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Monday, November 30, 2015

Themed Albums Part 3: Holiday Albums

It's the most wonderful time of the year (in more ways than one!) Family, food and fond memories are in the forefront in December and most of us take more pictures than usual as we celebrate the holidays. Welcome to the third blog post in a series that has been focusing on the concept of a "themed" album! I've expressed my love for this concept in previous posts on Travel albums and Halloween albums, and that love is amplified when it comes to Holiday albums! They are fun, festive, and best of all you can finish each spread quickly and put them on the shelf with a sense of accomplishment each year!

Ideas for holiday albums are varied - some people love the idea of showing off all of their Christmas cards from family and friends, others like to devote a few pages a year to their favorite photos from the month of December, and some of us can't help but have an entire album devoted to each year's festivities, haha! No matter where you fall in the spectrum of holiday albums, I am hopeful that this blog post will give you some ideas about taking photos this month and how to start your own holiday album tradition.

The Annual Album

I am going to focus here today on the annual album, one that devotes a few pages to each year. So how do you get started on an annual album? Make sure to keep it manageable so as not to become overwhelmed. With three packs of refill pages a Creative Memories 12X12 album holds about 40 pages, or 80 sides, so if you want the album to span 20 years you can allow yourself 4 sides a year. This means you have to choose your very best pictures. Since about 5-6 photos fit on a page on average, you will need to narrow your selection down to about 20 or so best images per year (not easy but if I can do it you can too!) To fit more pictures on a page you can always crop them. If you send out an annual family card it is always good to save one for yourself to include, and of course you always want to make note of the year (I like to use ABC/123 letters to do that.) Here is an example of a layout from my annual Christmas album:

A two page spread in my annual Christmas album

Journaling on the page or in boxes is a great thing to do while the memories are fresh in your mind, and I like to adhere my cards to the page in a way that they can be opened (line them up flush with the edges of the jeeping then slide the page protectors over the open card before you fold the flap down.)

That didn't take any time at all! I am choosing the "blank canvas" route with a red coverset and white refill pages, but if you want to go even faster check out CM's Fast2Fabulous albums - predesigned, preloaded and page protectors are included

Which Pictures to Take?

Before you start to think about what supplies you need, it is important to think about which memories are best to capture in the month. Pictures with Santa and your family card are always great, but there are other things to think of as the month goes on. Be sure not to forget pictures of all the family, not just the children - through the years you will be grateful that you captured the grownups (and so will the kids!). Take pictures or favorite decorations, don't forget pets, and I even like to take a picture of the TV screen when we are watching an annual favorite! Did it snow? Did you buy a real tree? Did you go to the Nutcracker? Did you bake? These are all things that make fantastic pictures for your pages so keep them in mind as the month progresses. No tradition is too little to capture! While the focus is often on children and their spread from Santa, don't forget to capture the adults' gifts too - these memories are special too.


To make a holiday album I would recommend the following at a minimum:

* A 12X12 CM coverset  in a festive color (or a holiday Fast2Fabulous Album - see the Christmas Joy below!)
* 3 packs of refill pages (white, natural or Spargo) with the page protectors (or two additional packs if you purchased a Fast22Fabulous album which comes with your first set preloaded)
* A tape runner with a few packs of refills
* A CM dual tipped pen
CM's Christmas Joy Fast2Fabulous album!
Beautiful predesigned pages in this year's Christmas Joy Fast2Fabulous album

If you want to do some enhancements on your pages, Creative Memories has some beautiful paper, stickers and slide in packs that are perfect for the holidays! If you have the Border Maker System, the new Evergreen cartridge makes great borders or decorative tags for gifts!

