DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

The Fun Stuff(?)

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – EMBELLISHING YOUR PAGE

A Brief History of Embellishments

Back in the day there were two kinds of embellishments – die cuts and stickers. You bought them. You used them and it was all over. Then you had to go shopping for more die cuts and stickers. Fast forward until today. You can still get die cuts and stickers. The assortment available with Creative Memories and other suppliers is limitless. However, you buy them, you stick them down and they are gone. You want more – you buy more.

The Custom Cutting System was one of the first forays into tools you could use to make limitless embellishments in the colors of your choice. The only shapes available at first were circles, but it was revolutionary. If you’d wanted to have a circle before the CCS, you used a plastic template to draw the one size available and then used scissors to cut it out freehand. I was dismal at it, so I was happy for an option that made perfect circles at least more often than I could cutting them out freehand. I still had my challenges, but it was better.

As they started adding other geometric shapes to the Custom Cutting System, they also started making punches available. At first, like the CCS all you could get were geometric shapes, but it was still cool. Then they added others, like leaves, cars, planes and such – but in the beginning, they were really small and didn’t make much of a statement on the page.

They also came out with a variety of trimmers so you could make strips. There was one for straight cuts and then a second one with a couple of wave patterns. They even came up with various blades for the straight trimmer so you could get different kinds of edges. I have to tell you though, those rotary blades were dangerous because you could slice your finger easier than you could get a good cut in your paper, but the new trimmers all have enclosed blades.

A Border Warning

I guess this is the place where I have to talk about borders and titles. Borders and titles are a thing among a lot of scrapbookers and CM pushes them like the local drug dealer offers gateway drugs. In fact, CM recently put out a book with 110 borders ideas and believe me, they are beautiful.

The borders start with a strip 2-3 inches wide and then you layer letters and embellishments on them. The borders can be put at the top and or on the bottom or added to the sides or even run through the middle. Some consultants advisors (the old CM used to call us consultants, but we’re now advisors) spend their days creating borders to sell at workshops and crops.

Some people start every page/2 page spread with a pair of borders at the top and bottom or at either side. No wonder scrapbookers want to buy them pre-made! Now, don’t get me wrong. I love borders, but I don’t use them on every page. I sure as heck don’t make them several layers deep with one of the layers being a jigsaw puzzle of small paper pieces.

You can make beautiful, simple and quick pages with just photos, memorabilia and a few items of decoration. I do it all the time. People pay me to do it and they love every single page – even the ones without borders.

You can also use lots of borders if you want to. I just don’t want you to think you have to spend your days cutting out minute pieces of paper to layer on a pair of 2-3 inch borders for every page. You need to decide whether you are a memory keeper or a crafter.

To me, this kind of scrapbooking is expensive in time, materials and space on your page. It also puts the emphasis on the decoration of the page, rather than the photos and memorabilia. Borders push scrapbooking from the realm of memory keeping into the world of crafting. I am not a crafter. I don’t have the skill, the patience or the time (not to mention the money) to be a crafter. My focus is preserving memories.

I say this now, because we are treading on dangerous waters here. Scrapbooking is fun and it can certainly be a craft, but when you start down the road of embellishments, you start adding to the time and money you devote to the job of memory keeping. Time and money are the top two inhibitors which keep people from memory keeping.

As I flipped through the new idea book, one of the first ideas I saw had a woven paper lattice on a three inch strip decorated with layers of punches and floral embellishments you can buy ready-made from CM, to go with those you’d need to make. It was gorgeous. I wanted to make one right away.

Then I thought about the time, materials and tools I would be using and the fact that I didn’t even have a page to put it on right this minute. I actually have all the tools used in that particular border, but as a flipped through other pages, I was dismayed by the number of punches, bordermakers and blades I don’t have.

I am happy to support your scrapbooking, however you go about it, but if you’re like most people, elaborate pages are the wide and straight road into frustration, incomplete pages and guilt from overspending. I’m warning you not go there without your eyes wide open. A few punches will enhance your pages. A lot of punches could be a dream or a nightmare.

Okay, enough of a warning, come back next week and all introduce you to the other dangerous habit I have to go along with my paper addiction – punches and Border Makers.

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