Friday, April 22, 2016

Designing the Perfect Scrapbook Layout

Don't you just hate it when you go to the mall and it's so crowded you can't find a parking space?  And there are just too many people crowding you in and the stores have their clothes racks just too close together?

Basic human instinct of survival are just kicking in.  You were hot wired to want to have a place of visual advantage to easily see the path ahead, lots of room to "graze" to your hearts content. and a safe exit strategy.  We just want excitement and something that touches our emotions, but not visual overload or anything too boring.

Well, there are easy design principles you can use to create a scrapbook page that keeps those same basic anxieties at bay, and allow the "star of the show",  your picture to take center stage!  Now, you know there is no such thing as a "perfect" scrapbook layout.  Styles change, moods change, but these simple principles can help you create captivating and timeless layouts.

 Rule of Thirds                                                 
"Memories Captured" VIDEO TUTORIALA very basic rule from the photography world.  Imagine dividing your layout into 9 equal parts just by drawing four lines.  Just like a tic tac toe board.  One of the  four spots where those lines intersect are where your pictures dominant feature should be placed for greatest impact.  One of the best designers at capitalizing on this technique is Gabrielle Polloco.  If you are interested in seeing more of her works, be sure to check out her blog at

 White Space                                                   

Okay, white space isn't really always white.  It is just a clean space for the eye to rest, and the brain to process what it is taking in.  Too little white space, or too much visual clutter and the brain gets agitated and wants to turn away. Today's trend in advertising is lots and lots of white space and make the logo or message clear and  dominant.  The same is true in scrapbooking trends.  See how both ads are selling cleaner.  But one really stands out because of the effective use of white space.  Nope I don't recommend one cleaner over the other, just the use of white space.

A line is the simplest way to have the viewer follow your lead.  A line can be curved or head off in any direction.  But your visual line  should be easy enough for the eye to follow and end in the pot of gold...your picture or message you wanted to show off.    Notice how this gorgeous layout by Ingvild Bolme  from Prima's website use two lines to frame the darling picture.  

Remember the yellow brick road? Yep lots of twists and turns, but they kept to it because it was easy to identify as the way to go and they trusted the payoff at the end would be worth the trip.

It's easy....just try to use any visual image at least 3 times to create a pattern to set a theme.  More than 3? Just keep them odd numbers, it's easier on the brain and will keep it interested.  Many practicers of Fung Sui design principles believe odd numbers of elements create movement.  I love how this BoBunny layout repeats the shades of green and the stamped images.  Really balances the layout!  

This is another great layout from Gabrielle at  It's not only perfect to highlight the effectiveness of repetition, but the richness that adding texture can bring to your scrapbooking story.

Remember the yellow brick road we talked about above?  Well it was filled with excitement, things that made the journey anything but boring.  Well that's where texture comes in on a scrapbook layout. Texture can be created with mixing in metals, fabrics, stenciling with modeling paste, embossing, paints, using pop dots to create raised effects...just have fun and add texture!  It will keep your eye interested in continuing the journey and yet give it some "roses to stop and smell" or fill you with a excitement that will make the trip memorable.


Can't help's science...colors produce feelings and emotions in the viewer.  So use it to it's best advantage by playing with and easy to use color palette builder.  Good old fashioned color wheels are still great for helping inspire you with color mixes. But if you want something a little more new age...try some online color palette generators.  Just like with pattern, it is often more pleasing to use one dominant color, then at least two supporting, one secondary and one accent.  

Two of my favorites color palette sites are 
  • Adobe's Kuler Color Wheel  (even lets you upload an image or picture to suggest palette!)
  • Design Seed  Doesn't let you upload a pic to "match" but man oh man are her images inspiring and very often pull me off the couch and fling me to the craft table just by their pow factor!
Interested in learning a little more about color theory? See my post: 

So when it comes to creating a scrapbook layout that really pops, just remember to follow your own natural instincts.  After all you ARE an artist.  We are all wired that way!

