Category Archives: Scrapbooking Organization

Here’s Where I Do Project Life

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Do you have a designated spot where your Project Life is always open and ready for you?

I’ve been testing this spot as a potential PL “station” since we moved into our new house in July. It’s possible that once my scraproom is finished I could end up moving it in there, but I have serious doubts. I’m officially in love with this spot. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Maybe it will generate a few ideas for yourself.

We have this counter/cupboard space that is just off the main living areas of our home, and at the entrance to what I think of as my own almost private part of the house. Let me give you a visual of where it is. Here’s what you see when you step into the front door of our home…

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Please excuse the bare walls. It’ll take at least another year before it’s close to being finished.

To the left, where you see my dogs, is the living room/library. Straight ahead is the family/tv room. Left of that is our kitchen, and right of it is the master bedroom.

From the front door, if you make an immediate right, there is a hallway. That is the section of the house that I think of as my own space, with the exception of the guest bathroom that is back there. See that door in the hallway? That’s the laundry room. A little farther down the hall is my scraproom.

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You can almost get a glimpse of my scraproom through that hallway from this view. And there is my beloved Project Life station.

It is directly across from the laundry room. And since I’m the one that does the laundry, you can see why I feel like this is my area of the house. I can go back and forth between PL and laundry, and I can easily dash into my scraproom to grab or put away any extra supplies I want to use while doing Project Life.

Here is a view of the counter/cupboard space from the laundry room doorway…

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Just an FYI, those cupboards are for household items like extra candles, cake/cookie decorating supplies, medical supplies, etc. I might use one cupboard space below for pocket pages, but right now I’m only using two of the drawers to hold PL supplies.

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In the front of the middle drawer I have two mini kits, and behind that is a tray of mixed cards from a few core kits plus whatever I’ve cut down from regular paper lines. To the side and behind are additional supplies.

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The right drawer is where I throw any memorabilia for all kinds of scrapbooking until I have a chance to sort it for standard scrapbooking, or put it into one of my Project Life albums. Since taking this picture I’ve added file folders in there to sort any PL memorabilia by month.

I’ve got an extremely simple system that makes it easy to keep up with Project Life, so there’s not a whole lot.

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These days I keep two current Project Life albums going at once — one for our everyday life, the other to document our everyday dance life (You can see how the Project Dance Life album was born on video in Paperclipping 229. Click here to learn about about a Paperclipping Membership and access to our videos!).

I mainly keep the general everyday album open at the current spread, and the dance album is standing behind it. When I want to work on the dance album, I switch their positions. If I have loose items and don’t want to stand an album up, I think I can lay it on a shelf that is in the cabinet below (I haven’t had to do this yet, so I’m not positive it fits).

What you’re looking at on the counter right now in the picture above is my stash of supplies while I’m in hard-core PL mode. Because I’m finishing up December, I’ve got Christmas supplies out. Most of the time I don’t have an extra stash of themed supplies out like that. You also see my adhesive and scissors buckets. Those are only there when I’m working on a month of assembly. Most of the time they’re either in my scraproom or upstairs in the recording studio.

Theoretically, this is what it should look like most of the time, as long as I’m not piling up household to-do items on the counter…

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That is, as long as I’m staying on top of my regular-life to-do items. This is what I use for my household action items and my post-it notes, which are essential for both PL and getting regular stuff organized and done…

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This sorting unit is great because it’s portable. I used to keep it at my desk in my scraproom, but I found I like to do a lot of my work at the table where I homeschool Trinity, instead of at my desk. So it’s perfect right here — near the front door and easy to grab to take into our table in the library.

In fact, here’s one last view of my Project Life station, through the library, from that very spot where Trinity and I work…


What Makes a Great Spot for a Project Life Station

Here’s what I love about this spot for my Project Life:

  • I can immediately drop off the memorabilia when I come home.
  • It’s a central spot between the two places I do a lot of my work (laundry/scraproom + library).
  • The kids often walk by it to use the bathroom downstairs, so they can take a peek.
  • It’s an easy place for the current spread to be viewable for anyone, without cluttering up the main areas where we live and entertain.
  • I can choose and edit photos from the table in the library, and wirelessly send them to print on my Selphy (small black 4×6 printer on the counter) where the prints will sit and wait next to my album.
  • When I’m working on my PL I’m kind of in my own space, but not totally separate from the rest of the family. It’s the perfect middle-ground, both literally and figuratively.

Want to see some current pages? I just need to add a final detail or two to my December pages and post them in the next day or so. Please come back to check them out!

Do you have a space that’s working for you? Did my space give you any ideas for how you can improve your own? Please leave a comment and share!

Play Along: Did You Finish Your Scrapbook Album?


If not, how close are you?

I have some questions for you in a minute, so please be sure to look for them below. I thought I’d share with you what I accomplished this month in our journey together to finish a scrapbook album in less than 30 days, and you can share a link to your own blog post or gallery entry to share all you’ve done..

Click here to see more…

Do Scrapbooking Title Pages Really Matter?

Philippines Album Inside Cover

Do you really need introductions in your scrapbook albums?

Let me just say that before I add title pages to the fronts of my scrapbooks, my experience of opening them feels random and a little perplexing. It can almost feel assaulting to be slammed with that first page without explanation — like when you get up in the morning and all of the kids bombard you with complaints and requests without bothering first to at least say, “Hi, Mom.”

But of course, that doesn’t happen at my house. I’m just speaking hypothetically. ;)

Why not welcome your viewer — and yourself — with a pleasant greeting, a hint of what’s inside your book, and some helpful explanations?

Click here to see more…

Product Remix: Dear Lizzy – 5th & Frolic

We Are the Tooth Fairy (closeup)

Sometimes you run across a perfect scrapbooking line. Dear Lizzy’s 5th & Frolic is that line for me right now. It’s like a siren, constantly beckoning me into my scraproom, and I’ve been choosing to scrapbook those of my stories that 5th & Frolic will help me tell.

Are you loving this line, too?

But what about our other products that are just a little older and may not be exciting us quite as much?

Do we abandon them?

No! We mix them in!

Below are a bunch of products you might have. Look at all you can do with this product remix!

First is a sneak peek of a page I’m still completing for an upcoming video tutorial for Paperclipping Members…

  1. Dear Lizzy: Neapolitan
  2. My Mind’s Eye: Be Amazing and Be Happy brads
  3. October Afternoon: Alpha’s
  4. Amy Tangerine: Glitter Foam Thickers
  5. Heidi Swapp: Sugar Chic

Anything not numbered is 5th & Frolic.


  1. Dear Lizzy: Neapolitan
  2. Heidi Swapp: Sugar Chic
  3. My Mind’s Eye: Be Amazing and Be Happy brads

I have a 3-part system for storing patterned paper and my main way to store and choose it is choose my by the mood of the patterns to help me tell my stories visually. I organize the rest of my scrapbooking supplies by design function or theme. But I also like to have periods, often related to a holiday or season, when I pull out some specific supplies I want to dive into for a while. In that case, I keep them in 1-3 piles on a table for quick access and easy remixing!

Right now, it’s my Dear Lizzy’s 5th & Frolic, along with some of my older lines I want to put a bigger dent into. You probably have some of these, too. Look how well they go together…

Project Life’s Clementine + Dear Lizzy’s 5th & Frolic – My camera decided to emphasize and exaggerate the subtle variations in the blue greens and pink reds. While they still look good together as pictured, in real life they’re very similar.

If you still have Dear Lizzy’s Neapolitan line, you can mix them right in with your new 5th & Frolic. They go so well together you’ll forget which is which!

Pull out just the blues, greens, golds, and tans from your 5th & Frolic set to pair with My Mind’s Eye: Follow Your Heart, Be Amazing. Boy layouts!

Or keep the pinks, too, and put it all with some My Mind’s Eye: Follow Your Heart, Be Happy.

The leopard and zebra stripes might be a little too sassy for the sweet tree swing and jars of hearts by Dear Lizzy, but look at the rest of Heidi Swapp’s Sugar Chic papers! It looks as if Heidi and Liz chose their color palettes together!

