Tutorial Tuesday | Transforming Templates

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Welcome to another edition of Tutorial Tuesday here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I thought it would be helpful if I shared a few ways that you can creatively transform templates to fit your scrapbooking needs! These tips and tricks will help you get the most bang for your buck when purchasing and using templates!

More often than not I find I have more photos that I want to scrapbook, than the template allows for. To remedy this I often add in more photos in places on the template that are suggested to be papers. For this layout I use Anita Designs Quick Scraps Vol. 17:

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I altered the bottom left template by rotating & adding a photo to the spot that could have been background paper. I love the look of the larger unframed bottom photo behind the three framed photos. It gives the layout more dimension, helps tell the story & visually leads your eye across the page.

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For this layout I used another template from the same pack (the top right template) and added a large photo underneath the layers of the template. Large photos help showcase the subject of a page and  are a a great way to catch the eye of the reader.

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Another way to use templates is to break up your single photo to fit multiple spots. For this layout I used another template by Anita Designs A December Story Captured (template 21)

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I placed a single photo in the three photo slots in the template. To get this look I merged the three photo layers (Command +E) in the template and then placed my photo on top of that layout and clipped it (Command +G) to the frames.  A super easy and unique look to make a template work to tell your story!

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You can also rotate and delete parts of a template to make them work for your layout. I did exactly that with the bottom left template by Dunia Designs:_dunia_soco_springdays_templates

Again a large photo takes center stage of the layout. I rotated the entire template and moved everything to the bottom quarter to make more room to showcase the large photo. You can always move and tweak a template to make it work. Start with the end in mind and you can make your vision come to life with a few little changes!

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Remember just because a template is set up one way by a designer, it doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way! Change those templates up and make them work for you and your personal style! Happy Scrapbooking!


JenniferHigniteJennifer Hignite is a mom of three boys and new homeowner with her fiance in the mitten state of Michigan. When she is not scrapbooking, she enjoys photography, watching her boys play sports, decorating, and shopping at Target.

Summer Camp 2017 | Mess Hall | WEEK #4

Hello, and welcome to the fourth and final edition of our weekly “Mess Hall” feature during The Digital Press’s big SUMMER CAMP 2017 event that has been taking place throughout July!

If you haven’t already checked out the other “Mess Hall” meals that have been a part of SUMMER CAMP 2017 (and/or any of the other fun activities)… definitely swing through the forum, grab yourself a badge tracking card, and join the fun! We’ve got one week left in this month-long event, and there’s actually still plenty of time to jump in and earn a chance at some prizes! We’ve got events, challenges, tutorials, and more lined up throughout the final week of July! 🙂

As for today’s “Mess Hall” …as you know, throughout the month of July the members of our team have been here on the blog sharing a weekly meal with you — a main course, side dish, and dessert (or cocktail!) that are each tried-and-true (tested personally by members of our team!). Give any of this week’s meal items a try, and you could earn a SUMMER CAMP 2017 badge! Get the full details HERE.

So… let’s jump right into this week’s meal!

The WEEK #4 meal comes to you from TDP creative team member Carolyn, who hails from the Sunshine Coast of Australia… and you can definitely tell where she’s from by the tropical/beachy vibe you get from the meal she’s whipped up for us! Whereas our first week’s meal (WEEK #1, found HERE) was Italian-inspired… and the second week’s meal (WEEK #2, found HERE) was Mexican-inspired… and last week’s meal (WEEK #3, found HERE) was very comfort-food-inspired… this final meal is very island-inspired! And can we just say? …we think you’re going to love it. YUM!

photo credits for [1] [2] and [3] to TDP creative team member Carolyn

What is that up there, you ask?

  • Rice Paper Wraps with Chicken or Prawns
  • Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
  • Mini Pavlovas

We keep saying it every week, and even though we might sound like a broken record… we’ll say it again — YUM! You truly won’t be disappointed if you give any of these recipes a try.


RICE PAPER WRAPS WITH CHICKEN OR PRAWNS

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “We try to eat as healthy as possible and always cook from scratch. This, however, does not mean that we spend hours in the kitchen everyday… as no one has time for this. This recipe is wonderful to serve on a hot summer’s day and can either be prepped ahead of time*, or made at the table with your family. We find that it is a fun family dinner, as children just love rolling up their own wrappers. You can use a variety of fillings so just select ingredients that are familiar to your family..”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 packet of Vietnamese rice paper wraps (see prep photo HERE)
—1 cup shredded barbecued chicken
—1 cup of peeled and de-veined prawns
—1 carrot (cut into short thin strips or shredded)
—1 small cucumber (cut into thin strips)
—1 cup bean shoots or sprouts
—1/2 cup fresh mint (or other herbs as desired)
—a few cabbage leaves (sliced finely)
—sweet chili sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

*these wraps should be made as close as possible to the time they are to be eaten; if preparing ahead of time, however, store on plastic wrap in fridge.

—Prepare all of the filling ingredients first (as noted above) by arranging each individually on separate plates or one very large plate.
—Fill a large bowl with hot water.
—Take one of the rice paper wrappers and dunk it into the water for a few seconds (just enough to soften it; do not soak the wrappers).
—Select desired filling ingredients and place in center of wet softened wrap (do not overfill).
—Add approximately 1 teaspoon of chili sauce over ingredients.
—Fold up the base of wrapper over ingredients; fold in both sides; and then roll it up (see prep photo HERE). Serve.

*TIP* I will often use a wet tea towel as my plate to do the wrapping, as I have found that it is easier to roll the wraps on the wet towel.


QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “This is one of our favourite recipes, which we are lucky to make largely from fresh ingredients straight out of our garden. This salad is so easy, and a great way to use leftover vegetables and salad greens. It is perfect for summer, as you can prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. It is also gluten-free and vegan.”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 cup quinoa (dark or white)
—2 cups water
—mixed vegetables for roasting (I used 1 beetroot, 1 large sweet potato, and 1 parsnip [see prep photo HERE]… but you can use just about any vegetable you have available)
—olive oil
—1 colander of mixed salad greens (I used rocket, parsley and lettuce)
—DRESSING: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper (I also usually add grated lemon rind; a.k.a. lemon zest)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Combine quinoa with water in a saucepan on stove and bring to boil; once boiling, put lid on saucepan and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes.
—Remove saucepan from heat, and leave lid on for approximately 30 minutes for quinoa to finish steaming; then, fluff up quinoa with a fork.
—Prepare vegetables for roasting by peeling and dicing into small pieces. You will need approximately 2 trays for roasting. Drizzle veggies with olive oil. You can add herbs if you like (I also added some fresh thyme and oregano; see prep photo HERE).
—Bake vegetables at 190 degrees C (375 F) for about 25 minutes.
—Meanwhile, prepare the salad greens by cutting into strips.
—Prepare salad dressing by whisking together all of the “DRESSING” ingredients (listed above).
—Place the cooked quinoa into large salad bowl, add prepared greens, and mix in the dressing. Add roasted vegetables as the last ingredient. Serve.


