My Creative Journey

During the month of July 2012, I took a look back at the previous year as I found my way in the world of scrapbooking. The following is a collection of the posts from start to finish. I hope you enjoy!

Just one short year ago, I was not a scrapbooker. I thought October Afternoon was a lovely fall day, that My Mind's Eye was a catchy expression and that Two Peas in a Bucket meant that I had a lot more work to do in the garden.

But before I get into how exactly that all changed, let me back up a bit.

You see, even though I wasn't a "scrapbooker," I had made several scrapbooks. I viewed this much like I view cooking... I don't enjoy it, but we have to eat, right? I had fun pictures and memories I wanted to save and the logical thing was certainly to paste them into a book. I did not enjoy the process. In fact, it was a chore to say the least. But, having the final albums on the shelf was so nice and it also represented another thing checked off the list of things to do, right next to cooking dinner.

Albums like the planning of my wedding. This album is seriously huge. You could dislocate a shoulder trying to get it off the shelf. I don't think they even make this size any more, but I will tell you that most of the pages don't have protectors on them because they were so expensive to buy. HaHa!
Oh, yes - check out the oval cut photo and the decorative edge scissors at work! This was 2001 after all. 
How about the strap style album used for my honeymoon trip? 
If there were supplies beyond the stationary isle in Michael's, I didn't know about them. That is clearly evident here!
And here! Oh my, look at the sunshines!!! 
(Let me jump in here to add that there is nothing wrong with sunshines or themed scrapping. It's just not what speaks to me and it's not what jazzes me about playing with paper and glue! And, getting jazzed is what made this go from being a chore to being a seriously fun hobby for me :)
And then in 2003, we bought our house and I started a little post-bound album of the decorating we did to make it our own... Complete with old wall paper and paint swatches:
When we started our family, I began a little 6x6 post-bound birthday book for each new child. One page a year shows the fun time we had celebrating...complete with photos cut into outlines:
Apparently, at some point I did discover the scrapbook isle and bought some birthday themed paper:
So, how on earth did I get from this point to being a completely obsessed paper crafter? What made me go from dreading the glue stick and scissors to looking forward to nights spent with my stack of pretty paper? 

How did I go from scrapping the above, without enjoyment... to scrapping something like this with complete joy?
Join me through the month of July as I celebrate my 1 year Scrapiversary. 

We will take a trip down memory lane and explore things from what first peaked my interest in this hobby, to my first scrapbook shopping trip, to the completely awkward phase of trying to find "my style." 

And, of course, I will be sharing my usual start to finish posts throughout the month as well. I hope you will take this trip into the past year with me! See you again soon at the Mailbox!

In the first post about My Creative Journey, we took a look back in time... A time when I viewed memory keeping as a chore. A time of glue sticks, post bound albums and themed papers. What changed all of this?

In 2005, I met my dear friend Joy. One of the first things out of her mouth was, "I'll have to invite you to a crop!" I must have looked at her like she had 500 heads. I had no idea what that meant!

Bless her heart, from 2005 to 2011, I was invited to countless crops. I even attended some and would give everyone a good giggle at whatever silly little thing I brought to work on. From time to time, Joy would chat with me a bit about her hobby. She insisted that I really would love it, especially given my art background.

Art background? Yep. I have always been artsy craftsy and with the support of my amazing parents, I attended Art College many years ago. Although I was a mixed media collage artist at heart, I chose a more sensible major of Digital Multi Media and Photography. That sounds fancy, but actually means nothing now as that was so long ago and technology has changed so much! I graduated before there was even such a thing as digital photography! Oh my. I did manage to work in the industry on and off for a bit, hating every minute of it. As you can imagine, the clean-lined and graphic style necessary for commercial art was a bit of a personality clash for me. Perhaps it was like trying to shove a square peg in a round hole...or something like that! So, yes - my name is Ashli and I am a recovering Graphic Designer.

In 2011, while pregnant with my third child, I sent Joy a completely innocent email asking her how to apply text to some baby announcements that I wanted to make. Oh, boy! I did not expect the detailed response that was to come! With all the options presented to me, I knew I would need to inlist the personal shopping services of Joy!

Off to Hobby Lobby we went. She was gentle with me. She kept me close as to guard me from slipping into a coma induced state of shock and overwhelm! 

