New Year’s Greeting Cards For the Win!

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to send out well wishes, don’t you agree? So whether you truly get behind the significance of the Gregorian calendar, or you simply didn’t get your act together in time to send out holiday greeting cards: NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW. Sending out a Happy New Year card just makes you seem early, thoughtful and totally on top of it – I mean you got a card out in January – the first month of the year. You win!

New Years Cards

Beyond your impressive punctuality, friends and family member will be thrilled to have a photo card to post on their fridge that doesn’t seem seasonally out of place for the rest of the year. They’ll love that they don’t have to strategically cut the holly berries and snowflakes from the corners of your card so they can cherish your adorable photos after December’s red-and-green overload.

So choose some great photos, pick one of Mixbook’s fabulous New Year’s cards, and head into 2015 without so much as looking back! Here are a few of our faves:

Striped Collage
Choose a series of five photos to populate the bright yellow-and-white striped design that sends an unequivocally upbeat message.

Striped New Years Card

Happy New Year
The full-bleed layout of this minimalist design lets you extend a beautiful photograph from border to border. A modern sans serif typeface keeps your wishes simple and lovely.

New Years Cards

Rustic New Year
A versatile horizontally oriented photograph fits perfectly within two bands of rustic wood planks with well wishes printed in happy colors.

New Year's Cards

Chalked New Years
Fresh and modern, this chalkboard backed card features fun typefaces in an array of vibrant colors set next to your vertically oriented photograph.

New Year's Cards

Modern New Year Collage
Showcase a series of 3 photos in this simple triptych format, or convert your images to black-and-white to create a unified theme among disparate shots. The overall composition of this card is thoughtful and serene – just the thing you wish for everyone you love after the craze of the holidays.

New Year's Photo Cards

New Year Cheer
Marquis lights make the word “cheers” shine simply and beautifully against your favorite pic, which makes a lovely way to toast everyone you love at the start of the year.

New Year's Greeting Card

Happy Mixbooking! Happy New Year!

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DIY Holly Leaf Drink Markers

We’re excited to announce that Gloria from Little White Whale will be sharing a few of her favorite DIY crafts on our blog this season! If you’re getting ready to host a holiday party, here’s a crafty way to keep your party classy and your drinks distinguished with festive DIY holly leaf markers.

My name is Gloria, and I’m a web designer with a crafty streak who blogs over at Little White Whale! I love dreaming up fun and easy DIY projects, and I have a slight obsession with whimsical design, bad puns, Pinterest, and horror movies. I currently live in Brooklyn with my husband and our mischievous French bulldog, Toby.

Gloria

LITTLE WHITE WHALE:  BLOG  //  STUDIO  //  TWITTER  //  PINTEREST

Little White Whale DIY holly nametags 1

My husband and I host an annual pot luck holiday party for our friends, and it’s always so much fun to catch up with everyone over delicious food and cocktails well into the night. What’s NOT so fun, however, are the cups littered across our apartment because no one can keep track of their drink! I’m determined to curb the abandonment problem this year with a crafty solution – cute holly leaf drink markers!

What you’ll need:

  • green cardstock
  • a printer
  • a pair of scissors
  • a hole punch
  • a pen or marker
  • festive straws
DIY holly nametags steps
  1. Print and cut out out this holly leaf template
  2. Fold the edge of the cardstock over about 1 inch
  3. Place the holly leaf along the folded edge and trace around it
  4. Cut out the leaves, then punch a hole at the rounded end
  5. Write your guest’s name on it, and slip it over the straw
  6. Drop it into a freshly made cocktail

DIY holly nametags

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DIY Holiday Paper Ornaments

If you and your kids are starting to get into the holiday spirit, you’re in good company. There are tons of ideas out there for ways to celebrate the holidays—one of which is by creating your own decorations! Those indoor winter days can be long, so give the kids a project that will keep them busy, fill them with satisfaction and give them some holiday cheer.

We’re making it easy for you and your kids to make adorable ornaments, and all you need are scissors, ribbon or string, paper and a glue stick. Each of these three ornaments can be created in just a few easy steps.

Holiday Ornaments

Let’s start with the dove. For this one, we have a printable template that will guide you through. Start by cutting out the dove in the Dove Ornament Template. You’ll see the body shape, wings and additional feathers.

DoveTemplateDepending on how you or your kids prefer to decorate, you can color in the parts either before you cut or afterwards. Be creative! Use markers, glitter, wrapping paper, stickers or anything else you would like to decorate using colors, themes or simply your imagination. Once the decorating is done and the pieces are cut, simply cut a slit in the dove and fan out the wings and feathers. Then, attach a pretty ribbon to the top and it’s ready to hang!

Another fun ornament is a simple, pretty design that you could do in lots of different ways. One thing that would make this a really fun, eye-catching ornament is to use metallic paper. You could use any combination of metallic colors that suit your fancy, and it’s as easy as cutting a few strips and pasting them together on both ends.

Holiday Ornaments

Finally, if your tastes tend toward the classic designs, you can try this ball-based ornament. Again, you can color each circle however you like. Use metallic paper, markers, ribbons or scraps, or anything else you have around the house. For this ornament, it helps to use a glass or other round object as a tracing tool so that you know you’re cutting perfect circles. You could decorate each circle the same, or mix and match colors and textures. Regardless, you can hang these gems on the tree, around the house, on doorknobs, or anyplace that needs a little extra holiday spark!

Ornament Supplies Remember, in addition to making ornaments for your own decorations, they also make great gifts! A huge part of the holiday season is giving to others, and gifts need not be expensive. A gift from the heart—one that you or your children made with the recipient in mind—is the best gift of all. They can be simple and sweet or fancy and eye-catching. Regardless of how you create your ornaments, they are sure to add some holiday cheer to any room or household.

