The first of my layouts for 2021 is this pocket page for my Disney 2016 scrapbook

When I finished the Play ‘n’ Dine pocket page, I was adding it to my album and flipped through some of the pages, and I realized that if I focus on my Hollywood Studios pages, it won’t be too long until I finish that section. So, I’m trying to concentrate my efforts for my Disney album there. Our Hollywood Studios day in 2016 wasn’t our favorite day of the trip (it was COLD and WINDY, plus there weren’t many attractions open in that park at that time), so there are fewer photos and stories than for our other park days. It will feel good to finish a whole section!

For this “Design H” pocket page, I used the same and coordinating products as the layout it faces. I had pieces of the glittery star Silhouette cut that I used as a focal point on the layout, so I brought them into this layout to tie it together. I found some scraps of the papers I used for layering on that layout and used them as the basis for the pockets.

I found letter stickers that were the perfect shade of dusty aqua on my Echo Park “Beautiful Life” sticker sheet, and I used a white pen to modify some “P” and “F” stickers to make them into “R” and “E” stickers when I ran out!

I was able to fit my very brief stories onto print-and-cut labels that I keep handy (whenever I make a print-and-cut on my Cameo, I fill in the extra space within the registration marks with these labels).

It’s not an incredibly fancy first page for 2021, but it’s another page finished in my Disney 2016 album, so that feels good! I’m also glad for another successful pocket page attempt– as I said before, I want to make an effort to improve my pocket page process–it’s one of my 2021 goals, because I have a lot of pocket pages in projects currently in-progress! In this case, I used a more detailed style than my previous pocket page, but that was because I had inspiration from the facing page that would work really well with the photos I had for this one.

The final project in my Solo Crop was another layout.

For inspiration, I looked in my folder of saved screenshots from Shimelle’s Facebook Lives– I have almost never had a chance to watch the live broadcast, but I watch them on replay and if the design or idea from the session is especially inspiring, I take a screenshot.

(click the image to go to the FB Live replay)

I really liked the way this design shows off a bunch of patterned papers while still having a lot of whitespace, and it was a great design for a single photo. I knew it would be just right for this photo of my daughter watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our room in Wilderness Lodge.

I decided to follow Shimelle’s design pretty closely. Because of the direction my daughter is facing in the photo, I placed the photo on the left side of the page. I used mostly Starshine papers for my layout– and I boldly cut into the “Wish” paper from Never Grow Up! Inspired by the original layout, I pulled out the Starshine chipboard stickers, as well– I haven’t used many yet, and this was the perfect layout to do so!

I decided to stitch around each of my hand-cut rectangles and then pull up the edges a bit for some extra texture.

Emboldened by using my Lawn Fawn wood veneer stars on my previous layout, I pulled out my (unopened!?!) package of Lawn Fawn wood veneer hearts to use on this one. Because there was only one photo and it was not a very busy image, I felt like I could use some larger embellishments effectively on my layout.

The title is where I got stumped, and I actually didn’t finish this layout within the 6.5-ish hours of Adele’s Scrapstream. A few days later, I finally decided on adding “bedtime” above fireworks– and I added another wood veneer heart to fill in some empty space.

I imitated Shimelle’s trail of “sprinkly bits” that runs diagonally down the page– and it leads to a cluster that I added at the bottom for my journaling and a few more chipboard pieces, a die cut, and another wood veneer heart!

Have you spotted the hidden Mickey? 🙂

My third Solo Crop session started with another layout. (If you’re keeping score, this is project #5!)

I will admit, there was an awful lot of waffling that happened at the beginning of this process. And again, this was an instance where having the time-lapse video going definitely made me finally just make a decision and move on. The patterned paper on the left (from Shimelle “Never Grow Up”) is new to me, and so I was being chicken about cutting into it! But I’m glad I did!

This layout ended up combining “Never Grow Up,” “Sparkle City,” and “Starshine,” and even a couple phrase stickers from the #stickerbook. It was so fun to find so many perfect embellishments among the die cuts and stickers.

