Wednesday, 17 October 2012

It's Wednesday

..which seems as good a day as any again this week  for Thinking Out Loud. And today I'm thinking about what it takes to make a good page.

- what does it take for you to finish a page and lean back and say to yourself - this one works and I like it?
- or, when you look at a page by somebody else, what makes you say - wish I'd made that one?

What works for you?
  • Let's start with finishing it because I bet somebody's thinking it. It's a good point.  It's not often I start one page before finishing another; but it has happened and then it's harder to go back. Or is it? Anyone make lots of pages and then add all the journaling, say, in one sitting?
  • Is it the design? Of course there are tricks you can learn to help a page look pleasing to the eye; and if your brain likes what it sees. it will make you stop and look a bit more - but maybe a page with heart is just as attractive? Certainly it's just as important. Fifty years from now, someone dipping into your scrapbook will be there - probably- because they want to find out something about your or your family and not just because they like pretty pictures




  • The photo? It's no secret that I like to make pages with any photo I can get my hands on. If I have no photo at all, I do without. And I'm happy with that. But there are many, many talented photographers out there who take gorgeous photos and add them to layouts and make us stop in our tracks. Their success isn't only in pulling me in to look at their pages, it's in their pushing me on to try to take better pictures.
  • The story? Would you be surprised if I said I don't think all pages need a story? Maybe you don't agree? Year ago, scrapbooks were repositories, like day books for recipes and quotes and thoughts, scraps of fabric, even, or postcards. I'd like to see more of this kind of scrapbooking today. Pages with memorabilia or a great saying or line from a song? They are good pages!


  • and I guess that means that I don't think you need a lot of fancy stuff to make a good page either. I love to shop for it, and I get pleasure from using it; but what I don't need are lots and lots of special exclusives or limited editions. Because I love to see scrapbooking as a leveller.I think it shows us how alike most of us are underneath it all. We all - mostly- face the same challenges in life, look for the same good bits, try to get through the same bad bits. Pages we can all relate to are good pages. And you don't need fancy stuff for that.
  • So, what does that leave? Crazy pages about one off funny incidents? Pages about feelings? about life changing events? The subject, then. And if the subject matters to you, then you'll turn it into a good page, with or without any of the extras. And you'll have had fun doing it. What do you think?
What do you need for a good page? I bet I've left something out...


My pictures today come from a little album I made for a Scrap365 article Twenty Things Good Scrapbookers Need to Know which originally appeared in April this year.



31 comments:

Ladkyis said...

I just had to go look at the article again and as soon as I opened the magazine I remembered that my first thought about that article had been "but this is just common sense!" I said this to Mr M who gave me the look. The one that says "you are forgetting your experience" and then I realised that not many scrapbookers are my age and not many scrapbookers have albums going back to the late 1960s. What do I need for a good page? some paper some sticky stuff a pair of scissors a pen with archival ink and a subject to scrapbook.
You have done it again Sian, now I want to go over to my blog and write about this

helena said...

Thought provoking as ever. I think the answer is different for 'I made that and it worked' and 'I wish I'd made that'. For the 1st I'm happy for 2 reasons - it records something I wanted to record and/or the design is pleasing.

When I look at pages other people make it is usually the design that I covet.

Linda said...

In a word - BALANCE. I love a balance between photo, story, design and colour:)

Ladkyis said...

I blogged about this
http://scrapbookannie-ladkyis.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/what-do-i-need-to-make-page.html

Sian said...

Helena - "covet", yes, I think that's a brilliant word. I covet the good design I see too.

and Linda - I really like that idea of "balance" - and I'm thinking maybe we all have our own idea of perfect balance?

"Common sense"? Yes, I think it is! But there are lots of brand new scrappers out there and when I think about how I felt the first time I found a scrapbook magazine and I think about what I'd like to read. Lots of us have complicated reasons behind our decision to scrapbook, and a bit of basic encouragement can help with that. I hope.

scrappyjacky said...

Food for thought as always,Sian....and I tend to agree with Helena's comment....though I do know that a design I love on someone else's page isn't always something that would work if I tried it!!
And I am slightly surprised that you said a story isn't always needed....because I always think of you as the perfect storyteller....but I completely agree with that comment....and I love pages full of memorabilia.

Jennie Hart said...

Great Sian, I make pages for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways. Sometimes I make one for me with my favourite photo, story and stash. Sometimes it is all about the photo, often the story and sometimes to get a photo scrapped and enter a challenge. I would be bored if it were all one thing :)

BTW, that minibook is fab.

