Monday, January 18, 2010

My favorites from last year

Looking back at last year, I felt like several things enhanced my creativity. What helped the most? Here's a list:
  1. Organizing my patterned paper and cardstock by color, not brand. This sped up my decision making quite a bit, which allowed me to be more productive.
  2. Subscribing to Studio Calico. I know some people hesitate to grant decision making to someone else when they spend their scrapping money. I am one of them. I must admit, however, that it stretched my creativity to work things together that I may not otherwise have thought to pair.
  3. Bazzill stitching templates. I've been a cross-stitcher since elementary school, but the stitching templates, especially the flourish one, made it so much easier (and quicker) to stitch on a layout. Just enough to add a layer of charm.
  4. Sassafras Lass paper. Mind you, I'm a pretty linear person. This company? Not so linear. It was good for me to stretch and use their stuff.
  5. Upgrading to PSE 7. I did this to take a Jessica Sprague class. I still haven't experimented much with adding frames, brushes, etc. to my photos, but I havebeen able to more quickly edit my photos than I have before, and with better technique too. Working with better photos makes it easier to scrap well, IMO.
  6. Experimenting with smaller photo sizes. I've always tended to scrap 4x6. Too much hassle to change photos sizes in PSE 3, which is what I think I had. Now that I have a higher level program, and a little knowledge to boot, I have made a wallet sized photo template I use again and again to put two small photos on a 4x6 print. This new size has helped me see my pages (and the creative possibilities) with new eyes.
  7. Scrapping different sized pages. I'm a traditional 12x12 scrapper (except my vacation albums, which are 8 1/2 x 11). Two things expanded my horizons: taking The Challenge of Me at Big Picture Scrapbooking, where I was assigned 8x8 to scrap, and this layout: I tried so hard to make it work as a 12x12 with no dice, then something clicked, I trimmed the paper to 8 1/2 x 11, and it worked. I did a similar page in the same size with similar success:
  8. Not fighting the block. I am a linear scrapper. I find I'm much more productive when I resist any urges to "break free" of what I am really like, and just scrap in a block. (Seriously, I see people again and again advertising that scrappers should "break free" of being linear, or sequential, etc. Is it really breaking free if that's who you are? I don't think so.) I suspect the same is true of people with a more free-flow style. If they tried to make the page linear, it wouldn't be comfortable with them. Here's a good example of a blocky style:
  9. Clustering embellishments. Maggie Holmes does this brilliantly, grouping a few accents together to suggest a bigger accent. True confessions: I have a stash, a fairly sizeable one. When you have a few embellishments, this is an effective means of using them up. It's also a creative way of adding energy and texture to a layout by pairing together items that might not otherwise be put together.
  10. Scrapping with a purpose. I find it easy to scrap when I figure out why I want to scrap a particular photo. Once I figure it out, then everything falls into place. If my answer is basic and dumb--"I want to scrap this because it's the time we went to the Arboretum"--I put the photos aside until I figure out why I want to create a layout about these photos. I also found myself scrapping more single photo layouts this year, mainly because I could figure out the purpose with the photo. If I wanted to scrap the photo because I loved the photo, I asked myself, "Why?" Once I figured that out, the rest would fall into place. Here's an example: I love this photo. When I asked myself why, it was because of the white space on the left of the photo. What seemed like an error in photo composition ended up being a perfect place for my list that I created while camping in Maine in 2008.
Looking back on your creative choices over the past year can help you figure out how you've grown, which I think can help you develop new direction and skills too. I invite you to look through the pages you made this past year and see how you became that scrapper that you are.


alisonm said...

Jennifer, I got the package! Thanks, very cool, very useful- especially since I bought a crop-o-dile; the guides for eyelets are a bonus!

I am really liking what you have written on your blog today; lots to ponder. I don't think I have figured out if I am linear or non-linear. Thanks for the insight.

BabyBokChoy said...

Finally I remember to check your blog at home, the operative word: home. There's a setting on certain blogger comment choices that is blocked by my work network, and I have several times tried to comment, but in vain, by then, the post is marked read in GoogleReader, ugh, just sharing my technical difficulty with you here. Meanwhile, congrats on THREE June ST pick-up, holy buckets!!! HOLY BUCKETS!!!! I try every month and just want one, so I can get a free copy and lord knows it's so hard, so serious congrats are in order!!! Lovely work as always, your style is really all the rage right now!!!! fabulous!