Wednesday, 22 February 2006

The need for speed

I just read another blog entry somewhere about someone who wishes she could be a quicker scrapper and it inspired me to write about speed. As you know, I am one of those speedy scrappers and although I don’t have a specific technique I can offer a few helping points:

1. I work in order so the photo I choose is the one THAT COMES NEXT. No dithering, no wasting time choosing, just get the next one and go. I realize that this is very specific to me as I don’t do heritage and I have caught up with my photos, but it does help when it comes to putting a layout together quickly.

2. I don't spend ages worrying about what papers to use with it - I select a nice combination (or, even speedier, some color blocked paper) and live with my choice. I don’t think that every page needs to be a work of art and have perfectly matched papers – besides that can work out to be expensive. Spending ages trying to match up papers and cardstock and whatnot is time consuming and while I do actually like this part of the process, I save it for very special pages. So this means that some of my pages aren’t perfectly matched but hey! It still means I got another few photos done.

3. I have a small stash so I don't spend ages digging through it in search of the "perfect thing". Also, I know most of it by memory which helps AND it is all perfectly tidy so that is helpful too. We’ve discussed this point before so I won’t gloss over it again but this really helps speed up the process. When I buy new stash I also try to make sure that it works with what I already have OR with specific pages I have in mind. It’s like buying a perfectly matched wardrobe! It means that whatever I grab will work with little effort.

4. I handwrite almost all my journaling. This way I can forget about running to the PC, measuring the available space, typing out the journaling, printing it, cutting it out, finding it doesn't really work, going back to the PC... Besides the personal touch it adds, handwritten journaling is one of my keys for quick pages.

Although lately I have been slowing down and enjoying my pages more I still feel I am fast. I am still following my guidelines above BUT I am spending a bit longer thinking and planning a page. I just couldn’t live with not finishing a layout once I’ve started it so these helpful points keep me in track while still allowing room for my creativity.

These guidelines may or may not help you but I thought I'd share them with whoever is reading this... and sometimes I do wonder if anyone at all is reading! Thanks - whoever you are...

Monday, 20 February 2006

When is too much stash, too much?

Every once in a while someone posts a thread or photos (or both!) in a scrapping forum about their well-stocked scrap room, complete with hundreds of jars of Prima flowers, cardstock in every color of the rainbow and enough embellishments to open a small and profitable shop.

I know that these people mainly want others to ooh and ahh their vast stash, very well decorated room and their flawless organization. They can go ahead and do that, kudos to them and YES I am very jealous... or am I?

My stash is vastly smaller than that – it fits into a little cupboard and there is plenty of empty space for more. We have already discussed the fact that I just can’t seem to shop for things so hence the little stash... but there may be another reason: I don’t have very good memory. At the moment I can remember pretty much everything I own stash-wise – perhaps I don’t remember every single piece of paper but I can almost construct a layout in my mind, adding bits from my stash from memory. Of course once I actually work on a page I find that it looks vastly different, but if I change my embellishments or papers or whatever, it was probably because I would have looked through all my stash before. All of it. It doesn’t take long.

If my fairy godmother suddenly gave me 10 times the stash I have now (hence avoiding the financial issues which are a completely different subject), I don’t think I could cope. There is no way I would every remember everything I have. I could of course store it in a way I could look at it all but it would drive me nuts as I hate things being out (hate clutter). So that won’t work. I could of course search through all my dream stash before I work on a page but that would take ages – and reduce precious scrapping time. I could of course have it and not use it – but that affects the fundamental need I have to USE the things I have. I couldn’t really live with myself if all I did with my stash was stroke it.

I think that in this dream scenario I would end up giving most of my stash away!! I just couldn’t cope with all of those things either cluttering the house, taunting me, as I’m not using them or being wasted away because I can’t remember I have them. HOW WEIRD AM I??

So maybe when I see these photos of enormous scrap rooms with alphabetical ribbon storage I am not exactly jealous of the amount of stash but rather, that these women don’t have the weird mental issues I get over it!

Friday, 17 February 2006

Makeovers!

Yesterday I did something I hadn’t done for a little while – I went shopping for the perfect foundation.

I suddenly realized that since my infatuation with scrapping increased, my life-long affair with Clinique had deteriorated and that just won’t do. After all, I still need to look good for all those photos!

I never neglected the skincare part of the relationship – my mantra is cleanse-tone-moisturize – but more the cosmetic side of it. I’ve been using the same foundation I bought over a year ago and never mind that it doesn’t actually match my skin tone any more, I could do with something more up-to-date and full of the latest in skin reflecting technology or whatever.

So there I was, fascinated by all the little pots and jars and shades of beige and pink and brown... and being utterly bemused by it all. I mean, I know what it all does but HOW to use it is another matter: I wear eye shadow and mascara and blusher and lipstick and all that. But I only ever do it in the same way – and if I need a different look I just use more of it! My makeup application technique is pretty bad, basically, even though I worked as a makeup artist for numerous theater shows and even one that was on TV (where the makeup used is more similar to everyday stuff, unlike theater makeup which is much heavier).

