December is FUN for Digi Scrappers!

I remember the first December that I was a digital scrapbooker (2005) and I was sort of surprised at how many fun things went on in digiland during the month of December. Six years later, it’s snowballed to become a month filled with sales, freebies, events, and more to help us all countdown through the holiday season. There are many more virtual goodies to enjoy and a lot of ways to find them. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first holiday season in digi, so I’ll share the methods that I use to keep track of it all.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTERS

If you have a favorite digi store (or several of them) now is a good time to be sure you are subscribed to their newsletters. Many free gifts, sales, and bonus items are announced through newsletters and they are usually the very best way to find out what’s going on at that site. I subscribe to the Scrap Orchard newsletter so I’m receiving daily news this month about which one of their designers is having a 50% off sale that day.

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Many individual designers also send out newsletters so be sure to subscribe to your favorites!

 

VISIT THE STOREFRONT OF YOUR FAVORITE SITE REGULARLY

Some stores will post their daily happenings right on the main page of their storefront.  You can also keep track of the newest products added to the site by checking the main page of the store. Catscrap is a site that I make sure to visit each day in December for their annual Advent Calendar event.

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Several other digi sites do an advent sale of featuring a different category or designer each day.

 

CHECK SHOP FORUMS

I don’t hang out in forums as much as I used to, but I make an extra effort to visit a few favorites during this time of year so I can participate in some of the events and contests. For me, it’s just a fun little treat to enjoy. This year, I was excited to find this Pinterest Cookie Party put together by The Lily Pad. I’ve had fun with this challenge because it made me gather up 5 of my tried-and-true holiday favorites to add to my Pinterest boards. I can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

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Forums are also a great place to hear about what other scrappers are finding on the site.

 

READ BLOGS

Many stores and designers have blogs where they post about their latest promotions. O Scraps has been promoting their 12 Days O Christmas on their blog so I check it each day to find out what deals are going on.

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WATCH SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter and Facebook have given us more ways to share our digi finds with each other. Even if you don’t want to post on twitter or facebook, you can still use them as tools for keeping track of special deals and giveaways. I had almost forgotten about the annual cookie exchange (free templates) at the Sweet Shoppe until I saw this tweet

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Of course, the best resource I have for keeping up on digi stuff is The Daily Digi twitter feed. Steph does a great job of tweeting and retweeting all the good things a digi scrapper needs to know about!

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RELY ON US

We eat, sleep, and breathe all things digi so let us help you out! Our Funtastic Friday posts are always full of the latest news and products and we will have posts all month long that will help you stay in touch with the digital scrapbooking community. We do the hard work of finding resources and ideas so you don’t have to! You might want to even bookmark this post to refer to throughout the month. Here are some December fun things you’ll want to know about:

 

Inspiration:

Sales:

  • After Five Designs will be having a 12 Days of Christmas sale starting on December 13th and going through Christmas Eve. We will have a different surprise sale every day that can only be revealed by clicking on the date on our special Christmas tree that will be on the front page of our store.
  • The Lily Pad December Deals– a different category of products on sale each day
  • Scrap Orchard Advent – a different designer on sale each day until Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas:

  • Connie Prince is doing a 12 days  of Christmas (12 Days of Freebies) on her blog from December 12-24.
  • Twelve Days O Christmas on the O Scraps blog
  • Mari Koegelenberg still has her 12 Days of Christmas category up on her blog from last year if you are looking for some great inspiration.

Free Goodies:

 

As always, we’ll keep you updated if we find more December digi fun to share!

 

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So many great things to share!

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We have something really special for you today! Steph and I have spent several months researching, writing, brainstorming, asking questions, and writing some more.

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The FREE Digital Scrapbooking Manual is a resource filled with information we wished we would have known when we started digital scrapbooking. We asked digital scrapbookers and designers from around the community what they wished they would have known in the beginning and we share that information with you; expanding on it to save you from making the same mistakes we did. What would our team members do over? What do Ali Edwards, CD Muckosky, Peppermint Granberg (One Little Bird), Katrina Kennedy, Kayla Lamoreaux, Debbie Hodge, Krista Sahlin, Jenn Barrette, SuzyQScraps, (and more) wish they would have known in the beginning?  Come find out! The Digital Scrapbooking Manual is a free gift brought to you by The Daily Digi.

Kim Lund has a brand new class at Big Picture Classes and we are giving away 3 spots to random commenters on this post. Leave us a comment and tell us about something you want to document about your family. Leave your comment before 10 p.m. EST time on Monday December 5th to be eligible for the drawing.

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Family: Defined
The Culture of Our Family

Personalities, rules, routines and traditions – each one of these elements makes your family unique. Family: Defined will help you not only to scrapbook an album that truly defines your family, but also to think about your family in new and innovative ways, capturing details that may be overlooked.

