Ella's picture

Giveaway time!!

Happy Holidays Ella readers- we have an exciting giveaway for you today, one spot in Ali Edwards 12 week workshop, Yesterday and Today at Big Picture Classes.  To enter leave a comment sharing your favorite holiday gift of 2010.

(Comments close in 24 hours at 9:00 am MST December 31)

Yesterday & Today

The goal of Yesterday & Today is to help you meaningfully document and celebrate life by looking to the past before approaching the stories of today. Join Ali Edwards in this inspiring workshop as she helps you create satisfying answers to these questions in your scrapbooks.

  • Where do you begin creating with photos from generations past?
  • What do you wish you knew about your parents when they were growing up? What life lessons do you want to pass on to your children?
  • How do you document the challenging times in your life?
  • How do you create layouts that tell special stories when you don't have any photos?

Ali says,
“The benefit of looking to the past is that we gain perspective. We see things differently after developing an awareness of what we know and what we wished we knew. Looking back, even if we're just viewing old photos of people we don't know, can change the way we approach the photos we take and the stories we tell today.”


Winner is mllwyllw

Wendy Smedley's picture

Winners from Ella's 12 Giveaways of Christmas!

Thanks for joining us for the 12 Giveaways of Christmas! We had a blast and hope you did too.

We've contacted all the remaining winners directly, but here they are, so you know!

Day 8: photo jewelry
Crystal Greene (comment #47)

Day 9: digital kit
Jodee (comment #30)

Day 10: reneepearson.com class
Emily Joyce (comment #26)

Day 10: $20 gift certificate
sara grafton (comment #5)

Day 11: Ancestry.com family-tree poster
Laney (comment #10)

Day 12: AdornIt photo canvas
chenning (comment #88)

Winners from previous days are at the end of Day 7's post.

Angie Lucas's picture

Merry Christmas

I received this card from a friend, and I had to share it with you. Beautiful sentiments for a beautiful time of year. (Card by Kathy Davis Designs.)

From all of us here at Ella Publishing Co., may your holidays be merry and bright!

(Remaining winners from the 12 Days of Christmas contests announced Monday.)

MaryJo Johnston's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Twelve

Day 12

Thanks to our friends at Adorn It for sponsoring this awesome giveaway. Displaying photos around our homes is something scrapbookers love to do. These canvas prints are beautiful and so hip. Read about how to order your own here.

Check out what friend Mary Jo did with her mad skills and Adorn It has generously offered to provide one lucky Ella reader their own custom 11" x 14" canvas. To enter the giveaway leave a comment.

(Comments close in 24 hours on December 24 at 11:00 am MST )

MaryJo says: "If you’re looking for a new, creative way to showcase your photos in style, I highly recommend the Adorn It Photo Canvas.  

"My house is full is photos, framed, pinned to creative boards, even stuck on the refrigerator with magnets.  I’m always looking for a new way to display my favorites.  And, I may just fill my house with canvas prints!

"Adorn It has created an incredibly simple process for you to create your own canvas.  Choose your favorite photo, enhance it with photo editing software (optional) and upload it to the Adorn It site.  Choose the size, customizable options and then stalk the mailman – it’s that easy!

"I chose a recent photo of my daughter letting the world know that she just turned four.  Using Photoshop, I created four colored blocks and the title “FOUR” to enhance the photo.  I ordered an 11x14 canvas and when it arrived at my door, I was stunned.  The quality, texture and color are beyond compare.  It is truly a gift I will treasure for a lifetime."

See how easy it can be here.

Keshet Shenkar's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Eleven

Day 11

The holidays are all about family, right? So, today we've teamed up with Ancestry.com for today's awesome giveaway!


Don't know much about Ancestry.com?

Anyone can sign up for a Free Trial of an Ancestry.com US Deluxe Membership and start searching for ancestors. You'll be amazed at how much information you can find and how quickly. Ella Friend Keshet tried out the Ancestry.com Custom Family Tree Poster service, and we're going to give one away too!

Here are Keshet's thoughts:

"Working on this project meant so much to me. When I first started, I looked at the small family tree and figured 'this should be easy!' I quickly learned how much I didn’t know—the many family members who I didn’t even know a name for, and the many many more relatives I only had a name for, and no other information.

"In the process of researching to fill out the holes I found numerous family names that had been passed down through generations and then forgotten, and even learned that I’m related to a very famous rabbi in Jewish history!

"As I used my grandmother’s historical records to trace the family tree down to the present day, I was stunned by how many branches of the tree ended in the devastation of the Holocaust. It made me feel a greater responsibility to live up to my family’s legacy, especially because so few of us are left. 

"This project also made me proud to be a scrapbooker---to be leaving a history of myself for the generations after me. I plan to keep the poster and add to it by hand as I learn more information about my family."

