Friday, May 25, 2007

Why we should Scrapbook ourselves! – Part 1

Scrapbooking Layouts – A Very Personal Journey

When I started scrapbooking, it was because I could enjoy myself doing paper crafting and it was a beautiful way of displaying all those pictures I had taken over time of family, friends, etc, rather than them all being stuck in their packets (or in folders on my pc).

However, since I started, a few years ago, I have realised that scrapbooking is so much more than a nice way to display your family photos.

Personal Identity
The start of my endeavours in scrapbooking happened to coincide with a lot of changes in my life and at a point where I also felt somewhat lost with regard to a personal identity.

Many new(ish) mother’s go through a similar thing I’m sure… my daughter was 2½ years old and more independent, and I realised that I didn’t actually recognise the person in the mirror anymore! Being a mum, in comfy shoes and clothes, hair a mess most of the time… the usual thing. After a few major changes, I had the means to change a few things and replaced the frumpy, comfy clothes and changed my hair.

Now, I had seen through magazines, books and, of course, here on the internet, many self-portrait pages. I found them very interesting as they seemed much more personal than the usual “scrapbooking my kids antics” type pages, and I thought about doing some of my own and then realised that I didn’t actually have any up to date photographs of me – unless they were with my daughter!

Mirror Image
Feeling a bit self-conscious about asking someone else to take some, I decided to have a go at taking some pictures of myself in a mirror. So, placing a dressing table mirror on the windowsill of my office (which is actually the spare room!), I proceeded to take a few photos. I was actually quite pleased with how the photographs came out!

I have a number of photos which other people have taken of me (usually group shots, or just with my daughter) in which I look completely different to the way I “thought” I looked at the time!

Sound familiar?

Many people say that they don’t like to have their pictures taken because they are “just not photogenic”. Well some people are more photogenic than others, that’s true, but even top models don’t just get in front of the camera without having had some “practise” as to how they present themselves. By that, I mean “how” they smile and hold themselves… they have practised in a mirror (and they get coaching too!). But of course, this does mean that they have to really look at themselves in the mirror!!

Do you avoid looking at yourself in the mirror?

I would wholeheartedly recommend, you using your digital camera to take some photos of yourself in a mirror, preferably near a large window for good natural light levels (that’s obviously during daylight hours!!!!!) It is only by practising that you will learn how you actually look at your best, and when you can safely do this in private, you will relax and therefore your pictures will not have that usual strained “I don’t want to be here” look like they normally do!

Firstly, do you hair and makeup as if you were going out for real. Then take up your camera and snap away… take loads and loads of pictures. Lots of you smiling, some of you doing daft things, some laughing your head off (because at some point you will laugh at yourself - which is good!) and some serious pictures (you could always try a sexy look too!)… just GO FOR IT!

Then look at them on your computer. You can keep it all private, the rest of the family don’t need to see them, unless you want them to! I think you will find it quite liberating… I did!

I have since created some self-portrait pages, and I plan to do more, as they are helping me to re-identify who I am. I have also taken more photographs of myself, and the ones that my family and/or friends have seen have actually had requests for copies!!!! So you see… other people do want to see you and know about you… get photographing and scrapping yourself… your nearest and dearest really do want you to!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to organise yourself – Part 1: Photographs

If you are like me, then you have tons of photos, both old and new, printed and digital. And, if you have children, your production of photos probably exploded from the moment they took their first breath!! But what to do with them all?

Now here’s the scenario… you have a huge stack of photos and another ‘virtual’ stack of photos on your computer…right?

And, you have looked at those photos (in both formats) and thought that some of them would make great subjects for scrapbooking layouts – or even a whole mini-album. Then, because time doesn’t allow, you put them away.

A while later, when you are ready to do some scrapbooking, you start sifting through them again in order to decide what sort of layout to do next. But you have already done it once, and now you are doing the same job again and wasting your precious “free time” or “me time” in the process.

Here’s how you can organise your photographs so you spend more time making scrapbooking layouts and less time wandering through “piles and files” of photos repeatedly.

This is a neat, free way to sort your printed photographs in readiness for scrapbooking. It is ideal for using up scrap paper, ie the scrap printouts from your printer). This is how to make a mini concertina folder.

