Same Design, New Look

One thing I love about scrapping is that you can use a basic design and give it different looks.  This new page uses the same general layout as in my last post.  I changed up the colors, embellishments, and layering to make these two layouts unique.

Let’s start with how these two layouts are alike.  Each page started with a very busy pattern that I wanted to feature on the page.  I gave them lots of real estate and balanced them out with a neutral.  Each layout has a border strip of some sort between the two background papers.  I also placed the titles in relatively the same positions.  Yes, it sounds so very formulaic.  It is!  Sometimes you just need to go with what you know.

How do I keep two very similar pages from looking like carbon copies?  I begin with different color schemes.  The “Autumn Girl” layout is completely fall themed.  It features orange, blue, brown, green, and a lovely brick red.  It is the epitome of autumn in all of its wondrous glory.  (And hey, the pumpkins definitely add to that theme.)  Contrast that with the pink, yellow, grey, and black My Mind’s Eye papers of “right now.”  The color palette is limited to pink, yellow, black, and gold resulting in a feminine chic vibe.  (At least that’s what I’m calling it.)

In order to shake up the design a bit, I did more with the second layout.  Notice all of those layers behind the photo?  I used papers of varying sizes and colors to create a larger mat.  Not only did I incorporate more papers, I also created larger embellishment clusters.  I used the clusters to frame the photo in a pretty substantial way.  They aren’t the small accents that you see in “Autumn Girl” that almost fade into the background.  The embellishments on “right now” are large, have dimension, and include a little bling.

Do I worry about using the same design more than once?  Not at all.  These two beauties won’t even be in the same scrapbook.  And if they were, I still wouldn’t think twice about it.  I’ve changed them up enough that no one would ever notice the similarities.  Chances are, I will use this same idea again a time or two.  Next time I think I will rotate the page 90 degrees for a whole new look.


Simply on a Roll

Do you go through phases when you are scrapping?  It seems that I am currently in the mood to use very few products.  To be fair, I have rarely used a ton of product.  (Though I can remember at least one occasion where I ran wild.  I guess the lighthouse layout found here was just begging me to throw everything I owned on it.)  Lately I am finding that less is more.

There are some definite advantages to going with a simple style.  One of the most obvious advantages is the cost of supplies.  The fewer supplies used, the more money you save.  (Okay, maybe you aren’t saving money.  You just aren’t spending as much.)  Supplies are expensive.  Sometimes we need to scrapbook on a budget.

For me, a simple design also equates to more pages scrapped.  I’m a sloooooooooooooooow scrapbooker.  Generally a page takes me an hour and a half or longer to create.  Today’s layout took me 30-45 minutes.  That means I got to work on 2 pages in one day.  That almost never happens.

By going with fewer products on a page, I am also able to better draw the focus where I want it.  In my layout below, I wanted to highlight 2 things.  First and foremost, I wanted to draw the viewer’s eye to the photo.  (Yes, please look at that adorable girl!)  There aren’t a lot of embellishments to distract you from the photo.  Secondly, I wanted that beautiful tree paper to be on show.  I made sure not to cover it up or use competing patterns.  (Btw, that blue dot paper behind the photo is the reverse side of that tree print.)

Autumn Girl

One other thing that helped me put together a simple page is that I scrapped using a collection.  The papers and stickers come from Bella Blvd. in their Thankful collection.  (Which I evidently purchased in 2012 and NEVER OPENED.)  I didn’t have to try to find papers that worked together because that work was already done for me.  (Okay, so I did pull the green dot paper from a 6×6 pad, but only because I didn’t want to cut into another 12×12 paper.)  The alpha stickers were guaranteed to be a perfect match because they came with the papers.

So now I challenge you to go simple.  Limit your papers and embellishments.  Make that frugal scrapbook page!  I know you can create something simply elegant.


Simple Designs

I absolutely love looking at incredibly intricate scrapbook designs.  In fact, when I started my scrapbooking journey, that’s what I thought I would do.  I had envisioned incredible layers that were distressed just right covered with a million flowers and metal embellishments.  For some reason, that didn’t work out for me.  I don’t know why.  It seems like a perfect match for a girl that grew up as a tomboy and now is an adult who has no time.

Honestly, it seems like the more I put on a page, the more muddled it becomes.  I begin adding too many colors, too many motifs, too many layers that begin to clash.  The page has no cohesive flow.  (I think that’s what is happening to the page that I am stuck on right now.  I’m trying to do too much in that 12 x 12 space.)  So for now, I’m trying to reign in the papers and embellishments to create a better design.

When I decided to scrap these photos of my niece’s wedding, I knew I needed to go simple.  The photos deserved to be the star of the show.  I was determined to limit both the colors used and the number of embellishments.

The photos were truly the guide for my choices on this layout.  I was inspired to use natural elements.  The woodgrain background seemed like a good choice to go along with the trees.  The paper behind the photos has a subtle leaf print.  Additionally, I chose the navy and teal floral.  Once I had my photos and papers glued, something wasn’t quite right.  It was a bit too simple.  I needed a third color to go with the neutrals.  I chose green, the color that was so predominant in the photos.  The addition of the green ribbon and that scalloped sticker helped tie everything together.


Who can make a wedding layout without hearts?  So off into my embellishments I went to find some hearts.  I came upon a Thickers pack with gold hearts and words.  After perusing it a bit, I thought “smitten” was a cute title.  (And I must say that it is a very underused word indeed!)  I pulled a few more chipboard hearts and a lovely doily sticker.  As I was laying everything out, “smitten” was just floating down there on the woodgrain.  It needed a home!  A couple of scraps later (staying within the color scheme), I had a cute little banner for the title.

Sometimes it is good to stay simple.  In this case it allowed the bride and groom to be the star of the show.  I couldn’t be happier.


Another Not-So-Perfect Layout

As much as I don’t like to share my less than lovely pages, I really do think it is important.  I think it does the crafting community a disservice if we only share our successes.  As a beginning scrapbooker, I felt a bit like a failure when all I saw were design team pages that were virtually flawless.  My pages never came close to those works.  Really, they still don’t.  Time and a decade of experience has given me a better perspective.  Even those designers don’t hit it out of the park every time.  We just never get a chance to see the other pages that have flaws.

I also strongly believe that we learn from our mistakes.  (I guess that’s the teacher in me.)  If I don’t like a page, I want to take the time to reflect and figure out why.  So, in part, posts like this are for my own benefit.  And who knows, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes.

This Christmas layout is less than stellar.  I knew when I was making it that something wasn’t quite right.  Usually when I’m in the middle of the process I can’t identify what is off about a layout.  Now when I look at it, certain things are obvious.

Christmas greetings

Problem #1:  There are too many patterns.  The stripes against chevrons against snowflakes makes this a bit of a visual nightmare.  I could have solved this problem in a couple of ways.  I could have substituted the snowflake pattern with a solid or a subtle tone on tone paper.  A dark brown (which I had out on my desk) could have made this page easier on the eye.  Another solution would have been to separate each paper by a thin strip of a solid cardstock.  I would still have all of the patterned papers, but the separation would keep them from competing as much.

Problem #2:  The placement of embellishment clusters is wrong.  When making a layout, I generally place my embellishments in one of two ways.  The first way is what I did here.  I tried to make three embellishment clusters around the photos.  It is supposed to frame the photos in order to emphasize them.  Why didn’t this work?  The two embellishment areas to the left of the photos strongly outweigh the small cluster to the right.  It makes the whole layout seem out of balance.  The other way of embellishing, on a diagonal, would have worked so much better.  My embellishments should have run from the top right down to the bottom left.  If I had just moved the cluster with the hat to the upper right corner, this layout would have flowed so much better.

Will I redo this page?  No.  I learn from my mistakes (well, sometimes) and move on to the next project.  We need to learn to give ourselves a little grace.  If you are an imperfect scrapbooker, welcome to the club!  It’s a much larger club than you realize.

Oversized Alphas

I admit that a number of my layouts are product driven.  So many things that I purchased when I first started scrapbooking just didn’t work for me.  Oversized alphabet stickers seemed great in theory, but I was not sure how to use them.  Of course I had bought several sets before I understood my scrapbooking needs.

