A while back, Alison M asked what I do to work with ugly paper. Here's the key:
Yes, it's easier to work with ugly paper if you cut it down to bits. I also think it's easier to deal with the pattern if you do the opposite of what it is like style-wise. For a linear, crisp patten, do something that breaks open the box. If it's wild, box it up with a linear design. Here was a linear design from the same paper line with crisp circles. A couple years ago I cut it apart and did something a little less boxy than I normally do:
To play around recently, I took a piece of old paper I got from a blog challenge. Seriously, it was in my "Donate to preschool" pile. It was filled with lost of random scratchy red and green and white lines on a blue background. Bu-sy! I cut it apart, used the backside a little too, and made this:
I like the end result. Not a paper I would have chosen otherwise, but still nice.