Capturing the 12 Days of Yule

Winter Solstice Greetings!

The Yuletide season (December 20-31) is a time for honoring the clan, both living and dead, and for celebrating the rebirth of the sun in the depth of winter. It is marked by feasting, gift giving, visiting friends and kin, and remembering those family members who have died. Yule marks the death of one year and the birth of another, as a turning of the endless cycle.

12 Daily Photo Ideas

Many scrapbookers (both digital and paper) and photographers document the holiday season each year with photo album and mini-book projects such as Ali Edwards’ “December Daily” and Becky Higgins’ “Project Life.” Since I’m all about the Celtic way of life, here’s a new project with a suitable Celtic twist…”Capturing the 12 Days of Yule.”  The idea is to take a photo (or photos) everyday that represent this special time of year to you and your loved ones. I know sometimes it’s hard to come up with what to take a picture of each day, so I’ve put together this wee list that may help. Download the PDF here. It’s fairly generic to allow you to use your creativity…but I did check out the date of the full moon and added it on the 28th for you.

It’s a busy time of year so don’t feel you have to make something tangible with your project. Why not post your photos on your blog, Facebook page, or Instagram feed. Make it simple and joyful.

Bonus Journaling Cards

If you do want to make something with your photos and you’re into the “Project Life” type of scrapbooking or just love using journaling cards to embellish your designs, I’ve also put together four 3”x4” journaling cards for you. Download them here (also a PDF file). Print them, write on them, and then cut them out to use in your project. You can also open the PDF in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and use them in a digital project.

If you use them, please send a link to your project so we can all Oooo and Ahhh over it!  Surprised smile

Have a warm and comforting Yule season. Slàinte! {Gaelic for Cheers!}

Join me at True Scrap 3 – a virtual scrapbooking convention!

True Scrap 3Have you ever wanted to go to a scrapbooking convention, but live too far from one of the cities where most of them are held?

Well, now you can!

On April 20-21, True Scrap 3 will bring paper crafting, digital design, journaling, photography, Cricut fun, inspiration, organization, and virtual make-and-takes right to your desktop. You don’t even need to change out of your PJs because you’re logging on right from home!

Lain Ehmann, of Layout-a-Day fame and the author of the Super-Secret Guide for Faster Scrapbooking, has gathered together 15 of the most well-known scrapbooking professionals for this 2-day creativity extravaganza.

Join Becky Higgins, Katrina Kennedy, Anna Aspnes, Gretchen Schmidt, Erin Bassett, Ana Cabrera, Noell Hyman, and lots more inspirational teachers AND hundreds! of fellow scrapbookers for this fabulous online event.

Click here to view more details and check out the great lineup of instructors, classes, and make-and-takes.

I know you’ll want to sign up…I did!
(Actually, I’ve participated in all the fabulous past True Scraps, too!)

Wait a moment…what if you have a life (LOL!) and you’re busy or out of town on the weekend of April 20-21 and you just can’t spend the entire weekend scrapping during the live event?

Good news! You can watch the recordings later on, anytime it’s convenient for you!
(I love that because, like you, I do have a life!!)

Don’t miss out on this fabulous online event!

Wanna know something else cool? Did you notice that this is True Scrap “3”? That’s right…there’s a True Scrap 1 and True Scrap 2 (playfully titled “Spawn of True Scrap”) that you can still signup for and view all the recordings – Woot!

Join me (and a few hundred of your new best friends!) at True Scrap 3 and “Let’s get scrappy!!”


Good Karma Friday: Eco-friendly printing ideas

We all want to do our part to save resources by being conscientious about wasting paper and ink to print e-mails (“I just have to show this funny joke to the guys and gals at work!”) and documents and such, but sometimes you really do need a hard copy to hold in your hands. Next time you find yourself in that situation, and it doesn’t matter what font you use, try Ecofont from Sprang. It will make you feel a wee bit better about revving up the printer…and it’s free!

ecofontEcofont (based on Verdana) is designed to use up to 20% less ink – which is also good for your printer supply budget, too. How does it do this? The tiny ‘dot’ pattern is actually blank spaces where ink doesn’t print.

To make you feel even better, use recycled paper in your printer as often as possible. You can find it at your local office supply store or by searching on “recycled paper” in your favorite browser. Another good source is Conservatree with information for professional and individual paper buyers, how to choose the right paper, papermaking instructions, tips on reducing waste, and much more. I also found recycled paper information in the Eco-Mall with a list of sites for printers, artists, and companies that make paper out of alternative things (even elephant poo – no kidding!).

By the way, I don’t recommend using any of your own handmade paper – it’s generally a bit too thick!

Summertime Celebration: A Scrapbook Album Project

My virtual digiscrap friend, Michelle (creator of the famous Scrapability blog), had a great idea for a scrapbook album to document her family’s summertime activities. She posted 30 ideas to create memorable layouts to be assembled into an 8×8 album (or whatever your favorite size happens to be). I am in the midst of my Project 365 album, but I think I’ll jump in on this one as well. We always have a busy summer and take lots and lots of photos that always beg and plead to be let out of their computerized imprisonment and into the light of day – well, into a layout at least!