Fun with the CM Group's Border Making System and the Evergreen cartridge
Love the CM Group's Christmas Joy paper, stickers and slide in pack

An annual holiday album is easy if you just set aside a little bit of time each year to work on it! So in conclusion, take great pictures, save your cards, pick your best 20 photos and take the time to tell your stories. This is a fun and manageable project and one that your family will cherish for years to come. For even more fun ideas don't forget to check out our CM Holiday Blog Hop, happy holidays and as always, keep scrappin! Fran
Predesigned page in the CM Group's Christmas Joy Fast2Fabulous album

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mixing and Matching Paper Packs for Gorgeous Page Designs

When it comes to paper packs, Creative Memories is the top of the line. Their 12X12 paper is double sided and you get 12 different patterns to choose from in each pack. They are a fantastic value, and the only problem you might bump into is having to pick sides (literally!) Whether a paper pack is limited edition due to its seasonal nature (such as the Trick or Treat or Christmas Joy paper packs) or it is simply time to make room for new designs, these wonderful sets come and go so it is never a bad idea to grab a pack or two when you see one you like. Several favorites are on their way out right now so now is a great time to think of fun ways to use the ones you have (and possibly purchase a few more before they are gone!) The cute names such as "Sunshine Getaway", "Strut Your Stuff" and "Trick or Treat" make them fun to talk about but they are even more fun to use, especially when you combine multiple packs in your page layouts. That's what we're going to talk about here in this blog post. Resist the urge to "pigeonhole" a paper pack - you might surprise yourself with new uses for that patriotic or neutral paper that you thought were only good for the Fourth of July or wilderness pages. This is best demonstrated with photographs so let's see what I am talking about.

My first set of page ideas involves the Sunshine Getaway, Bright and Neutral paper packs. They work very nicely together as you can see in these photos:

Who knew that the Bright, Sunshine Getaway and Neutral Paper Packs could be so versatile? They look beautiful when you combine them on your pages.
The CM watercolor palette works well together, no matter what combination you decide to play with!

How about combining the burlap from the Neutral paper pack with some of the beautiful designs in this year's Christmas papers? Perfect for shepherds and the innkeeper's child if you ask me! 
Neutral Paper Pack Meets Christmas Joy!

Nice combination here!

Let's go even further out on a limb. Would you have expected to combine the Be Bold and Flourish paper pack with the Trick or Treat pack? That is what I did here with the bold combination of black polka dots and spider webs. I cut out some of the cute bats, ghosts and pumpkins from other papers from the Halloween pack to add just a little bit of fun to this Halloween page.

Trick or Treat Meets Be Bold and Flourish!

The Trick or Treat sticker set is super cute, but here I simply cut up some of the spooky critters from the paper pack to add to my page as embellishments

The Halloween paper also looks good with the black swirls from the Neutral pack...

Trick or Treat meets Neutral
...and believe it or not, this is the black from the Trick or Treat pack and the red ribbon stickers from this year's Christmas stickers (and holly from this year's Christmas slide in packs.) Halloween and Christmas in perfect harmony!

Halloween paper and Christmas Joy stickers and paper - who knew? 

I'm obviously obsessed because here I am back with the Sunshine Getaway pack! It is gorgeous for its large floral prints, but some of the "b" sides have more muted patterns such as this taupe page with scallops on it. The bolder prints here on this layout actually came from the Bright paper pack. I had fun using my Scallop Place 'n Punch and my Jumbo Hexagon pattern to make this page. 

Sunshine Getaway Meets the Bright Paper Pack Take Two

A two page spread using the Bright and the Sunshine Getaway paper packs

While the Red White and Blue paper pack is no longer available, I am assuming that some of you might still have it and want a fun idea for it. I am also trying to make the very important point that paper packs that you don't think are relevant to you (think Pastel paper pack for someone not having a baby) could have just the pattern you've been waiting for. What do you think of when you think of the Red White and Blue paper pack?

This is probably what you picture when you thought of the Red White and Blue Paper Pack

Bright patriotic  colors right? Stars and stripes? Just for the Fourth, right? Wrong! Turns out the Red White and Blue paper pack had tons of my very favorite pattern in the world - GINGHAM! I love it! Point being...just because it's a Halloween pack and you don't have trick or treaters, or just because it's a Red White and Blue pack and you don't have pictures from your most recent Veteran's Day parade, don't exclude the pack all together. Check it out - see if the patterns might appeal to you for "outside of the box" ideas! Here's one I came up with combining the Be Bold and Flourish pack and the Red, White and Blue paper pack. What do you think?

Would you have ever guessed this lovely soft blue gingham was inside the Red White and Blue paper pack (or that it would look so beautiful when combined with the gorgeous peach tones inside the Be Bold and Flourish paper pack?) 

