Author Archive | Julie Tiu

Book Review | Make and Takes for Kids by Marie LeBaron

Reported by Julie Tiu

Sometimes (more often than you might think) I run out of crafty ideas. Really. Enter Marie LeBaron, founder and managing editor at Make and Takes. Her book Make and Takes for Kids: 50 Crafts Throughout the Year arrived on my doorstep and I devoured it cover-to-cover.

Marie LeBaron uses her background in early childhood development and her creative edge to develop kid-friendly projects. But what sets this book apart is the fact that she outlines learning objectives and skills associated with the projects. The creative process is the focus for the kids, not necessarily the final product. However, if you’re looking for inspiration to make new things to sell, this is not your book – personal use only.

The projects are organized by months with four projects per month, some have five. The colorful book is beautifully layed out.

And, like a good educator, LeBaron gives a nice overview (at the beginning of the book) of basic supplies needed, which you probably have lying around in your house or they’re easily found at a craft supply store. The “simple instructions” for seasonal and holiday creations, edible and decorative, are exactly spot-on.

We tried the Paper Spiral Christmas tree project with some supplies we have in our stockpile.

Not too shabby working on identifying shapes, cutting and fine motor skills. My kids and I can’t wait to try more!

Available in most bookstores and online ($13-$19).

Have you picked up your copy of “Make and Takes for Kids”? What are your kid crafting book picks this season? Let us know in the comments!



Review | Disney Parks Scrapbook Supplies

Reported by Julie Tiu

Have you ever toted your scrapbooking tools and supplies on vacation? And while on vacation, do you find yourself scouring the local stores for supplies because you’ve run out? I vacationed in Walt Disney World this summer, and was nicely surprised at the availability of paper goods. And, if you’re wondering if they are more expensive than your local supply store – they are actually similar in price.

At almost every gift or memorabilia store, you will find a section with photo albums, scrapbooking supplies, stickers, writing tools and even scissors!

This “Four Parks, One World” WDW Deluxe Scrapbook Kit retails for $22.95 at the park shops. It contains stickers, die-cuts and themed pages. All coordinated for your convenience.

These paper edgers are also offered at stores… how about those Mickey ears? These scissors retail for approximately $9.00

And what about some rubber stamps to complete your set? The Minnie Mouse Wooden stamp set costs about $17.

I will admit that I was way too busy having fun with my kids and husband at the Disney parks. Crafting on vacation never seems to work out even though I bring along a marker set and scissors (in a checked bag – if we’re flying). But Disney does an incredible job at making sure you have absolutely everything you need to have a magical time at their locations – even for us crafty vacationers.

Have you used Disney scrapbook paper or supplies? Did you buy them while on vacation or from your local store? How did you capture your vacation moments? Let us know in the comments!

SMASH Portfolio and Accessories by K & Company

Reported by Julie Tiu

Picture courtesy of

SMASH. “Your Life. Your stuff. Your book.” The SMASH line of products by EK Success is HUGELY popular in the crafting world. How else would you describe an item that has people putting their names on a waiting list for journals at their local scrapbooking store? It happened to me.

Craft Critique wrote about SMASH in January – and fans were eager for it to hit the stores.  K & Company promised more supplies this summer, and they delivered.

  • SMASHpad: 30 sheets of inspiration for writing down random thoughts
  • SMASHpockets: for stashing clipped pieces and other doo-dads
  • Captions, Tabs and Flags: for embellishing your journal
Pages from Travel SMASHpad, my favorite product in the line

The line contains 34 products in total, including mini journals, calendars and the original journal (7.75″ x 10.25″).

Here’s my brand new Retro Blue SMASH Folio
Folios come with a SMASHstick – the glue works great!

What is the allure of this journaling system when so many people like DIY-journals? It saves some time. The ready-made pads, captions and tags can guide your journal entries. SMASH Folios are handy: they come with a SMASHstick (a fine-tipped, acid-free pen and glue stick), they’re portable, and the pages are pre-printed with kitschy graphics.

Hello, there!

“Live it UP. Glue it down & SMASH it in.” It can’t get any easier than this. For the veteran scrapbooker who enjoys precise layouts and design, this might be a way to unleash the not-so-organized, wild-child within. For the non-scrapbook or journaling person, consider this another medium to play with. Maybe you’ll be able to start that “one page” you’ve been wanting to, but haven’t figure out how. SMASH is liberating!

From something utilitarian like home decorating…
…  to some documenting from a long time ago (1999, for real. I’ve been hanging on to stuff).
Clippings, business cards, maps from a trip to Montreal.
Cool tabs! (Yes, I’m crafting in my car.)
Chocolate candy bar wrappers can be art too.

It’s a work in progress really, and oh so nice to use. I can’t wait to pick up a Date SMASHstamp, more tabs and captions. This product is simply SMASHing!


  • Folios are very portable and well-made.
  • The glue stick and pen combination – fantastic. Glue worked well on regular weight paper, light cardstock and all the SMASHpad pages.
  • Themed collections have great graphics.


  • Stores may run out of stock due to popularity.
  • DIY-ers could be turned off by SMASH’s “all-in-one” type of system.
  • I only had trouble with the tabs (heavier cardstock) adhering to the page. Used some double stick tape when my glue stick wasn’t working as well.

SMASH Folios cost approximately $12.99 (MSRP) and accessories start at $1.99.

How do you SMASH? If you’re new to the product, what would you use it for? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment!