I don't do perfect.
I don't strive for perfection and in most things, I don't really believe perfection is possible, so long as members of a broken humanity are involved and heaven remains at bay. In fact, I'm drawn to imperfection and things that are on the verge of being discarded.
I'm a rescuer of things that, unless you choose to look closely, their value and beauty isn't obvious at first glance.
It's easy to like perfection...doesn't take much depth to embrace something that's perfect. Doesn't take much grace to accept something that doesn't challenge you.
I like easy.
I don't like fussiness.
old...loved but discarded...crumpled...
These are my things.
I crave things that have had life before me and will probably go on after me.
I love antique malls and junk stores, especially those in sleepy little towns with a town square and a cafe that's not a franchise...where they serve sweet tea in Mason jars and biscuits made in cast iron skillets.
I enjoy the fine art of thrifting and going to estate auctions with my brother. Old stuff, out on display. Old frames, old glasses, old books, vintage cameras, Bibles that are tattered and well-read.
I love a house with years on her bones and 6 layers of paint on her walls. If she has a deck made of wood that's gray from the weather, all the better.
I love old songs, old hymns and old music.
I like the smell of old maps and faded books with deckle edge pages.
I treasure old letters and lists, notes and pictures of old people and greeting cards from decades we haven't seen in a long time.
I'm a girl with scars and I don't hide them.
Scars are proof of life.
There are scars on my body and scars on my heart.
I love a man with some gray in his beard and some years in his hands.
Yep, I don't do perfection.
I do pretty.
Keep your Pottery Barn and your Anthropologie.
Give me salt-water washed wood and faded, yellowed, authentic things.
Any day or the week.
Labels: old things
In the past two years, I have moved my scrap space 7 times between two different houses. When we remodeled the Nashville house, I completely packed up my scrapbook space in the bonus room and moved it to a bedroom. A month or so after the renovation was complete, we suddenly decided to put the house on the market, so my scrap space got packed up and sent to storage (some call it decluttering)...except for a few small totes of crafty things that I used to stage the newly renovated craft room downstairs.
Labels: scrap room
So I've been paper-crafting for twenty years.
Twenty years! Wow.
Seems like forever.
In that time, I've done many related tasks in addition to scrapbooking--just because I might be a little obsessed. I have:
*made scrapbooks for other people
*hosted scrapbook weekends for friends
*had my pages published in national magazines
*taught scrapbooking classes in local stores and conventions
*sold scrapbook supplies for a direct sales company
*created scrapbook pages for manufacturers to display in trade show booths
*created scrapbook pages for online displays for manufacturers of scrapbooking supplies
*displayed pages in on-line galleries for fun and for pay
I have worked on a couple of design teams--for the uninitiated, a design team in the paper crafting world is a group of maker's who make projects for a product manufacturer, using specific products and demonstrating how specific products can be used in paper-crafting. Sometimes, design team members are compensated with a paycheck and sometimes (especially back in the day) they work in exchange for product.
I learned a great deal while working on each of these design teams but after much thought, and reading some other blogs that have discussed design team intricacies in-depth, I have decided that the days of design teams are over for me.
Scrap Gal Tracie Claiborne wrote about design teams here.
Here are my reasons:
1. I'm done working for product. There was a time when product boxes arriving in the mail made my day. It felt like Christmas once a month! I had a lot of space and enjoyed creating with products that perhaps I wouldn't have selected were I shopping in person for myself.
Those days are done. I've become super picky and my space is limited. As Dave Ramsey says, "cash is king".
I have worked for two teams that paid in cash.
In my experience, the teams that paid on a cash per project basis seemed more straight-forward and were more clear in their expectations and directions. Efficiency matters to me, as does communication. With one of my teams, I felt incredibly respected, was inspired by my fellow teammates and was treated well in terms of timely communication. Unfortunately, the other one--not so much.