Focus on the blue-green, golds, and tans to mix 5th & Frolic with My Mind’s Eye: Lost & Found, Sunshine.

Or use the pinks and tans with My Mind’s Eye: Lost & Found, Blush. I think that look so, so sweet!

Click here for a glimpse of a layout I made with these pinks, and see how it contrasts with the original line.

You probably have other supplies in your own stash, as well. And don’t forget your technique products.

What do you have that you can mix in with the 5th & Frolic pieces?

Not comfortable mixing and matching product lines and patterns? I have lots of videos on this subject in the membership, and this month I’m going to do a new tutorial for Paperclipping Members on how to mix patterns.

CLICK HERE to learn about a membership!

Motivated to start playing? Have fun with your own 5th & Frolic remix!

Shine On,

Set Yourself Up for Christmas Scrapbooking

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What Didn’t Work Before
Last year I pulled out all of my Christmas stuff and set it up around my workspace. I found that I didn’t use most of it because the tiny bits of time I had to scrapbook didn’t allow for much play. I ended up grabbing the easy ready-made stuff.

What I Think is Working Now
This year I’ve got a new battle plan that already feels better.

I’m front-loading the technique play ahead of time. Basically, I’m task-batching. That way I have my own stuff ready-made when I sit down to scrapbook in December. And if I want to play more later on, I can. But if I find myself limited on time again, it’s okay!

Here’s how I’m batching my tasks up front before I start actually scrapbooking pages…

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Mini Reindeer + “25” die cut set * Winter Wonder Snow Man * Carved Ornaments * Joy * Townscape * Hanging Sign * Hanging Sign * Grungeboard * Sizzix Big Shot

Play-Time #1 – Manual die-cutting

Play-Time #2 – Electronic die-cutting

Play Time #3 – Glittering

Play Time #4 – Non-glittered altering

Have you run into the same problem as me in the past? Why not try batching your tasks too? Let me know if you have a task on your list that’s different from mine!

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Have fun paperclipping your Christmas!

Shine On,


P.S.> Come back for daily posts this week that will help you prep for your December Daily or other Christmas projects!

Get Organized Before the Holiday Chaos


Things will get crazy real soon, now that the holidays are approaching. Before your routines change and your obligations increase, you might want to get things clean and organized. Here are some craft/scrapbook related tasks you can take care of before all the craziness starts…

  • Declutter.
  • Instead of shopping to replace items, use your technique-oriented supplies to make your own (ie. use sprays to make backgrounds or heat emboss letter stickers into a color you need).
  • Finish old incomplete pages and projects.
  • Clean up your photo manager – identify the important photos and add your journaling to them via the metadata.
  • Reorganize.

I’ve been doing all of these things. Members saw me make my own background paper recently because I was out of organic papers. I’m so glad I did this, because I could not have found a piece of patterned paper that made me more happy than this one.

I finished an old page that’s been sitting in my scraproom for at least a year.

And now I’m focusing on updating my Project Life album. I don’t complete my pages week to week. Instead, I fill the pockets with ephemera, some journaling, and then photos once they’re printed. Then when I’m feeling inspired I complete the details of the pages, often a few weeks at a time.

The next video tutorial for Paperclipping Members will share that process.

So how much time do you have before life as you know it changes for the rest of the 2012? A few weeks? Just this week?

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Take what time you have left to get organized so your mind will be clear and your space will be ready!

As a side note, Paperclipping Members who want a bit of video inspiration on organizing can watch these videos in the archives:

  • Paperclipping 198 – Set Yourself Up for Unique Mini-Books
  • Paperclipping 196 – Coordinate Photos with Ephemera and Stories
  • Paperclipping 192 – Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles
  • Paperclipping 141 – Organization Tips
  • Paperclipping 96 – Filtering the Photo Flood
  • Paperclipping 85 – A Tour of My Scraproom

Not a member? CLICK HERE to learn about a membership!

Shine On,

Mini-Books that are Technique-Driven AND Fast?

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Can artsy + technique-y minibooks be easy?

Oh yes, they definitely can. Easy and fast!