After grabbing the 2 sheets of vellum I would need for my baby announcements, we strolled down the isle of albums.

What I saw next would totally change my world. 

Three-Ring scrapbook albums!!!! I had no idea! Oh my goodness! You mean I don't have to find a screw driver or thread a strap to add a page in an album? Could the ease of this possibly release me from the idea of memory keeping in chronological order? You mean I don't have to "keep up?" 

And then, Joy pointed out that I didn't even have to do a page. I could hole punch one of my kid's drawings and just stick it right in! HOLY COW!!!!
Having experienced that major revelation, I went back home to let all that sink in.

As I mentioned, I was pregnant with my third child. Well, as many of you know a good bit of "nesting" tends to occur in the third trimester. And, since it was the middle of summer and crazy HOT, my nesting took the form of office and paper organization. I filed. I shredded. I labeled. And then, I came upon my scrap boxes. Yep, you heard that right, scrap boxes. You see, I had gotten two big white tubs from Ikea, one for each child. The idea was that I just tossed the drawings, notes and memorabilia into the tubs and each kid would have their special things saved. Well, as I stood there and looked at those boxes on the shelf and thought to myself how I really needed another one for baby #3, I realized how much space that would take up! Especially since we knew we wanted to have more than 3 kids eventually. 

We wouldn't have enough space for all the memories! OH no! My mind immediately went back to the 3-ring album. Off I went to Hobby Lobby to grab a couple of those bad boys!

So, armed with some hand-me-down paper from Joy, I dove into those scrap boxes with the goal of turning them into scrap books!

I made pages like this:
And this:
As you can see, it didn't really occur to me yet that there could be more to this than circle photos and pastel matts. At this point, I was just thrilled to be consolidating the big pile of papers from those boxes! I was nesting...successfully! And, believe it or not, I was having fun! 

Where would this take me? Stay tuned...

In the last post about My Creative Journey, we took a look at my three ring revelation and how I was starting to have a little bit of fun with all of this paper and glue.

So, what happened next? Well, I was having so much fun, I decided I might actually start calling myself a scrapbooker! I had been busy working my way through the hand-me down supplies from Joy and had about used them all up. And, since I had finally broken down and actually labeled myself a scrapbooker, I decided I best get some supplies.

I made a very detailed and themed list based upon what remained from my scrap boxes. The list included things like: monkey stickers, letter stamps, paper trimmer, glue, ink and pumpkin paper. List in hand, I headed off to scrappy wonderland. With Joy as my tour guide, we hit Michael's, Jo-Anne, Hobby Lobby, and Archivers. I learned about paper, trimmers, punches, stickers and more! Over lunch I picked her brain to no extent and asked question after question about all things scrappy. It was an unbelievable day! 

I came home with a complete arsenal fit for a beginning scrapbooker. Armed with my themed papers, stamps and card stock, I got down to business!

And scrapped this:
And this:
There was not much consideration to design, as you can see. However, I find it interesting to look back and see some shadows of things that I now consider "my style." Things like, small repeated patterns, linear elements and pops of black.

This next layout, although I didn't realize it at the time, was a bit of a milestone for me. I began to take some risks here. I stamped a pattern, punched random holes and used the arrows in some unexpected ways.
I considered this a two page layout, but had the second page on the backside. It didn't occur to me to put them side by side! Another one of my now favorite techniques shows up here too... fussy cutting. Oh, I was so proud of my handcut alphabet cards, hole punched with a hand drawn pen line. Look, even back then I was using pen lines :)
This page truly is where I went from having fun to being super excited and pumped up about all of the possibilities! 

Possibilities like mini books and different techniques using inks, die-cuts and embossing...

Stay tuned!

In the last post about My Creative Journey, we left off where I had finally decided to label myself as a scrapbooker and had even started having all kinds of fun! I was actually proud of my creations! So what did I do next? I got a Zutter

You see, my scrapbooking mentor, Joy is a master of the mini book! In fact, other than cards, that is mostly her chosen scrappy medium. I had heard great things about this Zutter and all of the possibilites. I wasn't totally sure I would be jumping on the mini book band wagon, but I was sure that I could do some fun things with this!