1. Take some A4 sheets of paper, and fold them in half

2. With the fold at the bottom, put two pieces of paper together - you should have 4 edges at the top. Now staple the middle 2 edges together at the top right hand corner.

3. Now take another folded piece of paper and, placing it behind the other two, staple the front of that piece to the back of the last page.

4. Repeat this for another 7 or so to give you about 10 sections.

5. Lastly staple all the pages together in the top left hand corner (a vertical staple, as it makes a better hinge)

NOTE: Now you could use this size (A5) for placing your photos inside, but I actually like to cut mine down a little to just slightly bigger than the pictures (ie 6x4” pictures so 7x5” sized folders) as you can see in the pictures.

In each section is a set of photos which I have sorted into their subject matter. For instance:
· my daughter’s birthday pictures
· pictures relating to each of our dogs/cats/fish
· particular events or outings
· a section for photos of each of my cars!

I wrote a note on the top of each section as to what was in each. As they are already sorted and stored, I can easily find the pictures I want to place onto my next scrapbooking layout.

Another time saver is to use “Post it” notes to write ideas for specific pictures, such as a page title, or embellishment ideas or a bit of journaling, and stick them to the picture. Then you won’t forget your ideas when you actually get around to scrapping.

Digital photographs stored on your computer
When I view my collections of photographs on my pc (as with the printed pictures) I often decide on the best pictures to use for a scrapbooking layout.
At that point I create a folder named specifically for the scrapbooking layout I have in mind. For instance, “Riding my bike PAGE pix” is a folder on my PC which holds a set of photos of my daughter riding her first bicycle. These are copies of the original photographs.

If I have some journaling ideas at the time, then I fire-up my word processor and write a few notes and save the document to the same folder as the copied pictures.

When I am ready to create my scrapbooking layout, I print the photographs and refer to the notes. When I have finished the page I then delete the folder and all it’s contents, as I have the original photos stored elsewhere on the computer.

I have found both these methods useful in cutting down the time that it used to take me to decide which pictures to scrap next.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Can’t get any more minimalist than that!!

I had to create a couple of birthday cards today for a couple of “in-laws”.

The first, for a woman, fairly traditional style and, as I have been doing Page Accents this weekend with the Scrapbuddies Crop, I thought I’d stay with the theme.

So turning to some scraps, I came up with a card.

I did use a printout from my PC using some free downloads of digi scrapbooking, and placing them into Word… bit of a challenge but I managed it! I am currently waiting for my Photoshop Elements 5 to arrive so that I can dip my toe into the world of digital, possibly combining that and traditional “touchy feely - cut and stick” scrapbooking layouts.

Something for Free - always a good sign
I have to say thank you to for the free downloads… you should check out the site, there are lots of free bits and pieces including full kits… very generous and ideal for starting into digital scrapbooking layouts.

I used a couple of items from the “Festival” kit - a "Swirlie frame" on top of the "paper sack" background, upon which I added a text frame. This is the quote mounted in the middle.

Now then… the second of the two cards… bit of a story there!

This card is for my brother-in-law Neil. When we were visiting a year or so ago, my sister-in-law, Claire, was very interested in what I had brought with me to show as to what I get up to in my spare time (for spare time, read “enforced creative time” – I don’t know anyone who has “spare time”… do you?!!).

Anyway, my brother-in-law, bless him, commented that it was all a bit “Arty-Farty” as far as he was concerned. Of course we (my husband and I) have been having digs about this comment ever since!

I have, since then, sent a fully crafted card to his wife, and two daughters… and now it’s his turn! There were two ways I could have gone with this, one was to really over-do-it, and the other was to really under-do-it!

As you can see I chose the latter! Can’t get any more minimalist than that!!

Inside the card is a little bit of writing at the very top of the card and the usual ‘to and from’ stuff tucked into the bottom right hand corner… the rest is completely blank! I think he’ll see the funny side!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Page Accents - good exercise in Not "Over Thinking"!

I was thinking last night, whilst preparing my demonstration for this afternoon's crop, that it is actually helpful for people to watch the process of making scrapbooking layouts. By this I mean the process of how I make the various choices for what goes on a page and where.

