are so many photos I wind up creating photobook. I’ve pondered ideas for a Disney scrapbook for so long though, this time I think I’ll make a traditional album instead. As we’ve toured the parks I’ve taken note of the inspirations of color, pattern, and shape from Disney, and can’t wait to get started. We’re still trying for that great family photo. You know, the one to put on title page of the album, the Christmas card, and share with family and friends. We’ve taken advantge of the Disney photographers, but I need one on my camera. The photo below’s missing my husband, a second attempt has half of Claire’s face cut off, and the third was taken by an ever-so-willing Disney cast member, but my camera was in a setting that came up with a crystal clear Epcot icon, and a blurry family in the foreground. We’ll keep trying today. Have fun! Polly

Disney blog

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