Monthly Archives: December 2012

I Make Mistakes. Regularly!

I Make Mistakes. Regularly!

One of the excuses I frequently hear is “I’m afraid I’m going to ruin ___.” Sometimes it’s a piece of paper. Sometimes it’s a photo. Sometimes it’s even the memory you’re trying to record.

Well, I’m here to tell you, sometimes you will mess it up. And that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll have to start over. Sometimes you’ll be able to turn your mistake into a happy accident. Sometimes you’ll just throw it in the circular file, and never look back.

The thing is, you can’t let a mistake, or the possibility of a mistake, keep you from doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. I’m sure you’ve learned this in other aspects of your life. Now I’m asking you to apply that mindset to scrapbooking.

Let me give you an example from my own experiences:

I have been stamping for a very long time. Luckily, while there wasn’t a local scrapbook store when I first started scrapbooking, there was a local stamp store, whose owner was also a wonderful teacher. I learned a lot by taking her classes. One of the most important things I got from her classes was that by knowing your materials (inks, papers, textures, etc.) you could minimize stamping mistakes. (I’ll have a .pdf and short video about avoiding common stamping mistakes available for anyone who signs up for my mailing list, once I get that up and running.)

I used to teach EK Success’ Scrapbook Design University at my local JoAnn’s. Each week, I’d bring in sample pages, and my album covers were getting ruined by the mess left behind by the Wilton students. No matter how much I cleaned, I still managed to get frosting on my linen albums.

I decided I needed an album dedicated to the class, so my personal albums wouldn’t get ruined. I had a post-bound album I had bought at JoAnn’s, but it was UGLY. I decided I’d stamp on the cover to try to pretty it up. It had a smooth, non-porous surface, so I decided to use staz-on ink, which is permanent and dries quickly, even on non-porous surfaces. I also had a bottle of staz-on stamp cleaner, so I was sure I’d be able to wipe off any mistakes I might make. I also knew that since the cover was smooth and almost slippery, there was a higher than average chance I’d mess up an image, but the album was so ugly I figured I couldn’t make it any worse. 😉

Sure enough, the very first image I stamped, my hand slipped, and I blurred the image. I got out the cleaner to wipe up the mistake, and all it did was smear the image some more.

I wasn’t expecting that!

I sat back, and considered my options. Forget about the whole thing, and use a different album? Keep going and hope I didn’t slip while stamping any more? Or decide that the smear wasn’t a design flaw, but a feature?

Of course I decided to turn my flaw into a feature. I continued with my stamping, and after I stamped each image, I smeared it with some more cleaner.

Here’s the final product:

100_5998Sort of interesting, in a good way, right?

The thought I want you to take with you as you begin your scrapbooking journey is this: You WILL make mistakes, and you CAN find solutions for any mistake you make. Embrace imperfection. It makes life (and your scrapbooks) much more interesting.





The best place to start when you begin scrapbooking, is with some inspiration. If you really want to scrapbook, it’s usually because you have something specific in mind: a story you want to tell, some photos you want to use, an event you want to document.

I made this video for you to show one process for creating a page. It began with the idea that I wanted to make some pages for my sister’s baby book. The secondary motivation was to make a page for this past October’s Layout a Day challenge using this prompt supplied by Alison Day.

Some further notes:

  • There are a lot of photos in that pile. I chose about 50 total to print, out of the hundreds that my brother-in-law has shared since his daughter’s birth. There is no reason to scrapbook every single one of them
  • I did a lot of paper shuffling. I really wanted to add more intense color to the page, which is why I went back to the pile a second time to find additional paper. My sister’s family is not calm and sedate. They are a bright, energetic, live life to the fullest bunch, and I wanted the pages I made for them to reflect that.
  • I don’t know why it took so long for me to come up with the border strip idea.
  • I very rarely mat photos. When I do mat photos, it’s usually to make a focal photo stand out more, or to unify a photo block. These stand out enough already.
  • Titles look better and are easier to read when there’s high contrast. That’s one reason I chose that green alpha for the title. It’s also one of my sister’s favorite colors.
  • If you use tags with pre-punched holes, use a brad or some other small embellishment to make it look like it’s holding the tag on the page.

I hope this helps you picture yourself creating a page, or possibly even make one!

You can do it. You already have everything you need to start.


Everyone Has to Start Somewhere

Everyone Has to Start Somewhere

You say you want to scrapbook. You’ve read magazines and how-to books. You’ve even taken a class at a local store. But you still haven’t done a single page.

What’s stopping you from starting?

Are you afraid? Sure you’re going to do it wrong? I’ve got news for you: there is no “right way” to scrapbook. I’m even going to go so far as to say, you may already be scrapbooking, and don’t realize it.

When it comes right down to it, scrapbooking consists of your words and your pictures, put together in a way that makes sense to you. What it looks like can vary greatly.

Sometimes it looks like something your grandmother might have put together, with black pages, photo corners, and clippings pasted on the page.

Sometimes it looks like a photo album, with photos slipped in sleeves, and just a few words written in the margins.

Sometimes it’s clean and graphic, and reminds you of a page from a magazine.

Sometimes it’s got fifteen layers of paper, paint, and fabric, and just a single beloved photo.

Sometimes it’s a photo book, where you add your photos and words to a pre-planned set of pages.

Sometimes it’s words and photos together on your screen, published on a blog for all the world to share.

Sometimes it’s a slide show of your favorite photos and video set to an especially meaningful song.

That’s all scrapbooking. All of it. Really.

Scrapbooking is your story, told in whatever way works for you.

What story do you want to tell? What photos are begging to be used?

That’s where you start.