Paperclipping Members will remember my Task-Batching video tutorial for making mini-albums. I showed you how you can use it for any level of intricacy of mini-books to complete your project in a quick amount of time. That’s what I did with this book.

I’ve been saving up ephemera from live music events in my photos+stories+ephemera binder and was able to assemble the mini-book in a few quick sittings. This type of story is a fun opportunity to go nuts with the color and the inky techniques, so a book like this proves that with the Task-Batching process you can take on anything and finish it quickly.

Just start by making a bunch of backgrounds. Then add your photos + ephemera. Once done you can decide if you want to spend much more time adding many embellishments to bling it up, and then go in with your journaling.

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For my cover I used a transparency over an inked up piece of cardstock with the simple title, “Live,” (as in, live music).

Glitter Alphabet
Dylusions Ink Sprays – Lemon Zest * Vibrant Turquoise * Bubble Gum Pink * Crushed Grape * Postbox Red.

While I haven’t decided to share the whole book (seems like a lot), here’s a sampling…

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Trevor Hall’s passion for music makes him our very favorite, so we’ve seen him three times and plan for more. He’s not a mainstream singer (he’s vegan meets Hindu meets Reggae) so we get to enjoy him in small intimate venues. On one particular night I snagged a note off a dinner table stating the table would be moved for dancing. You can see our tickets on the right.

One of my favorite things in this book are the lyrics you see in many colors underneath the small ticket page. Trevor Hall had just finished writing a new song and didn’t have one of the verses memorized yet so he typed it up to sing to and then handed it to me when he was done.

Since it was on simple typing paper I adhered it to cardstock with gel medium and that allowed me to spray it up with all kinds of color without it falling apart. I did it quickly with some of the gel medium thicker in parts than others, and I sprayed it while much of the gel medium was still damp. The thicker wetter gel caused a really cool uneven look. For an example, look at the blobby spot next to the word, “stand,” — the last word on this side of the page.

You can also see that effect dripping down toward the very top of the lyrics down near the bottom ring of my book.

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The left page on this picture is the backside of those same lyrics and you can see that this side was even wetter with the gel medium when I sprayed the color so it has even more variation in the saturation of the color!

On the right is a little rectangle of one of my tie dye techniques — a technique I’m absolutely THRILLED to have developed, since I’ve always been a sucker for tie dye. I haven’t gotten to the final journaling step and this is where I’ll be journaling about a local band, Black Carl, that deserves national attention. Behind the tie-dyed journaling page is their photo, some flair, and a VIP wristband from when Izzy and I shot some video for them while they played at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix one night.

Note: the pink and orange page holding the flair buttons is made with Alcohol Inks: Raspberry * Sunset Orange * Gold Mixative.

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One the left is a photo of our favorite musician at D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro (Kyle), along with a traveling guest musician who joined in and gave us a really great performance. On the right is the lighter given to me from one of the band members of Slightly Stoopid. We like smaller concerts and this one was on the bigger side, but we were at the very front, so was still pretty intimate for us.

You can see from just these few pages (and some others I shared here), there are a lot of messy techniques in this book, but that didn’t make it a hard or slow project. It was shockingly fast to put together. For fast mini-booking, remember to batch your tasks instead of going page by page:

  1. background pages
  2. photos + ephemera
  3. embellishments
  4. journaling

For examples of how to mini-book like this, Paperclipping Members can watch these videos:

  • Task-Batch Mini-booking – Paperclipping 150
  • A Mini-book in Two Hours – Papeclipping 162

I used this same process for the intricate book you see in the tutorial, Layer and Texture with Color – Paperclipping 163.

Other related tutorials are:

  • Techniques for Bright Color Effects – Paperclipping 197 – (for how to make the pages of my Live album)
  • Coordinate Photos with Ephemera – Paperclipping 196 – (for organizing and storing your photos, ephemera, and stories altogether that makes the easier for coordinating and scrapbooking)

If you’re not a Paperclipping Member but are curious about the videos, please click here!

Click Here!