I suppose in a way my scrapbooking technique is similar – I always use the same things in the same way and if I’m doing some special page, I just use more of it! I guess I need to experiment more, take more classes, learn more techniques and find things that I can use in my work.

I spent a little while yesterday playing around with my new makeup (yup, the purchase in the end extended a bit over just foundation! How similar is that to stash shopping?) and I found a few new things I can do. Perhaps I should look to do the same with my pages as they could use a makeover. At least I don’t have to remove it all every time I decide to use another technique!

Monday, 13 February 2006

Somehow I don't think purple and green will make the trendy list, though

I am loving blue and brown at the moment. Practically every page I make (and piece of clothing I wear!) has this color combination.

Two years ago, however, when I was searching for a duvet cover for our bedroom and I wanted something blue and brown, could I find it? Of course not! These colors weren’t “in” so it became an impossible task. If I want to find such duvet cover now, it would be a piece of cake. (I ended up buying a plain beige one!)

Why do colors come and go out of fashion? Who are the people that say “this summer it is all about pink and green” or whatever? How do color combinations get put together and marketed for us to buy? And why is it that shops think no one wants to use colors other than trendy ones? If pink is in and you don’t like or suit pink, well, you’re in trouble as that will be EVERYWHERE.

In scrapbooking terms, at least we can play with all colors and Bazzill of course is a good example. Papers do tend to cover the “trendy” colors but they don’t leave behind all others. Plus, some of us are working on older photos and need the “older” color combos to reflect the era. Nothing works better for 70s photos than brown and orange, for example.

I love color and perhaps is why I really enjoy scrapbooking – shopping for clothes, however, is another matter!

Thursday, 9 February 2006

It is all about enjoying the process, I guess

I had one outstanding photo and I scrapped it last night. It ‘s been a little while since I scrapped anything for myself (as opposed to CJs and gifts) so it was nice to get back into it, as it were.

I’d been putting this off for a while because, quite frankly, couldn’t be bothered with taking all my stuff out just to work on one photo but then I realized that a lot of scrappers do that regularly so thought – why not? This meant I could spend a bit longer on a one-photo layout (which is roughly 9x9) and I really enjoyed it. I tried a few different techniques and was pretty pleased with the result. I will upload a photo as soon as I get my act together, I promise.

Anyway, this was a great way to exercise my New Year’s resolution – slow scrapping. I still feel that because I’m quite lucky and am caught up, I should indulge in the hobby and not rush to complete but this means breaking the habits of a lifetime. I have slowly realized over the past few months that I am a completer: I read really quickly because I can’t wait to finish the book and move on... I am very organized at work because I like to know exactly where each task is and how close I am to finishing it... I always do the dishes straight after eating because I want to get the job over and done with... I am up to date with my scrapping because I keep my layouts simple and have now caught up... and so on.

Good or bad thing? I don’t know. Let me know what you think!

On another but slightly related subject, I participated in a discussion the other day with the lovely Latina Scrappers and someone coined a great phrase: “premade arrangers”. This would apply to scrappers that, as the name implies, work with pre-produced embellishments as opposed to making their own. IT isn’t a positive or negative term; it is just a great description of one kind of scrapper.

This got me thinking that this was the very thing that had been “bothering” me about the whole scrapping industry. When I stared, back in prehistoric scrapping times, stickers and die cuts were the height of sophistication. We would layer die cuts, paint them, chalk them, whatever, until you ended with a unique embellishment for your pages. This did mean that pages took a bit longer (only a bit, mind) but the end result was pretty unique. As the industry grew, the stash available obviously became more and more sophisticated and gave rise to a lot of products designed to make life easier and completing pages faster. Hence the rise of premade arrangers – the pages looked fantastic with much less effort.

I have never really liked die cuts so even back then I was a cardstock/pen/photos kinda girl. To this day, my favorite pages are the simple color blocked ones with few embellishments. But even I have boxes and boxes of premade stuff and find it so hard to use – maybe because I didn’t “grow up” with these things and in my heart of hearts I like creating my own bits. I do find some things really convenient – like color blocked papers – and will use them to death because I know that they speed things up for me (and we know I like to finish things) but other things seem quite expensive and I think: “but I can make that!”

Suddenly you could make your layouts look almost exactly like the layouts in your favorite scrapping magazine – all you had to do was to follow the shopping list! Where was the artistic input in that?

It’s a bit like cooking: some people really enjoy the whole messy, time-consuming task of creating something from scratch while some of us just have enough time for a convenience dinner. I think I fall somewhere in the middle, perhaps leaning towards the “from scratch” side a bit more. What about you?

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