MINI PAVLOVAS

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “I had to include this recipe, as it is a traditional Australian recipe — although it is usually served as a large Pavlova, rather than as minis. You can use whatever fruit is in season. This recipe should make 6-8 minis.”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—4 egg whites (at room temperature)
—1 cup caster sugar (very fine granular sugar; otherwise you can use standard granular sugar but it will just take a little longer)
—fresh cream (approximately 1/2 cup)
—mixed fresh fruit, sliced (I used a combination of blueberries, strawberries and passionfruit; see photo, above, of the final product)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Cover oven tray with baking paper (a.k.a. parchment paper).
—If using whole eggs, separate the whites from yolk and beat egg whites in a bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form (see prep photo HERE).
—Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until dissolved between additions. Once the last of the sugar is dissolved, your mixture should be glossy and thick.
—To make the minis, you can use a cookie cutter as a shape guide. Add approximately 2 Tbsp of meringue mixture to inside of shape mounding more on the outer edges. Lift cutter for next shape.
—Bake at 150 degrees C (300 F) for 30 minutes. Then, turn off oven and leave in oven to dry and cool.
—Whip the fresh cream (I do not feel sugar is needed… but add if you prefer; I usually flavour the cream with rose water).
—Once cool, decorate the minis with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Serve.

* Per Carolyn: you will see in my photos that these mini pavlovas were a little flat; this can occur if you beat the egg whites too quickly / at too high a speed. They still tasted fantastic!

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Want to give one of these recipes a try and earn your WEEK #4 MESS HALL BADGE for TDP’s SUMMER CAMP 2017? Come get the details in the forum —> HERE.

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Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.

Summer Camp 2017 | Mess Hall | WEEK #3

Hello, and welcome to the third edition of our weekly “Mess Hall” feature — part of The Digital Press’s big SUMMER CAMP 2017 event this July!

If you haven’t already checked out our lineup of activities for SUMMER CAMP 2017… definitely swing through the forum, grab yourself a badge tracking card, and join the fun! We’re only halfway through the month, and there’s still plenty of time to jump in! We’ve got events, challenges, tutorials, and more lined up throughout the month of July… including a weekly FOOD article, like this one! 🙂

Each Sunday throughout the first 4 weeks of July, members of our team will be here on the blog sharing a meal with you — a main course, side dish, and dessert (or cocktail!) that are each tried-and-true (tested personally by members of our team!). Give any of the meal items a try, and you could earn a SUMMER CAMP 2017 badge! Get the full details HERE.

So… let’s jump right into this week’s meal!

Whereas our first week’s meal (WEEK #1, found HERE) was Italian-inspired… and the second week’s meal (WEEK #2, found HERE) was Mexican-inspired… this third week’s meal by TDP designer Kristen Magee of k.becca is very comfort-food-inspired! I mean, who doesn’t love themselves a flavorful slow-cooker masterpiece, and some good old-fashioned mac-n-cheese?! YUMMM!

photo credits to [1] and [2] TDP Designer Kristen Magee and [3] Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

What is that up there, you ask?

  • Slow Cooker Italian Chicken & Peppers
  • Kristen’s Favorite Stove Top Mac-&-Cheese
  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Quick Bread

We keep saying it every week, and we’ll say it again — just YUM, about all of it! You truly won’t be disappointed if you give any of these recipes a try.


SLOW COOKER ITALIAN CHICKEN & PEPPERS

Kristen had the following to say about this recipe: “Slow cooker recipes are so great when you’re short on time or on hot days when you don’t feel like turning on the oven. I love that this recipe is so flexible. Serve it over pasta or rice, or spoon some onto sandwich buns for a slightly messy but super tasty meal.”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—3 bell peppers (any color)
—1 medium onion
—24 oz (1.5 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
—1 tsp basil
—1 tsp oregano
—3 cloves of garlic, minced
—1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional – if you want the sauce to have a bit of a spicy kick)
—24 oz jar marinara sauce
—salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

—Slice the bell peppers and onions into 1/4 inch wide strips. Lay half of the cut onion and peppers in the bottom of a 4 quart / large slow cooker.
—Place the chicken breasts on top of the onions and peppers and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the basil, oregano, minced garlic, and (if using) crushed red pepper flakes over the chicken.
—Cover the chicken with the remaining onion and peppers, and pour the marinara sauce over top.
—Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
—After cooking, remove the lid and use tongs or two forks to shred the chicken. The chicken should be so tender that it just about falls apart on its own.
—Stir everything together after shredding the chicken and serve over pasta or rice. Or you can do what I did : grab some rolls and make sandwiches with it!

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Budget Bytes]

KRISTEN’S FAVORITE STOVE TOP MAC-&-CHEESE

Kristen had the following to say about this recipe: “Mac & cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this recipe is incredibly cheesy, creamy, and delicious. Plus, you can make it in one pot on the stove top! On several occasions, I’ve sprinkled crumbled bacon on top and served it as a main dish with a side of broccoli or mixed vegetables. So good!”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—8 oz (1/2 lb) elbow macaroni
—4 Tbsp butter
—2 eggs
—6 oz evaporated milk (or, I’ve also tried this recipe with half-&-half, a mix of cream and 2% milk, and whole milk… and it’s always turned out great!)
—1 tsp kosher salt
—1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
—1/2 tsp hot sauce
—1/2 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
—10 oz mild or sharp cheddar cheese, grated (the original recipe calls for sharp cheddar, but I prefer mild cheddar so that’s what I use. You can even mix both!)

INSTRUCTIONS

—In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain.
—Return the pasta to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
—In a mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.
—Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat, stir continuously for 3-5 minutes or until creamy. For the first few minutes, it might not look like it’s going to come together, but once the cheese starts to melt, everything becomes creamy very quickly.

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe by Alton Brown]

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHUNK QUICK BREAD

Kristen had the following to say about this recipe: “A moist and tender, not-too-sweet quick bread that is so yummy no one will guess it’s gluten free!”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1-3/4 cups (245g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1 To 1 Baking Flour)
—6 Tbsp (54g) cornstarch
—1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already contains it)
—1 tsp vanilla
—1-1/2 tsp baking powder
—1/2 tsp baking soda
—1/2 tsp kosher salt
—3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
—6 Tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
—1 cup (227g) plain yogurt, at room temperature
—2 eggs (120g, out of shell), at room temperature
—4 oz. chopped milk or dark chocolate (chocolate chips work great, too!)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a standard 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and set it aside.
—In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), place the gluten free flour blend, cornstarch, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine well with a separate, handheld whisk or a fork.
—Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In a measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Add the butter and the yogurt/egg/vanilla mixture into the well in the center of the dry ingredients.
—Mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or a handheld mixer) for 2-3 minutes, or until the batter is combined and smooth. The batter will be thick.
—Fold the chopped chocolate into the batter with a spatula until the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Scrape into the prepared baking pan. To create a dome shape, run a wet spatula along the edges of the pan and pull the batter toward the center.
—Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F, and continue to bake for another 20-35 minutes*, or until the top of the loaf springs back when pressed lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with, at most, a few crumbs attached.
—Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and serve.

* Per Kristen: the original recipe states to continue baking for 20 minutes after reducing the oven temperature, but in my oven it always takes about 30-35 minutes to finish baking. So, I’d suggest checking with a toothpick at 20 minutes to see if it’s done. If not, continue baking for a little longer.

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Gluten-Free on a Shoestring]

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Want to give one of these recipes a try and earn your WEEK #3 MESS HALL BADGE for TDP’s SUMMER CAMP 2017? Come get the details in the forum —> HERE.

.


Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.

Summer Camp 2017 | Mess Hall | WEEK #2

Hello, and welcome to the second edition of our weekly “Mess Hall” feature — part of The Digital Press’s big SUMMER CAMP 2017 event this July!

If you haven’t already checked out our lineup of activities for SUMMER CAMP 2017… definitely swing through the forum, grab yourself a badge tracking card, and join the fun! There’s still time to jump in! We’ve got events, challenges, tutorials, and more lined up throughout the month of July… including a weekly FOOD article, like this one! 🙂

Each Sunday throughout the first 4 weeks of July, members of our team will be here on the blog sharing a meal with you — a main course, side dish, and dessert (or cocktail!) that are each tried-and-true (tested personally by members of our team!). Give any of the meal items a try, and you could earn a SUMMER CAMP 2017 badge! Get the full details HERE.

So… let’s jump right into this week’s meal!

Whereas last week’s meal (WEEK #1, found HERE) was very Italian-inspired… the WEEK #2 meal is every bit as Mexican-inspired! The main course, in particular, is pretty unique and fun (but again, sooooo quick & easy!)… and the food we’ve accompanied it with is just YUMMMM!

photo credits to [1] Hello Fresh [2] TDP Designer Rachel Hodge and [3] TDP creative team member Carrie

What is that up there, you ask?

  • Grilled Cheese Tacos (w/ Avocado, Sweet Potato, & Tomato Salsa)
  • Rachel’s Bean Dip & Chips
  • Carrie’s Frozen Coconut Limeade

We said this last week, and we’ll say it again — just YUM, about all of it! You truly won’t be disappointed if you give any of these recipes a try.


GRILLED CHEESE TACOS

This recipe has become a once-every-other-week thing in our household in the past few of months, ever since the first time we tried it. It’s sincerely that good (and easy!). And to think… the first time I saw the recipe, I thought it sounded a little bit too weird. Well, if weird = delicious, then yes.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—6 flour tortillas
—6-8 oz “grilling cheese” (otherwise known as Halloumi cheese; I buy mine at Trader Joe’s and it comes in a package that looks like THIS)
—1-2 medium tomatoes (orig. recipe calls for “1 roma” but I usually use the equivalent of 2, and not just roma — even a cup of grape tomatoes works fine!)
—1 avocado
—1 sweet potato
—1 medium shallot
—1 lime
—1/4–1/2 oz fresh cilantro (because I use slightly more tomato, I also use more cilantro)
—olive oil OR vegetable oil (your preference; I use olive), salt, and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

—Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees & wash/dry all produce items; quarter the lime and juice half of it
—Peel the sweet potato & dice into 1/2-inch cubes; toss w/ a small amount of oil, salt, and pepper on a foil-lined baking pan (for easy clean-up)
—Bake the sweet potato for about 20-25 minutes (toss around on the pan at about the 15 minute mark)
—Finely dice the shallot (orig. recipe calls for 1 Tbsp; but again, I use the whole shallot because I am using extra tomato & because I like shallot!)
—Dice the tomato, and chop about half of the cilantro leaves into small pieces (save the rest for garnish)
—Mix the tomato, chopped cilantro, shallot, and juice of half a lime in a bowl; season w/ salt & pepper to taste & set aside
—Peel & pit the avocado and cut it into slices; set aside
—When the sweet potato is almost finished roasting, heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat
—Fry the grilling cheese slices about 1-2 min per side (the Trader Joe’s variety comes pre-sliced in 6 slices; or, slice yours first into about 1/4-inch thick slices)
—Once the cheese slices are golden brown and warmed up, fold a damp paper towel around the tortillas and microwave for about 30 seconds (or if you prefer not to microwave, you can heat them in a damp paper towel that is covered completely in foil for about 5 min in the oven before you turn the oven off)
—Fill each tortilla with cheese, sweet potato, avocado slices, spoonfuls of tomato salsa, and some of the leftover cilantro garnish; serve w/ remaining lime wedges

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Hello Fresh]

RACHEL’S BEAN DIP & CHIPS

Is there anything more satisfying than a warm, gooey, bean dip served with corn chips when you’re throwing together a quick-&-easy Mexican-inspired dinner night? TDP Designer Rachel Hodge has just the recipe to fill that need! YUM.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—250g (8oz) block cream cheese (at room temperature)
—300g (2 cups) sour cream
—½ bunch spring onions (chopped)
—1 jar mild or medium salsa
—1 packet taco mix
—1 can refried beans
—1 green chili (finely diced)
—sprinkle of dried oregano
—sprinkle of cheese
—corn chips

INSTRUCTIONS

—Mix all the ingredients together EXCEPT for the cheese & corn chips, and place mixture in a baking dish
—Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 1 hour
—Remove from oven & immediately sprinkle cheese over dish; bake for another 5 mins (or until cheese is melted)
—Serve with corn chips!


CARRIE’S FROZEN COCONUT LIMEADE

This last recipe is a fun one because it can be served kind of like a dessert, after your meal… or as a cocktail, before your meal… or both! TDP creative team member Carrie loves to make this recipe in 2 stages — her kids get a serving from Stage 1 (pre-rum)… and the adults get a serving from Stage 2 (with rum added). It’s a fun way to let everyone in the family enjoy cocktail hour!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—5 cups of ice
—3/4 cup original (not lite) coconut milk
—4-6 Tbsp frozen limeade concentrate
—3 Tbsp water (or Malibu rum) 😉

INSTRUCTIONS

—Blend the first 3 ingredients first (mixing in a blender on high until smooth)
—If serving to kids, too, pour out glasses for the kids before adding the rum (and then add rum & another cup or so of ice cubes & blend again)
—Can be served with lime slices on the glass (and/or in frozen mugs/glasses/etc. to keep it colder!)

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on dessertnowdinnerlater.com]

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Want to give one of these recipes a try and earn your WEEK #2 MESS HALL BADGE for TDP’s SUMMER CAMP 2017? Come get the details in the forum —> HERE.

.


Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.

Summer Camp 2017 | Mess Hall | WEEK #1

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of our weekly “Mess Hall” feature — part of The Digital Press’s big SUMMER CAMP 2017 event this July!

If you haven’t already checked out our lineup of activities for SUMMER CAMP 2017… definitely swing through the forum, grab yourself a badge tracking card, and join the fun! We’ve got events, challenges, tutorials, and more lined up throughout the month of July… including a weekly FOOD article! 🙂

Each Sunday throughout the first 4 weeks of July, members of our team will be here on the blog sharing a meal with you — a main course, side dish, and dessert that are each tried-and-true (tested personally by members of our team!). Give any of the meal items a try, and you could earn a SUMMER CAMP 2017 badge! Get the full details HERE.

The WEEK #1 meal is very, very worth a little time in the kitchen, folks. Trust us on this (and it’s actually sooooo quick & easy!).

photo credits to [1] [2] Marley Spoon and [3] Sugar Spun Run

What is that up there, you ask?

  • Skillet Ravioli Lasagna
  • Salad with Homemade Croutons
  • The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seriously, just YUM. To all of it. You won’t be disappointed if you give any of these recipes a try.


