Monday, December 7, 2015

Blog Hop Stop One: Quick & Easy Layouts, Featuring...Circles and Ovals!

Hello readers, and welcome to the latest Blog Hop!

This your first stop today, and at the end of my post I will give you a link to the next one.  The idea is to keep "hopping"from one to the next, reading and viewing each contributors great ideas.  When you have finished, be sure to leave a comment on the main Creative Memories blog page (I will give  you that link as well).  Everyone who comments on that page will have a chance to win the complete Custom Cutting System!

Speaking of the Custom Cutting System....the big news today is that Circles and Ovals are here! They are available for sale today starting at 3pm CST, as well as a couple other new items.

When used with the cutting mat and blades, you can cut many different sizes, to use as photo mats, decorative elements, or whatever you like.  You will definitely want these little guys in your crafting toolbox!  Of course, we all love die-cut machines, but the fact is, the CM Custom Cutting System takes up a lot less space and does not need a power source!  It's a very quick and handy method of cutting circles and ovals for your layouts, cards or other projects.

You will find many ways to use circles and ovals in the Blog Hop today.  My main focus is using them in album layouts.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Once you start cutting circles, it's hard to stop!  Circles are a fun way to do a border or decorative element on the page.  This lovely, uncluttered page literally took me 15 minutes to make. I used card stock from Shades of Neutral and paper/stickers from the Christmas Joy collection.

The next layout shows how a matted, circle-shaped photo can anchor the page, joining the photos together and drawing the eye around them. Circles also help highlight a part of an otherwise poor photo (you can usually cut out photo bombers, ugly walls or other details by making the photo a circle).  Materials used: Cardstock from Shades of Neutral, paper/stickers from the Christmas Joy collection.

Here I used a Natural refill page as a nice backdrop for products from the Fall In collection.  The circles and oval cutting patterns are great for highlighting the title of your page. The three blades (each one cuts a bit farther out from the template) make quick work of matting and layering.

You KNOW I can't let a blog post go by without mentioning a Fast2Fab layout! :)  Circles and ovals are a great addition to F2F pages, because you can sneak a few more photos on them that way. They also break up the monotony of rectangular photos. Here, I added a couple circles to a 2-page spread in a "Now Boarding" album.  The card stock is from the Shades of Neutral pack.

Now I will send you on your way to Diana's blog for more inspiration!  Below please find the entire list of contributors, include a link back to the CM website blog, where you can leave your comments. I also enjoy comments here, but if you want to win the Custom Cutting System, you must comment on the Creative Memories page. Thanks for reading and enjoy your day!

#1 Julie at Julie's Creative Memories Blog (you are here)
#2 Diana at D. Brinsley's Memory Keeping Blog
#3 Stefani Jones at Crop With Stef
#4 Lisa at Lisa's Workshop
#5 Fran at Celebrating Your Beautiful Life
#6 Noreen at Organized and Creative Mom
#7 Candace at Scrappin' Jpegs

And don't forget....The Creative Memories Blog

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Holiday Memory Keeping

The holidays are full of traditions and memories, but it’s also a busy time and the weeks go by so fast. We want to capture all the fun, the love, the parties and wonderful food and gifts.  Before we jump into December tomorrow (!) I have a few ideas for you - pictures to take, things to save, and how to put them together in a Creative Memories album. Even if you can’t commit to making one every year, they are great treasures to look back through.

Let’s start with some ideas of photos to take.  They won’t apply to everyone, but it’s a start. You can probably think of even more:

My dog was boarded over the holidays last year, and the kennel
sent me a Christmas greeting from him!
  • Kids making their wish lists, plus a picture of the wish list in their cute handwriting
  • Going out shopping 
  • Choosing/cutting down a tree (or the comedy routine of piecing together the fake tree)
  • Decorating the tree and the house
  • Favorite decorations, inside and outside the house
  • The broken ornaments (with the guilty cat/toddler who destroyed them)
  • Baking and cooking, plus the ensuing messy kitchen
  • Small groups of relatives (easier to manage than a huge group photo, and easier to get close-ups of those faces you love)
  • The preschooler with her dress over her head during the church play
  • Playing favorite games
  • Visiting Santa, with tears or smiles
  • Charity events and caroling
  • Stockings hung up on the mantle (or where ever yours go)
  • The frightful weather - snow, icicles, and people bundled up
  • Pets, especially in costume
  • Don’t forget the adults (I’m looking at you, Moms, who are always hiding behind the camera!) 
  • The post-gift-opening disaster area
Add the tickets, the selfies - everything to tell the story!

