Love that Layout

The part of scrapbooking that is probably my favorite is also often the most time consuming.  It's coming up with new ideas for cards and pages - new layouts, embellishments, creative titles and quotes, etc.  I love sitting down and rifling through my 'goods' to rediscover some cool stuff I had forgotten that I had, then figuring out how to use them.  Bur for me, it usually takes a couple of hours or more to come up with a complete new page or page spread that I'm happy with.

If I do that all the time - which is definitely my tendency - I would get an album finished about every 2 years.  So, a trick I have learned is that when I discover or create a layout that I like, I duplicate it -  different embellishments, different pattern of paper, but the same basic layout.  Below are pics of a layout I recently created and instantly loved.  So, I used it again...and again. Notice that they are each for much different types of photos, but the layout works for all of them.

For a new baby girl, or sometime in her first year or two.

Winter fun!
(The solid purple in this is a richer color than what appears here - somewhere between eggplant and plum.)

Perfect for spring or for the gardener in your life.
(These colors are also a little off with the blue being more of a country color/shade.)

Notice that the page opposite of the one with multiple square frames is a little different in each.  And just the difference in embellishments makes the pages appropriate for the right pictures to be attached. All three patterned background papers were similar in color.  I chose solid page colors to bring out a specific color - different for each - which also helps with making them season or topic appropriate.

Once you figure out something that works, you can get an assembly line going and create multiple cards or pages in a short amount of time. Don't do this too much, however, or it becomes tedious and boring.  Unleash your creativity, then reign it in for a few cards and pages and just duplicate for a few more.  Then unleash that creativity again and begin the cycle again.

This helps with stress when your creativity takes a vacation, and you feel blocked.  Just relax and do something that you already know works.  It's also extremely helpful with cost, because you know you already have the paper, tools, and embellishments to make it great yet still make each one different enough to use for a look of variety in your albums.

All of these pages are for sale if you would like to add your pictures and put them into your own album.  $10/ea. double page spread (+ $2 shipping if you live outside of this area). These will be in my Etsy store in the next day or two, but if you want it sooner, send me a personal message, and I'll get it to you.  I also custom make entire albums. (Themes like Baby's First Year, Wedding, High School or Grade School years, etc.) Get in touch with me regarding the possibilities, prices, etc.

Check back later for a video to show you how to create this funky multi-framed page.

KISS me - Keep It Simple, Sister

Some of my favorite pages and layouts are the simplest ones. First, because they are easy to duplicate, and they usually don't take up much of my time - in the creating or duplicating. I also often like the clean, classy, simple look anyway. If every page is a gathering of elements, layers, and embellishments, it starts to feel cluttered and/or complicated - much like eating a seven-course meal every single day. Your taste buds grow impervious to the fancy food, and you soon find yourself longing for a simple hamburger on the grill.
A simple, classic look for Hannah's junior high volleyball
days.  The background paper does most of the work.  I added
a title and a couple layers on the left side, and on the right,
I simply added the arrows to point out Hannah.

Consider this your keynote sentence for today's post:  Not every page in your scrapbook has to be a masterpiece. Now, go back and read that again - out loud. Go ahead; I'll wait.

This can be a tough one for me. I take my time with almost every page, and it's usually a while before I stop saying, "Hmmm,,,it's missing something," or "It needs something else." This is just another way to get bogged down in scrapbooking with no hope of ever catching up, so the reverse perfectionism starts kicking in. You can't do things well and/or fully to your liking, so you start procrastinating, and then that procrastination becomes a sad acceptance that you'll never get to those scrapbooks like you promised yourself you would.
The background on the left is from an old calendar. I find
myself using these a lot. They make gorgeous pages, and all
I have to do is add a picture or two. Then because that page
is getting all of the attention and already has the "wow"
factor, I don't have to add much to the other side/page.

Another important thing to note is that you want the pictures to be the focus of every page. The point of scrapbooking is to show off the pictures, not necessarily the backgrounds and embellishments.

So - for your own sanity, Keep It Simple, Sister. (Not that our fellow brothers don't need this reminder, too, but how many guys do you know who'll be reading this? 😏) So, how do you do that (keep it simple)? Start by finding layouts that you like and sticking with them. Use different colors and embellishments, but  the same basic layout. That way, you don't have to think about how to lay it all out. And for a lot of double page spreads, add nothing except pictures for one of the pages (like the picture below, where I actually added nothing to both sides because I had so many pictures to include. I don't do that often - no title or embellishments for both pages - but I do it often for one side).

It's okay to do that - really. I am giving you permission; now, all you have to do is give yourself permission. And lastly, do a search on Pinterest specifically for something like, "simple scrapbook layouts." Repeat after me: Not every page has to be a masterpiece.

