A few years ago, I organized almost all of my scrapbooking supplies into kits. I had become so frustrated with spending hours on a layout–not actually creating, but simply choosing the products I wanted to use.

I would go through my patterned paper stash looking for paper that would coordinate. Then I would dig through all of my embellishments to find supplies that would go with the paper I had chosen. This process took so much time and I went through it EVERY TIME I made a page. I was exhausted and looking for an answer.

Knowing that I loved receiving and working with kits, I decided to try my hand at making my own kits from my stash. I put together collections of patterned paper and coordinating embellishments and then limited myself to using only those products within each kit for my layouts. Immediately I began to love scrapbooking again.


I asked myself why imposing limits on my process would actually increase my creativity. My answer–I was no longer spending so much time on choosing and much more time on making. By setting boundaries, I was actually pushing myself to be more creative with the limited supplies I had chosen.

I have thought about setting boundaries in a larger context as lately I have been hearing so many people lament that {insert creative endeavor here} is just not what it used to be. Music, movies, art, comedy, television, literature–according to many, it is all just derivative drivel these days. I began to wonder why many people feel this way and I decided that it is because we have so few boundaries these days, just like me when I first began scrapbooking.

For example, I recently listened to an interview with Carol Burnett. She related stories about how back when her show was on television how careful everyone on her show had to be not to offend the network censor. Therefore, many of the jokes on the show had to be very tastefully made in order to make it on the air. Of course The Carol Burnett Show is one of the funniest shows ever made and I believe it had much to do with the boundaries in which the show operated.


The art of photography seems to have suffered the same fate. In the early days of this craft, photographers were limited by black-and-white developing, use of film, and early camera technology. Yet Dorthea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph is amazing. With all of the advances in photography today, are there still being pictures made with such depth of feeling?


Movies today are full of special effects–hectic car chases, evil aliens attacking from outer space, robots running rampant through cities. But can these films hold a candle to movies such as Hitchcock’s Rear Window which relied solely on interesting dialogue, great actors, and fantastic lighting?


My experiment with using kits in my scrapbooking has led me to believe that setting boundaries in any artistic endeavor can help creativity flow. Instead of reaching for yet another patterned paper or brad that just might be the perfect one, I allow myself to use just what is in front of me. I can then stretch my imagination and use those products in new ways. I spend much less time choosing and more time creating.

Now go create!

One thought on “Boundaries

  1. Fantastic post and I have to agree 🙂 When I started kitting doing counterfeit kits I notice and huge increase in my scrapping because the decisions were made in tha t 1 day of creating the kit and if I stayed within the kit I had plenty to choose from and create 🙂 I love your choices of boundaries too (Carol Burnett was one of my favs when I was a kid 🙂

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