For most of us, holiday memories run together into a big blur. Was it '89 or '90 that Aunt Martha knitted everyone reindeer sweaters? Who started the tradition of putting coal in Dad's stocking? When was the last white Christmas? To keep each year in focus, don't stuff memora-
bilia into drawers. Organize it and put it on display for all to enjoy.If you're already a scrapbooker, the materials you have on hand will serve you well: die cuts, calligraphy markers, colored pencils and papers, rubber stamps and inks, embossing powders, sheet protectors, photo corners, glue sticks and, of course, an album, whether prebound or expandable.
But just for your holiday project, visit the crafts store again for seasonal stickers and decorative art punches (like trees, candles and angels) to dress up your scrapbook paper. Bring home a few packages of gold, red and silver stick-on stars.
Also stock up on special holiday papers with preprinted motifs: peppermints, candles, reindeer or tartan plaids. Not only will these act as the actual scrapbook pages, but they also can serve as mats for your snapshots. Just be sure all of the materials are acid-free, which means they will not damage your photos over time.
Now that you've done all the shopping, it's time to divide photos into themes. It could be your children's first Christmases, visits with Santa, finding and trimming the family tree, sleigh riding, New Year's Eve or Hanukkah celebrations. Play with your photo arrangements on paper before committing them to the scrapbook using your glue stick. Make each page tell a story. Caption lavishly with festive gold and silver metallic pens.
Crop photos however you like, and use small detail scissors for cutting out precise silhouettes of people. Using specialty scissors, which you can buy by the bagful nowadays, create fancy edges like deckle and zigzag on both photo mats and the photos themselves. Perhaps the easiest way to frame a photo is with stick-on photo corners, or just draw a simple pattern of holly leaves and berries around your pictures with a pen.
Sprinkle children's letters to Santa, gift tags and hand-drawn cards among the photos, not to mention ticket stubs to holiday shows or programs from house tours and school plays.
If you fall in love with scrapbook paper that isn't acid free, keep originals in clear pockets, envelopes or sleeves that create an acid-free barrier between contents and page. You could even make your own pocket on the page by sewing a small stocking on and stuffing in keepsakes. Sew on with thread or use glue.
Decorate the cover with holiday ribbons and bows attached with a glue gun. As well, use greeting cards old and new as artwork. You don't have to use them whole: Cut out motifs like wreaths and holly berries, just like you would with decoupage. Finish with acrylic sealer.
A tip for 1999: Duplicate photos and add a paper-punch hole to hang them right on your holiday tree with ribbons. What better way to ornament your home than with family and friends?
To order a year's subscription to the Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazine, call 1-800-840-8056 and mention this newspaper. The low price of $19.95 for six issues is a savings of $9.75 off the yearly newsstand price. Only Mastercard and Visa orders will be accepted.