Tag Archives: Creativity

Hear Izzy and Me in the Adventures In Arting Podcast

julie_balzer While you wait for this week’s Roundtable episode, maybe you’d like something else that’s similar to listen to?

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer interviewed Izzy and me for her podcast, Adventures in Arting.

Pull out your favorite scrapbooking technique supplies and have some creative artful play while you have a listen!


What’s On Your Scrapbook Table Right Now?

My Scrap Table Right Now

What is the value of a cheap folding party table from Walmart? Monetarily, it’s about $38. But the real value? My big long ugly table allows me to work on multiple projects at once! And I LOVE that!

What You See From Right to Left

I know we usually explain things from left to right, but please bear with me on this one. It’ll do your creative brain some good to go backwards anyway!

Far Right – a scrapbook page about Trinity and a little phase she’s been in lately. During this weekend’s True Scrap event I’ll be sharing the step-by-step process of how I put this layout together (I’ll show it with photos) in terms of design and the principles involved in each step. If you’re interested in this event, you’re running out of time, so please sign up quickly!

Mid Right – the next scrapbook page just to the left is my story about walking to school with my crew in 1980. I went back-and-forth on this layout so many times. I’ll share this process with you this week on the Paperclipping Roundtable. In a couple days I’ll also post photos here on the blog of the layout from beginning to end!

Far Left – a stack of my art journals, plus one lying open to a page I’m working on (I have four, and I’ll share those some time next week hopefully). In that same spot on the table I was also spray-misting pieces for the first layout on the far right of the table.

Big Ugly Empty Tables

For a long time I kept a regular stash of items on my table — tools I need every time I work, adhesives I use the most, my tray of scraps, and a basket of new and old products I wanted to use (which got ignored and did not work for me at all!).

Now I keep nothing on my table except the current projects I’m working on. That leaves me plenty of room to scrapbook one or two pages on one side of the table and do artsy projects on the other side.

It turns out this seems to be the most perfect way for my particular manic creative brain. It goes along with my theory that by acting on ideas when you get them, instead of waiting or adding them to a list, you increase your creativity.

So this is how I’m facilitating my desire to be able to work on multiple projects at once. You can read this article to see how I organize all my unfinished projects.

Are You a Speed Crafter/Artist/Scrapboooker? Or Are You Slow and Thoughtful?

For years I’ve thought I was slow because I need to take many step-away breaks while I’m working. I’ll be chugging along and then suddenly I just need to let my brain twirl around for a few minutes before I’m ready to pick up again.

Now I realize I work up a feverish speed if I can have multiple different projects around me. For example, I’ll be working on a scrapbook page and hit one of those moments when I just want to stop and let the ideas mix around in my head for a few minutes. So I push my chair-on-wheels down to the other end of the table and look at my art journal and have an instant idea for a page I had been feeling stuck on. Then while I’m putting that new idea into action on my art journal page, I’ll suddenly come up with a solution for the middle layout on my table!

At that point I might interrupt my art journal to jump over to layout number two, or I might finish what I was doing first and then jump over as soon as I’m done. Inevitably, that process will then spur the next idea for the first layout I was working on. Overall I’m zipping up and down my table, back-and-forth, getting lots of idea bursts and making things happen.

So now I know I was wrong about myself all those years. I am a Speedy Gonzalez under the right circumstances for me.

So, back to my original question…

What’s on your table right now? What are you working on?


Can you work on more than one thing at a time like I do? Are you fast or slow and thoughtful? Have you experimented with different processes?

Feel free to add to the conversation by leaving a comment!

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By Being Creative We Fall in Love with the World

I remember an interesting conversation I had with someone a few years ago. We disagreed on the source of human goodness — the things necessary or unnecessary to motivate a person to be a source of good and love in the world.

This morning I found someone — a photographer — who communicated my thoughts in a beautiful and moving way through his words, his stories, and his photography. Janet White shared this six minute talk on her photography + creativity blog and I knew I had to share it with you.

A few points that stand out to me:

  1. By being creative we fall in love with the world. When we are in love with the world, we are the best we can be and can do the most good.
  2. Magic happens when you combine learned skills with your intuition and creative passion.
  3. Beauty and inspiration is out there every day in everything we do to infuse us with creativity and with love.
  4. As the communicator, the story-teller, the photographer, it’s up to me to recognize and show the beauty where it’s not always obvious — through my words, through my art, and through my lens.

Ready for an Idea Burst?

Did you know that by jumping on an idea, you feed your mind’s ability to generate even more ideas?

Progressively better ideas!

And if you continue to act immediately, your ideas will multiply to such a beautifully overwhelming amount, you’ll have a plethora of projects to choose from at any given time! More projects than you can complete (which is why I’ll have an article in November that shares how I deal with incomplete projects. Go ahead and free yourself!)

