Workspace: Dream Space

If your anything like me, you’re no stranger to dreaming of the perfect crafty space and Marcy has got us all creating a mood board of our Dream Space in her Big Picture Classes class, Workspace. Personally I think it is a great tool to use when coming up with your idea of heaven. It stands to reason that when you have a clear vision you’re not only more likely to make it happen but you can begin to see themes emerge that maybe you weren’t aware of to begin with. When I did my first big purge in 2013 I started a Pinterest board titled The Great Scraproom Makeover and I haven’t stopped pinning things to it since. It’s a mix of furniture, organization ideas and inspiration for the overall look of my ideal craft room. Below is one of my earlier pins and it’s a great example of having a clear vision. A common theme that runs through my board is aged furniture especially painted white, in a white room. In a crazy act of serendipity after pinning similar images to this one my husband found an old buffet & hutch in a shack on our property, a couple of coats of white paint later and my craftroom now has a very similar piece to house my crafty supplies.20170118_1workspace_dreamspaceImage Credit:

Like I just said mood boards/ inspiration boards/ vision boards call ’em what you will are great for noticing themes and subconscious ideas that your drawn to. Case in point is the blue colour of the furniture piece below. It shows up in all manner of things on my Scraproom board and in other things I pinned at about the same time. Now, I love blue but I never would have figured that I was particularly drawn to this shade until I saw it show up in a bunch of pins at the same time. 20170118_2workspace_dreamspaceImage Credit:

Here’s another fun fact for you, the image below is actually the cover image for my Great Scraproom Makeover board. I just love all the little vintage items and cubbies and the eclectic mix of containers. Likewise the  image below it for the mix of vintage trays, baskets both wire and woven. I love that they are open and accessible and that they just look like so much fun to paw through and discover all sorts of lovely things. You may or may not be surprised to know then that the two following images are of Marcy Penners creative spaces. The top one of her older space and the bottom one from 2015 of her more recent space. Promise I wasn’t trying to win points with teach, and they’re not the only pins I have of her space on my board. Clearly I just love the womans style.20170118_3workspace_dreamspace 20170118_4workspace_dreamspaceImage Credit:

When it comes to organization I also appreciate things of a certain look. Like the fabric covered boxes below especially if they have a ruffle (that link actually takes you to a tutorial if you want to try making your own) and vintage printers trays. I cannot ocunt the number of printers trays I have pinned. I just love them for corralling all those fun little bits and pieces and they look so funky with all those teeny tiny divided sections in them.20170118_5workspace_dreamspace 20170118_6workspace_dreamspace

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Back to that whole unconscious realizations again a couple of my recent pins have hinted at the current issues I seem to have uncovered in my previous posts. I need some form of better organization for in-progress projects and I really like this idea from Ali Edwards to have trays for things I’m working on that can be slotted away and pulled out on an as needs basis. Ideally I’d also like to confine my Project Life cards into a fun vintage tray like Shanna Noel. 20170118_7workspace_dreamspace 20170118_8workspace_dreamspaceImage Credit:                         Image Credit:

I definitely have a particular style when it comes to my scrap space and a lot of similar themes. Vintage and reclaimed furniture & storage solutions, white wood, lots of open baskets, shallow draws for bits and bobs, and a white/turquoise-to-teal colour pallette. While my space isn’t too far off that I could certainly do with a few upgrades and add in a whole bunch more of that turquoise-to-teal in different areas.20170118_10workspace_dreamspace20170118_9workspace_dreamspaceImage Credit:                               Image Credit:

Now you’ve heard all about my idea of an ideal craft space, what’s yours? Share a link in the comments to your own Pinterest boards or posts about your own ideal Workspace.