Does your Christmas involve giggles and Santa? If so, Christmas Giggle by Tracey Monette of Clever Monkey Graphics is the kit for you. This colorful kit boasts more than a dozen hand-drawn Christmas Doodles, each fun and quirky in it’s own way. Watch also for a coordinating freebee coming to Tracey’s blog.

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Jennifer Labre Designs has a sweet new kit out today that is perfect for scrapping all of your yummy memories and delicious recipes. Sugar & Spice is 20% off through Sunday and be sure to check out the coordinating add-on too – perfect for the holidays!

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Laura Banasiak has some new goodies out and they are all on sale!

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Nicole of Sugarplum Paperie has a new collection of three coordinating Christmas kits, which are on sale today! When you purchase the bundled collection, you’ll also receive a set of solid papers and a bonus numbered tag set (which is perfect for December Daily projects or Advent calendars!)

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Dianne Rigdon has some pretty and shabby goodies to make your Christmas fancy.

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Kelleigh Ratzlaff has a new freebie on her Facebook Page.  Just "Like" Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs, then pick up your "Fan Exclusive" Christmas Cash Envelope to help you keep your Christmas spending in check!

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Cindy Schneider has an exclusive facebook freebie, available for a limited time only (Dec 7th)!

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Chelle’s Creations has Slam Dunk and Black Belt new in the store. There is a free with purchase gift if it either kit is ordered from 12/2 –12/8. She also has some quickies for sale new this week from three kits: Girlfriend, Happily Ever After, and Big City. The quickies include page stacks and clusters. These are on sale from 12/2-12/8

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Rúbia of Studio Basic has a fun bundle on sale for 47% off!

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Dúnia has a new template duo out that’s perfect for those year in review pages.

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Liz has a bunch of new templates that will easily help you re-cap your year. There are plenty of photospots & even some with some great journaling boxes.

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Heather T. has come together with Anita Designs to create this rich and warm collab about friendship and love, Heartbound.

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Jeanye Labaya (NeeNee)has a cheery new collection on sale this weekend

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Save 50% off designs by SuzyQ Scraps — ONLY on Friday, December 2nd! Includes all digital scrapbook products, including already discounted bundles, as well as collabs. Excludes classes. Sale ends at 11:59 pm Eastern on Friday.

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WM Squared’s gorgeous fall bundle is on sale right now.

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Don’t miss this free template from Amy Martin!

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Sara Gleason has a series of posts this December offering inspiration and encouragement to the adventure of storytelling in December.  There will be prompts and encouragements, and a freebie here and there.   And TDD readers can use the coupon: merrybright to get an extra 10% off her new Document Your December release for tomorrow.

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Anna Aspnes has 9 NewART digital products at 20% discount, one $1.00 AnnaSelect item and the entire release at 35% discount for one week only.  Includes:  ArtPlay Palette Ablaze, ScriptTease Gratitude No. 1, Holiday Layered Template No. 1, 12 X 12 Snowy Overlays No. 1, SilverSnowflakes No. 1, Snowy FotoBlendz No.  1. FotoBoost Layered Templates No. 3, MagicSprinklez No. 1 an GoldAlpha and NumberSet No. 1.

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My roundup workshop starts in about a month so it’s a great time to sign up!!

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Flergs has teamed up with Yari of Jady Day Studio this week. A Magical Christmas collab full of bright funky colours & Flergs has made lots of matching extras too! Save 20% on the collab & matching extras all weekend.

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There are a lot of fun events and deals going on this month in digi land for December related festivities. We will have a post tomorrow to share all the holiday goodies we have found. Be sure to check it out!

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A Holiday Planner Project + a gift for you!

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This is going to be the year that I (Katie) finally take the holiday season by the reins nice and early! After working on the travel journal project a few months ago, I knew I wanted to use a similar idea to help prepare me and my family for a happy holiday season. I’m so excited to share some templates and “ingredients” with our readers! Just click on the image above or this link for your free download. 🙂

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ABOUT THE PLANNER:

I learned a great lesson when I put together a travel journal BEFORE our Alaskan cruise – a little preparation goes a long way! Our travel binder became a map and guide to our vacation, and it reminded me to collect memorabilia and information throughout our journey. A standard size 3 ring binder was the perfect choice for this project because it is portable, yet fits nicely on a shelf when not in use. It also holds standard size papers which is nice for collecting menus, newsletters, flyers, etc. I also loaded mine with several extra page protectors for collecting smaller loose pieces like postcards. The same format should work nicely with a holiday planner so all the templates and paper in this download are sized at 8.5 x11 inches.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, I knew that this would be the perfect time to put together a planner. I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m really excited to use this as a tool for both planning and celebrating a festive season. For me and my family, it will be used for the Christmas season. For others it might be helpful for Hanukkah, or another important holiday. However you choose to use it, there are plenty of ways to customize and complete your own planner. The best way for me to explain how to do this is to show you how my own project turned out.

