PRT166 – Starting Points

This week we’re talking about different starting points for layouts!

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  • Robin W.

    What a great show!! You had my two favorite people on together–how cool is that! Whenever I need inspiration I know I can count on Shimelle and Allison; my scrapbooks are filled with pages inspired by the two of them. By using their sketches and starting points I never have to sit and stare and wonder how to get going. Their ideas give me more time to be creative.

  • Ruth

    OK I am taking on the Challenge and will be scrapping from each of your sketches (though Ive used all in the past multiple times) and I’ll blog about it. LOVE this episode, you three are so different in your approach to creating sketches and it was so fun to hear. Thank you for making this episode, Noell

  • Monica

    I forgive you for trashing my comment, Izzy, since I was so exited to hear it on the show! ;) And Noell, i’m just like you, can’t follow a sketch, it just doesn’t ends up like a “me” layout if I do and I will be disapointed. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get inspired by what others do, my mind just do it in another way.

  • Bec

    I love having so many options. Some days I want to be totally original and other days I want some one to give me a very distinct inspiration. There was a time where I felt I should not use sketches if I were to be a really creative person. I decided that was rather silly if it meant I was not getting layouts done because I couldn’t come up with a LO design.

    Allison and Shimelle are always inspiring. The Paperclipping membership has provided me with all types of ideas for layouts that do not look like everyone else’s. Thanks, as always for the great videos and the PRT podcasts.

  • Katy Thames

    This show is my favorite! I loved hearing how you all work with sketches. I have to say that I find myself getting a little anal retentive when following a sketch, so perhaps I should just loosen up a bit and look at it as a suggestion!

  • The choice of guests is interesting. They both do their own sketches! It’s very different following your own sketches than someone else’s. Following your own sketches is still creating your own. When I do my pages, I also start with kind of a sketch. I use Adobe InDesign and I drop the photos there. InDesign makes it super easy to move the photos around and change the size or orientation without dealing with layers. Then I start drawing (in InDesign) circles, rectangles, drawing a rough outline of what my page would look like with the photos, then I do my page based on the rough draft. You can see an example of that in this blog post

    I cannot, for the life of me, get into following others’ sketches. I wholeheartedly agree with Noelle that I actually think it’s harder. Sketches feel like restrictions, like photo challenges; e.g., take a photo using this composition rule. With that said, however, I do pin others’ sketches and occasionally I do use them, but I use them as inspiration, not different than using another finished layout as an inspiration. I have never once followed a sketch. A coworker told me she always always needed a sketch and a step-by-step instructions, because she can’t even decide which embellishment to lay down first. I could not understand that at all.

    … UNTIL I started making cards! I have no feel for card making. I’m making them now because my older son is old enough that I need to make cards for teachers and his little friends’ birthday parties. I don’t know if it’s because there’s no photos, and I don’t have personal emotions attached to the card, or because I’m not familiar with the size, I find them impossible to make without an example. Well the first card I made, I made for my mom, and that got featured in twopeas. I was thrilled and thought for a moment I was a naturally talented card maker. Ha! That was my first and last creative card making. After that I could not think of an original card layout. So now I totally get what my coworker meant. Just give me a sketch, an example, and I’ll follow it quite closely, or else I’m completely lost!

    I thought it’s interesting how differently I feel about sketches when it comes to cards.

  • Scrappytams

    Awesome show. As always you are great company on my morning run.

    Everybody’s moving! In my world we call this the ‘rotation’ time….. usually the people you rotated in with are moving on and rotating out and their replacements rotate in, it’s a whole cycle thing. But the good news is we are rotating, too. Our 3 years in Cyprus are up and we are moving HOME!!!

    This would be an interesting topic of discussion – How do you scrap before, during and after a move? How do you make that transition go smoothly? How and when do you carve out the time to sit and fulfill the creative need, when you are busy sorting, purging, cleaning and packing?