SKILLET RAVIOLI LASAGNA

I’ve made this recipe 3 times in the past few weeks. It’s that good (and easy!). Every time we eat it for dinner, my husband and I sit and try to figure out how the sauce could possibly be so flavorful and delicious… because seriously, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything in it other than tomatoes and tomato paste… and… shallot. BOOM. I never realized what an amazing little onion a shallot could be (and I cook with them all the time, folks, seriously)… until this recipe. This pasta sauce is living proof that a single shallot can season a tomato sauce like nobody’s business (and probably lead to world peace, and also, yes, I know that the sauce isn’t living proof of anything because it’s not alive. It’s an expression, and we’re going to roll with it).

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 package of store-bought fresh cheese raviloi (I use the “RANA” 4-cheese variety, but really any will do; that’s simply my definite favorite)
—1  14oz can of tomatoes (I use diced… but again, anything works; the original recipe calls for whole/peeled, and my way cuts down on the work of smashing them up)
—1 Tbsp tomato paste
—1 medium-to-large shallot*
—1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese (recipe actually calls for about half this amount, but I use the whole ball so I don’t end up with weird portions of leftover cheese in my fridge)
—fresh basil (I use 2-3 stems’ worth; equivalent to just under one of the small plastic containers you get in the fresh herb section of your grocery)
—olive oil, salt, and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

*if you’ll be making the salad, below, as well… cut your shallot in half and use half for this pasta recipe, and half for the salad. If you’re only making the pasta, you can use a slightly smaller shallot OR you can just throw it all in the pan because it won’t hurt anything! mmmm mmmm good

—Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
—Pick the basil leaves from stems and tear leaves into bite-size pieces; divide into 2 portions
—Cut the fresh mozzarella ball into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes)
—Finely dice the shallot
—Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium-high in an oven-proof skillet; once shimmery and hot, throw in the shallot and cook until softened and fragrant (1-3 min)
—Stir in about 1 Tbsp of tomato paste and mix into the shallot/oil for about 1 min
—Add the can of tomatoes and half of the basil leaves; season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for 3-5 min, until heated through
—Add 1 cup of water and the ravioli pasta; stir to combine, and then continue cooking for about 5 min until the sauce is bubbling and pasta is softening
—Remove from heat, add half of the mozzarella pieces, and stir to combine
—Add the rest of the mozzarella pieces to the top, and then place the entire skillet (again, as long as it’s oven-proof) in oven to bake for about 8 min

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Marley Spoon]

SALAD WITH HOMEMADE CROUTONS

Salad is salad is salad, right? Usually, yes. Except for when the salad uses fresh, warm, homemade croutons… and the dressing is a simple oil and vinegar with shallots that is, once again, inexplicably delicious.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 ciabatta roll (my grocery store carries them in bulk in the bakery section, right next to the bagels)
—1 small head of romaine lettuce (or you can also use pre-cut/bagged romaine heart lettuce)
—1 small-or-medium shallot*
—1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
—1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
—salt and pepper (and about 1 extra tsp of olive oil for baking the croutons; optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

*if you also made the pasta, above… you likely have half of a medium-to-large shallot leftover for this salad recipe; if not, however, you can just use one small-to-medium-sized shallot instead

—Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (if you are also making the pasta, you can bake the croutons at the same time you bake the pasta)
—Thinly slice the shallot and then add it into a large bowl with the vinegar and the olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste; whisk together
—Cut the ciabatta roll into 3/4″ to 1″ cubes
—Toss the ciabatta with a teaspoon or two of olive oil (optional; you an also bake them dry) and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper
—Bake the ciabatta pieces in the oven for about 6-8 min, until they’re starting to toast slightly
—While the croutons are baking, cut or tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add into the bowl with the salad dressing
—Once the croutons have cooled slightly, add them to the salad
—You can also add other ingredients, if desired (in our house, we occasionally also use grape tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and more)

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Marley Spoon]

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These are, hands-down, the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. They are totally delicious — and they come out chewy and gooey, but also with a slightly “crispy outer shell” (there’s really no other way to describe that, although I know it sounds ridiculous). They’re so good I often make a double-batch and then keep the dough in a tupperware container in our fridge for a week or two so we can bake up a few fresh, hot cookies every night for dessert.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 cup butter (use the real stuff; melt it and let it cool off for a few minutes before mixing it, so it won’t melt the sugar too much)
—1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
—1/2 cup granulated white sugar
—2 eggs (or equivalent amount of egg substitute, which is preferred if you like to eat raw dough) 😉
—1/4 cup maple syrup
—1 tsp vanilla extract
—3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
—2 tsp cornstarch
—1 tsp baking powder
—1 tsp baking soda
—1 tsp salt
—at least 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use half regular-sized chips and half mini-chips, per recommendation of the original author of the recipe)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Once the melted butter has cooled slightly, mix it completely in a very large mixing bowl with the brown sugar and the granulated white sugar
—Add the eggs and mix completely
—Add the maple syrup and the vanilla extract and mix completely
—In another large bowl, combine the following ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
—After whisking together the dry ingredients completely, gradually add (in about 3-4 batches) the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the other bowl
—The more flour mixture you add, the harder it will get to stir… so pat yourself on the back for your “upper body workout” and pour yourself a glass of wine
—Finally, add the chocolate chips (I usually add about 1/2 a package of the big chips, and 1/2 a package of the mini chips — if making a regular batch)
—Once combined, you’ll probably want to eat a spoonful or two of raw dough (sooooo good)… and then put the rest into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes
—While the dough is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
—Place dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets about 2+ Tbsp at a time in balls that are a bit taller than they are wide
—Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes (keep an eye on your first couple batches until you know how hot your oven is and how long it takes to bake)
—Cookies are done once they start to turn golden brown around the edges
—You’ll probably want to do a few taste tests to figure out if the cookies are better warm & fresh out of the oven, or cooled completely with a slightly crispy outside and a soft inside. This will require eating at least 2 or 3 cookies from every batch. This is normal; just enjoy.

[recipe adapted slightly from an original recipe found on Sugar Spun Run, where you’ll find a bunch of other amazing & desserty recipes, as well]

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Want to give one of these recipes a try and earn your WEEK #1 MESS HALL BADGE for TDP’s SUMMER CAMP 2017? Come get the details in the forum —> HERE.

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Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Ten

Hello, and welcome to the very last day of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I am here to share with you an amazing last-minute tip for those of us who need to whip up a quick dessert for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Whether you suddenly find that you need to take a dessert to share at a friend or family member’s house… or you find that you will be having unexpected guests over to your house at the last minute… or you simply love holiday desserts and want to give this a try… this recipe is a total win!