2. I like to mix product lines and companies. I am not loyal to one company and I believe that generally the only people who are, do so because they have a financial incentive to do so.
I get a little jazzed when I accidentally discover a super collaboration between products manufactured by different companies. It makes me very happy when I see a design team member say "I just realized that our 123 product works super well with this product from XYZ company." But let me tell you, it's not a common occurrence. And that bugs me.
In my opinion, it shows a lack of actual real-world usefulness. That kind of single-minded devotion doesn't help the everyday scrapbook consumer see how product can work in her creations along-side the other product she probably already owns.
We've all seen those design team projects that are clearly design team projects. The flower company that sells seven dollar packages of flowers sends ten packs of flowers to their designer and she puts all ten packs all on one page, because she didn't have to shell out seventy dollars for all those flowers.
Normal scrapbookers don't spend seventy dollars one a scrapbook page
I've said before--most design team work can be compared to shopping from only a single aisle at the grocery store. That just doesn't work for me.
3. Social media has changed everything! Individual scrapbookers (those not working for a manufacturer or company) now have direct and immediate access to a wide world of other scrapbookers just like themselves and having a blog, a following on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest makes one an instant member of a community that embraces all design styles and all levels of skill. I think the days when a manufacturer needs a stable of designers to create on their behalf are rapidly coming to a close.
Manufacturers need a social media specialist...not a designer. OK, maybe one designer.
4. It's not about the product. Finally, my beef with most of the design team work I see is that it's primarily product driven. As much as I enjoy the shopping and treasure-hunting aspect of scrapbooking, in the end, the layouts I love the most were supported by the product, not started by them.
5. I'm selfish with my scrappy time. I don't have a ton of it and I want to spend what time I do have for scrapbooking pursuits working on that which I choose--not what someone else has assigned to me.
Because I have said "no" to design teams, I am free to work at my own pace and take on projects for others that I deeply enjoy and yet never share with anyone else or on-line.
6. Inevitably, at best, the relationship between the blogger/maker and design team is one of mutual use. You know this going in...the manufacturer is primarily looking for design team members who already have a dedicated social media following. They are looking to add your followers to their own. And as a designer, you are looking to add the manufacturer's users to your own following. Everyone is using everyone and she with the biggest following wins.
I get that this is how it works.
I just don't like it.
I don't want attaining a large following to be the driver of my bus.
Most of my favorite scrapbookers are also people who aren't seeking professional design careers. They are just ordinary scrapbooking enthusiasts like myself and I love to learn from them. Some are scrapbookers who have had the "diva dot" career as a scrapbooking expert and gave it all up in order to get back to creating from a more genuine place.
I liken design team creating to the genre of another creative industry--fashion design. Some designers create fashion for the rack that has wide appeal and will sell to the mass market in many sizes and colors. Conversely, some designers do avant garde pieces that are an exercise in creativity for creativity's sake. They are experimental. No one besides a model can even get into these pieces nor would they ever want to because while they are interesting to look at, they are difficult to wear, to function in and cost a fortune.
So now you know.
So as my scrapbooking style continues to be fleshed out, (it's a lifelong process) I can tell you that I love a page with a really good title and if that title is a phrase that already exists in my cultural lexicon, I'll just love it even more.
Are flowers a cop out?
When I haven't fleshed out enough story or when I haven't given enough thought to my design, flowers are the easy answer.
By and large, I was quite satisfied with the class, which is kindof unusual--I can be a little picky about classes.
However, there was one little thing that kinda struck me as annoying and less than professional. After completing one of the main class projects, one of the class attendees dropped a rather large stamp on top of her page and it landed inked-side-down, of course, right smack on top of the pretty part of the layout. She was understandably crushed. She gasped rather loudly when it happened and this caught the attention of the class instructor. The class instructor came over to assess the damage. When she saw the extent of it, she declared with a laugh "oh just stick a flower over it and no one will ever know. That's what scrapbooker's do--stick a flower on it."