Sue Althouse said...

Great food for thought, and I like that different answers for different people is entirely appropriate. One thing I will never forget when doing my first scrapbook album: I would finish a page and our son would say, "Let me see what you wrote." I always keep that in mind.

humel said...

Right now, I think I'd be happy just to make a page!! I have a stack of photos printed, a mental list of stories to tell, some pretty papers from recent online shopping sprees - and I'd really like to be putting them together, but my foot won't allow! :(

Cheri said...

Hmmmm. For me, my favorite pages are ones where I've told a story or shared something about someone's personality that has the memory preserved for all time. If I've managed to pair it with a great photo, even better. If I've gone beyond that and scrapped it in a way that pleases me, then I'm ecstatic. For example, my recent "She's Got A Way" layout about Becca - love the photo, love what I wrote, love the products I used and the way the layout turned out. The similar layout for Rachel "Beautiful" - while I love that photo of her, I was doing that layout to fulfill CT obligations and I'm not thrilled with how it turned out and it doesn't really tell the story I wanted to tell.

Jennifer Shaw said...

I love your little book of scrapbooking tips! I agree that we don't need all the fancy stuff to make a good page. I still do tend to do enough scrappy shopping though. ;) Some of my favourite pages are ones where I have used really old paper lines. I love embellishments to be made from paper on hand. I think the story is the most important thing and I am working to up my journaling on my LO's. I still do scrap photos that don't have a story just because I love the photo. This usually happens regarding scrapping my pups and my grandkitty, Mo. Their photos just make me happy. :)

alexa said...

Your thoughts and the little book of tips have brightened my day - good to be reminded that memorabilia, bits and pieces of life make up a scrapbook. I'm never sure what makes a good page for me: but if the words don't communicate something, then i like the photo to ...

Louise said...

i found myself nodding in agreement as i read this post. What i like about scrapbooking is that it is personal to you (the scrapbooker) and there is no right or wrong!

in perfect agreement that there are occasions when a story is not needed - your little book is a great reminder too x

Lisa-Jane said...

I rarely make a page I am really happy with but sometimes that's okay because I have enjoyed the process or recorded another story. I like to have an audience, in my children mostly, but my blog friends too. I like good design in other people's or a story that makes me go "oh yes" or using something in a new way.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Motivation & inspiration are what move me. Sometimes I am motivated to scrap but have no inspiration about what I really want to scrap about or how I want it to look. Sometimes I have the inspiration for a layout but can't motivate myself to fire up Photoshop & actually create it. Both need to line up and it's been awhile since they have.

Amy said...

The subject is the entire point, I also think that an album is best viewed as a whole, not the individual pages and that then means that I do agree there is a place for memorabilia and wordless pages and the knick knacks of life within an album.

It is no secret that I am a fan of very simple pages, because for me they allow the photo or photos and words to shine - however, the putting together of a page is irrelevant if the message/subject/story/essence is there for you to see and read.

What can I say ... I love it all!

Pages that particularly appeal to me are ones where I know what I am supposed to be looking at or reading. Regardless of use of product or lack thereof, if the page makes me feel dizzy, confused or overwhelmed, it doesn't work for me.

Interestingly enough, if the colour sceme of a layout is appealing and well put together it makes it easier on the eye for me - I know that goes without saying, but, some people have a good eye for colour and it seems to be a factor that overrides design style.

Another topic where I could go on for longer than is necessary here today ......

Amy said...

Cheri makes an interesting point about fulfilling CT assignments and that her page for that wasn't as pleasing as the page she made with no boundaries ... I have heard many designers speak similarly over the years - I wonder why? Is their journaling not as free? Is it too confining?

Just wondering?

Julie J said...

I always try to make my DT projects something I want to scrap about (which is why doing the recipe challenge I do is perfect - I don't have any boundaries). If I'm given a theme or subject that makes it way harder and I'd rather skip an assignment than produce something where I don't 'feel the love'.
What still surprises me is when I make a page I'm not 100% happy with (usually because it didn't come out the way I had it in my head) but then other people really like it.
What I like best about my pages is when they are mine - I hate going to crops or classes where you follow the teacher's page step by step. It may be beautiful, but it's not mine.

laurie said...

what makes a good page? you have touched on so many important elements. i believe, simply put, that if you are passionate about the subject matter, that enthusiasm will come through and make the page attractive to others. really this is what you, and the other comments have said, so i am just summarizing and agreeing. :-)

S said...

