PRT155 – Torn by Patterned Paper

This week we’re chatting about cutting into patterned paper, and what you can do with it. Hint: there’s a lot! Come listen!

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  • Rochelle

    Great show! Loved it all!
    When Shimelle suggested thinking of your scraps as embellishments, it made me think of them as being more valuable, & useful.

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed your latest video, Noell – I love puzzles & thought it was fun to watch you make the pieces you had, fit in. Can’t wait to give it a go.

  • Another great show! In fact, I’m quite tempted to go get all my patterned paper scraps from their respective plastic envelopes and throw them in a bin! But I might be a little too OCD for that! :-)

    But my real question has to do with something Shimelle (I think it was her) mentioned about her scrap bin. She said that when it gets too full, she grabs a bunch from the bottom and puts them in her “to donate” box. I would love to donate scrapbooking supplies that I don’t need or want anymore, but I have no idea where to donate them. I don’t really want to just drop them off at Goodwill! Do you have any suggestions on places/websites/organizations that would use donated scrapbooking supplies? Thanks so much.

  • Yes, it does feel very much like a puzzle – way fun, too!

  • So glad you enjoyed the show!

    My donate box goes to a group of volunteers and nurses who work with the patients at the local children’s hospital. They are happy to take partial sheets and off-cuts of paper in any pattern, incomplete sheets of letter stickers, and all that sort of stuff that we look at as scrappers and think we couldn’t really gift to another crafter. Because of course, once the kids start using it, it will all be offcuts anyway! I found this group by posting on the local freecycle message board (these exist all over the world – do a search for freecycle and your city or neighbourhood) saying I had scraps of art and craft supplies suitable for children’s crafting. Really grown-ups could use them too, of course, but our local freecycle had posts where people were looking for items they could then use to turn a profit – like vintage fabrics, for example – and I didn’t think my scrap papers could really fit that description, and I really wanted them to be used, not just added to someone else’s stash and maybe ignored! So I thought kids would be the way to go, and I was ready to consider scouts and clubs and schools and whatever popped up really. I had a few replies and the one from the hospital was just an instant winner – they do all sorts of things from decorating the ward to making cards to celebrate birthdays and personal milestones, writing to their friends and classmates back home, and some of the older children have even been making some scrapbooks about themselves. OH WOW. Seriously, I could never ever ever feel bad for a second about giving them my stash. They always make me a Christmas card and send me letters now and then to let me know what they are doing. I love that I am able to help in some teeny tiny way because I don’t think I could volunteer there in person and cope very well (I can’t switch things off, if you know what I mean, so I would likely be in buckets of tears every single day) and this is what makes me be able to donate without even looking at what I’m taking out of my basket. So what if I give away a scrap of a ridiculously awesome piece of paper? Is it more important that I get more use out of that paper that I’ve already used… or that someone else might have their entire day brightened by finding it in the basket and loving it for what they want to make? Finding that group just lifted a huge burden for me of what to do with such a surplus of paper. I hope you find a group somewhere who can do the same for you!!!

    In addition to Freecycle, you can network through friends to see if you know anyone who knows someone who works with kids in that sort of creative endeavour at a school, church, etc, or post on sites like Craig’s List or Gumtree, or pop a sign on a bulletin board if there is somewhere in your community where notices tend to go? (We had a great one at our local Starbucks actually, but it’s just closed last week, and my neighbour and I were just saying we hope someone picks up that idea because it was such a nice way to find out cool things people were doing in our neighbourhood!) My experience was that once I put it out there and found somewhere, then I knew as long as they were still going, I wouldn’t need to do that bit of work to find somewhere else. I can just keep giving to the same place. I gave them a big plastic bin full and when they need more or I need to clear stuff out, I just refill it for them!

    Wow, apparently I had a whole essay to write on that very simple subject! ;-) But I hope it gave you somewhere to start! :)

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my question. I’ll definitely look into those ideas! And BTW, I’m definitely interested in taking a few of your classes now :-)

  • Jennifer G.