If you get an idea for digital scrapbooking but you’re missing the supplies, you can purchase them online and start right away! Not so if you’re missing essential supplies for paper scrapbooking. But don’t let that stop you! I start projects a lot before I have all of the essential parts.
You might remember this mini-book page from Paperclipping 150 – Task Batch Minibooking. You saw all of the pages of that mini. Did you ever notice that I never showed you the cover? That’s because I didn’t have a cover. I used the leftover pages of another mini-book, and I figured I would eventually be able to find some chipboard for the cover. At the very least, I could cut some chipboard down to the size I needed.
Oct2010 1290
And that is exactly what I did. I found two large pieces of chipboard and I cut them to fit two different books (because I immediately started a second cover-less mini after I completed the pages you see here). Now I just need to find the o-wire in the size I need so I can bind it!

Problems From Lack of Planning

Of course, you sometimes run into problems when you don’t plan ahead of time. But then you exercise and increase your creativity even more by figuring out how to make your hodge-podge of pieces come together. For example, when I was making the pages of this mini-book, sans cover, it didn’t occur to me that the front side of the first page and the back side of the last page would be bare.

I had jumped on my idea and made four 2-page spreads with no thought for the morrow. And when the morrow came, I had to decide what to do with the first and last blank pages. I didn’t really feel like making an intro page. So this was my solution . . .
Oct2010 1292
I stuck the left page onto the inside cover and added the pink patterned paper to the remaining length of bare chipboard, since the chipboard was so much longer than my pages. I did the same thing with the back.

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Of course, this was a pretty simple problem, relatively speaking. It wasn’t as difficult to solve as my attempt to turn a Mexican punched tin mirror into a mini-book cover . . .

Making Room for Complicated Problem-Solving

Mexico Mini from Punched Tin Frame
I bought the mirror without any idea how I would actually pull it off. There were a few days when I almost hated that mirror. It was hard to figure out how to make it work! And it’s a little weird, maybe. But I did it! And I’m glad I did. I’m positive I’m more creative now than I was before I made that thing.


Plus I love looking at the pages. Here are a few, but you can see them in my Mexican Minibook Flickr set.
Mexico Mini 2
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Oct2010 1302

So here’s where I encourage you to act on your ideas as soon as you can, even if you only have a few minutes or you don’t know how it will come together. Even if it means you’ll only assemble the part that is already in your head and you’ll leave the rest to figure out later.

I’ve actually been revamping my scrap room to better facilitate idea bursts and project-beginnings. I’ll share the results with you in November! Maybe you’ll have a pile of unfinished projects by then and will need the tips!

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free?
  • We’ll have another extra goodie for the Paperclipping Members next week as we continue to celebrate Paperclipping’s birthday! If you’d like to get your membership in time for it’s release, please visit the Membership Information Page. You’ll get immediate access to the archives of over 150 tutorials to hold you over while you wait!

The One Thing You Need To Do to Be Creative

In the scrapbooking community, people are always making blanket statements to readers that we are all creative. I don’t know how many times I’ve read on a blog, “YOU’RE CREATIVE!”

Do you ever feel like it’s just a bunch of RA-RA? Self-improvement feel-good hype?

I want to give an explanation for WHY every single person actually does have everything they need to be creative — really truly. No hype.

What makes something creative?

I’ve come to the conclusion that every new and creative innovation, large or small, comes from one act: the act of combining things that have never been combined, or that are not commonly combined.

In other words, creativity is the pairing of two or more things together.

What kind of things? Lots of kinds . . . .

  • ideas, beliefs, thoughts
  • techniques in any field of interest
  • styles
  • items
  • purposes
  • sollutions

That is the principle of creativity — pairing things that already existed independently of each other. Most commonly, it involves taking something that is already common to a group of people, and combining it with something from our own individual experience.

Let’s move away from the abstract talk now and get concrete with some examples. Here are some examples of my own little acts of creativity, broken down into the two or more combined things . . .

Coffee Sleeves Book

I took two common things/ideas . . .

  • a mini-book bound with book rings
  • using everyday disposable items

and combined them with my own common experience . . .

  • coffee sleeves

It took no great act of thought. I was writing at the coffee shop almost every day and feeling wasteful with all the disposable cups I use. At the same time, I wanted to make a book that tells the story of my writing excursions. The book seems like a totally logical and obvious conclusion once you think about it.

Tags, Wires, and Beads

One time I saw Ali Edwards take a circular stamp filled with journaling lines, and stamp it four times in a row, each image touching slightly. Then she journaled, using those four stamps as one big journaling space, instead of four separate ones.

I’m pretty sure I took the idea of combing multiple spaces and using them as one when I decided I needed a way to use up my tags . . .
I combined at least five things to come up with this . . .

