Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Creative process

I have noticed an increased interest in one of my tutorials on how I make many of my backgrounds and today I decided to share more with you of my creative process and tell you why I scrap the way I scrap.

I am a messy scrapper, but not really when it comes to HOW I use technique products, it's more that my desk is soooo full of stuff that I never take the time to sort away after I use it.  Here is what it looks like right now - I haven't touched anything before taking the picture

You see the wooden boxes, there is where I keep my mists, they shouldn't be in front of the box, but since I also work on multiple projects at once I also need places to store the projects while drying or working on them.  I want them close by.   So what I found out years ago was that I was to messy to spray with my mists - then all my papers, decos and stuff I had lying around would also be covered in mist, so I had to come up with another solution.  I started doing this kind of scrapbooking.  (blogged at Shimelle) where my focus where distress inks together with stencils and stamping and just drops of mist.  Then a while back the watercolor trend started and I really wanted to try it, but all I had were mists to work with, after a while I also added watercolor, wateracrylic and  peerless watercolor sheets always using a waterbrush on the paper prepped with clear gesso.  You can read more here in another article I have written about different background styles.    All this makes me play with lots of colors with very little mess, since just drop the mist on the cardstock and brush it out. Of course accidents happen and I drop half a bottle of mist over a page, but I have lots of babywipes and papers available to wipe the brushes and the cardstock of excessive color.  Because its not all about adding color, it's also about removing color to get the right blend.

Here are some recent backgrounds I shared on Instagram and Facebook.

I have only published one of these as finished layouts - top to the right.

Over to what I want with my layouts. I am no traditional scrapper, but I actually started up as one... Looong before PL I started scrapbooking doing colorblocking and I had these templates to cut after. Here are one of my rare old projects - 10 years old....

I am scrapbooking just for me, if the kids doesn't want my pages later - so fine, this is me having a hobby and enjoying some alone time being a little creative.  I haven't even put half my layouts in album. The kids love to look  through the albums, but I know that so much will not fit there later. I might rephotograph lots of layouts and make a book with the layouts instead - someday.  I also have plans to make digital books with the vacation photos which I have no intention on scrapping in my style. Even PL takes too long.

I started scrapbooking in 2002 because I wanted another way to put all my traveling photos in albums.  We lived in Livermore, California for 6 months back in the fall of 2001 and we went on small trips here and there. I found lots of inspiration online, 2peas and other galleries and downloaded tons of inspiration, but I enjoyed shopping and looking at what others did more than doing myself, so most of what I made these years where presents.  I just wasn't really enjoying it before I started going to crops and seeing live what others where doing and learning a little more. In 2008/2009 I started buying mists and as mentioned - I soon realized that I couldn't spray at home...(too messy) But I really wanted to use the mists and after a while figuring out my style I felt that I finally found a style that I felt was ME and that I could master.

I decided to go kind of clean and simple, layers with just touches of color.  This layout I made winter 2012.

I was happy for a while, but then I felt that I was doing like everyone else who did the white cardstock style and I wanted to be at least a little different. So I started working with stencils and distress ink. I also started to crop my pictures in 16x9 ratio a lot.

This was a layout that I made for a tutorial at Shimelle (layout higher up)   The layering hasn't changed - just the background work. And then  I started doing watercolor style - not really watercolors all the time - mostly mists and water. From the summer of 2013.

And this is the last one that I have published with the style - a year later.

So back to my thoughts on the style. What do I WANT with it.

1) I LOVE working with colors, but still don't want to go messy - hence hardly any paint or spraying.
2) I need white space (You guessed right if you thought all my walls at home are white) so I feel that my photo can stand out and not get mixed in with all decorations.

3) I prefer "clean" colors. I prefer to use fresh and clean colors on my projects. However I don't go TOO bright - for example I don't use manfacturers like Bella Blvd.  I more go for a little subtle but clean colors.  You might not say that Crate Paper (one of my favorite) are that clean, but that is where my use for background colors make up for it.

4) Contrast and the use of black. I almost always use black/dark grey in my projects. I want to create contrasts and black ink in any form is great for that.  If you are more interested in how to go even darker - go see Georgia Heald - she is the master of that.

5) The main scrap style in the Nordic countries is the distressed style - hence the manufacturers Pion Design, Maia Design, Inkido, Papirdesign. I can go there occasionally, but not in the long run. I don't have a single shabby chic item in my house - the same desire to have clean colors goes there. I go more modern white - more glossy than shabby.