To this end I try to show my notes and/or sketches and practise pieces in order to convey how I achieved a particular item on my scrapbooking layout.

This month’s crop subject was Page Accents.

I think these items are particularly useful for using up all those scraps we have piling up after a project. They are great for using up the bits and pieces left over, such as odd alphas, stickers, die cuts… in fact anything.

They can be used for Scrapbooking layouts, but also for cards. They are home-made “toppers” if you like.

A good way to approach the subject is to gather a few bits together and then make up a page accent without anything in particular in mind. It frees the mind, just to put a few papers, stickers and other embellishments together for their own sake and not to try to match things to a photo.

I have found that a page accent I had already made, actually matched a photo perfectly and all I added then was a background and some journaling. (see picture above)

Page accents are ideal as a quick fix for pages… so a scrapbooking layout would actually only include a background, a photo and the page accent… hey ho… you’re done! And if your picture is black and white, you can make up the page even quicker as you’re not dictated to by the colours in the photograph!

Some people find it difficult at first to stop trying to “match” what they are making to particular page they may have in mind. I call this “over thinking” and it is something of which we are all guilty.

The beauty of Scraps
The beauty of using our scraps is that we aren’t using our precious “save that for a special page” papers and embellishments and therefore we should feel a more free to experiment and make the page accent purely for the sake of it.

A good way to do this is to use some papers you may have received as a free gift with a magazine or similar. I have a number of papers (usually in collection of 6 at a time) which I gain from Scrapbook Inspirations each month.

A lot of the time they are collections of papers I would not ever choose for myself, but as they are ready-made collections of complimentary colours and designs, I make use of them to get me thinking outside of my usual “comfort zone”. I can usually find embellishments, etc to match them from the “left-overs” of packs which I have bought.
In this way I have 'made' myself think
differently and it can be satisfying
to see the end result has worked well.

For things like page accents, whether for scrapbooking layouts or cards, it often pays to make use of free goodies that wouldn’t necessarily be your “usual” style, just to see what you can achieve.

So I urge you to pull out a few papers, a couple of embellishments, and maybe some ribbons and just make up a page accent or two just as an exercise in a little free thinking.

The magazine I mentioned earlier, Scrapbooking Inspirations, does have a regular feature at the moment regarding Page Accents and they are a good source of ideas for getting you started.
Visit my Scrapbuddies site to see how some of the group got on with their Page Accents.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A little bit of planning goes a long way!

I was talking with my mum recently about what we would do in the way of scrapbooking layouts when we next got together at the end of this month.

I go and stay with her for a few days with my 3 year old daughter every 5-6 weeks “ish” and we like to do some scrapbooking layouts together. The trouble is that we can’t get stuck in to anything until my daughter has gone to bed!! I can hear all those mothers out there nodding their heads in agreement!

Then we eat our meal and tidy up, but by the time we get the stuff out all over the table and begin it’s already starting to get late and we end up going to bed in the early hours. But also, what usually happens is that my mum gets “the boxes” out (you know the ones… the large boxes of old photos and boy, there’s hundreds in there!) and proceeds to start sifting through them to decide which ones to put on a scrapbooking layout. Of course, time ticks by as she reminisces and basically by the time she starts a layout, she can’t keep her eyes open!

Sound familiar?

A bit of Planning

So apart from arranging to eat with my daughter earlier in the evening to make the most of child-free time, I told my mother, “You need to do a bit of planning. Go through your pictures before my next visit and choose which ones you would like to scrap. Just choose a few pictures or groups of pictures. Then resist the urge to get “the boxes” out!”

“I’d like to scrap some of the pictures of the girls [recent photos of my daughter and her cousins],” she replied, “but there are so many old photos I should do, and then there’s all those of my mothers, it’s a bit overwhelming.”

Now this is a comment I have heard before, and felt myself.

We feel we should give equal attention to every picture in our huge stack of photos and the task seems so daunting that we don’t even start a scrapbooking layout. And there is also the fact that we are adding to the pile all the time with new photos of events, children, pets and basically… Life!