  • the idea of turning multiple spaces into one space
  • my need to use up some tags
  • the need to link the tags
  • my love for wires
  • swirls and wavy lines

Later on, I took my wavy wired tags and combined them with . . .

  • my love of beads
  • Glimmer Mist and Distress Ink
  • the act of layering handmade embellishments
  • my heavier wire and the problem-solving realization that the wire doesn’t have to go through every tag


Why Every Person Has Creative Abilities

Creativity is not the act of making something totally new. Because it’s only a matter of combining something that already exists — even something common — with something else, anyone can be creative. You can take your own life experiences, your own beliefs, thoughts, personal tastes and interests, and bring them together.

Sometimes I do this on purpose. I look for an item in my stash that is totally unrelated to the item I’m already working with, and then I figure out how to combine them. It’s a great exercise in creativity and a good way to get excited about something old and stale that’s been sitting in your scrap area for too long.

But more often, I’m just putting a little bit of myself into something a lot of people are already doing. Making it my own. We can all do that! All it takes is paying more attention to yourself and a little less attention to everyone else. That may sound selfish, but it is such an unselfish thing to share!

It requires a tiny amount of risk if you’re used to relying on other people’s designs for your scrapbooking or crafting.

It means taking a little time to think.

And it very often happens when we have a problem we need to solve. But that is the topic for a future article to come.

Weekly Roundup

  • Extra Member’s Content – As part of our birthday celebration, I gave our members an audio discussion I had with Lain Ehmann on using design and photography to tell our stories, and on choosing decorative items with intention. If you’re a member and haven’t heard it, be sure to refresh your iTunes account or check the Member’s Area! If you’re not, you can learn about membership here.
  • The Paperclipping Roundtable – I Fought Sorting By Color
  • The Paperclipping Digi Show – Purple Is A Death Sentence

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Izzy will be making his very first scrapbooking project! You’ll want to see this!

Boost your Creativity with Inspiration Adventures

red pin wheel
Last weekend I took an Inspiration Adventure. What’s an Inspiration Adventure? I made that term up, but not the concept (although, I’m sure someone else has used the term, as well!). An Inspiration Adventure is where you depart from the usual inspiration models — scrapbooking magazines, blogs, and websites — and you actually go somewhere for new types of inspiration where you’ll use your body and your senses.

Mini Adventures

  • In your home town
  • Between 20 minutes to an hour in length
  • See old things with new eyes — because these adventures are local, and we tend not to appreciate the subtle and common beauties of our own towns, these require us to search deeper and observe more.
  • Can be done often and regularly

Major Adventures

  • Away from home
  • Might take a day or an entire weekend or more
  • See and experience new things

My adventure of last weekend was a Major Adventure. Izzy and I took a weekend visit to an artist town a few hours away called, Sedona. Sometime in the future I will share photos from my local mini-adventures. Here are some of the inspiration photos I brought home with me from the Sedona Major Adventure. . .
Rose in front of blue wall




Creative Stimulation & Idea Gathering

By walking around, you are stimulating your creative mind in a different — a very healthy and active — way. Take your camera with you, and possibly a notebook to write down your thoughts. You will bring home new inspiration and energy, which you can use immediately.

You will also have a supply of photos you can look to any time, now and in the future, as a resource of ideas for new color palates, textures, and interesting lines and shapes to translate into your projects.

Arch and wood

Flowers in front of blue wall

sophocles eyes

plafully industrial

roses with peaceful foot

Colors and texture

red and orange

Roses in front of blue wall

peaceful hand

So how do you embark on an Inspiration Adventure?

1) Get on your feet — or on your bike — and go explore an interesting area.

Are there no interesting areas in your town? Then explore a non-interesting area. I used to think I lived in an uninteresting town, but once I started looking at it through my camera, I realized I was wrong. Also, uninteresting things can be made fascinating through the lens.

Here are some areas to start with . . .

  • nature areas
  • independently owned shops, both inside and out
  • larger shopping areas, including those filled with chain stores, focusing on the landscaping, decorating, and architecture of the outdoor area
  • downtown area
  • museums
  • run down neighborhoods
  • art galleries
  • parks
  • zoos

2) Take Two Types of Photos

  1. inspiration images (colors, shapes, textures, material), like the pictures above
  2. inspiration projects (actual projects you want to make yourself)

I like to take the first type — inspiration images — with my good camera. They are a great way to practice seeing objects in different ways, and to practice composition, creating lines and the juxtaposition of different textures, shapes, and colors. These photos force you to look at the details.

For the second type — inspiration projects — I just use my phone’s camera and I don’t worry about composition or getting a good shot. I only capture these so I can remember the idea I had for a specific project. While the point of my adventures are to get inspiration, the point of this second type of photo is just to remember a specific idea.

3) Translate your Inspiration Images

Here are a few different approaches . . .

