10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Seven

Happy December, everyone, and welcome to Day Seven of our annual 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to share a recipe for Peppermint Brownies – with a twist. The twist is that they’re lower in sugar content… and the secret is in the pop! For some reason, a carbonated beverage takes the place of the oil and eggs. I’m not sure why, but since it works, I’m happy!  We bake brownies for every occasion and since there are so few ingredients needed,  all I have to do is keep the brownie mix in the pantry and I’m good to go!

Peppermint Brownies

INGREDIENTS

— 1 box of sugar free brownie mix
— 1 – 12 ounce can of diet pop (any flavor will do)
— 1 can of frosting (any kind will do)
— 3 candy canes (more or less to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

— Mix together the brownie mix and pop in a bowl until there aren’t any more clumps.
— Spray an 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray (I use Pam), and add the batter (note: it will be very runny & it sort of doesn’t look like it will work… but it does for some reason!).
— Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when checked.
— Let the brownies cool completely before frosting them.
— Carefully smash the candy canes in a ziplock bag with a hammer until you have crumbles.
— Add the crumbles on top of the icing and ENJOY!

That’s it! See how easy it is? My children could make this all by themselves when they were younger! And even better yet, this recipe is VERSATILE! You can use any diet pop you’d like; for instance, my family loves it with Diet Dr. Pepper, too! Or, if you don’t like sugar-free ingredients, you can use regular brownie mix and any regular pop you like, as well, and it still tastes great in the end. Feel free to change the icing and toppings, too (we also love M&M’s on ours). This recipe is just plain easy and fun to make.

Speaking of which… if you’re thinking of trying this, head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Additionally, we’d love to see any photos of your December/holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading!


Robin

About the author  Robin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. A wife of 26 years and a mom of 4 crazy children (3 in college and 1 still at home), she says that her life occurs mostly in the car as she transports said crazy kids to their many, many homeschool activities. When not driving, Robin loves to make her family cringe by pulling out her camera again (and again, and again…).

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Six

Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome to Day Six of our annual 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! I hope you are having a great time this festive season with all the preparations you need to make, all the films you want to see, the friends and loved ones you want to spend time with, the gifts you want to make or buy, and especially all the food you love to eat!

Today I’m here to share a fun holiday project — making cute little ornaments out of buttons! It’s an idea I saw a while ago, and have been wanting to try… and I found that it is really a quick little project (took me about 10 minutes at most?)… and it could be a fun craft project to do with children or grandchildren, as well as just for yourself.

When I saw this idea last year, I even bought a big bag of buttons in all different shades of green in last year’s New Years sale (with this project in mind)… and then… when it became time to use them for this, well — that big bag of buttons could not be found! Argh! Don’t you hate it when that happens?! Instead, I found a bag of various buttons in a craft shop, and all was well in the world again. 🙂

Supplies needed to make your button trees:

  1. Buttons, of course! (*NOTE* each tree is made of three sections, so you will need 3 or 4 brown buttons for the tree trunk, and about 10 buttons of different sizes and ideally differing shades of whatever color you would like your tree to be, and finally a star button or “tree topper” button. I found a pack of buttons that included some yellow stars, in our local £1 shop… but you can get them at many craft stores)
  2. String (I used embroidery silks, but any kind of string or thread would be fine)
  3. Either a needle or some nail varnish (make sure that the needle will fit through the smallest hole, which I discovered may not be on the smallest button!)

How to assemble your trees:

1. Thread your needle, but do not knot the end of the string (OR… if you are not planning to use a needle, paint a little nail varnish on the tip of your string, which will make the fibers of the string stick together, stiffening the end so it doesn’t fray, and making it easier for you to pass it through the button holes).
2. Start with the smallest button and work your way down to the largest, running the string through one hole of each button. I laid my buttons out in order (as shown here) before beginning to put them onto the string…

3. Once you have strung all the green buttons, add the brown tree trunk buttons onto the string.
4. After all the buttons have been strung through one hole, go through the opposite hole and start to pass the string back up to the top of the tree.
5. At the top of the tree, make sure that you have a good couple of inches on both ends of the string, and then make a tight knot to hold all the brown and green buttons together.
6. Now add your yellow star or tree topper button.
7. Finally make loop with the string, so that you can hang this button tree onto your Christmas tree. I tried to be clever and make the loop so that the know would sit behind the star button, and not be seen. One last tip –  if you are planning to hang these ornaments on your Christmas tree, you might want to make your loops a little larger than mine (they are on my tree, but we had to carefully select nice slim branches to hang them on!).