CONTENTS OF MY PLANNER:

Included in the download are several pieces of wordart (made with the Fontologie Haphazard Font), a piece of digital Kraft paper, a dotted border, and four layered templates. I also used the Haphazard font to create additional titles, and chose SF Rachel (a free font from Sugar Frog Fonts) for the journaling font. I decided that I wanted to use felt pieces for my page accents so I chose the Merry and Bright collaborative kit by Kaye Winiecki and Kate Hadfield and a special delivery kit by Kaye.

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Then I went to my local office supply store and picked up a binder, some standard size page protectors, and some stick on index tabs to divide my planner into sections. I was hoping to find a cute patterned binder or maybe even a Kraft colored one, but no such luck. So I went with a basic view front binder in light blue.

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I put together a cover page to slip down in the viewing plastic on the front. I even used some adhesive to mount it on some larger cardstock. Does that count as a hybrid project? lol! 😀

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My goal right now was to put together the structure of the planner so I can simply add things to it throughout the next several weeks and during the actual holiday season. I decided to make a page for each section and then insert blank page protectors behind each category.

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I started off with our “Holiday Favorites” so that I could be sure to plan for the important things that help each person in our family feel like it’s a great holiday season.

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I interviewed my kids and my husband at dinner the other night and asked them to each name 5 things that they love to do, eat, watch, or experience during the holidays. I had to do a lot of prodding to get the information out of my son and husband. My daughter could have listed 100 things. That’s one of the challenges I have when it comes to planning for the holidays. She wants to celebrate each and every day possible, where my son and husband don’t really like all the hustle and bustle. By considering each of their personalities and desires, I feel like I have a better idea of what to put on our calendar. That is why I started my planner with the favorites page.

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Here’s my “title page” for the calendar section.

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In my binder, I put a copy of our personal calendar for the month of December right after this title page. I printed out our own calendar from the scheduling program I use (Microsoft Outlook). I didn’t do a lot to decorate the calendar page because I want to be able to print out new copies if there are changes (and there will be) to our schedule. Even though I carry a smart phone where I can access my calendar at any time, I still want a hard copy in my planner so I can consider our schedule when making plans for meals, activities, and other festivities.

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Next comes the wishlist section.

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I thought it would be fun for each of us to pick at least one thing we would like to put on our holiday list of wishes. I also included a small list of other ideas for each person. I always tell my kids that I like to have several suggestions from them so that they will be surprised at what we get for them. They do not expect everything on their list. I like having all the ideas right in my planner because then I can have that information for birthdays or if they want to later save up their own money for a purchase.

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A big message I try to emphasize for the holidays is that giving is what it’s all about. Having a section about what gifts we want to give, and the cards we want to send is an important part of this planner.

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I also like to keep a log of “gifts received” because it helps me keep track of who I want to give gifts to, and it’s a great planning record for years to come.

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Food is one of my favorite things about the holidays (and any day for that matter!). I love to collect recipes to try out and of course there are the tried and true favorites that we must have each year.

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One of the best practices we have in our family, is taking the time to review and reflect upon major events. Scrapbookers are very good at this! When we finish a big project, we like to make a list of what went “right” and what could “be improved”. I’m going to include a “DO and DON’T” page right in my planner to keep track of these tidbits of advice pertaining to the holiday season. I already have quite a few filled in from previous years.

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CUSTOMIZING YOUR OWN PLANNER:

There are plenty of other pages you could include in your own planner. I like the idea of setting out a sheet of paper (decorated digi style of course!) for guests to sign when they come to visit. Then this could later be added to the planner. You could do the same with visits you make, just take your planner along with you and have your friends and family write small notes to you in it.

The planning binder is a great place to store memorabilia that you collect throughout the season. Programs from musical performances, recipes from magazines, party invitations, and even colored pictures from your kids can all be kept safe and wrinkle-free in your holiday planner.

Feel free to make this project work for you by customizing the templates, ideas, and ingredients to your own needs. I’d love to see what you do with your own planner so please share yours in our flickr group, or leave a comment (and link if possible) here on the blog. I will share mine again in a “Funtastic Friday” post in December so you can see how I’m using my own system. It would be fun to also include links to some planners made by our readers as well.

P.S. If you need some holiday ideas to get you in the festive mood, be sure to check out last Wednesday’s post on Christmas in October!

katie

Freebie 411 and some links to share

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One of the best things about starting out in digital scrapbooking is that there are so many freebies out there! It’s nice that you can try digi scrapping out using free supplies so you don’t have to make a big price commitment up front. I (Katie) started out with freebies from 2Peas and from The Shabby Princess and I quickly became a paying customer at both sites. Even after years of digital scrapbooking, I still love and appreciate free goodies, but I have found that I’m much more selective now about what I download.

