PRT202 – Imperfect Scrapbooking

This week we’re talking about imperfect scrapbooking!

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  • Anne Neaf

    Hi there! Great panel & show, as always. Keep up the good work.
    Perhaps I’m an oddball or an egomaniac, but I’ve NEVER been intimidated by other scrapbookers. My layouts make me happier than anything I’ve ever seen in a magazine or online. It doesn’t matter if it’s technically perfect or not, because anyone in my life who wants to look at it probably has no idea anyway. There are things that other scrappers do that I like, but a lot more that I don’t. That ‘s the stuff I ignore. There are guidelines that are adaptable to all kinds of pages, but there are NO RULES! There are no “Scrapbook Police” with Joan Rivers calling you a “Scraphole of the Week.” If it’s anything but FUN, step away for a bit & come back when you’re ready to play. I’ve always seen scrapbooking as cheaper than therapy, a way to express myself with complete creative freedom & no negativity. Get yourself a good trimmer, a pen, some photos & adhesive, and enjoy yourself. Put your stuff out there if you want to, and don’t worry about negative feedback. If I don’t like your teddy bear stickers or cheesy catchphrases, WHO CARES? Haters gonna hate.

  • Kelly Boran

    Well said!!

  • LainEhmann

    You are so lucky to have this perspective! Many people don’t. I’d be interested to hear if you always felt this way, or if your confidence grew over time?

  • Anne Neaf

    I’ve always felt this way. Unless the “experts” have a design background, the majority are self-taught. Their techniques and styles are not unattainable, if that’s the kind of thing you’re going for. Anyone can do it! It’s very democratic. It’s also important for all of us to remember, it’s only scrapbooking. We’re not curing cancer here.

  • Kelly Boran

    My confidence has grown over time. I still love to look at other scrapbooker’s pages, professional and un-professional. As the saying goes about self-love, ‘we’re all our own worst critique’. We can get in our own way when we allow it. I actually stopped scrapping for almost a year because I felt I “couldn’t get it right” but have recently come back with a different view – I love my own work, it represents ME :0) What I do is ‘right’ for me.

  • Kelly Boran

    Great show! Yup, you pronounced my name right :o) Thank you for reading my comment. I share your site every chance I get. Love it, scrap on!!

  • LainEhmann

    I love that you came back with a different view, Kelly. Did the time off make the difference? Or did you have to reframe or change your perspective?

  • Dee Kay

    So enjoyed this Roundtable. I have had issues in the past about not thinking that my creations measured up. To be honest I still do on occasion when there is not much feed back about a page I post but I am working on my need for approval and trying to enjoy my process and learning from others.

  • Jennifer G.

    I don’t think that I have ever felt like my pages weren’t “good enough.” I know I don’t love every page that I do, but I certainly like when I have them done. I think that everyone has their own style and I know that mine has certainly evolved over the years based on what I have seen in magazines and online. Again, I am OK with all of that. Love hearing Lain since she has always been a big proponent of “done is better than perfect.” I also know that this show has often said that every single you page you do is one more page in your story and even if you only do ten pages in your life, those are ten stories that would not have been told otherwise. Thank you for another great show that tells me to do what I want, how I want. Thank you too for the last few Paperclipping episodes that have helped me use up some of my older products.

  • Jennifer Gallacher

    If we’re not enjoying the process, then what’s the point? I will lose all motivation if I’m so caught up in being perfect all the time. Although honestly I am a complete perfectionist when it comes to my scrapbooking. But I’m a time limit perfectionist meaning I allow myself two to two and half hours to achieve perfection and then I’m outta there! Thanks to all of the guests for sharing their thoughts on this great topic!

  • Dee Kay

    I think that my comment might have come off wrong. I love to scrapbook but sharing my scrapbook pages is very new to me. I have always done it for my family’s eyes only. I think that I have realized in the last few months that we all have our own styles and that we need to embrace them all. I have enjoyed being part of ScrapHappy community for about 6 months now and have become more comfortable in my own process. Thank you for such a great Roundtable.

  • wondering, who were the scrapbookers that Noell mentioned that didn’t use much product at all?