And with that, you are done! As you can see, I tried making a green tree, and rainbow-colored tree, and a frosty blue & white tree — and I love them all! I think they make sweet little tree decorations, or they would also look cute attached to gift tags on gifts. I hope you might have a little fun with this idea too!

If you’re thinking of giving this project a try… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Also, we’d love to see any photos of your holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂

Happy crafting and Merry Christmas!


CorrinAbout the Author Corrin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a fan of the Big Bang Theory and a lover of cozy pajamas or flip flops when the sun finally shines! She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes, and hopes that maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Five

Hello there! Dunia here (of Dunia Designs)… excited to be bringing you Day Five of the 2018 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

I hope you’ve been having an amazing December so far! I’m here today to show you a really fun project I just completed in the past week or two — how to use your digital scrapbooking papers to create your own custom wrapping paper! This is just way too cool. 🙂

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • digital paper(s) of your choice
  • photo editing software (I used Photoshop CC; most photo-editing programs will work, however)
  • computer with internet access (to enable you to upload your image to a printing company; I used Overnight Prints)

Here’s a look at the digital papers I chose to use, from one of my most recently-designed collections — December Stuff

First, you’ll want to choose the paper/pattern you want to use… and then open it up in your photo editing software in order to prepare your digital image.

Based on the specifications of the wrapping paper printing company I worked with (Overnight Prints), I created a custom-sized canvas that was 27.125″w x 19.125″h.

Then, I dragged my 12″ x 12″ paper onto the canvas area I’d just created. As you can see below, a 12″ x 12″ paper won’t fill the entire 27.125″ x 19.125″ space. So I duplicated it, and lined the 2 copies up with each other, side by side…

I continued duplicating the papers, arranging them so they lined up with each other (appearing to be seamless), until I had filled the entire space…

*NOTE* You’ll find that some digital papers are “cleaner” (i.e. less distressing or texture… especially around the edges), and others are more distressed/textured. Pay attention to the edges where the duplicated paper copies meet, and you may find that you need to crop or erase the heavily-distressed edges so the pattern you create ends up appearing to be more seamless.

Once I had my entire canvas area filled, and the papers arranged in a way that looked good to me… I saved the image as a JPEG (.jpg file). Then I followed the instructions on the web site of the printing company (again, I used Overnight Prints) and uploaded my image / placed my order.

The wrapping paper was shipped to me in single sheets that were sized at 28″ x 20″ with a small border. As of the date of this post, the finished wrapping paper sheets from Overnight Prints were available for less than $2.00 a sheet (anywhere from $1.36-$1.74/sheet)… making it a relatively cost-efficient way to add a tiny bit of customization to your holiday wrapping!

Here’s a look at the finished product that I received in the mail, rolled into individual rolls…

And here’s a look at a few packages I wrapped in these fun & unique custom wrapping papers…

Isn’t that so cool?! Just think of the possibilities; I already have so many fun ideas for papers in the future, for all sorts of events… from Christmas, to birthdays, and more!

If you’re thinking of trying this project… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Additionally, we’d love to see any photos of your December/holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂


Dunia Acauan

About the Author  Dunia Acauan is the designer behind Dunia Designs at The Digital Press. Originally from Brazil, she currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband and three children… and is a talented and accomplished photographer, in addition to running her own graphic design business.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Four

Hello there! Amie here (of Little Lamm Paper Co.)… wishing you a very Happy December and welcoming you to Day Four of the 2018 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful December so far! I’ve been having a great time making paper decorations with the kids this year. Stars are a huge favorite… and so today I’m going to show you one easy star you can make with just a few tools, in order to create really fun and easy holiday decorations.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • paper (plain paper, patterned paper, printed digital paper, cardstock… it’s up to you!)
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • plate/bowl/other circular object

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Grab a plate or bowl and measure the diameter. Halve this, and make a note. For example — my plate was 11 inches, so I need to remember 5.5″ (you can totally use a compass for this. I’m not sure why I can’t find mine; probably because small kids and items with sharp points need to be hidden, LOL).
  2. Draw around the plate, and then mark distances of 5.5″ around the rim, giving me 6 equidistant points.
  3. Join up these marks with straight lines, skipping alternate points, ending up with a star.
  4. Cut the star, and fold right sides together along each of the inner angles of the star. Do this 3 times total.
  5. Turn over and fold the wrong sides together along each of the outer points of the star, again 3 times. This will give you your 3D shape.
  6. Refold and score again to reinforce sharpness of the folds, then pop out to make your star.