I made the same suggestion to my mum, as I have to other people when asked “where do I start?”…

Firstly, don’t try to scrap your old photos first, just because they “came first”! Start with some recent pictures that you “want” to scrap. Not only will the memory be fresh in your mind for journaling purposes, but they are usually more exciting photos than the “old” ones and are more likely to get the “creative juices” flowing.

There are various ways to sort your photos and various ways to scrapbook them, these are just a few!

Sorting those photos

1. Chronological order.
Now if we are talking about the old photos, you may not actually know in what year order they go, so sort into “rough decades”. If you have (or can find out) the details of who is actually in the photos all well and good, but it’s not always possible, so don’t worry as you don’t have to journal anything specific on a scrapbooking layout, if at all.

2. Sort by Occasions

Weddings, birthday parties, new year’s and the like, great sets of photos for a single scrapbook layout or a even mini album if there are a number in the set.

3. Themes

Themes are great for mini albums, ie, paper bag books (although do watch the acid content of some paper bags) or concertina albums, or tag books, the list is endless actually. Themes for scrapbooking layout can be…
Sports for a particular family or even a specific family member if they have been particularly sporty through their life.
Clothes changing through the decades.
Couples - showing photos of couples through the ages
Siblings – group shots of brothers and sisters together
Houses – pictures of different family homes
Pets – self explanatory!
A child’s firsts - self explanatory!

TIP 1 – if you find one particular picture could be useful for a number of Themes, scan it and use the scan (or parts of it) for other scrapbooking layouts/albums. For instance you may only have one photo of Auntie Marge and Uncle John standing in front of their house with their pet dog! It covers 3 of the above themes!

TIP 2 – if your original “old” photograph is too big for your layout, and you don’t want to physically cut it up (crop it) then scan it, or photocopy it and crop the copy to use on the page/album. You can store the photo in a pocket on the back of the page.

4. Sort by individuals

Span the lifetime (thus far) of a particular person, or maybe just a crucial period of time in that person’s life.

Scrapping those photos

My scrapbooking layouts are in all sorts of sizes, it just depends how the mood takes me and what the photos “tell me”. I think the most satisfying for me are mini albums, such as paper bag books (which are great for storing extra photos by the way), 6x6 albums made from card and book rings, 4x4 concertina books, etc. With a small amount of paper, the photos and a handful of embellishments your album takes shape really quickly.

So try not to be overwhelmed by your numerous boxes of photos… you don’t have to scrap them all, just pick out the ones you like and get started. Remember you can always store similar pictures in a pocket with the pages. Dive on in..!

The Best Scrapbooking Layout Investment you can make

We scrapbookers spend large amounts of money on all sorts of things for our pages, don’t we? And there are always other gadgets or embellishments we really want! But you know it is so easy to make beautiful scrapbooking layouts “just” with paper.

I believe the best investment you can make for your scrapbooking layouts is paper. There are so many beautiful papers for sale, in “hard copy” format or digital. And you can make your own with your scanners, etc.

I found the following article on my travels across the web which I thought I would share with you...

Simple Scrapbooking Is Not An Oxymoron
by Deborah Smith

Simple Scrapbooking may seem like a oxymoron like "almost exactly" or "old news." Pick up almost any scrapbook magazine and you will find page layouts that you know took hours to create. Simple? How?

I've come a long way since my earlier days of scrapbooking. Having taught scrapbooking classes for four years I learned a lot of short cuts, tips and techniques along the way.

Listening to my students, I realized most of them felt overwhelmed by their backlog of photos. I knew there had to be a better and faster way to design page layouts. But they still had to look fabulous!

Simple Scrapbooks don't have to be boring or uninspiring. Some of the most stunning pages I have ever seen are very fast and easy to create.

Scrapbook design isn't about using as many techniques and scrapbook products on your page as possible. Good design focuses on enhancing your precious photos. The pictures and the story are what it's all about right? That doesn't mean you have to settle for boring pages.

Let the pictures talk. Let them tell the story. They will also tell you what colors to use and what theme (if any) for your page. Don't get caught up in always having to use a "theme" for every page. Often the best pages simply pull in colors that are in the photos using two or three papers.

The simplest page of all is a monochromatic one. If your pictures scream blue, choose two or three shades of solid or subtle printed blue paper.