The class attendee was quite obviously NOT going to be satisfied with the "stick a flower on it" advice and I admit, it didn't sit right with me either. A flower would change the entire composition of the page and this attendee had worked diligently to create the page just as the instructor had demonstrated--without deviation. Her disappointment was obvious.
Years later, I remember this incident vividly and those words ring in my ears. Is that really all we do? Just stick flowers on things and make them pretty?
I want to say "no".
But I'm not sure it's true.
Pretty is just way down the list..
So this week I listened to Episode 102 of the Scrap Gals Podcast...and doing so really got my wheels turning. Tiffany and Tracie shared some very thoughtful tips for those in our paper crafting community who maybe struggling to continue scrapbooking. Having gone through a three year stint of being a "former scrapbooker", I especially appreciated their insights.
Buckle up, dear friends.
Whatever I manage to get accomplish used in the way of scrapbook tasks in my lifetime will just have to be enough.
For the past three years, Joal and I have taken a week in October to spend time at our favorite spot in South Carolina--Isle of Palms, just on the edge of Charleston.
Over the years I have been a little frustrated from time to time with the almost-complete lack of emphasis that Stampin' Up! has placed on stamping in scrapbooking. I don't understand it. If you conduct a Google search for Stampin' Up! scrapbook pages you will be rewarded with a bunch of pages that don't tell stories and generally are pretty but don't actually have actual photos.
A year or two ago, Stampin' Up! teamed up with Becky Higgins to create a few Project Life items for Stampin' Up!--an encouraging move that did bring a little bit of scrapbooking to the Stampin' Up! Army.
To me, a scrapbook page needs to tell a story.
When I was a SU demonstrator, I wrote a blog called "Stamp Your Story"...that's how much I believe in this concept. In the years since, Hero Arts has taken up the Stamp Your Story mantle as well.
Renown scrapbooking enthusiast, Stacy Julian was recently quoted on a ScrapGals podcast as saying "I'd rather have stories without photos than photos without stories." I agree with her 100 percent!
It's the story that must be preserved.
The photos are just supporting evidence.
Finally, a few weeks ago I came to realize *why* I think Stampin' Up! does not fully embrace stamping in your scrapbook as extensively as I wish they would--the reason is very simple.
With card-making (Stampin' Up!'s biggest section), the process of creating a beautiful card--from the moment you cut the base to the moment it's ready to go into an envelope, is not (or doesn't have to be) a long process. We all know that there's a certain amount of gratification that comes with completing a project in a few minutes and knowing that very soon someone you love (like?) will be enjoying your creation.
I think, by and large, card-makers have gotten hooked on that gratification so much that they see completing a scrapbook page as a process that takes too long and may not be enjoyed by anyone else for a while. A scrapbook page usually does take longer to complete. There are more steps to the process and more elements to include. And the "canvas" is usually larger.
Just a note: you will never see scrapbook pages on my blog without photos. I don't believe in those. A scrapbook page is a personal creation and while I've done my fair share of those go-to-a-class-make-a-page-for-later deals, I now know that most often, they never get completed. They become drawer dwellers.
With this in mind, I'm going to transfer some of the scrapbook pages I have completed for the old blog (from a few years back) to this one in order to attempt to get all my stuff together in one place. (It's been a few years, so some of the products will be retired.)
This article originally appeared on my blog "Stamp Your Story" in July 2011
In February, after being a scrapbooker for more than 15 years, I became a demonstrator with Stampin' Up! (You probably knew this already.) :) Since the scrapbook stores in our area are all more than an hour away from me, I needed a new source for paper and supplies and one of the fantastic things about Stampin' Up! is that it's *the scrapbook store that comes to your door*.
Since then, I have been completely impressed--blown away, in fact--with the calibur of the handmade greeting cards that I've found on blogs and in online galleries created with Stampin' Up! products. Stampin' Up! people are the masters at card-making.
