Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Did I Learn From 28 Layouts in 28 Days?

It's been three days since I completed a scrapbook layout. February's Layout A Day ended on Monday and it was the best one I've had the pleasure to be a part of (and this was my third round, with a fourth one coming up in May). To celebrate 28 successful days of scrapbooking, the last layout I submitted to the LOAD211 Flickr group was this one, inspired by newspapers:

"Layout A Day" LOAD211 Day 28
During LOAD, an idea popped into my head about creating a layout like a newspaper page and I rediscovered it when thinking about a new way to display all the pages I made during February. I created the photo collage in Picasa and since I don't have Quark, PageMaker or a digital template on my computer, I used WordPerfect to create the layout. I made the title as text art, wrote the date in a text box, inserted the photo collage, printed and journaled in my own handwriting.

And now, let's rewind to the beginning of LOAD211. My goals consisted of  four things: 1. Catch up on scrapbooking. 2. Follow the challenges. 3. Experiment. 4. Scrapbook faster. I did each one and then some.

Lain Ehmann delivered inspiration every single day and with my preparations for LOAD in January, I let creativity be my guide. When I had an idea for a layout, I didn't question it and stopped thinking too much about where to place everything on a page. 

"Beautiful" LOAD211 Day 5: Magazine inspiration
We were shown a magazine page on Day 5 and I lifted the colors to create the scrapbook layout above of the orchids I received for Mother' Day last year. I quickly grabbed paper, letters and other embellishments and put it all together. There was no time for second guessing myself and I ended up being pleased with the results. This kind of thinking kept me going throughout the month.

In addition to LOAD, I also took Karen Grunberg's Big Picture Class "Embrace Imperfection" early in the month where I was reminded why I scrapbook in the first place (sorry for a full paragraph of bold text, but this was an "aha moment")...

I scrapbook for the future. I have stories that need to be told and won't always be around to tell them. I don't have to worry about being perfect. My grandchildren will not care if something is crooked on a page. All they will want are a little piece of me. A little piece of their history.

With that in mind, I went back to my early life, embraced imperfection and followed Day 10's prompt of free writing a memory. I created one of my favorite scrapbook layouts:

"Playhouse" LOAD211 Day 10 + Embrace Imperfection (BPC): Free write a memory + Be imperfect
I started with two imperfect photos. One was a little blurry and the other had small cracks in it, but they had a story that needed to be told. They were photos of my childhood and held special memories I wanted to share with my children. I knew I was going to have a lot of journaling, so I experimented by using acrylic paint on a stamp to create lines to write on. These lines weren’t perfect, but that was okay and I started writing down my story. No rough drafts. No pencils. Just a black marker and flow. The title was mixed up letters and not in a straight line. Once again, that was okay. So what if there were a few mistakes. A memory was documented.

In addition to embracing imperfection, I let my black marker take the lead. After doodling through my Sketchbook Project last November, I had more confidence to write and doodle on my pages without using pencil first. Here's one that I wrote on with bold letters: 

"When You Were Two" LOAD211 Day 16: Scraplift Melanie Louette
This was for Day 16's challenge to scraplift a specific layout (chosen by Lain) by Melanie Louette. It's not anywhere near the layout Melanie created, but I did use a photo at the top (Melanie's had 4), with a strip underneath (I used ribbon) and patterned paper at the bottom.

Here's another layout where my BFF is a black marker:

"This is What Hell Looks Like" LOAD211 Day 20: Intentional imperfection
As you can see, I had fun with my hellish layout. There are several things that don't fit into the "perfect" category, but the most intentional imperfection (Day 20's challenge) is how the photos are cropped. None are perfect squares or rectangles, something that wouldn't work on most layouts, but worked on this one since I cropped around the signs in the photos (except the aerial view postcard). I also used embellishments that I didn't really care for, but they worked with the story of when I went to Hell.

Like I said earlier, "Playhouse" is one of my favorite layouts and this is my other:

"Armadillo" LOAD211 Day 21: Try something new
I tried something new. Actually, I did four new(ish) things: used Ranger's misting spray, Stickles, added a butterfly patch and stitched a border. This was also probably the layout that took me the longest to complete because of the hour + drying time of the Stickles. But that was okay and allowed me to take my time with stitching and journaling. 

I've been wanting to scrapbook the photo of my girls with the Texas Roadhouse armadillo since the day I took it over five months ago. I remembered how my youngest ran across the playground to see and hug the armadillo, but also wanted to ask my girls what they remembered and I'm glad I did.

My two-year-old said she lost her shoe when she ran to give the armadillo a "huggie." I forgot about that. This layout serves as a reminder to include your children, partner, friends and family in the scrapbooking process. They will help you tell the stories within your scrapbook albums.

What will I miss most about LOAD? The people. The wonderful and talented scrapbookers that supported me and each other. Yes, I completed my goals for the month and have a sense of accomplishment, but what keeps bringing me back is the community. I think my fellow LOADsters would agree too.

Thanks for stopping by Snap.Scrap.Blog.Tweet! You can see all of my LOAD211 layouts on Flickr.


  1. Wow, Danielle, this is awesome. I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of why you scrapbook and what it means to you. I love your layouts, too! Congrats on your accomplishments!!

  2. What a great post!! I love all your layouts. I quit midway after several days of being sick and just never picked it back up. But I'm happy with the pages that I did get done and have already signed up for May's LOAD. I completed it last May and I am determined to do it again, but definitely have learned that I need to be better prepared.

    I'll see you then!

  3. I agree with your reasons for scrapbooking :-) I am all about preserving my families memories n moments. This was a wonderful blog post to read! Thanks for the enjoyment :-)

  4. Great recap! How much do you think we're going to get done between now and May? Do you find yourself saving up really good ideas for LOAD? I have been known to do that :)

  5. Awesome recap post! Beautiful layouts! I didn't get 28 layouts completed (that was my goal). I did get more done than I had in a while. I love your work. Congrats on accomplishing all of your goals for February's LOAD!!

  6. Your layouts continue to inspire me! I bookmark layouts from your blog more than most because they give me so many ideas!

  7. Sounds like you had an awesome scrapping month! Thanks for sharing your experiences! Don't worry about community, you still have lots of blogging buddies!

  8. wow - that is such a great recap of your creative month. i think you did such an awesome job every day creating layouts with such great techniques and effects, every day more funky than the last! I think a lot of your personality came out in these layouts which means you must be so much fun to be around! I loved the month and you are right, the community is absolutely the best thing about it, with a cute pile of layouts at the end coming a close second! well done on really going for it and for not only completing, but also for fulfilling all your goals! Go us!!!

  9. Thanks for the love! You're right Sue, I still have you and all my other blogging buddies!