Embellishments are all those wonderful eyelets, brads, fibers, and doodads on the market. Of all the embellishments available (and I love them all!), the most effective and versatile scrapbook product is paper. Scrapbook paper can take your page from ho-hum to fabulous in an instant.

There is an almost limitless variety of paper available today. If I had to throw away all of my scrapbook embellishments except one - you guessed it - I would keep my scrapbook paper.

That isn't to downgrade the importance (or fun!) of other scrapbook embellishments. I love using buttons, fibers, tags, brads, and all the rest. The key is to use restraint. Stick to one or two scrapbook embellishments and don't plaster your page with them.

Don't be afraid of some empty space (negative space) on your pages. Often the temptation is to fill all the little empty areas of the page with stickers or some other embellishment. The negative space serves to focus your eye on the photos.

In my earliest attempts at scrapbooking I made many mistakes. Among several other mistakes, like using too many pictures and chopped-up pictures, I tried to fill up all the negative space with stickers. I didn't even leave room to journal.

Scrapbooking is so much fun and so rewarding. Take the simple path to scrapbooking and find out how fabulous it can be!

Deborah Smith is the author of "Fabulous Scrapbook Pages in Minutes" and designer of "Print N' Cuts." Find out how you can create scrapbooks that are stunningly simple at: or: for "Print N' Cuts" and more.

I agree wholeheartedly with Deborah that getting back to basics with scrapbooking is refreshing. It is so easy to fall into the trap of finding all those bits and pieces, when paper and our photos is actually what it's all about!

Friday, May 11, 2007

5 ways to find Free or Discount Scrapbooking supplies

There is a wealth of scrapbooking layout supplies out there and more being invented every day. But the cost of these things can mount up pretty quickly and so here is a list of tips for making your scrapbooking budget go a lot further.

One. Firstly, although embellishments such as brads are supplied in all sorts of shapes and sizes by the scrapbooking industry, you can buy ordinary brass brads (paper fasteners as they are known) from stationers and discount stores for a fraction of the price. Always take a look at clearance bins for things like ribbons and fabric ends.

A good resource is the stockists/showrooms of blind manufacturers, they often want to give away their out-of-date books of swatches and these samples are really good as backgrounds for scrapbooking layouts. The picture shows a card made with pieces of blind material and the gold flower was pendant found at a charity shop.

Then there are the bouquets of silk flowers available at discount stores and garden centres. Just take the heads apart and you have instant blooms as embellishments. And an extra tip is to buy white ones because you can always colour them with your ink pads to the exact colour you want.

Two. I have found various items at charity shops, for instance, costume jewellery which I have used on cards and scrapbooking layouts. I have bought packs of used stamps for next to nothing and found loads of buttons too.

Then there are the car boot and garage sales. You can discover little items for embellishing scrapbooking layouts, for instance sewing box contents like measuring tapes can be useful. Small metal washers and other little items from the tool boxes are great for “manly” pages.

Three. It does pay to organise your supplies. In that way you can see what you have already got and only need to spend money on specific things. A standard concertina folder (or expandable folder) is very useful. I keep all my 12x12 layout papers and card stock in colour groups with smaller size paper and scraps in clear plastic folders within the same colour range. It means that I have all my available paper all together at my fingertips.

Of course with all our stash we still want and need more, but keeping them in an orderly fashion reminds us of what we already have so that we don't duplicate. I have also made a “swatch book” of all my ribbons using a page per colour and beside each ribbon a note of which shop I bought it from… because they all stock slightly different ribbons! In this way I know exactly which shop to go back to in order to refresh my supply.

My buttons are stored in clear plastic bags with a colour tag attached to the top. They are all kept in a box. When I need a particular colour I just reach for the tag and pull out the bag. I can then see all the buttons clearly and so can choose with ease the ones for my scrapbooking layout.

My embellishments are kept in various clear boxes with lids. Some chocolates come in clear boxes which are great for storage (any excuse eh!?). Some sewing shops stock boxes with compartments inside for pins etc… these are very useful and can be less expensive than ones specifically made for scrapbooking.