**NOTE** don’t worry too much about getting your fold lines up super perfect. It’s not noticeable if they are a bit off. 

Here’s a look at a few different stars I created, using different patterned papers…

To hang the garland, I used some metallic baker’s twine and mini clothes pins… but you can string the stars, or staple them, or even attach them directly to your wall. Mix and match with other fun paper decor or letter banners, or even some fairy lights!

Take a peek at how cute this is hanging along a wall, or a window, etc…

If you would like even more paper garland and decor ideas, you can check out my Pinterest page HERE.

And if you’re thinking of trying this… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Additionally, we’d love to see any photos of your December/holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂


Amie Lamm

About the Author  Amie Lamm is the designer behind Little Lamm Paper Co. at The Digital Press. She is a work at home mom/graphic artist living in Fargo, North Dakota with her hubby, her almost 6 year old son, 2 lazy cats, and a hyper bulldog. She survives her days with copious amounts of coffee and recorded episodes of Fixer Upper.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Three

Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome to Day Three of our annual 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to share a few ideas for using your digital papers and elements to make some festive holiday tags.

I love making tags; I use them on packages & gift bags, bottles of wine, and sometimes I even hide gift cards in them. I also like to use them in my pocket pages in my scrapbooking albums (often, the smaller sizes fit nicely in a 3×4 pocket, or attached to a larger journal cards).

For today’s project, I am going to to show you how to create some photo-based tags (for memory-keeping purposes), and also some gift tags (for wrapping purposes).

To create the photo-based tags, I used a bunch of different items from the all-new holiday collection Every Day of December by Sugarplum Paperie and Laura Passage. Mainly, the photo template set…

First, I took out a few of my old Christmas cards from when my kids were little, and snapped a few photos. Then, using Photoshop Elements (PSE), I attached the photos to some of the blocks on the templates (Ctrl-G in PSE; Ctrl-Alt-G in PS)… and I also picked some cute patterned paper and elements to attach to others.

Once I had the templates filled, I printed it all on 8.5″ x 11″ white matte presentation paper. I usually add a stroke around each item make it easier to see the edges for cutting. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to use everything; the process was just to print things that I could easily cut or punch and then play around (and it was super fun)!

Here’s a look at what my first print sheet looked like as it came out of the printer…

I just use my Fiskers cutter, some scissors, and some punches to cut everything out. I don’t have an electronic cutting machine — yet! (hello, Santa…!)

Once I had everything cut out, I started assembling the tags… which came together quickly! First I added ribbon, bows, and twine. For dimension, I used glue dots to add some stars I had in my scrap stash.

I love the way these turned out, and it is so fun to have these old photos front and center this year! Take a look…

For the non-photo-based simple gift tags, I wanted to utilize all of the beautiful patterned papers and journal cards that I found in the Every Day of December collection. Here’s a look at the kit and cards, so you can see what I used…

First, I found a generic tag shape from my digital scrapbooking stash, and I used it as a clipping mask to attach the patterned paper (see the next image, below; the shape I used is shown in the top two rows — and also — as you can see, I try to use every square inch and align items evenly to make for quick cutting)…

As you can see, above, if you compare my print sheet to the original journal cards/etc… on some tags I wanted the top of the tag to be in one color, and the body of the tag in another… so I just clipped the two papers and moved them up or down in Photoshop until I got them each where I wanted to create the two-tone effect.

Then, after adding a stroke around each tag (again, to give myself a handy cutting line, once printed)… I printed them on an 8.5″ x 11″ paper and cut them out.

Once the tags were cut apart, I then punched a hole in the top of each one — and even brought out my crop-a-dile to place a few grommets in the holes, which is a little touch that just gives them a little extra sparkle. 🙂

I also selected some twine, ribbon, and a few other embellishments from my stash (and/or word art from the kit) to complete these tags. Here’s a look…


I was having so much fun, I decided to make another group of tags — this time, using the December Stuff collection by Dunia Designs, as shown here…

I fell in love with the little doodled trees… so I decided to use them as embellishments on a bunch of tags.

Here is a look at my print sheet, after I arranged them on a 8.5″ x 11″ canvas in PSE…

I did have to cut each of these items out by hand — and I am not perfect at “fussy cutting” — but it was quick and easy!