    For me I will be unable to scrap for about 3 months in total. My scrap supplies were packed up 2 weeks ago, we are living in the house (a furnished post) with a ‘welcome/goodbye’ kit of basic household supplies until we leave on July 26. I have put a few basic scrap supplies in our small air shipment that will arrive about 2 weeks after we get stateside (they won’t ship it until you are in the air). The rest of my scrap stuff is on the slow boat, which can take 3-6months before delivery. I am planning on ordering from a kit club once we are settled in the hotel in the States. We should be in our ‘new to us’ house by mid-September and I am hoping by October I will be back up to regular scrap mode.

    Regarding today’s Roundtable I liked listening to the discussion of sketches, starting points and templates. I always think of them like recipes. When I need inspiration for dinner I look through cookbooks, check the ingredient lists, read the recipe and then go and create my version from memory. For me sketches, templates or starting points offer that same inspiration and flexibility. I can’t for the life of me recreate the exact LO as someone else, even if I am given exact cuttting guides and step by step directions. I always have to make it my own. But what I appreciate is the inspiration that sketches, etc., offer me.

    A great big thank you for another great show!

  • I’m not sure you have on deck for an Asian-based show, but you might contact Margie at Nihao, Cupcake ( She is an expat, scrapbooker, and blogger and has lived a couple of different places in Asia.

  • Tina gale

    My two favorite people! I’m listening now

  • I struggle with cards, too, Becks! I don’t feel any inspiration for card design, and I find it all very uncomfortable. I’ve only ever tried to design a card twice, I think. So I’m sure in time I’d get more comfortable with it, but because I feel no emotional connection with it the way I do scrapbooking a photo/story, I just have no idea what I want to do. Sounds like we’re similar in at least a few ways!

  • Wow, congratulations on your “rotation!” :) Is congratulations the right word? Are you excited to go back home? I’d love to hear about how you’ve scrapbooked life in Cyprus. I wonder if you’ll do a lot more of it once you’re back in the states and remembering all the things you’d gotten used to that you’re leaving behind. Also, coming back home after being gone for 3 years — will you scrap the things that stand out as being new, foreign, long forgotten, glad to have around again, or NOT glad to have around again, lol!
    Thanks for the topic idea. I’ll see what I can do! Good luck with your long journey back home!

  • Thanks, Stephanie! I do have one expat who owns a scrapbook store — in Singapore, I think. If possible I’d like the other panelists to be Asian from various countries, but so far the contacts either struggle too much with speaking English (thought their writing is great), or their internet isn’t fast enough. So if it comes down to needing another expat, I’ll keep Margie in mind!

  • Scrappytams

    Congratulations works. It is bitter-sweet. There is nothing better then going home, our traditions, the shops, people speaking in a language I understand, that is all really good stuff. But there are always parts of life in your host country that you embrace, or adopt or admire and those are the things that you focus on when your home. There are many things that drive me crazy here, like the driving, parking, being bumped or nudged in line at the grocery store, the rudness, yeah, I am not all about that. I’ll scrap our best memories and experiences, and often, for me, I discover those as I look through our photos from our time here. And something will jump out at me. I don’t look forward to the rushed, busy, over committed lifestyle of Northern VA. We have really embraced the essence of enjoying a long leisurely dinner, where the table is yours for the night and you have to practically beg of the check or meeting friends for a coffee (always in a coffee shop) or an ice cold Frappe on a hot summer day while sitting on the patio in the shade of the umbrella. That’s the good stuff.

  • Yep, I figured you were looking for native-borns versus expats. She (and your other contact) might be able to connect you with people that might better fit. Good luck! I can’t wait to hear this episode!

  • It’s actually the other contact who has been trying to find guests for the panel. She had a whole list of who she thought were good options, but they’re not working out. :( I’d really love to do it, so I appreciate your tip!

  • McKenzie McGehee

    I really enjoyed this episode, it was so inspiring and I’ve taken on the challenge. I am also including Shimell’s Sketch to Scrapbook page series into the mix. 1 down, 3 to go!