Workspace: Knowing What Ya Got

To get where your headed you’ve gotta know ‘what ya got’. That is exactly my starting point for the Workspace workshop I’m doing this month over at Big Picture Classes. Being the Planner Girl that she is Marcy Penner has generously put together a set of checklists for her class that fit nicely into a planner. Which as it turns out is rather convenient for me. I’m a bit slow to get on the whole Memory Planner thing but I have had my lovely Heidi Swapp Memory Planner waiting in the wings for about a year now and I decided it was about time I broke it out and used it. I’ve got big plans for this year and I always find that when I consistently use a planner/diary of some description and write things down I get so much more done. I am so much more disciplined and productive and I feel so much more accomplished. So it’s a win, win. Plus it’s just super fun having something creative to do, to get you excited for class.20170113_1workspace_assessingwhatyagotAfter going through the first checklist I pin-pointed a few things that need work in my scraproom. First up I got a wonderful gift of some new photography lights for Christmas (now all I gotta do is learn how to use them) but now I need a place to store them. Sitting out on my floor and having my baby boy climb all over the boxes is not exactly my idea of good storage. Seriously that kid wants to climb on everything these days and my precious new lighting is just not cool, little man. Nor is having them permanently set up a good idea for obvious reasons of three crazy, energetic boys crashing into my space on a regular basis. Secondly while I may not have an over abundance of Project Life/Pocket Scrapping supplies it has grown in the last couple of years since I did my last space revamp. I need to find a new streamlined way of storing them. The number of cards vs. the number of PL boxes is out of whack. I’ve been using the boxes they came in up til this point but now the number of boxes has outgrown the space I have and the number of cards in them has decreased significantly so it makes sense that they need to be consolidated into something smaller. The third thing I want to tackle is memorabilia. I did have a good system in place but I’ve outgrown that too and to put it bluntly I simply have too much of the stuff so I need to go through it again and deal with that. Probably the most obvious thing is that my room is just full of junk that doesn’t belong here and projects that need finishing, besides that a good ol’ fashioned de-stash is in order to get rid of surplus and stuff that I don’t think I’ll use.20170113_2workspace_assessingwhatyagotJust so you know what I’m working with, this below was the state of my scraproom in the early hours of the 1st of January. Photography equipment everywhere, the epic craftermath of post December Daily supplies and a few bits of miscellaneous, alright a bunch of miscellaneous scrappy supplies & projects, that were the result of not putting things back ever and sharing my love for all things scrappy to hopefully bringing someone into this scrappy world of ours. I might have to keep you posted if they do become a scrappy convert… If I even so much as thought of using a supply in December it was probably still sitting on my desk. What you don’t see is a bunch of sewing supplies under my desk that need attention too. 20170113_3workspace_assessingwhatyagotHave you got any scrappy organization goals you want to tackle in the next few months? What works for you when it comes to organizing – all in purge or bit by bit?



One Little Word 2017 (or maybe not)

I’ve been pondering my One Little Word for 2017 and as much as I enjoy this project, as much as I love Ali and the One Little Word class that I find so much value in every year I just couldn’t stir up the necessary enthusiasm to tackle it again this year. I always choose a word. I’ve been choosing them since 2011 and taking the class almost every year too. I never finish. I’m all gung-ho for the beginning of the year, I make it to about the six month mark and then my drive for the project fizzles.20170109_1olwormaybenotSomewhere in there it becomes an obligation rather than just a tool for growth. Another thing to tick of the scrappy to-do list and not a self-care practice. Maybe because we start heading into calving, joining, irrigation, Christmas etc. The list of to-dos gets long and the busy amps up around here, or maybe I simply need something fresh to focus on, I’m not sure. I don’t believe the December prompt has been completed in its entirety for a single one of my One Little Word projects. In fact my most successful One Little Word journey was 2014 when I didn’t do a single prompt but instead let it be part of my regular scrappy practice. So this year I haven’t bought the class. I haven’t made a title page, I didn’t want to choose a word, and then…

Enter Jennifer Wilson.