Now, go finish up about 3 double page spreads.  If you keep it simple, you can do that in one sitting, so go...create...scrap...enjoy your pictures.  Why are you still sitting here...go! 😉

A clean house is the sign of a lazy scrapper.

Scrapbooking is my happy place. I can't help it, it just is. There are times we all need to just close our eyes and go to our happy place.  I close my eyes and think about new scrapbook pages, new greeting card ideas, and so much more. I can get lost on Pinterest and the pages that are posted there for hours. It's fun - I mean, really fun!

However, there are some things that can mess with my happy place, and I'm sure that you and I share some of them.  For example, if you don't have enough time, you find yourself procrastinating until you find the perfect time with the perfect idea, which leads to weeks, months, even years of getting nothing done. If you are trying to scrap on a budget, the lack of variety you think you have because of a (temporary) inability to get many accessories and/or tools can turn parts of scrapbooking into a chore. Who needs that? No one. Exactly. I have some ideas that might help.

First, keep your craft/scrap area clean and organized as much as possible. Now, while I wait for my family to pick themselves up and get back into the chair they just rolled out of from laughing, I'll give you some time to ponder that. If you know me even a little, you know that I am, more often than not, embarrassed at the state my home is in. The term 'clean freak' was invented as an antonym to me. Look it up in a thesaurus, and under the antonyms for 'clean freak', you'll find my picture. Now, everyone is going to pounce on this and try to tell me that everyone has imperfections, quirks, and weaknesses with housekeeping, but please don't. I am talking about real struggle and heartache due to a lack of cleanliness.  But I digress...

I do seem to be able to do well with it in two specific areas of my life - work (most of the time) and my craft area. This hasn't been without a lot of trial and error - figuring what
One of my favorite organizational
hacks.  These shelves are made
from metal cubes - a set  of six -
that are sold as a storage solution,
but not usually to be used like 
this. Click here for step-by-step
works, what doesn't, what could work better, and what organization tools I need.  

It's been worth it, however, because I am likely to scrap much more when my area is kept reasonably cleaned up. Organization saves LOADS of time AND money. How it saves time is pretty obvious - like I mentioned, I love to carve out as much time as possible to scrap. That is easier if my area is reasonably straightened up, so I can jump right in when I do have the time. It keeps things (somewhat) stress free, especially w/o having to search for everything, so I enjoy scrapping much more. And it means I don't have to set hours aside; I can do half an hour here and there if I need to.
This was my hubby's idea. This
is a set of drawers usually used

in the garage, shed or basement

for screws, nails, etc.  My hus-
band wasn't using this one any-
more, so he gave it to me.  
I used it for ink pads for many 
years. Now, it's perfect for small 
pieces of card stock and paper. I 
love how the clear drawers allow 
me to see what is inside.

But saving money? That might not be so obvious to some, but think about this - if you are constantly forgetting and losing supplies you already have, you're likely to buy them again, only to find what you just bought is deep in the clutter of your crafting life. Again, who needs that?  

Every so often, I find that for one reason or another, I need to do an overall reorganization and clean up my craft area.  It is such a pain, but it is helpful, and even fun, to be reminded of all the cool things I already have. I have more designer paper than I realized, tons of great accessories, and even tools that I may have forgotten about.  Since I've been making time to scrap, I learn what works and then figure out more/other systems, tools, and designs that might work better. 

These types of storage drawers are pretty
common. I did not pay one penny for any
of these. They were gifts from friends
and family, purging their own homes,
or finding them at garage sales and/or
I have a fairly large craft area in my basement.  My husband has a similar area for his hobby. In that way, we are blessed. Yet even with plenty of space, it is so easy for a mess to develop quickly, and it's even easier and quicker for that mess to get out of control. For me, especially when I am on a roll and trying to get some things done, it's like - I use this, set it aside; bring out a bunch of samples or ideas, decide on one, set the rest aside; spot something I'm pretty sure I'll use soon, bring it out so I'll see it and remember. The next thing I know, I've got piles here and there that I keep digging through to find the scissors, the glue stick, or whatever else I need next. Then I shove it all aside to use the paper cutter...  Yeah, not hard at all to quickly feel overwhelmed with the scraps of scraps! It's almost a daily struggle with me. But I LOVE to scrap, so if I feel too overwhelmed to do it often, it affects everything else in my life, including my mental and spiritual health. In the past, there have been times, that I have let my desk/area, and therefore my scrapping, go for so long that thinking about it makes me crazy, so I try to ignore it - unsuccessfully, of course.  So, the motivation to scrap more helps me to (try to) stay clean and (somewhat) organized.

Now, if only I could apply that direction of thinking to my house...