After cutting the trees, I thought they looked great and really stood out on black and kraft-colored solid papers. This time, I just cut the tags out free form — maybe not perfectly-cut, but fine for my purposes! The key to these tags is to give some of the elements dimension. I did that with pop-up dots in a couple of different sizes, and also with the twine, ribbons, washi tape, and stars that I added (oh, and a few circles I added from punches)…

*TIP* — on the trunks of the trees in the top row of tags, you can see the little bit of “naughty and nice” word art that came in the kit. I added it to the trees, creating my own custom trunks, by layering it and clipping it to the tree shapes in PSE — super easy, and a great way to add just a bit more interest (plus, “naughty and nice” is perfect for life around here)! In this same way, I also put the year “2018” onto the tree trunks of the smaller tags in the bottom row, as well. I felt like I had a lot of kraft paper on the smaller tags… so rather than adding another patterned paper, I broke things up by using a thin strip of some washi tape.


Finally, for one last project… I had some very small cream-colored tags laying around in my physical stash for years, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use them! I knew they would be perfectly-sized to put around a wine bottle or box of chocolate to give to girlfriends and neighbors.

For these, I just punched out some more 1 inch circles from various patterned digital papers that I printed out, and then I attached those circles to each tag. On top of the circles, I added each friend’s first initial with some chipboard letters, and a topped it off with a small star or sequin and some ribbon. I think they are going to like this bit of customization on their gifts!

I also used a punch for some of the word art (“celebrate”) that I found in the kit… and added that to these small tags. I thought these might be nice for New Years Eve.

I hope I have inspired you to print out a few papers and elements and put together some tags this holiday season. This was seriously a fun and therapeutic project for me — and I know I’ll be so glad I’m getting it done early in a couple of weeks when things get really hectic!

This project is nice because you really don’t need any fancy tools or machines (other than a photo-editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, etc.). Here is a look at the other tools I used…

I hope this has given you some ideas! If you’re thinking of giving this project a try… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Also, we’d love to see any photos of your holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂

Happy crafting and happy holidays!


IMG_2617lightedt100w

About the Author  KerriAnne is a homebody who resides in the desert SW. She started scrapbooking when her kids were little and hasn’t stopped despite the teenagers rolling their eyes and sticking out their tongues!  When not scrapping or being a chauffeur, she can be found consuming large amounts of iced coffee.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Two

Welcome to Day Two of our annual 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! The holiday season is normally my favorite time of year, but especially for crafting & baking! But just like everyone else this time of year — extra time is short! These tips & tricks are great ways to utilize limited time to your advantage.

Today I’m here to share a fun chalkboard art tip for your holiday decor. I have a large chalkboard which is actually an old framed picture that I picked up at a garage sale (I jazzed up the frame with spare paint & the glass with chalkboard paint a few years back!) It’s a staple in all of my holiday decor, as it can easily be updated. I love all the fun chalkboard ideas on Pinterest… but man, I just do not like my handwriting, let alone in chalk! Therefore, I like to use the fun cut files or digital supplies that all our talented digital designers create to help me update my chalkboard!

Here’s how to do it…

Supplies:

  • Paper or scrap vinyl
  • Chalk
  • Digital cut file or word art (I chose this cute ‘Merry & Bright’ card from Tis The Season by Rachel Etrog Designs)

I brought the card into my Silhouette program & traced the card to get cut lines. I typically use a piece of scrap vinyl, as the color doesn’t matter for my final project- it’s just a template! Alternatively, you could print the card on cardstock or some thicker material & then cut out the words.

After my vinyl was cut, I weeded out the words — careful to leave the inside portions of the letters. I added some transfer material so that those inside portions would peel off with my vinyl.

I centered my vinyl on my chalkboard (eyeball it — I really don’t think it matters to be perfectly centered!). 😉

Then I simply filled in the words with red & white chalk…

After carefully peeling up the vinyl, there will be some chalk dust — just blow it away. Then I finally weeded out the inside of the letters… & voila!

The usual spot for my chalkboard is on our entry bench! It goes perfectly with my $1 Poinsettia I picked up on Black Friday! This project took me less than 30 mins (and that time included pulling my Silhouette & supplies all out from the cupboard!).

Cute, and easy!

If you’re thinking of giving this project a try… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Also, we’d love to see any photos of your holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂


AmieAbout the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two crazy kids, and her English Bulldog… as well as coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book, and lip gloss — not necessarily in that order.