For years, I just sat down, thumbed through photos decided which to scrap, pulled out every possible combo of paper since I am a visual scrapper and have to SEE it to know if it works or not. Then I'd think of a title and decide how to do it - then I'd move the photos and embellishments (if I had any) around to make things work, then I'd decide I needed something else, or try another background paper or crop some more - and then I'd realize I had not left space for journaling. I'd use up all my time and not have a thing adhered to my layout.
What I learned is to PLAN before I left on my retreat - PLAN before my friend comes over to scrap with me - PLAN before that precious nap time (applies to you - not me - hubby and I are the ones that take naps at this house) There are lots of things you can do AWAY from your scrapping area, while you watch TV or wait at the doctors or in the car pool line -and all this planning will make your scrapping time more productive.
1) Once you know your subject (yesterday's post) - GATHER YOUR PHOTOS. Yes, that means get the digital ones printed - if you LOVE a photo, go ahead and get a 5x7 but for most photos stick with the 4x6 size.
2) When you have your photos together, SORT THEM INTO POSSIBLE LAYOUTS. This doesn't mean you HAVE to use all the photos on your layout, or that you can't later split them up into two or more layouts but get them sorted into approximately what you would use on a layout.
(Did you notice that both of these steps can be done anytime? and anywhere? - not during your precious scrapping time)
3) PICK SOME POSSIBLE PAPER for each of these layouts. I look at my photos considering:
- colors in the photo
- colors and style that support my theme, topic, story
- focal point of the layout
- one piece of 12x12 pattern paper (I usually choose more, I know my style and I am rarely happy with a layout unless it has a least a tiny pit of pattern paper - if it isn't your style, skip it)
- 2 sheets of 12x12 cardstock (I am more likely to choose 4 sheets - 2 each of different colors)
- a few sheets of coordinating 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock
I repeat this for each layout, stacking on top of the previous.
If I have no paper in my stash that will work, I order some, or (gasp!) go to a store and buy some, or trade with a friend.
Sorting the photos and selecting the paper is one stopping point in your plan if you are rushed for time, but if you start your planning early, you can still do more.
4) Go back and look through your prepared stacks
- add any pre made embellishments from your stash that coordinate
- note any stamp-sets that coordinate (snowflakes if you are doing winter layouts, etc.)
- jot down title ideas - prepare in advance if possible
- get enlargements printed if you need them
- think about your journaling, pre-type your journaling if it is detailed or you just want it typed
- you can reprint it later if you decide you need it bigger/smaller/shaped differently or on different paper but at least you have it written
- you can use hidden journaling if you plan for it as you start your layout
You can go back through these stacks as many times as you wish or have time for - the more you look at your photos - the more time your inspiration fairy has to work on your brain.
Now your planning is complete. Even if you are not going on a long crop, if you have this preparation done you can make the most of each little window of scrapping time at home. Your photos, paper and embellishments are ready to roll and you can be very productive.
I have found the more I go through a stack of photos for planning purposes, the more they stay on my mind and as I visit blogs or look though magazines, I will spot ideas that I can use on my specific layouts. I will find myself in line at the bank and the "perfect" title idea will come to mind because I was just thumbing through my photo/paper stacks the day before. Using this "method" lets you make progress on your layouts before you actually sit down to scrap.
And in 99% of the cases I stick with the paper I originally chose during the planning. Occasionally something new will appear on my doorstep from Mr. Brown and I have to make a switch in paper but almost always I can sit down with stuff I planned 4 months ago and get busy.
Here is a page I did very quickly at a scrapping retreat because the page elements I used were prepared - they came from a swap I had done.
I cannot tell you who made this title or chipboard star because I did this page before I was a blogger and did not make note of the stampers I swapped with that month. They came from the Yahoo group HotSwappingMamas. If you recognize them as yours, please let me know so I can give you credit. They were just perfect for this beach shot from Martha's Vineyard - I just added paper, brads, fiber and photo.
If you are into this... come back tomorrow for my suggestions on packing for away from home scrapping.
If you aren't into this... Here is a little punch project from my past to reward you for scrolling down this far: