Friday, November 14, 2014

Elf on the Shelf │operation be prepared

Last year was the first year an Elf came to visit us during Christmas and it didn't arrive until December 20th. It arrived late because she came with our visiting families Elf and the two of them had a lot of fun together. This year will be my first year doing it on my own and for longer than 5 days. I knew I wanted to be prepared and to have some ideas already mapped out as best as I could. I have been pinning lots and lots of Elf ideas on Pinterest but wanted a way to see them all in one place without having to open each pin and hunt down the ideas. I absolutely didn't want to be scrambling at 10:00pm each night! I want this to be fun, and to enhance the season, not make it more stressful.

The best way for me to make that happen was get the ideas I wanted in one easy place so I always knew what was next. I decided to make a simple sheet that I could slip into my planner where I could show a photo of the idea along with a place for notes of things I needed to do or buy to make that happen.

sources in planner top to bottom left to right one, two, three, four, five, six, seven
sources bottom cluster top to bottom left to right one, two, three, four, five, six, seven

Our Elf will not arrive until December 1st and my goals for our Elf is to make it fun but also pick things that didn't impede our lives too much. I've seen some super cute ideas where the Elf wraps your toilet it wrapping paper or goes fishing in the bathroom sink but since the Elf isn't supposed to be touched or moved the idea of keeping a bathroom out of service for a day didn't seem realistic to me. Maybe one day but this year, I'm aiming for easy and free if at all possible.

I went thru each of the items I had pinned as potential possibilities and just grabbed a quick screen shot of the idea. I cropped the images down to 2" x 2.5" and just printed them out on paper, nothing fancy here, but I knew an image would be more helpful than just words.  I used my date roller to label each day and just starting sticking them down. I kept some key events in mind so that the Elf could help out if needed or coordinate with what I knew we were doing some days. I did plan out the whole month but I can easily change it up if needed or even eliminate an idea all together if I'm feeling overwhelmed. I have some extra images tucked in a glassine envelope at the back of this section that I can pull from if I decide to make a change.

If you think this is something that could help you with your planning this season, you can download the sheet right here and the cover here. You can either print it out and fold it in half or print it out double sided and just cut it down the middle, it is sized to fit into a A5 sized planner 5.5" x 8.5".

My goal this year is to get as much stuff done before the season is in full swing so we can enjoy ourselves as much as possible. I definitely think this is a step in the right direction.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Studio Calico │25 Days

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I have pretty much one thing on my mind, besides Thanksgiving Stuffing...December Daily®! I pretty much wait 11 months every year for it and I cannot wait to work on my 5th December Daily® Album.  As is the same in years past Studio Calico is doing another class to support Ali Edwards' project and her kit and I cannot wait!

Join us for 25 Days and record all your special holiday moments with Stephanie Bryan. Stephanie will be teaching this class to coordinate with Ali Edwards' December Daily® kit, and she’ll share plenty of prompts and videos to give you that extra bit of motivation you need to make a gorgeous album during the busiest season of the year. Stephanie will share foundation pages beginning in November, and she’ll provide daily updates through December to culminate in a complete album.

  • 7 videos from Stephanie covering getting organized, foundation pages, finished pages, and 4 techniques you can incorporate into your own pages.
  • A PDF with a detailed look at Stephanie's foundation pages.
  • Daily PDFs starting December 5th that share Stephanie's completed pages, along with her tips and tricks for keeping up with her album in the busy holiday season.
  • A peek into the albums of our 5 contributors - they'll each be sharing 5 pages during December.
  • Access to a class message board and gallery, where you can share and learn with your teacher and fellow students.
  • Weekly challenges to inspire you to use what you've learned.

As usual the digital files that go with the class are super cute. Like these printables from Hello Forever

Super cute cut files from Hello Forever (check out that full sheet of text!)

And these super cute, super versatile collage templates that will be perfect to create inserts with from Shanna Noel

You will also receive digitals of the Stamp Set that comes with the class kit that you can see here.  I understand the class kits are getting limited so make sure you enroll today before they run out.

This class is always such a great place for inspiration and it really helps put me in the mood to create my album. I sure hope to see you in class! December is just a few short weeks away!

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Studio Calico Advent Calendar │a free download

Hello everyone, have you seen the super cute free Advent Calendar download that Studio Calico put up today? If not you can see it right here. I was sent the files a few days ago to make up one and I wanted to share a little bit of my process with you if you wanted to make something similar.

