Monday, February 4, 2013

Paperclipping the Ephemera

Earlier today, I had the honor of joining Noell, May, and Stacy on the Paperclipping Roundtable

When Noell first emailed me about the show and topic, I wasn't completely sure what I would have to offer. But, after a quick glance through my pages and a little note taking session, I realized that not only did I have a couple things to say about this but that I was also really excited to discuss this topic! Dare I say passionate???

Who knew?

Turns out I use and enjoy ephemera way more than I thought!

May, Noell and Stacy had so many great ideas for incorporating ephemera that I am itching  to scrap some more in the studio tonight.

I can't wait for you to hear what they had to say, so be sure to have a listen to the show! And, in the mean time, how about we take a look at some things that I do when I am trying to incorporate the little treasures from our daily lives into my album?

I should preface this by saying that until I received Noell's invitation to chat about this topic, I am not sure that I had a whole lot of conscious thought about any of this. But, I did want to be a good guest and I figured some preparation would be in order. So, I jotted down some thoughts and now I am going to share them with you:)

Before I start any page with ephemera on it, I ask myself some questions. Basically, I evaluate my ephemera:

1: Why do I want it on my page? 
Is it cool looking?
Does it serve an informational purpose?
Is it a key part of my story?
Or do I only want it for posterity?

Perhaps most importantly... 
     Do I feel OK cutting it up?

If the answer to that last question is "yes," then the sky is the limit!

Take this layout for instance:
In addition to incorporating a pocket to hold some tickets, journaling, and a brochure... I also wanted part of my brochure to be used in my embellishments. I simply cut out some pinked circle shapes to dot about and layer up:
All the fun tabs and twine invite the interactive elements to be.... well, interacted with!
Which brings me to the second question I ask myself before working with ephemera...

2. Do I like it?
Is it decent looking enough that I won't cringe when I look at in on my layout?
Does it have colors I can work with?
Can part of it be used as my title?
Do I have a photo to go with it?
Can it be embellished enough that it will work with the overall design of my page?

Like this layout...
I really wanted the program from my girls' Snow White play to be visible on my page. Not only did it make my story and photos more clear, it also shows their names. And that's just fun! So, after constructing a little interactive photo stack, I just matted the two page elements together and embellished the program with some washi, doodles, and ink to help make it cohesive with the rest of my layout. It doesn't hurt that the program was a simple black and white copy either! Of course, that is always an option if your program is full of glaring colors: just make a black and white copy!
And now for the next phase of evaluation...

3. Is there too much ephemera to make it the focus of my page?
Do I like it, but it's too big or there is too much to use as a focal point?
Do I like it enough that I don't want to cut it up or layer it?

Case in point: my daughter's drawings! They are fabulous!!! It was hard enough to edit them down to the ones to save, so I am not tossing any more to the side. But, the page really is just about her creativity and artistic expression at this age. And, I want all of the drawings on one page. Memory File to the rescue!
All I did was stack up the drawings, stitch them into the file, and carry on with my embellishments:
Another example of this is a page I did containing all of my mom's magazine clippings for her dream home renovation. I did the same sort of thing as above and also included lots of fun tabs and tags on the side to invite you to interact with the folder full of goodies:
Or, what if your papers don't fit nicely into a folder? 

Here I have the architectural drawings for the aforementioned home reno project. As I am sure you can image, they fold out really big! Not going to work in a tidy little folder and certainly not OK to cut up. So, all I had to do was make a giant pocket to stick them down in. A couple of decorative tabs dress it up a bit and help pull the white papers into the design on the pocket:
And now that brings us to the next question:

4: Is this ephemera gorgeous in its own right?
Can it be used alone as an embellishment that can be described in the journaling?
Maybe it isn't even related to my layout, but it's just cool looking?!?

Either way, this is probably one of the easier types of ephemera to incorporate into a page. For example, this page below used a ruffle as embellishment. What is the ruffle? Fabric from the building that the layout is about! Fun, right?
 Or this layout that has a piece of tile incorporated into the grid design:
Just think of all the fun things that could be added to your pages!