I came home with my beautiful pink binding machine and had absolutely NO idea what to do with it! I read the instructions, but was still quite unsure. Joy and I scheduled a training session and she recommended that I do a YouTube search in the mean time. I was shocked and confused. Craft tutorials on YouTube? Really? I had NO idea!
Now, I did manage to find a couple of tutorials for the Zutter. But, I found something much more amazing! I happened upon Shimelle and her videos

WHOA!!!!!!! REALLY??? THIS is what scrapbooking CAN be? You mean there is more to this than cutting photos into ovals? I was totally amazed and excited to say the least! After watching that first video, I ended up on her blog, which in turn steered me over to Two Peas in a Bucket

Life. Would. Never. Be. The. Same. Again.

A whole new world had been opened up to me! A world full of ideas and inspiration. I was hooked. And so began my foray into the online world of tutorials, galleries and workshops. I cut. I glued. I scrapped. I made lots of pages.
How did this affect what I had been doing? How did this change my scrapbooking? Did it all fall into place? Did I find "my style?" 

Stay tuned...

We have been taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at My Creative Journey. When we last left off, I had just discovered video tutorials and Two Peas in a Bucket. A whole new world had opened to me! So, what did this do to my scrapping?

Well, I was still working my way through some hand-me down supplies and putting a dent into my very specific and themed shopping trip.

But, as you can see here, I did start to attempt a bit more with design. Thanks to watching many a Shimelle video, blocks of pretty patterned paper were cut and used simply as a design element. I began playing more with brads, ribbons and stickers. But, one thing was missing... Journaling!

Now, let me just say here that often there are pages that may not need a whole lot of journaling. I know there are many scrappers who aren't journalers, and that is totally OK. But, it had actually never even crossed my mind for consideration! I hadn't even thought of it long enough to decide if I wanted to be a journaler or not!

You would think that would have dawned on me while watching so many videos online, but it really didn't! 

One evening, my next door neighbor who used to be a scrapbooker, stopped by. I proudly showed her this page, to which she promptly replied, "That's great, where is your journaling going?"

"My what?" I said. Then we had a little chat about how that is her favorite part of the page and I thought that if I wrote it all down, I wouldn't get to tell her about it. I assumed that would take the joy out of showing off my pages... that there would be nothing for me to say while people looked at my scrapbook. I clearly wasn't convinced.
I thought I ought to put that to the test on my next layout. After all, I had picked up some SMASH pads on my shopping adventure, so I might as well put those to use. As you can see, I also lost a bit of my sanity in the Fourth of July isle! HAHA!
After I journaled out that simple list, I realized the importance of it. The importance of telling more than meets the eye, the importance of recording my thoughts. This really hit home when I showed this page to my parents and after reading the journaling they giggled. I am not sure they would have had the same experience had I simple told them these things! And with that, the journaling piece of the puzzle had been added to my scrapping repertoire.

So there I was, watching videos and scrapping away. It was fun! Really fun! But, I also began to realize how much I didn't know. What was with all the die cutting? Manual or electronic? what kind of ink should I be stamping with? Why are there two different kinds of embossing? Do I really need a heat gun? Oh My! Time to call Joy again!

Of course, she came to the rescue and promptly had me over for an emergency training session. She was amazing! I had my very own personalized worksop, complete with ink tutorials, embossing and die cutting. Oh goodness! I was so excited to take my new knowledge to the page!

Off I went for some more shopping. A came home with a Sizzix, a heat gun, embossing powders and various inks. I quickly put all of my new toys to use. And made pages like this:
I tell you what, I was so proud of all the techniques I used here! I had embossed card stock to look like water, Inked edges and collaged photos! 

So, I kept on playing with my new goodies, watching videos, and scrapping up a storm!

What happened next? Did this get me closer to "my style?"How did I progress beyond themed elements and hand-me down supplies? Stay tuned...

So, where were we? At this point in My Creative Journey, I have done some themed shopping, learned the basics of the inks and die cutting, and have found the wealth of videos on YouTube, specifically Shimelle's

I should also mention that we have welcomed our third child into our family at this point and this affords me a large amount of time at home, cuddling and feeding my sweet newborn. And what is better to do while sitting for countless hours than watch scrapbooking tutorials? Well, probably a few things...but I digress.

Now, I had watched many a Shimelle video, but for some reason the Scrapbook Sketch of the Week below is THE one that made me scour my hand-me-down supplies and scrap along with her. Perhaps it was timing. I had finally watched all of her videos and happened upon this one when it was actually posted. And, that meant I could play along and link-up! FUN!
That also meant I would have to "go public." Oh my. Was I ready for that? What would people say? Did I even know how to photograph my project? How on earth would I upload it? 