Have fun and be fearless!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Be Inspired - Playing with Printables

I grew up in a generation born without computers.  Heck we didn't even have remotes for TV's when I was a child.  Fax machines didn't come to my work until I was in my mid-twenties.  I was captivated with what technology could bring.  AND then computers!!!!  Oh my Heaven's, they had me at hello.

I am having a ball, everyday, learning something new about playing with art and color and design on the computer.  There is a saying..."Never measure your start by someone else's middle."

I remind myself that every time I get giddy with excitement when I learn something new about Photoshop Elements.  Keep going, you haven't even gotten close to reaching your middle... I keep telling myself.  But I am light years ahead of where I was yesterday.

Creating printables was something I wanted to learn to do.  I love typefaces, I love color, I love art, I love home only seemed to make sense that I needed to learn to make printables.  Plus, I could play and play with my digital supplies and never have to worry about making a mess on my desk.  A mess on my computer, trying to organize files and keep track of digital files, yes.  But at least my desktop and craft room were none the worse for wear.

I recently went to a fabulous crop with over 200 women present.  The creative juices were flowing like wine.  I was so very blessed to be sitting across from a dear friend and very very gifted artist, Belinda Keller.  She was working on an idea she had for art inspired by the theme of the crop - Willy Wonka.  Belinda decided she  wanted to play up on the Good Egg scene from the movie.

Well, Belinda created this incredible piece of watercolor art in shades of blues and greens.  She shared she wanted to use it as a photo frame for her scrapbook layout.  Amazing!

But she didn't care for the color she had painted the "GOOD" egg.  It was a gorgeous fuchsia that was one of the colors in the eggs and pictures we took.  So lucky lucky me!  She recolored another egg for herself.  Right there...on the spot...made another gorgeous egg.  And I got to use, steal, take the fuchsia one.

Then I asked her if I could play with making myself some digital printables with it.  So I scanned a copy in.  Opened it in Adobe's Photoshop Elements and played with recoloring it to match the title.

On Photoshop Elements it's as easy as:
Hitting the drop down button for "Enhance".
Then select "adjust color".
Then "adjust hue/saturation".  Now just slide the hue bar til you find a color combo you like.

Inspirational Printables | On Sutton PlaceNow the easy peesy printable I made from Belinda's incredible watercolor artwork makes me so proud of how I am learning to play with printables. I have gained courage and artistic inspiration from so many places.

One of the most inspiring blog sites I have ever stumbled upon was
On Sutton Place Printables.

She is an amazing artist. Her site is one of my go-to places to be inspired.  She shares dozens of seasonal and inspirational printables.

Kiss from a Rose digital kitHow would I ever be able to create anything more beautiful than those?  I may never be, but I can learn to create things I like.  Things that come from me.  And that's the fun of it.  

Photoshop Elements 14 is the software I use to play with.  I find beautiful digital supplies from dozens of sites, free and for purchase on the web. One of my favorites is   It's an online store featuring dozens of talented digital artist.  They have a wonderful offering that fits every taste.  And tutorials that I found immensely helpful in learning how to create on a computer. It turned this hardware into a beautiful palette.  My computer now holds many times more happy scrappy supplies than would ever fit in my scraproom.

Another artist that is so inspiring is Katie Pertiet.  She has an outstanding blog, where she sometimes offers incredible freebies. Her designs are offered for sale at Designer Digitals.

3x4 free project life printable

Of course  Pinterest is an unending treasure trove for printables, freebies and for purchase.  And the overwhelming inspiration can be crippling.  I have had to discipline myself to disconnect from Pinterest before I have spent the whole day filling my soul with inspiration.  I want to create.  I want to learn.  And the only way to do that is just to do!

So while I feel like I am approaching the middle...I still take such pleasure from playing with printables and learning something new as often as I can.

Enjoy, play and have fun creating!