  • Keetha

    I am new to scrapbooking and am thankful that Izzy asked, “Hey, what’s a sketch?” because I didn’t know! I was picturing a pencil sketch of a vase of flowers or something, and wasn’t sure how it applied to scrapbooking! So thanks for spelling it out for the newbies. :-)
    Also, will there be a PRT about the Summer CHA?

  • Vicki

    I loved that you had 3 different viewpoints of sketches or for lack of a better word starting points. I was saddened to hear you put down sketches in front of Allison so many times.. I know you probably didn’t mean for it to come off that way but the beginning of the show had me cringing.
    I would love to hear more on this subject as I think that the three of you have so much more to offer on the subject! Great choice for subjetc matter

  • Hi, Vicki. Did it sound like I was putting down sketches? I’m sorry about that. I wasn’t trying to put then down . Sketches don’t work for me and as a regular listener you know that this show is all about sharing different view points and needs, so I was just sharing how it is for me. I thought I was communicating that I wasn’t saying there was anything wrong with sketches — just saying why I prefer something different and sharing that as an option for others who are like me. Especially because sometimes scrapbookers like me feel like there is something wrong with them when sketches are not easy for them.

  • Wendy Elmhorst

    Great show on so many levels!!! LOVE Shimelle…had been wondering what happened with her “concentration” class…glad it is finally working out. Glad to “meet” Allison…I think she and I will be fast friends! Ha! I am a sketch girl….if I don’t have a starting point or some inspiration I can sit and look at a blank background page for HOURS! I rarely follow a sketch to the letter but it really helps me get started!

    I don’t think you “put down” sketches at all Noell…you just were saying they didn’t work for you! I have learned from your Flexible Templates….but I will say that they don’t work well for me. I need something a little more concrete to start with. I am excited to give Shimelle’s Starting Points a try…I must say I am one who has trouble just cutting paper without a plan!

    Congrats on the move…good luck with the unpacking. We just moved last year. Actually we moved out of our last house in June but then lived with my parents for 6mo. while the new house was being built! I didn’t pack away all my scrapbooking stuff though…I had a place set up in my Mom’s basement…but I found it difficult to get into the groove while there. I am so glad to be in my own house with a very large scrapbook room that I share with my teenage daughter and my Mom who lives right next door!

    Thanks again for a great show!

  • Karen Poirier-Brode (Ladydoc)

    Glad to hear you are thinking about a show on Asia. Sounds very interesting to me. I’m leaving from CHA Vegas for Korea, Bangkok and Myanmar. I also have a stack of Japan photos that have only been partially scrapped. I’ll have my eye out for potential scrap supplies and cool ephemera while I’m gone.
    PS Will you be attending CHA? If so, I’ll look for you to say “Hi”.

  • Nope — we only go to the winter show. I always feel a bit lost when it comes to the products that get released at the summer show. :(
    Have fun at CHA, but have WAY more fun traveling Asia!!!

  • Thank you, Wendy!

  • Madeleine Lopez

    Loved this show! So interesting to hear how sketches and starting points are developed and shared. I use both quite a bit from Shimelle’s site. Cannot wait to try Allison’s ideas. Thanks for sharing all of this inspiration. I am going to take the chalkenge as well and try all 3 of your sketches too!

  • Kelly Boran

    Hi! I’ve been listening to PRT for a while now but have never left a comment. I just wanted to say that I loved this episode! I’m the type of scrspbooker who needs ideas to pull my inspiration out, otherwise I sit and stare just waiting for the paper to bite me, lol. I discovered Shimelle’s starting point and Noell’s flexible templates just recently and LOVE them because if I have too much sketch to follow then I don’t feel like it’s mine. Don’t get me wrong I have scrap-lifted but I change things up so I don’t feel like a thief, lol. My biggest challenge is paper and color but the more I look at others art and the more I listen to your show the more I learn so I just want to say thank you Noell and Izzy for your show so please keep ’em coming. I haven’t joined Paperclipping YET but I absolutely plan to do so because I have to support what I love ;)

    Dedicated listener,

  • I think there will be. It’s not officially scheduled with the guests yes, so I’m hesitate to say yes for sure until we record! :)

  • Welcome to the comments area of the show, lol! :) Thank you for all the kind words!

