Monday, March 11, 2013

continually changing style + citrus twist march sneaks

Since Citrus Twist's March Kits are set to be revealed tomorrow (I'll share some sneaks of those throughout this post just to break up the text a bit) and one of my pages for them this month is a Project Life layout, I thought I'd skip the usual Monday Project Life post this week and instead talk about my little creative slump hiccup that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Citrus Twist March Main Kit + Project Life Kit + Embellishment Add-On
Do you ever have one of those times where you just feel stuck in your scrapping? Where you don't like any of the pages you make, where everything feels the same? Yeah, that was me last month. Nothing seemed to be working, and the worst part was my pages were taking way too long to finish. For someone who's normally a fast scrapper, that's a big indication that something is wrong!

At first I thought I was just tired from all the work travel and decided to take a break for a bit. For a week I didn't scrap much- just spent some time here and there cleaning and purging old supplies that weren't my style, and also reading through some of my favorite past process-based scrapbooking classes. And watching some movies. And finishing Season 3 of Downton Abbey.

The only problem was that after that week I still didn't feel like making anything, and I had a looming deadline ahead for my March Citrus Twist layouts!

Citrus Twist March Main Kit + Embellishment Add-On
Obviously there was a bigger problem here than just being tired, and that's when I came across a thread (which I unfortunately didn't bookmark and can't find now- update, Ruth found it for me here!) on Two Peas in a Bucket. A board member was asking if there were others who thought their style was constantly evolving, and still other members who replied with the wonderful insight that everything- every class you take, every magazine or gallery you page through- impacts your style in some way.

Things are always changing.

And it turned out that my problem was that I wasn't embracing the change. I would start a layout one way, then change it midstream because somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice was saying "but that's not what a "Melissa" layout looks like!" Because for the longest time I liked using just little strips of paper here and there with handcut edges on a cardstock background, and maybe a thin patterned paper mat around a photo. But a quick look through my layout gallery in Flickr (love how I can see them all as little thumbnails on pages) showed me that things really have changed more in the last couple of years (since my Style Reboot series) than I'd realized. And layouts that I loved that had nice, crisp, straight edges and bigger blocks of paper instead of tiny little strips (and some of them even on a patterned paper background- gasp!) with lots more layers than I used to use looked like me, too.

The whole mindset of "a design team hired me for this certain style, so it's what I must produce no matter what" had taken over, and once I cleared it away I found that I could a) suddenly scrap again (and I made three layouts in quick succession for Citrus Twist that I love!) and b) those layouts were still very reflective of my style, just with a couple of tiny changes.

And, since we're on the subject of inspiration and style and change, I thought I'd talk about three classes that I've taken in the last year or so that have had an impact on my style.

The class by Shimelle Laine is designed to take the fear out of cutting into your pretty papers by giving you a concrete plan for getting the most out of a collection or kit. I don't want to give away the content of this class, but there's been enough buzz about how she advocates cutting up papers before starting to scrap that I think I can safely talk about that bit without touching the rest of the material. This class came along at a perfect time for me last year, when I was getting tired of making decisions about each and every individual piece of paper to cut as I went about making a page. Having all that done up front was a real eye opener, and I definitely recommend this class if you want a very different perspective on putting layouts together. I should also note that Shimelle and I have very different styles of scrapbooking, but I was still able to incorporate some of her ideas into my process- sometimes all you need is to look at things from someone else's view!

I hesitated to even mention this class here because Studio Calico closes registration for their classes (so this one is no longer available), but since it was so helpful to me to review the handouts this time around I just couldn't leave it out. Jen Jockish covered her tips and tricks for making very layered pages in this class, and since her style is a bit closer to mine (in that we use similarly sized photos and chunks of paper- our actual layering styles are still quite different), I also found it very helpful on a process level. Jen is another advocate for cutting up your papers before starting to scrap, and even though you can't purchase access to the class any more, I still recommend a look through Jen's blog to get a feel for her style.

Lisa Truesdell taught this mini-class at Two Peas in a Bucket last December, and it's a great set of ideas for taking inspiration from all kinds of non-scrapbooking sources and translating it into scrapbook pages. Lisa breaks down ways to use inspiration into three distinct categories and makes a subject that could easily be very esoteric quite accessible.

Blogs and YouTube

Besides classes, I also referred to a few blog posts and YouTube channels to help me see where things were going wrong.

I knew that I was having the most trouble when it came to layering, so this post by Marinette Lesne (for Basic Grey) showing how she built layers around her photo before ever adding it to the background paper was a good creative jump start- again, it's all about looking at making pages from a completely different perspective! On the flip side of that, there's also a post on I {Lowe} Scrap that I linked up in a recent edition of Friday Favorites that shows building layers on the background paper before ever adding photos! I also watched a fair number of videos by Lilith Eeckels and Janna Werner since I just love how these girls layer. And it's no secret that I'm especially geeked at how Lilith uses a stapler to secure her paper layers after arranging them (in this video), since I've found that adhering them with a tape runner after I have them stacked up the way I want them is quite a pain.

Citrus Twist March Main Kit Only
I'm learning that it's okay if my style doesn't remain the same. It's actually good as it keeps things fresh, and, besides, do I really want things not to change? Especially when I look back at some of my very first layouts- yikes! And trying something new (like this layout and this layout that I made for sketch challenges last week) is a great way to learn to incorporate new things into your own style. So while I was feeling stuck I did a bit of that, too (obviously!).

Okay, enough of my (probably only semi-coherent) ramblings today. I'll be back tomorrow with a post stuffed full of layouts from the new Citrus Twist kits!