But, I was pumped! Shimelle's enthusiasm and love for scrapbooking is contagious. I couldn't resist. So, I dove right in. I found some papers that Joy had given me and went to town. I improvised as best I could, even using watered down house paint for the misting.

I somehow managed to photograph it, edit the image with a bit of iPhoto magic, upload it and link it too! Whoot!
And to top it off, someone at Two Peas even left me a nice comment! I was on top of the world! It's funny...for some reason it didn't even occur to me that I was actually supposed to use photos on this layout, although she makes it quite clear in the video - LOL! All I knew is that I had these cute post it notes that my daughter had written and they kind of matched the paper I had. I went with it! 

And, you know what? Something clicked. It actually dawned on me while doing this layout that all of those years in art school and all of the graphic training was actually related to this fun new hobby of mine. I know what you are thinking... really? That hadn't occurred to you before Ashli? No, indeed it did not! Crazy? YES! True? You betcha!

With this new realization, I watched even more videos. And it really started to come together. The rule of thirds, the visual triangle, pointing the eye to your feature element, trapped white space, the importance of typography. All of those things that I payed a whole lot of money to study, were things that I could use while recording my family's memories! YAY!!!! This was so thrilling to me! It was as if I had unlocked a part of myself that I had put away so many years ago. I know mom and dad, if you are reading this, you are thrilled that my fancy art school degree is coming in so handy on a scrapbook page. LOL!

So, I forged ahead with gusto! What happened next? I will share soon. But, before I do... I thought it would be fun to revisit that initial challenge that made me go "public." So just a few days ago, I grabbed a set of supplies, and even remembered some photos this time. I scrapped along with Shimelle and here is what I came up with:
It's so fun to compare the two. I find it interesting that there are some similarities to what I would still do and yet some big differences.
I think the most notable similarity is my love for tiny little bits and patterns. It really did take me back as I worked with this video and sketch again. It's fun to think about where we have been and where we are headed!

See you again soon with more of My Creative Journey.

In the last post about My Creative Journey, I shared the first time I went public as a scrapper. Oh, I was so nervous, but it went surprisingly well! In addition to figuring out how to upload and link-up, I even received a comment. I was pumped! And, on top of that, I had my aha moment of how this new hobby of mine could bring back the artist in me!

So, I hit the class section of Two Peas with a gazelle-like gusto! It was the fall of last year and I couldn't get enough of this new found passion of mine! 

I had great fun revisiting that sketch in my last post... let's do that again!

First up we have the October edition of Stretch Your Sketch with Jen Gallacher. I'm not sure I really understood what it meant to work from a sketch as this is very different from what she showed in the video - LOL! 
As you can see above, I was still working my way through many hand-me-down supplies. This layout also proved to be a bit of a milestone as it was the first layout I ever sewed on... now one of my favorite techniques!

And, here is my version of the same challenge that I completed just a few days ago:
It's so fun to look at the first LO and see bits of "my style" developing. Once again, we see tiny patterns and horizontal lines. In the more current layout, I incorporated more of the original sketch from the class video and traded out the brown, muted colors for brighter and softer shades.

I also took a huge step during the fall of 2011... I placed my very own order of scrapbooking supplies! I hadn't really figured out my likes and dislikes yet and ordered quite the hodgepodge of items, most of which were from the sale section. It is quite humorous to me to look back on this:
All of these things really were chosen at random and some of them are still in my stash or have been passed down to my daughters! 

Next up was Products You Love Every Which Way with Shannon Tidwell. The month's focus was chipboard. I hadn't ordered any of that yet, so I dug into the supplies from my friend Joy and found some chipboard shapes. I was so proud of myself for painting them to use on this layout!
I had received some washi tape and alpha stickers in my box of goodies and quickly put them to use on this layout too! It's funny, at the time it didn't even occur to me that I didn't have any patterned paper or journaling on here. 

Something extra exciting happened with this challenge, I won! Now, I should note that winners were completely random and the only requirement was participation. But, it still made me feel SO good! The prize was a $10 gift card for Two Peas and rest assured I spent that almost faster than it was awarded to me!

