Life as Lou

Christmas Mini Album: The Cover And Other Details, And A Little Contest Give-a-Way

  • December 4, 2008 9:13 am

the cover

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, and make a mini with me! I plan to update my blog with the next steps and pages every 2-3 days throughout the month, so if there is nothing posted, it is a good day to take some photos!

To begin with, I’m going to go over supplies. My base for this project is the gorgeous, rich Cosmo Cricket “Oh Joy” papers. I am working from about 3 or 4 of each sheet shown here, but can’t give you an exact amount because I’m not finished yet.
yuletide reindeer games mittens wrapping paper merry and bright

I am using both the fronts and backs.

Other supplies include many of my favorite tools and stamps.

tools and stamps

You’re seeing grunge board letters and hearts, mostly Stampin’ Up stamps (this is the best Christmas/winter stamp set I’ve ever bought), alphabet stamps (also the best alpha I’ve ever purchased- but it is retired Stampin’ Up so if you need it, try ebay and look for “classic alphabet”). The bird template is from Scenic Route, the pen is brown Marvy Uchida and available at almost any big box craft store. I’m using two punches here, a scalloped edge and a curly label punch, both made by Stampin’ Up. The ribbons are primarily May Arts and packing twine that I got off of actual packaging.

Now, almost any supply here can be swapped out for what you have available to you. You don’t need the exact same letter stamps or Christmas stamps. You can download a bird image from the internet and cut it out. Any type of chipboard or die cut letter will work as a grunge board replacement, and ribbons can be easily switched for something else. If you find yourself really needing a certain item, let me know, I’ll help you track it down. If you need a Stampin’ Up item, let me know because I can hook you up with my pusher. . .uhh. . .I mean stamping consultant and artist. I don’t sell SU personally, but I am addicted enough to host at least two parties a year to keep up with the new punches and stamps. Hello, my name is Leah, and I am a Stamp-a-holic.

Now for the ink.

the difference between pigment and dye inks

I am using a Stampin’ Up Chocolate Chip craft ink pad. Here is the difference between the types of ink pads.

Dye inks are water based, non-toxic, washable and many are child safe. Dye inks are transparent and will blend easily and dry quickly on most matte and glossy papers, but will run if wet again. Dye inks do fade.

Pigment inks are oil based, acid free, non-toxic, fade resistant and more opaque than dye inks. Pigments are not easily washed out of clothing. Pigments will not dry on glossy paper without embossing. Once embossed they are permanent and can be safely watercolored. Their slow drying property makes pigments ideal for heat embossing. Pigment ink is available in pads and markers.

Craft inks are acrylic based ink, acid free, non-solvent based, non-toxic and water soluble until completely dry or heat set. Once dry you can safely watercolor over them. You can use them on fabric, wood, paper mache, foam, leather and a variety of other surfaces.

I like to use a craft pad because it shows up darker and doesn’t fade over time. You can see I have stamped two of the same images- the darker, more easily seen image is the one stamped in craft ink (the top image). The other is a dye ink, which is the most common type of stamp pad you will find. Both have their places, and I have often used both on one layout. I love dye inks for edge distressing and a lighter image with finer details, and I love craft inks for a richer color, showing up on patterned paper and creating a deeply distressed edge, as I have in this mini album.

On many projects the darker, more opaque ink would be too heavy for distressing the edges, but with the already rich, woodsy flavor of the Cosmo Cricket papers, it looks really good.

Notice how completely dingy and worn my inks look? I considered touching them up with a magic eraser for you guys, but truth be told, I am one sloppy scrapper. I go to crops and my friends joke that they always know where I sat because of the confetti I leave behind. I cannot work with ink or paint of any kind without inevitably wearing some, and so my stamp pads get pretty grungy. That’s ok. I like my “Pig-Pen” style of scrapping just fine, it’s working for me. So there’s me, keepin’ it real.

fav adhesives

Last, but not least, we need some glue! These are the Holy Trinity of adhesive at my house. Tombow mono adhesive is widely available and does a good job. I order it in bulk with friends to get a better price.

The puffy raised adhesive is Stampin’ Dimensionals. Any time I create something that has a popped look, this is what I’m using. I like these because they are only about half as thick as a traditional pop-dot, and most of the time, I don’t need my elements zooming off the page at me, I just want to add a touch of dimension. Plus, these are less expensive than pop-dots and I love their polygon shape because I don’t have to snip the edges off of a circle to hide it behind more narrow elements. Handy- dandy!

