Friday, 25 January 2013

preserving your kids memories

I had to think of another title for this post as I didn't want people to get turned away at reading the word "scrapbooking".  I totally get the connotations that the word is associated with. 

I am a scrapbooker from way-back. I'm talking old-school. Think early nineties. When I was still in primary school. I kept scrapbooks of stuff from school, camps I went on and places I visited. I still have them to this day. I cherish them.

I still enjoy scrapbooking things to this day, but I'm not your traditional scrapbooker who follows 12x12 layouts or one who purchases coordinating, seasonal kits. Nope. Not me. I'm a closet hoarder of anything paper-related which I like to cut, paste, staple and tape to make into my own embellishments. It's much more personal and unique than anything you could ever get in the shops.

I have made albums of our overseas trips which are like little pieces of artwork in book-form. They are great reminders of the adventures we've been on and a real treat to look through. But that's a whole other post for another time.

I want my kidlets to enjoy looking back on all the things they've seen, achieved, done and experienced. So last year, my son and I sat down and started a scrapbook filled with things that he's done. Mostly places we've been over the school holidays. He enjoys craft time with me as it's a way for us to bond and the scrapbook will serve as a great reminder of the adventures we've had together.

Scrapbooking can be an expensive habit, but it needn't be. Follow this simple little guide and you'll have a handy kit at the ready to record your children's' adventures too.

Handy supplies
My suggestion is to create a little scrapbook kit for the kids to have as their own. That way, they won't be touching (or losing) your supplies and will be more inclined to be proud of it. Grab an old shoebox and let the kids go crazy decoupaging it with some magazine cutouts or stickers. Use alphabet stickers to label it 'John's Scrapbooking Supplies Kit'. Then once it's finished, fill it with the following supplies. 

  • scrapbook - this doesn't need to be anything fancy. It can be an exercise book, ring-bound notebook or a school-type scrapbook. You're only limited by your imagination. Try Typo for some cute options.
  • scissors - get a pair that your kids can use comfortably. Faber-Castell do a great pair of kiddie scissors that are safe and easy for little hands to use
  • glue stick - make sure to use a quality glue stick like UHU, otherwise you risk having things fall out of the scrapbook over time
  • double sided tape or foam - some things are easier to stick down with double sided tape or foam. You can find some inexpensive tape in shops such as Kaisercraft
  • pens - encourage your kids to write a few words to go with each entry. This is great in the case of my 7 year old who hates writing. Pick up some cheap and cheerful coloured pens from Smiggle or Target
  • stickers - I'm yet to meet a kid who doesn't love sticking stickers to everything. Get them a few rolls of washi tape or some simple sticker sheets to embellish their pages. Typo is great for this.


  • Collect lots of maps, brochures, menus, entry tickets/stubs, postcards, souvenir coins (you know from those penny machines) and any other memorabilia from places you visit
  • Take heaps of photos and get your kids to select a couple to include on each page. Print them on your home printer or head to your local photo lab to have them printed for you
  • Have your kids make a list of things from the trip they remember such as "fave animal of the day", "top 5 things to do at X", "highlight of the day" and include their handwritten notes where possible (get them to write on a separate piece of paper first if they're not confident writing straight into their scrapbook)
  • Try to get the kids to record in their scrapbook as soon as possible after the event so that things are not lost or forgotten 
  • Use leftover brochures or printed materials to cut up and decorate the pages. The kids can make a collage or just use single images as stickers or embellishments
  • Use double-sided foam tape or dots to stick bulkier and non-flat things such as the souvenir coins to the pages
  • For younger kids you can even collect leaves to stick in with their photos (they should be pressed flat and allowed to dry before being stuck into scrapbooks). Over time they can look at all the different types, colours and shapes of leaves they've collected from all the different places they've been.
  • Make sure to include the date on the pages somewhere so that they can remember when they had their adventures.

Now let them have some fun with all their supplies and watch as they create their own memories.

Note: we recently had the pleasure of visiting Phillip Island to write a review for  Little Melbourne. The photos in this post are from my kiddo's scrapbook from that trip. If you're interested, you can read our review over here.

Monday, 14 January 2013

make this: deer head necklace organiser

I was recently invited to check out the newly opened Kaisercraft store at Uni Hill Factory Outlet. And frankly, how could I say no; Kaisercraft is one of my fave paper-craft brands. I already own a hefty supply of their stamps, papers, rub-ons and stickers which I regularly use in various craft projects.

