Monika Wright's picture

eBook inspiration | 40 Top Tips

Way back when, before I had the honor of being an Ella Friend, I purchased the eBook 40 Top Tips for Better Photos by Rebecca Cooper. My goal was to use the tips and suggestions in this eBook so that I could better learn my fancy new camera.


What I didn't realize, was that I would be inspired to create a layout based on one of the five scrapbook layouts Rebecca shares with us. Rebecca's layout on the right titled, "this boy" was an ideal way for me to scrap several sports photos of my son. I didn't scrapbook when he was younger, so specific stories and detailed thoughts are lost.

As you can see, my layout is definitely inspired by Rebecca's, incorporating just a few changes and edits:  using only 3 photos allowed me to use larger photos and I used an embellishment as my title. The clean and simple design allowed me to highlight some of my son's athletic endeavors in his scrapbook album even though specific details are lacking.

 We hope that you are enjoying our series sharing how our Ella Friends have found inspiration from an eBook. And in celebration of inspiration, you'll want to take advantage of the Scrapbook Challenges Bundle, where you'll save $4.50 and be inspired by 88 pages of 104 amazing ideas!

Have Fun and Scrap On,


Monika Wright's picture

Best of Photo Projects: photo cubes for the seasons

Spring is here and before you know it, Summer will be on its way, too. In our part of the world, there are only 22 more school days left. Can you believe it? Time to start planning those Summer activities now before the kids ask, "What are we going to do today Mommy?"

With that in mind, I started thinking about our trip to the Beach this year and how much we enjoy going as a family. Lots of good food, lots of down time and a whole lot of sand. Everywhere. A few favorite photos stand out in my mind when I start thinking about our past trips to the land of sand, surf and sea and I am sure that you're probably the same way.

I know, let's make a photo cube together. Most every craft store has these lucite photo cubes, so pick one up next time you're out. Remove the cardstock template and use it as your guide. You will notice below that my 12x12 piece of cardstock was not large enough for the whole template. See that partial piece adjacent to the sufrboards? I used that square for the bottom and cut a piece of cardstock to cover the partial hole. 

I trimmed my template and scored my fold lines while my photos were printing. After placing them, I decided that I would outline each photo to give it more presence. You could make your photos full size and skip this step, but I was not sure that each of my template openings was the same size after I copied the template and I took the easy way!

I adorned the top of my photo cube with a shell that my oldest daughter found in Aruba. Lucky for me there was a hole in the top of the shell and I threaded some baker's twine through it.

Now for my memorable {to me} photos, this one of my two guys...

and five surf boards to represent our family, where I've fussy cut around a stamped bracket shape...

and these two bathing cuties in their matching swimsuits.

I used some washi tape to attach my jewelry tag to the outside, knowing I couldn't add embellishments to the inside of the photo cube and for the photo of my husband and I walking hand in hand on the beach at sunset, I added a chipboard letter "W" that just happens to have hearts on it.

Because I used repositionable adhesive, I can remove my embellishments, make a new template and enjoy using the photo cube to display more photos as the seasons change.

So, how do you display your seasonal photographs at home?

and here are Ella's photo products

Picture Perfect
Special Effects for Digital Photos
40 Top Tips for Photos

Retro Digital frames
On the Go photo tips

Monika Wright's picture

Calling all Font fans

Hello, are there any font geeks with us today? I'm Monika Wright and I'm part of the Ella Friends team.  Wow, inspiration is all around us. We're bombarded every day with so many images, sounds, sights and smells to excite our senses. It can be overwhelming, yes, but oh so interesting.


I'll just focus on one sense today...sight. One of hot trends the past few years has been Subway Art, which is a collection of words or phrases on consecutive lines in varying font styles and sizes. More often, the type is white while the background is colored. Occasionally, the type runs in different directions. I happen to carry a collection of Subway Art prints in my Etsy shop  but have never incorporated the idea of a collection of fonts for a layout. Why? Don't have a clue. But, now that I've done it, I can see so many possibilities for even more layouts using this very same idea.
Today, I'm going to share layouts that I made for my two youngest children, both girls, aged 5 and 7. I also have a 19-year old son who just happens to be the best big brother, ever.  Don't be fooled, even thought he's older, he is very aware of the ratio of layouts I make for each kiddo...he does not want to be left out. After all, who doesn't enjoy reading a story about themselves from another person's perspective, especially your Mom's perspective.
Here's the 12x12 template I'm using, just click on the image or this link
There will be an 8.50x11 template available Saturday on my blog  when I'll share the layout I made for my son and an additional layout I made using the 8.50x11 template.

I've already scrapped the joy I feel when I see my daughter playing with the same animals my son played with many, many years ago, but I have not journaled about the number of messes she makes in a day while playing. It's really quite frustrating, but I keep reminding myself that I will miss this next year when she heads to Kindergarten and I'm home all alone. Although in my journaling, I address each of the words presented in the square featuring four different fonts, I focus on the word PLAY and the messes she makes {and doesn't clean up} as she goes about her day.