Leave a comment sharing the oldest Ancestor's name that you know (even if it's just a great-grandfather), and we'll pick one random winner who will get to order a family-history tree poster of her own! (Note: Winner must complete and order poster by December 31, 2010.)

Comments close Thursday, December 23 at 10:00 a.m. MST

Bonus: here's one more offer from Ancestry.com for everyone!

Family Tree Maker 2010

Ella's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Ten

Day 10

All you digi lades rejoice, because today's giveaway is for a spot in Laura Coyle's Make it Now class, Swirl Shop, at ReneePearson.com. All you non-digi ladies, we've got a little somethin' from Ella for you, too! Read on...

Class Description:
In this Make it Now workshop for Adobe Illustrator users, Laura Coyle will take you step-by-step through the process of making beautiful flowing flourishes and frames, ready to adorn your layouts, invitations and web projects.

Spend valuable time with the pen tool, building your skills while having fun. Master the spiral tool and make it do your bidding. In this class, it’s all achievable - and the swirly, curly, flowing linework will be yours! You'll come away with beautiful finished artwork and essential Illustrator techniques.

New to digital scrapbooking? Renee has a handful of free video tutorials for beginners.


In other news, make sure you check out Ella's BRAND NEW Gift Certificates! These are the perfect last-minute gift for the scrapbooker/photographer/crafter on your list! Why? No shipping! Instant arrival! (And here's a little secret: use the code DECEMBER25 to get any single gift certificate for 25 percent off through December 25, 2010! Whether you send it to yourself or someone else is up to you.)

Click images to shop!

Now for the Giveaway:
Today, one random commenter will receive a spot in Laura Coyle's class, and a second commenter will receive a $20 gift certificate to Ella Publishing Co. for free. (You can keep it for yourself or give it to a friend!) Mention in your comment whether or not you have access to Adobe Illustrator, so we make sure we give the class to someone who can use it!

Comments close December 22 at 10:00 am MST

Monika Wright's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Nine

Day 9
Ella friend Monika Wright got to use a digital kit created by two super talented digital designers Liz of Paislee Press and Danielle of Kitschy Digitals called Curated. One random winner from today's comments will win this kit--a $16 value.

(Comments close in 24 hours on December 21 at 10:00am MST)

About the Kit
This kit is an eclectic yet refined collection of Quick Pages that can be used to create individual scrapbook pages, or use the entire collection to create a cohesive and complete album that you'll cherish for years to come. It's the perfect blend of the minimalism and eccentricity that you've grown to love from Paislee Press and Kitschy Digitals. Who knew two totally different styles could come together to produce such a lovely collection!

Monika says: "Working with this curated kit, a collaboration between Paislee Press and Kitschy Digitals, was such a fun experience for me.  While I don't consider myself a digital scrapper, I was able to work my way through the process. With each kit purchase, there is a link to a tutorial helping you to get started and create your layout.
"Fun, frilly and girly...those were my thoughts upon seeing the above template. And those three words describe my oldest daughter, Isabella, to the nth degree, which made choosing the photos, placing them in the template and finishing my journaling about a 10 minute process. For my youngest daughter, I originally had thought of using the template below, which reminded me of how much she adores playing with her toy animals...horses and lions and tigers, oh my!
"But as I was searching my photo library, I came upon some photos of Victoria with each of her grandparents and at that moment, I knew I had to capture them all in a layout. Seeing our parents with Victoria as a baby made me realize what a special gift they are to our family. And even though she is not such a fun, frilly girly girl, this template is a perfect match to the sweet moments my husband was able to capture as each of our parents met Victoria for the first time.
"Although I am only showing you two layouts, I have several more in mind to create and am going to use these template to finally make a Shutterfly photo book for our Moms on Mother's Day. {It's not as if my Mother-in-Law hasn't been hinting about this for YEARS!} The template designs in the kit are so amazing and very easy to use, that I don't know why I couldn't easily complete several layouts in just an hour.
"I'll also share this secret with you, I didn't use Photoshop to create these layouts. I simply opened Pages {a word processing program for Mac} to add photos, text and to colorize the template behind the text boxes on each of these layouts. Told you it was easy.
"Please, give digital scrapbooking a try if you haven't yet. I highly recommend the curated kit  as a way to introduce you to the wonders of yet another way we can all capture our memories while we still remember them.
"Gotta go, I have a photo book to start working on...Happy Holidays to All!"
Brenda Johnston's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Eight

Day 8

Today Brenda made a photo bracelet using a kit by PhotoJewelrymaking.com. Leave a comment to win a kit for yourself.

(Comments close Monday, December 20 at 9:00 am MST)

Over the past couple of years I have noticed the trend in photo jewelry and have always admired it. I have never taken the time to look into and find something I like. Until now. I was so excited to receive this cute little braclet that I could showcase my three cuties in!