Just a few days ago, I re-watched that video and then made this:
Raw chipboard and stitching, YUM! It's so fun to look back and compare the two!

And of course, who could spend a month in classes at Two Peas without watching one of Shimelle's videos? Perhaps you remember the awesomeness that was the 4x6 Photo Love class? It is AMAZING! The ideas she presented in this class truly encouraged me to think outside of the box with my pages! Here is my first attempt at her October class:
It's interesting, this is a lot darker and a bit more "clunky" than what I now prefer. All part of finding my way...
And, here is my version completed just recently:
Oh, lookey there! A lot of the same colors were used, only kraft was replaced with white and smaller embellishment clusters were used.
I had so much fun revisiting these challenges! As I re-watched these videos and scrapped away, I couldn't help but think how amazing it is that all of these FREE resources exist online! The generosity of the paper crafting and scrapbooking industry is astounding! I have fallen in love with that. What is not to love about a community that is so free with the amount of education and inspiration that is shared? 

Having studied and worked in the commercial arts, I find it beyond refreshing that ideas are so freely exchanged, and even lifted, in this hobby! There are many areas of the arts where imitation is certainly not considered flattery. Paper crafting and Scrapbooking is wonderfully inclusive! It doesn't matter who you are, where you came from, or where you are going, anyone can grab some pretty papers and a photo and go to town. And you know what? Art should be accessible. Art should be fun. Art should make you smile.... and....

I am smiling :)

OK, now that I have gotten all philosophical.... are you wondering how I moved forward from all the challenges? Did I take a class? When did "my style" click? Was it smooth sailing into scrappy happy wonderland? Or, was there a bit of an awkward phase? Stay tuned....

Hi there! Thanks for joining me for another installment in My Creative Journey. Things are about to get exciting! In my last post, I had great fun revisiting some old challenges that helped jump start my scrapping obsession. What did I do next? Took a class, of course! 

You know by now that I had long since discovered Shimelle and I may or may not have read the majority of the archives on her blog. This did prove to be a good thing as not only did I discover a wealth of information with a completely witty and enjoyable writing style, but I also discovered that she has classes. LOTS of classes. They are totally affordable and if you missed them in the live versions, you can take them any time. How awesome is that? Not a news flash to many of you, I realize. But, this was a major revelation for me! In addition to being a stay at home mom of 3 small children, we are on a limited budget. Let's just say I don't get out much! So, attending crops or taking classes at the LSS was not something that would work for me. When I discovered her classes, I found my solution. YAY! 

After perusing her many offerings, I chose Something From Almost Nothing. I was initially drawn to this as I pretty much had almost nothing in my stash, I figured this would work out well for me. Plus it was only $15. 

Turns out that this class was really designed to help the more seasoned scrapper use up their stash and to not acquire new items just for the sake of a class. Silly me! But, you know what? That totally didn't matter...
After signing up for the class, I quickly received access to the private forum. The class had already run live, so all of the materials were there for me in an archived format. However, since I was new to this online class thing, I decided to act as though it was live and I took it one day at a time. There was a bit of a learning curve as I wasn't even sure what a "prompt" was. But, it wasn't hard and I started on my project almost as quickly as I had signed up. 

This class, like her others, is very flexible. Shimelle suggested a specific format for a mini book, but structured the prompts in a way that you really could make a layout or anything else for that matter. I had no idea what I was doing and wanted to learn as much as I could, so I followed right along with the mini that Shimelle made. 

Free printables were also provided and went along with a theme of "Celebrate Life." I like to celebrate. I like life. Works for me!
Since my life is centered around mothering these amazing children that I have been blessed with, I decided that my little book would be all about "My Life As Mom." Thankfully, Shimelle suggested that if we were intending to make the mini book, that we choose a color palette to work from. I would have never thought of that on my own and might have ended up with one hot mess if it weren't for her wisdom there!
Armed with pink, green, white and kraft, I dove in. Everyday I downloaded the corresponding PDF and worked my way through the prompts. Each lesson focused on a different material or supply. This was so ideal for me as I really didn't know much about such things. I stayed true to the intent of the class and didn't purchase anything extra. I used what I had in my small stash, found things around the house, and raided my mom's button stash.
From metal to alphas to transparencies and beyond, I scrapped, I learned, I made mistakes, I had fun and I made a mini!
And at the end of it I had a much better understanding of materials as well as my likes and dislikes. I even put that Zutter to good use. Worth way more than $15 I would say! 
In addition to my increased knowledge, I came away with something much more valuable. I had a MAJOR aha moment! I don't have to make anything for anyone other than me! Confusing? Let me try to explain. There is this notion, or at least there was for this art school graduate, that art is only art if someone else is willing to pay money for it. But...