Last, but not least is a bottle of Glossy Effects. Now, this one comes from many manufacturers. You can use Ranger Glossy Effects, Judikins Diamond Glaze, or Stampin’ Up Crystal Effects (my personal fav, but I’m out). These mediums are all intended to be used to create a faux lacquer effect, or to give a glossy modge podge look. Inadvertently, they are also the very best small embellishment adhesive I’ve ever stumbled across. It takes a tiny dab of this gunk and your buttons, chipboard, etc will be quickly cemented to the page pretty much forever. I love it! Occasionally, I’ll use a few dabs to re-enforce projects that are going to be handled more or hung on a wall. If you use this stuff, you never open a scrapbook to find your page protectors littered with fallen embellishments. It’s good stuff.

Oh? You wanted to know about the cover. That’s why you’re here, not to listen to me wax poetic about glue. Back to the main event!

december 2008 005

This is your cover.

First rule of the entire project, so I don’t have to keep typing it: Ink Every Edge. All of them. Any teensy paper scrap used should have the edges inked. Continuing. . .

It measures 4×7 inches, from the tip of the tag to the edge. The cover paper is the backside of the Reindeer Games paper. I plan to bind my book with a Bind-it-all, and I punch the holes as I go. This keeps me on track, and makes sure that I don’t put any major embellishments where I’m going to be putting a binding later. If you do not have access to a Bind-it-all, you could use binder rings or even take the entire completed project to Kinko’s and get them to bind it for you.

If you will look closely at my holes you will see that I have already messed up this project. I had an unthinking moment while punching my holes, and they are slightly wonky. This is ok. By the time I put the binding in and tie some pretty ribbons around it, no one will be able to see my mistake. So take heart, make mistakes, it’s ok.

To get the tag shape, trim one corner off of a 4×7 rectangle. Then flip it around and use it as a guide for cutting off another corner. This will get you a nice matching tag shape.

Along the left side, you want to put 4 strips of papers or ribbon. The total space covered should measure 2.5 inches, and you will want the Yuletide paper to be your largest piece. You will need to work out the rest based off of what ribbons you are using, and if you are off a bit, it won’t hurt.

december 2008 007

Now for the bird. I cut my bird out of the reverse side of the Wrapping Paper paper to get that pretty red base. Then I used him as a template and cut a piece of a bird out from the front of the same paper. I then stamped the reverse side of the Merry and Bright paper, and trimmed it to fit the bird. (You are inking these bits, right?) After I adhered them to the bird, I drew faux stitching or tick marks around what remained of the red edges. I also gave him an eye, and a jaunty ribbon necktie that draws in the ribbon I used behind him. I added two grunge board hearts and cut out a shadow to go around him. This helps him to pop off the page a bit.

For the title I stamped “have yourself a little Christmas” with my alphabet stamps, cut around the words, and added faux stitching. For the word Merry (and all bits of grunge board) I covered them with a red ink, and then dragged them through my chocolate chip ink to dust them up a bit. This is a pretty rustic looking album, so it is ok to be dirty.

the cover

Around the edge of the tag, I trimmed trips to just under a quarter inch and created a mitered frame look. Now, my edges are not mitered prettily, they are just pieced together. Rustic, like I said, leaves room for quick, easy and a little bit of imperfection. As long as there are no gaps in the edges or no grossly mis-sized connecting pieces, you’re good. Add a little faux stitching on the inside of the frame and also the outside edge of your tag. It is amazing how much that tiny detail adds.

I made another short, little tag up in the comer and stamped the year on it. I recommend stamping before you cut out the tag. My tag is just about 1 1/8 inches both ways. I would trim yours to whatever measurement looked best with your number stamps. I hung my little tag sign with a gold safety pin, just for kicks.

Your cover is done!

To work ahead:

1: All pages in this album will be two sheets of paper stuck together, this doesn’t let you use the back of the patterns, but it does make the pages stronger so it will last longer. The backside of this front cover will be the reverse of Wrapping Paper. You will want this adhered before you punch your holes.

2: Feel free to make a few little birds! I will be using 5 or 6 in the project, some bigger, some smaller. They are really just patchworked together. I try to use 2 papers, a trim, a stamp and a small embellishment on each bird, so I suppose you could call that “The Bird Formula”.

My next class posts will not be nearly as talky-talky about products and methods, and the pages will be a little more simple. The cover has to be special, right?

