By Jennifer Vardy Little

Did you know November is National Model Railway Month? Seeing that date on my calendar inspired me to pull out some pictures from our trip over the summer to the Trechothic Creek & Windsor Model Railway.

As moms of boys know, trains are a big part of life with little ones! These trains are handmade, working models that run on fun tracks around the park, so it was my son’s dream come true.

For this project, I knew I wanted to do a long title for my two-page layout, but I wanted to do something quickly. Gluing each letter down would have added a long time to my page. So I challenged myself to spend no more than 10 minutes on each page.

I decided the quickest way to do the title I wanted was to create a negative. I pulled out my BoBunny On The Go papers and, using my Cricut Expression 2, figured out where I wanted my title to lay and cut it directly onto the page. Then, I carefully removed my paper from the cutting mat (note: you can easily use other die-cutting machines to cut your papers) so they wouldn’t curl. Make sure you save the pieces between your letters, such as the triangle inside the 'A'.

Then, I adhered a strip of paper slightly wider than my cuts to the back of my sheet and placed the cut-out letter pieces (in this case, the triangle in the 'A') on top of it.

I layered a couple of pieces of On The Go paper on the first page, cropped and adhered my 4" x 6" photos, added some coordinating stickers and some journaling, and then finished it off with a couple of star-shaped brads from my stash.

I repeated the negative title technique on the second page, but this time cut my title on both the top and bottom of the page. I matted my favorite photo and cropped my other two pictures from 4” x 6” to 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”. I added Jolee's Boutique Stickers I’d had in my stash for years and called it done. Two pages in less than 20 minutes!

Here are some other ideas for using the negative side of die cuts on your layouts:

- Use the negative to create a fun journaling shape. For example, if you cut a flower, use it as a guide to make your journaling in a fun shape. It’s a great way to contrast with your diecut shapes.

- Flip them over! Die cut an image, then flip it over to use the back side of the sheet. Bonus: it will coordinate perfectly!

- Use the negative as a frame for your photos or titles.

- Try masking with the negative of your image.  Pull out your favorite spray or die to create a fun design using the negative as a stencil.

- Create a mosaic behind your cut! Go through your scraps and arrange them in a random design behind your negative. It makes a unique embellishment and uses up the bits and pieces you’re hesitant to throw out. Alternatively, use other supplies like Washi tape or ribbons.