And by “total win” I mean that it takes only about 15 minutes to make it, it’s delicious, and it’s even customizable! 😉

 

LAURA’S EASY-PEASY PEPPERMINT OREO ICE CREAM PIE

It cannot be stressed enough how quick and easy it is to make this pie. Seriously. It literally involves only 4 ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 container of peppermint ice cream (about 1 quart?)
  • 25-30 Oreo cookies (if you buy one package, you can eat 5-10 of the cookies inside and use the rest to make the pie #winning )
  • 1/2 cup butter (or similar; I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Lite” because it tastes just as good and has less fat/calories)
  • 1-2 candy canes (or equivalent amount of peppermint candies)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Let the ice cream sit out on the counter while you work on the next few steps, to ensure that it will be softened enough to spread around by the time you need get to that step.
  • Put your cookies into a large (gallon-sized) zippered plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine, if you don’t own a rolling pin. We are crafters, people! We do what we have to do to get by with the supplies we have on hand!).
  • Melt the butter (microwave in 20-second intervals until it’s fully melted), and then add it and the crushed cookies in a large bowl. Combine until the cookies are just coated in the butter; stop stirring before everything gets too sticky/wet (or else it will be too hard to press into the pan without it sticking to your spoon).
  • Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of a pie plate. I find that it helps to use a light coating of cooking spray inside the pie plate, first, to keep the crust from sticking to the pan later.
  • Add the ice cream on top of the cookie crust layer. Place large spoonfuls near the center, and press down so that it pushes outward toward the edges of the pie crust as you work. Use the back of the spoon to even out this layer once it’s added, and also to swirl the melty ice cream on the top until it looks like you “did it all on purpose” (technical term).
  • Put your peppermint candy into a small (quart-sized) zippered plastic bag and crush it with your rolling pin / wine bottle. Then sprinkle the crushed candy on top of your pie.
  • Put the pie into the freezer for an hour or two until it hardens enough to be easy to cut/serve.

Once it’s been in the freezer for a while… all you have to do is cut, serve, and eat! It’s seriously that easy.

FUN VARIATIONS / CUSTOMIZATIONS

Let it be known that I have also made this pie using coffee ice cream (get the good stuff, people — Haagen Dazs — don’t mess around with imposters!), and I used chocolate shavings on top of the pie in place of the peppermint candy. To. Die. For.

I also have a friend who made this pie with a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream (cherry & chocolate chunks). She swears by it.

Myself, I have always wanted to try it with some Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey (banana ice cream with chocolate chunks & walnuts)… but I’ve never gotten around to it. “Someday…”  *daydreams about dessert*

In truth, it really doesn’t matter what ice cream you use — it’s the Oreo crust that makes this ice cream pie so perfect. You can pair it with whatever floats your boat!

For now, though… I hope you have a very happy holidays and a fantastic weekend with your family and friends! 😉

 


Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Nine

Hey there everyone! Kate here today, and it’s Day Nine of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog.

Today I have a super simple hybrid project to share with you (along w/ a couple of free templates to download, below). It’s a great way to use digital supplies to dress up your gift card-sized packages!

Gift Card Envelopes

Aren’t these so fun?! 🙂

To create these gift card envelopes… simply open the envelope template (see the end of this blog post for the free download)… clip a digital paper (or papers) to the template… print… and cut.

There are options in the template file for adding a digital paper pattern to the inside of the envelope… as well as for adding coordinating paper(s) to the front flap, bottom flap, and also to the back — if you want to do so. I added some digital art to the front flap, a woodgrain paper to the other outer surfaces, and the cute coffee mug/cup pattern to the inside.

Tip: before printing the envelope, I printed a full 8.5 x 11 page of the coordinating cardstock (the coffee cups) that I wanted to use on the inside. Then, I printed the finished envelopes on the other side of the full sheet of patterned paper. This made it easier to line everything up for perfect cutting.

It’s possible to fit two per sheet. I cut mine by hand, and then cut the slit with a craft knife.

To finish it off, you just fold in the flaps, add your gift card, and slip the front flap into the slit. You can adhere the bottom flap to the side flaps if you want, but it isn’t necessary (OMG is anyone else tired of reading the word flap?! haha).

 

Cash (or Whatever) Envelopes

If you’ve just tried the first envelope project, above, then the process for this one will be pretty self-explanatory. It’s almost the same! Simply clip a paper or two… print… cut… decorate… ta-da! You have an envelope. Fold in the flaps (*cringe* LOL) and adhere, leaving the top flap open.

That’s really all there is to it!

Tip: I know they make special glue for DIY envelopes; when you’re ready to send it, you just have to wet it and fold it down to make it stick. For myself, however, I just used washi tape. It’s cute, and easy!

You can use these for cash or checks… or even tickets (as you can see I did, above).

I am not going to lie — something about this second envelope template was a giant pain to fix up nice (and I’m still not 100% totally happy with it, but shhh! don’t tell anyone)… so someone had better download it and use it and post pretty pictures of it! (*crying*) …it would make me so happy!

If you’d like to give either of these projects a try… you can download the templates I created to make these envelopes HERE.

Happy holidays! 😉

 


Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, and a dog named Gracie. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Eight

Hey everyone! It’s Day Eight of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series, and I’m here to share my latest project / passion… Zero Waste or ZW (although “zero” seems very extreme, any action in the right direction is a good thing!).

I’ve always been green, but I recently read Béa Johnson‘s book and started to implement some tips to reduce the amount of garbage we create. Minimalism, simplicity and Zero Waste go hand in hand, and I’m happy to share some ways you can help save the planet while still enjoying Christmas and giving gifts to your loved ones!

The best way to have a ZW Christmas is by picking immaterial or consumable gifts. Here are a few examples for kids (or grown ups, too!) :

  • Lessons (music, dance, sport)
  • Passes (zoo, natural park, amusement park)
  • Subscriptions (to a magazine, for example, or to a software *ahem… Photoshop!*)
  • Events (concert, sport competition)
  • Activities (even better to do as a family or as a one-on-one activity with a parent or special adult: mini-golf, bowling, skating, cinema, game night)
  • Crafting (and the material you need to create the art piece)
  • Coupons (for a movie night at home with popcorn and they pick the movie, a pass on one of their chores, permission to stay later than usual, etc.)
  • Gift card to their favorite store, so the recipient gets the pleasure to choose in addition to the pleasure of the gift itself
  • “recipe in a jar” for cookies, muffins, hot chocolate, sauces and more
  • Money (the ultimate consumable gift). You could try to fold the bills origami-style to make it more fun!

If you want to give a material gift, here are a few ideas:

  • choose second-hand gifts
  • pick environmental-friendly and long-lasting materials: wood, metal, sturdy plastic (Legos are virtually immortal!), fabric, glass (not for kids, obviously)
  • create DIY gifts like homemade soap, candy, jam, caramel or chocolate sauce, beauty products or home decor

The wrapping can be the perfect ZW final touch to your eco-friendly gifts. Avoid metallic paper which can’t be recycled. Why not use newspapers or plain kraft paper on which you (or your kids) can draw or stamp? Use cute jars, wooden boxes or baskets to store your gifts. Last but not least, fabric is a great way to wrap and can be re-used over and over again by the recipient. Simple bags (DIY or bought) can be re-used for grocery shopping, for example. A nice piece of fabric (or even a scarf, so that the wrapping is a gift too!) can make stunning gifts using the japanese furoshiki technique.

Here are two examples of my ZW gift giving this year.

For my brother and SIL, I offered them a photo session of their newborn baby girl when she was born in October and created the birth announcements. They think they’ll pay me back for the printing of the announcement but I’ve decided will be their Christmas gift. As I still want to physically give them something, I’ve created a cute card that matches the CD cover for their newborn pictures. This card can be recycled once it has fulfilled its purpose.

