Monday, December 1, 2014


Well its that time of the year...its time to get the tinsel out, trim the tree, deck the halls with holly and fill the house with festive cheer. I love Christmas its when I feel the most relaxed after a long busy year and at the same time really excited with anticipation of a bright and happy new year ahead.

Given its Christmas we thought this months Tips and Tricks should be all about Festive Family Traditions. They can be as diverse as the culture and religious practices. Kissing under the Mistletoe or putting up the Christmas tree together. Its all about tradition something which has enough meaning for us to repeat every year. How does this time of the year make you feel? What family traditions do you and your loved ones cherish and how do you celebrate (if you like a right of passage into) the Christmas season and or new year?

 This time of the year for me symbolises summery days and balmy nights, BBQ left overs and fresh salads. Swimming, badminton and loud music with a few cool ones shared amongst friends and family. Its also about remembering our loved ones that are no longer with us. So we light a candle for them in remembrance and toast in their memory with a sparkling vino, nothing like a glass of bubbly to help cement the sentiment! I also try to make or if that fails buy, an annual bauble with the current years date on it. I keep imagining in a generation or two how this will be received...imagine the grandies oohing and ahhing about those old baubles from all those years ago!

So....lets check our

Tip 1: Lighting Up the Tree.
This is the fun part of christmas but can also be a bit tricky especially when it comes to adding those lights, I mean its easy enough to pop them on but when it comes to dismantling your tree do you end up in a laborious tug-o-war resulting with you pulling your hair out and ending up in a big stress ball on the floor along with a tangled mess?

Well, you are going to love this tip. After years as a visual marketer for David Jones I have a very handy tip for dressing your tree with lights. The first step is to buy yourself 3 to 4 X 200 light strands. A tree never looks glorious when sparsely lit, so go all out and as a rule of thumb a tree should have 100 lights per foot of tree. So I have a 6 foot tree and add just that extra 200 lights for good measure.

Now imagine your tree in quarters, each quarter will be filled with lights. Ensuring you leave enough length in the cord so it can be plugged into a power board start looping the lights from the bottom in  a snake like fashion until you reach the top. Make sure you tuck the strand well into the bough  There is nothing worse than actually seeing the strand itself, all we want to be able to see is the lights glowing and sparkling like they are droplets of water from the snow and rain. Repeat this until all 4 quarter segments of the tree are filled with glistening lights.  When it comes to removing them you will be pleasanlty surprised at how easy it'll be!

NB: I recommend using LED lights as they don't heat up and remember to always test your lights first
before installing them just to make sure all the globes work.

Tip 2: Trimming the Tree
Dressing the tree on mass with all your beautiful baubles and decorations is when it begins to really shine! Start with garlands because its easier to wrap the tree without the baubles on. You can try looping around the entire girth of the tree or go a little bit left of centre and drap them. This is where you can really play around with creating a really striking point of interest.

Now its time to add the pretty baubles.  Select one type or colour until they are evenly distributed on the tree before moving onto the next style. That way you are able to create an even symmetrical look and really helps keep the tree from becoming over crowded with the same style of baubles in one area. 

Lastly fill any gaps or bare patches with christmas picks! Oh these are awesome little filler decorations and are well worth the investment at the very beginning as they really dress a tree perfectly when you are just starting out and only have a small collection of decorations. They come in so many different designs and hey you could even make your own customised styles to suit your taste.

NB: When selecting baubles think about the colour and theme. Stick to one whether it be traditional, Bright, Vintage, whimsical or a monochromatic scheme. If you select one colour like white for example, you can easily change it up by buying one box of blue or pink baubles to change the look and feel each year

Tip 3: Counting down with Advent Calendars.
There are so many novel ways to do this fun little tradition and is a great way to involve the kids. You could string each day up or dress your book case with 24 pigeon holes. Another fun idea and easy peasy to create is a small forest of trees each one hiding a gift underneath. Simply form a cone out of cardboard and staple the edges together then dress each one with a number. They look so cute on a mantle or on the dining table.

Tip 4: The Elf on the Shelf.
This is a great way to involve the whole family.  All you have to do is adopt one of Santa's little helpers and see the antics he gets up too. You can even take photos of all this adventures, the kids will love searching for him to see where he is perched and what he's been up too! 

Tip 5: Baking Christmas Goodies Together.
Christmas pudding is on top of the list and generally Grandma or your great Aunt has that covered, so why not try your hand at baking a Gingerbread house and a Gingerbread family to live in it! Some other popular choices would be Shortbread, Mince Pies and a popular dessert here in Australia is the decadent Christmas Trifle, a layered delight of brandy soaked sponge cake, custard, cream, jelly and marshmallow. Oh only a few weeks to go and that trifle will be in my tummy! ha ha

So these are just a few ideas, but with a little trawl through Pinterest or Google you'll find tonnes of inspiration to start your own family traditions!

So now that we have covered the basics on Family festive traditions lets check out this years Christmas Cheer sketches!