Large letters, though dramatic on a page, do create some challenges.  Chances are, you will only have room to fit one large font word on your layout.  Not only that, but it will most likely need to be a short word.  (Though I can picture a longer word that is split up over several lines to form a column on the page.  Hrm… I may need to try that.)  Most alphabets of grandiose size also have fewer letters.  You simply aren’t going to find the 4 e’s you are wanting to use.

Keeping that in mind, I set out on finding a way to use this brick red Basic Grey sticker set.  Knowing that I wanted a short word, I settled on “bell” to match a photo of the Liberty Bell.  (Not a great photo since it appears that legs and feet are growing out of the bottom of the bell.)  I paired that with another Basic Grey alphabet that was smaller to create my title.  I loved the scripty writing for the “Liberty.”  Those two letter sets just worked fabulously well together.

Liberty Bell

The layout is a fairly simple one.  I wanted the title to have a big impact and then draw you to the photo.  I am pretty proud of this one.  Just please ignore the number of motifs going on here.  (Flowers, stars, hearts, clouds, numbers, and circles?)  That definitely breaks the no more than 3 rule.

I really think my favorite part of this page is the embellishment cluster in the upper left.  For once I managed to space everything just right.  It’s really not easy to make unconnected elements look naturally placed.  (Well, at least not for me.  I won’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to float sequins on a card or page only to remove them in frustration.)

Liberty Bell details

I would love to see what you have done with these oversized fonts.  There are more alpha sheets in my stash just waiting for some inspiration.

Sticker Sneeze

I was totally on a roll with layouts I really liked.  It was bound to come to a screeching halt.  This page doesn’t work for me.  I *want* to like it.  I just don’t.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  It isn’t as if the world has come to an end.  When this happens, I try to analyze what went wrong.

Oh My Stacks

There are a couple of issues going on here.  First, I think the floral and the navy paper should have something separating them.  A floral and a geometric just aren’t great side by side.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Most likely all of my focus was on color, and I completely ignored the patterns.

My second mistake was the complete snicker sneeze on this page.  Just to be clear… every single embellishment on this page is a sticker.  WHAT?!  There are no die cuts, wood veneers, chipboard pieces, tin pins, flowers, buttons, brads, or enamel dots.  How could I do this?  I know to use a variety of materials.  Variety keeps a page interesting.  It gives a page texture.  Stickers just fall flat, because they are flat!  I know I recognized the problem as I was creating the page because I popped up some of the hearts and included puffy stickers.  It wasn’t enough.

Still, the page isn’t all bad.  I really do like the top two embellishment clusters that are smaller. Somehow the compactness of those clusters keep them looking nice.  That’s what I will try to replicate in the future.


Pins, Organization, and Questions

I get a ridiculous amount of inspiration from the things people have pinned.  Let’s face it.  Sometimes I need something to keep me going.  Maybe I’ve just run out of creative ideas, but still want to get some photos scrapped or a card made.  Or maybe I need to get out of a rut.  (Ever get into those?)  So I spend a lot of time pinning things for later use.  This ultimately leads to a problem.  I have thousands of scrappy pins on my boards.

It also appears that my messy nature in real life has filtered into the digital world.  My scrapbooking board currently has 1,800 pins.  Obviously, that isn’t all that helpful when I’m searching for something I want to use.  In order to alleviate my constant scrolling, I created a “currently using” board.  It was good in theory.  That is, until it reached 125 pins.  (No, I’m not working on 125 projects at once.)  So I added a, “scrap it now” board.  There are only 3 pins on it.  Phew.  As I use pins as inspiration, I move them off to my “been there, done that” board.  This means I am not constantly filtering through the same pins over and over again.  As a bonus, when I want to reference the inspiration source on this blog, I know where to find it.  (Well, except that one layout which I still haven’t located.)

So, for those of you that are organized… what is your secret?  I’m trying to figure out a way to break down those 1,800 pinned layouts.  I have noticed many people break them down by theme, such as pets or summer.  Since I’m looking at the overall composition and not a theme when I scrap, that doesn’t work for me.  I may very well take a layout about kids and spin it into a very different layout about waffles.  (There is indeed a waffle layout in my books.)  Any ideas?

I don’t have any photos to go with this particular post, so I will just leave you with random photos from my weekend.