(affiliate links where possible)

Coordinate Photos with Ephemera and Stories – Paperclipping 196

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Do you ever find ephemera for a scrapbook page you already completed?


And how good are you at getting around to scrapbooking those bigger stories that span long periods of time or require you use photos and ephemera from different time periods?

Are you on top of those or do you procrastinate them?

It’s easy if your album project is chronological, like with Project Life. You can stick your ephemera straight into the pockets for that week. For my daughter’s dance album I put her ephemera into page protectors in the album.

Easy peasy.

But many scrapbooks these days are not chronological. Most of mine are not. Coordinating the flow of photos, ephemera, and stories we jotted down on scraps of paper or notebooks is one of the most overwhelming and difficult thing about scrapbooking. Over the years I’ve learned systems for organizing printed photos in onw place, organizing my ephemera another place, and my jotted stories in another.

They may be very organized in their individual places, but that isn’t an easy way to get all those items together into actual scrapbook pages.

Is it easy for you?

Tiny Baby (closeup)

This year I revamped everything to bring it all together into one place. If that’s how we scrapbook, why not organize it that way?

Keep your story ideas, your printed photos for scrapbooking, your ephemera, and your jotted down kid-quotes and stories all in one place that is easily viewable — something you can flip through.

That way you can see what photos you still need to print for the stories and ephemera that are waiting, and when it’s time to sit and scrapbook you have a whole bunch of story options with all the pieces together ready to go!

Shine on,

P.S. Need some help with this? I just made a video tutorial that shows:

  • What I use to safely store these items together.
  • My process for getting all the pieces in their place.
  • How my own system makes it so easy to scrapbook the bigger stories.
  • A page I put together with seven different items of ephemera that my parents collected over my first year as a baby.

This video is located in the Paperclipping Membership. If you’re not yet a member, click here for info!


3 Ways to Store It: Patterned Paper

So Many Wonderful Passions (closeup)

For years I’ve been recommending scrapbookers organize stuff based on the way they hunt for things. Well, I’ve been refining my own system and this year I’ve hit on one that has revolutionized it all for me in a way that no other organization re-do ever has.

Today I’m excited to share with you my 3-part system for storing patterned paper. I’ve never heard of anyone else who organizes like this so don’t give up on this post if the first two parts of the system seem crazy. The third part will make you feel better and with all three parts together you have every possible way I can think of to organize your paper.

Ready to see how it works?

Part 1 – Store 12×12’s by Mood and Tone
There’s a pretty limited number of emotions and moods. Our patterned papers reflect a good handful of them, both in the colors and in the patterns themselves.

Sort them by mood and put your favorite papers of each mood in the front. When you pull out the photo(s) you want to scrap, ask yourself what the mood is and then go to the patterned papers for that mood.


Paper choice used to be the slowest part of my process after journaling, but now I find my paper within seconds. I keep expecting this to stop working and so far it continues to blow my mind! If you’re skeptical, read what one of the Paperclipping Members said after she watched the related video tutorial I posted to the membership:

Oh my, I think I’m sold. I just reorganized all my papers using this method (I was using by manufacturer before and it was cumbersome to flip through everything every time, but color alone didn’t work for me so I stuck to brand). I feel liberated already. It took me less than an hour (I don’t have too much, maybe 80 full sheets or so) but I think the ease with which it came together indicates something. I started just putting things into piles and at first I had way too many piles, but I started to come up with preliminary categories and tweaking as I went. I found that as I continued I would come upon one or two “ah ha!” pieces that just totally screamed whatever I was trying to say, and then it was easier to put the harder to categorize papers with those obvious ones. I ended up with seven of my own categories that I feel great about.

The real test came when I was done however. I’ve been staring at these two photos on my desk for a couple of weeks now–I wanted to use them with orange and cut part of this truly pretty orange paper with a graphic white pattern. But something was totally off and I was making no progress. I looked at them again tonight after the reorg, and decided they were actually “whimsical/fun” photos and pulled out a large white/orange dot pattern from that folder. There is no comparison, it works now–even though the oranges are basically the same! It just feels better.

Thanks so much, Noell!