A “freebie” in the digi world is something (usually supplies) you can download to your own computer for free. Designers and stores give away free stuff in order to attract new customers, reward current customers, and generate new traffic and interest in their designs. It takes a lot of effort to put together anything to share online, so no matter how big or small the gift is, the designer invested valuable time in creating and posting it.

Customers love freebies because they get to try out new designers without any risk. If they don’t like the free gift, they don’t have to download it – or they can later delete it from their files. Many times a free gift is an add on to something a customer might have purchased from the designer. Quick pages, extra embellishments, or matching word art can be a fun reward for a customer who purchased a full kit.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD SIDE OF FREEBIES:

  • COST: As a former designer, I have been on both sides of the freebie. I have given away my own creations as well as downloading countless gifts from other designers. The saying “nothing in life is free” also applies to the digital scrapbook community. The freebie costs the designer time (money) and even bandwidth costs in some cases (if the designer hosts it on their own server instead of uploading to a file sharing site, each time the item is downloaded, it costs the designer money). The freebie also costs the consumer time to unzip, use, and file the gift. If your storage space is at a premium, the free download also costs precious gigs on your hard drive.
  • PIRACY: Even free things can be stolen. If a designer or store is offering a free gift to attract sales and traffic, then they should receive at least one of those things in return. The majority of scrappers who download a free gift, might not go on to purchase something from the designer or store who offered the freebie. Visiting the blog or site where the gift is offered does increase their visibility and might result in future sales or more customer loyalty. Only download freebies from the original source and don’t give them away or share them with others (send them to the original source).
  • QUALITY: The great thing about the internet is that anyone can create and share something. The bad thing about the internet is that anyone can create and share something. There is no “quality control” like you will find in a well-established online store. If the freebie creator isn’t selling somewhere established, they might be just starting out. I know plenty of designers who began their careers by offering freebies. It could also be that the designs are not high quality enough to sell anywhere. Even though the price is free, the “buyer” (downloader) should beware. One thing I hear from those who use only freebies is that they can’t tell the difference and they are sure they are getting good quality supplies. I would encourage you to consider the source and to pay attention to detail. Zoom in on the embellishments and look for jagged edges and stray pixels. Compare quality to a kit from a respected designer and see if you can tell the difference. You are spending precious time putting these elements onto pages with your pictures and special memories. Be sure they look good!

SOME THOUGHTS ON FREEBIES FROM SOME OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Sunghee – I used to collect them so much when I first started digi scrapbooking, but ended up deleting most of them. Those were the files that I download just because it was free regardless whether I liked the style or not. Now, I only download the ones that I like and if I already don’t have the similar ones. I love the quality of the freebies that the well-known digi stores and designers give out. For me, I don’t know how one can only use the freebies and not be tempted to buy all the gorgeous digi kits!
  • Melissa S. – I went through the crazy freebie hunter stage. Though I used freebies a lot in my first year of scrapping I then narrowed down to only downloading stuff I loved. Now I still DL freebies but only from my fave designers.
  • Jenny B. – I love freebies, but as my stash has grown, I’ve become more selective.  I only download stuff I really like now.  I think it’s a great way to get started, though.  When I first started, I got all the freebies I could from Shabby Princess, and slowly started buying kits from the Shabby Shoppe.  At first, I was very loyal to that store, and couldn’t understand why anyone would use anything else. Smiley I slowly started branching out, though, and trying new designers.  I like to try out a designer with a freebie, and then if I like the quality and the style suits me, I’ll go back and buy something.  I think it’s OK to rely solely on freebies, but you have to realize that you’re limiting yourself.  I get most of my freebies from designers’ blogs and stores.  I sign up for their newsletters so I know when to go grab a freebie.  I also follow Digital Daisy’s Hand Picked Freebies blog, but I never download everything she posts.  Even if I liked all of it, I don’t want to spend that much time downloading, unzipping, and filing.

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We here at The Daily Digi love a good freebie just as much as anyone else, but we also pride ourselves in recommending quality products to our readers. Whether we are posting on the page on the site where we recommend freebies, in twitter, or on facebook, we are always careful to only link to freebies from designers/stores that we know the quality of and trust. Our enabling posts are not just about supporting the designers who contribute to the Digi Files (although we LOVE them!), but we also point out products of good quality that we find and love, no matter who designed them. Freebies are no different than a purchased kit in our mind because they both take up valuable time and space in your digi stash.

SOME ADDITIONAL FREEBIES WE RECOMMEND: (all images are linked)

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Some frames by Ange

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Happy Downloading!

katie

P.S.  Jennifer A was the random winner from Karah’s post yesterday!  She won $25 in product from Karah’s store!  THANKS to everyone that took time to post!  Jennifer, check your inbox.