I have taken Michelle’s album ideas and rewritten and rearranged them to suit my own typical summer. I have also decided to do 20 layouts – the typical minimum amount for any printed album or, if I decide to print them myself, it will also match the pages included a standard scrapbook album.

As you read through the ideas and follow along with the project, you may find that you want to do more than one page per topic. No problem…it’s your album and it should reflect your summer in the way you want. As I read them over again, I can see where this is going to happen to me, too. I can see myself easily ending up with 30-40 pages!
I may even decide to create a hybrid (a combination of digital and traditional paper scrapbooking) album to use up some of my large stash of dusty supplies. Hmmm…I wonder where I put that double-sided sticky tape…LOL!
Tip1: If you do one page for each idea below, the even numbered pages will be on the left side and the odd numbered pages will be on the right side. This is important if you’re going to create two-page spreads and want to keep them together!

Tip2: Don’t worry about doing the pages in order. Some of the topics may come before others in your summer schedule. If this makes you crazy, just rearrange the order of the pages to suit your style. 😉
Outer Book Covers and Spine – If you are going to print your album with a photo printing service like Shutterfly, think about creating your own custom front and back covers and spine. When I did my ‘2007 Year-in-Review’ album, I found this easier to do after all my pages were finished because I wanted it to represent what readers would find inside. I was also able to use extra photos that I didn’t use on the layouts.

Dedication Page – If you want to make one, this would be best placed on the inside front cover to avoid any 2-page spread complications with the rest of the album. If you’re doing a digital book that will be professionally printed, there is usually no option for creating an inside cover page. To get around this limitation, have your page printed separately and use your favorite adhesive to attach it to the finished album.
  1. Title Page – This will be the first right hand page. Every album needs a title page. I usually create mine at the end of the project because it takes me that long to think it up! Just kidding…I actually like to make the title page reflect the theme of the album and sometimes I use a picture or two taken from the last few layouts.
  2. Waiting for Summer – Tired of those wet spring days? Ready to shed your bulky sweaters and coats? Are the kids getting restless waiting for school to end? When will it finally be “summer”!! What are your plans during the good weather – work or play or a little of both? Share your observations and expectations. This page goes well with Last Days of School.
  3. Last Days of School – I’ll throw this one in for those of you that have kids still in school or might be in school yourself. Sometimes the summer break for school age folks doesn’t happen until mid July. How do you survive the seemingly long wait until school is finally over? When it arrives, do you have to make special childcare arrangements, sign up for special activities and camps? If you work, do you skip a day here and there to go on a summer adventure with the kids? Do longer summer evenings mean the kids have later bedtimes than in other seasons?
  4. Summer Clothes – Break out those shorts and flip-flops, sun hats and sarongs. Do you paint your nails when you wear your fancy blinged up sandals? What are the hot colors this season? Show off your summer fashions. This page goes well with Summer Vacation – especially if you get some new clothes for your trip!
  5. Summer Vacation – Do you plan to get away from home during the summer months? If you are going to do a vacation album anyway, here’s a good place to get it started or combine all your trips in one layout or a two page spread. Maybe you plan on ‘vacationing’ at home or you have grandkids or relatives or friends coming to stay for all or part of the summer. How does this change your daily routine and what special things do you do together?
  6. Food and Drink – We always connect summer with certain special foods like potato salad or Nana’s pea salad, grilled hamburgers, and ice cream. What does your family like to eat or drink? Include a special recipe. Don’t forget those special cocktails – what’s the ‘in’ drink of the year…pomegranate martinis or blueberry lemon drops? This page can be part of a 2-page spread with the next page – BBQs.
  7. BBQs – We like to BBQ all year round but summer BBQs and potlucks are the best (or the worst!). Show off your outdoor cooking skills or memorable disasters (when we comment on ‘burnt offerings,’ my dad always says that “charcoal is good for the digestion!”).
  8. Water Fun – We live in an area where it’s generally too cold to swim in the ocean but we do love to go to the beach and fly kites. We also love to go to the lake and swim or fish. Does your family spend time at the beach, lake, river, or swimming pool? Do you beat the heat with a slip-n-slide, water gun fight, or play in the sprinklers? This page can be part of a 2-page spread with the next page – The Great Outdoors.
  9. The Great Outdoors – We love to camp at the lake and try to go as often as possible. Do you go hiking, camping, fishing, or a day trip to your local outdoor recreation area? Don’t forget summertime sports and those you only do on vacation like scuba/snorkeling, golfing, boating, etc. Or maybe you spend your time in the Great Outdoors of your own backyard. Do you break out the patio furniture or get a new set? Do you add fairy lights or ornaments to your garden? This could also be a double page spread on its own.
  10. Weather – Rain, sunshine, thunder storms, and hot August days. What’s your weather like? Do you love to sunbathe (using sunscreen, of course) or do you avoid the sun? Why? Note: this page may take all summer to finish. This page can be part of a 2-page spread with either of the next page – Summer Rain.
  11. Summer Rain – I live in the western part of Washington state and, yes, we do get a bit of rain now and then…LOL! No matter where you live there’s something magical about a day with summer rain. What do you do on a rainy day – read, do craft projects, play games, bake cookies, watch DVDs or go to the movies?
  12. Summer Flora – Summer is a major gardening season with gardens full of colorful summer blooms and ripening veggies. There are temporary fruit and veggie stands on every corner and enterprising kids may even have a lemonade stand down the street. Do you live in an area with seasonal markets? What does your neighborhood or town or city look like in summer? This page goes well with Summer Fauna.
  13. Summer Fauna – Dragonflies, butterflies, mosquitoes, ants, young deer just losing their spots, and wild bunnies are just a few examples. Take photos of your pet dressed (or not) for summer fun, playing in the park, or napping in the sun.
  14. Family & Friends: Getting Together – Summer is the traditional time for family reunions, weddings, and company picnics. You may be involved in the planning or just plan to attend and most of the time these involve BBQs and potlucks and sometimes involve a bit of travel. Are you combining one or more with your family vacation plans? We always go to the lake for the Fourth of July, have a community potluck, and watch a big fireworks display over the lake. Do you have a special family tradition for your get-togethers? Do you entertain friends and family at your home? Do you belong to a club that has a special event or two during the summer? Do you have any summer birthdays? Most of us have a combination of things going on so this could easily become a two page spread or more.
  15. Summer Projects – Summer time is all about fun and relaxing but sometimes it also means it’s time for that home remodel or repair project you had to put off all winter. Maybe it’s yard work or house painting or participating in a work party to help out your community; just remember to take before and after pictures!
  16. Summer Festivals & Fairs – We usually go to at least on of the many Highland Games in our area as well as the local Renaissance Faire. Summer is full of many local and national county fairs and festivals focused on music or beer or food or a combination! You might attend one or more or be involved in the planning and organizing of some of these. This can be a two-page spread.
  17. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Summer Solstice – The longest day of the year is coming up in just 9 days (20 June) and is a seasonal turning point. After this day, the hours of daylight get shorter as we move towards fall. What, if anything, does this mean for you? Do you feel the need to hurry up and cram as much into the remaining days of summer as you can? How do you spend your long summer nights?
  18. Dog Days of Summer or Harvest Time – The summer heat sometimes stretches into September and brings sunflowers, ripe tomatoes, and juicy blackberries. Canning season is here and it’s also a great opportunity to squeeze in some last minute outdoor fun. This page works well as a two page spread with Back To School.
  19. Back To School – Depending on your school schedule, this may be in late August or early September. While I don’t have school age kids anymore, I do have grand kids I who suffer through the traditional first day of school photos…LOL! Document your school clothes shopping trip(s) here, too. If you plan on going to college or taking a few adult education classes, tell about it here.
  20. Summer’s End – This is the last page. It can be a summary, a photo collage of the highlights or a lead in to fall with the turning of the leaves, the coming of cooler temperatures, and a cup of hot cocoa or warm cider.