To get your tiny photos: The kit comes with software to help you easily reduce the size of your photos to 13mm square. Because I already have PSE on my computer, I simply typed "13mm x 13mm" in my cropping boxes. I put the images on a 4x6 canvas and printed them. The kit even comes with photo paper.

This took me miutes to put together after I had my photos in hand. You can put a picture on either side of the photo. Simply slide the folded plastic piece out, slide two photos in and slide back into the holder. They stay snugly in place. Attach your photos to the braclet and you have a piece of jewelry that people will ask you about!

Some other photo jewelry kits that caught our eye

Circle glass photo bracelet

Photo Lanyard

Check out their website for kits, jewelry supplies, and more.

Winners from past days

day 1 Crafty P
day 2 jenevang
day 3 scrapyoga
day 4 stinkyduddette
day 5 Casey11th
day 6 brown eyed girl
day 7 SaraLara

Diana Chen's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Seven

Day 7

Today the giveaway is a for a spot in an upcoming Big Picture Class called Decorate Your Life. Ella friend Diana Chen will be in the class, and she is working on the pre-class project. Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment.

Comments close December 18 @ 9:00 am MST

From Diana

"This project and class are firsts for me. It's my first scrapbooking class online. I'm really excited about it. It's also a first for me as I have never done a mini album before (I've started a couple but never completed them), and certainly never something so crafty. I actually printed the circle template directly onto the patterned paper and cut that out and then stuck it to my white cardstock.

I searched high and low but couldn't find Christmas balls in a clear plastic tray. I will keep looking though, hopefully I'll find it so I can play along with this aspect of the class too. (If anyone wants to mail a clear plastic ornament tray to me in Jamaica let me know!)"


Teacher Darci Dowdle

Decorate your Life class description

After the holidays, it is customary to take down the decorations. Darci however, thinks the New Year is a perfect time to acknowledge the decorations that adorn our lives all year long: personalities, relationships and ordinary routines that add sparkle and shine to our everyday. Spend this January with Darci, packing away holiday decorations and getting out a different kind, as you gather products, paper and pictures to "decorate" 14 layouts documenting daily life. Darci has created a proven process, full of surprises, for gathering materials ahead of time and compiling simple, fun and meaningful layouts in just a few minutes each day. read more


Winner is Sara Lara 

May Flaum's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Six

Day 6

Today we are showcasing journal cards created by www.shopormolu.com. Ella friend May Flaum played with these and we love what she came up with.

May says, "It’s a busy time of year, but it’s also a time I like to slow down and do some creative things just because. When I opened up this delightful packet of journaling cards, I instantly felt inspired to play!"

"Not only are there cards with space for journaling, but also others with inspiring words and notes of encouragement. One in particular struck my fancy, and I decided to use it as the centerpiece on a 4x4 canvas."

"Making this was super simple- I used some glimmer mist and multi-medium as the base, then applied the card (and sealed with multi-medium) and allowed to dry fully before adding in some stamped images, stickles, more glimmer mists, and flowers. It was quick, fun, and I’m hanging it in my studio right away!"

"Spending some quiet time enjoying getting my fingers all stained with color and glitter on my clothes was just what I needed. Now it’s back to Christmas preparations!"

Other supplies: Claudine Hellmuth Multi-medium; Tim Holtz stamp, ink, and stickles; Tattered Angels Glimmer mists; Prima flowers

You must look at Ormolu's web site; they have some lovely products. A few favorites are below.

Paper Chains:

Lovely Tags:

And finally the product May used, Examiner Cards:

To enter to win a set of these journal cards from Ormolu, leave a comment below!

Comments close Friday, December 17 at 8:00 am MST. This post will be updated with the winner's name on Saturday.


winner is brown eyed girl

Angie Lucas's picture

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

Is there enough of Wendy to go around?
You bet there is! We'd like to wish our own Wendy Smedley great success in a new opportunity that has come her way!

Here's the announcement. Wendy is still a partner, blog manager, deputy editor, and creative goddess here at Ella Publishing Co., and her involvement with Ella will remain unchanged. But now she's also sharing her talents with Stacy, Kayce, and the Big Picture family. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Big Picture Classes through this move, and we wish Wendy much success in her additional role.

Valerie Mangan's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Five

Day 5

Today's post comes to you courtesy of Vinyl Wall Art.com, maker of vinyl wall decor. Ella friend, Valerie, used a chalkboard frame and two ornate frames to make the three projects below.

Vinyl Wall art is giving away one of each of the items Valerie used to one random commenter on today's post.
(Comments close Thursday, December 16, at 9:00 a.m. MST.)

These vinyl wall decals from Vinyl Wall Art are so versatile. Not only do they apply easily to walls, I tried them out on a few other surfaces as well (like fabric, plastic & metal) and they worked without a hitch. My favorite piece by far is the chalkboard. I attached mine to sheet of galvanized steel from the hardware store.