Scrapbooking, however, seems to take a back seat. I have searched and searched for Stampin' Up!-based blogs and crafters who are passionate about scrapbooking and have come up short. It's a little bit disappointing to read time and time again -- "I'm a Stampin' Up! demonstrator but I'm not really into scrapbooking." or "I only demonstrate 6x6 mini-pages when my customers ask for them--and we don't use actual photos."
What?! How can that be?
Scrapbooking utilizes all the *same* tools and techniques as cardmaking. Stampin' Up! offers fabulous tools and papers perfect for scrapbooking...so I do *not* understand the disconnect. If you can do it on a card, you can do it in a scrapbook.
Nonetheless, here we are. So, I'm embarking on a mission to prove that Stampin' Up! is for *real* scrapbookers. :)
Let's start at the beginning. If you are like most folks, you take pictures with some regularity, probably with a digital camera or even perhaps on your cell phone. You show them off to family and friends occasionally, but rarely print them. When you do finally edit them, upload them to a printing site or service and order them, you wait for them to arrive, then you glance through them once or twice and then set them aside. They sit in a shoebox or a drawer for a little too long...they stack up. You wonder what to do with them. They pile up. The pile gets a little daunting or perhaps even intimidating.
Your last vacation, your wedding, your child's birth, your mom's 50th birthday, your sister's graduation from college...all these memories, just sitting in a drawer, shoe box or worse, the printer's envelopes. Unused, unenjoyed, unloved and cluttering up your space.
Guess what. This is completely normal.
And very easy to remedy.
What you need is an easy system for organizing the photos that you want to keep, a way to get them into a format that will allow them to be enjoyed, and a place to document the stories you want to remember that go with them. Sounds like a chore? No way. Trust me, this is easy...and that pile of photos can be transformed into something you can enjoy looking at and sharing with your family and friends, with just a little bit of effort and the right supplies.
Welcome to scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!
Scrapbooking has been around for many years. Thousands. From Aristotle and Cicero in the late 1500s to President Thomas Jefferson, scrapbooking--the art of preserving tidbits and "life evidence" has been a part of almost all civilized cultures. It's definately not a new thing. You've heard of Mark Twain? He dedicated entire Sundays throughout his life to the art of scrapbooking.
It seems that throughout history, people have held close an innate desire to not be forgotten...to have their legacy remain after they are gone. Scrapbooking is but one way to preserve your stories and memories, your adventures, you life lessons, your achievements. Don't underestimate the value of your life story to those who come along after you are gone.
Imagine what the world would be if Anne Frank hadn't kept a diary?
Modern scrapbooking has risen in popularity as a hobby in the past two, perhaps three decades and with just a few tools and supplies, you can easily create your own scrapbook of treasured memories and photos. Stampin' Up! is the perfect resource for the supplies and tools that you'll need. If you have a history as a stamper and/or a card-maker (as so many people who love Stampin' Up! do), you probably already have many of the tools and skills needed to become a delighted scrapbooker...you just need a tiny bit of instruction and some time to expand your playing field.
All photos have one thing in common--they must be taken care of and stored properly to enjoy a long life. We are lucky to live in a technological era that makes taking snapshots oh-so-easy and inexpensive! Keeping your photos safe is not difficult. Stampin' Up! offers products that are safe for your photos and will enhance your creative expression as you preserve your memories in your scrapbook.
Typically, a scrapbook page is comprised of three major elements--
the journaling (the title and the story),
and the decorative elements (embellishments).
When you've completed the assembling of the three major elements, you may choose to store your scrapbook pages in an album or have them framed for display.
Whether you are facing down fifty years worth of photos or you've just started taking pictures, there's only one way to do this: pick a place to start and jump in with both feet. Take a deep breath and start with a step-by-step method that will help you create a scrapbook page or spread!