Hey, did you like this project? Why not plan one for Fall, Winter, and Spring. When you’re done, you can put them all in one jumbo “year-in-review” album or four separate albums. Don’t forget to post your finished layouts in a gallery and come back here to share the link. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Earth Day Every Day – 5 Simple Artsy/Scrappy Projects You and Your Kids Can Do Now

Earth Day was 22 April but it’s never too late to do things to help out the environment. Best of all, these 5 simple ideas can be turned into hybrid scrapbooking or art projects!


  1. Be gasoline-free and walk or bike to work, school, or shopping as often as you can. It’s good exercise, good for the environment, and you’ll save money, too. Take your camera and snap photos of your journey. You’ll be surprised with what you see when you aren’t zooming by in a car.
  2. Create recycling bins or decorate your current ones. Cut out pictures of plastic bottles, paper, and aluminum cans from old magazines (recycling again!) and create a collage label. Adhere to the bins with clear laminating shelf protecting material (like Contact paper) to protect it from the weather. But don’t worry – if they get damaged by sun or rain or even just everyday use, you can always make more using more old magazines!
  3. Create a special recycling bin for items that can be used in future art and craft projects. When you come across bits of ribbon or yarn, stray buttons, pieces of cardboard, scraps of colored paper, or even small pieces of broken toys, put them in this bin. When you have a craft day or just need inspiration, go to the art bin and see what you find. Don’t forget to make a special collage label, too!
  4. Get together with your family and create an artsy altered journal with ways your family can help the earth. Decorate it with photographs, poems, and pictures cut from old magazines and catalogs. Update it weekly or monthly so you can see your progress. Encourage the kids to create their own journals and identify projects they can do themselves. They may also be able to use their project for school credit or, if they’re in a scouting group, for an activity award.
  5. Grow something. Plant a tree or a seed in a pot, garden, or backyard and watch it sprout and grow. Take a photo of it
    every week and make a brag book sized (6”x4”) journal album all about it
    including how often you water and fertilize it. If you planted a fruit or vegetable, what did you do with it when it was ripe? Include a recipe if you wish.

The Lorax50-simple-things-kids-can-do-to-save-the-earthDon’t forget to visit your local library
and read more about the earth and our environment.
A couple of good books are
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss and
50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, by The EarthWorks Group.


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