I also finally opened a package of Lawn Fawn wood veneer stars that I’ve had with these album supplies from the very beginning! It’s a small thing, but I’m proud of myself for actually starting to use them!! Another victory for the Solo Crop: actually being brave enough to use beloved supplies.

My title uses the holographic letter stickers from the Sparkle City project pad.

I wrote the journaling on vellum because I didn’t have a pen that would show up on the dark background; I thought white would be too bold. If I’d had a silver pen, I might have written it directly on the navy blue.

And as is my custom for layouts in this album, I added enamel dots (silver glitter) and a hidden Mickey!

Art journal

And now for something completely different!

The fourth project for my Solo Crop challenge was an art journal page–and a grab 5!

  • washi tape
  • the color orange
  • use a brayer
  • paint pens (I substituted glitter pens, because I don’t own paint pens)
  • stamps

This was not the first art journal page I’ve attempted. I’d like to share the art journal I started in summer 2020.

The spring was quite a challenge: the virtual school that our county set up was extremely…hard…for me to deal with. That’s all I’ll say about it here, but it sapped all of my creative energy and motivation for a really long time. After school ended, I wanted to have a way for my kids to do creative projects each day, and so I set up a box of art supplies and declared an hour or two each day to be “afternoon art” time. We opened the umbrella on our back deck, laid out an old plastic tablecloth, and my kids could use anything in the box on watercolor or mixed media paper.

After a while, I realized that I wanted to play, too. It was still too difficult to think about working on a defined project (scrapbooking OR sewing). I’d been watching Let’s Get Inkie, and her art journal process just looked so freeing and fun. So the next time I went out to grocery shop, I bought myself a small, cheap mixed media notebook and decided to start playing.

my very first art journal page

And it was fun! I pulled out my box of art supplies: Metallix gel, acrylic paints from when I was in art class in high school, watercolors and other paints that had been given to me second-hand, collage bits and pieces that I’d trimmed out of magazines (some from as far back as middle school, I think!), leftover pieces I’d saved thinking they’d make good stencils, washi tape, Mod Podge…

(Yes, Mod Podge. I don’t have gesso (yet– as I’m writing this post, it is in the mail; I ordered some the other day!) so I used Mod Podge to seal my pages and layer over collage pieces.)

Sometimes I simply played with paint.

Sometimes I used old calendar or magazine pages as part of my design.

Sometimes I tried out techniques.

this one (above) was inspired by my painting from the spring

I don’t write on my art journal pages, at least not yet. I don’t know what to write, and I’m not sure I even want to write. This is simply a place for me to play and experiment and let go of expectations. I’d like to do more of this in 2021!

The second day of my Solo Crop challenge-to-self started off with a “traditional” layout. I will admit: before I’d stopped the day before, I’d heard Adele say that her next project would be a layout, so I’d been mulling it over all evening and in the morning before I got started. I also took some time before I re-started to flip through my stash a bit and get reacquainted with my supplies (which I hadn’t done before diving in the day before). I think this definitely made a difference when I began my layout on this day.

My memories of the Great Movie Ride definitely were filled with the color red, so I played that up on this layout, using Shimelle Starshine papers throughout. I had the black filmstrip already cut and in my stash (I’d auditioned it for my Man. Baf. layout before deciding to use a white cut for that one). The photos are tiny because none of them are that high quality (selfies in low-light!), but that left lots of room for journaling. I am finding myself turning often to 3×4 journaling cards leftover from my Project Life kits to hold my stories.

I went through my cut-aparts and die cuts and layered them around my photos and journaling, and I also tucked in some ticket stickers from Echo Park’s “Beautiful Life” collection.

The silver Fitzgerald Thickers showed up so nicely on the navy blue star patterned paper!

I scattered some wood veneer pieces (these are from Elle’s Studio) and enamel dots around the layout– I used a couple shades of aqua– and of course, I hid a little Mickey!