Christmas cards have always held a special place in our homes, and now that many cards include family photos, they are really worth saving! Ideas:

  • Cards with an inside and outside can be cut in half (as above), with both halves displayed on the page. Or, you can try this method from CM Advisor Fran Smitherman.  
  • Double-sided cards can be slid into full pocket pages, or you can just display your favorite side. 
  • Incorporate a beautiful card front or cute detail as a page embellishment with a few snips of a scissors 
  • You could make an ongoing holiday card album, with cards from one family in the same place. For example, if your cousin sends you a card/picture of her kids each year, display them side-by-side, and add refill pages as needed. This is a fun way to watch the family “grow up,” watch hairstyles change, and so on. 
  • Create a “folder” for your cards using two sheets of card stock, as I did here. Lay one card stock over the other, then adhere, or staple, (or sew, if you do that) the bottom edge. Decorate the front, put your cards inside, then slide the folder into a 12x12 pocket page. This way, you can pull out the folder and easily look through the cards. 

Make (or buy) a 12x12 folder and decorate

Make a note for the reader to pull out the folder from the pocket page

There they are, your saved holiday cards to enjoy

There are plenty of other things besides photos and cards to hang onto and add to your album. Save your tickets, brochures, wish lists, recipe cards with favorite dishes, gift tags, ribbon, kids’ drawings and their letters to Santa. If school projects are too big to fit on a page (or they’re 3-dimensional!), take a picture and add that instead.

Apparently I could  not bear the though of adding one more page to this album,
so I stuck the lovely tree drawing to the back cover! I also include as much kids' artwork as possible. 

Consider making a whole December album, and remember that not all the pages have to be holiday themed. We do a lot of things in December besides unwrap gifts and make cookies, right?  You can include it all: concerts, plays, road trips, charity events, fun family outings and so on. 

December is also about traveling to visit family, and doing fun things like bowling.

Try to keep your pages simple, and focused on the pictures.  It’s tempting to use every tool and possible sticker on each layout, but the page should enhance your photos, not distract the viewer.  And don’t forget to tell the stories!  Pictures can sometimes say everything, but not always.

What do you notice about these layouts?  The minimal embellishments puts the focus on the pictures. 

Are your holiday memories only a few pages long?  You might be able to fit two or more years' worth of Decembers into one album. (The recommended maximum number of pages for an Album Cover is 30.)

Don't love your handwriting?  Type your page titles, captions, quotes or journaling on your computer, and print out on cardstock or vellum (check out my first photo on this post - I printed a title onto vellum).

It’s best to make your holiday album while the memories are still fresh, right at the end of the month or start of the new year.  Or, if you are really organized, you can prepare the album ahead of time, and work on it throughout the month of December.  One of our CM Advisor friends in Canada, Noreen, has some excellent ideas on creating an album ahead of the season. Click here to read her post. 

Creative Memories’ new Christmas Joy collection is the ideal home for your holiday memories. The Fast2Fab album has predesigned pages - do you know what that means?!?  It means that you can just stick your stuff to the page, do some journaling, and be done!  It’s so easy.  The coordinating paper, stickers and slide-in cards help you enhance your pages or make your own, using our refill or pocket pages. And don’t forget the Home for the Holidays Album Cover and the Evergreen cartridge for the Border Maker system.

CM Multi-Pocket pages make it a snap to include all those holiday photos.
Try adding some Christmas Joy slide-in cards and stickers.

Happy Scrappy Holidays to All!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Creating a Scrapbooking Space

Scrapbooking, as a hobby, starts out innocently enough.

Someone invites you to a class or workshop and you make your first pages. You learn how to create a nice layout, how to choose just the right papers and embellishments, do your journaling,, you're hooked.  You're going to put all your photos and stories into albums.  Awesome!

You buy an album, a few tools, some nice paper. It takes up a little corner of your desk. Innocent.

A couple months later, you look around and realize that your hobby has taken on a life of its own, and that a purchase here and there - just one little punch, a stack of paper, an extra album - has added up to a major investment, and it's everywhere. Disorganized, cluttered, taking over the desk, the corner, maybe a whole room or closet.

As my friend Natasha once said, getting into scrapbooking is like jumping down a rabbit hole: a seemingly endless, confusing-but-exciting experience. One thing leads to other. You discovered the die-cut machine, and you have to have dies and embossing folders. You bought these papers that match those stickers and OH LOOK there are also matching stamps and alphabets and are those color-coordinated sparkly doodads?!