The first thing I did was take some time to think about what I wanted under each of the windows. Was it going to be a photo, some text or a mix of the two? This will not be the only Advent Calendar in our home this season so it didn't need to cover all of the bases, but take a more playful just for fun approach. As I made the list I noticed that it was turning into a sort of bucket list for the season. I added in all of the events I knew we were going to that had already been scheduled and then just added in more seasonal fun stuff to finish up the list.

Here is my list;
  1. Hello Twinkle! She's back! (our Elf on the Shelf)
  2. Watch a Christmas movie
  3. Make a Christmas playlist
  4. Make a Christmas craft
  5. Watch 'The Year without Santa' on TV
  6. Go Christmas Shopping
  7. Go see the Nutcracker
  8. Make a Gingerbread house
  9. Mail our Christmas Cards
  10. Happy 7th Birthday Simone!
  11. Have a fireside movie night
  12. Go see Christmas Lights
  13. Its Birthday Party Day!
  14. Go to the World of Christmas event
  15. Jingle some friends
  16. Pack up some old toys to donate
  17. Make Teacher Gifts
  18. Wrap presents
  19. Yay! Its the last day of school!
  20. Have a Starbucks date
  21. Watch 'The Little Drummer Boy' on TV
  22. Make Santa's cookies
  23. Clean my room!
  24. Go to church with the family, its Christmas Eve!
  25. Merry Christmas!
Just a tip, the ABC Family Channel provides their line up up Christmas specials online so I took a look at the list to make sure we caught the ones that aren't typically aired on network TV. So if you need that list you can see it right here.

I knew I didn't want to write out my items so I laid it all out using Photoshop Elements. I just went day by day and entered the text in the right space using the cut lines as my guide. I did have the main image open so I knew which box was which. The font I used for my text is Before Breakfast you can find it here

Once I had that laid out I had to work on the top. I ended up doing a print and cut and added in an offset on my Cameo so that it created a bit of the edge.  That was for two reasons a) to keep the pieces together, I didn't want the chimney smoke floating off by itself and b) because when I did the print and cut the registration marks would show on the page and I didn't want them on my finished piece. Here you can see what my document looked like in the Studio program.  I did have to freehand cut a few places at the very bottom of the document where it fell below the allowed cut area that the Cameo imposes when you do a print and cut but that can easily be fixed if you just shrink the piece down just a smidgen.

I did the same thing for the under layer with my text because I wanted it to match up exactly to the top layer when I placed it down on my page. In order to make sure it was all lined up correctly I used the same document above, just replaced the hand drawn house image with the one of my text so that I knew it would line up correctly when cut.

I made sure to delete the cut lines for the windows prior to printing because I didn't need to them cut. This is what I sent thru to my printer and then cut out. The only thing cut was the outer offset line.

Here you can see the finished piece with a few windows open, I did cut a bit too much away under one of the trees when I freehand cut those parts the Cameo didn't cut but its all good. All in all I was really happy with how everything lined up when the two layers were matched up.

I applied adhesive to the back of the top layer and had to make sure to go around some of the edges very carefully so they would stick down well when the windows were opened. I used Glossy Accents around those tight narrow areas and it worked great. The larger areas were glued just using my adhesive gun

I mounted both layers on top of a piece of red cardstock that I had first run thru my printer to add the title. I used the Voluptate free font found here for the word Christmas. This font doesn't provide capital letters so I just increased the size of just the letter C to make it appear as if it was capital. The font for the word countdown is CK Journaling found here. (note: please make sure you are careful when downloading fonts. Make sure you are aware of what you are clicking on and always have a virus protection program loaded on your computer before downloading anything. I cannot vouch for all download links, I just provide what I think is the best place possible so you can decided if you want to download it.)

I also added in a simple gold glitter enamel dot that came in a previous Studio Calico kit to dot the i, which just gives it a little something three dimensional.

I thought long and hard about coloring in the piece and I the first one I made was colored in with colored pencils and it looked super cute. I ultimately decided to go with a really graphic black and white feel but also wanted to color in a few bits and make it sparkle at the same time. I used the Gold Glitter Wink of Stella pen and went over a few spots, making sure to highlight a part of each of the numbers so they stood out. Its always hard to photograph anything with glitter but in the below image you can see a bit of how pretty and sparkly it looks in person.

I hope you have fun with the file, I can't wait to see what everyone does with it.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

and the winner is....

Thank you all for entering the giveaway, the winner chosen randomly using is...

Congratulations Shelly, you have won a spot in class.  Please email me at and I'll send you the instructions on how to redeem your prize.

I can't wait to log in myself so I'll see you there.

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