    I am on a Facebook group that is about organizing your scrapbook supplies and on their page they have a document that lists out several organization that can use scrapbooking supplies. Many people on the group donate to their local Ronald McDonald House and have said that they are very grateful to get scrapbooking items. Hopefully this link will take you to the list: but they also suggest • Elementary schools • Care or hospice centers • Adult community centers • Special needs centers • Churches • Children’s hospitals • Homeless shelters and/or women’s shelters

  • I love to use scraps and I have several pinterest boards with ideas for using them, my favorite one being: Paper Strips:

    I also had a question for Shimelle – better to take her classes on her blog or through Two Peas?

  • Another option that I’ve done is to contact your local social services and ask for the person who is in charge of life books. Generally social services encourages foster families to keep a “life book” (a scrapbook) going for kids in the foster care system.

  • MargaretAnn DeVore

    Great topic, thanks! I have a ton of patterned paper scraps that I’ve been collecting since I began formally scrapbooking in 1993. I used to try to keep them all sorted by dominant hues, but that soon became a nightmare in filing and I finally abandoned the whole system. These days, I have a plastic 3-drawer storage cart that I keep all my paper scraps in – a drawer for solid colors, a drawer for vellums and textures, and a drawer for patterned paper. It’s hidden underneath my scrapbook table, which makes it a super easy place to immediately discard scraps, kinda like Shimelle’s scrap basket! But I also love that it’s on wheels, so I can just pull it out when I’m working on something new. My favorite thing to use scraps for is mini-albums. The pieces seem to take on a whole new life when I use them for smaller formats. Plus, I get a greater sense of value for my money when I tell myself that I’ve used the paper in more than one album!

    My biggest complaint with this current filing system, however, is that the papers have become “tangled” up with each over time. I realize now that it’s because I still have a lot of those odd-shaped ends dangling from some of my scraps. I love the idea of cutting those ends off, or even better, cutting the scraps down to useable sizes before tossing them into the drawer. I also think, after listening to all of you, that it’s time for me to downsize my scrap stash a bit and make some donations to a local charity organization.

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  • Hi Katie! :)

    It depends on what kind of class you’re looking for really! I have three workshops at Two Peas and the rest are all hosted on my own site. Of the Two Peas workshops, two are much older (one is a travel book project, the other is about printables and printing on lots of random supplies) and then Hitchhiker’s Guide is newer. Two Peas workshops are all self-paced and as soon as you purchase you have full access to everything in the class.

    I have a wider variety of classes on my own site and the content varies more per subject (at Two Peas, there is a general standard to how many layouts/PDFs/videos you get per workshop at the two pricepoints they offer; on my own site I vary more to the theme and then classes that have more stuff are priced higher than those with less – though in general I try to keep my classes as affordable as possible). And the big difference is that I offer live classes – so if you sign up for a class when it is new and in its original run, you don’t have access to everything all at once. You get a prompt a day or week or whatever the details are for that class. :) But I never close my registrations so if you wanted to take a class that isn’t live any more, that’s never a problem – you can just take it as self-paced rather than having it delivered day by day. :)

    I’m a little worried that if I talk too much about any classes in particular it will seem like I’m using Noell’s blog space to write a big billboard for myself and I don’t want to do that! But I do want to be helpful, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via Twitter or email. I hope that helps! :)

  • hejmammamu

    I was so inspired and began reorganising my papers while listening. I’ve been saving really small pieces, I think that’s from my beginning in scrapbooking when you hardly could get anything here in Sweden so you saved everything, but it’s just gets to be a burden, so I try to be less of a horder. My problem really is not the patterned papers but the cardstock, I just have to do something, so I started making small embellishments, like arrows, or punching things from them and when I can’t stand doing more, I just through the rest away! Thanks for the inspiration! I love your shows.