Now it's a combination chalkboard/magnet board for my kitchen. I added a few magnetized frames from the craft store, which could hold photos or receipts or pretty patterned paper, and even a small container to hold chalk and small items. 
I used the large ornate frame to make a holiday card/ephemera holder. This is all mounted on a fabric covered board.
The monogram plaque was made with the small ornate frame decal, a plastic box frame and a wood letter from the craft store. These projects were all fun and super easy to make!
winner of giveaway is user Casey11th
Ella blog winners so far
day 1 Crafty P
day 2 jenevang
day 3 scrapyoga
day 4 stinkyduddette

Jennifer Larson's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Four

Day 4

Today Jennifer Larson is showcasing a photo planner by Per Annum

Jennifer says: "I didn't put photos in the planner, even though it's easy to do so; they would be old during the planner year. Instead, I created 5x7 monthly pages to introduce each section of the planner. I picked a simple formula that made it quick and easy to make monthly pages."

* 7 pieces doubled sided monochromatic patterned paper in various colors (for me, BoBunny and Doodlebug)
* 3-5 sheets border stickers (I used Doodlebug)
* Month stamps (in this case, Studio Calico)
* Die cuts (these were Doodlebug)
* Various latter stickers and jewels from your stash

"On the back of each page, I adhered a journaling spot on the outside of the page protector. I'm a sticky note gal who keeps goals lists regularly, so I thought it would be helpful to keep a monthly goal list in the planner, easy to find and keep focused on the goals!"

"The planner came with 5x7 photo paper for each month, so I now have that photo paper to play around with, and if I want to slide a photo in at any time, I can. I can also slide these months pages out and reuse them for next year's planner. This was a quick, easy, and cute project to make! Perfect for gift giving."

Thanks Jennifer! This planner is totally customizable and would make a fantastic gift. We'll pick one winner from today's comments who'll get one of these for FREE.

Comments close in 24 hours at 9:00MST on December 15

Today's winner is commenterstinkydudette. Congratulations!

Donna Jannuzzi's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3

Day 3

Today we are showcasing customized monogramed fabric labels created by Sweetwater Designs. Ella friend Donna Januzzi created the adorable project below.


Donna says, "I made artist sketchbooks for Gabe and Nathan. They are based off an idea I found on the Martha Stewart website. The monogram labels are on the covers and although they are iron-on, I also stitched them to the covers. This is both for reinforcement and because I think it makes the finished project look more polished. Because the labels are iron-on though, they are easy to use for those who don't know how to sew.  The Sweetwater blog has several ideas for using these iron-on labels to customize pre-made items."

"The inside of both of the books features a sketchbook. Gabe's book has slots for colored pencils and Nathan's book holds crayons. The pockets are customizable and so you could include any number of supplies on the non-notebook side, such as a watercolor set and brushes or charcoal pencils for someone who likes to draw. I can also see this idea being great for other crafters too, such as those who knit or crochet; you could put an instruction book on one side with the needles on the other.  With a monogram label, it makes a really nice personalized gift."

A few more products that caught our eye

See more products by Sweetwater here. And to see what they have been up to, visit their blog.

To enter leave a comment with your favorite holiday treat!

Comments close Tuesday, December 14, at 9:00 a.m. MST

Today's winner is commenter scrapyoga. Congratulations!

Angie Lucas's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Two

Day Two

Today's post comes to you courtesy of cardstore.com, home of beautiful, customizable holiday cards and photo cards. Cardstore.com is offering a little something for everyone: 20 percent off your first purchase when you use the code CSHOLIDAY20 by December 31, 2010! AND we also have one $25 giveaway to cardstore.com for one random commenter on today's post. (Comments close Monday, December 13, at 9:00 a.m. MST.)


I used this service to create my holiday cards this year, and I opted for the 7 x 5 double-sided postcard option. I love how it turned out!


Since 2006, we Lucases have been sending this exact sort of family update (a photo plus a written update that includes one tiny fact per month, see them here) to our friends and family. But in the past, we've custom designed the cards as either the 5 x 7 or 4 x 6 photo size and just ordered a bunch of standard prints from a photo developer. The process takes quite a bit of time. (I select photos, write the update, and start a very novice Photoshop design. Then my graphic-artist husband steps in and polishes the design, since my skills are minimal.) And it's been dificult to find envelopes to fit a 4 x 6 print adequately. Then, there's the whole laborious address labelling process.

This year, I completed the entire card myself using the gorgeous templates on cardstore.com. There are regular holiday cards available on the site, but I loved the postcard option that's customizable on both sides and even allows you to add photos to the back side! (And it's eco friendly as it saves on paper, compared to the folded-card style, and envelopes too.) Once I selected a design template I liked, I uploaded my photos in seconds, after converting two of my color photos to sepia tone so there wouldn't be such a jumble of competing colors on the card. (Note: My favorite trick for sepia photos can be found in Special Effects for Digital Photos by Renee Pearson, just $5.99.)

