Friday, August 08, 2014

There is only ONE way to scrapbook!

Hi everyone!

Thanks for joining me today on our blog hop to break all of the scrapbooking rules! Cara came up with this wonderful idea for 10 of us to get together and each discuss what scrapbooking should be. I'm here today on Day 5, halfway through! If you've missed the first half of the hop -- no worries, I've linked you up at the bottom of this post.

Today I'm here to tell you that there's ONE way for your layouts to look. And I'm going to tell you a story while I'm at it.

My very first introduction to scrapbooking was an ad for a scrapbook kit, in a Country Folk Art magazine, circa 1997 or so. I remember the layout clearly -- it featured a school portrait of a young girl, at LEAST triple, if not quadruple, matted, with apple patterned paper and a huge apple die cut.
And I thought, I can't scrapbook, because I don't want my pages to look like that.

Then, in about 2003, someone online shared her layout with a parenting message board we belonged to, and she had posted it in the 2Peas gallery. I looked at her layout, and then I started looking around... and the layouts were AMAZING! They had *cool* patterned paper, inked and torn at the edges. And stickers -- not just grade-school style ones, but really neat ones. And letter stickers! And photos of every day moments.
And I thought, I want to scrapbook and I WISH my pages could look like that!

So, I started scrapbooking. I didn't have much money -- we were still poor students -- so my first page was very much ME.

My first layout, circa January 2004.

But, I was kind of embarassed by it, because I used so many non-scrapbooking products on it, and I didn't think it looked like it should look like.

The more time I spent scrapbooking and looking through online galleries, the more I was torn... there were bright, bold, linear pages with bright, bold papers like KI Memories.

circa August 2004

Or, there were the collage style pages, dark and bumpy, full of texture and vintage influences.

circa July 2004

And I was divided: how could I like both of these styles? Bright and clean? Dark and grungy?
I thought, which way SHOULD my layouts look?

Next came a string of sad impersonations, as I tried to make my pages look like they should, that is, like other people's. But the funny thing was, the harder I tried to make my pages the way they should, the worse they turned out and the more I disliked them!

Eventually, and it took a long time, I reached the point where I had sort of figured out what I liked -- and it was sometimes different than what other people liked. And I realized that part of all those shoulds...
I should make clean and simple, cardstock-only pages...
I should scrap photos of my kids' shoes each season...
I should use a lot of kraft cardstock and lace
was really just me seeing someone else being awesome at being themselves, and that made me want to be just like them, too.

So, I stopped buying stuff because other people rocked it. I stopped trying to make my layouts look like someone else had made them. And I started making my layouts look like they should -- like they were mine.

I still alternated between clean: (well, sort of clean -- clean for me!)

April 2008.

and crazy:

April 2008

and, something in between:

March 2008.

The more I scrapped the way I wanted to, the more I felt like I was scrapping the way I should. Because I was making each page because I wanted to, because I had a story to tell, and because I wanted my pages to be part of that story. Not because Clean-lines Claire loved KI Memories paper or Shabby Sharon rocked the Rusty Pickle.

My favourite pages today are the ones that I never thought scrapbook layouts should look like.

started 2008, finished 2012. The four-year layout.



August 2014

The layouts above, some of my favourites over a 6 year period -- and they represent both a success, and a struggle. Their success is that I love them. The struggle, is that none of them look the same. But, I ADORE each one of those pages. And this is where my should of today lies....
I think my layouts should be continuous and cohesive.

 I really have a hard time with the lack of sameness in my pages. I look in galleries, to the scrapbookers we all know and love, the women whose pages you can recognize from an iddy-biddy thumbnail, because she's SO consistent and so GOOD. I have to remind myself, sometimes several times in the process of each page, that Whitespace Wendy's pages are awesome because they are hers... and Artistic Ava's pages are fantastic because that's who she is.. and Vintage Vera's layouts are wonderful because she's just that kind of woman.

I am not those women. I am me. My pages are mine. Like they should be.
(Or so I tell myself).