After warming up with the first pocket page, I continued my Solo Crop with another pocket page– the back of my previous one!

This pocket page faces a layout that I made about my husband and the speeder bike on display in Hollywood Studios, so I used the colors in that layout as a starting point for the papers (mostly Shimelle Starshine) and embellishments on this pocket page.

I also want to feel more free about using products such as stickers, and so I challenged myself to use a bunch of these geometric shapes from the Shimelle #stickerbook to tie together the three pockets that are part of one story.

The stickers are on pretty thin paper, so I backed them with scrap white cardstock and cut them out– this way I was able to lift them up on foam for more dimension.

For the bottom pocket, I wanted to use the aqua color, but the solid cardstock seemed too plain. I got out my Paige Evans stencils and used Thermoweb Metallix gel to add stars across the background, which set off my journaling card and photos.

Again, this page took a bit longer than Adele’s– she actually did three pocket pages in the time it took me to do these two; however, since I was just getting back into it after months away from the hobby and pocket pages in particular, I am giving myself some grace!

This is the first project I completed for my Solo Crop challenge. I dove right in, without even taking much time to reacquaint myself with my stash or my album. In some ways, this was a good thing. I put myself on the clock and just had to GO!! but in other ways, I felt like I was really fumbling around for this first project, so it probably took me longer than it needed to. (It took about an hour.)

The colors in the photos really dictated what I used around the page. The orange in the stroller was so prominent that I needed to use it as an accent color elsewhere, so I added orange tissue paper behind a couple of the photos and orange letter stickers (Glitz Designs) for the tiny title at the bottom.

I pulled out some old Project Life cards (I think both of these are from the Jade Edition) to use as base layers, which helped tie the colors together.

I’m glad I have a stash of print-and-cut labels (using my Cameo 3) on my desk– they are a great way to add short captions to photos in these pocket layouts.

To embellish, I used a combination of Shimelle Sparkle City sticker folder cardstock stickers and stickers from her #stickerbook. I especially liked this “let the sun shine in” sticker (Sparkle City), because we were trying to soak up every bit of warmth from the sun that we could– it was COLD that day!

Before I post my Solo Crop layouts, I wanted to post this last layout for 2020!

It’s been out on my desk, and I’ve been puttering around with it for days, and it just needed to get finished. Wanting to finish it by the end of the year was a good motivation to actually do it!

I have a love-hate relationship with pocket pages. I love how they allow me to include lots of smaller stories, and/or lots of photos (more than a “traditional” layout). I like how they can progress a story forward (like in my Disney 2016 scrapbook project, where I’m combining layouts with pocket pages). BUT. I just don’t have a good rhythm for making them! I have all of these weird hangups: I feel like I should only use scraps and not use my “special” embellishments (silly me); my normal design habits and sensibilities are out of whack because the story is told in boxes rather than one large canvas.

I was browsing Instagram and admiring others’ pocket pages. In particular, I love @journalofcuriousthings ‘ seemingly effortless style of combining layouts with pocket pages. When I commented along these lines on one of her recent posts, she replied and encouraged me to 1) consider NOT using my same style for pocket layouts as “regular” layouts since pocket pages are a different format, and 2) consider trying a more clean and simple style since pocket pages tend to be busier with all the boxes.

As I considered this, I also thought about which pocket pages I admire most when I see them on blogs and social media: it’s the ones that have as much white space as possible (often white borders around the photos)– again, that clean and simple, more graphic style.

All of this was while I was struggling with this particular spread of pockets. Not only was I dealing with pockets, which are hard for me no matter what, but also this was an event that had some really great parts, and also some fairly not-great parts. It’s not my favorite memory of our 2016 trip, the indoor photos are not well color-balanced, and all of that combined to give me a fairly “blah” feeling as I moved them around.

