Category: Holiday Tips & Tricks

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Eight

Welcome to Day Eight of the 2017 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

Stefanie here today, bringing you a fun (and adult-friendly!) recipe for the milk and cookies you leave out for Santa. 🙂

As part of our family’s holiday tradition, we leave out a side plate with some milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. I don’t know about your Santa… but the one who visits our house is usually very tired and in need of a pick-me-up… so why not treat him to an adult version? We call them ‘milktart shooters,’ and we serve them up with some yummy crunchies on the side.

Here are the recipes…

Milktart Shooters

— 375ml vodka
— 395g tin condensed milk
— 375ml tin evaporated milk
— ground cinnamon to serve


— Mix the ingredients together and shake well
— Store in a bottle in the fridge for up to 4 days


— 1 cup oats
— 1 cup cake flour
— 1 cup white sugar
— 1 cup dessicated coconut
— 165g butter melted with 15mls syrup; then add 5mls bicarb, pinch of salt*, a squirt of lemon juice* and 15-30mls boiling water*


— Mix dry ingredients well.
— Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients; mix well and press down firmly into a rectangle-shaped oven pan.
— Bake at 180C for 12-15 min (but check often, as it can burn quite easily).
— Cut into squares while still warm (let cool for about 5-10 min after removing from the oven before cutting).
— Will keep well in a sealed container for at least 4 days.


If you’re thinking of giving one (or both!) of these recipes a try… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “10 Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series!

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About the author Stefanie is a member of The Digital Press creative team and a stay at home mother of three older children living in Cape Town, South Africa with her hubby of 29 years, two of their three children and 3 cats. She loves photography, traveling and digital scrapbooking, documenting the good and the ordinary everyday.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Seven

Welcome to Day Seven of the 2017 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I’m here to show you how to make these adorable pom pom photo ornaments… with QR codes that link to video clips!

Every year I try to make at least one handmade ornament with my kids. They love it… and I love it! Each year when we decorate our Christmas tree, it is always so much fun to unwrap past handmade ornaments and remember the fun times we had creating them. I usually try to incorporate a photo or a hand print or something that shows how little they were when the ornaments were made.

This year’s ornament has a fun twist! Instead of leaving the back of each ornament plain, I created a digital element containing (a) a holiday sentiment, (b) my child’s name, (c) the date, and (d) a QR code! The QR code is a way to link straight to a video clip that’s stored online (think: YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). Why? I really want to take more videos of my kiddos. Time is moving way too fast, and I want to remember the silly way they mispronounce words… their sweet, raspy voices… their jolly holiday jokes… and their joyful smiles.

Therefore, I recorded a short video of each of my kiddos (and I also threw a Santa hat onto each, because they hadn’t gotten ready for the day yet and I was battling major cases of Bed Head! LOL). I uploaded the videos to Vimeo (where I host all my videos and slideshows), and then I used this site to create the QR code (I also use this app to scan/read the QR codes with my phone).

How To Create the Ornament

Supplies Needed:

1. First, create a file in Photoshop (or photo editing program of your choice) using 1.5″ circles… and clip photos to the circle shapes (in Photoshop, using the “clipping mask” function; a.k.a. Ctrl-Alt-G)…

2. Next, print your document onto plain white cardstock paper…

3. Use a circle punch to cut out the circles (or, you can use scissors and fussy cut the circles, if you prefer)…

As you can see, I decided to add an optional white border around each photo (shown above).

4. Next, I used a recycled box to cut larger circles that I could affix my photos to, as shown below…

My larger cracker box circles are about 3″ in diameter…

5. After attaching the photo to the cardboard, I stapled a jute string onto the cardboard to create a hanger. Then, I had my kids glue pom poms onto the cardboard portion to create a wreath shape…

Here’s a look at what the finished ornament looked like after my kids finished gluing the pom poms on to create wreaths around their photos…

How to Create the QR Code and Video Clip

1. Take a video clip (clip can be of your kid making the ornament… or saying something funny… or sending holiday greetings to family members who live far away… etc. Anything goes!). Upload your video to a video sharing service of your choice (I use Vimeo).

2. Create a QR code to link to the video (I use this site to create mine).

3. Create another file in Photoshop with 3” circles and clip patterned paper onto the circles. Then, add a smaller white circle on top of that (about 2.5″ or so in diameter? It depends on how much of a patterned paper border you prefer. Mine, below, is about 0.5″ border and 2.5″ white circle)…

4. Add the QR code image to the white circle, along with some text (optional). The text can be a date… a holiday message… information about the creator of the ornament… etc.