I once heard a quote from the very talented and renowned Georgia O'Keefe who said something like:

I paint what I love and I am lucky that someone likes it.

For a very long time, I stopped making art. Every time I got an idea for something I was halted with thoughts like, who will buy this, how will I market this, is this a good long-term idea? Good Gracious! I should have just made it! Who cares if I would sell it or not? And if I did actually want to be a "working artist," I wasn't exactly going to achieve that goal by NOT making anything! Halted by expectations, I suppose. 
So here I was, making art, with no concern as to wether or not anyone would want to buy it or even look at it. That is when it completely clicked for me that this new hobby of mine was the perfect way to not only keep memories, but to express myself through art. I could be an "artist" even if no one else wanted what I was making. In a way, scrapbooking gave me permission to create without the concern of sales or some perceived notion of success. Good medicine for this recovering Graphic Designer!
The freedom from the idea that everything I make has to be greeted with, "You could sell this!" is priceless. I can make what I want to make. I can enjoy it...even if it's not the next addition to the MOMA!
I have gone on to take many more classes from Shimelle. They are all beyond amazing! But, this one will forever hold a special place in my heart. 

In fact, I think it should be this month's Layout Love Linky prize, don't you? 

Not as interested in this class? Already took it? No worries! If you win, you can apply the class credit towards any of her offerings. Consider this my gift to you for being part of Purple Mailbox. So, head on over to LLL and link-up! You have one more week to do so. A link back is always appreciated. Oh yeah - you might just get this tag in the mail too:
So, at this point in My Creative Journey, I have learned about the basic tools and supplies for scrapbooking, found the online world, participated in challenges, taken a class and finally gotten rid of my art school baggage... Smooth sailing from here? Not exactly. Hold on tight, things are about to get awkward. Really awkward...


Welcome back to another installment in My Creative Journey. In my last post, I found myself shedding my art school baggage while gaining a fresh new perspective on what it can mean to be an artist. So freeing!

But, I needed to find myself within that freedom. I had stopped making art for quite some time. My art school days were long over. Who was I as an artist now? What and how did I want to create? Finding that out proved to be a little bit awkward...

Thus began a brief (thankfully) artsy crafsty frenzy where I tried on many "styles" in an attempt to find my place in the vast world of scrapbooking.

I tried the monochromatic thing:
The grungy distressed thing:
The gesso background thing:
The scraplifting thing:
The cutesy (or whatever you want to call this) thing:
The messy paint thing:
The stitching thing:
And the neat and tidy embellishment thing:
Oh my...

As I worked on each one of these, I liked what I was doing, but when I was finished I felt less than satisfied. I hadn't found "me" yet. All of these techniques and approaches are fabulous and very valuable, but as I tried each one on for size...  I just felt so awkward. Kinda like I was wearing the wrong shoes. 

In fact, some of these layouts I have even gone back to redo, something I don't normally believe in. (More on that another time.) But, my very early layouts that were lacking completely in style still feel more comfortable to me than the ones here. 

The good news is that this process really helped me learn some of my scrappy preferences. While I had the least fun lining up things in perfect symmetry, I had the most fun doing the messy paint layouts. They do make me cringe a bit now, but the joy I had while making them helped propel me forward into "my style." 

I like messy. I like splatters. I like hanging threads. I like little bits and pieces layered up. However, I don't quite like these things done haphazardly. I don't like them done for the sake of being done. I don't like them when they detract from the story or photo. That is what makes me cringe. Now, this concept really is so subjective. What detracts my eye may not detract yours and visa versa. All I know is that they make me cringe, and I don't want to cringe when I look through my albums!

So, off came the uncomfortable shoes and I found some that fit a bit better. Although, I still wasn't sure if I needed heels, boots, or sandals....

Stay tuned....

Welcome back! Thank you for joining me as we continue with My Creative JourneyLast time, we took a look at a very awkward phase as I tried to find "my style." 

I played around with lots of different approaches, techniques, and ideas... trying to find a pair of comfortable scrappy shoes. 