Each square has room for a 4x4 piece of patterned paper, photo or other piece of ephemera with a 1/8" border all around. Oh, and there's plenty of room for journaling, too. I even used gender-neutral colors so that you can scrap babies, tweens, teens, boys, girls and even adults!

Same layout, same design, different ink for the journaling. Even though the same sheet of patterned cardstock was used for both layouts I used different portions of it so that in the first layout, the focus was on the red in my daughter's shirt and in my second layout, the focus is on the varying shades of turquoise and blue in the fanciful get-up my oldest daughter has on. I didin't use any additional embellishments on this layout, choosing to keep it simple and sparse because 1} there's already a lot of color going on , 2} there's quite a bit of journaling and then also the font block and 3} i'm using patterned paper which is full of movement.
Because I have three kids and they each have their own scrapbooks, I often create 3 layouts using the same design, varying the patterned papers and embellishments to fit the persona of each child. I love it because I complete three layouts in just about the same time as it would take me to complete one. Three stories captured, three happy kids, one happier mama.
I hope you have as much fun using this template featuring fonts as I did creating it for you. The fonts I used are available for download here:
PLAY | Cheri 
SLEEP | My Topher 
REPEAT | Playful 
Don't forget to stop by for a visit with me on Saturday for the 8.50x11 template! 
Have Fun and Scrap On!



Monika Wright's picture

12 Days of Christmas: Day Nine

Day 9
Ella friend Monika Wright got to use a digital kit created by two super talented digital designers Liz of Paislee Press and Danielle of Kitschy Digitals called Curated. One random winner from today's comments will win this kit--a $16 value.

(Comments close in 24 hours on December 21 at 10:00am MST)

About the Kit
This kit is an eclectic yet refined collection of Quick Pages that can be used to create individual scrapbook pages, or use the entire collection to create a cohesive and complete album that you'll cherish for years to come. It's the perfect blend of the minimalism and eccentricity that you've grown to love from Paislee Press and Kitschy Digitals. Who knew two totally different styles could come together to produce such a lovely collection!

Monika says: "Working with this curated kit, a collaboration between Paislee Press and Kitschy Digitals, was such a fun experience for me.  While I don't consider myself a digital scrapper, I was able to work my way through the process. With each kit purchase, there is a link to a tutorial helping you to get started and create your layout.
"Fun, frilly and girly...those were my thoughts upon seeing the above template. And those three words describe my oldest daughter, Isabella, to the nth degree, which made choosing the photos, placing them in the template and finishing my journaling about a 10 minute process. For my youngest daughter, I originally had thought of using the template below, which reminded me of how much she adores playing with her toy animals...horses and lions and tigers, oh my!
"But as I was searching my photo library, I came upon some photos of Victoria with each of her grandparents and at that moment, I knew I had to capture them all in a layout. Seeing our parents with Victoria as a baby made me realize what a special gift they are to our family. And even though she is not such a fun, frilly girly girl, this template is a perfect match to the sweet moments my husband was able to capture as each of our parents met Victoria for the first time.
"Although I am only showing you two layouts, I have several more in mind to create and am going to use these template to finally make a Shutterfly photo book for our Moms on Mother's Day. {It's not as if my Mother-in-Law hasn't been hinting about this for YEARS!} The template designs in the kit are so amazing and very easy to use, that I don't know why I couldn't easily complete several layouts in just an hour.
"I'll also share this secret with you, I didn't use Photoshop to create these layouts. I simply opened Pages {a word processing program for Mac} to add photos, text and to colorize the template behind the text boxes on each of these layouts. Told you it was easy.
"Please, give digital scrapbooking a try if you haven't yet. I highly recommend the curated kit  as a way to introduce you to the wonders of yet another way we can all capture our memories while we still remember them.
"Gotta go, I have a photo book to start working on...Happy Holidays to All!"
Monika Wright's picture