  • amyptucson

    This was really fun! I laughed a lot :)

  • Gwynn Asbury

    Thanks for a great discussion as always! I had to think and listen to this episode twice before my own thoughts began to form….. At first I thought to myself, I have never had a problem sharing. However, after I thought about it, I still have a problem sharing. The reason, I LOVE LOVE LOVE looking at beautiful pages that inspire me, they are beautiful. For a while I tried to emulate the pages that are very artistic, and it was not fun for me at all. That was when I realized that while I can admire something and be inspired by it, it is not a style I like or am comfortable with. With that said, I look at galleries all the time, and I have noticed that the beautiful inspiring pages are the ones with all of the comments. However, if your page is not part of a design team packed to the hilt with product page, then it doesn’t get comments or very little. For me this has been discouraging, because it’s like silent social voting…. And with many galleries there are places to vote and make judgments about pages in addition to a little page count of views. It is hard to feel comfortable with sharing when one may be aware of the fact that you may not be sharing with many and those that do view don’t leave kind and encouraging comments. I hope that makes sense! Thanks for the awesome discussion.

  • It took me a minute to pull their names out of my brain during the show, but I did name them: It’s Lisa Moorefield and Natalie Parker. You can google them and they should pull up in a search, especially if you type “scrapbook” with their names.

  • Yes, it does make sense! I agree that it’s discouraging.

  • Noell – I really loved the bit you mentioned about the artist who had the flaw of difficulty drawing hands and drew them too large and then that became his trademark. And I also love the idea that working on improving your skills is a good thing – but embracing your own quirks or perceived flaws might actually be the things that make you unique.
    Also, I tried to figure out who the artist you were talking about was – best guesses: Michelangelo or Vermeer? Please reply w/ the correct answer.

  • Silent social voting – not all galleries have this – for example, Big Picture Scrapbooking and Get It Scrapped do allow comments but they don’t tally up how many likes something gets or order the layouts in terms of popularity. I think you see the popularity contests in the online stores – but not so much in the membership communities. I also think you get more useful comments in the membership communities – and less comments in terms of volume and less useful comments in general in the store galleries. Just my humble opinion.

  • Gwynn Asbury

    Katie – I think you need to become a social promoter for paid membership sites! You are totally right, my experience thus far has been with galleries associated with stores, and one gallery that originally was associated with another site with no store. I appreciate you sharing some places where this does not occur!

  • Thank you & Well, full disclosure: I am one of the teachers in Big Picture Classes’ “An Update to Remember” and I have been a teacher for Masterful Scrapbook Design’s “Rule Play” (rebel scrapbooking) and I’m on Get It Scrapped’s creative team. But loyalties / biases aside, I think I would still feel this way about the difference between store galleries and membership galleries even if I didn’t have any special connection to membership sites.

  • It is fascinating (and a bit sad) to hear Lain say that a big portion of her audience found the ‘professional’ pages intimidating.

    We are our own worst critics for sure!

    I only started sharing online to earn points in challenges (in 2008), so I never expected feedback, but I was thrilled when I did receive a comment or two.

    I found that I wanted constructive criticism on how to improve my pages, so that’s when I started taking some classes. Then I realised not many people will actually say *anything* that could be perceived as negative about someone’s pages in a gallery. No-one wants to offend anyone!

    Debbie’s Masterful Scrapbook Design feeds my inner student and I really love the feeling of growing my skills and having words to put to the reasons things work on my pages (flow, tension, etc). I especially love the workshopping of pages (I’ve only had one critiqued so far though! The result is here I probably tend to fall into Debbie’s self-selecting group on the topic of seeing other people’s pages!

    The real life scrapbookers I know don’t talk about online galleries very often at all. I know them through a local Facebook group. If someone shares their pages (rather than just a picture of their latest haul!) they do they get positive feedback. It seems like a lot of them get their inspiration fix from Instagram from talking to them.

    Having said that, I mostly hang out with Project Life scrappers who keep it pretty simple (photos + cards minimal embellishment). So maybe that’s why they don’t seem to do the incessant gallery surfing. They are there to get their pages done.

    Personally, I tend to just work on my own projects which inspire me, so I’m not looking for inspiration. I use LOAD (Layout a Day challenge) to help me get those finished. Lain’s great at helping me keep things light – fun, fast and fabulous!

    I always love hearing Lain and Debbie on the show, this certainly made me think!

  • Cara Vincens

    Great show! Two of my favourite guests :D I really liked the teasing between Izzy and Lain ;)

    Someone said something a few years back that stuck with me, I don’t remember who, though. If we compare professional scrapbooking pages we see online with the fashion industry it’s easier to put things in perspective. It’s nice to look at a beautiful, well put-together outfit with lovely, matching accessories, but honestly, the average girl is not going to wear that everyday. I know I’d rather throw on jeans and a T-shirt to run the kids to the bus and save the fancy clothes for a party or special day. I think that since the scrapbooking world is so much smaller than the fashion world and scrapbooking celebrities are so much more approachable than top models etc., it makes us (the average scrapper) feel that we must be able to easily achieve these outstanding scrapbook pages. I say save trying to be perfect for the days when we feel like stretching ourselves and bring out the yoga pants and just have fun making ‘jeans and t-shirt’ pages.