  • Teddi Honeybee

    i sort my scraps by color, but i may try to mix mine up in one place, the way the 3 of you do, just to shake things up. shimelle did a fabulous blog post with lots of patterned paper ideas, tips, and tricks. great episode everyone, but aren’t they always? ;)

  • Cyndy R

    Almost finished listening to the show but just had to stop to make my comment. I LOVE this topic and I LOVE Shimelle’s Perfect Collection class. It never ceases to inspire me when I am in a slump. I love to grab a collection I love and make a bunch of “naked” layouts. I love the process of choosing pictures to go with the layouts and seeing how it all turns out. Here is a blog post about the layouts I made with Shimelle’s class I have since done it again with a different collection but have not posted the pictures yet. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this! Just listening to her talk about it today made me very excited to get back and start with another collection I just received in the mail today. Another great topic Noell!

  • Anne

    I have a different problem with hidden journaling. My children are way too old for it, but still believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa. I have a layout about a funny story when I hid the Easter eggs and one about our Christmas traditions ( which includes our elaborate Santa deceptons) I hope they will only read the small but very visible journaling when they are much older. They do not look through the books often, and then mostly look at the pictures, but they can read. What was I thinking when I put it in?

  • Mary

    I loved this episode, but I definitely felt a little out of place for keeping my scraps more organized. I want people to know that you can sort them into piles and still be creative with them! :)

    When I started scrapbooking and only had a small pile of supplies, all my scraps went together, but even then I’d find myself hunting through the whole thing thinking “Isn’t there a piece of that polka dot paper I used last week around here somewhere?” Since that is how I looked for items, that is how I store them now.

    Unlike Noell, I love to buy coordinated collections. I will keep all of those pieces together (full sheets, scraps, even sticker sheets sometimes) as I work through them. Similar to what Noell said she does, if I come across another scrap (or even a full sheet without another home) that will match, I throw it in with that collection.

    I also think that working from a collection can make it easier to make that first cut into a piece of paper. Even if you only have one of that particular pattern, you know that there is a lot more of the collection to work with and mix in, even if you make a mistake with that first cut.

    And personally, for me, starting with full/mostly full collections really helped teach me about mixing colors and patterns. Most manufacturers do an amazing job these days putting together small scale patterns with larger ones and multi-colored prints with more neutral or tone-on-tone options. You can learn the balance and proportion of these elements when you see a collection in full and eventually learn to do the same on your own.

    Anyway, just had to share, since this really works for me, and I work from my scraps A TON. Thanks for another great episode!

  • Sharon

    I too love patterned paper but limit how much I buy because I always start my layouts with a solid color piece of cardstock. With the patterned paper being do much thinner, I do not feel it holds up well to embellishments and adhesives. So now I must ask about the part of the show when you were talking about cutting out the center or around the center? I was confused about what you meant. Is this something that would help with using the thinner patterned paper as my main layout sheet? I was going to try and find it in a video but you said you never put it in videos because everyone already knows how to do it, everyone but me I guess. Thanks for another great show! Sharon

  • I recently “found” PRT when a fellow crafter was a guest on the show (Mercytiara, Tracy Banks). Since then I have been listening to all of the Podcasts on my daily commute to work, Sometimes I feel like people driving past me are staring at me because I feel as If I am sitting at the kitchen table chatting about our beloved craft. I become very animated while listening! I get so excited when I hear one of those Ah Ha moments and usually talk back to you all and have even fist pumped!
    I have learned that no matter what my style is, it doesn’t have to please anyone but ME. I am doing this craft for my own sanity. While I do enjoy shopping for new product,like patterned paper, I have finally come to terms with USING my product. It is much more enjoyable! No more hoarding for me! Thanks Noell and Izzy for a wonderful show an for keeping me company on my daily commute.

  • Emily

    This was one of my favorite episodes! I think I live under a rock or have selective listening because I had never been to Shimelle’s website and I had never heard of Glitter Girl *gasp*. But after listening to the podcast I visited the guest sites and I had the single most productive day of scrapping that I’ve had in 6 months!