So... let's head back to the beginning, back to the idea that started this whole thing:
What should your layouts look like?
And the answer is... there IS only ONE way for your layouts to look... and they should look just like you. :) So, Clean-Lines Claire, don't try to turn yourself into Shabby Sharon... and Pocket-Page Polly, don't try to be just like Single Page Sarah. Just be you. Wonderful you. Because you are exactly what you SHOULD be!

So, tell me -- do your pages look like they should?

Here's the blog hop in it's entirety!
August 4 - Paige Evans
A Scrapbooking page SHOULD always have a story and lots of journaling

August 5 - Ashli Oliver
Scrapbook pages SHOULD be fast and simple to just get them done

August 6 - Jen Gallacher
Scrapbook pages SHOULD look perfect

August 7 - Melissa Shanhun
Digital scrapbook pages should look as much like a paper page as possible

You are here----** August 8 - Ashley Calder
Scrapbooking SHOULD be done *this* way

August 9 - Caroline Davis
A Scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook FOR her family

August 10 - Lisa Harris
Scrapbooking SHOULD be a legacy for the scrapbooker's family

August 11 - Connie Hanks
A scrapbooker SHOULD follow the trends and be aware of what others think of her pages

August 12 - Marie-Pierre Capistran
A Scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook chronologically

August 13 - Nancy Gaines
Scrapbooking SHOULD be 12x12 traditional paper pages

August 14 - Cara Vincens
A scrapbooker SHOULD always be caught up


Marie-Pierre Capistran said...

Wow! This is good stuff!!! I so struggle with this "should" although for me it's more a "would like to be like her" than a "should be like her" but at the end, it's the same feeling that is left. And I wonder who I am, what's my style. Just like you, I don't feel like I'm part of the scrapbookers we can recognize by a thumbnail. I'd love to be one of those. I'd love to make a hit everytime I make a page, but realy, in the end, is this the ultimate goal? Thanks for and insightful blog post! Got me to think... :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so sweet and wonderful and perfect! It brought tears to my eyes...TFS!!!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Ashley!!! I loved seeing your evolution and hearing that you still struggle. I think we all do and that's how we grow, right? Funny, because for me I'm worried that all my pages look the same and I think they 'should' look more varied ;)
awwww, look at itty bitty Summer Lily, it goes by too too fast!

Disneypal said...

What a fantastic post and oh so true. I remember once taking a scrapbook class about lettering and I was trying so hard to be so perfect and have everything just like the instructor showed me. I was looking at my LO with an unhappy face and she came around and asked what was wrong. I said, this here isn't straight and that there is a little bit off and she said "honey, you don't have to be perfect, that is what makes the LO yours - add your own style and don't worry about trying to have the perfect page someone else does" - I totally changed my scrapping after that and I have loved every layout since.

Gab said...

What a great post! I love your style and your LOs - and thank you for reminding us that it's OK to be ourselves!

Anonymous said...

such a wonderful read!!! I really enjoyed this :)

Berta said...

Great post! I struggled with finding my own style sometimes. I have developed a look I am happy with and it changes up a bit depending of what photos I am scrapping. And how many. Since my scrapping usually revolves around "boy" and ranch life activities, my style is a bit more linear, but when I scrap a childhood photo or girly photo, I add lots more layering & embellishing to suit the photos and LO's. I never take a "LO" class any more. I never have used any pages I ever made in the classes I took years ago. They never fit my life. I love to look at other pages for inspiration and techniques I can use on my LO's & my style. The trends are fun, if they work for you, but if you have to force it, then it is no longer fun. You showed your evolution perfectly and that it is OK to do it your way. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'm kind of like you - sometimes I like noise on my LO's, other times I like them clean, but all of them are me, just different bits of me. But I don't have a style that's identifiable. Whenever I see a LO of yours pop up in my Pinterest, I know its one of yours immediately (and my heart gives a little leap as I know I'll be endlessly inspired!). I think in scrapbooking, as with life, there's too much pigeonholing going on...but 'that's life'... Great post, thanks!

Melissa said...

For sure!! I certainly lean to simple pages, but I too feel like I do all sorts of styles! Thank you for giving us all permission to go with what works :)