Here's the thing. Scrapbooking is a wonderful, meaningful hobby.  It preserves photos and stories for you and future generations to enjoy. It's a relaxing, creative outlet which reminds you how rich and wonderful life can be.

But it takes up a lot of real estate.  And unless you organize all The Stuff and make a space where you can work, your albums are not going to get done. (There is also a lot to be said for keeping your pages simple, and focused on the pictures, but that's another topic.)

Everyone has a different situation, I know.  Some people live in small apartments, where your space might be a card table with a shelf above it. A lot of those living in houses have claimed the dining room as your creative territory (because - hello - who has formal dinners anymore?).  A fortunate few (like me) have their own scrapbook/craft rooms. Our house has a very small office which is my craft room, and since we don’t even own dining room furniture, what's meant to be the dining room is the office! I can leave my work and come back to it anytime, and no one has moved anything. Mostly because they’re afraid to go into the room when it looks like this: 

Oooh, that's better.

The biggest challenge is probably for those of you with little ones.  I have four of them who are all in school now, but when kids are very young, it's not easy.  Even if you can find TIME to work on your albums, leaving it all out is just not an option when you have toddlers or preschoolers who are drawn to the paper, stickers, pens and beautiful colors.  During those years, it is best to keep it all out of their reach, and work on albums when the kids are asleep. Or, find evening/weekend crops or retreats to go to!

So, here are a few ideas if you’re looking to create or expand your scrapbooking area:

1) The physical space: The first thing to decide on is what square footage to claim. If you have a spare room, and the people you live with are cool with it, this is ideal. No room? Do you have space in a corner, a loft, a dormer?  I have even seen pictures of closets turned into office or craft spaces, with a built-in desk and shelves above.  Don’t just look at the floor space— think vertically too; some cabinets, shelves or a desk hutch above the work surface can give you the storage you need. Also consider that natural light is a great feature, if you can find a space near windows. 

2) The work surface: The best surface is a large, sturdy desk or table, but a folding table is a fine alternative (plus, you can move it or take it down as needed).  Two desks or tables is even better, if you can swing it: one for stuff and one for working. Or, again, consider open cabinets or shelves for storage above your workspace. 

Here is my desk...again, before/after. It usually looks more like the "before," and usually much worse.

3) Furniture: There are companies who would like to sell you furniture made specifically for scrapbooking, but this is expensive and unnecessary!  Consider pieces you may already own that you could repurpose. For example, my scrap room furniture is all having a second (or third) life. My desk (above) was bought second-hand by my in-laws, and my husband used it as a teen. It's very sturdy and well made. 

This cabinet holds my photo boxes, albums and refill pages, but it used 
to be our pantry, when we lived in a house with a little kitchen!

And this rolling cart was a purchase for another kitchen which lacked storage and counter space. Now I use it for my die-cutter, for gift wrapping, and to store my stamping and card-making stuff.

If you don't have spare furniture, ask family members for items they’re not using, or scour yard sales or second-hand stores.  

4) Lighting: here is one area where you might want to spend a little money.  Scrapbooking requires good light, and when the sun goes down or you do not have adequate lighting, it’s frustrating. There are many good craft lamps that cast a bright, even light on your workspace.  I got my floor lamp with a  half-price coupon, and the small folding lamp was a Christmas gift. 

5)Tools: Scrapbooking tools are so much fun, but take up a lot of space, and some are really heavy!  Creative Memories can help you organize many tools, like the Border Maker system, Shape Maker, Corner Rounder, pens, scissors and more in the Tools Organizer.  The interior of these sturdy cases can be configured as you like, they stack nicely and have multiple handles for carrying. I keep two of them on my desk (above, under the lamp), and have even made a space in one for my beloved CM slide-in cards!

My slide-in cards fit in this little section, divided and labeled for easy location

Punches, trimmers, and cutting systems are best stored in drawers, sturdy shelves or cabinets. Punches may also fit nicely in hanging organizers meant for shoes or toys. 

6) Albums, refill pages & protectors, plus all.that.paper!  Albums, pages and protectors, of course, need to be stored flat or, upright and straight. Keep them in their packaging until you need them!  Any organizer used for 12x12 paper also works well for pages and protectors.

And the paper. Yes, we all have a lot! It multiplies by itself, I think.  I can tell you all about how I store mine (pictures below) but the truth is that our minds all work differently, and my organization style will be different from yours.  Besides, the storage of paper and how you categorize it is always going to be a work in progress. 