5. Print on white card stock and cut out. Adhere to the back of the ornament, as shown here…

And that’s it! Easy peasy! 🙂


If you’re thinking of giving this a try and making your own… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “10 Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series!


About the Author  Krista Lund is a mom of 3, married to her high school sweetheart and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of her favorite things are brownies, chips ‘n’ dip, taking pictures, and documenting her family’s story.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Six

Hello, and welcome to Day Six of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I am going to show you how to decorate brownies into cute little Christmas trees. It is really simple, but I think they look so sweet (pun intended)!

You will need a batch of brownies, some green icing (or perhaps you could try red, or yellow if you prefer), candy canes (ideally the mini ones) and a small selection of sprinkles or small sweets, like the ones in the photo below…

Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients and supplies, there are just a few simple steps.

Step 1

Bake your favourite brownies!

Step 2

Once your brownie batch is almost cool, cut it into small triangles. Mine are about 7cm along each edge, but if you are using larger sprinkles, you can cut larger triangles. While you have your knife handy, you can also cut a small (approx. 2-3cm) straight section of candy cane, and put this aside for later.

Step 3

Some stores sell green icing in little tubes, ready to use, which is the simplest option! Sadly, I couldn’t find any when looking this time around, so instead I colored some plain white icing with food coloring to create a nice festive green, and then I popped it into a piping bag. Pipe your icing in a curvy zig-zag, starting at the top of the “tree”, and going from side to side to the bottom of the tree (see photo down below).

Step 4

Next, add some sprinkles (I used the tiny ball sprinkles that were available in festive colors), a star for the top of the tree (or an m&m in this case), and any other decorations you want to add.

Step 5

Take your candy cane piece and push it into the bottom of your brownie tree, to look like a tree trunk…

And that is it! Seriously, how easy is that?! 🙂

I hope you have a chance to give these a try! They might make a fun gift for a teacher or neighbor, or just something different for your dinner one night. The best part is, no matter how you decorate them, they taste simply delicious!

If you’re thinking of giving this a try and making your own… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “10 Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series!

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. She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes! She is still trying to get the house straight after moving nearly 3 years ago. Who knows… maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Five

Hello, and welcome to Day Five of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I am going to show you how to use your digital scrapbooking supplies to make a holiday memory album. It’s much easier than you’d think… and so much fun!

Supplies Needed

  • Digital scrapbooking kit (or kits) of your choice
  • White cardstock paper
  • Scissors or cutting machine
  • Other physical scrapbooking supplies, as desired (optional; for adding extra dimensional embellishments, etc.)

For my album this year, I primarily used the digital kit Hello December By Dunia Designs, as shown here…

Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, there are just a few simple steps. I’ve broken down what I did on a page-by-page basis, below…

Album Cover

  • I chose a patterned paper for the cover, and trimmed it a little bit smaller in order to create a border around that patterned paper background.
  • I also chose two pocket cards and re-sized them in order to fit to my cover as embellishments on top of the patterned paper background.
  • Next… I re-sized, printed, and cut some cute elements and word bits to add on top of the cards from the last step.
  • Finally, I added a piece of pompom ribbon and two enamel hearts (I like to finish a lot of my hybrid projects using some traditional scrapbook supplies; they add more interest and texture to my projects).

Inside Cover / First Page

  • I used a piece of vellum paper behind my front page to soften the first page view and to give more depth and interest to my album.
  • Next, I chose a banner-shaped page from my physical supply stash and decorated it with a card and some elements. I re-sized both the card and the elements in order to them fit to my banner page without making it too full/busy.
  • Finally, I added some washi / glitter tape.

Inner Pocket Pages

  • For the first of my inner album pages, I chose two pocket cards from the digital kit and printed them to fit into my pockets.
  • I added some digital sequins to my 3×4 digital card (see right page, below) and this created a new card. I also glued a border onto my 6×4 card, in order to give balance to the spread.
  • I re-sized some digital elements (including the cute flair button on the right), and I glued these outside the pockets.
  • I typed my journaling before I printed my 6×4 card, and I used a piece of word art as a title.
  • Finally, I added some traditional embellishments… like a cute Christmas tree, a clear holly sticker, a clear word art sticker, and some other bling.