  • Analyze and learn. Digest the inspiration and let it mush around your brain with what is already inside. It will take its own form and translate indirectly in your future projects.
  • Practice translating the inspiration directly by experimenting with the colors, textures, and lines in an art journal or practice book.
  • Translate directly by conceiving and starting a specific project that incorporates some of the colors, textures, or lines.

the hard part . . .

The hardest part in all of this is to learn to see that there is inspiration where ever you are and where ever you live. The second hardest part is learning to give yourself the opportunity to actually do it. You can help yourself out by deciding right now where you could go this week — somewhere within 15 minutes of your own home. Commit yourself by sharing the destination of your upcoming Inspiration Adventure with us in the comments!

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free? We’ll be giving away one entrance to Lain Ehmann’s Layout A Day month-long challenge event, and we’ll have a professional organizer call in for part of the show!
  • The next Video Tutorial will go out to the Paperclipping Members next week! If you’d like to get your membership set up in time for it’s release, please visit the Membership Information Page. You’ll get immediate access to the archives of over 150 tutorials!

Before I sign off, I wanted to remind you to share with us where your Inspiration Adventure will be! And don’t forget this week to have fun paperclipping!

Paperclipping 140 – Accordian Spring Album

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This is a members-only edition of Paperclipping.

You can watch the video by using the player above, or you can right-click here to save the video to your computer.

Album Details

The Tinkering Ink Peekaboo Album I used doesn’t seem to be in stock anymore. Hopefully you’ll use something you already have anyway but if you’re looking for a mini with shapes punched out like mine, the closest thing I can find to it is this one, which is on clearance right now.

Album Color:
By experimenting, I got a lovely mottled yellow on my pages that reminds me of colored Easter eggs. You know how colored eggs never come out smooth and perfect like they do on the cover of magazines?. I love the uneven colored-eggs look on my pages. Here’s how I got it:

  • Painted 2 layers of Golden’s Gesso. (You could try white acrylic paint if you don’t have gesso).
  • Sprayed a layer of Lemon Meringue Glimmer Mist and blended it in.
  • Spritzed some uneven splotches of Lemon Grass Glimmer Mist. I rubbed the Lemon Grass with my blending tool. The foam applicator left a lot of “bubbling” in the mist, I think because of the gesso, and then set the bubbles and splotches with a heat tool.

Handmade flowers:
I made my large turquoise flower out of Tim Holtz Grunge Board. To color the petals I painted two layers of gesso, then sprayed and dried multiple layers of Patina Glimmer Mist.

It turns out that the gesso was not holding the Patina dye color, so it came out light, although very beautifully glimmery. Liz Hicks from Tattered Angels suggested using Making Memories Spotlight acrylic paint on chipboard or grunge board if you want the dye color to show more vibrantly.

The tiny paper flowers and the large flower were inspired by the artist, Alisa Burke. The orange paperclipped flower is from Paperclipping Episode #118, which is now archived, but available to our Members.

Note: Links go to my affiliate stores.

Paperclipping 133 – Designing Without a Photo

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This new episode of Paperclipping will show you how to do something that many people struggle with – how to design an interesting layout without using a photo as a focal point.

In the video, you’ll see:

  • How to create a focal point in the place of a photo
  • How to place the focal point
  • How to anchor the focal point
  • A fun example of the concepts in action

This video is available to members only, but you can watch the trailer here.

Do you want to see all the past Paperclipping Videos? Become a member today.

Paperclipping 115 – Minibooks from Authentic Items

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Today’s episode is for the Paperclipping Members. If you want to commemorate the culture of a place you’ve visited or plan to visit, you might want to consider the topic of this episode: create a book with an authentic item that portrays the place and culture. Below are a few pictures of my own book, which I made to showcase photos and items from Rocky Point, Mexico…

Mexico Minibook From A Punched Tin Frame

Mexico Minibook from a Punched Tin Frame
Mexico Minibook 2
Mexico Minibook 3
Mexico Minibook 4
Mexico Minibook 5
Scrapbooking supplies I used: Tim Holtz Distress Emboss Powder in Scattered Straw. Versamark Ink. Old Olive and Creamy Caramel by Stampin’ Up. Book Binding Tape by 7 Gypsies. Epoxy sticker by s.e.i. Letter stickers by Creative Memories. Eyelets by American Crafts.

Do you wish you could watch this video? Get access to this and all the others after checking out the Membership Information Page.

Donna Downey Shows Her New Album At CHA 2009 Summer

Once again Donna Downey is releasing a very cool mini-album with lots of sewing-inspired goodies similar to her winter release. This one, though, for CHA 2009 summer, is covered in a faux leather.

The album is a Prima product. Watch for more videos to come of Donna leading a great make-and-take as well as a lot of amazing Prima goodness that I cannot wait to get my hands on.