I want you all to know how much I've appreciated your comments and participation this week. I've had a great time. A couple of you created layouts this week and posted them in our flickr gallery, so I'll highlight those here, and I also want to respond to a few of the comments from the week.
By the way, if you have a couple spare minutes, read through the comments from giveaway day on Thursday – there are some great pieces of advice and hilarious kid stories in there.
Let’s start off with this comment from ~M~:
The hard part of "design" for me is what no one ever talks about, which is picking paper and positioning accents. Everyone seems to think this is the "fun" or "easy" part. I find picking photos and writing journaling really fun and easy, even deciding where to put photos is easy... but picking what paper and what accents and HOW the journaling will go on the page, that is a killer. That can take me hours and require a special trip to the store just trying to get AN IDEA, ANY IDEA!!! aaahhh! But no one ever talks about how to make THAT easy.
~M~, I definitely feel your pain. I will sit at my desk and pull sheet after sheet of paper out to try to figure which ones to use. And I usually try about 15 different embellishments and end up using only one or two. Here are my thoughts on your dilemma:
1 – Focus on your strengths. It sounds like you’re like me—I’m good at writing journaling and deciding where things should go. But I have a terrible time mixing patterned papers, and an even harder time adding embellishments—so I focus on making my journaling really interesting and my design really eye-catching, then I do a minimum amount of paper-choosing and embellishing.
2 – Go with what works. I probably start 85% of my paper layouts on white or dark brown cardstock. I just really like the impact those colors make, so I don’t worry about the fact that I use them over and over. It’s more important to me that I enjoy scrapbooking than that every page looks perfect. Once you know what basic colors you like, figure out what color combos you like. I love brown/turquoise/red, and I use it a lot. I try to buy papers that fit into the color schemes I use often, and then store them together. That way I can pull out three or four papers that I already know will work together. Using kits is another great time-saver: different papers that coordinate are already packaged together, often with embellishments that work as well.
3 – Don’t ever go to the store in the middle of a layout. The store is only going to give you more options and make it harder to decide what should go on your page. A better way to get ideas is to browse a gallery or magazine for inspiration, then see what you already have that might be similar.
4 – Consider your journaling a "design block", just like we did with pictures Wednesday. You can actually print the journaling onto a different color of cardstock and use that as a block that you move around with your pictures until you decide where you want it to go. It doesn’t have to be something special that takes a lot of time to figure out; it can just be another piece of the puzzle.
Great comment! Let’s take a look at some layouts now, shall we? This one is from Cathy S, and I love how she mixed those different patterned papers. She followed the directions, using a block of photos and placing the journaling and title nearby, then added a larger focal photo to make the connection between then and now. I love the journaling!
Time for another comment from a reader, this time from Lindsay Jones, who says:
I love being a mom and would love to hear more from Autumn about how she finds the time to create beautiful pages for her kids and family. I love her style and perspective.
Another good question! First, I am lucky enough that I don’t have to work outside the home. Those of you who do have my heartfelt admiration, and I can’t imagine I’d be able to get as much done if I also had a job to go to every day. That being said, my 21-month old is a bit of a terror (as you all know by now) and I can’t really do any scrapbooking while he’s awake, so a couple things have been very important for me to find time to scrapbook.
1 - My kids are on a pretty strict nap and bedtime schedule. We all get up early (6:30), which means all the kids are ready for bed by 8 o’clock. That means I have a couple of hours every night when they’re all tucked in and sleeping (the older ones stay up and read for a while, but they’re still in bed) to spend time with my husband and work on stuff for myself.
2 - During the day, I try to do everything I possibly can (house-work, errands, dinner prep, etc.) while my littlest is awake, so that when he naps I can use that time for whatever I want (usually scrapbooking or reading). Even when my three oldest were 3, 1, and 1, I would give them baby wipes and have them “help” me clean the bathroom, or let them “help” load the dishwasher, or fold laundry, or whatever. Of course, it takes you three times as long to do anything when you have little helpers, but I figure when they’re awake they pretty much take all my attention anyway, and if I can get the chores out of the way when they’re up, I’ll have more time to myself when they’re asleep. It works pretty well.
3 - Finally, I have a very healthy appreciation for both Baby Einstein and PBS Kids, and I’m ok with letting the kids watch a moderate amount of TV during the day so I can get other things done.
Alright, another layout.This is from Monika Wright, and I love the journaling on this one, too. What a great tribute to her mom! Monika put her photos in a square instead of a lining them all up, and it works perfectly here. And that quote block is about the cleverest thing I've seen in a long time!
And one more comment and response. This is from Melanie K, who says:
Okay, at this point, with three boys between 6 and 20 months, not a lot seems funny. But the quote that keeps me (somewhat) sane ... this too shall pass. And then you will be wishing for that time back.
This comment really took me back to when my twins were babies and my older son was two. Wow, was that a whole lot of work! And frankly, the rewards seemed pretty slim sometimes. This was when I first created my own mini book on being a mom, because I really needed to remind myself why I loved motherhood. And then that time did pass. And I can already feel, with my oldest about to turn nine, the little pangs of regret that those early days are gone forever. I think what I miss the most is that when they were tiny, those boys were mine. All mine. Even though it sometimes felt like each day lasted forever, the day belonged to us and we weren’t busy getting to school and soccer and scouts—the day just belonged to us and no one else. I will freely admit that life is so much easier now they are older, and I enjoy it more on a regular basis. But my big almost-nine-year-old doesn’t belong to me the way he used to. He’s starting to belong to himself, which is just how it should be, but it still makes me a little sad.
Our last layout today comes from Ashleigh Bronner. I really like how Ashleigh's journaling starts with the "action" of the story - specifically a conversation between her kids. And she used a photo from a few months before the journaling was written - but it look great, doesn't it?
Thanks again for your participation this week! It’s been a busy week for me, but I have just loved checking my posts all day long and reading your comments. I think I’ll feel lonely next week when it’s back to me and James on our own during the day ☺
Remember: scrapbook because you enjoy it, not because you think you should.