Here's an honest review of my experience.

What I Liked

  • The options for card designs are versatile, modern, and gorgeous.
  • You can easily browse by holiday (Christmas, Hannukah, New Year's), style (modern, traditional, whimsical, vintage) or number of photos you want to include.
  • There are even pink holiday cards for breast cancer (40 percent of sales go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation), a cool option if breast cancer hits close to home for your family, as it does for mine.
  • The photo uploader tool was simple to use, and once my photos were uploaded, I could (and did!) try them out in multiple different designs.
  • You can easily save a design and come back to it later.
  • There's a nice variety of font choices for your text.
  • There are volume pricing breaks if you purchase 10, 25, 50, or 100 cards featuring the same design. (With the 20 percent coupon code, my cards were $.87 each.)
  • You can opt to have your cards mailed directly from cardstore.com to your individual recipients. Or you can have the stack mailed to you for you to hand address and stamp.

What I Didn't Like

  • The text entry field was fairly small, and I couldn't zoom in on it, so it was hard to tell if my text had any typos. (However, the next step allows you to preview and zoom in on your final cards, and if you notice mistakes, you can go back and fix them and then preview again.)
  • While it is possible to convert a photo to black-and-white or sepia right in the program, the sepia conversion looked wonky and I didn't trust it. So I converted my photos myself and reuploaded them.
  • After you finish a card and click into the addressing feature, it appeared as though I had to enter all of my recipients' addresses by hand. I could see no easy or obvious links to uploading an address book, although the function does exist. Just click here. (A huge time saver.)

So, leave a comment on this post about anything related to holiday cards for your chance to win! Don't worry, if you haven't already sent your holiday cards, there's still time, especially if you choose the option to mail directly from cardstore.com to your recipients. If you have already mailed your cards, use your 20 percent discount to send a handful of personalized holiday thank you cards or fabulously festive New Year's cards instead.


p.s. Oh, and I just barely noticed the customizable photo gift tags. Adorable! I just might be trying those next year.

Today's winner is commenter #22, jenevang. Congratulations!

Ella's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day One

Welcome to Ella's first-ever 12 Days of Christmas! For the next, you guessed it, twelve days, the illustrious Ella Friends will be spotlighting one cool gift idea, holiday decor project, or other holiday must-have each day. AND we'll be giving away prizes and discounts each day, too. These are much better prizes than French hens and Lords-a-Leaping, we assure you. (Well, we suppose that depends on how attractive said Lords are...) Check back daily except Sundays for your chance to win!

Day 1 Scarlet Lime bead art Watch Kits

Today we are showcasing an awesome gift idea. Watchband bead kits from Scarlet Lime. They have the best selection of kits with the most colorful and unique mixture of beads. Jenni Hufford played with her kits and loved how they turned out.

"I had the wonderful opportunity to make a Watch Band with Scarlet Lime's Watch Bead kit.  I've had little experience with bead work, but to my surprise this kit was very easy to put together.  Scarlet Lime offers a wonderful step by step instructional video on their Website which was very helpful as I assembled the band.  I was able to complete the watch band in about 30 minutes.  The beads are beautiful, charming, and chunky!!  What I love most of all is that the bands are interchangeable with the watch face.  There are so many different kits to choose from, making this a truly versatile watch band that will match any outfit, season, or event.  It would be a wonderful activity for a girls night, gift for a friend, or a gift to yourself!!"

A few more watch kits that caught our eye

To see the large variety of kits available go here, and to see their other products go here and here.


Scarlet Lime is offering a lucky Ella reader $50.00 in bead art product. To enter leave a comment sharing your favorite watch kit.

Giveaway closes December 11 at 9:00 am MST

Winner will be contacted then posted here.


And the winner is, commenter #95, CraftyP. Congratulations!

May Flaum's picture

Favorite holiday products from some Ella friends

Cocoa with marshmallows, cracking fires, and spending time with loved ones are just a few of my favorite things about this time of year in my house. When it comes to scrapbooking – I have favorites as well. It’s Ella Best Friend May Flaum here, and I’ve got some holiday favorites to share with you here today. With all the hustle & bustle and to-do lists growing every minute, it’s a time of year where I like to put even more focus into getting things done (quickly) and get my stories preserved. When it comes to my favorite scrapbook products to work with, you might be surprised to learn that I lean heavily on non-themed product. I’ve found that cardstock, glitter, metallic finish, and other sparkly items work great and if I don’t use up my purchases they will remain useful all year-round.