And now for the 5th and final question:
5. Do I want this ephemera hidden?
Do I want to keep the ephemera for posterity but just don't like the way it looks?
Do I want the ephemera on my page but it is not the focus of my story?

The answer to this is envelopes! And pockets, of course.

For this layout, the first flight certificates my daughters were given were sweet, but not so pretty. All I had to do was stick them inside a little pocket and layer up as usual!
And same goes for this one. I really wanted to have the map of our campground as part of this layout, but I had a lot of pictures to include as well. Problem solved with an over sized pocket constructed out of patterned paper.I should also mention that I only had the map to put in the pocket, but I wanted the pocket to look full to the brim of goodies. I just layered up some patterned paper pieces and glued them behind my map.
And finally, here is a little layout that I talked about on the show that has some sweet memorabilia in a vellum pocket. You will have to have a listen to hear all about that :)

So, to recap:
1: Evaluate the ephemera
2. Do I like it?
3. Is there too much ephemera to make it the focus of my page?
4: Is this ephemera gorgeous in its own right?
5. Do I want this ephemera hidden?

As you can see, for the majority of my pages with ephemera, I use some sort of interactive page element. Not only is this useful in design, but it adds to the tactile experience that ephemera just seems to beg for. Are you wondering how I work all of that interactivity into my page protectors? Not a problem! A little slice here and there and the elements can be slipped right through any part of the page protector so they can be easily accessed. 

You might also notice that I add tabs and tags to the bits of brochures and tickets quite often. This is a super easy way to dress up those items and help them have some element of cohesion with the rest of your page design. In fact, my pick of the week relates to just that. So, be sure to head on over and have a listen to the show!

Now, before I go, I have to mention that there really is NO wrong way to incorporate memorabilia into your scrapping! I say - if it makes you happy, then it is the right way! If you aren't enjoying it, then change it up. This is supposed to be fun, after all!

Thanks again Noell for asking me to join you all! I had a blast!

Alright, off I go to scrapbook some of that ephemera in waiting :)


  1. How cool is this! I love that you were asked to share your thoughts on the design process and mechanics of your work! I would have to say you win top prize for sharing such grand tutorials on all your projects. Going that extra mile is a ton of work, but it is so very informative and appreciated! You are amazing!

  2. How wonderful to be part of another Paperclipping round table. Congrats and thank you for the wonderful ephemera tips!

  3. Very fun ideas!! And no doubt you had a lot to contribute. Love your pages. I have tons of ephemera and find it hard to get get some of it on my page. I shall have to have another look.

  4. Lots to think about, thank you for all the tips :)

  5. Thank you for all of the wonderful thoughts and ideas, Ashli. I like to incorporate bits and pieces on my pages, but I find I mostly do it for vacation pages or concerts.

  6. I have errands to run today so I will download the show and listen in the car. :) I love to incorporate ephemera. Can't wait to get some more ideas. Your pages are awesome and love the examples you've shared.

  7. Love this post and all the tips and examples, Ashli! My memory-keeping heart is full!

  8. What fantastic tips, ideas and guidelines - along with such glorious samples and examples - inspirational, as ever!
    Alison x

  9. Sure enjoyed listening to you all! Boy, you have a ton of great ideas here, Ashli! Love how you thought this all out!

  10. Congrats on being on Paperclipping, Ashli! I love your thoughts on this. I find this is one of the areas I struggle with. I usually save my ephemera, but it somehow never makes it onto my layout, because I can never figure out how to use it in my in point, the program from your daughter's play. I always save those and end up leaving them off/out of my pages. I really like the ideas you present and I think I will try working them into some future layouts!!

  11. Great ideas, great pobcast and awesome layouts! <3

  12. Love seeing all these layouts like this! I just shared a bunch over at Paperclipping, too! Thanks for coming on the show again. We loved having you! :)

  13. Great ephemera checklist! I used to be good about keeping ephemera from our day to day lives, but not so lately.

  14. Congratulations, what an elite group to join! Great ideas for using ephemera especially the file folders. I've been puzzling over how to use them.

  15. ps : here's a link to one of my solutions


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