by Tami Taylor

The 4th installment of a project in which Tami embarks upon a year-long quest (inspired by the Julie/Julia Project) to use the Get It Scrapped! book and website to Get It Scrapped!



Source: / OeilDeNuit

What turns you on? In each interview on Inside the Actors’ Studio, James Lipton asks his guest 10 questions, including: “What turns you on?” Some of the answers can be quite, well . . . interesting.

When I think of scrapbooking, I have to say it’s layouts that make my eye move. There is something to be said about having a visual plan of action when you are scrapbooking. For some it’s not a thought process, it’s intuitive, organic. Visual triangles, grids, and focal points just happen on their layouts. For others, it probably can’t get any more calculated. I am one of the ‘others.’ Scrapbooking isn’t always as easy as it looks.


Take a look at Debbie’s layout above. She probably just plopped all her stuff on a page and it looks fantastic. Her layout has a powerful grid, a focal point photo, and elements that draw your eye around the page. I especially love the text across the bottom of the right side that pulls your eye from the left page to the right. I wouldn’t have thought of that, nor would I have thought of the visual triangle she made with her brad attached elements.

Don’t hate her, it’s not her fault she’s so talented. When I was in high school, I was in the band. I worked my tail off learning to play the French Horn, I mean I worked at it. I took private lessons and practiced for hours without end. My friend, she was like the Rain Man of musical instruments. She could just pick up an instrument and make beautiful music. If she hadn’t been my best friend, I would have hated her.

Scrapbooking is supposed to be fun and thinking about all of the things I like in a layout, for every layout, is not fun. I have developed ways to make it look like I am a pro such as Debbie, without losing my mind in the process. I’m going to share those with you, be prepared to be amazed! OK, maybe not ‘amazed’. My secrets to success are these three things:

1. Take classes

2. Use sketches

3. Make cheat sheets

Take Classes

If you want to learn something; take a class. Really it’s that simple.

This isn’t something I say lightly, I have taken several scrapbooking classes in my life. I have attended the Great Lakes Mega Meet in Novi, MI every year from the first year I scrapbooked until I moved to Vegas. I attended probably 50 classes at those meets in all the years I went. I have taken classes online from several sites, not just here at Get It Scrapped. If I add in classes from my local scrapbook store, Creating Keepsakes University and other retreats I am well over 100 classes.

I love learning. I have had just a few classes (3 to be exact) that have been a disappointment. Otherwise I have either learned something from each class, had things I already knew reinforced or been inspired to do techniques that I hadn’t done in awhile. I hope knowing this about me gives me some credibility to say that in all the classes I’ve taken, Debbie has taught me more about the foundations of scrapbooking than any other teacher full stop.

Her class Page Parts was by far the greatest class I have ever taken. Many of us regular Hodgelings (Hodge followers) periodically harass her to offer this class again. I think we may be wearing her down. The other fantastic class was Building Pages. If you see either of these classes is offered again, take them. You won’t be sorry. To get an idea of how fantastic Debbie is, I recommend checking out the “Why It Works” articles on the home page. Videos with Scrapbooking Design Lessons. Debbie takes a look at a couple scrapbook pages and breaks them down for you.

You can find other great page design articles on the home page that will get you started on fantastic pages. Lessons and Ideas for Scrapbook Page Design.

Use Sketches

This is a no brainer. Using sketches is not new. Scrapbooking is probably one of the few areas of life that copying another person’s design for your personal scrapbook is a good thing. We have sketches at Get It Scrapped, a new one posted every Friday. {link}. I won’t get too in depth on sketches since I did that already, you can also read the article here. Using Scrapbook Page Sketches. I’ll just say that they are by far the easiest way to get a visual plan for your layout.

Make a Cheat Sheet

ruleofthirdsSurprisingly or not so surprisingly, another great class that helped my scrapbooking was a photography class. A lot of the ideas on visual composition for photos also apply to scrapbooking layouts. The suggestion in photography class for checking the composition of photos was to print the rule of thirds grid on a transparency. Then you use the transparency by holding it over photos to check the composition.

I realized this would be just as easy to do with a layout. Since I do not own a wide format printer, I had to make mine. I simply took a large transparency that I knew I wouldn’t actually use on a page and used some thin black tape I stole from my husband’s garage. (Shhh… That’s between you and me.) I taped a grid onto the transparency. I also purchased a dry erase marker.

Now when I am scrapbooking and want to work on practicing my page design skills, I will take that transparency and lay it on top of my layout before I adhere anything. I can check to see if it follows the rule of three with the grid. I can use the dry erase marker to mark focal points to see if they create a visual triangle. When I’m feeling adventurous I will play with tracing certain colors on my layout to see if I have followed the pint-quart-gallon rule of color choice. It can actually be fun ‘checking your work’ in this manner.

Before you accuse me of sucking the fun out of scrapbooking, realize I don’t do it on every layout. However, with anything in life if you don’t continually practice these things they will never become an innate part of your scrapbooking.

“As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.” – Vincent Van Gogh

It takes 21 days to develop a habit. I’m giving you 30. Over the next month you are challenged to scrapbook, scrapbook, and then scrapbook. All the while, practice the visual rules of design. As these rules become more natural to your process, it will make the rest of this project easier. The upcoming months of this project will be devoted to learning the different pages we scrapbook, how to emphasize the subject matter, and getting pages scrapped.

Take the challenge

I’d like to invite you to take this challenge and share what you create with us. When you find a page that shows a visual plan; a grid, a triangle, a strong focal point, share that layout with us. Put a link in the forum thread and share your thoughts on the layout. Share your process on page design; we’ll even let you brag if you’re one of those scrapbookers that are blessed and it comes naturally to you. On Wednesday April 28st, join us for a Pop Quiz chat at 9PM EST. You know me; there will be prizes. Matter of fact, the more people that show, the more prizes I will give.

Now go Get It Scrapped!


Tami Taylor writes for Get It Scrapped!, teaches at Masterful Scrapbook Design and previously owned Creative Passion To learn more about Tami check out her blog, The Taylor Life.