Thursday, October 15, 2015

#ThowBackThursday Scrapbook Style- Fall

Last year was the first year we had seen such a large harvest display at our grocery store. It's nice to see a little bit of fall in the Caribbean. I originally made this page for JBS Mercantile. I love the wood grain paper( it is an actual sheet of wood veneer). The design is a bit different from what I was making at the time. I was inspired to layer some puffy stickers under part of the photo matte.

Follow My Scrapbook Evolution 's board Seasons: Autumn Awesome on Pinterest.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The December Daily Reality Check 2015

The December Daily Reality Check 2015 with My Scrapbook Evolution

It would seem that it is time for the annual December Daily madness. Once again, pictures of enticing kits filled with holiday scrapbook supplies hit our inboxes. Inevitably, someone always posts some variation of the same questions in a scrapbook forum or group:

Should I or shouldn't I attempt a December Daily?
Has anyone ever successfully completed one? If so, what was your creative process?
Which kit should I buy?

I could say that I am tired of hearing those questions, but my attention is always piqued. I read on, curious about what others have answered and I end up asking myself if this will be the year that I "officially" make a December Daily. This year, the answer was almost yes. Almost.

What was it that made me almost say yes this year?

Namely, a large part of that answer has to do with our big move to the UAE. I know we will have a lot of new adventures this year along with a new apartment to decorate. The holidays won't feel the same as they have always been (especially after 9 years in the Bahamas). I have been considering whether or not I want to try a new way to document them. Now the question popped into me head concerning what supplies I would use.

 As I packed up my scrapbook stash, I came across two large (and quite overstuffed) bags of holiday supplies. Some of those supplies had been in my stash for over a decade. It's true that most Christmas supplies are timeless. I have told myself I won't buy more until I use them all up (I am very budget conscious). Inevitably, I end up with a few new bits and pieces courtesy of my monthly kit club subscription (which I then tend to use first) and the rest of the supplies in the bag just sit there.

When you have to spend a lot of money to move something halfway around the world, you have a tendency to really consider its worth to you.Looking at those bags, I felt a sense of guilt over the amount of supplies I had stuffed into them. I felt like I HAD to use them. I realized that keeping them was, in essence, an attempt at making me use them up. Let me say that again to be clear. I WAS MAKING MYSELF USE THEM.

So what's bad about that? What's bad about using supplies that you spent good money on? Nothing! Except that, in a way, the act of forcing myself to use them was now making those same supplies unappealing. In a lot of ways, choosing to hang onto those bags of Christmas Scrapbook supplies had dampened my creative spirit when it came to scrapbooking the holidays. In fact, I found that, in some cases, I was avoiding certain layouts altogether because I didn't want to look through those supplies. That stash of Christmas paper no longer held much value for me because I resented it.Resenting scrapbook supplies sounds a bit harsh and quite a bit ridiculous, but well, there you have it. I did indeed resent the products in those bags and how I felt about them was preventing me from being creative.

What should be done with scrapbook supplies that were no longer appealing?

I needed to place some sort of value on my Christmas Stash in order to make them usable once again. I pulled out all of the supplies, sorting them by brand and type into piles and began an assessment.You can do this too (even if you aren't making an international move). Sort your piles by a method that makes sense to you.

The first step is to gather any supplies that have already been used on a previous layout. Many times in the past (from both kits and collections) I have ended up with duplicate sheets of paper. Sometimes I don't mind that as I truly love the design. Other times, I find that once I have used that print, I feel less inclined to use it again. If you feel the same inclination, take these pieces out of the main pile and set them aside.

Next, go through the supply pile and select anything you no longer love. Set these aside as well. Once you are done,go through the pile for a third time. This time, you are looking to identify supplies with patterns or colors that are similar to recent Christmas products that you have seen for sale within the last year.This leaves behind products that fall into a maybe category.

Now comes the hard part...the moment in which you let go of some your supplies. I confess that this was a hard step for me. The big trick was quite simply to view those supplies in any form other than "the stuff I spent money on and have to use." I first dealt with supplies from the duplicates pile and the product I no longer love pile by combining them into one. This big pile received a new name. I dubbed it "product for donation".

 I got a box of large zip loc bags and I began making craft kits from those piles. We have a local charity which has craft classes for kids and also a shop through which they make money to help out the community. As I made the kits, I imagined the products inside them being used by happy children or being sold in the store. The act of making the kits was great motivation for me to donate them rather than just tossing them into a box (which felt like throwing money out the door). This shift in thought gave a new sense of value to the products. I can tell you that it felt great to donate them.

Now that you have culled your supplies a bit, it will be easier to handle what's left. Whether you buy a new Christmas collection this year or purchase a December Daily kit, you should be able to easily add in some (hopefully quite a bit) of the items that are similar to recent Christmas kit releases. It is probably best for you to look through this pile prior to purchasing any new products. You can get a feel for what color or style of kit you might want to buy. In some cases, an older item may be so similar to something new that it can serve as a replacement thus allowing you to stretch what you have to spend farther.Take anything out of your cart that can be replaced by an old item in your stash.

The "maybe" pile will be the most difficult to deal with. It took me three passes to decide on which items made the cut and which didn't. For anything that you decide not to keep, sort it into the donation kit bags. If you remain unsure, place the maybe items into a bag all of their own. Unless you have a big move coming up, you don't have to get rid of it right away.

Should I buy a December Daily Kit or should I make my own?