Handmade Gifts from your Stash

So glad you stopped in today because we know you're busy trying to make your things-I-have-to-get-done-now-before-it's-too-late lists shorter. I'm Monika Wright and along with my Ella Best Friends Donna Jannuzzi and Mary Jo Johnston we're going to help you do just that. No, we can't bake and frost the cupcakes for the class party for you, but we can help you create some adorable handmade gifts all with items from your stash!
One flower three ways? After seeing a tutorial for this flower on page 64 of the December 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I decided to pull out my felt collection and start crafting. After cutting six 2" circles and six 1.25" circles, I layered them with one edge touching. After pinching them together at the bottom, I ran a threaded needle through the four layers of felt and repeated for the other 5 petals. After stringing them together to form a flower, I created three different projects, all using the same flower.
Clearance items and Dollar Bins call my name, knowing that I can repurpose them into a gift. Therefore, my stash includes not only paper and embellishments, but containers and notebooks and more. Using an art canvas with a pattern I didn't love, I covered it in fabric using my stapler. Yes, my stapler, not a staple gun. I just opened it up to lay flat and stapled away. I added the felt flower, but felt it needed just a little bit more, so I attached the border strip and it felt good. I plan to pull out my embroidery floss and a needle once I decide where this gift will find its new home, and add an inspirational word in a nice flowing script right on the yellow felt border strip. Ready for Take Two?
Obviously our hair model, me, needs to get her gray roots touched up to better showcase this hair clip. I sewed my felt flower to the clip, but you could definitely use E-6000 glue {sold at most craft stores} or maybe even your hot glue gun to attach it permanently. Are you thinking that this would make a nice gift topper? I think so, too.
I know my stylish Mom would adore this pin. Goodness knows my 7-year old fell in love with it and wants it. Bad. A flower brooch would look lovely on a sweater and certainly brighten a winter coat, too, or even your toboggan.
Grab some chipboard, cover it in your fave patterned paper scraps, wrap some ribbon around it and attach a tag. Insert a sticky notepad inside and you have a gift everyone in your office will adore {after you make 8 of them}. Teachers love them, too, especially if you give them a few extra notepads to go along with it! Design Tip: I like to use a glue stick when adhering paper to chipboard pieces so that I have a little time to position the paper before it's permanently adhered. I find that tape runners are not that forgiving if you don't get it on the first try.
Looking for inexpensive classroom gifts? Using double-sided cardstock, two punches, a stapler, stickers and your trimmer, you can make notepads from your scraps. I scored my cardstock and folded, trimmed some photocopy paper to size and folded. While the notepad is closed, staple through all the layers at one time. Add a border punched strip to cover the staples and another punched shape with a letter sticker and you have a great treat bag item.
Gift wrapping is something that Donna really loves. She thinks that the way a gift is presented is almost as important as the gift itself and I heartily agree with her. This need not mean that a lot of cost has gone into the presentation, but more that a lot of thought and care was put into the presentation. Coming up with new and creative ways of wrapping presents using items that most people already have in their homes, like white tissue paper, kraft paper, yarns and ribbons as her foundation, Donna found that the fun, decorative part would come from using her scrapbooking supplies to embellish the packages.

For this design, Donna used two strips of paper that she found in the scrap pile, one strip of cardstock - in which a border design was punched - and one piece of patterned paper. After layering, she tied the package with the shipping twine.
The main element of this design is the large die-cut butterfly that is standing in place of a more traditional bow. While Donna loved the butterfly, it just hadn't made it to a scrapbook page yet. Do you buy kits and then have a few items that you never use? Now is the time to go through your supplies to find elements like this butterfly, or maybe an unusual flower, anything that you think would make an interesting gift topper. If you prefer more traditional colors for your Christmas wrapping you can always customize your die-cut by painting or by applying glitter to it before attaching it to your gift.

Donna embellished a kraft gift bag with a handmade tag made using an assortment of punches and papers found in her scrap pile. The other bag was made from patterned paper using a template found online. You can download templates such as this one found at Martha to create your own gift bags for money, gift cards or smaller items. The template can be printed and then copied at any magnification. She folded the top over and punched holes for yarn to tie the bag closed. You can use a border punch before assembling the bag for a more decorative top or attach handles.

Repurposing a grocery bag, Donna cut the top and bottom off to create a sheet of wrapping paper and then crumpled and ironed it flat to allow for easy wrapping. The red ribbon and silver sparkle ribbon, manila shipping tag and twine are all stash items. (You can buy inexpensive manila tags and shipping twine at office supply stores). All I did to embellish the tag was to stamp it with a basic and neutral image. Of course, if you wanted to you could also choose to stamp your tag with a more traditional Christmas image.
Mary Jo had fun going through her stash looking for a selection of patterned paper scraps to use for these 3" x 3" holiday gift tags. Embellishing her tags with stickers and chipboard, she suggests that you think outside the box by also using 3D trinkets in your designs to add depth and dimension.
By choosing this argyle patterned paper, Mary Jo was able give her gift tag a masculine appeal. The three layers of scalloped embellishments in the middle of the tag contrast nicely with the square edges of the glittered cardstock and patterned paper.
The die cut gingerbread man and scalloped journaling tag are a perfect match for each other. Mary Jo added some pop dots behind the scallop die cut which helps to draw the eye to the square piece of patterned paper behind.
Now that you've made your holiday gift tags, slip a few into this 3.50" x 3.50" gift box made using the Cricut. After adding some coordinating ribbon, embellish with a die cut or some chipboard pieces. Your gift recipient can even use this gift box to hang on their tree after all the gift tags have been used. And why stop at just one? Make several sets for all the teachers, Scout leaders and Coaches out there. Gift tags are easy to make items, help to reduce your stash and are great gift items to keep on-hand.
Donna shares a few more ideas for using your stash to embellish your gifts this season:
  • Create a garland using buttons or punched shapes. Use this in place of ribbon.
  • Use a layered flower, such as the one found here in place of a traditional bow.
  • Hold onto your Christmas cards or look for vintage cards at flea markets and thrift shops that have appealing images – fussy cut or punch out shapes that can be used to make tags.
  • Use your stamps to create your own custom wrapping paper.
Shopping your stash is not a new idea, but it is a smart idea. Mary Jo, Donna and I had fun thinking of a few ideas for homemade gifts while reducing your stash and saving money.
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