Welcome to the second day of spring! It’s cold here in Utah, but yesterday one of my daffodils bloomed, so I’ll take that as a sign that it will eventually warm up. My name’s Amy Sorensen, and I’ll be your Write Click Scrapbook hostess this week.
Before I get to this week’s topic, I need to share just a little bit of my scrapbooking philosophy with you:
- Parts of your creativity get tied up in the products that you buy. You know that feeling when you’re in a scrapbook store (or at an online scrapbooking site, however you shop) and you find it, the piece of patterned paper or length of ribbon or sheet of rub-ons that you absolutely love and must have without further delay? Your mind hops around with excitement over just how you’ll use it. Then you bring it home and carefully file it away—and it gets lost in the enormous amount of other similarly-loved product. I think that absolutely-loved, must-have-now supply keeps a hold of that creative excitement you first felt; I think it stays there, with that product, until you use it or give it to someone else.
- Too much product hampers your creativity. Quick: look at your stack of green patterned papers. How many choices do you have? Once you reach a certain amount (and I’m not sure what that is, to be honest), your creative energy is drained by considering potential choices. Having too many options becomes overwhelming instead of inspiring. (If you want to read more about this idea, you can do that here.)
Those two scrapbooking philosophies bring us to this week’s focus here at Write Click Scrapbook: using your stuff. The goal is to energize your scrapping creativity by shuffling through your supplies— moving some of them out of your scrapping space altogether (donate them to someone else) or out of your various bins, drawers, and scrapping cupboards and onto layouts. Every day there’ll be a creative energy exercise; these will ultimately help you use your supplies more and shop smarter. I’ll give you an organization tip (because if you can’t find the supply you’ve got in mind, you can’t use it). Plus there’s a daily challenge that relates to that day’s product focus. I hope you’ll play along!
Today’s topic: patterned paper
Creative Energy Exercise
Flip through the last 15 or so layouts you’ve made. (If you’re anything like me, they’re still sitting in a pile, waiting to be stuck into albums.) Pay attention: how do you use patterned paper? What prints, patterns, and colors are most common? How did you use the papers—the entire sheet as a background? Cut or punched into strips, squares, circles, or other shapes? Layered on top of or below other things? As a background for something else like a photo, title, or journaling? Is there a brand you used more often than others, or a brand you buy often but didn’t find on your recent layouts? What patterned-paper techniques are your favorites? Make a quick list of how you’ve used paper lately.
When I did this with my last 19 layouts (the ones waiting for an album to call home), I discovered something surprising: 12 of those have patterned paper for a background. Before doing this exercise, I would have told you that I rarely use patterned paper as a background. The manufacturer I used the most was Fancy Pants and the technique I used most often was cutting my paper into layers. I also back a lot of my titles—made with solid-colored letters—with patterned paper.
Once you’ve made your list, grab one container of patterned paper—one that isn’t your largest or favorite. Sit somewhere you can spread out. Keep in mind the list you just made, which gives you a great idea of papers you do use, break your pile up into two: keep and discard. As you make these piles, try to keep in mind what you’ve just figured out: what patterned paper do you NOT use? It might be a specific brand or it might be a pattern. For example, in the store I am drawn to checkered patterns, but when I’m actually scrapping, they almost never “feel” right. I use organic shapes and stripes more. Depending on the size of your stash, try to put 5-10 sheets into your discard pile. Put your discards into some sort of box and keep it handy—you’ll use it throughout the week. Add that category to your list: patterns you don’t use.
The list you created in the creative energy exercise gives you an idea of what supplies you shouldn’t buy more of. Take it with you when you visit a scrapbooking store so that you don’t forget. For example: I tend to buy a lot of one manufacturer’s paper—but I really don’t use it all that often. When I go into a scrapbook store armed with that knowledge, I can admire that manufacturer’s paper without buying much, because I know the likelihood of me actually using it is small.
How do you organize your pattern paper? I used to keep mine organized by manufacturer, because I wanted to keep like things together. Then I reorganized by color. I keep all of, say, my purple patterned papers in one drawer, and all of my purple embellishments (letter stickers, rub-ons, and other stuff) in the drawer above it. When I did this, I discovered that my pages became a bit more visually appealing. Color organization helps me to see more potential in my scrapbooking supplies because now, it’s not a Basic Grey patterned paper, or a Christmas-themed one. It’s just a piece of red pattern. An added bonus: it’s really easy to clean up after making a layout.
This brings up a question, though: those pesky double-sided papers. Nearly every manufacturer makes them now. Which color do I organize by, the back or the front? For me, I nearly always organize by the back side, but that’s because I am nearly always drawn to the back sides of papers. They’re usually more subtle or with a smaller print, and that fits my design approach much better than a large print does. (It also means the backs of my layouts are usually gorgeous!)
Does the way you organize your patterned papers work for you, or do you spend lots of scrapping time just looking through your stuff? How could you change your organization so it works better for you?
Use Your Stuff Tip
Before I put away the supplies I used for a layout, I make a card with them. It really only takes about five minutes to craft a card, but only if your stuff is already out. If you use the left-over bits from your layout, they’re already color-coordinated so you don’t have to search for anything. You might not even have to cut anything, if you’re lucky! I make thematic cards if the layout I made also had a theme (so, obviously, a birthday card with a birthday layout) or more generic cards if the layout didn’t have a theme. With just a few minutes, you simultaneously use more supplies and ensure yourself an ever-ready pile of cards.
Just to prove that this is the simplest way to make cards, I’m including a card each day, along with the daily challenge. I used these sketches from Kim Hughes’s site to help me with the card designs.
Use Your Stuff Daily Challenge: Patterned Paper
Pull out your drawer/file/box/bucket that holds your least-favorite color of patterned paper. Riffle through the entire pile, just to remind yourself of what you have. Pull the bottom three sheets. Use at least one of these on a layout. Put the sheets you don't use on the top of your pile, so you'll see them the next time you pull out that container.
The way that supplies stack up in their containers (older stuff on the bottom) can become a sort of archeological dig—you move backward through your own shopping experiences. Don’t let the age of a supply deter you from using it, though. If you still love it, put it to use and release that stored creative energy!
In scrapbooking, as in life, red is my least-favorite color. So that’s the drawer I pulled out. Then I found a photo that would work with the paper—in this case, it’s a picture of my daughter, Haley, sitting on the stairs on Christmas morning. Since I’ve already told the story of that experience, I told a completely different one. The bottom paper in my red drawer was this flocked-flower one from We R Memory Keepers:
Since Celeste makes a lot of digital layouts, she didn't literally dig through a bin of patterned paper, but she did push herself to use a color she doesn't use very often:
Lisa also took the challenge. She discovered that she loved these forgotten papers:
For today's card, I printed the word “happy” three times at the same time I printed my layout's journaling. Then I just inked the edges of things, stamped the white card (this floral stamp is one of my favorite and most-used stamps), cut out the flower from the last little scrap of paper I had, and assembled:
If you take the challenge, make sure to share your layout somewhere—leave a link to your blog on the comments, or put it in the Write. Click. Scrapbook. flickr group. Or, share what you learned with the creative energy exercise. See you tomorrow!