She must be my scrappy muse or something, because it seems every time I have a scrappy conundrum or question my scrappy practice in some way, she has an answer, a solution or a piece of wisdom to share on the subject. She’s not choosing a word this year either. She’s choosing four, maybe. One for every season to line up with her personal practice of refreshing her scrappy practice every season. I had even started writing this post about how I was not going to choose a word before her email popped up in my inbox last Wednesday prompting me to read  why she’s ‘Not Choosing a Word for 2017‘. Then all the pieces fell into place.20170109_2olwormaybenotSomewhere in the back of my head sat this thought that maybe I could choose a word. Or at the very least that a word had already chosen me. I would only have to live with it for 3 months and then I could choose to continue with it, find another or opt-out altogether. One word would not leave me alone. So my word for 2017 or at least the first quarter of the year is LESS. I will still not be taking the class, but I will let LESS live with me and inform me for this first three months of the year. Given my current goals I think it’s rather apt and I reserve the right to pick a new word at the end of it or not or continue on with it if it’s still speaking to me just like Jennifer’s approach. For now I choose LESS. LESS commitment to a project that is always hanging over my head. LESS stuff in my scraproom and my house. LESS stress. LESS time on things that don’t fulfill. Just LESS. And I’m hoping like Becky Higgins is hinting at lately the LESS=MORE. Who knows I may even make a page or two to put in my 2016 album – but I’m not making any promises. I’m opting for LESS.



Bring on the New {Year}

I’m taking the patented Jennifer Wilson, Simple Scrapper, seasonal approach to my intentions this year and just focusing on the first three months of the year, keeping my goals for 2017 manageable by not committing to anything overly huge or for the entirety of the year so I can keep my focus clear and concise. I’ve been on a real changing mindsets journey for a while now, listening to awesome podcasts like Terri Savelle Foy about the things we think and mulling over wisdom from Alejandra Costello, Allie Cassazza, and Marie Kondo to get rid of all the ‘Stuff’ that’s weighing me down so that I can live an intentional, joy filled, purposeful life. Really examining what are my core values are and whether or not my life reflects them? It’s the thing we do as a new year flips over the calendar isn’t it and this year I’m ready for a year of big changes. I’ve noticed on here that I have a pattern of saying I am this or I am that. Example I never finish things, I can never stay focused, I’m just a messy scrapper (scrap room wise, not style) … Allie would call these limiting beliefs. Terri would quote the scripture that says “as a man thinks in his heart so is he”. I’m inclined to agree. A lot of my goals for 2017 are stemming from these beliefs that I have so this is a time to start fresh. Beginning with rewiring those limiting beliefs in my head and tackling those limiting roadblocks in my scraproom. As part of my commitment to finishing things and using what I have I’m going to do a scraproom makeover using the Workspace class at BPC by Marcy Penner. I love her personal style and I’m hoping that by doing a scraproom reboot I’ll be able to inject some of that calm and cohesiveness into my space. I’ve tidied up a bit in the last few years but I wanna go deep again and get rid of more of the stuff. So that is goal numero uno for January on this here ‘ol blog.20170102_1bringonthenew

I have really noticed a direct correlation between my physical space and my motivation for doing the necessary tasks in that space like my ‘want’ to scrap and the amount of stuff in my room. Especially with December Daily and Christmas crafting. I just didn’t want to get in and do anything cos my room was a mess. I always do foundation pages and I kept putting it off and putting it off until it was already December and I had nothing to show for it. I tend to feel at my most irritated and irrational when I have a lot of stuff out. When my space is clear I’m calmer, I’m more able to respond to my kids nicer and I don’t feel so much rush and pressure, and I get stuff done. It’s a real key to productivity for me, and I soooo wanna be more productive this year. Like with the house I was so proud to get the whole house clean before we hosted Christmas with the intent to maintain it for the week til New Years cos one of my things is that I like waking up with a fresh house for a fresh year but then when we got sick and it all went to poop again I didn’t think I’d manage it. As the mess got bigger my stress got bigger. Happily though I did reinstate order bit by bit as I started feeling better. Parenting miracle I even got my kids to clean their room without yelling, once. I simply asked them to pick up 10 things at a time before they went back outside or played the next game throughout the day – winning! I’ve been feeling the weight of all this accumulation not just in the scraproom but everywhere so I knew a giant house purge was on the cards. Since October I’ve been setting myself up decluttering stuff as I went to get a jump on it. We moved a side table over to the other side of the room so I cleared out some extra glasses and platters that never seem to get used. Our washing machine died Christmas Eve so as I folded the mountain of washing my mother in law so graciously washed for me I’ve set aside stuff into donation bags instead of just back in the draws. I even went through everyone’s draws as I put it away and got rid of even more stuff, amping up for a Kon Marie style clothes purge. The little by little works, but it peeters out for me, I need to go big or go nowhere. Deadlines work for me when they’re clear and short so that’s why I need a class like Workspace to tackle my scraproom. Clear consistent instruction. Direction, Visualisation, Clear Goals these are the things I need to get ‘er done.20170102_2bringonthenew