When it comes to my photographs, my favorite photos tend to be those awful group shots with bad indoor lighting, and the annual cheesy mall Santa pictures. They are usually the worst of all my pictures, and yet I love them most. They capture very real moments, and the awkwardness of my own childhood photos is something I cherish, and something I want for my kids as well. For better quality photos I suggest snapping a lot of photos, and also making sure to take photos earlier in the day or event. I try to grab people and pose photos right when they arrive instead of when a gathering is in full swing.

I have some suggestions I’d like to share for holiday scrapbook supply shopping:

  • Think about the subject(s) of your photos and shop for appropriate papers. Thinking about the background of your celebrations – elegant, casual, outdoors, whimsical, vintage, etc – as well as who is in the photos will help you avoid products that while you might love, won’t actually work for your pages.
  • Think about color! I love the new Dear Lizzy Christmas line because it has traditional red and green with touches of other colors. The rub-ons made even this Santa photo (with an aqua velvet cushion) a joy to scrapbook!!
  • Multiple uses- I love lines like Tinsel & Twig (The Girls’ Paperie) because the paper is both themed and neutral enough to be used on any number of pages. Finding double sided papers with a subtle or non-themed back side is great in case you buy more than you can use.

No matter what your style is or what you buy – the key is really to have a good time with what you have. This goes for both your holiday photos and products you work with!! My top 5 suggestions for products that are timeless and great to work with this (or any) holiday season are:

·         Rhinestone Brads (Making Memories has been making these for a long time – I still love them!)

·         American Crafts Christmas cardstock pack

·         Stickles (glitter glue)

·         Kaiser Craft Journal tags

·         Webster’s Pages sparklers (non-adhesive designer buttons)

I love ribbon on layouts, but sometimes cardstock works too! With the odd aqua seat Santa had, and my daughter’s pink dress, not to mention the decorative photo frame I wanted to make sure and not overwhelm the photo with patterns so I opted to go pure cardstock instead. I punched some trees making a ribbon of sorts – as well as added lots of fun festive bits all over. This page was fairly simple to make – and it came together quickly.

Now that I have shared my layout and favorites, two of my fellow Ella Best Friends have their own favorites to share – I can’t wait to see what they have to say!

Francine shares,
My favourite moment from last Christmas was watching what Kieran made of the Christmas Tree. He was quite curious about it, but I am happy to say he was very careful and only batted gently at the ornaments. The is one of the photos that I captured of him checking out the tree.

My absolute favourite photo however, made it onto this layout, which totally sums up the moment

Since I don't scrap many seasonal photos, I tend not to buy a lot of themed paper. When it comes to scrapping the holidays I prefer to use products that are graphic, but still have a classic take on the holidays. Do you see those Christmas Trees on the layout? I cut them out from this sheet of patterned paper by Pink Paislee

It's called White Christmas and is from the Tinsel Town line which sadly has been retired. You can still find some stores selling it online though if you do a search. Anyway, I love that paper and have been hoarding my one sheet for the last two years judiciously cutting little trees out to use on Christmas layouts and projects. Maybe I should try to buy the last ones that I can find in stock!

Valerie shares

I’m not usually a big fan of themed product, except during the holidays (well, and Halloween, too – but that’s a post for another day!) Since there is so much fresh and fantastic product on the market every year, I seem to find a new collection of faves each season. Last year was my ‘silver foil cardstock/ silver thread/red button & kraft’ season, as illustrated in this layout from last December. I think it’s my all time favorite Christmas layout ever:

So, today I share a few of this year’s fave products ‘according to Val. I’m a lover of old stuff so it’s no surprise to me that most of my picks are vintage-inspired:

Martha Stewart Adhesive Scandinavian Die Cuts: Translucent and graphic, these are great to layer, sew through and stick down – and add a little pop of color.

Martha Stewart Bakers Twine: I use this in place of ribbon or thread

Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist/Silver Sugar: makes everything – especially chipboard – look like old silver.

Tim Holtz Tissue Tape/Tidings: just enough stick to hold things in place, but not enough to destroy paper when repositioned. Love to sew through it and use it to add graphic lines to projects.

Vintage Words from Scrap Rat – these are handmade with an old typewriter on old paper and come in sets for different occasions. I love them on layouts and on cards.

and here’s a layout that includes all of these products:

I hope you’ve enjoyed Francine, Valerie, and my ] favorites – I invite you to share your own holiday favorites here with us.

Holly Jones's picture

Winter Decor

Are you looking to spruce up your home for the holidays? I’m going to show you an easy way to add some interest to your space using Vinyl Wall Art.

We will be using the following supplies for this project; a 20” x  16” blank canvas, a grey colored acrylic paint, white acrylic paint a wide paint brush, a Q-tip, and two of the  Medium sized Forest Vinyl Wall Decals available at VinylWallArt.com. 

First, I primed my canvas. You can use any primer. I prefer to use a spray-on gesso primer.