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Mixbook’s Top Year In Review Card Ideas

Everyone loves a holiday photo card, especially when it depicts the whole family – not just the kids! And everyone loathes the 10-page holiday newsletter that goes into painful detail about everything under the sun – with extra space reserved for ailments and illnesses. But it’s nice to get the broad strokes of what friends and family members have been up to. A Mixbook-designed year-in-review card is the perfect way to go, with predefined space for short and sweet details about proud moments and milestones. Here’s a look at our top year-in-review cards – and how to know which one’s right for you this holiday.

Year in Review Card

Just the Facts, Ma’am
If your year was filled with milestones, fill family and friends in on a few details with a newsletter in the form of a photo card. Keep the details short and lighthearted for an uplifting review of the past twelve months.

“Chalk Year in Review”
Chalk Year in Review Card“Family Top 10″
Family Year in Review Card
“Mod Year in Review”
Mod Year in Review Card“A Year Filled With Joy”
Year in Review Card Idea

All the News that’s Fit to Print
Use a favorite photo or series of photos from the year to create a family newsletter­–style Christmas card. Mixbook’s Vintage Year in Review card makes room for sharing major milestones, family highlights as well as overarching thankfulness. And Mixbook’s Family Report card employs fun infographics to create a spoof on a business breakdown of family trends.

“North Pole News”
Year In Review Card Ideas “Family Report”
Year in Review Card Ideas “Vintage Year in Review”
Vintage Year in Review Card

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
If you have four or five great photos that work nicely in relation to one another, a collage format like Mixbook’s Color Block Holiday Collage, Transparent Year in Review, or A Year To Remember is a great way to bring together a few visual expressions of the past year. Friends and family members will love seeing the big highlights all in one place. On the reverse of the card there’s plenty of room to reminisce or send well wishes. You can either write up a little summary of your family’s year or convey your hope that friends and family will have a New Year filled with peace, joy and prosperity. Or, of course, you can do both!

Year in Review IdeasYear in Review CardA Year To Remember

Yearly Review Thumbnail Collage
If you have a photo for every month of the past year, consider creating card that features twelve pictures. A layout like this is ideal for showing the growth of a baby or a new puppy over the course of a year. But you can also use it to show the progress on a building project or anything else you’ve toiled away at for the entire year. Use the back of the card to showcase a large image of the final product, whether that’s a smiling child or a sparkling new paint job as the final touch on the house renovation project. And because the thumbnail images are set in frames that are uniform in size, you don’t need to worry about the images themselves “matching” or even being of the same scale. The grid format of the pictures will impose enough of a standard on the composition that your card will look great no matter what the pictures feature. So you can count your blessings from an entire year through pictures – and also be grateful that it’s incredibly easy to put together and send out a card like this.

Year in Review Collage

Happy Mixbooking! Happy reminiscing!

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Tips for Taking Fabulous Family Photos

It’s fun to capture the moments of your life in photos – and, when you get that great shot of your kids, friends or family members, it can feel like a huge accomplishment. However, too often we get excited for that perfect shot, only to see that something doesn’t look quite right. We have some tips for you to be a better photographer. Not even the best photographers get perfect pictures every time, but we can give you a few pointers so that you can set up your photos with a little extra expertise… say “cheese”!

Tips for Taking Fabulous Family Photos

Composition

Avoiding the “row of heads”

First, if you are doing family portraits with a lot of adults, or with any people who are approximately the same height, avoid having a row of heads. By having some people sit, others stand, and maybe some kneeling or on chairs, you will create a more pleasing and interesting composition.

Composition

Second, if you’re shooting a family portrait that involves both adults and children, it can be hard to get both children and adults into the frame if everyone is standing in a row. It’s best to have the adults sit or crouch so that they are close to the children’s heights. That way, you can see everyone’s faces without an awkward disconnect between heights.

composition tip Composition Tip

Close the gaps

Family togetherness? Yes! If you’re photographing a group, avoid awkward gaps. The closer everyone is physically, the more connected they will appear in the photo.

Close the gaps

Capture movement with natural posture

Remember, too, that your subjects aren’t robots. That means that your photos will look awkward if they’re too stiff. Encourage people to move, bend and have a natural posture when you’re taking their pictures.

kidskids

Let subjects be a little off-center

Finally, keep in mind that not every photo has to have your subjects exactly in the center. Sometimes, the people appear even more enhanced when they are off to the side with something interesting in the background.

Angles

Be eye-level with your subject

The angle from which you shoot your subjects can make a huge difference in how people appear. For example, if you’re shooting from below face-level, you could get unflattering double chins. It’s better to shoot from above or at eye-level.

stancestance

… or have a fun angle, like from above!

Experiment with fun angles, especially if you’re photographing children. Try kneeling so that you are ground-level with the kids, or shoot from above while kids are lying down.

Kids kids

Lighting

Using a direct light source

If you’re taking indoor photos, avoid relying on only overhead light. Instead, use lamps or, if it’s a darker day, a direct light source.

Direct Light Source Tip

Avoiding backlighting

The next important concept is avoiding backlighting. In order to get indirect light, move your subject to the side if you can. Twilight and dusk are the two best times to shoot photos outdoors.

Avoid Backlight

Fun!

Remember, photography is about capturing the essence of the moment – not about ensuring that everyone looks perfect. You want to remember your loved ones for how they actually are, not as perfectly posed images worthy of a greeting card. That means let the kids laugh, play and have fun. Even if you’re trying to get a group, you can have everyone doing a little something different or fun. Your photos will be that much better if people’s personalities are able to shine!

Photo Tips

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