I’m gonna ramp up all the scrappyness and get into the LOAD Challenge for February (Layout A Day) so stick with me through the cleaning and we’ll get to some really good stuff. Nothing has been announced about this years LOAD yet so I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but I did enjoy it immensely last year and am really looking forward to having another crack at it. I do have it on good authority that it is definitely a goer under the watchful eye of Alice Boll, you can sign up here if you want to get in on the action too and be the first to know when the announcement is made and sign up begins. I want that accountability, encouragement and to get in the scrappy flow for the year. I love how it stopped me from over thinking every scrappy decisions last year and I had so many fabulous pages come out of it, so I’m excited to see what I produce this year.20170102_3bringonthenew

With a renewed scraproom and a consistent scrappy habit following my January and February practices I want March to focus on finishing touches. I have a again amassed a bunch of layouts that never quite got to finished stage and I am finally, finally going to commit the time and effort required to beautify my scraproom. It needs to get done and it needs to get done like, yesterday. Let’s call it a Finishing Project of sorts. Keep it realistic, keep it manageable   and make it happen that’s my plan for 2017. Three months, three goals, that’s all I am committing to right now and maybe in the second quarter of the year I’ll do another post like this and set another three goals for the second season. Hope you come along for the journey and enjoy all the organizing/scrappy talk & inspiration for this new year and I hope your 2017 kicks some butt!