I have found keeping lots of small boxes more convenient as they are more versatile for packing into my “rolling toolbox” to take on crops. Mine is a standard toolbox and therefore a LOT cheaper than a specific scrapbooking one and serves me well.

Four. Use your scanner/colour photocopier to copy fabrics such as clothing, for backgrounds. Things that give good textures are items such as towels, and the range of colours is brilliant nowadays too!

Five. Search Google and other engines for “free fonts” and “free scrapbooking” Find free fonts to download, free templates and even if you are not a digital scrapbooker, you can make use of thousands of free digital scrapbooking supplies, such as background paper, and embellishments, simply print and cut out.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What a Beginner Needs to Know about Scrapbooking

When I mention to some people that I run a scrapbooking club and demonstrate how to scrapbook, a puzzled look can creep over their faces! You can see them trying to work out what exactly it is that I teach. They’re thinking “We all used to cut bits out and stick bits in to a book when we were kids… what is there to teach?”

It is true of course, we have all, as children, glued our holiday souvenirs into a large scrapbook filled with (rather oddly) rough, hideously dull coloured pages, only to find all the bits dropping out a while later because the glue has gone off or the sticky tape has disintegrated!

But, the beauty of these little collections of papers, tickets, and clippings is that it allows to reminisce about those long forgotten little family excursions and wistfully remember how simple life was as a child, ahhh!

Nowadays modern scrapbooking layout techniques and tools have blossomed into a huge, and sometimes overwhelming, industry. Instead of the dull, lifeless books available back then, we now have a choice of many types of styles, colours and shapes. Our scrapbooking layouts are placed inside protective plastic covers which look after our well crafted pages.

The glue and sticky tape (that went yellow and then brittle and then finally fell off!) is a thing of the past with double sided tapes and sticky dots making the mounting of photos and embellishments on your scrapbook pages simple and mess free. And talking of embellishments, there are huge numbers of beautiful things on the market, but there many in other outlets too and around your home.

Drinks Can ‘ring pulls’, for instance, make great “buckles” for ribbons and… are free! And oh how eager one’s husband can be to oblige your request to keep all his beer ring pulls!! The ribbons can be obtained by cutting out those annoying straps in clothes that may keep them on the hanger, but always hang out of your tops at the most inopportune moment!Scrapbooking layouts in the modern day basically allow for anything so start collecting!

The initial use of scrapbooking is essentially the same as it was all those years ago, it’s just that now we have lots of lovely products at our fingertips. And, perhaps more importantly, the improvement of photography to everyone means that we all have special photos that we want to view and appreciate.

Scrapbooking is still used for holding personal keepsakes, but also for gift giving. Apart from standard scrapbooking layouts to document photographs, events, etc, scrapbooking techniques can be used to make greetings cards, grandparent books (and parent books!) and personalised gifts that everyone is pleased to receive.

What do I need?
Well not a lot actually. If you see the post re ”Try Scrapbooking for Free” you will see that you can start with things already around your home and you really don’t need that much to make your very first scrapbook.

All you need to get you going is…
· a pair of scissors
· some glue and/or some double sided tape
· some photographs (although not even this is always necessary!)
· some paper(s)/card
· a stapler is handy
· some ribbons, fabric pieces
· bits and pieces left over from other projects (buttons

As you become more acquainted with scrapbooking, you will find products that make your pages easier to make and look better.

A couple of items I find invaluable are:
· A scalpel, just replace the blades when blunt (lots of people use craft knives)
· A metal ruler
· A cutting mat
· Tweezers for fiddly little pieces and helping peel off backing tape from double sided tape.

Now then… sticky things!
There are lots to choose from, but for a beginner to scrapbooking I would suggest, double sided tape, sticky dots of some sort and a pack of double sided pads (the latter gives dimension to your scrapbooking layouts).

Of course your pages themselves, eg, the backgrounds make a huge difference to the scrapbooking layout and indeed the whole album. Which is why our childhood attempts always looked bland, there were no backgrounds, just the dull coloured plain paper! You will see mentioned everywhere on the subject of scrapbooking that you MUST obtain materials which are acid and lignin free. And if you are making a scrapbook for generations to come to appreciate then this is fairly essential. I’ll explain in a minute.