Just the Basics, Ma'am, Just the Basics.

In my last post, I talked about using what you have.  But what if you don't have anything?  If someone asked you to get out your scrapbooking supplies, would you bring a pair of scissors, copy paper, and (if you have kids), maybe some crayons...?

I was watching a video on YouTube with someone who was listing the basics to start scrapbooking.  Two hours later... Okay, I'm exaggerating about the time, but she did have a rather extensive list in my opinion.  Ironically, it was the beginning of her video that led me to the conclusion that someone could get started with much less.  So, what DO you need to get started from nothing?

First, an album that includes basic white card stock.  The size doesn't matter, but I would suggest starting smaller than 12"x 12".  The most common sizes (besides 12"x 12") are 8.5"x 11", 8"x 8", and  6"x 6".  Normally, this would be one of the more expensive things you will need to get started, but  trust me, if you are patient and keep your eyes open both on and offline, you can get albums for dirt cheap.  I don't believe I have ever paid full price for an album.

Next is a paper cutter.  Again, you don't have to break the bank for this.  Fiskars is the most known brand, and it is good.  That doesn't mean you have to go with Fiskars.  I bought another brand when I first started, and actually, it lasted almost as long as my Fiskars. In fact I kept it with the Fiskars for a long time and tended to use them both interchangeably. Good cutters don't go on sale often, so if you catch one on sale in the near future, snatch it up!  You don't need a full size cutter; in fact, I prefer one that is easily shifted around while working.

You probably already have the next one - a decent pair of scissors. Again, you don't need to go out and buy craft scissors right away, as long as you have nice sharp ones to use.  If you do want to buy a pair, there are many different sizes and brands.  What you get is all about personal preference.

Far left are scissors from Creative Memories.
Next are a pair that I had at home and don't
often use anymore for crafts, but in the beginning,
they definitely served their purpose.
Next are Stampin' Up!'s craft scissors
followed by a pair of Fiskar sheers.
Last is a pair of ordinary kitchen scissors.

A decent journaling pen is next.  And by decent, I mean simply one that writes without leaving a trail of ink blots.  Blue, black, purple, ball point, gel, thin, thick, etc - all your choice.  So again, you don't have to spend any money on this.

And the creme de la creme of necessary scrapbook supplies is a variety pack of background paper.  You could get some with a theme, or get a multi-occasion, multi-colored packet.  Michael's almost always has a sale on background paper.  Sometimes their clearance paper is so cheap (price, not quality) that it's better to get a whole lot of individual sheets rather than something prepackaged. There is some beautifully packaged paper, and it takes the decision out of what to get for your first album. There are also scrapbook kits that include some stickers and embellishments.  As with everything else, you can get these on sale, get coupons for them, etc. Both Stampin' Up! and Creative Memories have some nice ones at all different price ranges. (At this time, I have no affiliates - I do not benefit from posting these links.)

Last, but certainly not least - if you're reading this, then you have it - is a computer. Technically, you don't need it, but it would be difficult to do without.  Use the computer to print up titles, captions, and even journaling if you like. Use it to get ideas and tips. Most importantly, of course, is to use it to read my blog. 😁  Pinterest is obviously a goldmine of ideas, but it can also be overwhelming for the beginner so when you're doing a search for ideas, be specific. Include words such as "easy" or "simple."

In the open 8"x 8" album pictured above, if you made the title on the left page from the computer rather than stickers, you see a page that is possible with only the supplies mentioned above.

Now, those are the bare minimum for supplies - absolute minimum.  Some other basics to consider are:  some acid free stickers or a stamp set.  A roll or two of ribbon (so cheap and so versatile!) A few of your favorite colors of ink pads. If you get a stamp set, you want to get a good versatile stamp set.  I don't think CM (Creative Memories) sells stamps or ink anymore, but SU (Stampin' Up!) does. - quite a variety. I will tell you that you will not beat SU's quality in stamps or ink.  They are a bit pricey, but for your first stamp set, I would recommend getting a good one. SU's ink pads cannot be topped either, but you can get pretty decent ones elsewhere, too. A tip I learned a long time ago, but many years after I started paper crafting is to store your ink upside down to keep the ink near the surface. SU's ink pads are made to store the pad upside down, but for others, just flip them over when you put them away.

Another technique to consider is the water color look which can be accomplished a number of different ways. Watercolor pens or blender pens can be used with watercolor pencils or pastels.  All of those things can be used in other ways as well.

Okay, I feel like I've already overwhelmed you, and that is never my intention.  So, we'll move on to my financial tip for you -

Tell everyone - absolutely everyone - that this is your (new?) hobby! Why? Because then they will be on the lookout for free or cheap things for you.  I have gotten so much stuff for free because everyone knows I do this.  Or someone will call me from a yard sale about something crafty that I could use.  I've got things because someone has decided that this hobby wasn't for them - after they had already purchased a bunch of supplies. Even people who don't share your interest in this will help you if they can, so as I said - tell EVERYone.