Oh this is all good food for thought- some lovely advice in your cute book too! But I would say that don't let the lack of anything you mentioned - subject, photo, supplies, design - being "good enough" to keep you from scrapbooking. More good ends up on a "bad page" than no page at all! Sometimes it is not the page that is the thing, it is making the page that is the thing.

Maria Ontiveros said...

I think it's about telling a story or remembering an event. I try to figure out what I'm trying to say with a page and then pick a color scheme and embellishments which support that message. I then go for balanced presentation of the photographs and journaling which records the story.
Rinda

Missus Wookie said...

It has been the stories for me, paired with photos and cute stuff is good but primarily the photos. Hence the blog working as a recording device for me.

So really well done? Good story telling, a memory captured or a gorgeous photo and yes sometimes loving a product and wanting to play. But usually loving a product is because it reminds me of a story or a set of photos.

Ifa said...

I am loving that minibook. I missed that issue of the mag.

I don't envy any great photographer their photos because I much prefer "normal" to tell my story. But I do envy those scrapbookers who manage to make their pages, just so. I am searching for that touch...and oh, maybe a cutting machine.

Melissa said...

For a good page, I just need some time to play in my craft room. For me, it's about the process of enjoying my photos and scrapping supplies. Some pages have long stories, some have funny stories, some have short stories, some have no stories - I like them all. I can't remember a time that I worked on more than one layout at a time - I like to complete one & clean up before starting the next. I do, however, have mini-albums in progress along the way.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

You're absolutely right about not needing all the latest trends to make good pages. In fact I think I made better pages when I didn't have so much stuff! I haven't bought scrapbook paper for about 2 years and I won't be running out any time soon.
It's mostly about the photo for me. Not overwhelming it on the page and allowing it to tell its story, with whatever additions that needs.

Karen said...

I used to scrap a lot of photos with very little (sometimes no) journaling. Today I need at least a brief story about the photo. Sometimes it 's the photos that prompt the page, sometimes the stories. Although I admire and covet the pages I see on blogs that are intricate and filled with product, it's not something I can pull off and be happy about. My pages are pretty clean; just a few embellishments. Recently (thanks to you & Melissa) they've included Flair buttons and some Washi tape. :-) I usually finish a page and let it sit for a day or two. Sometimes I add a bit more, sometimes I'm happy with it as it is, and on rare occasions, I take it apart and redo it. After taking Cathy Z's class, Design Your Life, I do pay more attention to design elements than I used to.

Scrappi Sandi said...

Hmmm...very thought provoking! I usually have only one LO in progress at a time & generally it's a moment in time I want to preserve...if the photo is self explanitory there'll be minimum data on the page...if there's a hidden story, then more journalling! I hardly ever scrap without a photo & do like to incorporate any relevant ephemera...tickets, menu's etc. I've just looked through my Photobucket LO album & the ones that jump out at me are mainly monochromatic & with texture! When I look at other peoples work I like the focus to be on the photograph...showcased by the techniques & window dressing! Sometimes the artwork on a LO is so fussy...beautifully done, but just so busy...that the photo/story is lost in it's midst! So...what do I need for a good page? A memory to preserve...a good title in mind...some scissors, pretty paper & glue...a pen to journal & anything else is a bonus! :D

Alison said...

I don't think I've ever scrapped a page without a picture, and I do like to have some sort of journaling on most of my pages..I like my pretty papers and embellishments too, but don't like the em bellies to take away from the photo
Alison xx

Jo said...

I very rarely start a page with one unfinished one, I think I lose the flow. I find it easy to fall in love with other people's layouts and wish I could make the pages they make, I think I'm to critical of my work (I guess a lot of us are). I always find I like my layouts better when I look at them the next day with fresh eyes. I don't think a story is always necessary, if it's a subject you scrap a lot, like one of your children, then I like the pages that just show off a great photo of them with no need for words. I don't think I've ever done a layout without a photo and I am oh so guilty of not getting memorabilia! Great, thought provoking post Sian.

Ginger said...

This is a tough question for me. I know I have said this once before already, that my scrapbooking has really changed this year. I would say when I create a layout, I am doing it with a bit of an artistic approach with taking a variety of design elements into consideration. However, PL has me telling more stories. So for my PL spreads, lots of it is about the story and the photos for that week.In the end, I think I love it all! LOL!

Barbara Eads said...

All I need to finish a page is TIME!! I'm good about organizing my time to make sure that I can do all of the things that I want. Of course, it's a bit easier to be an empty nester. I don't care if the page has a photo, story or cool products. I just want a little time to sooth my soul!!

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