  • For the next spread of pages, I used a page with lots of pockets on the left (to include lots of little individual photos, etc)… and I made a tag insert using a very beautiful patterned paper on the right.
  • I also chose a 3×4 card, which I embellished with a cute printed border.
  • Additionally, I chose some printed elements and put them into all of the non-photo pockets (see below, left side) along with some traditional embellishments like the sequins, the glitter stars, the cute bow, the Christmas twine, a word sticker, etc.
  • I printed my little photos slightly smaller than 2×2, because I wanted to leave a white border around them.

  • Here’s a look at the back side of that fun tag (from above), where I added some journaling…
  • I also decorated my page with pompom ribbon along the right edge/border.

  • Here’s a closer look at some of the small pockets, so you can get a look at the contents I added into each tiny pocket before sewing them shut (as you can see, I chose some patterned papers to be the backgrounds for some of the flat circular flairs that I printed… and the same elements I used in the front of the page. I glued them back to back as well. I used one more cute glittery Christmas tree to create a focal point almost in the middle of the page)…

  • And here’s another closer-up look…

You could repeat different variations of these last few pages I’ve shown you… in order to accommodate as many photos/pages as you like in your own album! You’ll find that it’s so fun to fill the pockets with little decorative objects.

And that is all there is to it! Wasn’t that easy?! 🙂

I hope you have a chance to give this project a try! If you’re thinking of giving this a try and making your own… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “10 Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series!

About the Author  Andrea Albuquerque is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Andrea has been a scrapper since 2010 and a photographer since 2012. Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, she can’t resist playing with paper, paint, and embellishments… so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! She lives in Brazil with her hubby.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Four

Welcome to Day Four of the 2017 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I’m here to share instructions for making simple, gorgeous (and even kid-friendly!) glitter ornaments! The project only requires a few supplies — all of which are readily available this time of year!

Supplies Needed

  • Clear ornaments (I buy plastic #becausekids & they are found at any craft store during the holiday season)
  • Your choice of glitter
  • Mopping solution (I use whatever I happen to have on hand — today it was Murphy’s oil soap)
  • A dropcloth (not required — but as you can imagine, glitter is messy! I simply laid down some old wrapping paper over our table so I could throw the whole thing in the trash when done)



  • Take hanger tops off of the ornaments & set them aside.
  • Pour a bit of mopping solution into the ornament & swirl around to coat the inside (this is what makes the glitter stick).
  • Set the ornament upside down to drain (I use an old egg carton) and/or simply pour extra solution into another ornament.
  • Once the excess solution has drained… simply dump in your glitter! (I’ve learned that if you use different types of glitter like we did — use the larger-sized glitter first, and then add the finer glitter last to ensure that the larger pieces have enough surface to stick to on the ornaments).



  • Shake, tap, swirl your glitter around to coat the inside!
  • Dump extra either back into the glitter container, or onto a piece of paper.
  • Repeat as desired! (I also have my kids ‘sign’ and date their ornament, as it’s fun to look at their previous year’s signatures!) 😉



  • Voila! Beautiful glittery ornaments in less than an hour (clean-up time included!).
  • TIP: I let mine ‘dry’ overnight before replacing the hanger tops, to ensure that all of the glitter stays in place.



  • After they’re dry… simply hang on your tree!


How gorgeous is that with the lights shining on it?! 🙂

If you’re thinking of giving this a try and making your own… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “10 Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series!

AmieAbout the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two kids (ages 9 & 6), 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.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Three

Welcome to Day Three of the 2017 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

I’m here today to show you how you can make the cutest (and easiest!) bottle toppers to use for hostess gifts, festive home decor, and more!

In December, my family and I often find ourselves going to all sorts of holiday gatherings for which we bring along a hostess gift. We usually bring a bottle of wine or a lidded jar filled with shiny wrapped candy, but I like to go a step further and dress up the container a bit.  If it’s a seriously last-minute event, this means I end up crocheting a little scarf and maybe a hat for the container while my husband drives us to the event, but if I have a little more time to prepare, I like to make one of these cute festive bottle toppers…

Step 1

Gather your materials, as shown here…

About the felt — for this project, one of those sheets of felt from the craft store works fine, but so do leftover scraps (thus whittling down any accumulated fabric, which is always a bonus in my book!). The most important component here is ensuring that the piece of felt you choose is sufficiently wide to go around the container, and tall enough to get sufficient height on the finished topper (I like mind tall; the end product shown up above is is about 8 1/2″).

