I (Katie) was a paper scrapbooker for more than 20 years before I turned completely digital in 2005. I learned some tricks for streamlining the scrapping process back in those days that have been helpful to me as a digital creator as well. The idea is to work on different steps of layouts in batches depending on the time you have available and the setting you are in. Think of it as sort of an assembly line approach – it revolutionized the auto industry back in Henry Ford’s time and I’m certain it will change the way you look at scrapbooking now. I like to call this “Power Scrapping” because it really makes the most of your creative time and allows you to get a lot of layouts done in a short amount of time.
The basic idea is to break down the act of creating a page into smaller, more manageable steps. I don’t often have a full hour to sit and work on a page or two, I have to steal my scrapbooking time in between the busy times of everyday life. I’m pretty sure it is this way for everyone. Sometimes I work on editing photos while I’m watching a tv show with my family. I unzip and organize files or listening to music. There is no way I can sit down and journal on a page though when there are distractions around me. I need peace and quiet for writing. It’s a bit unrealistic to think that I will be able to find myself in an ideal writing environment every time I create a page and why waste my time editing photographs in Photoshop when I do have a few minutes to myself?
Keep in mind that “Power Scrapping” is most effective when you are working on several pages at a time. See, I told you this was going to be a new experience! I will show you how to work on several pages at once using a 5 step process.
1. Decide which photos you are going to work with. Even if I’m creating a layout where I need to use a certain kit (for a team requirement or a challenge) I always start with the photos first. This is how I decide what story I’m going to tell. Isn’t that really what scrapbooking is all about? If your pictures are already organized and edited, good for you! If not, join the club! For your first go at “Power Scrapping” I suggest you work with some recent photos because you will know where they are and you will be able to remember the details. I decided to look through my most current files. I decided to pick the occasions and/or memories that I wanted to work on the most.
Even if you have only 5 minutes of time, you can look through your files and finish this step. You can jot a list of photos you want to use, or make screenshots to remind you. (Just press the print screen button on your keyboard and save that image) At this stage, I don’t spend any time worrying about kits to use, the journaling to do, or even the basic page design. I am simply selecting the photos I want to use. I have done this with many files all at once, I usually like to plan out several pages at once when I’m in this mode.
2. Decide how many pages you are going to create from these photos. Obviously, I’m going to have a hard time using all 27 photos of our outing to Boondocks family fun center. Now it’s time to decide which pictures are the most important to include. Which ones are the best? Which ones are an integral part of the story?
I decided that there were about 10 pictures I really needed to use to tell about this occasion. If your photos aren’t already edited, this is a good time to work on that if time permits. If not, that’s ok also!
I love all 8 of the flower photos I chose in step 1 so there is nothing further to do there. And there is only 1 pie picture so that will be a single photo layout.
Still not worrying about the papers or the writing. I am thinking about design a little bit because of the number of photos I have selected. The golf layout will probably end up being a 2 page spread since there are so many photos. Again, this step will only take a small amount of time. You can stop here for awhile or just keep going down the list of tasks.
3. Plan the structure of your pages. This is the time to browse through your templates, or look through favorites folders you have saved. Is there a template that will accommodate the number of photos you want to include? If so, use it because half the work will be done for you! If not, think about if there’s a layout you might want to scraplift (copy) or visualize how you want this story to look. If you were putting together a paper layout, how would you arrange the pictures on the physical page? Your canvas is simply a page that is trapped inside your computer.
I decided the 10 Boondocks photos should be very visible and that the pictures and the journaling are the most important thing on this 2 page spread. The story I want to share is a long one so I looked for a design with oodles of space for journaling.
The flower layout is more about the photographs. I only have a quote that I want to use for journaling (it’s in one of the photos) and I might add a few more details. In this case I looked for a page design where I could fit a lot of photos onto a single page.
The pie layout is going to showcase only 1 photo. I like the idea of including some fun baking related embellishments (not sure which ones at this stage) and I still need room to tell the story of why I’m taking a picture of a pie in the first place.
If you need to take a break at this point, that is fine. That is the beauty of power scrapping – you can come back to the project in stages when you have time. I really like to place my photos on the template at this point or on my canvas and then save a working copy. I usually start to get inspired at this point and am eager to go on to the next step.
4. Start browsing for kits or digital supplies that will complement your page and help you bring your story to life. Look through your stash and if needed, go shopping. This is usually the fun part for most digital scrapbookers. This is also the step that usually takes me the longest to complete. You may consider a few different approaches before you settle on one. I try to stay focused on finding supplies that either enhance the colors of the subjects in the photographs, or create a theme that draws the viewers interest to look closer and share the memory.
I realize this looks very plain at this point but I decided to focus on 2 colors to use that would enhance the photos. The green and brown are especially prevalent on the opposing page so I used them to give the spread a cohesive feeling.
When I searched my kits, I picked this one solely on the fact that it had solid papers in the colors that I needed. I completely ignored the embellishments.
Then I got thinking that I really wanted some sort of car or racing elements since my story was all about the go-karts. I found this kit and used some word art and recolored a car.
Now the page is ready for the story.
Time to leave this layout alone for awhile. I knew this one would take me awhile to journal.
Next up is the flower page.
I liked the clean look of the template so I went searching for a kit that had some pink in it and a neutral background. Because I did this layout for a team assignment, I restricted myself to looking through files of the designers who were affiliated with the shop I was scrapping for. Sometimes it really helps to narrow your choices!
I liked the neutral papers but the pink was wrong for my photos. I decided that it would be easy to change the hue on one of them to match my photo.
Usually I wait until the next step to add the journaling, but this one was a no-brainer. You can read the journaling here if you want to. I followed the template design of using a word for the title and just jotted down a quick thought. This layout is now finished!
Now for some pie….
This one ended up being the most tricky to work with. I really wanted to use some cute baking type goodies on those fun little squares. I loved this kit because of the canisters and cookie cutters but the colors of the kit were all wrong with my photo.
I liked the idea of using some red as an accent because of the little red handles on the canister, and that just seemed cozy to me. I browsed through my files and found this kit so I combined them.
and here’s what I ended up with:
still needs journaling but it was time for lunch (pie pictures make you hungry!) so that had to wait. No problem, power scrapping in small steps allows for breaks!
5. Final and MOST IMPORTANT step – journaling! One of the things I love about the team here at The Daily Digi is the commitment to tell our stories in meaningful ways. It’s true that some layouts like my flower page might not need a lot of words to go with it, but I believe that the majority of pages should be focused around the journaling. If you weren’t there to explain the layout, would someone understand what it was about? Will your loved ones know the story behind the photo? Will they realize why you took the time to fancy up a page about a pie? Don’t skimp on this step. It’s tempting to let your pages sit in a file after step 4 because you are avoiding journaling. I really suggest that you get to the journaling as soon as possible or even combine it with step 4 if needed. Your page really isn’t finished until you get those words onto the page.
You can read the journaling here if you want to.
You can read the journaling here if you want to.
The final report: Because I used these layouts to illustrate my power scrapping idea, I used a timer to keep track of how much time I spent on all the steps. When it was all added up I spent 53 minutes to fully complete 4 layouts. Have you ever made 4 layouts in 53 minutes? Now I did spread this 53 minutes out over the span of 3 days (could have been 3 weeks if that’s what I needed) but that’s ok. Over the past 3 days I haven’t had a solid block of 53 minutes to sit down and scrapbook so I would have not finished these pages at all if I waited for that amount of time to open up.
Interestingly enough, this blog post took me 2 hours and 14 minutes to write and put together. It took me more than twice as long to blog about scrapbooking these 4 pages than it took for me to actually do them!