I hope some of these ideas have appealed to you and that you might be encouraged to look through your own stash of paper packs to come up with interesting and unexpected combinations. Have a wonderful day and until next time, keep scrappin'! Fran
CM's Be Bold and Flourish Paper Pack

CM's Bright Paper Pack

CM's Christmas Joy Paper Pack - Ltd Ed.

CM's Trick or Treat Paper Pack - Ltd. Ed.

CM's Neutral Paper Pack

CM's Sunshine Getaway Paper Pack

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Holiday Blog Hop Stop # 4

Welcome to our Holiday Blog Hop featuring Creative Memories' wonderful new holiday products (and maybe a few old favorites!) If you arrived here from Lisa's page and the other Content Contributors' blogs, aren't the ideas wonderful so far? If you are starting here with mine, be sure and check out all the other blog posts (listed at the bottom with links) because they are INCREDIBLE.

 I just received my shipment of the new papers, slide in packs and stickers and they are absolutely gorgeous - I am already counting the days until my 14th annual Holiday Open House so I can show them off!

Creative Memories' 2015 Holiday Papers, Stickers, Slide-In Pack and the Evergreen Cartridge for the Border Maker System

Nothing highlights beautiful papers like fresh ideas so I have come up with some quick and easy ones to share with you today. I hope you enjoy them and find some inspiration to knock out some pages of your own!

 1.) Split your stickers in half!

Have you ever wanted to fit more pictures on your page but worried that some of your larger embellishments might take up too much room? Have you ever tried splitting them in two? This is a trick I love to use to make easy and fun borders with 12X12 paper.

Select two coordinating sheets of Creative Memories double sided paper or cardstock. Start by cutting one strip slightly wider than another, then adhere one to the other, centered. Layer some of your stickers down the middle.

 Using a straight cut, slice the border in half.

Adhere these two new borders to the edges of your page and use the rest of your double-sided paper to make mats and journaling strips!

A page layout featuring the "split the sticker' border technique

Maintain the integrity of your larger stickers by splitting them into two borders on a double page spread
 2.) Square Frames

I take a LOT of pictures so simple pages are my thing, combined with a desire to get as many pictures on a page as possible! How would you like to see a two page layout that is beautiful, yet can still accommodate 12 photos? Coming up right up!

You will just need two different sheets of 12X12 double sided paper. Start by using the Shape Maker System with the Square punch (comes with the system)  to punch out four frames. Save the squares and repeat on a different design of  paper.

Using your straight trimmer slice the strips of frames into borders, then adhere each border to the sides of your layout. Arrange your squares in a decorative fashion on your pages, and create mats out of the rest of your paper.

Your frames will not go to waste! You can use the Square cartridge of the shape maker system to punch out faces and decorations from your favorite holiday photos and they will fit right into the squares! In this way, you can actually feature 6 photos on each page of this double sided layout. Isn't that fun?

 3.) A Simple Christmas Tree Using Circles and a Square!

I love our new Evergreen cartridge! The Border Maker System is exciting because Creative Memories keeps coming out with fun new additions to use with it. I also like our Shape Maker System (available under "Warehouse Finds" so get it while you can) because of the large Circle and Square shapes that come with it. I used each on this simple layout to make the trunk and the "branches" of the Christmas tree, and I topped it off with a large start using our Star Place 'n Punch tool (also available under "Warehouse Finds".)  Using our Shades of Red cardstock and black ABC letters I was able to beautifully record the night the entire family went to the ballet last year. A fun, easy page that is easy to recreate with the right tools.

Use the Evergreen cartridge with the Creative Memories Border Maker System and the Circle and Square cartridges with the Shape Maker System to make this fun and easy page

I hope you have enjoyed these ideas and that you will be able to use them easily incorporate them into your pages! The next stop on this blog hop is Sarah Fitzgerald with some wonderful holiday page layouts. If you started here on CelebratingYourBeautifulLife but you would like to see all of the CM Content Contributors' ideas, here is the full list of blogs (and as always don't forget to check out the CM Blog for fabulous ideas - it has been a stellar week for them!)

Have fun, happy holidays and keep scrappin'! Fran