Handcrafted and Alternative Albums

Generally speaking album cover design is reserved for special projects other than our regular scrapbooks which contain our every day happenings and are usually housed in scrapbook albums with a cloth or leather binding and post-bound or D-Ring internal hardware. Special Project albums tend to have very specific subjects or themes that they focus on and therefore a unique reference point from which to begin your design concept. As discussed in my last post about pre-made albums this may mean you consider a specific shaped design for your project and work within its parameters, or perhaps as we will discuss here, you decide to craft something entirely from scratch and let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of a handcrafted or alternative DIY album.20150527_1HancraftedandAlternativeAlbumsThere is a lot more that goes into the design of a handcrafted album cover before you even get to designing the ‘pretty’ part of you cover. To begin with you need to consider the size, shape and depth of your album and the kind of construction you will use to keep it together. This includes the materials you will use to construct it, the type of tools you will use on those materials, the type of binding you are going to use and whether you need an allowance for seams, holes, or margins. Typical materials for construction of your cover are cardboard, grungeboard and chipboard but often you can find examples that use cardstock, thick patterned paper, fabric, wood and sometimes even plastic metal or other materials. Some seam binding options include glued, ribbon binding, stitched binding, ring bound, accordion fold, post bound or using a specialist binding tool like a Bind-it-all or Cinch to make coil bound items. External and internal hardware need to be considered as well – what type of closure are you going to use, if any, and what are the limitations of the internal fittings including the dimensions of rings or spiral binding? As you can see with such a wide range of options it helps to know what you are constructing your album for.20150527_2HancraftedandAlternativeAlbumsYou will note that in my examples here I have chosen various methods of construction for my album covers. My ‘All About Me Album’ has a cover and pages made from corrugated cardboard and bound with my most frequent method of binding – hinged rings. My little ‘Passion’ album uses a coil bound structure on a printed high quality semi-gloss cardstock. Whilst my Calving 2014 album is constructed from heavy weight cardboard with a glue bound spine and covered in scrap paper. The Bible Study Crew Album (the blue one) is made of layers of regular cardboard from cardboard boxes and covered with a blue curtain fabric then bound together with posts like you’d find in a post bound album. Patterned scrapbook paper forms the endpapers and cut-outs have been included on the inside of the cover to house small mini albums which are covered in the same fabric. Whilst my 2014 December Daily cover is bound with hinged rings but has an external cover that is attached with endpapers only on the back cover. The cover design for this album makes it wrap around the entire album unlike the two separate pieces used for most of the other covers. As you can see methods of construction are many and varied and these are only the tip of the iceberg. You enjoy the challenge of figuring it out yourself and simply wing it, as I tend to most of time, coming up with a cover strategy to fit your unique project. There are many tutorials out there in blog land or on Youtube that can give you pointers on exactly what is involved in creating an album and cover style of your choice if you need a starting point including this great resource on traditional bookbinding methods if you want to try something outside the norm of techniques often associated with crafting your own albums.20150527_3HancraftedandAlternativeAlbumsYou may choose not to house your album in a traditional square or rectangular shaped cardboard style album and instead make an Alternative Album or Off the Page project instead where your cover design will likely be dictated by the form and function of the materials you choose to construct it from. Basically the sky’s the limit when it comes to materials for an alternative album there are many examples of altered books, like Maggie Holmes Happy Little Moments album for her class at BPC or you can use supplies that may be non-traditional in nature like mint tins, boxes, or leftover product packaging. I’ve attempted albums in a small CD case and CD pocket wallet before or you could go for a DVD case. If you can think it up likely you could make an Alternative Album out of just about anything.20150527_5HancraftedandAlternativeAlbums 20150527_6HancraftedandAlternativeAlbumsOnce you’ve settled on the mechanics of your album you can then get into the fun stuff and have a play with the materials and media you want to create your cover. As I said in the intro most albums we make are for special projects so this may mean gathering just the basics – cardboard, patterned papers, fabric etc or gathering a collection of other product like, themed items for say a Holiday or December Daily album if your aim is to make it rather decorative. These don’t have to be your regular manufactured items either on my 2014 December Daily cover I used a cross-stitch piece I’d done and some shaped buttons, raffia, a book-page rosette and a print out of some Christmas music I found online. Things to consider when assembling your decorative elements and basic structure of your cover are the type of binding; hardware you’ll use as a closure or internal structure; seam allowance for wrapping fabric or paper around the edge of your album; or the size/shape of the spine of the cover. These need to be accommodated when your still in the planning stage so you don’t put part of your design where that will impact on the use of the album and so they can also be integrated in your decorative design where necessary. Pre-construction of the album you might also like to do some mixed media work before assembling it, such as some kind of embossing detail on the cover, painting, misting or adding a texture medium all of which can benefit from having a bit more freedom of movement before you assemble the album. It also comes in handy because if you mess up somehow a cover up is easier to do when it’s not already part of you project. Like if you punch holes for your album in the wrong place (not speaking from experience or anything, cos I’ve never done that before…) you can cover with patterned paper or adjust your design to change their location.20150527_8HancraftedandAlternativeAlbums 20150527_10HancraftedandAlternativeAlbums 20150527_9HancraftedandAlternativeAlbumsWhat sort of an Alternative Album have you tackled in the past, got any ideas for one you’d like to work on in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Cover Design and Pre-made Albums