Step 2

With the flexible measuring tape, measure the circumference of the container for which you’re making the topper. Add 1/2″.  For a standard 750-ml wine bottle, this measurement should be 4 1/2″; for a regular Mason jar with a canning lid, it’s 9 1/2″.

Step 3

Because I like these toppers to be rather tall, I usually just use the full height (the shorter of the sides of a craft store felt sheet) of whatever piece of felt I’m using. On one of those craft-store felt sheets, that’s about 9 1/4″. Lay out the felt, and along the bottom edge, measure and mark that circumference.  I usually just make a tiny snip with the scissors to make the mark.

Step 4

If you’re satisfied with your straight-line cutting skills, cut a straight line from that tiny snip to the upper corner for a “full height” topper. If you’re not confident that your scissors will obey, then line up a straight edge between those two points and cut with a rotary cutting wheel, or draw a line with a fabric pen and cut with the scissors. If you don’t have a fabric pen, make sure you draw on the back side of the material, and then flip it over before starting the next step so the marker line stays hidden in the final product. Your end result after cutting should look like a tall right triangle.  If you want a shorter hat, just aim for a point further down the long straight edge (remember, though, that you’ll be trimming about an inch off that long edge in Step 5, below).

Step 5

Thread your needle with a piece of thread 2.5 to 3 times as long as the hypotenuse (diagonal line) of that triangle. Fold the hypotenuse over to the long edge, and pin it closed if desired. The bottom edge will not line up correctly. This is okay. Don’t cut anything, as we’ll clean that up in the next step. Starting at the top (this is key!), but about 1/4 to 1/2″ down, whip stitch the two edges together, keeping the stitch depth about 1/8″ and the spacing about 1/8″. Stitch all the way to the short end of the felt, and knot off your stitch so it doesn’t unravel.

Step 6

I usually do a quick fit-check at this point, just to be safe. The topper should be loose enough to fit over the top of the bottle, but not so snug that you really have to shove and tug to get it on (these aren’t skinny jeans!). Once that’s done, I even off that bottom edge by eyeballing a straight line and cutting it off with scissors. Be sure not to inadvertently snip off that nice knot you just made, though.  You can also snip off that top edge too (be sure not to cut off the knot on this end, either, though). Fit-check again; if the topper seems a bit loose, simply fold up the bottom edge (this also reduces the gnome-y look slightly).

Step 7

To embellish or not to embellish… that is the question. 😉

Sometimes I like the rustic elf look, and I just stop here. More often than not, however, I add a bell or a button to the end of the topper, and/or a strip of ribbon or felt as a hat band.

If adding a band, add an extra 1/2″ so you can fold over the outer edge for a cleaner finish. If adding a hat band, make sure that the final result isn’t narrower than the base of the hat.  A too-tight band will warp the hat and it won’t sit nicely on the bottle or jar. Hot glue is probably the easiest way to get ribbon or a hat band on, but it’s more susceptible to breaking with rough handling than a handful of small, independent stitches.  If using fabric glue, don’t forget about the necessary drying time so that you don’t end up getting sticky fingers in the car on the way to the party.

You probably noticed in the first image of this post that there’s a special red “Santa” hat topper. To get the Santa hat effect, I use Baby Bee Lambie Pie yard in “angel”. I cut a length about 12 to 16″ long (fingertips to elbow) and wad it up, making sure the ends are tucked in. Then I wrap white thread around the bundle a few times, and stitch that into the pointy end of the topper.

*TIP* If your felt isn’t really stiff or thick, I recommend folding the pointy tip down about 1/2″ and tucking it into the cone, then sewing on the yarn ball. To get the fluffy hat band, I loosely wrap the Lambie Pie yarn four or five (or more if you want it to look fuller) times around the base, 1/4″ to 1/8″ up from the bottom edge.  I secure the ends and all the loops with white thread in four separate places, each about 90 degrees apart on the circle.


And that’s all there is to it — easy-peasy festive bottle toppers! Can you image how cute it would be to show up with a six pack of fancy soda bottles all wearing cute hats like these? Actually, I love that idea so much I think I might just make a few more and put them out on my mantel…

If you’re thinking of trying this project… head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum to get details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2017 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks.”


About the Author  Carrie is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, year-round, near their home in Colorado. In addition to scrapbooking and the occasional hybrid home decor project, Carrie also reads voraciously, accumulates fabric, makes soap, brews beer, grows hops, and tries to keep indoor plants alive.