May Flaum has been published in numerous magazines and is the co-author of Paper + Pixels: Scrapbook Layouts. She is a Big Picture Scrapbooking instructor, education coordinator for the Fiskars Crafts website, and a design team member for Scarlet Lime kits. Over the years she has taught classes around the United States as well as managed a scrapbook store, been on design teams, and done freelance work with various companies.
May is currently preparing for her next Big Picture class “Adventures In Scrapbooking: Using Kits” as well as dreaming up her next wild project ideas. You can find her blogging most days on her website, and you can find more information on her latest on-line class at Big Picture Scrapbooking.
With Fall settling in and the holiday season fast approaching, the tell-tale signs are showing up in all my favorite crafting spots. While it is tempting to grab up every cute sticker, paper, and themed embellishment that I like, both years of crafting and a much tighter budget have me re-thinking my purchases.
I have a drawer of old themed stickers, papers, and embellishments I will likely never use because they are either not my style or just items that don’t work on my pages. I am trying very hard to eliminate those kinds of bad purchases – after all they waste both budget and precious space. Today I’d like to share with you my picks for this season, some tips, and some layouts that I’ve created with product that is new this year.
First let’s talk about the neutrals. I’m a fan of inks, paints, buttons, alphabet stickers, small print patterned paper, cardstock, and other embellishments that don’t have any theme. Neutral items such as these can be used on any layout. Since they are so versatile I’m much more likely to get them used, and that makes them great purchases. Like a little black dress or great pair of jeans, these items never go out of style and come in handy when you might least expect them to.
I like to purchase mostly items that fall into this category that suit my style and tastes. Then I can flex my creative muscles to get the most out of the product, and highlight my photos and memories to the best of my abilities.
To complement my basics, I like to selectively bring in supplies that are either just so “me” that they must be purchased, or things that I believe will fit my crafting needs. When shopping for my holiday product, I have to be very selective. I fall in love too easily and I have fallen trap to buying cute things that have no business in my home.
On a recent trip to Scrapbook Territory in Berkeley, CA I found myself stunned and overwhelmed by the selection of Christmas, Autumn, Halloween, Winter, and other holiday season goodies. Once upon a time I would have filled my cart to the brim, but no longer. I take the time to think about the selections I make, and I find myself happier for it. Before I share products that have become favorites this season, I’d like to offer my tips for shopping for holiday (or any theme) product:
- Look for product that is useable for other (non-holiday) layouts in some way. A double sided paper with a small or neutral pattern on the back, embellishments that don’t scream holiday, and other themed items that can be used elsewhere.
- It should work with my photos. My rule is that you shouldn’t buy product that would clash with the holiday elements sure to show up in your photos. For example, while I may appreciate very graphic or modern designs, those types of products work with the nostalgic, traditional, and sometimes whimsical photos I take.
- “So cute” doesn’t cut it. If it’s an item I won’t use, it’s over priced, or it’s just not my style no matter how cute – I leave it for someone else.
- Step away from the stamp sets. Unless you are doing cards, tags, and other paper crafting re-think that stamp set even if it is really cute. If you’re just making layouts, how many times will you really want to use it?
- Go online to your favorite companies and check their websites before you go shopping. Finding out if they’ll be releasing lines you love first will help you make sure you choose the best papers and embellishments.
- Put it in your basket, then when you’re done shopping go back and look again. See how much you could put back and not mind, and see if you’ve purchased items that are too similar.
Taking the time to both think about what you will use, and to re-think potential purchases, will save your budget for things that will be more useful and therefore a better value for you.
The assortment of product lines out for the holidays is staggering. From graphic to vintage, from bright to muted, there is something for everyone these days. The one trend I’m seeing and really appreciating is manufacturers putting out paper that is double sided. They make one side themed, and the other neutral with some kind of solid or small print. When I see this I’m more inclined to purchase because I know if the theme doesn’t work out I can put the paper to use in other ways.
I really like American Craft’s Merrymint line (pictured above) for this very reason. It’s themed in a way that allows not only beautiful Christmas pages, but also other fall and winter seasonal pages as well.
supplies: American Crafts cardstock, patterned paper, ribbon, brads, alphabet stickers, and glitter buttons; Fiskars punches, Smooch ink, Tattered Angels glimmer mist, mom’s typewriter font, unknown vellum
A line that I fell in love with at first sight is Pink Paislee’s Mistletoe & Co. (pictured above) The denim blue and red combo is one that I really like, and the slightly off classic feeling of the line seems highly useable to me. I love that all of the patterned papers could easily be used for non-holiday layouts, and the fabric and transparent embellishments are favorites.
Not having green in the paper line except for a few details may seem odd for a holiday line, but it’s great as far as I’m concerned! Now my Christmas tree will stand out even more, and my photos will pop thanks to the complementary colors used. I stitched the fabric embellishment down, but I’ve found that brads or a strong dry adhesive work fine as well.
The third line of product I’m really looking forward to playing with is BasicGrey’s Eskimo Kisses (pictured above). The pinks and purples in this line will be so wonderful with all of the winter photos I take of my daughters. So often I have to stay away from red when scrapbooking winter photos simply because of the clash with their outfits – this line is going to get used a lot here!
Something I like about this line is the floral swirls on the packaging. I already able to use them in this layout, and I do like packaging that can be utilized at least in part. Adding in aqua or green is no problem with this line – another selling point for me as I love those colors.
I hope that you’ve found my take on holiday scrapbook shopping helpful, and that I’ve given you some ideas to think about. Before I sign off, I’d like to share with you several of my other favorite new holiday lines.
Autumn Product Picks:
Festive Holiday Lines:
- Mistletoe collection by Making Memories
- Jolly by Golly from Cosmo Cricket
- Home for the Holidays by Webster’s Pages
Some of my favorite (not really themed) products perfect for this holiday season:
- American Crafts has a wide array of items from brads to ribbons that I consider essentials to my scrapbooking, but right now I especially find their cardstock in Autumn and Christmas to be great values. While the color palettes are meant for the holiday season, they’re simply rich and beautiful colors and at a price I couldn’t pass up.
- Jenni Bowlin memo pads are great for journaling, using for punching, as accent paper on layouts too. The red, and brown are especially great, but the green is my favorite.
- Smooch pearlized accent inks are my newest discovery – and I’m in love! The pearlized finish adds a rich touch that would be wonderful on holiday pages.
- Tim Holtz Filmstrip ribbon will work for most anything, but I can’t help but think how great it would be on a layout about a holiday gathering with lots of photos.
Supply list for the holiday items pictured in the beginning of article:
(papers clockwise from top left) Graphic 45, Webster’s Pages, Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, Making Memories, SEI
(embellishments left to right) Cosmo Cricket, Basic Grey, Making Memories, American Crafts
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