Emphasizing Motifs

I generally don’t pay much attention to motifs when scrapbooking.  Usually my thought process around motifs goes something like this:  “Maybe I shouldn’t use boats, flowers, birds, butterflies, and chandeliers all on the same page.”  Of course that thought occurs about 5 seconds after I’ve glued everything down.  Too many motifs can make a layout feel disjointed.

So I finally created a layout where I clearly had my motifs in mind before I started.  Honestly, I really like the results.  Why can’t I always be this focused before I begin a page?  Oh yeah, squirrel!


In this case, I had that red and white star paper scrap that I wanted to use.  (You guessed it.  This is another use up the scraps layout.)  I love stars.  This layout was just begging for stars.  I also knew that I wanted to do that stitched circle.  So circles became my second repeated element.  Lastly, I had some arrows that I knew matched the colors of the papers I chose.  (Not to mention the fact that I totally struggle with using arrows.)  I told myself that those were the ONLY motifs I would use.  (I think this is the only layout I’ve ever created that didn’t include flowers, hearts, or butterflies.)

I happily figured out my paper placements and inked the edges with some Black Soot Distress Ink.  Next, I glued the papers together.  However, I did not attach them to the white cardstock background.  I penciled in the circle by tracing a round container.  Then I placed my paper layers to the side, pulled out my embroidery floss, and promptly started watching television.  Let’s face it.  Hand stitching takes forever.  The upside is that once the stitching was done, I just had to plop my already glued paper layers down in place.

Working with such a limited embellishment set was incredible.  I couldn’t just keep digging through my embellishments.  This is what I had to work with, now how was I going to make it work?  I knew I wanted some circular elements to sit on the stitching.  The only issue I ran into was that the blue circle toward the bottom had writing on it that I didn’t want on show.  So I attempted to cover it with the red star.  Okay, not 100 percent successful there.  Still, I was willing to move forward.  The arrows were pretty easy to place.  I felt like my title was “floating.”  One arrow gives it a landing place.  The other 2 help draw your eye to the title and the photo.  A couple of groups of stars later, and done!

yes details

Two Difficult Tasks

I sometimes torture myself.  In this case, I decided to tackle two difficult tasks at once.  First, I wanted to scrapbook some photos that still sting and hurt.  I feel like they need to be scrapped.  I don’t want to avoid them forever.  Second, I wanted to use a collection that doesn’t really speak to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a lovely collection.  One of the papers is actually used in a favorite layout, Purr.  Still, for some reason, it just does not click with me.

In order to make the process easier, I started with a sketch.  That way I could determine how many different papers I would need to pull from the collection.  After browsing my handy dandy pins, I chose a fairly simple and clean sketch from the Let’s Get Sketchy blogspot.  (Can I just say how much I appreciate the other blogs out there that make paper crafting so much easier?)

I knew I wanted to use some orange, because there is a bit of it in the photo.  That led me to choose the blue background as contrast.  To tie everything together, I used the multi-color stripe.  At that point, none of the other papers in the collection really worked.  So I pulled some green from my scraps (Yes, I’m still using scraps!) and went with it.  You’ll notice I also used some black to outline the banner and the circle.  I just felt the patterns needed some separation.

nervous girl

Once the papers were all placed and glued, I pretty much left the sketch behind.  This is my M.O. for using sketches.  I find that because I just eyeball everything,  I can’t follow a sketch exactly.  Rather than beat my head against a desk trying to get it right, I just do my own thing.  First, I moved the title from the lower right corner to up above the photos.  That covered up what was an awkward amount of orange showing up top.  (I admit it.  Most of my process is trying to fix the things that I screwed up.  I like to call it creative problem solving.)  Then I added journaling to the lower right to replace the title.  (See, still trying to fix things.)

For embellishment I chose some chipboard and stickers.  See that “the story” sticker?  Yeah, that’s covering up an ugly messy area in the photo.  And hey, it is strategically placed near my journaling.  By the way, I do a lot of mixing and matching of embellishment lines.  There are at least 5 different collections represented.  (Which may explain why it takes me forever to complete a page.  I look through everything I own.)

Here is a close-up.

nervous details

I think giving myself this double challenge paid off when I look at the final result.  A pretty page was created from supplies and photos that didn’t bring me joy.  I know it may seem silly, but I’m proud of this layout because it was so very hard to create.  Now, let’s go tackle something a little lighter.