It's definitely time to close now.  Don't forget to like my Facebook page, and have a fantastic week livin', laughin', lovin', and scrappin'!

Attitude, gratitude, and all that stuff

Every day is a lesson in gratitude.  At least it should be - if for no other reason than to remember that there's always someone who has it worse - usually multiple people.  As a family (my extended family), we all got together the other day and packed a bunch of shoe boxes to send to needy children all around the world.  We've all done it most every year for several years now, but this was the first time we all got together and packed them together.  Talk about a house overflowing with blessings! Family, a lot of love, a collective spirit of giving, and enjoying what we were all sending to these (not) forgotten children. Does it get any better?

So fun to see what everybody got!
You can tell my dad is really into it!

This theme coincides with my first tip for you all who are looking for some motivation as well ways to stretch every dollar.

There is a song with a line that I have always loved:  It's not about getting what you want, but wanting what you have. Isn't that great? So, the one dollar question (I don't have a million you? Ha!) is what is your tip of the day?  Here goes...

Use what you have!  How many of you have a stash of supplies around that you haven't used much of? Some of it still has tags and/or the original packaging on it. You got it or bought it all excited, just sure you would use it every day, well maybe a couple times a week, well okay, at least once a week.  Then you tell yourself, "You know, I can get a lot done if I focus one or two days a month...."  Raise your hand if this is a conversation you've had with yourself. C'mon, admit know you have. So, I ask again, raise your hand if this is something you've told yourself.  If you could see me through the computer, you would see my hand raised.  I've had those thoughts multiple times.  Sometimes, it lasts weeks, sometimes months, and yes, sometimes even years. 

Another page frim Hannah's high school scrapbook.
 Know what gets me going again?  It's going through all that I have and thus remembering all the great stuff I've collected over the years.  That usually means a bit of reorganizing and cleaning "house" (my scrap area), which is also good for the budget as well as motivation - more on that in a future post. Obviously, using what you have means you aren't spending money.  That's the best way to stay within your budget!  

If you think you don't have much, or even enough supplies, you would be surprised with how creative you can be when you just own the basics and slowly build your collection.  I will be posting more on that in the near future also.  In the meantime, take a deep breath, go to where all your paper craft supplies are and start sorting!  Take your time and enjoy it. Renew your vision(s)!  Renew your excitement and start "wanting what you have" already. 

 Have a fantastic week, and don't forget to live, laugh, love, and scrap!  

A Glimpse of Some of My Real Life Scrapbooks

I made scrapbooks for my daughter's school years, right up until her graduation in 2014. I hadn't looked through them in quite a while. I was looking through them the other evening while my daughter was visiting, and I said out loud to her, "Dang, I did good with these!"  She rolled her eyes and said, "Ok, Mom, whatever."  As a family, we have a sarcastic sense of humor - very sarcastic - so I knew she didn't mean it, and it actually made me smile. She knows better - and so do I.  It was fun to see the improvement in my scrapbooking through the years.  Now, I did not keep up with these scrapbooks each year, or even every two or three years. They were done in several spurts, and - confession here - I am still not completely done with her high school book! But there were enough years in between to see how I grew as a crafter and scrapbooker.  See for yourself in some of these pics. Dang, I did good! 

Where did the name of my blog come from?

WELCOME! So, where DID the name come from? Most of you have probably seen signs or decor with the phrase "Live, Laugh, Love."  

I have one on my wall that says, "LIVE well, LAUGH often, LOVE much."  I have always loved that.  It seems to sum up a joyful life in six relatively small words.  Anyone who can do those things, even through the difficult times, will find joy through their pain AND through their smiles, whichever is applicable, no matter what. 

Scrapbooking is my happy place. I love doing it, and I love thinking about it and coming up with new ideas.  I love sharing my talent with others - as gifts or as items for sale.  And lastly, of course I love sharing it through teaching - tips, ideas, techniques, etc.  So, I have included "SCRAP everything" as part of my mantra. LIVE well, LAUGH often, LOVE much, and SCRAP everything. That's too long for a title, and especially for a domain name.  Can you imagine! So, I picked out the key words and came up with Live, Laugh, Love - and Scrap. For our domain, I shortened it even a little more by taking out the dash and the "and."  

So, welcome to where you will hopefully learn how to have as much fun as I have with scrapbooking and other paper crafts for a number of years now. You'll learn MY tips and tricks to fit scrapbooking in your financial and time budget. Welcome to the big leagues, baby!