Stacking wood cubes hold my solid-color cardstock

This rolling cart has 6 12x12-inch bins for storing paper and embellishments. I have them labeled by theme or collection.  I also have a basket full of paper.  And a cardboard box with paper.  
And other paper, somewhere, which I am honestly going to use someday. 

On my wish list this year, these paper trays by Umbrella Crafts, which will lead 
to paper organization nirvana. Or may just cause me to buy more paper.

7) Photo & memorabilia storage: CM makes it easy to safely store lots of photos in their Power Sort Box. The little compartments inside, along with dividers you can write on (and erase, if you use pencil) will help you sort out those stacks.  A tip: only order those photos that you need for one project at a time. It’s less confusing and overwhelming. But if you have quite a backlog, the Power Sort Box is a good temporary home.

Don’t forget your memorabilia - the invitations, tickets, postcards, kid drawings, certificates and various clippings you have saved for years.  A large accordion file with tabbed dividers is a good solution here: just drop all that stuff in labeled sections and it’s ready for your projects. 

8) Motivate yourself: A creative space needs a little inspiration! Consider hanging some beautiful art, “wall words,” or a bulletin board for posting ideas. Paint the walls your favorite color. Print out sketches or ideas you see for page layouts. Post a list of all the albums you want to make, and check them off as you go. Put on your favorite music, and get to work!

This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many ideas online and many innovative products for craft rooms and storage. The main point I want to make is that creating your own, organized, inspirational space will help you complete albums!  I hope you are able to make this a reality in your home. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Holiday Blog Hop - Stop #7

Happy Holidays to all my fellow paper crafters, scrapbookers and memory keepers!

You have reached the final stop on the Creative Memories Holiday Blog Hop. I will include links to all the other bloggers at the end of my post.

Have you seen the new Christmas Joy Collection?  It's cheery and bright, and features classic holiday colors and designs. Today I am pleased to offer more examples of how versatile Creative Memories' Fast2Fab albums and pages can be, using the Christmas Joy products.

I am hoping to help you see beyond the pages as they are, and imagine the possibilities.  Fast2Fab pages not only make it quick and easy for you to complete albums - they are also a launchpad for your own creativity.  With the basic layout and colors in place, all you have to do is personalize it a little.

 1) "Happy Holidays" is as easy as it gets: add your photos to the predesigned pages. That's it!  I like to leave a little room on the bottom of each photo box to do some journaling.

2) "December" shows how you can just add a few elements to the predesigned page to make it your own.  First, I punched two Diamond Scroll borders with the green dot paper, and two Medallion Frame Chain borders from white cardstock.  I layered those borders as shown on each page. Next, I matted and added my photos.  For the journaling box, I used a card from the Christmas Joy slide-in pack, punched the Evergreen Tree border along the top, and added a sticker from the new collection.

3) "Christmas Traditions" is an example of how to use a F2F page as a starting point, and add your own design.  Below are the pages as they are in album/refill pack.  I like these, but they needed a bit more color, especially red!

I started by covering the top border with the red stripe paper from the Christmas Joy pack, and layered a border strip over that, cut from another paper in the pack.  Next I punched the trees with the Border Maker and stuck that towards the top of the green page border. The adorable rows of holiday houses along the bottom are stickers (yes!!)  Photos, mats (that's gray cardstock from the Shades of Neutral pack) and a card from the slide-in pack, and it's finished.

4) "Merry and Bright" is a total page makeover.  I used a layout from the Fall In album, and turned it into a Christmas layout.  Maybe you're thinking...yeah, that's nice Julie, but why would I do that?  Well, maybe you had a 2012 like I did, where you took about four Christmas pictures, because your husband was working overseas and you were home with four kids (or whatever your reason was!) So you're working along in your lovely Fall In album, and you come to December, and your four pictures, and you need a Christmasy page. Here you go. (sorry about the color difference; I obviously took them in different lights. I promise it's the same two pages)

I covered the purple photo boxes with red and green prints, added the brown stripe mat, and also borders on the right, cut from the paper pack.  The journaling box at the bottom right is a card from the slide-in pack. I drew the light string with a CM pen, and added the light bulb stickers, the Christmas tree and a star sticker on top.

5) "I Love Christmas" is a pocket page!  These handy additions are great when you have extra pictures that won't fit on your layouts.  When you add coordinating slide in cards, they blend nicely into the album. Don't be afraid to add stickers or other embellishments to make the page more interesting.