If you're lucky enough to be within close proximity to this Kaisercraft store, I urge you to make a visit as you won't be disappointed. Upon entering the store, I was pulled in three separate directions; where I wanted to look, where my mister was looking and where my son was looking.  All three of us had found stacks of great supplies within minutes of entering. Each person with their own clear favourites (yes, we are a creative family).

My heart was racing. I was in paper heaven.  I tell no lie when I say that we had to leave the store to have a bite to eat and a whip around the other shops before returning to keep shopping in Kaisercraft. I had to have a breather as there was so much to choose from it was so difficult to make a selection. And lucky we went for a whip around the other stores as I picked up some cute washi tape from Typo and spied a pair of nautical inspired Keds wedges (shoes for those of you unfamiliar with the brand Keds) which are now on my must-have list.

So after some welcome distraction by other stores, it was back to Kaisercraft. There was so much to choose from and it was difficult to decide what to take home with me, but I finally settled on a fantastic deer head which I'd been looking at for a while. Obviously that's not all I brought home, but more on that later.

Oh, I have to mention, if you're a bargain shopper like me then you'll be happy to know that there are also plenty of clearance bins to choose from with items starting as low as 50c.

Although I do delight in the occasional scrapbooking session, I'm also a "beyond the page" kinda gal, so my mind was wandering as to how I could make this delightful deer head a functional piece too. With the antlers as inspiration, I decided to turn this raw beauty into a necklace organiser.  And here's how I did it in 10 simple steps.

1. Lay out all your pieces so that you know how much paper you're going to need and if you can double up any of your pieces on one page.

NOTE: I covered all of the head pieces (minus the antlers) in vintage magazine pages. I painted the two antler pieces in different colours. The mount (which the head is attached to) has been covered in 12x12 paper and the edges have been painted.

2. If you have specific prints, patterns or areas of the paper you want to be visible, line them up by holding the paper over the MDF piece and hold it up near a window so you can see the shape through the paper.

3. Glue your selected paper to one side of each piece of MDF and let it completely dry before proceeding to the other side. TIP: make sure you smooth out the paper after applying glue to your MDF piece. When gluing, remember that less is more. The more glue you use, the more bubbles you'll get in your paper - especially if it's thin.

4. Run your finger over the ridge of each shape so that you get a slight crease. It will make it easier to tear the paper away from the shape. It doesn't have to be perfect; you just want to remove as much of the excess paper as possible. Do this step before gluing paper to the other side. Repeat.

5. Using some sandpaper or an emery board, file the edges of all pieces so that the excess paper is filed away leaving you with nice neat edges.  If you are confident in using a power tool you could sand or buff off the paper using a Dremel or similar small power tool which comes with multiple attachment heads.

6. I used two different colours to paint the antlers. Two coats each, letting dry in between coats.

7. For the mount, I used a single 12x12 page from the 'Class of '87' range. Using a paint brush, spread the glue over the entire surface and stick the paper down.  Smooth it down and place it under a heavy large book to ensure it dries flat. Once dry, repeat the process as you did in step 4.

8. Paint the edges of the mount so that you cover all of the visible MDF, but be careful not to paint over the paper! If you're worried about this step, then I suggest painting the edges BEFORE you glue down your paper.

9. Paint your antler pieces. I chose to paint them in two different colours.  

10. Assemble all of the pieces, making sure they are pushed in and down all the way. I did not use any glue to hold the pieces together as the added layers of paper ensure a snug fit. Add a hook to the back, hang and admire!

If you're so inclined, you could cover one side of all MDF pieces in one type of paper or paint colour and do something different on the reverse so that you can flip the pieces over for a seasonal change!

Materials I used for this project:
Kaisercraft Dimensional Deer Head
Kaisercraft Class of '87 12x12 paper in 'Science Project'
Kaisercraft Paint in 'Spearmint' and 'Lime'
Vintage magazine pages
UHU craft glue

Now it's time for a little giveaway
Since I had so much fun shopping at the Uni Hill Factory Outlet store, I wanted to share some of the love.  Thanks to the lovely folks at Kaisercraft, I've got a little pack of goodies for one lucky person to win.  To enter this competition simply leave me a comment on this post making sure to include your email address (so I can contact you if you're the winner).  I'll randomly draw a winner on Friday the 18th of January 2013 at 8pm (Australian daylight savings time) - so you have until then to enter. 
Please note entry is open to Australian residents only.

Thanks to the lovely folks at Kaisercraft for giving me a gift voucher to spend at their Uni Hill Factory Outlet store in exchange for an unbiased post.


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