Scrapbooking process

I’ve been meaning to write on this for a while, so let me finally focus on what is my process when I scrapbook (or journal).

I deliberately place limits on my process. In part, this is a reflection of my personality and style; I don’t like the highly decorated page that I often see. I have always liked sleek lines and the simple approach. Any richness should be more subtle for me to really like it.

This is actually true for me in all my crafts, not just scrapbooking. In things like sewing and knitting and weaving, I like simple lines and classic shapes, but my decorative elements come from the choice of color and texture. And really, that is what I try to do in my scrapbooks as well.

For scrapbooking, what this has meant is that I really don’t use decorative elements all that much. I ignore any embellishment that causes the page to stick up. Buttons and brads? Not happening. Stickers and diecuts? Very limited. I buy them very rarely and use them even less. And when I do use them, they are rarely a focal point in any way, rather just a minor addition to fill in or balance the space a bit. Stamping? Not touching it. Inks? Paints? Not bothering with them. I’m not that type of artist. Tags? They don’t strike me as helpful. Stick-on, rub-on, or stamp-on alphabets? I haven’t bought one for years. Pens work fine. Punches? Well, I tried them and have found them very uninspiring.

What do I use? Well, paper (plain, decorative, and lined), pens, pages, page protectors, photos. (I seem to be a P scrapbooker. Who knew?) Even my heavy focus on journaling doesn’t really lead me to use journal boxes all that much, mostly because I find them too limiting. Most of the richness of color that I like comes from the paper and photos. I do have a few diecuts, stickers, and alphabets, but they are mostly left over from when I was trying them out. I haven’t actually bought one in years. And what I don’t have is physical texture, mostly because I’m not willing to give it the space it would require in a book, but I do like visual texture in my decorative paper. I would probably like a few more stencils that I could trace for lines, frames, and alphabets, but I would still just be using them with pens.

Now some of that may change as I move into digital scrapbooking a bit, but not much. A page that is too busy with decorative elements is distracting and hard for me to read. But I am still struggling to figure out my digital process. It doesn’t work quite the same way.

So, my process… I started with Creative Memories, and have mostly stuck with them. (I find a scrapbook store to be fairly overwhelming, actually. Sensory overload. It is another reason why I stick with a simplified process. Oddly, though, I have no problem in a yarn or quilt store.) I use the power layouts method that allows me to move fast in getting a whole bunch of pages ready quickly. The method consists of:

  1. choose and crop pictures
  2. play with layout
  3. choose paper, frame pictures
  4. choose embellishments
  5. stick it all down (except embellishments, which are put down after I journal and know how much space I have; this is particular to MY process, because journaling is that important)
  6. journal

The level of work that goes into it of course depends on your preferences. Since I don’t like lots of embellishments, that step is rather short and sweet. Sometimes I spend some time poking around in the stickers, etc., and then shrug because nothing appeals to me. Sometimes I choose an embellishment and then decide not to use it because the journaling fills up too much space; if it unbalances the design, oh well. But truthfully, that is rare, since embellishments are rarely of any significance in my design.

I may or may not do the journaling immediately, but I do try to keep up with recent history, so I haven’t forgotten anything important.

I most definitely pick and choose what I want to record. Not every picture even gets printed, much less scrapped. Not every event gets recorded.

With this process I do a crop once a month, do somewhere around four to eight pages in that one crop, and stay mostly caught up.

This is what works for me.

I have realized that I am not quite as chronological as I had once thought, but still, more chronological than not. Certainly that’s mostly the order things go into my scrapbook, even if they don’t get done in that order.

Changes that are coming: well, I have been inspired, especially by the Roundtable discussions, to start looking at more reflective pages, more about relationships. I was already heading that way, but this just gave me some of the stimulus to push me along that path. Second, I am looking more into digital scrapbooking. Third, I am considering how I want to blend the digital and paper process, if at all. I may just use them both in parallel.

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