For my parents in law, I’ve bought wine and cooked homemade jam. They have everything they need and DEMANDED that we don’t give them any gift. Well, I’m a rebel and I know they will enjoy the fact that I made the effort to create something for them. To wrap this up I decided to try furoshiki with a scarf I don’t use very often and that I think my mother in law would like. Maybe she’ll re-use it, maybe not (in that case I’d take it back), we’ll see!

Here’s how I wrapped the jars and bottle: I started with the jars and the bottle on the scarf, pointing to opposite corners.

I covered the gifts with the scarf (the part that was closer to me) and folded the pointy end back in.

Then I rolled the gifts away from me and then folded the “roll” in the middle to put the jars and the bottle back up. Finally, I just had to tie a knot with the ends of the scarf and my wrapping was done!

It was very easy, even for Mrs-Two-Left-Hands here, and I just love how original it looks! Plus I don’t have to deal with tape, too short paper roll and ribbons… That’s a big win in my book!!

Here are the two cards I’ve created so far, one for my brother and SIL (on the left), the other one for my inlaws (on the right). I used the stunning Holiday Sparkle collab for those creations because I love its timeless elegant look. I simply added one of the already made journaling cards, created another one with a paper I liked, added a few elements, printed them, cut them out and adhered the elements on the cards, wrote my message and I was done. It took me no longer than 5 minutes. I used natural twine so that it can still be recycled.

I hope you enjoyed those tips to have a greener (and simpler) Christmas. Have fun celebrating with your loved ones!


ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night,” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown. She recently became quite obsessed with Bullet Journaling, Miracle Morning and Zero Waste.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Seven

 

Hello everyone! It’s Day Seven of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series this month… and I am here today to share a few delicious cocktails I created to help you celebrate the holidays with a little extra holiday spirit!

First, here is my version of a holiday Martini…

Tips: rim your glass with a thick layer of sugar to sweeten up your holiday. Want a kid-friendly alternative? Try a cherry limeade: add a splash of lime to a cherry 7-up. 🙂

Next… shake up your part with this festive peppermint candy cane-rimmed version of a White Russian…

Tip: kids will love this one if you adapt the most fun part of it by serving their milk in a candy cane rimmed glass this Christmas. Just skip the Baileys and Vodka!

And finally, I’m calling this holiday twist on a traditional grasshopper “The Grinch!” If you drink enough of this one, it will steal your Christmas… memories! Only kidding, of course! Please drink responsibly!

Tip: add green food coloring to egg nog for a non-alcoholic version.

I hope these tips will help you create some fun holiday beverages! Come join us in the forum and post your own images if you give any of these a try… 🙂


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Six

Today is Day Six of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series… and I am here with some Elf-help, for anyone who has an Elf on their shelf this year!

Elf on the Shelf is fairly new to England, where I’m located, and so this is only our second year of having Max (our Elf). I have been so glad for the help and ideas that are available — different stunts for Max to try out (especially the less inventive and less time consuming ones!). There have, of course, been a few times when I have climbed into bed, and then remembered that Max hadn’t moved yet! Ugh! Therefore, this year I decided to have a few corny festive jokes on hand, ready to go, so I can just sit Max down with a joke and call it done. And then I went a step further, and prepared for the possibility (*ahem* reality!) that there might be an occasion when I totally forget to move him at all.

To create my printable cards, shown down below, I used one of River Rose Designs’ new kits — Deck the Halls — to make some blank journal cards (I started off using 3×4 size cards, but then shrank them a bit so I could easily fit 8 on a page). After that, I found 8 fantastic jokes, as well as 8 excellent excuses… and added them to my cards, as shown here…

Once I had everything the way I wanted it to look, I printed out all of my cards and cut them to size.

Now I feel like I am ready for anything! 🙂 Here is Max sitting on a window sill with his friend Frosty (can you guess what Max did yesterday?!), laughing at the joke of the day! This window sill is right where my children put their school lunch boxes when they come home from school each day, so this is a great place for those jokes to be noticed…

I hope these ideas help you out, as well, if you have an Elf in your home this holiday season! And if you have no elf, well… festive jokes are great to pop into lunch boxes or in gift bags just for fun! Merry Christmas!


CorrinAbout the Author  Corrin is on 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 everyone! It’s Day Five of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series this month… and I am here today to share a fun & inexpensive craft project/home decor idea.

December is usually a crazy month for me. It’s often hard to find a balance between work and family; as a photographer, I have a lot of photos to edit… but I want to make time to do fun things with my kids. This string art project was a fun and inexpensive craft that my kids just loved!

We’ve been crazy about string art lately, and I happened to find some inexpensive wood boards in the dollar section at Target. They are called “menu boards,” and even have their own stand built in. Once you have a board, all you need is some small flat-head nails, a hammer, and some string.

I used cut-out patterns I found on Pinterest to trace the shapes. I used a simple tree pattern for my 7 year old, and a more intricate deer pattern for my 10 year old, and they both did great! I helped some with the nailing, and I highly recommend using a small craft hammer instead of a big one from the tool box!

After the nails were in place, I tied the string around one of the nails and let them go to town winding the string all around. There’s really no wrong way to do it! I finished it off with a secure knot and voila! Here’s a look…

These make great decorations…

…or you can even give them as gifts!

I hope these tips will help you create some fun string art!


FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

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10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Four

Hello everyone! It’s Day Four of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series this month… and I am here today to share a fun & easy gift wrap idea.

One of the ways that I make the holidays easier is by simplifying my Christmas gift wrapping. Instead of having many rolls of different Christmas wrapping paper, each year I buy a huge roll of kraft paper. Then, I buy a different roll of pretty Christmas ribbon for each family member and use the ribbon to “color code” the gifts.

This process cuts down on clutter, in that I no longer need to have so many different rolls of wrapping paper… and it also simplifies things when I am doing my last minute wrapping on Christmas eve (even makes it possible to skip tags!). I adore the look of kraft paper, whether digital or in real life… so the style works for me. If you want to get even fancier, you could add stamps or custom tags to dress up your packages further.

Hopefully this tip of mine will help simplify your holiday season. However you choose to wrap up your gifts this year, though, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with all the special people in your life!


About the Author  Katie is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never-ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.

10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day Three

Hello everyone! It’s Day Three of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series this month… and I am here today to share a super simple photo gift tag idea.

While creating a scrapbooking layout using the new December 2016 TDP Designer Collaboration Holiday Sparkle, I simultaneously created a photo gift tag to adorn our packages this Christmas (two birds! one stone!). Here’s a look at the layout that inspired it…

After creating the layout, I opened the “Cheer” journaling card separately… and then I dragged a few of the clusters from my layout onto the card. I also added a family photo, and resized as needed…

Once I had the finished card/tag, shown above, I opened a new 8.5 x 11 document and dragged in my flattened image. I duplicated it 2 more times to create a row of 3, and then I copied this row of 3 two more times so that I had a grid of 9 tags. Then I re-sized all 9 layers to fit the page, as shown here…

After I had a printable page full of tags, I printed them out on white card stock…

…and cut them into separate tags…

Now, I have an adorable stack of ready-made custom tags that I will add to gifts that we give out during this holiday season…

 


Krista

 

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 Two

Today is Day Two of our 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series… and we have something really yummy (and easy!) to share with you today — Christmas Tree Cupcakes!