  • L Squared

    I forgot to write in before another new episode but I did want to comment on starting points – from a digi scrapping perspective. While I was a paper scrapper I never looked at templates, although I would take inspiration from pages I loved. Now that I’m mainly a digital scrapbooker however I use templates for almost every page. Even if I end up editing the template before I finish my page I find them a critical part of my workflow. Sometime I’ll even start with an adorable template and then go find the story and other time I’ll start with the number of photos, or the story and find a template. I’ve heard that templates were a dirty word at the start of digital scrapbooking but ever since I’ve been a part of the community they’ve been a great assistance, and I think they are widely accepted and used by digital scrapbookers. Often if I find a digital page I love I read the credits to see not only what products but what template they might have used as a starting point.

  • ldmccarty

    Hi Noell and Izzy. I decided to put the comment here, but it’s about this episode and the one about “design crutches”.

    The Lazy Photo Processor:

    I guess I know my style pretty well by now, and work w/it as you and your guests always suggest. I don’t use sketches because I have a huge issue that sketches and even lots of crutches can’t address: I don’t photo process. What I mean is that I only print 4×6 and I send them out to be printed at my local pharmacy. I wonder if you have other listeners w/this limitation, er, um, I mean “style.”

    I would LOVE to use sketches, or starting points or flexible templates, etc., BUT because I don’t print my photos in variable sizes, I’m VERY limited in making them work. Shimelle does do a few that I can use, but I guess I’ve subconsciously written off any sort of starting point because I always start from my 4x6s (usually 2-4 per page) and then crop them down based on how well I shot the image and how much I want to get rid of around the photo.

    I would LOVE to hear a show about easy ways to process photos at home (I don’t have any photo processing software other than iphoto and never know how to get them from there into other sizes) OR how to make, say, a 3×3 image on a 4×5 print so I can still send it out for processing. I bet there might be a few other “lazy processors” out there who could really learn a lot about how to break away from the 4×5 crutch.

    Now, just a few other thoughts: Izzy, on your ‘Origins’ please consider allowing the buyer to insert their face(s) into the photos on the pre-arranged layout – you know like those cutouts at the State Fair that you stand behind? Well, if you could find a way that I could insert my face into a photo w/say, George Clooney, that would be a layout I would buy!! ;*)

    Last comment is about the membership – which I’ve belonged to for about a year now and LOVE!!! One suggestion is to add a column w/”categories” in it that would categorize the video by things like: technique, design concepts, color, templates, etc. (more than one if appropriate). Then if a member wants to see all the vids on “templates” they can click that link on any video in that category, and it would show just the other videos in that category.

    Whew. Sorry for the long comment, but I think of all this stuff when I’m listening and hope it’s helpful (or funny).

    L McCarty

  • Noell – did you see Stephanie Medley-Rath’s blog post about scraplifting as “deviant” scrapbooking; her research was part of a sociological presentation she made last year; interesting stuff.
    Here’s a link:
    P.S. I was thilled that she used a few of my pages as examples of “deviant” scrapbooking.

  • Jennifer Campbell

    I second the vote for a show on scrapbooking and moves! We move every 2-3 years as well and it’s always a bit of a struggle to get back to it in the new house. Storage is also a huge issue, since I’m never in the same type of space, so my storage solutions need to be very versatile. Good luck with your move Scrappytams!

  • Scrappytams

    Thanks Jennifer! Enjoying week in England. We keep giggling because we can understand everything everyone says. One step closer to home.