6) "Gone Fishin'" shows you how are not locked into the "theme" of F2F pages.  Here, I turned a Christmas Joy design into a fishing/outdoor layout.  If you ever have leftover pages or you think - "this would be great for my pictures of _______," you can transform them pretty easily. 

All I had to do was add some paper and die-cut leaves from the Fall In collection.  The title box is a card from the Christmas Joy slide-in pack; I simply covered the brighter holiday colors with "wood" paper and added Fall In alphabet stickers.

Think outside the box(es) with Creative Memories Fast2Fab albums!  You will find so many possibilities. :)

I hope you have enjoyed the blog hop, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Below is a list of all the blog hop contributors, in case you missed them:

Stefani at Crop with Stef
Candace at ' Scrappin' Jpegs
Julie at Julie's Creative Memories Blog (you are here!)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Halloween Blog Hop - Stop #2

You have reached the second stop on today's Halloween Blog Hop!  My fellow CM advisors and I are  handing out some sugar-free treats: ideas and inspiration for your Halloween pages.

When you have finished reading mine, be sure to click the link to Candace's blog to see what she has to show you!  I will also include the links to all the other contributors' posts, so you don't miss any.

Creative Memories latest Fast2Fab collection is called Fall In. The album, predesigned pages, coordinating slide-in cards, papers, stickers and die cut leaves are gorgeous!  The modern color palette provides a perfect backdrop for your fall, Thanksgiving, family, or even travel photos. 

If you normally take a few Halloween photos, but not enough to fill a whole album, I can show you how I transformed some of the Fall In pages into Halloween pages! They will blend right into your album, because there is enough of the original design and colors showing through.

So here is the first layout, as it looks in the Fast2Fab album:

And here it is, after being "Halloweened!"

To create this layout, you will need the Trick or Treat Paper pack and stickers, black cardstock, the Shape Maker with Circle Tag cartridge, the 12-inch Trimmer and Tape Runner. (You could substitute the Circle Tags with any cut-out circles).

  • Cut 12x2.5 inch strips from the spider-web print paper and adhere over the red-orange page border. 
  • Cut as many 4.5x6.5 inch photo mats as you need from the patterned papers and add to page. 
  • One of the Trick or Treat papers has nine squares, which you can cut apart and use for journaling or accents, as I did using the orange square with a spider.  
  • Cut two circle tags from black cardstock and adhere to page; use a ruler and pen to draw the strings and "hang" them from the top of the page.
  • Add arrow stickers or others, as you like, and also the little spider stickers on the circle tags. 
  • The grid design of the page makes it easy to line everything up just so!
  • Along the edge of each page are numbers, as if it's a record book; I circled the "31" on each side, for Halloween. 

My second layout originally looked like this:

And this is the Halloween-ready design:

To make this layout, you will need the Trick or Treat paper pack and stickers, black cardstock, the Border Maker with Picket Fence cartridge, the 12-inch Trimmer and Tape Runner. I started with the picket-fence border (which I give instructions for, below). In the upper right photo box, I used the "Trick or Treat" design cut from the 9-square printed paper. I added a few stickers, and that's it!  

I like how the fence and the stickers create a Halloween night "scene," with the owl, pumpkins, street sign, moon and stars. The page would be just as cute without the fence; just add your photos and stickers.

For the picket fence, start with the Border Maker and Picket Fence cartridge:

Cut a border from black cardstock, then measure 1 and a quarter inches from the bottom of the border. Make a mark here, and cut with 12 inch trimmer (see next photo).

Your border should now look like this:

Put the border back into the border maker like so (using the blue paper guide):

Cut the same border on the opposite side, then use the trimmer to cut off one of the "pointy" edges. 

Further proof that the Fast2Fab pages are super versatile!

Take a lot of pumpkin patch/carving/Halloween photos?  You need this fun new Pumpkin Patch album cover!  The bookcloth is black mica, which means it has a little sparkle to it. Check out the whole Halloween collection (click for larger view):

Thanks for reading!  The fun continues over at Candace's Scrappin' Jpegs blog - click here!

Here is the complete list of today's blog hop contributors:
Stop 1: Sarah Fitzgerald at Click Write Share
Stop 2: Julie Tambrini at Julie's Creative Memories Blog (You are HERE)
Stop 3: Candace Bouldin at Scrappin' Jpegs
Stop 4: Lisa Graham at Lisa's Workshop
Stop 5: Fran Smitherman at Celebrating Your Beautiful Life
Stop 6: Diana Brinsley at D. Brinsley's Memory Keeping Blog
Stop 7: Stefani Jones at Crop with Stef