Select a group of 1-5 photos that you want to work with...perhaps a birthday or other event. Consider the story you want to tell using these photos. Maybe it's obvious, (like the celebration of a birthday) or maybe not. Either way is appropriate. The number one rule of scrapbooking is this: *your scrapbook, your choice*.
Seriously, if you have a single photo that you love, why not scrapbook it? There is no edict from on high that demands that every scrapbook page you create must have 3 photos on it. If one photo speaks to you...go with it! The right picture can certainly stand alone, just like a painting in a museum...remember, no rules!
For this project, I'm choosing a set of 5 photos from a trip to the beach that I took with my boys earlier in the year. As it worked out, we spent my youngest son's 8th birthday on a beach in South Carolina. It was early in March, so we had the whole beach to ourselves and it was a wonderful day. Not quite the usual birthday for an 8 year old...but a fantastic one, nonetheless.
I actually took about 80 photos on the beach that day and printed most of them. (I adore beach photos.) One of the easiest ways to become accomplished at scrapbooking is to get past the *must scrapbook every photo* mindset. Pick the best photos...the ones that speak to you, the ones that really tell the story and develop your plan for scrapbooking around those. The remainder can be stored easily in pages designed to preserve and protect, for easy enjoyment, along with your scrapbook pages.
Could I use all 80 of those photos in a scrapbook dedicated to one day on the beach?
Well, of course.
But do I really want to?
That would be super time-consuming and could get expensive. I'm not up for that...but I do love the pictures...so I will scrapbook a few and store the rest, photo-album style.
Much of scrapbooking is about chooosing what suits you and what appeals to your sense of style. I may make three or four pages about our trip to the beach...on the other hand, you might choose to make a whole 20-page album that documents one vacation trip or event. It's good to have choices!
Remember the rule: Your Scrapbook, Your Choice!
Especially if you are just getting started with the whole "scrapbooking thing", choose pictures that you really really like, as you'll very likely find them easier to scrapbook. Photos you like give you pages you like.
You will notice that most modern scrapbookers work with albums that hold pages that are 12x12. Since most photos printed are 4x6, this size works well. Stampin' Up! offer several varieties of scrapbook albums in the 12x12 size (the internal pages are 12x12), as well as 6x6, 8x8 and 8.5x11. Select a size that works for your project.
Choose a focal point. Usually this is pretty easy...and with a little bit of practice, you'll be able to do this without even thinking about it.
Which photo stands out?
Which photo most captures the story you want to tell through this scrapbook page or spread?
Answer these questions and you have your focal point.
The most common supply you will use is paper! For the most part, scrapbook papers fall into two categories: solid color cardstock and patterned papers. Stampin' Up! offers a wide selection of both! Enjoy the process of choosing papers...there are many many styles and designs to choose from!
For my project, I selected 2 pieces of 12x12 cardstock in the pale yellow color--So Saffron--as the base of my pages. I plan to use the photos (uncut) spread across the two pages, along with some embellishments (decorative themed elements) as well as the journaling. I like the "sunny" color and the subtle texture that this particular paper offers.
Don't let the many paper options overwhelm you as you get started. Choosing paper will get easier as you get more practiced at scrapbooking.
When choosing paper, quality is important. You will notice that some papers are a heavier weight than others, some papers have texture and some are smooth.
What are you going to use to hold it all together? I bet you noticed...We need an adhesive to put it all together!
Stampin' Up! offers several styles of adhesive including a tape dispenser called Snail, which happens to be my adhesive of choice. Picking one that works for you is part personal preference, part job-specific choice. Your Stampin' Up! demonstrator can help you choose if you need project-specific advice.
Arrangement. Arranging the elements of the page in a visually-appealing way is the big trick. Are there photos that you really want to feature prominently in the page? Consider enlarging that photo or matting it with a special color to draw the eye to it first.
Do you prefer clean, balanced lines? Or are you drawn in by a less formal, more whimsical look? Do you prefer that all the photos are the same size or do you want to adjust the size of some? (That's called "cropping", by the way.)