'Christmas 2013'
by Lizzy crust
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel

'Eternal Moments'
by Marie Johannson
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "We personally deliver the Christmas cards to friends and family that live nearby. We do this together with my partners best friend and it's a tradition since over 20 years now!"

'Eternal Moments'
by Barbara Sokee
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "Every single Christmas me and my mom get together to make prune tarts, we do make a few apricot too. But my favourite is prune as it brings me back to eating the ones my grandfather mage for Christmas Eve."

'My Little Gift'
by Zeneva Kovic
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "For the last few years we spend the later part of the day building Lego. Later in the day, after a late lunch of prawns and pavalova, we usually go for a stroll along the beach (or a paddle in the waves). A Perfect day."

'Dear Santa'
by Allie-Marie
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "EAT Lots!! We make Christmas slices for our family. I have fond memories of mum and I (and my siblings when they wanted too) spending a day making all these yummy my son and I have carried the tradition on and we spend a day or two making Christmas slices (great teachers gift!!).

Because my son loves to cook, being able to share the same with my boy like I had with my mum is really special to me...although I have to watch the Quality Control he he he"

Created by Ludmila Kodymskaya
Page Drafts Sketch #37.1 by The Nifty Pixel

'Treasured Memories'
by Lizzy Crust
Page Drafts Sketch #37.2 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "We always take a family portrait. So far I have been blessed to have my kids come home for Christmas, but now I realise that as they have partners they may go to their inlays for Christmas photos from the day are always treasured by me."

'Let's Be Merry'
by Zeneva Kovic
Page Drafts Sketch #37.2 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "On the last day of school, the children put the Christmas Tree up at my mothers. Thsi is a tradition that carries on from when I was a young girl."

by Sanna Lippert
Page Drafts Sketch #37.3 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "One of our Christmas traditions is to bake a gingerbread house together and decorate it. When the kids were really small, I used to do the baking and decorating and now they have taken over. It is nice to see them continue this little tradition and to see theor commitment and passion towards it. I hope they will pay it forward to their children one day."

'Christmas 2013'
by Lee-Anne Thornton
Page Drafts Sketch #37.3 by The Nifty Pixel

'Frozen Okotoks'
by Lee-Anne Thornton
Page Drafts Sketch #37.3 by The Nifty Pixel

'Our Story Begins with Us'
by Wendy Bennett
Page Drafts Sketch #37.3 by The Nifty Pixel
Family Tradition: "Its all about getting the annual family photo!"

'Silly Robot'
by Christy Strickler
Page Drafts Sketch #37.3 by The Nifty Pixel

'A Merry Little Christmas'
by Zeneva Kovic 
Page Drafts Sketch #37.4 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "On Christmas Day, the children and I go to church in the morning, have brunch at my mother's, then open the presents."

'Christmas Pajamas'
by Paula Calavinco 
Page Drafts Sketch #37.4 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Christmas Tradition: "Each year for the last 10 or so years we've been taking pictures of all the nieces and nephews on Christmas Eve in their Christmas Pajamas. It's something that the kids look forward to even though some of them are in their late 20's! To see how they have grown, and the addition of boyfriends and husbands is a wonderful tradition. Even family visiting from out of town has been included. This is what the holidays are all about. Traditions that make your family special and unique."

'There is Magic in Believing'
by Natascha Broers
Page Drafts Sketch #37.4 by The Nifty Pixel

'Meryy & Bright'
by Brynn-Marie Dukes
Page Drafts Sketch #37.5 by The Nifty Pixel

'Baby's First Christmas'
by Debbie Standard
Page Drafts Sketch #37.5 by The Nifty Pixel
Artist Family Tradition: "Traditionally we have always tried to go to Christmas Eve services and then come home to let the kids open one present each. Then the kids put out cookies for Santa. When all the kiddos have gone to bed we'd fill the stockings and pull out the hidden presents from Santa. The next morning is a paper nightmare-oohs and ahhhs and screams of excitement. We loved it when they reached the age of getting phones and would have them hidden and then make them start ringing. My mom always bakes cookies for Christmas gifts and so breakfast usually consisted of cookies and milk and of course what candy they found in their stockings. We aren't big turkey fans so after having Thanksgiving Turkey we usually plan a steak dinner for Christmas either at our house or my sisters. I love having all of them together...thats the best gift of all!"

How fantastic were everyones festive traditions and their amazing pages! Thank you so much ladies for your wonderful works of art you have really made this release shine!

Merry Christmas everyone, hope you enjoy the sketches and find some inspiration in them. Have fun over the festive season and stay safe well into the New Year!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas
Em and the Team xox

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  1. wOw!! These are absolutely amazing!! Can't wait to play along!

  2. Well done everyone, these are all stunning creations! Congrats Em on a wonderful new release of sketches!

  3. *squeeee* Everyone's layouts are awesome! Thank you thank you thank you! This was so much fun! You're the best girlie <3

    Paula xoxo

  4. Another fabulous reveal! So merry and cheery!

  5. As always, a post full of gorgeous goodies!!! Fabulous work, girls....& happy Christmas Em!!!

  6. Wow how Christmassy, just divine layouts girls xx Great sketches Em xxx


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