Now, for that little contest I mentioned:

If you mention this class on your blog and link to it anytime between now and the 10th, and tell me about it in the comments section here, you will be entered to win a Cosmo Cricket “Chemistry” paper crafting kit. This is the newest line, and you’ll be all set for V-day if your name is drawn! ChemistryPaperPack_149013

This will be fun for you, and hopefully more than three people will get to have the fun of making a Christmas mini with me :-)

(Oh, edited to add: if you don’t have a blog, post it anywhere online and give me a link to that- there you go- the world wide web is your playground and all’s fair in love and scrapbooking). Hee hee!



  1. Sherri Funk says:

    < ![CDATA[I'm so in! I'll have lots of catch up to do though, as my kit has still not arrived :( Great detail, I know that takes a bunch of time on top of your already full life, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's super appreciative of the "cheat sheet" method to get me started. Thanks Leah.

    And, about the contest, does Facebook count as 'online'?]]>

  2. < ![CDATA[Ok, I did mine. It is a pleasure bragging about you on my blog :) Here is the link to the post:

    Have a great day!! :) Becky]]>

  3. gina (gg loves Matthew) says:

    Great project Leah! I hooked you up on my blog! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wendy says:

    < ![CDATA[How's my favorite displaced North Dakotan?!?!

    I've posted on my blog!

    I will also post at for all to see :) ]]>

  5. Sandi in FL says:

    < ![CDATA[This is THE CUTEST!!!!!!!!! GREAT class!!!

    I've posted on my blog!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!!!]]>

  6. Mireille says:

    < ![CDATA[Looking good Leah!
    Great class!]]>

  7. Kelly says:

    super cute album! I posted on my blog :)

  8. tina winkle says:

    < ![CDATA[I love your album. Thank you for giving us a tutorial on it!
    I mentioned it on my blog! :)
    Thank you!

  9. Linda says:

    Beautiful! As usual… I love the step by step help. I guess I’m off to link this post to my blog. Your blog is already linked! :)

  10. Abby says:

    Great mini! I am loving all of Cosmo’s papers lately. Thanks for all the details!

  11. Julie Howard says:

    < ![CDATA[What a cute album!!

    Made a post on my blog about it..>

  12. < ![CDATA[HEY GIRL! Love the cover. Stunning work for sure. Already got your bloggy goodness up on my blog and also posted it over on 2 Peas for ya in the Scrapping section. ;)

    Cannot wait to see this all come together. ]]>

  13. Irene Dunne says:

    < ![CDATA[If the Front cover looks this good, I can't wait to see the finished album. I just love the colours and the little bird is too cute. I have mentioned your post in my blog.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I love this album! Especially the bird! I posted a link on my blog! Thank you!

  15. Susana O says:

    I’m still working on my between all my other things….yup, I’ve got way to many things going on right now. Thank you also for your “picks” on adhesives and info on the inks. I just had one of my neices ask me so I sent your article on to her.

  16. Jen Stock says:

    This is beautiful! I’m posting a link on my blog as well!

  17. Jen Stock says: There is my blog post. I hope you get lots of looks on your page!

  18. Kara says:

    Leah, the mini is really cute:) You know that I already put a link on your blog on mine. I am now a demo, but she was my “pusher” too

  19. Andrea says:

    Hey Leah, you should be putting a kit together for this and selling it! I would buy one. Thanks for doing this awesome tutorial. I think this is one album I will really enjoy making! Take care.

  20. liannallama says:

    That is so cute! Thanks for the details!

  21. I am hooking up my friends and family to this cute album. The contest is fun, thanks for a very fun album class and for a great new blog to visit:)

  22. amie says:

    dang you’re an ambitious girl. I don’t know how you have the time!

  23. your work is always so beautiful Leah!

  24. staceymichu says:

    Love this–put a link on my blog to share this crafty treasure!

  25. Krissy says:

    < ![CDATA[SUPER CUTE!! I can't wait to see the finished product!!!

    I posted about it on my blog as well!>

  26. Jessica says:

    I love your mini!!! I love all of your work! Thanks for such a lovely piece to make for ourselves! Check out my latest blog post to see what I posted about it!

  27. I love this mini book!! I posted on my blog about your amazing projects and tutorial!!! You are so creative!!

  28. HappyHappyJoyJoy says:

    I always have loved the beautiful projects you’ve designed! I posted on my blog about this amazingly cute album class.

  29. Julie Kelley says:

    OMGosh… Just the “excuse” I need to go down to the store and buy this paper ASAP!! I’ve posted about it on my blog, it’s just a gorgeous project already!!!

  30. Julie says:

    < ![CDATA[Hi Leah!
    This turned out fabulous!]]>

  31. Sassy says:

    wonderful project, I love it. I’m just not talented or experienced , one of the two, lol to do the bird yet. Or duh I’m not sure I understand how to.. goes with the experience huh. lol but its gorgeous.. oh I did a post about it on my blog.. Hugs, Sassy

  32. Juel says:

    This is just a beautiful project. I’m going to post about the class on my blog too!

  33. PattiHutch says:

    < ![CDATA[AWESOME Leah! I just love it. ~Patti Hutch>

  34. stephanie says:

    < ![CDATA[Oh I love this book. What a great idea. I think I'll give this a try (just need to find the time!). I mentioned this on my blog too - I hope this link works:
    And I see so many possibilities for that new line!!!]]>

  35. Elda says:

    < ![CDATA[Cute little album. I wish I had enough creativity to do stuff like that.>

  36. Janeen says:

    < ![CDATA[What a wonderful tutorial. That album cover is just gorgeous! I love the bird...and especially the papers that you used. It's so rustic and seasonal...I'm really taken aback by the overall beauty of the piece! Also, thank you kindly for the opportunity to win some beautiful papers! I blogged your tutorial and the giveaway on my site, Your Impact matters. Here's the link:

    Many bloggy blessings,

  37. Tina says:

    < ![CDATA[I LOVE your tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm totally in love with your little girl in the chair, too.

    P.S. I blogged about your giveaway>

  38. Casii says:

    Hey Lou, I’m sending people your way! Love the album! Here’s my blog:

  39. < ![CDATA[I have posted a short comment on my blog regarding this, hope it's enough.

  40. Shawna says:

    < ![CDATA[I've linked you on my blog too. I'm private so if you don't believe I guess you'll just have to choose me and I can send you an invite. Ha!
    This is seriously so dang cute. Love the bird, it's my fav! Thanks for doing this. I love giveaways!]]>

  41. Makinzee says:

    What a cute mini album. Love giveaways! Link on my blog! Thanks and I HEART SU too!

  42. Rissa says:

    < ![CDATA[awesome creativity

  43. Mim says:

    < ![CDATA[Would love to win! This is a great tut. Thanks.

    Link on my blog :)

  44. Brenda Sanson says:

    I love this album! I’ve got to make it for myself.

  45. Alison Behan says:

    < ![CDATA[I actually think I have started to hyperventilate!!LOL, It is 11pm here in Ireland and I am going to head straight to bed and digest this whole piece. I need to concentrate on this baby! I ADORE it. I love it, all of it. I am going to HAVE to make it for myself. It's definately a KEEPER. Beautiful book, beautiful work, beautiful papers, beautiful colours, beautiful home, beautiful children. Just beautiful.

    Happy New Year to you and yours from Dublin, Ireland :-)]]>

  46. Alison Behan says:

    < ![CDATA[Sorry, in all the excitement I forgot to leave the link to my blog, oops!
    :-) ]]>

  47. < ![CDATA[
    I posted a pic of the cover & the link to directions! This is so awesome! I am happy to share it :) Found you on 2p's. I'll be watching your blog for future inspiration. Thanx!!!]]>

  48. valscrap says:

    < ![CDATA[hi... i'm french so my english... ouuuuuuuuuhhhhh;...
    thank you for this album and all tuto... je l'ai fait... and you can see it here :

  49. Marilyn says:

    < ![CDATA[I recently started working on my version of your darling little Christmas album. Your designs and ideas are outstanding. I am having so much fun with this!

    I'm not 100% sure, but I think it is going to become a "Cat's Christmas" version. Cats love Christmas, too, and I have lots of holiday photos of my "fur children" taken over the years.

    Thanks again - this is just terrific!]]>

  50. janet dycus says:

    i love your book could share what size tag that you use and show a little of how you made this book i just love it thank you

  51. Kimara says:

    i put it on my facebook page although im not sure if you can see it if you are not on my friends list. im very new to crafting and just got a cricut expression and was wondering if you had any tips on what to use the pink journey, plantin schoolbook and accent essentials for. i want to make some simple cards since i do not have much money as i am off of work with depression and need to be doing something with my time. anything you could tell me would be most helpful

  52. Michaels says:

    I love your craft work its amazing!