  • Cathie Reed

    A really good point, Cara. I’m definitely going to keep that in mind whenever I get frustrated.

  • got it / thank you!

  • Kelly Boran

    Oh yes, it’s made a big difference for me. It’s given me time to clear my head and realize that not everyone works the same and it’s ok to be different. I still absolutely love to look at others work because that sparks ideas. Now, I just ‘go with it’. What’s funny is I used to look in the past and think, “I wish I could just come up with my own creative ideas like that” but the big thing I was missing was the fact that creating is from the heart and if we try to copy others work it’s not from our heart, it’s from the other scrapper’s heart.
    What I like about my Paperclipping membership is the videos. Noell goes over the design concepts which helps me a lot. I think I was trying too hard before and looking at too much which overwhelmed me. It’s funny that Noell mentioned her ADD because I myself have ADD and my biggest problem with it is I try to take on too much. I have to slow myself down and do one thing at a time. With all the great work and wonderfully cool products out there, that can overwhelm me…”A kid in a candy store” =)

  • Nicole

    Hello, I wanted to comment about the mail regarding at what age do you stop scrapbooking a child. I think I started scrapbooking when I was in high school, and some of my earliest pages start at about 8 years old/3rd grade, which was also when we moved from one city to another. When my mom started scrapbooking a few years ago, we made a deal. She would scrapbook for me from birth until that move at 8 years old, as I wouldn’t remember those years very well anyway, and I would do my own scrapbooking from there. Seeing as I am an only child, this doesn’t create a huge volume for my mom either. I know this may not help those whose kids do not scrap themselves, but I thought it was an interesting solution I would share.
    I also wanted to comment on what Debbie said about scanning and making a photo book. I am not a parent yet, but I think this is the direction I will go, so that I am just scrapbooking for myself and my family without worrying about making sure each kid has an even amount. I will make them a photo book of layouts for milestones like confirmation or graduation.
    Thanks for a great episode!

  • Debbie Hodge

    I’ve been thinking about scrapbooking for one child since our conversation — and because my son is graduating high school and I want to make him an album.

    I have all my digital photos since 2000 (the year before he started kindergarten) organized by year/month/event so . . . it’s pretty easy to browse those photos. I’m going through them and picking out 3 to 8 photos per EVENTS in his life — not everyday life, but school and friend and outings kind of things and I’ve started making pages JUST for this son. It’s fun (and easier) when you’re making the page just for one person. The photos are emphasizing him and telling his story–rather than for ALL of us in the family.

    Last night I went through Kindergarten and choose photos for about 20 pages (some 2-pagers some 1-page) and got the photos cropped and plunked onto a blank digital canvas. All this in about 3 hours. My process:
    – select 3 to 8 photos per event and download (they’re all on Flickr)
    – open a canvas in Photoshop
    – edit the photos (oh, how I’m loving the way RadLab is letting me give these photos from my first digi camera new life and better color–once I edit one I give them all the same treatment so it’s quick)
    – drag onto the canvas and crop and place thinking about standard layout configurations (band, grid, shelf, cluster)
    – save it with just the photos and move to the next

    Now I have all these pages roughed out and ready for the fun stuff: picking out papers and embellishments, adding titles and journaling (I think I’ll go to the old scrapbooks where I scrapped many of these with a family angle to see if there are details to include).

    I think I might also do something Celeste Smith taught me (she’s also a digi scrapper). I’ll put the Photoshop canvas with the photos in a folder and then pick out digi product quickly that’ll go with it and just copy the whole digi kit into the folder. And maybe templates.

    Then it’s quick and easy to make a page in the evening. No thinking about what to scrapbook and what product to use. Can you tell I’m really excited? I kept texting him old photos last night that I especially loved.

  • Debbie Hodge

    Katie does know so much of the online scrapbooking world and she is very generous with her praise.

    We do have the ratings turned OFF all all galleries at Get It Scrapped — and are known as a good place to post because: 1) it doesn’t matter which product you use and 2) our creative team puts a lot of time and care into looking at the gallery and commenting and, as a result, so does the community.