 Personally, I always struggle with the cost of the December Daily kits and the massive amount of holiday supplies in them. I know I will never use it all (even if I successfully complete December Daily). After packing and sorting my supplies for donation, I have come to the conclusion that I don't desire to overbuy supplies any more. I saved a small amount of Holiday supplies to take with me on the move. I am hoping my kit club (I am a Cocoa Daisy Subscriber) will offer  some holiday themed items in December. I am also hoping that Traci Reed Designs will come up with a new digital kit from which I can make some Holiday layouts.

Just typing that last paragraph  makes me realize I might be swimming in more supplies than I could use. Try writing down what supplies you have and what you think you might want or need. Think about how many layouts you made last year (whether pocket pages, 12x12 or mini albums) and consider which supplies might be used. You don't need an exact plan, but having a rough idea can help you succeed in documenting your own December Story. Be realistic. Can you really bake dozens of cookies and then sit down and make the page about it the same week? Are going to try to keep up? Are you really going to have the time to pre-make layouts or would you be better off waiting to finish your December pages until after the holidays? Being honest with yourself about what you can accomplish will prevent you from feeling guilty for starting a project you can't keep up with.

So what is my plan?

Keeping it simple is the best approach. My album will consist of my usual mix of 12x12 scrapbook layouts and pocket pages. I will focus my attention on being a part of the events rather than on just documenting them. I give myself permission to scrapbook about the holidays after it all happens.

A few years back, I wrote about my take on December Daily. I had a simple game plan and I did end up making a lot of great holiday pages.I successfully participated in Your December Story with Get It Scrapped. In 2014, I replicated the game plan and added in a few of the prompts from Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas Class.These classes will once again serve as my main source of inspiration for my December Pages.

 I haven't scrapbooked all of the Christmas photos, however, I guess you could say that overall I am very happy with the way I document our family Christmas and the month of December. Assessing how I use those holiday scrapbook supplies has also helped to realize what my personal hang ups are. Now that I know, I have solved my problem and can move forward with ease.

Follow My Scrapbook Evolution 's board Holidays-Journal Your Christmas Inspiration on Pinterest. Follow My Scrapbook Evolution 's board Holiday-Christmas on Pinterest.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Welcome October with the Stories We are Meant to Tell

Fall is a season full of change. I continue to make adjustments as I prepare for our new family adventures abroad. I am aware of my son starting a new school year and being another year older. Autumn has a way of reminding you that a season has come to an end while another is beginning.Regardless of all the change, there is one thing that remains a constant for me in my life: scrapbooking and telling my family's stories. I can document our current events, but in these moments where I am aware of so many endings and beginnings, I can take the time to reflect and find gratitude.I can find the story I am meant to tell right now.

Christy Strickler for Simple Scrapper, Scrapbook Layout about a teen
Not a Typical Teen by Christy Strickler |Supplies Cardstock, Stickers: American Crafts;Letters: Basic Grey, American Crafts; Vellum: Studio Calico: Pocket Cards: Cocoa Daisy; Tags: Evalicious,PinkFresh Studio;7 Gypsies; Acrylic, Button: Freckled Fawn; Tape: Freckled Fawn, Amy Tangerine;Inspired by a Sketch and Story Starter from Simple Scrapper Premium Membership

Documenting my son's life when he was small was so very easy. We lived in a city which was close to many other cities. There was always something exiting to do with a young child. Moving to a quiet island lifestyle was difficult for me. It was hard to learn to slow down. At times, it seemed as though there wasn't anything new to document in our lives.Everyday felt the same. One of the biggest advantages to living in the Bahamas for us, as a family, was learning to live a simpler experience from which I am sure has influenced my sons' character. 

I often hear so many parents complain about the difficulties of living with a teenager. Yet, I don't feel any of those struggles with my son. A story starter from Simple Scrapper inspired me to document all of the little details that make up the unique characteristics of my son's current personality. In many ways, this is a page about the right now, but it also will provide a look into how my son had changed since he was small. Furthermore, it will provide me with inspiration in the future when I find myself looking back once again.

This layout was wonderful for me, not just due to the story told, but also through the ways in which I used up many of my scrapbook supplies. I started with the  pocket cards. Several of the cards had distinct phrases which had been difficult for me to incorporate into a traditional monthly project life spread. The references to the sun, moon and stars guided me to choose the celestial themed vellum as my canvas and the vellum moon as a die cut.

 I struggled with the placement of the story. Should I use a journal card or journal strips? A list seemed a practical way to get my point across but placing either the card or the strips on the layout seemed to make the page feel unbalanced. Small tags were a wonderful answer to my dilemma. Each tag houses a short phrase or a few sentences about my son.. I moved the tags around on the layout to get the spacing just so. They added balance, color and a bit of dimension leaving me with what felt like a well balanced scrapbook page.

The changes ahead in my life are definitely leading me to be a bit more introspective. It's not a bad thing at all though, especially when it comes to my memory keeping. These moments in my life help me tell more defined stories...stories that feel fulfilling, that help me feel gratitude for the people I know, my family and the wonderful opportunities that I have been blessed with.

Life gets busy and we forget to stop and be thankful for it. If you have ever complained about  not having something interesing to scrapbook about, I invite you to pause a moment and look at your life as though you were reading a book. Are you beginning a new chapter, in the middle of one, or coming to the end? None of these is a bad place to be for each one inspires you to feel a different way about the photos you are putting in your albums. That moment in which you find yourself right now...that's the story you should be journaling about. It is the story you were meant to tell.

Looking for more story inspiration? Try some of the story starters available with the Simple Scrapper Premium Membership (an affiliate of My Scrapbook Evolution). Learn More...