    Thank you for giving permission to use up those “favorite sheets of paper rather than keeping them on a shelf collection dust. Something Noelle said really struck a cord with me in terms of how it doesn’t make sense to have all these nice things that people don’t use etc.. I LOVE that you use your china for everyday.

    The other thing that I loved was when Shimelle said that if you use the paper once, even if you cut into for a small piece, you have gotten your value out of it and anything else is bonus. This makes total sense to me now. I was hoarding “favorite” sheets because I wanted to use them whole… but in reality I’ll get much more from them if I cut them up. I went right up to my scrap room and challenged myself to do this.

    I feel like the odd listener out, but I store my scraps by color in 13×15 freezer bags kept in a large bin. If I am working on a layout, I grab the color bag and search through scraps, similar to how you all sort through your buckets. You are right, the initial sorting is a pain, but its worth it for me. I discovered that my brain works best when like colors are together.

    Thank you again for a great show! I signed up for Textuality and Camp Scrap and used the PC link :)

  • Shimelle – I think you are totally appropriate in sharing your classes :) We are keen to hear about them and I for one think you aren’t over-promoting. You give TONNES of value whenever you are on the PRT (plus, you have that cute international accent!)

  • I loved this episode. It’s so interesting to hear how the scraps inspire your design. As a digital scrapbooker, I never run out of a favourite paper, but then I never have a bucket of scraps to sort through to inspire me either.
    Perhaps this is one reason why digi scrappers use templates? Someone else has done the cutting for them?

  • C.Robin

    Hi Noell, thanks for you and you guest help on my storage question. Went to Ikea and brought the little cart, and clean out a shelf in my kitchen cabinet. I also have my scraps in a box to use on other project. Robin P.S. Izzy thanks for your help but I still want my friends to come over.LOL

  • Lisa M. Zepponi

    BEST SHOW EVER!!! Thanks! I realized I had (3 scrap baskets) I am looking for the best way to combine the 3 into one and I will NOW start throwing those “bits” away. Yahoo!

  • I only save a tiny bit of cardstock scraps — mostly just a handful of white, cream, and grey.

  • Here’s what we mean by that, Sharon — Let’s say I want to layer 3 pieces of patterned paper under a photo. You’re only going to see the outer edges of those papers. They’re going to layer up really thick and heavy on that one part of the layout. Plus, you’re hiding all that beautiful patterned paper. So sometimes we’ll cut out a piece in the centers of the patterned paper so we’re not wasting all of those entire pieces and we’ll still have some left to use for later.
    Another example of when I might do this — Sometimes I have white card stock as my background, but I want a patterned paper frame around it. So I cut the white card stock to be about half a quarter in smaller all around. That means that you’re only going to see a quarter inch of each side of that gorgeous patterned paper. The rest of the entire sheet is hidden and wasted. Not only that, but that is one dang heavy layout.
    So we’ll often cut away a square of the middle to use for later. Anybody looking at the page would never know.

  • Yay! I love that you say that as a former hoarder you’ve found the hobby more enjoyable when you really use the product. I know that when I have products in my stash that I love, I feel like I can’t burn through it fast enough. I don’t like the idea of it just sitting there!!

  • I don’t think you’re the odd man out! Most people sort the scraps by color and I never knew anyone else who mixes them like me until this episode. It’s unusual.

  • geezee

    I find this ironic that you once again have a topic that is so timely for me. I am currently, slowly going through my scrap space since Aby helped me on the Organization episode. I have been rethinking everything about my space and my patterned paper was just sitting there buried in its perfectly organized Zipper bags by collection. I thought about liking to see the paper. I pulled out some 12×12 albums and my overabundance of page protectors of the same size and put my papers in them. Suddenly I find myself inspired to scrap because I can see the papers. I sorted the odd pieces by categories that make sense only to me I suppose. It is a little like looking through a scrapbook. One with all the potential of pages to come. Oh, and it made the albums, the papers, and the page protectors all have a place to be. Also, when I pull out the paper to use, I already have the page protector for it to go into, or I can put pictures and embellishments in with it and have a project ready to go. GinaZ

  • MIhammock

    I do this all the time! mostly to help save pennies, especially on specialty paper like glitter paper. no one knows once it’s in the album

  • MIhammock

    just a comment about journalling something a little sensitive (or negative)…when I create a page that has this, I place something generic on the front, and journal the ‘real deal’ on the back. hidden from public eyes, but still available to those who wish to know.