  • Beth McLaughlin Quiroz

    Hi Noell – this has nothing to do with scrapbooking, but I just wanted to give you kudos for “coming out of the closet” with your ADD. I was diagnosed in my early 30s & it was one of the biggest senses of relief I have ever felt! ADD still has such a horrible stigma and is one of the most misunderstood disorders out there. I would be interested in hearing how your ADD affects your scrapbooking. For me, I can only do one layout and maybe a Project Life spread before my brain decides it’s had enough & decides to shut down on my.

    Again – thanks for being so open about this! You rock! :)

  • Lisa Wiggins Harris

    Hear, hear! I love this analogy.

  • Gwynn Asbury

    Okay, so I stepped away and REALLY thought for a moment, and I had a few additional thoughts. And while there may be wonderful for pay places (where you are paying to get support and positive feedback) where comments are made and the community is friendly. For me my first experiences with posting in galleries still sticks with me, I always wonder about what will happen when I post layouts. And while there may not be a voting system, the lack of comments on one work and tons of comments on say the layout in the gallery right before or after yours can be interpreted as “my layout isn’t as well liked.” I will admit that I no longer let it control my sharing. While there may be wonderful communities out there that pay dutiful attention to the types of comments they leave and the number of comments each layout gets, some don’t. Even the number of comments can be a type of voting……..If you happen to have experiences with the less mindful galleries first, this may impact how one feels about posting their own layouts next to those of designers.

  • CA Angel

    Noell my ears always perk up when you mention ballet! I am also an scrapbooker who was a former dancer and has returned to ballet after many years. I danced for about 10 years solid when I was young and dabbled on and off since graduating college. Now in my 30s I’m performing in a recital this summer and hoping to get my young daughter into dancing (if she wants). After several tries over many years I have finally found an amazing adult ballet teacher. What you said about “wanting critique” from the teacher is spot on! With so much training in my youth I still have decent technique even if I can’t get my body to do exactly what I need it to. I have realized what I love about my current ballet teacher is that she pushes me when others would have just let me be because I was starting so much more ahead of the rest of the class. No matter where we start from, there is always room to grow, whether it be in scrapbooking, dance or life!

  • Teri Hartman

    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for sharing my question! Although, because I confused people, it was difficult to find an answer. ;)

    I’ll clarify – I do make specific books for each of my three kids and plan on giving the books to them when they officially leave home because, well, it’s their story. It surprised me to hear that other scrapbookers don’t give away their layouts to their kids but keep them for themselves! However, I am keeping some for myself. I have a “family” set of albums that I’ll keep and our Project Life will stay with me as well. So, even though my son will be leaving home soon, he will still be making it into my family album…that is, if he’s still interesting. ;) If my daughters grow up to be scrapbookers, there will come a time when they need to take over their own storytelling, you know what I mean?

    This is why I asked if there were any others that had a similar system or cut off point. I guess it all depends how people organize their albums and what they plan on doing with them in the future.

    Great episode! I find it bizarre that we talk about competitiveness with scrapbooking – if we look at the hobby as storytelling, it’s silly to “judge” the worth of people’s stories, and if we look at the hobby as artistic expression, it’s still silly that we judge their skill. It’s like in Dead Poets Society, when Mr. Keating mocked the “measurement of poetry”. (Sorry. #Englishteacher).

  • Teri Hartman

    Thanks for the tips ladies. I should have read this first before writing a comment at the top!
    Debbie, I may do the reverse of what you suggested. Seeing as I am “all caught” up with my son’s stories and do want to gift these layouts to him when he leaves, I may scan some of the pages and make my own memory book of him to keep for myself. I scrapbook because I love the hobby in all its creative storytelling glory, but my plan all along was to give them to my kids when they moved out.
    Nicole – that’s a great deal to make. I may try that with my girls when they get a little older. ;)

  • Coming to grips with our imperfections (skills, projects, and more), even learning to embrace them, is a great and important thing. As a child, I rarely attempted anything unless I was pretty sure I’d be good at it. It wasn’t until after college that I allowed myself to do things at which I was The Worst. Really, bottom of the heap. That was liberating.

    I appreciate how you all make imperfection acceptable and even admirable. I love watching Lain scrap speedily and joyfully during Scrapbook Improv. Very inspiring!

    Great episode. Thanks!

  • Rhiannon S

    Thanks to Lain for recommending Groovebook! I’ve been looking for something like this and can’t wait to try it out. I’m a scrap booker that mainly uses my iPhone for my photos and I’m terrible about making time to edit and order prints (my least favorite part of the process). This seems like an easy prompt to get me using those everyday photos.

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    Hi Noell, I loved this episode. Debbie and Lain are great to listen to. So profound and thoughtful.