6) My use of pictures. I want to capture my kids expressions, emotions and faces as they grow up. hence my one-page, one-photo layouts, but I do also make series - like the layout above.  I really wish I was a better photographer and that my kids were more interested in being photographed, they often run away when they see me with the camera...  I hate scrapbooking bad photos and I sometimes find it sad that other scrapbookers who make amazing pages- lots of decorations and lovely use of everything  and then the photo is really bad- usually poorly cropped and underexposed/overexposed.   I use a mix of Photoshop and Photoscape to edit my photos. I edit them, I crop them and I very often tilt the photos, I don't want a straight shot and I put the person a little to one side.    Here is an example of photos I like to scrapbook.

7) I work in different steps. I mostly love to make backgrounds and I can make several of them at the same time - and I often don't know what to do with them afterwards- I have no specific plan, but I usually find one later - sometimes months later.    After I make the background I do the layering and I staple the layers either together or straight on the background.  I work from the middle when I do my backgrounds, but I don't care that I might cover most of the background with papers - it happens.  I work from the inside because I want white space,  I don't HAVE to use patterned paper when I add the photo - I just prefer, but had I made a "hole" for where the photo would be - I would have to add more papers.

8) I don't measure ANYTHING. In 90% of the cases i ONLY use my scissors when cutting out the patterned paper or photo.  My whole idea is that papercrafting is not about perfection, is about having fun and enjoying the process.  Now you might have guessed that I am no control freak. I am really really very far from it...

9) I don't like to spend too much time on a page, so my pages are still kind of simple, if you don't count the drying time, my layering and adding decorations could take 30 minutes. (but usually longer as I surf, watch a video, chat with someone at the same time) What takes longer is finding out what products to use, but that I do BEFORE starting a project. If you noticed on the first picture on the top I have three projects in different stages. I often make kits after I made a background. I also very often like to use just one collection/Manufacturer on my project. That's  because I don't want to spend hours going through my messy endless supply of things. And it's because I have some hope of being picked up by a manufacturer again. ( So if you are a nice manufacturer reading this and have seen that I like your products, please email me ;) ;).  It's nice to be able to get everything from a collection. Here in Norway I can only get some of the papers from a collection I want - the rest I have to order from the US and with the shipping costs and the fact that all imported goods over 200 kr is subject to toll and tax forces me to order less than what I really want.

10) I want new things often - I get bored of what I have, still I have a few favorite things that I keep using for many years though.

11) Because of the need to order from abroad and the costs of it I am not as "trendy" as I would have wanted. I don't follow or try out so many trends, I do some, but I feel that I have to do my thing instead of hopping on an expensive trend. Hence no letterpress, gelliprint, cameo etc  (although I got a Silhouette in 2008- but it's not playing nicely with me)

12) I often start with the background with no idea which pictures to use. The choice of pictures often also come AFTER I have picked the collections I want to work with...  I rarely do the opposite.

13) My style is something that I do on all things. It's not just a layout thing. I do the same on cards and mini albums too. Kind of the reason why I haven't done much PL yet (have my first spread in the upcoming Inzpira magazine - The Second-Sixth I made a GD for Project Life i Norge August 2014) There I defined why I do PL the way I do it.  This is bookcover that I did last summer

Here is a card (the mist might not be showing so well)

Where to I find inspiration. I use Feedly and look at a lot of blogs and I use Pinterest. I am mostly inspired by other European scrappers for the backgrounds, but I have to look to the US to get the color palette in papers and scrapstyle that I want, so I am pretty mixed. 

This article didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, the purpose was trying to show more of my creative process, but I guess I have to just clean my space and make a creative process movie (you will not hear my voice... I might not require perfection in my scrap pages, but I hate my accent when I speak English, it's too Norwegian...) 

So stay tuned for a creative video during the summer.

Updated June 13th - here you can see my first video


  1. Love hearing other scrapper's processes and thoughts. Thanks for sharing, you have a beautiful style!

  2. Thank you for sharing. What great examples. Surely you will be picked up by a manufacturer again! I am so happy to see a messy desk like mine. Love to see how you are inspired.

  3. Thank you for sharing I too love learning about people's process. I love your style!!!

  4. You make gold with your art!!! Love your work <3

  5. I have loved your style for a long long time. Your backgrounds always look so amazing. It's been lovely to read all about your process too x x

  6. I can always "spot" your pages and just adore them! You have found your style and it works perfectly for you!

  7. Christin I LOVED reading this article and I cannot wait to see your video! You are such an inspiration for me!!!

  8. I completely adored reading all that & hope you will write more like that in future! Thank you!!