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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!


April at Simple Scrapper

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Ah, Spring! You are so wonderful! I love spring for many reasons. My birthday is in the spring, that means presents and cake! This year, my daughter made a fabulous chocolate ganache cake for me. It was DELICIOUS!

The weather here is slowly becoming warmer. We live on a farm with horses and trudging through ice and snow to feed them is a chore. The horses are happy too—they finally have grass to eat again!

And with the warmer weather comes spring flowers. We have beautiful yellow daffodils, tiny purple wild violas, and delicate white wood anemone already blooming.

wood anemone

Perhaps my favorite part of spring is celebrating Easter. The time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is a special time for me. I feel a sense of renewal, patience, and promise inside and out. I documented these feelings in a layout for Simple Scrapper using this month’s Story Starters, In Good Faith.


My layout began with the photograph of the Easter egg candles on my dining room table. I went back through past Sketch/Templates and found a fairly simple design that would highlight my picture as well as leave room for journaling.

My second layout for April began with a Sketch/Template that featured one prominent photo. I had this cute picture of our dog Sasha, a Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix, and wanted to tell her story.

third chance

We adopted Sasha from a local rescue after she had been given up by two families. She has the guard-dog instincts of a Great Pyrenees, but also loves to be with her family like a St. Bernard. We hoped that life on our farm would meet all of Sasha’s needs. She has been with us for over three years now!

Once I decided on this story, I proceeded with the layout, using one of April’s Sketch/Templates. Since the colors in the photo are fairly neutral, I used several colorful patterned papers on the page.

What stories are you scrapping this spring?

start fresh

I Want to Finish!

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I hate leaving things unfinished. I will squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of a tube before I throw it away. I will turn shampoo bottles upside down to get every molecule out before I toss them in to the recycle bin. I will read entire books—even if I do not like them—just because I hate to leave things unfinished.

So when I have a scrapbook project that I cannot seem to complete, I get a little annoyed. Every time I go into my scrap room, I can feel that unfinished project nudging me like that irksome little pea that bothered the princess so. But for some reason, I cannot find the motivation to get the project done.

Right now I have three projects that I REALLY want to get done. Each one is in a different stage of completion, yet all remain unfinished.

The first project is a family album. When my grandmother died, my father inherited many of her photo albums and boxes of pictures. He gave them to me since he knows I love to scrapbook. I have sorted the photos and have most of the supplies—pocket pages and journaling cards—but I am stuck at this point.

The second project is a Halloween mini-album. My children have (sadly) outgrown trick-or-treating, and I want to make a mini-album documenting all the costumes they wore over the years. I have the photos and tons of Halloween supplies—but again, no completed project.

The third project is a photo album for my daughter. I have several special pictures from her adoption that I want to have in a scrapbook for her. I have the album, page protectors, and papers I want to use, and all of these items are still sitting on my shelf gathering dust.

Fortunately, a new class is starting soon at Simple Scrapper called The Finishing Project.
This class is specially designed to help scrapbookers like me identify, prioritize, and complete those pesky unfinished projects. Check out the class description:

This instructor-led experience will teach you how to be a scrapbooker who confidently and consistently finishes projects while gently guiding you through the process using your own real-life example.
With your enrollment you will receive customized tools you can use again and again to complete photo books, mini albums, pocket page albums, and (traditional or digital) layout-focused albums. You will reconnect with an unfinished project and see it through to the end with ease and intention.

Honestly, I cannot wait to dive into this class! After just four weeks, I know I will have at least one of these projects done and I will have the tools to assist me in completing the others.

Make sure to register here soon–class starts on March 5!

Do you have unfinished scrapbooking projects that you would love to complete?

One Paper, Two Looks

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Recently I received two kits that each had one common patterned paper. The paper is a black-and-white lined paper and has just a hint of yellow. I used the paper with the other supplies in each kit and came up with two very different layouts, even though each page started with the same paper.

On the first layout, I turned the paper so that the lines went vertical. Why vertical? Well, I had that smaller piece of patterned paper with the multicolored circles on it. I loved the pattern so much that I wanted to give that paper a little extra room on the page. The lines in the circles ran vertically, so I turned the background paper to match.


Next I added some fun bright papers to help my photo pop, since the background in the picture is rather drab. My journaling naturally fit into the empty space to the right of the photo. Lastly I added the circles and star embellishments and finished this page.

The next layout documents one of my family’s favorite meals–homemade pizza. I wanted to document the recipe I use, so I chose this same background paper. I knew I could write my journaling directly on the page using the lines. I also wanted to keep the focus on the photo, and this particular paper was neutral enough not to compete with my picture.

homemade pizza

After placing my photo and writing out my journaling, I just added a few yellow embellishments to complement the yellow accents on the paper. I put down the title, stamped a few tiny stars and the date, and my page was complete!