But if you are making cards or little gifts that may not need the longevity of archiving memories then slightly acid items are perfectly acceptable. This fact alone opens up a whole plethora of possibilities for cheap or free materials.

However, if a scrapbook is to be kept as an archive for treasured family moments, then acid and lignin free is the way to go. Acid and lignin accelerate the deterioration and fading of photographs, and the scrapbook layouts in general. Lignin is a chemical found in the cell walls of plants. If lignin is not removed during the paper manufacturing process, the chemical will cause a gradual yellowing of the paper and it will eventually crumble. There are huge amounts of products free from these chemicals and they come in all colours.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Try Scrapbooking for Free!

Ok, so you’ve heard of scrapbooking and maybe you have been excited by some of the layouts you’ve seen in magazines or here on the web. Most likely you have clicked from link to link and now have information overload, right?

And you’re probably thinking that you might like to try scrapbooking, but haven’t a clue where to start. More importantly, you don’t want to splash out on a load of “stuff” (or “stash” as it is known in Scrapbooking circles) when you’re not sure if you’re going to like it!

Well you don’t have to. There are, of course, millions of products out there to tempt and excite you, but you know… most people already have a fair amount of things in their house with which they can scrapbook.

Here is a picture of a layout created using only standard stationery items, you too could create such a layout and I describe below how to achieve the same results.

Now because this is just a “test” page as such (to see if you like scrapbooking) we are not worried about the acidity content of the materials, a subject which you may have already read about and something we will cover later. We are just creating a simple page layout to show you just how easy it is to achieve good results.

Below is the list of materials and tools I used to create the layout.
· A4 (11 x 8”) piece of white paper
· Piece of a printed paper bag (received when I bought a book recently)*
· Photograph 4x6” (don’t use an irreplaceable photo at this stage)
· Buttons (found at the bottom of a drawer!)
· Ribbon (cut from the inside of the shoulders of some new tops – all they did was
hanging out the neckline, so I cut them off and kept them!)
· Double sided tape (or glue stick) (some glue – liquid type, if you have some)
· Scissors
· Ruler and pencil
· Black pen.

* you could use a piece of patterned wallpaper, patterned packaging [for those of you with a colour printer that can do photocopies, ie copy a patterned item of clothing]


I cut A4 piece of paper down to 8x8” (20.3cm square).
Then cut a piece from the paper bag to cover just over half of the white page and stuck it down with double sided tape.
I cropped about an inch (3 cm) off the right hand edge of the photograph (which was just more grass!)
Then turned the photo over and placed double sided tape around all four sides (about a quarter of an inch from the edge of the photo is just fine)

I cut a short length off each piece of ribbon and placed it on the side of the photo with 1.5” (4cm) hanging off the side.
Cutting some more lengths (slightly longer) I placed them at the bottom of the photo. Then I glued the 5 “found” buttons on the bottom of the page.

I wrote the title “My Boy Badger” on the left-over piece of white paper, cut it out and ‘doodled’ a few lines around the edge. This was then adhered to the bottom left of the page, over the coloured paper for contrast.

Lastly I doodled a few lines on the diagonally opposite corner to compliment the title. And there is your simple, scrapbooking layout. You have to admit that the photo looks so much better than it would if just put in a photo album on its own in a sleeve!

And, just in case you are thinking that creating a page for each and every photo is maybe a waste, and you have thousands of photos… worry not! There are lots of ways that you can create pockets, mini books, envelopes, tags… (it’s a long list) in which you can place a lot more photos thus creating great storage too.

Also… in case you are thinking “I don’t like my handwriting” – you don’t need to use your own handwriting… you can put all your information on the back of the page, but don’t forget that other people, children especially will love to see “your” handwriting no matter how ghastly you think it is. Besides… if you get hooked into scrapbooking, you will find a huge amount of products to “write” with. But more importantly you will see from other people’s layouts that handwriting – of any type – is great and gives a real personal touch to the page.

So… why don’t you have a go?

I am very happy to help you if you wish to email me with a question and it would be great to hear from you as to how you get on!

I will be posting more articles regarding scrapbooking layouts on a tight budget soon.