Finding what arrangements appeal to your eye takes a little bit of time and whole lot of experimentation. Take your time. If you see something that's appealing on a website or in the Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog, by all means, copy it!
Embellishments and decorative elements can add a spark of creative play to your pages. Decorating with papers, stamps, ribbons, brads, tags, punches, paints...and a thousand other possibilities is what keeps a scrapbook from being a photo album. Just like you probably don't have only white blank walls in your house...you probably don't want them in your scrapbook.
Stampin' Up! has taught many many people to be super creative card-makers over the years. It's those same products, techniques and tools that you can use to bring decorative elements and spicy fun to your scrapbook pages.
I selected to create several suns, using a circle punch and the Petite Pennant Builder Punch for this layout. Nothing says "beach day" like a sun right? I stamped some surf boards for a little pop of bolder colors.
Did you notice how easily the embellishments on this *scrapbook page* could become a card?
STEP SIX B
In the selection of decorative elements for your page, you may also choose to incorporate a title. Stampin' Up! offers multitudes of products to help you create an eye-catching title for your page, including alpha dies, alpha stamps, chipboard letters, alphabet stickers, rub-ons, etc. Dress your title up or down, make it big or go smaller.
In my experience, choosing a catchy title is one of the easiest ways to make a page really jump out to those who will view your pages. Look for ways to create a little intrigue, rather than going for the obvious. One of my favorite tricks for great titling--song titles!
For the title of this layout, I chose to go with die-cut letters--the Simple Things alphabet.
Journaling is the telling of the story of the photos. In some ways, scrapbookers are like journalists in that they record the details of the stories as a way of preserving them. You can start any page with the basics of who, what, when, where and why...but don't be afraid to continue with the deeper story or the story that might not be so obvious in the photos.
You may choose to write the journaling by hand directly on your scrapbook page or print it using a computer and add it to your page. There's no *correct* or *incorrect* way. This is your scrapbook--do what feels most comfortable for you. Incidentally, you don't have to commit to just hand-writing or just computer-generated printing. Try both!
Stampin' Up! offers tools for journaling. (Shocking--right?) Pens are perfect for journaling in a coordinating color. Some of our stamps offer a lined image portion that can easily aid you in keeping your handwriting in a lined up fashion. If you prefer to use a computer, our cardstocks can be used in conjunction with most printers.
I chose to print my story on a die-cut (from the Top Note die).
I've included the journaling at Step Seven because for most people, the process of scrapbooking begins with photo selection, moves through the choices of paper and decorative element selection and finally ends with the writing of the story. However, for some, the process can just as easily work in reverse. Don't be afraid to experiment. If there's a story you want to tell, do the journaling and see where it leads you with regard to photo selection and adding decorative elements. Using photos to illustrate a story is just as much "scrapbooking" as any other step-by-step process. The final product is a scrapbook page or layout that you love...that's the goal.
Assembly. Once you have all the elements arranged in a way that appeals to you, make a permanent commitment to it and build your page by attaching all the elements.
Ask anyone who's been scrapbooking for more than about a day and they will tell you that you will evole as a scrapbooker. As you learn new techniques and come across new products to incorporate into your pages, your style will change and develop. *That's a good thing.* Do what makes you happy on your pages. Use photos that speak to you and tell your stories, even if they aren't perfect. Most importantly, keep learning about your craft. Keep having fun scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!
At some point in the process of scrapbooking, you may want to get all your photos organized. If you have a large number of photos...or a large number of boxes of photos...I *don't* recommend doing any organizing before you actually start scrapbooking--I've seen too many people get completely overwhelmed by the daunting task of *getting all caught up* and it can be paralyzing. Keep a narrow focus...one group of photos at a time.
Scrapbooking should be a fun hobby--something you can enjoy the process of, not just the final product of.