If you’re in need of something yummy and festive for a holiday goodie exchange, or a holiday party, or simply to give to friends/neighbors… these cupcakes are perfect! You can make a few dozen in no time at all & have plenty to share!

I made a layout about these cupcakes a few years back, and I have been asked to bring them to our annual goodie exchange every year since! Here’s a look…

To start — let’s gather our ingredients:

  • 24-36 cupcakes, cooled
    (go ahead & use a boxed mix! Just add an extra egg, use sour cream instead of oil, and milk instead of water… and no one will know you didn’t make them homemade!) 😉
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 cubes) of room-temperature butter
  • 3-to-4 cups of powdered sugar (exact amount to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1M frosting tip & frosting bag
    (I prefer the disposable Wilton bags because #easycleanup)
  • Green gel icing color
  • preferred decor
    (for the following photos I used rainbow nonpareils, but any sprinkle will do! In the previous photo/layout, I used holiday-colored nonpareils and gold stars)
  • Extracts, if desired
    (peppermint is a fun one to use with the green color!)

Start with the butter in the mixer & beat the heck out of it — seriously — approximately 10 minutes! Once it is white & super fluffy, you’re good to slowly add in the powdered sugar.

As you add the sugar, taste it occasionally as you go; typically, I use about 3-1/2 cups of sugar.

After the sugar is all incorporated, add the tablespoon of vanilla. Now it’s time to add coloring or extracts. Add a teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired color/flavor.

To decorate… trim the tip off of the frosting bag, drop in the 1M tip & then fill it up with your delicious buttercream. To make the tree shape — start on the outside of your cupcake & make 3 circles- going smaller as you get to the top. Finally, add your sprinkles… and voila! Christmas tree cupcakes!

*FOOTNOTE* my favorite thing to do with the left over buttercream (besides squirt it straight into my mouth!) is to put it between graham crackers & then into the freezer. My kids call them Freezer cookies! 🙂


AmieAbout the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two kids (ages 8 & 5), 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 One

Exciting news today! We’re deviating from our normal monthly blog schedule for the month of December… in order to bring you a fun series of 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks! This series will run every Mon/Wed/Fri throughout the month of December, leading up to (and ending just before) Christmas weekend. That means you can expect ten (10) different posts this month full of fun and inspirational ideas that are sure to make your holiday season simpler… craftier… cuter… and/or yummier!

Today is Day One of our series… and we have a really fun (and easy!) project to share with you — hybrid gift tags!

How to make these beauties? It’s so easy!

First, I always create the entire tag in Photoshop (PS) or Photoshop Elements (PSE) before printing and assembling. For the tags you see here, I used Dunia Designs’ December Documented product line (papers | elements | journal cards).

Here are a few details about my overall process…

  • First, I find a digital tag that I like and use it as the foundation for everything else. In other words — I just find any tag shape in any kit, and use it as a clipping mask for the rest of the items found in the main kit I choose for my project.
  • Next, I add the elements and papers I want to use from the kit I’ve chosen… and I clip them to the tag shape (CTRL-G in PSE; CTRL-ALT-G in PS).
  • This next part is a personal preference thing… but I like to build out all my tags together on one 8.5 x 11 canvas. This means that I layer them and make them look the way they’ll look once they’re assembled later… but in digital format, on my computer screen, so I can see a preview. Sometimes I even add digital stitching as a place holder for the real deal later on (again, to see what it will look like). This is a look at the digital version of my tags, which I created fully in PSE…

Once I have the tags the way I like them, that is when I pull the layers apart and create a print sheet, as shown in the next image (notice the the digital stitching isn’t included as a part of the print sheet)…

 

Once I have my print sheet ready… I save it, print it, cut each embellishment out, and assemble (using my original digital/layered mock-up as a guide).

Also, once they’re assembled… I always real-stitch all of my hybrid Christmas tags. I just think they’re cuter that way! 🙂

And that’s it! That’s all there is to it. The fun thing about this is that you can create a file to use over and over again, and simply swap in new names/etc. in the text areas (to use the same tag for different people/gifts). It can be different every time you print it!

 


Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, and a dog named Gracie. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

Hybrid How-To | Decorate Your Home

 

Hello everyone!!  Today I’m here to show you how to create this cute sign with your digital word art stash.  I love crafting and especially hybrid crafting.   I made this one for my craft room.  I’ve also decided it’s the perfect time to get started on those Christmas gifts.  I don’t know about you, but I love getting and giving homemade gifts.  This year I’ve decide I’m going to make everyone a sign for their home.   The Digital Press has tons of word art kits.  There is something for everyone!!!

SUPPLIES:

  • Cutting Machine
  • Digital word art (From The Digital Press…of course)
  • Wood (I used scrap pieces I had laying around in the garage)
  • Paint – make sure to get matte
  • Paint Brushes (The cheap sponge ones are fine)
  • Vinyl
  • Transfer Tape

I used the new release, GRATEFUL, and ANOTHER 25 DAYS by Sabrina’s Creations.  GRATEFUL word art is perfect for home décor.

boards

There are different ways to achieve the same look.  Today we are going to do the PVPP method….Paint Vinyl Paint Peel

Prepare the wood.    To start off you will base coat the wood with the color that you want your word art to show.  On this project I base coated my board white because I wanted the writing to show up white.  While the wood is drying you will start getting your vinyl ready.

draganddrop

Open your cutting software.  Shown here is Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.  Simply open the file you have your word art saved it and drag the one you want to work with first to the mat.

You are going to have to give the image cut lines.  If you were to go to cut now, it would cut a square box around the image, because it’s not a svg file.  I will show  you how to TRACE the image so that you will have those cut lines.  Highlight the entire image and uncheck the High Pass Filer and move the Threshold over until the image is completely yellow.

cutfileattop

Now select Trace. Move the image over and you can see the red lines.  These are the cut lines.  You can delete the black image now.

cutsetting

Cut your vinyl to size, apply to your mat, load and cut.  Make sure that you have chose the right material type and have changed your blade settings.  I don’t think you have to change your blade on the newer machines.

Now it’s time to weed your image.  To start off you will remove the bigger pieces around your image (1).  Next, you will use a weeding tool or a safety pin to remove all the smaller pieces (2).

The next step is to apply your transfer tape over the entire image (3).  Now apply it to the prepared wood.  Use a flat card to burnish it to the wood (4).  This keeps the paint from going under the vinyl.

remove-transfer-paper

Carefully remove the transfer tape.  Use your finger and go over the vinyl to make sure that it is adhered to the wood good.

Using the color you want on top, paint over the entire image….vinyl and all.    Make sure there is not a lot of paint on your brush.  A couple of lighter coats is better than one thick coat.  If you do it too thick, the paint will get under the vinyl.

This is the step that you will hear different opinions on.  Some say to wait to remove the vinyl until it’s completely dry and others say to remove the vinyl while it is still a little wet.  I prefer doing it while it is still a little wet.  You can work on a scrap piece of wood and see what works best for you.

Here are the final results.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out.  Below are photos of some more signs I am still working on.

This one I’m going to sand the edges to give it a more rustic look.

For this one I’m going to add a frame to the bottom left.  I thought it needed a little something more.  It’s a little wood frame that I purchased at Hobby Lobby,  I’m going to paint it black.  That way you can add a photo of something or someone that you are Thankful for.