Once the primer has dried (check the directions on your specific primer for drying times), then it’s time to add some color.

On my canvas, I used a lot of Grey paint. I added a little white paint into the Grey to add some texture. If you want to use a blue or red paint in place of the Grey, those colors would also work great with this print.

While the paint on your canvas is drying, prep your vinyl using the instructions found here

Decide where you’d like to place your vinyl to fit best on your canvas. Cut the vinyl apart to customize your layout. Applying vinyl to canvas is a little harder than applying it to a wall, so be sure to take your time and apply it slowly, in order to avoid ripping the vinyl.

I cut the branch off of the center tree, and placed it lower on the tree (see pictures above.)

Lastly, I used my Q-tip to add white specks of paint to make a beautiful snowy scene.

This is such an easy way to add a pretty winter print to your holiday decor. Feel free to  change this project up a bit by using different colors or sizes to fit your space. Enjoy!

Ella's picture

Holiday Wrapping: Tissue and Type

At Ella Publishing we love to share creative and doable ideas. We came up with a memorable holiday wrapping formula that will be sure to save you time and allow your creativity to breakthrough.

paper + trim + topper + tag

you can interpret this formula anyway that works, use your scrapbook stash and get wrapping

Here is May Flaum's take

tissue paper + ribbon + trinket topper + monogrammed tag 

"One of my only rules when doing my own holiday gift wrapping is that I want a project that can be re-used again by the recipient. I try to make it so that it’s not one-time use, and I want to make it have some wow factor. To be one of the gifts a person can’t wait to dig into!

For my gift wrap project I was challenged to use tissue, a monogram tag, ribbon, and a trinket. That’s a lot of fun stuff! First I took a box (purchased at craft store) and wrapped it in a strip of torn tissue (using regular scrapbooking tape runner) and then tied a ribbon bow around it as well.

For the handle I used two (large) brads to secure a 1 ¼” strip of cardstock to either side. Then I stamped with an ivy design, and decorated the sides with leaves, and of course some jewelry trinkets!

For my monogram tag I used a scrap of patterned paper, a large letter, and some ink to bring out the design of the paper. I love monogram tags- especially at Christmas.

The trinkets you see are Making Memories jewelry pieces – I used some double sided tape wadded up to secure them, and it will easily come off once given so that the recipient (an avid jewelry maker) can use them!

I love how a few of my scrapbook supplies plus some tissue peeking out the top could create such a fun looking gift. Give it a try"

Monika Wright's picture

Handmade Gifts from your Stash

So glad you stopped in today because we know you're busy trying to make your things-I-have-to-get-done-now-before-it's-too-late lists shorter. I'm Monika Wright and along with my Ella Best Friends Donna Jannuzzi and Mary Jo Johnston we're going to help you do just that. No, we can't bake and frost the cupcakes for the class party for you, but we can help you create some adorable handmade gifts all with items from your stash!
One flower three ways? After seeing a tutorial for this flower on page 64 of the December 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I decided to pull out my felt collection and start crafting. After cutting six 2" circles and six 1.25" circles, I layered them with one edge touching. After pinching them together at the bottom, I ran a threaded needle through the four layers of felt and repeated for the other 5 petals. After stringing them together to form a flower, I created three different projects, all using the same flower.
Clearance items and Dollar Bins call my name, knowing that I can repurpose them into a gift. Therefore, my stash includes not only paper and embellishments, but containers and notebooks and more. Using an art canvas with a pattern I didn't love, I covered it in fabric using my stapler. Yes, my stapler, not a staple gun. I just opened it up to lay flat and stapled away. I added the felt flower, but felt it needed just a little bit more, so I attached the border strip and it felt good. I plan to pull out my embroidery floss and a needle once I decide where this gift will find its new home, and add an inspirational word in a nice flowing script right on the yellow felt border strip. Ready for Take Two?
Obviously our hair model, me, needs to get her gray roots touched up to better showcase this hair clip. I sewed my felt flower to the clip, but you could definitely use E-6000 glue {sold at most craft stores} or maybe even your hot glue gun to attach it permanently. Are you thinking that this would make a nice gift topper? I think so, too.
I know my stylish Mom would adore this pin. Goodness knows my 7-year old fell in love with it and wants it. Bad. A flower brooch would look lovely on a sweater and certainly brighten a winter coat, too, or even your toboggan.
Grab some chipboard, cover it in your fave patterned paper scraps, wrap some ribbon around it and attach a tag. Insert a sticky notepad inside and you have a gift everyone in your office will adore {after you make 8 of them}. Teachers love them, too, especially if you give them a few extra notepads to go along with it! Design Tip: I like to use a glue stick when adhering paper to chipboard pieces so that I have a little time to position the paper before it's permanently adhered. I find that tape runners are not that forgiving if you don't get it on the first try.
Looking for inexpensive classroom gifts? Using double-sided cardstock, two punches, a stapler, stickers and your trimmer, you can make notepads from your scraps. I scored my cardstock and folded, trimmed some photocopy paper to size and folded. While the notepad is closed, staple through all the layers at one time. Add a border punched strip to cover the staples and another punched shape with a letter sticker and you have a great treat bag item.
Gift wrapping is something that Donna really loves. She thinks that the way a gift is presented is almost as important as the gift itself and I heartily agree with her. This need not mean that a lot of cost has gone into the presentation, but more that a lot of thought and care was put into the presentation. Coming up with new and creative ways of wrapping presents using items that most people already have in their homes, like white tissue paper, kraft paper, yarns and ribbons as her foundation, Donna found that the fun, decorative part would come from using her scrapbooking supplies to embellish the packages.