    There is one thing I’d like to say regarding the discussion. When people talk about professional scrapper, do they include everybody making pages for Design teams? I am currently on 2 scrapbooking design teams and I certainly don’t consider myself a professional scrapbooker. I am not paid for my work (aside from products I get for free to create the pages I need to create for the shop I am designing for) and I haven’t take any class that a “non professional” (still don’t like that term) can’t take. I’m not a designer, I’m just a girl who likes to make pages and who loves scrapbooking, who loves looking at pages online in search of new original ways of documenting a story. I too, when I post a layout online, for a design team assignment or not, like to receive feed back. I don’t want to scare any body with my elaborate pages. I do spend hours on a layout (maybe 3 to 7 hours depending on the flow of ideas) and like my layout to be original, to represent my style, to be good enough for me and for my taste and I don’t think that everybody should spend that much time on a layout to consider it a great layout. I understand that every body is different and has different motivation to scrapbook. When I see a layout that catches my eye online, I will post a comment and you know, I guess what I want to say is that I’m just a normal girl. It might sound scary to others when they read that I’m on a design team, but really, I just once sent a couple of pages when I saw that a company was looking for designers and I got chosen because they liked my style. That’s all there is to it. People shouldn’t get intimidated. At the same time, I totally understand that it IS discouraging when a layout doesn’t get much attention. It happens to me all the time too. But I like what someone said in the comments: “If I don’t like your teddy bear stickers or cheesy catchphrases, WHO CARES?” We should first and for most scrapbook for ourselves. :)

  • Awesome!!

  • I was diagnosed as an adult, too! I’d always had serious problems forgetting things and daydreaming way too much as I was growing up. My parents taught my all kind of skills to help me stay more organized, on track, and to remember things, but it only barely helped. As an adult I realized I am a very responsible person at heart and I try so hard to stay on track, but I was constantly forgetting things anyway — even when I made lists and kept them right in my hand, etc. At one point I decided there was definitely something dreadfully wrong with my brain and I didn’t know what to do about it until I read an article about adults like us.

    And then — yes — it was such a relief to know what was going on!

    After I had tried scrapbooking for a while I knew it was a good hobby for me because I could spend a few hours on a page and then be done. It was the first time I’d found a hobby had projects I could complete (a single page) before I lost interest. Mini-books were not that way for me, though. Mini-books always last longer than my interest in them, so I’ve only ever totally completed a few.

  • I rarely post my layouts in galleries. I am intimidated for sure by what I see others do. I also don’t want others to dislike what I spent time and effort on. I share my layouts on Facebook all the time. I don’t have many friends or family who scrapbook so they are always very complimentary. Ultimately, I scrapbook because it makes me happy. I work on improving myself, but even when my pages aren’t perfect, I am ok with that.

  • I was thrilled with Lain’s recommendation as well. I have been looking for something like this as well.

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    Hi Tiffany! :)) Personally, I have mixed feelings about posting my layouts on FB. I have on there lot’s of scrappy friends who I don’t know in real life but with whom I feel much more comfortable to share my layouts than with all these acquaintance from my earlier years with whom I don’t really want to share the most intimate stories of my life…. I very often find myself thinking about this and what I should do. @Noell, if you read this, I’d love to have your thoughts on this. I thought of having two FB accounts, but I feel like it would take even more time and management. I thought of simply closing my FB account but it’s often a requirement for Design Teams. I’m thinking that if someone would really start to read page after page on FB or even on my Blog would know pretty much everything about me and my family and that scares me… What do you think??

  • Rashanda K

    Great discussion, as always. I loved when Lain said that she doesn’t do much photo editing. Sometimes I think the “bad” photos can help make our stories richer. I think of the photos of my sons during their 2 months in the NICU. Most of the photos are dark and out of focus (hospital lighting). Dark and out of focus also describe really well my mental state during that time. Or I think of a layout I did recently with blurry photos of one of my sons; I titled it “It’s All A Blur”. This has a double meaning: in the photos at least one of his limbs is blurred because he is constantly moving (the child never sits still), plus there’s the deeper meaning about how our kids’ lives can be just one big blur. If the goal in our scrapbooking is to be authentic and genuine, imperfect photos can be perfect photos.

  • Nicole Gray

    I have an idea for a show, similar to your college show.
    What about a show for the military. You can have someone in the military, a spouse, and a parent of a military member.

  • Hi, Nicole. We did this topic! It was quite a while ago. I don’t remember which episode it is but it’s one with Stephanie Howell. Stephanie has only been on the show a handful to times. I think this was her first time. If you do a search on for “Stephanie Howell,” all the episodes with her should pull up. Try the earliest one first.