Another suggestion to try if you don’t want to paint is to simply add vinyl to an already painted plaque or piece of wood.  The possibilities are endless.  I hope that this tutorial was helpful and that you will give it a try….. ENJOY!!


TanyaAbout the Author  Tanya is a part of the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She has been hybrid crafting for at least 14 years now, and loves creating and sharing those creations with others. Her all-time favorite tool is her Silhouette Cameo. She has been married for 28 years to her high school sweetheart, Richard and has two sons: Chris, 25 and Chance, 20. She also enjoys crocheting, photography and woodworking.

Tutorial Tuesday | Expanding Your Digital Toolkit

We’ve all had that moment when our creative mojo just escapes us. You’ve been there before, right? You’ve got the time to create… a brand new kit that you really want to work with… and nothing. So what do you do?

Most of us browse galleries for inspiration, of course. Then you find “it” — a layout that has you saying, “wow, I really love that!” Maybe it’s the pictures, the composition/proportions on the page, the kit selection. Oh, hang on a minute… that’s your layout! Wow, that’s a little embarrassing. Actually, it’s not. Most of us are the resident memory-keeper for our family. We should be proud of – and love – the layouts we create. So how about using your own layouts as the inspiration for something new? Yes, I’m talking about expanding your digital toolkit and scraplifting yourself!

I look at scraplifting as one of the sincerest forms of flattery in the digital world. When you scraplift a page, you’re saying to the creator that their page inspired you to create; it struck a chord with you. It’s okay to give yourself a pat on the back for a layout well done… and if you find a formula that you like, why not repeat it? Scraplifting could be duplicating a layout design, or using it as inspiration to build from. I love doing the latter and wanted to show you my process for “lifting” the page shown here…

 

[credits: Sweet Dreams — a collaboration by Sabrina’s Creations and Designed by Soco]

 

Where to begin? Open your original file in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and save a copy to work from. This is so important! You don’t want to make changes to your original file and then accidentally save them and over-write your original! Take it from someone who has “been there, done that” — it’s not pretty. On your duplicate file, start removing any paper or photos layers that you might have clipped to shapes. You want to strip the layout down to the basic design elements, like this:

 

 

Now, I like to use my existing layouts as inspiration and not necessarily duplicate an existing design (although that’s a great option, too). With that in mind, now that I have the base design laid out in front of me, it’s time to play around by moving elements (or groups of elements) around to create something new.

I like the vertical paper strip on the left with the scalloped edge peeking out and the stitched top edge. This would really lend itself to being on the bottom of a page. Ah, rotate the layout counter-clockwise (all layers), and then lower that portion of the design just a little…

 

 

With that central cluster of elements on the bottom edge, I’m now starting to think a vertical design — right down the center of the layout — might be the way to go. Here’s what the design looks like after I’ve moved and re-sized some of the papers. You’ll see that the overall design of the original page is still there; it’s just been modified enough to make it a little different…

 

 

Some of the original element clusters on the sides are now looking… well, “off” for want of a better word. This doesn’t mean they should automatically be deleted, however; they can still be re-purposed in the new design layout. Sometimes simply rotating and moving the elements can breathe new light into them. The cluster on the right-hand side of the page, for example, is one I really like. However, the vertical placement just doesn’t work now. Making it horizontal again (as it was in the original layout) will work.  Rotated and moved around a bit, here’s how my page’s composition is shaping up…

 

 

You’ll see that I’ve also hidden a few layers, like the element cluster that was originally in the upper left-hand corner of the new design. It was just too much. Also, at this point I haven’t even thought about a kit design, new papers, or new elements. I’ve simply been setting up the foundation on which to build from — and that’s not always easy to do, as I want to jump right in!

Using this scraplifted version of my original layout, I can now start adding all of the new pieces to complete my layout. If I move things around again, that’s fine — it’s my page, my memory. I can do whatever I like with it. I’m a firm believer that there’s no right or wrong way to scraplift a page. Bottom line: have fun with it!

Here’s how my now newly-designed page came out:

 

[credits: Away by Creashens]

 

…and just for fun, I did a second variation of the original page, just to show you that you can expand your toolkit and scraplift one page several times with each layout being unique to the memory you wish to record:

 


[credits: Leelo and Kiwi by Wildheart Designs]

 

So, if you like what you create… go ahead and give yourself permission to create it again, with a twist! A few things to remember:

  • Create a copy of your original Photoshop file and work from that.  Don’t work on your original file.
  • If you rotate the design, watch for your shadow angles as they will rotate, too.
  • If your original layout was based on a template, which you would normally credit a designer for, think about whether you will still give credit when you share your new layout. My own personal rule of thumb: If the new layout still closely resembles the original template, give credit with something like, “Template (modified) by …”

Scraplifting from your own gallery can be a great way to get your mojo going — or even just a fun exercise to do when you’re in a creative rush. It’s an easy way to expand your digital toolkit since you have all the inspiration right there at your fingertips: it’s you! If you would like to give this a try, I’d love to see what you can do with your own layout, so link me up with a before and after!


KatAbout the Author  Kat Hansen is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. A Director of Human Resources by day, she loves the opportunity to spend a few hours each day being creative. Vacation memories feature pretty heavily in Kat’s scrapbooking pages, as do her son and “daughter” (of the four-legged furry kind). Kat has quite the sense of humor (she “blames” her father for this), which she incorporates into her journaling and memory-keeping.

 

Hybrid How-To | Cushion Covers

 

I know most of the world is coming into summer now, but where I live we have the most beautiful autumns and I wanted to make some decor to celebrate that.

I make a lot of my cushion covers; they are so easy to do. Today, I will show you how!

First, I design the cushion cover in Photoshop. My printer prints up to A3, so that’s the size of the page I start with. For this project, I used Grateful Papers by Little Lamm & Co. and Wondrous Stamp Sheet by Karla Noél.

After creating the design, I cut fabric to A3 size. Make sure your fabric is ironed completely flat and stuck to the paper with double sided tape. The top edge should be stuck right to the edge of the paper. Print your design onto the fabric.

*NOTE* The ink will not be colorfast, so if it gets wet… it WILL run. You can use transfer paper if you want your design more colorfast, but I change mine around often, so its not a big deal for me. If mine gets wet, I just make a new one!

You will also need to cut a back for your cushion cover. I purchased a small cushion from IKEA that already had a pattern on it and wanted to make sure the pattern didn’t show through on the front, so I cut an extra piece of calico. Cut them slightly larger than your design to allow room for seams.

hybrid cushion covers

To make my cover look a bit more quilted I decided to sew where the different papers meet. Do this on the front so you can see where you need to sew.
IMG_4933

When you are happy with your design, put the ‘right’ sides of your fabric together and sew around the edges, making sure you leave a large enough gap to put the cushion in.

IMG_4937

Turn your cover inside out, paying attention to the corners, stuff your cushion inside and hand stitch up the gap.

Untitled-5

Voila!

IMG_4941


Amanda

About the Author  Amanda found digital scrapbooking in 2006 as a paper scrapper who was frustrated with the limitations of paper scrapping products. She now loves to combine paper and digital products and techniques for her pages and projects. She is the wife of a Naval Officer and has two teenage children. She lives in Australia, and has also lived in the U.S and Malaysia and loves that she has had the opportunity to travel the world with her family.