For this design, Donna used two strips of paper that she found in the scrap pile, one strip of cardstock - in which a border design was punched - and one piece of patterned paper. After layering, she tied the package with the shipping twine.
The main element of this design is the large die-cut butterfly that is standing in place of a more traditional bow. While Donna loved the butterfly, it just hadn't made it to a scrapbook page yet. Do you buy kits and then have a few items that you never use? Now is the time to go through your supplies to find elements like this butterfly, or maybe an unusual flower, anything that you think would make an interesting gift topper. If you prefer more traditional colors for your Christmas wrapping you can always customize your die-cut by painting or by applying glitter to it before attaching it to your gift.

Donna embellished a kraft gift bag with a handmade tag made using an assortment of punches and papers found in her scrap pile. The other bag was made from patterned paper using a template found online. You can download templates such as this one found at Martha Stewart.com to create your own gift bags for money, gift cards or smaller items. The template can be printed and then copied at any magnification. She folded the top over and punched holes for yarn to tie the bag closed. You can use a border punch before assembling the bag for a more decorative top or attach handles.

Repurposing a grocery bag, Donna cut the top and bottom off to create a sheet of wrapping paper and then crumpled and ironed it flat to allow for easy wrapping. The red ribbon and silver sparkle ribbon, manila shipping tag and twine are all stash items. (You can buy inexpensive manila tags and shipping twine at office supply stores). All I did to embellish the tag was to stamp it with a basic and neutral image. Of course, if you wanted to you could also choose to stamp your tag with a more traditional Christmas image.
Mary Jo had fun going through her stash looking for a selection of patterned paper scraps to use for these 3" x 3" holiday gift tags. Embellishing her tags with stickers and chipboard, she suggests that you think outside the box by also using 3D trinkets in your designs to add depth and dimension.
By choosing this argyle patterned paper, Mary Jo was able give her gift tag a masculine appeal. The three layers of scalloped embellishments in the middle of the tag contrast nicely with the square edges of the glittered cardstock and patterned paper.
The die cut gingerbread man and scalloped journaling tag are a perfect match for each other. Mary Jo added some pop dots behind the scallop die cut which helps to draw the eye to the square piece of patterned paper behind.
Now that you've made your holiday gift tags, slip a few into this 3.50" x 3.50" gift box made using the Cricut. After adding some coordinating ribbon, embellish with a die cut or some chipboard pieces. Your gift recipient can even use this gift box to hang on their tree after all the gift tags have been used. And why stop at just one? Make several sets for all the teachers, Scout leaders and Coaches out there. Gift tags are easy to make items, help to reduce your stash and are great gift items to keep on-hand.
Donna shares a few more ideas for using your stash to embellish your gifts this season:
  • Create a garland using buttons or punched shapes. Use this in place of ribbon.
  • Use a layered flower, such as the one found here in place of a traditional bow.
  • Hold onto your Christmas cards or look for vintage cards at flea markets and thrift shops that have appealing images – fussy cut or punch out shapes that can be used to make tags.
  • Use your stamps to create your own custom wrapping paper.
Shopping your stash is not a new idea, but it is a smart idea. Mary Jo, Donna and I had fun thinking of a few ideas for homemade gifts while reducing your stash and saving money.
Ella's picture

Holiday Wrapping: Charm and Glitz

At Ella Publishing we love to share creative and doable ideas. We came up with a memorable holiday wrapping formula that will be sure to save you time and allow your creativity to breakthrough.

paper + trim + topper + tag = stylish wrapped gifts

you can interpret this formula anyway that works, use your scrapbook stash and get wrapping.

charm and glitz:

by  Valerie

solid paper + fabric + glittered ornament ball + elegant tag

Valerie tackled this formula, see her interpretations below.

Notice how she customized her fabric trim  with her sewing machine.

Love how she made her own packages

and ruffled fabric trim, so lovely

Now it is your turn

solid paper + fabric + glittered ornament ball + elegant tag

Happy Wrapping