All the while, I was uploading these awkward attempts to the the gallery over at Two Peas In a Bucket. What a glorious place for inspiration! But, I must confess, I became a bit too interested in how many times my layouts were "liked" or bookmarked. Inspiration abounds, but so do feelings of inferiority, if you let them. I was letting it.

I noticed that some of my awkward layouts were bookmarked more than others and well... I liked getting bookmarked. See, I had let go of the idea that my art had to be sellable. However, I still really wanted people to like it!

So, I started paying attention to the high heels of the gallery. The fancy layouts that everyone liked and was bookmarking. And, I imitated things I saw.

I scrapped things like this:
And this:
And even this:
I really like all of the above layouts and they still make me smile. I reigned the techniques in a bit but, they are lacking "me." So, I took off the high heel shoes and decided to try on some sandals. A bit more breathing room. 

And I scrapped the layout below. This layout is still one of my favorites today. I took major inspiration from Jen G.'s layout here as well as Piradee's layout here. I had so much fun making it my own and playing with lots of different bits and pieces!
And then I scrapped this. I got a bit more free with things like messy stitching, random bits and pieces, and a cockeyed photo, but those sandals still felt too tight. 
And then this layout came along. I loosened the straps on the sandals and mixed some collections here, getting a bit more comfortable...
And, I got lots of bookmarks. I felt really good. I felt like people liked what I was doing and while that shouldn't matter, it gave me a huge sense of confidence. A confidence to take off those shoes and go completely barefoot!

We'll see what that looks like next as we are almost at the end of this chapter in My Creative Journey...

Hello there! After trying on many different pairs of scrappy shoes, I am ready to go barefoot! At this point in My Creative Journey, I had tried many different styles and was scrapping for bookmarks. So silly. That is not a good place to be! I had realized that I didn't need to sell things to be an artist, but I still really cared what people thought of them. 

So, I began a simple layout. I pulled various papers and punches. I was quite proud of myself for mixing collections. After punching out my shapes and even doing a bit of fussy cutting, I got the layout to a very basic point of photo and a diagonal line of my punched pieces.

It needed something more. Those circles were just sort of floating there. Hmmmmmm. I pondered. And, I pondered some more. For some reason, I really felt like my page needed some strong horizontal elements. But, I already had all of my papers glued fast. What was a scrappy girl to do? Could I sketch in some lines? GASP! I don't know! Do people do that? Is it ok to doodle on a scrapbook page?

What if I don't get bookmarked? Oh, the horror! I was skeered...
But, I took off my shoes and did it anyway. And, I loved it!
Then, I couldn't stop. I stitched horizontal lines. I added lines of washi. I layered. I stopped worrying I was doing it the right way. I did it MY WAY.
I was scrapping in my bare feet. So comfortable. So freeing. Sometimes I stub my toe. But, I don't care. I had found my way! Could this be "my style?" Sure! I like it, it is coming from my heart... so, yes... I found my style! 

That is not to say I still don't try new and crazy things, scraplift something totally inspiring, and make stuff that makes me cringe. But, I do feel like with this layout, I hit my groove and something that is uniquely me. I love being barefoot!

In fact, I am so comfortable in my barefeet that I rarely ever get out of my pajamas now too! 

All comfy cozy, I scrapped layouts like this one, based on a starting point from Shimelle.
 And this one, still a favorite with its fun bright colors and unexpected mix of patterns:
 And this one where I had fun with two of my favorite products, washi and twine:
I had hit my groove! It's a wonderful feeling. Somehow, once I rediscovered who I was as an artist, I felt I had permission to run wild. I knew what I liked and what I didn't and that knowledge made it easier to try new things and push the envelope even more.

So, what cliff did these bare feet of mine decide to jump off of? I hope you will join me next time for the final edition of My Creative Journey...

Here we are, at the end of this chapter in My Creative Journey. Thank you for joining me this month as we took a look back at my first year as a scrapbooker. I have so enjoyed sharing this story and I thank you for reading! If you have missed any installments, I have created a button on the right side bar that you can click to read the story in it's entirety. 

In my last post, we took a look at My Turning Point and when it all really clicked for me. So what did I do with that revelation? Well, once again, I took a class! This time it was The Curious Scrapbooker's Field Guide with the fabulous May Flaum over at Big Picture Classes. I had originally found Big Picture through Stacy Julian's videos on My Craft Channel and had subsequently signed up for their emails. 