  • Awesome!!

  • Such a great show, as always! I always get very excited when a new
    show is posted, it’s certainly a highlight of the week, and puts a smile
    on my face as I set off to work in the morning with a fun and
    interesting discussion about my fave hobby to listen to. You guys keep
    me company, and you keep me inspired!

    As for sorting the scraps: I
    used to do that as well! Back when I started scrapbooking, I handpicked
    each and every patterned paper at my local lss with great reverence; it
    felt like such a luxury to spend that kind of money on pretty paper,
    and I loved them all so much that it was really hard for me to even cut
    into the paper at all. Hence, every scrap felt very valuable, and I
    sorted every little bit left over into different categories. This was
    back when I could very easily fit every piece of paper I owned into one
    pizza box.

    I think I overcame my fear of actually cutting up new
    12×12 papers as my collection grew. While I certainly think that we can
    be overwhelmed by too many choices, there is something to be said about
    having options.

    Also, I have finally got it into my head that
    that, even if I used my very most favourite paper, the only one paper I
    had left of that particular paper in the entire history of the woooorld
    (dah-raaamaaa!), I will beyond a doubt find more paper I love just as

    Anyway; In the end I realized that I was spending way too
    much time just sorting my paper scraps, and that I really didn’t have
    to. As you guys said; it really doesn’t take long to just rummage
    through the scrap basket. Like you guys I just put them all in the same
    pile now, and it really is more fun just to be surprised what I can find
    in there.

    Thanks again for a great show, you guys!

  • Ha ha ha – I love your personality, Jen!!

  • Lucy Farrugia

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed this show. I love hearing how people use their scraps more effectively, and I had been also seen the discussion on 2Peas about cutting out the middle of pages so I was glad to hear the reasoning people had. I have done it, but only if I absolutely love the paper and want to use more of it.

    It made me feel better hearing Shimelle describe how the first use of a paper counts as the paper having been used, and that any additional uses are bonus. I tend to always feel I need to use big pieces of a paper until the smaller bits are left, but actually I’d probably get more use by just accepting it’s still on show even if it’s not a massive piece.

    I also use my scraps to make embellishments – I grab a bunch of punches and things like washi tape, buttons or flowers and make layered embellishments which I can use in future layouts. I find this particularly good if I want to scrap but haven’t got much time, I can just do little sessions and still have accomplished something crafty! I do use scraps for cardmaking as well because I wouldn’t cut into a new paper for cards due to the “giving away” factor, but my scraps I can happily part with!

    Like Noell mentioned, I tend to store my papers by collection, even after I’ve started using them. When I’ve made a “dent” in most of the papers then I will start to mix and match them with others more.

    Really enjoyed this episode, thanks guys as always for the brilliant discussion!

  • I’m a couple episodes behind and I’m just now getting to this episode. I’m only about a half hour in, but the timing is so coincidental. Just yesterday I started a project where I’m cutting down all my scraps to go into “FridgeBinz” that you get at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I go to my scrap box frequently for anything I’m punching or die cutting – with either steel rule dies or my Silhouette. I love the eclectic mix I get from mining my scraps, plus, I feel much more liberated when cutting into a scrap than a whole piece of paper. I’ve always just thrown scraps into a 12×15 archival box, but it’s getting a little unwieldy, so I figure if I can get them stored vertically (a la Aby Garvey’s suggestion) they’ll be easier to flip through. I’ve got a picture on my blog: I’m not going to organize by color, but I am sort of separating them distressed/vinatage-y (Like Basic Grey-ish kind of stuff) and more graphic/pure color (Echo Park-esque), just because I rarely mix across that line. Can’t wait to finish the show on my way home from work!