Being spoiled by having my own scrapbook room has one disadvantage: scrapbooking away from home is not only hard, but feels impossible. I enjoy time with my friends and I love to see their projects, but I always view my time away from home with overwhelmed eyes and unplanned thoughts. When I sit down to plan, it looks the same each time. I stress over drawing my sketch, finding inspiration, gathering my themed photos and matching products only to find an hour has passed. WHAT? I could've scrapped the page already! Being faced with this problem monthly, I knew there had to be a better way, and I believe I've found what works.
My new plan has worked such wonders for me that even my friends have noticed and made comments to me such as, "You got so much done because you spent all that time planning!" But I didn't! Here's my sure way to get some pages done while still being able to enjoy my friends.
The first and most important step:
Pick a sketch, a layout, inspiration, whatever, but just pick one page. This is the backbone of the plan. Now, grab the photos you plan to use and coordinate your products based on your inspiration page, sketch or layout. You have a planned page now. Don't worry if it took a while; your hard work will pay off in the remaining steps.
Now that you have a page planned, it's time for the second step:
It just gets easier from here. Like a mad woman on Black Friday, race to your photo stash and pick the same exact number of photos from another theme. It's important to make sure the next layout is not going to be placed in an album right next to your first planned layout. Use a totally different theme-album stash, or use photos that would be used later in the same album.
Once you have your same number of photos using a different theme, match products. Basically, you're using all the work you did for your first planned layout, and you're copying it, only using different papers and/or photos. Unless you're neurotic about picking out paper, this step should go incredibly fast. Your composition is decided, and now you're just matching photos and papers. You can repeat this step as much as you like. I like to challenge myself to be as quick as possible and to copy three or four times.
Third and final step:
Neatly stack your planned pages on top of each other in order of priority. I like to place mine in a 12" x 12" box so my papers and photos don't slide all over the place. On the top of the stack, I place my sketch/inspiration/original layout. When I sit down at a crop, I pull out one stack at a time, which consists of one sketch and many planned projects. Upon completion, I move them to the side and pull out another stack of projects with a different sketch.
Problems I've run into:
- Sometimes it looks great in your head, but the sketch just doesn't work. That's ok, I didn't waste any time and in fact, my photos are matched to products and ready to be scrapbooked. I just don't have a composition decided, but otherwise the pages are ready to go.
- I get bored looking at a particular sketch. This especially happens if I find it to be too much work and I don't love the results. No big problem, I just switch stacks.
- I pack so many stacks that I sometimes leave little room for embellishments. This makes for a night of purely cutting and gluing. This works great for big talkers like myself, because I'd rather talk than pay attention to what I'm doing. I go home and put the finishing touches on them. Sometimes I miss out on the "playing" of creating.
This system has become a lifesaver for me in regards to my theme albums and properly utilizing crops for more than fellowship. The key is to be quick while planning your consecutive projects (steps 2 & 3). Also, don't pick precious photos that you feel the need to pay special attention to. I simply use the photos that need to get in an album and plow through them. I save the special stuff for when I'm at home alone.