One day, an email came through about a new class with May Flaum. I had never heard of her. But, there was a video to watch about it and we all know that I am sucker for videos, so I hit play as fast as I could. WHOAH! This May lady seemed super cool and all of the mixed media fun she had planned for this class seemed right up my happy scrappy alley. 

So, with a bit of hinting, hubster bought the class for me for Valentine's Day. Ok, well... I bought it and told him that it was my present. Whatever works, right?!?

And boy, this class did NOT disappoint! In fact it exceeded all expectation. Not only was I enjoying the extensive prompt and video instruction, but the community on Big Picture was beyond amazing. I happily scrapped and chatted, getting to know crafters around the world. Fun times!

Here are some of my favorites from class...

I began with my first layout that included tags:
Trying out stamping in the background:
Stamping and Confetti fun:
Creating a resist with paint applied using cardboard:
Layers and stamping galore:
Playing with heat embossing:
Stamping and banner bits:
Molding paste meets butterflies:
Oh, and I even did my first mixed media painting since college. YAY! 
This class truly propelled me to the next level. It kept me inspired, motivated, and busy! I "met" people I still keep in touch with. Oh yeah, I hear through the grapevine that this class will return in 2013, so be on the lookout for that. I can't recommend it enough!

So what came next?... Well, that class was just a few months back, and since you are a fan of the mailbox, you already know! ... LOL.

This past year has been an exciting and wild ride full of pretty paper! I am not looking back. Thank you for being part of Purple Mailbox. Can't wait to see what the next year brings!


  1. Hi Ashli
    I'm Lois' friend (Aunt Lois aka Scalett Magnolia), so I guess we've been semi-introduced. Lovely blog
    I've been bloggin 5X per week since January and still got the bug. Check me out at - love lin

  2. I don't remember how I reached your blog, but I'am glad I did :) I started scrapbooking just over a year ago and my journey has been very similar to yours - was already scrapbooking, but didn't know it was called scrapbooking, came across videos and then Shimelle, took her class, bought random supplies, got carried away with others' styles and bookmarking on twopeas... I'am not sure whether I have found my style yet. There are days I feel I'am clean and simple girl and days when I feel I'am a mixed media girl.. still wandering around and trying to find myself. But I've given up the need to be 'liked' and 'bookmarked' and that has taken off a lot of pressure :)

    keep going!

    1. Thank you so very much! So glad to have you here and reading :)

  3. I love this Ashli, thanks for taking the time to share this with us! I am in the middle of my journey I think. Perhaps I am trying on shoes still at this point. :oP Your projects are always amazing!

  4. I just read through your whole journey and I am so inspired! I can't believe you have only been scrapbooking for a year (well a bit more than that now). I love how you tried so many different styles and projects and showed us some of each type! Thank you so much for sharing this :)

  5. Hi Ashli!
    I absolutely LOVE your blog. It provides me with the type of inspiration that motivates me to do MORE with my scrapbooking. A couple years ago I posted my first layout and you left me a wonderful comment...since then I have been a devoted stalker...ahem...I mean a devoted FAN.
    Thank you so much for sharing your creative process!

    1. Thank you so very much for your sweet words and thank you for reading!!!

  6. Where to begin??? I came here from two peas because I loved your layouts and found this page about your journey! I really, really enjoyed reading it, your writing style is GREAT and made me smile! And it was very interesting too! I started scrapping myself a year and a half ago and can relate to quite a few of the things you mentioned for example funnily Shimelle was also the one who got me really on the next level in the beginning- and in so many ways!:)

    To stay in the picture: At the moment I feel like sometimes wearing sandals, sometimes going barefoot, sometimes in trainers. The more I walk, I mean scrap (and browse the web^^) the more I realize what I really like seeing and doing. I have found my style to some extent, but I am still searching, too.

    In addition, this article series of yours inspired me to start my own series on how I started and so on! ;)

    Best wishes on your scrappy journey from Germany,
    Moni (Penny Lane)

    1. Thank you! You are so kind to read and leave such a lovely comment!

  7. What a fantastic read - thank you for your honesty in sharing this process. Truly inspiring and I'm so delighted to hear you enjoying the freedom of just being you creatively. Keep on keeping on!


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