While not specifically a photo-less layout I’m throwing in a few pointers for album covers and the like for this last week of photo-less inspiration because they tend to follow similar principles. Covers are the other end of text based and story first photo-less layouts in that the design of these is the major focus. You want to share your album concept thorough you choice of design ideas rather than other imagery or words. There are plenty of pre-designed album choices out there that allow you to put your own spin on how you want them to look so they’re in keeping with the contents of your album. Most have some element of minimal design to make them attractive enough for you to want to purchase, but a lot pretty much leave the rest up to your own aesthetic and purposes.20150525_1CoverDesign Some albums like American Crafts D-Ring Albums, Simple Stories Sn@p Albums, Bo Bunny Bare Naked, and K & Company Smashbooks (which also have a little bit of embossed detail) have a coloured cloth spine which you can use as a starting point for your own colour choices and cover ideas. Prima, Ranger, Graphic 45, Kaisercraft, Basic Grey, Clear Scraps and Doodlebug just to name a a few offer many choices for Diecut Albums and Mini Albums. These come in a range of shapes, styles and sizes to suit many projects and are most commonly made from bare chipboard or acrylic. Be it a colour choice, a style choice or a shape choice the common element in these and any other type of pre-made album is that they give you a starting point to begin crafting your album. In the case of shaped albums your design is dictated by the contours already given by the album itself. For example these Clear Scraps albums found at have many with a very defined theme, your design has to fit the parameters and theme already set out by the manufacturer or in the case of Kasiercraft’s beyond the page word albums your design is dictated by the available space given by that letter and it’s place within the album. In part you already have a set of dimensions to work with and your own choice of paper or media have to fit within that. The size of your papers, the scale of patterns, imagery and dimensional elements all need to fit within the framework of the already established shape or design of the album. All of these things narrow down the decision making process of crafting your cover and indeed making your contents . In the case of the Kasiercraft album it may mean omitting one altogether. It just depends what parameters you want to place on crafting you album as there are advantages and disadvantages for using a pre-made album.20150525_2CoverDesign  More open ended choices for design abound with a square of rectangular shaped mini album as they are traditionally the shapes we scrappers work in. As is the case with Sn@p Albums and Smashbooks you can also find options that include some element of predesigned pages incorporated in the album for you. Most of the covers I design for my own albums are in that square or rectangular format. The cover shown here is an American Crafts 8.5×11 D-Ring Album which I’ve used to house my One Little Word for the last three years. As this is a reoccurring project that I participate in I decided to keep a few years worth in the same album. The have a defined beginning and ending so I know how much content I will have each year and just for ease of access it makes sense to keep them together. For this reason my cover design has been left intentionally non-specific. Title Pages for each years word separate the content as does the chosen colour scheme. Unintentionally one colour that seems to be showing up every year is a touch of blue so I’ve also chosen to include that in my albums cover design. 20150525_3CoverDesignBecause this album sits on a shelf with a bunch of other items I have also left the cover intentionally flatter than I would for say a mini album that may be set out on display. In my experience the practise of One Little Word has unlocked so many hidden opportunities and revelations about who I am and what I’m capable of. It has also been such a transformative experience so for me it’s all about change and becoming more of who I’m meant to be. The aim of my cover is to simply hint at the contents so for me the key and butterfly images represent that metaphor of change and metamorphosis. When crafting covers it is worth considering the end location of the album before getting too heavy handed with dimension or complex layers. Do you want your album to slot into a shelf, to be stored in a basket or bin, to be displayed somewhere in your home or the home of the recipient, or frequently thumbed through by them? Will it bother you if it gets covered in a layer of dust or falls apart from being handled multiple times or damaged in anyway? Not only does the end location dictate some of your design choices but the materials you use to put your cover together need to be considered in the equation. Strong adhesives are needed for attaching items to covers, likewise you are better off using a heavier weight cardstock or paper for you cover to increase it’s durability and considering whether items will ‘snag’ and rip off in handling the album.20150525_4CoverDesign The beauty of cover design is that you can use traditional paper products for crafting your albums or you can break out other media and supplies to give them a really unique one-of-a-kind look. Mixed Media artistry has the benefits of adding wonderful depth and texture to your cover design, not to mention colour, without some of the pitfalls of creating with paper media and wondering about their durability. And who ever said that traditional leather or cloth bound albums were exempt from a little dressing up like this cover by Ashli Oliver from Purple Mailbox. I prefer to work in paper mostly but have crafted album covers from fabric and even wrapping paper like my 2010 December Daily, which uses both. I used the same fabric as the Christmas Stockings I made for my family that year and the wrapping paper from the lovely gift my hubby gave me so not only do they serve well as product for cover design but it meant that I added in a bit of memorabilia too. Your personal aesthetic and quirks will determine what you can stand as far as usage, storage and what you’d prefer to craft your album cover with.20150525_5CoverDesign In my next post I’ll continue on this theme of cover design, but for albums that you craft yourself, which add another layer of considerations to your design process.