I took Kirsty’s tips plus what I’d observed about pocket pages I liked, and I dove in again yesterday. I trimmed my big photos to add a nice wide white border. I printed my journaling on plain white paper (using my same trick of using the print-and-cut feature in Silhouette Studio so that the placement was just so). I severely limited the supplies I used (3 sheets from the Shimelle “Glitter Girl” 6″x6″ paper pad and stickers from the Shimelle #stickerbook), and I added very minimal embellishment around the page– just a square sticker and a tiny word/phrase in each spot. I didn’t even add enamel dots!

It still took me a long time. But in the end, I like how it looks. The white borders give breathing room and add a necessary lightness to the photos. The embellishments draw your eye around the page but don’t overwhelm or clutter the photos.

And it’s done!

Thanks for reading all my deep thoughts about pocket pages. I think I’m going to focus on making more pocket pages in January– not only to complete more of my Disney 2016 album, but also to see if I can get more comfortable with making them.

The rush of success in finishing my princess dinner layout prompted me to take action and figure out a way to jump start my creative inspiration. Creative inspiration has been eluding me recently, particularly this fall, and although I *missed* scrapbooking and *wanted* to scrapbook, I was finding it to be a struggle. 

I decided to give myself a challenge, and with Husband’s help, I was able to dedicate a couple hours each day of a long weekend to complete it.

Here’s the framework of my little challenge-to-myself:

1. Watch the replay of Inkiequill’s December 2020 Scrap Stream on YouTube.

2. Create along with Adele!  For each project she created during her livestream, I made a parallel project of the same type. I even tried to stick to the same general timing. 

3. I focused on adding pages to my 2016 Disney scrapbook, and I also made an art journal page along with her —the idea was to get back into the creative process!

I documented the whole thing in my Instagram Stories (there’s a saved highlight here: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17946705103397268/), and I found that taking the time-lapse videos of each project really helped me to focus and make decisions instead of waffling around.

And WOW. It was amazing.  I can’t believe that I actually made so many projects in one weekend (probably a bit over 7 hours of creating time), and I am really happy with the way every one of them turned out.  This challenge re-energized, inspired, and made me excited to scrapbook more in the coming days and weeks.

In the next few blog posts, I will share each of the six projects I made in my Solo Crop challenge:

  • Disney pocket layout: Hollywood Studios lunch
  • Disney pocket layout: Hollywood Studios afternoon
  • Disney layout: Great Movie Ride
  • art journal page (grab 5)
  • Disney layout: Goodnight, Epcot
  • Disney layout: Bedtime Fireworks

I’d like to do another self-challenge like this again. Having dedicated time–and time LIMITS–was definitely a key to my success! I am also considering taking more time-lapse videos of myself to further train myself to make design decisions more quickly and confidently.

My daughter’s birthday cake theme this year was inspired by the trip to Disney World we’d made a couple weeks beforehand. I was glad that we came up with an idea to make it happen, since I’d only been thinking of our trip and then the preparations for our Thanksgiving week at home; I hadn’t fully processed that her birthday was soon afterward!

We had the chance to see princesses on their float in Magic Kingdom and on a carriage in Epcot, and both of us are pretty big princess fans! When we got home, she told me that she wanted a princess cake. I wanted to use ingredients we already had on hand, so this is the idea I came up with: nine 3-D princess icons made from homemade marshmallow fondant on a blue (her choice! it matched her Mickey band color–both for our most recent trip but also for our 2016 trip) frosted cake.

I used a marshmallow fondant recipe from Spruce Eats— it’s a very straightforward recipe and I had everything on hand. I had an adventure trying to figure out how to sculpt the nine princess icons– I used V’s beloved old princess cupcake game (aff. link) for inspiration for some of the shapes. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with how they came out!

I like how the all-white icons on a colored frosting made for an elegant look– rather than being too little-girly, it was a more grown up cake for my NINE year old! (holy moly, how is she nine already?!!?)

P.S. Perhaps I also loved this cake design so much because it reminds me of our wedding cake!