Author Archive | Melissa Stinson

More Merry & Bright / Deck the Halls Kit Layouts!

I’ve been having so much fun with my Merry & Bright and Deck the Halls kit picks, and today I have two more layouts to share with you made with this selection of products!

Even though these two pages use the same product set, they each have a very different feel to them. The page below, featuring photos of festive store window displays at a local outdoor shopping center, has a calm and simple vibe to it. I added a few splatters of Studio Calico’s Calico White Mister Huey – a perfect complement to these product picks!

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Review | Sew Ribbon by We R Memory Keepers

I couldn’t write a review of the Sew Easy by We R Memory Keepers without also taking a look at the similarly-named Sew Ribbon, introduced at CHA Summer 2011. Though this tool carries a similar moniker to its sewing-related counterpart, it definitely serves a different function and really shouldn’t be compared to the Sew Easy at all, especially based on price-point.

Instead, the Sew Ribbon (complete system with the Scallop punch tool pictured above – a variety of different patterns are available) is more appropriately compared to a border punch, and its MSRP of $14.99 US is right in line with the cost of most border punches currently on the market. The Sew Ribbon tool suite also includes reusable “ribbon needles” (we’ll take a closer look at those in a moment) and a selection of ribbon cards (sold separately – MSRP $4.99 US each), though you could certainly use any appropriate width ribbon that you may already have in your stash. I certainly have enough of it piled up from my ribbon collecting days!

The Sew Ribbon tool itself consists of a top and bottom cutting guide and a punch tool. The punch tool nests in the handles of the cutting guides when not in use.

Some readers may recall the Basic Grey Notch & Die tool that was briefly popular several years ago. The punch tool of the We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon system looks a lot like the Notch and Die tool, except that it makes a major improvement – the blade is shaped in a way that it cuts through the paper in “stages” rather than all at once as the Notch & Die tool tried to do, making the Sew Ribbon a much easier tool to use. I had no problem getting the Sew Ribbon blade to punch through several layers of paper at the same time!

To use the Sew Ribbon tool, you first need to separate the top and bottom cutting templates. The templates are held together by two strong magnets that also serve to align the templates once the paper to be punch is sandwiched between them.

Lay the first cutting template down on a cutting mat (I’m using the same mat that comes with the Sew Easy system), then add the paper to be punched and top with the second cutting template. The magnets will instantly line up the two templates for a perfect cut. This is where the Sew Ribbon system leaves ribbon-threading border punches in the dust – you can use these templates anywhere on your project, even right in the middle of it! That’s a place that a border punch simply can’t reach.

The notches in the cutting templates are perfectly shaped to the cutting tool, so all you have to do at this point is punch through each notch.

Once you’ve finished punching, your paper is ready to be threaded with ribbon!

The “ribbon needles” supplied with the Sew Easy system are actually reusable self-adhesive plastic tips. The one I’m holding in the photo below is brand new and still has the protective backing over the adhesive.

To use one of the ribbon needles, simply peel off the protective backing and fold the plastic over the end of your ribbon.

Then use the end as you would a normal needle to thread the ribbon through the holes that were punched earlier.

Once you’ve finished threading, you’re left with a perfectly-shaped ribbon strip!

I mentioned that the Sew Ribbon could be used anywhere on a page, not just on the edges. On the layout below I used the Sew Ribbon tool right in the middle of my layout and still got perfect alignment, even through several layers of paper!

Supplies | Patterned Paper: Echo Park Happy Days (Little Flowers, Journaling Cards, Big Flowers). Stickers: Echo Park Happy Days (Element Stickers). Gems: Melissa Frances 5th Avenue (Trinkets and Baubles). Ribbon Stitching Supplies: We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon Tool (Scallop), We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon (Aqua). Decorative Tape: Hambly Screen Prints Washi Tape (Set 1, Set 2, Set 3). Color Mists: October Afternoon (Miss Mary Mack, Strawberry Creme). Font: Pacifico. Digital Die Cutting File: Silhouette (Moroccan Background). Digital Cutter: Xyron WishbladeInk: Tsukinenko (Staz-On Dove Gray). Date Stamp: Office Supply.


The Sew Ribbon tool by We R Memory Keepers can help revitalize your ribbon stash by giving you another option besides the same old bows and straight strips of ribbon. And, like border punches, the system offers a wide variety of shapes and styles, so you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your next project!

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Review | Sew Easy by We R Memory Keepers

I’m no stranger to stitching on my layouts, since I use my sewing machine to add detail to nearly every page I make, but I’ve always been a bit hesitant to try hand stitching- especially some of those gorgeous decorative stitches! I’m always nervous that I’ll punch a hole in the wrong place on my page or create a part of the design out of scale with the rest of the pattern, so it’s something that I’ve avoided in the past.

I’m not avoiding it any more though! Since taking the Sew Easy system by We R Memory Keepers for a test drive, I’ve got a tool that takes all the guesswork out of creating both basic and decorative hand-stitched accents on my scrapbook pages. Today I’m going to introduce you to this system, and show you exactly how it works.

There are several components to the We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy system, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is a complicated or expensive tool. The price point is actually very reasonable: the Stitch Piercer starter kit is $9.99 US (all prices listed are MSRP), and the decorative stitch heads are $2.99 each for small designs, and $3.99 for larger ones. Continue Reading →


Letterpress | Spellbinders Grand Impressabilities

While you’ve all been patiently waiting for the final installment of my series on home letterpress systems, I’ve been rather impatiently waiting for today’s featured product to become available! I had Spellbinders’ new Grand Impressabilities impression plates in my hands almost as soon as they were available from the manufacturer, and I immediately set to work with the same inks and watercolor paper that I’ve used for the other articles in this series to see exactly what these tools could do.

Spellbinders’ Grand Impressabilities plates are larger versions of the existing Impressabilities line. Each Grand Impressabilities plate measures 8″ x 11″, meaning that crafters can emboss and letterpress on nearly a full 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper!

Unlike other tools that have been reviewed so far (such as Papertrey Ink’s Impression Plates) that have letterpress as an unadvertised “hidden talent” that sometimes carries some quirks, Grand Impressabilities were designed from the beginning with letterpress in mind – it’s even advertised right on the product packaging! Continue Reading →


Kit | Merry and Bright by Melissa

We’re getting into the Christmas spirit a bit early here at Scrapbook Update! This month’s Scrapbook Update kit, Merry and Bright, is filled to the brim with festive colors and motifs that will be perfect for scrapping all your winter and Christmas memories. In fact, I designed this kit to be used for either layouts or for a December Daily or Journal Your Christmas mini album. There are enough papers, alphabets, and sparkly baubles in this kit to keep you scrapping all December long, and while a few of the items are strictly Christmas themed, I kept the majority of the kit generic enough to be used for a variety of subjects.

The papers are a selection of Crate Paper Peppermint, Echo Park Season’s Greetings, and Studio Calico Classic Calico that blend bright pops of seasonal colors with sophisticated grays and grounding woodgrains for a fun, cozy feel.

Speaking of the papers, the main kit photo above only tells half the story about them as all of these sheets have lovely prints on their B-sides, as well. Continue Reading →


Christmas 2011 Holiday Paper Collections Roundup

In the scrapping world, Christmas journaling season is in full swing. Whether you follow Journal Your Christmas, December Daily, or your own form of holiday memory keeping, I’m betting that you – like many other scrappers out there – are searching for the perfect new paper line to complement your seasonal photos.

Rest assured that Scrapbook Update is on the case! I’ve spent hours combing manufacturer web sites, blogs, online catalogs, and promotional images to bring you a massive informational resource. Every Christmas line released at or since CHA Summer 2011 is listed here along with a sampling of images of the line’s papers and coordinating embellishments (where applicable). Yes, that’s right! From 3 Bugs in a Rug to Webster’s Pages, I’ve scoured the scrapbook industry to bring all things Christmas right to your computer’s monitor.

Additionally, I’ve attempted to categorize each line based on color palette and style. I’ve kept the number of categories to a minimum to make things simple (keep in mind that some lines may span multiple categories). Here’s a little information to help you decode what each label means:

  • Traditional Color Palette – Each of these lines stays true to the red and greens that are the hallmark of Christmas lines (exclusive of any neutrals). Additionally, I’ve allowed lines that include blue as an additional color into this category due to the prevalence of red, green, and blue lines this year. The presence of any other color, though, such as yellow or pink, earns the line a nontraditional label.
  • Nontraditional Color Palette – While these lines may contain heavy amounts of red, green, and blue amongst their colors, they also include other shades such as purple, pink, or yellow.
  • Vintage Style – These lines are characterized by one or both of the following: heavy distressing, or the presence of vintage imagery. Additionally, an “aged” color palette may earn a line a spot in the vintage category.
  • Whimsical Style – These lines contain some of those adorable images that we associate with Christmas: smiling snowmen, scarf-adorned penguins, and a general line-art style to the illustrations are some of the hallmarks of this category.
  • Graphic Style – These lines are characterized by clean lines and may contain heavy amounts of dot, stripe, and lattice prints. Additionally, traditional Christmas icons that are depicted using clean lines and a lack of distressing will earn a line a spot in this category. The graphic style category is the most likely to be combined with one of the other two styles.

If you want to find a particular line based on either style or color palette, I recommend that you use your browser’s search function to find lines that fall into the categories listed above. Otherwise, all lines are listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Continue Reading →


Letterpress | Papertrey Ink Impression Plates

Scrapbook Update’s next stop on our tour of home letterpress options brings us to a tool that wasn’t actually created specifically for letterpress: Papertrey Ink’s line of Impression Plates. These handy tools are wonderful for debossing (that is creating a relief design by pressing in on the front of the paper), and as it turns out some of them also have a hidden letterpress talent just waiting to be discovered!

Papertrey Ink’s Impression Plates (priced at $16.00 US each) are 4.5″ x 5.75″ in size and are made of sturdy U.S. steel.

The Impression Plates are double sided, meaning that consumers get two designs for the price of one with this tool! Often the designs are the same but oriented vertically on one side and horizontally on the other, but some such as the Mehndi Medallion plate have a completely different pattern on each side. Continue Reading →


Letterpress | Sizzix Ink-Its

For this next installment of Scrapbook Update’s (mini)series on home letterpress systems, I’ll be taking a look at an option that adds on to a tool that you might already own: a manual die cut machine. Ink-Its letterpress plates by Sizzix are designed to work with the majority of  manual roll-through die cut machines and are an inexpensive (the plates range in price from $6.00 to $8.00 US) way to add the elegance of letterpress to your projects without a lot of extra expensive or bulky new tools.

Many of our readers are probably already familiar with Sizzix’s line of popular embossing folders, and Ink-Its plates work on the same principle – the pressure of rolling the paper and the plate/folder through the die cut machine impresses the shape of the raised portion of the folder or plate onto the paper. The major difference is that while embossing folders raise an image from the back of a sheet of paper, causing the relief to be clearly visible from both sides of the sheet, Ink-Its deboss or “push in” the design from the front of the sheet, making it recessed instead of raised. Ink-Its plates are also one-sided (whereas embossing folders are double-sided) and thus only apply the design to one side of the paper.

Ink-Its plates are made of heavy 1/8″ plastic (much heavier than that used in embossing folders) and are available in both background (5 7/8″ x 8″) and border (3″ x 8″) sizes in a variety of patterns.

Continue Reading →