PS of course, when my boyfriend asked what I was doing, and I said that was organizing my paper by how it makes me feel, he thought I was crazy. But when he saw how quickly I was done, I think even he was impressed. He is used to seeing me obsess over half-finished organizational schemes for much longer than this took!

Part 2 – Store Scraps Together
All scraps smaller than eight or so inches wide go together in one tray, tin, or other container.

Yes, all of them, together.

Does that idea make you twitch? Well guess what? You will find the most enchanting paper combinations this way — ones you could never have planned, dreamed of, nor found in a store and created by even your favorite designers.

Whenever I go to weed out the scraps I no longer love, serendipity happens. Here are two layouts that have resulted from this…

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And just a note — I store most of my screen-printed transparencies along with my paper. They might be made of a different material but most of them function like patterned paper, so I don’t see any reason they should be separated.

Part 3 – Store 6×6 Paper Pads Together
Do this in a way that you can flip through them and easily see the fronts. Mine are in a wooden box.

Obviously, I’m the last to do this, not the first. But it’s a great part of this system because it allows you to hunt for your papers in some of those other ways we all sometimes do:

  • by color
  • by manufacturer

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This way you won’t be lost if you’re worried about not having your large sheets and your scraps organized by color or manufacturer. Because companies put a sampling of the patterns on the front of the paper pads, you can quickly flip through the pads to see what your options are. Then you can pull from there.

All 3 Parts Working Together
With this 3-part system in place you can now look for papers in all of the possible ways I can think of, not just one:

  1. by mood
  2. by serendipitous scrap accidents
  3. by color
  4. by manufacturer

Paperclipping Members who want to launch a study of topics related to this — organization, mixing and matching patterned papers, and scrapbooking with scraps or by mood through via design principles — can watch these video tutorials:

  • 209 – How to Mix Patterns
  • 192 – Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles
  • 190 – The Whole Process
  • 172 – Making Backgrounds Out of Scraps
  • 158 – Scrapbooking with Scraps
  • 151 – Embellish with Clusters of Scraps
  • 141 – Organization Tips
  • 119 – Expand a Color Palette
  • 105 – How to Have Endless Ideas
  • 98 – Design Language for Crazy
  • 85 – A Tour of My Scraproom
  • 59 – Mixing Patterned Paper

I also go into a lot of detail about patterns and moods in my design course, Design Your Story from The Ground Up.

Want to know more about a Paperclipping Membership? Click here!

Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles – Paperclipping 192

paperclipping 192

How would you like to spend zero time staring at your page trying to come up with a design concept whenever you scrapbook?

What if you could find and choose your patterned papers within a minute or two, and sometimes within seconds?

It was so liberating to discover a scrapbook process that eliminated the awful staring-at-the-age torture, and turned one of my longest steps (choosing and finding my papers) into my shortest ones.

The solution to both of these problems is one simple question:

What is the mood or tone of the story you’re scrapbooking?

Many of the design principles are there to communicate mood, emotion, even very specific ideas. So if you just ask yourself this simple question, your design knowledge will give you all the ideas you need to make a page!

And now I’m organizing my papers according to these principles.

My 3rd Birthday

Just identify your story’s mood (energetic, serious or traditional, quirky, playful, stable, peaceful, etc), then go to the papers filed under that mood and its design characteristics.

I can’t promise it will be this fast for you, but it now takes me only as long as it requires to reach my hand over to my paper file and pull out the top 1-3 papers in that file — since I’m finding that when organized this way, whatever is on top will almost work for the page!

No more digging!

Finding the papers used to be one of my slowest steps, but it’s now the fastest.

Not sure how to start, or what those specific design principles are? We shot a video that shares…

  • many of the pattern styles and the emotions and moods they evoke
  • specifically how I’ve organized my papers this way
  • samples of the patterns I put in each of my “mood” files
  • some of the recent pages that resulted from many of these “mood” files
  • how a layout begins to actually comes together using this process.
  • how to test out this new system before you decide to commit to an
    entire re-do.

If you’re a Paperclipping Member you can find this newest video in your iTunes feed or in the Member’s Area!

Not a member yet? Click here to learn more!