Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Personal Ella Publishing eBook Challenge

Of the scrapbook challenges I set out for myself, my Ella eBook challenge is really a series of challenges in one. These are the eBooks I own and will use in my challenge:
I happened to win "How to Scrapbook Your Personal Heritage" in a giveaway on Donna Jannuzzi's blog and the Free Super Sampler is, obviously, FREE (go check it out!). The rest I've purchased, which you would think would be a good reason to go and MAKE something after purchasing. But no; I've had several of these for a long while now and have not made anything as a direct result of the inspiration and ideas I found. I certainly found plenty of ideas, but just never acted on them.

So now my challenge is simple: read through these eBooks and use each to inspire at least one layout. In other words, do something with the ideas I have collected here. 

First up: Stretch Your Sketches
Of all the eBooks, this one with sketches seems the most obvious for action. If one buys a book on page sketches, it seems one should pick up the book and actually do something with those sketches! In addition, I have admired Donna Jannuzzi's style -- I like her color and pattern combos, and the way the photos are often neatly grouped in boxes. I definitely wanted to try out one of her sketches.

This was my first page inspired by Stretch Your Sketches:

A Moment Shared
(Papers: Me & My Big Ideas "A Kid Like Me" activity pad (red dot), SEI (striped), Making Memories (green dot), assorted scraps (blue and red); letter stickers: Recollections from Michael's; brads: Recollections from Michael's)

I ended up being so pleased with the result, I got started right away on another page:

(Papers: Recollections "Autumn" paper pad (pumpkin print), Bo Bunny "Shabby Princess" (diamond print), Die Cuts with a View (orange textured cardstock), Recollections cardstock (off-white and brown); flocked tags: Heidi Grace; journaling spot: Making Memories; letters: Punch Out Alphas from Remember When)

With Donna's pages as inspiration, I used patterned paper and bright colors a little more boldly than my typical way, particularly in that first one. Left to my own devices, I would have just used that bright red dot paper in another strip or that orange paper in a smaller dose on a kraft or white background, but I felt these ways were more in keeping with Donna's style, and I love the result!

I must admit I was inordinately pleased with myself after creating these two pages and left them out in the dining room so I could admire them in passing. In addition to being so happy with the tangible outcome, I just plain enjoyed drawing direct inspiration from a relatively different style -- sort of stretching my design muscles out of their usual routine.

For my next challenge, I'm looking at 20 Simple Secrets of Happy Scrapbookers and already have a list of at least five possible pages to make with the prompts from that eBook. I like this feeling of having scrapbook homework assignments to keep me motivated and trying new things.

On a Roll...

This year I have been creating scrapbook pages more often and consistently. I've been averaging at least one digital or paper layout a week, which for me is great. In the past I was more of a scrapbooking-in-spurts kind of person, going weeks or months without touching my paper trimmer, then creating for a few solid weeks. Now I'm always thinking about my next layout and moving through a lot of recent and past stories I've wanted to tell. In short, I'm enjoying my hobby immensely and feeling inspired and creative all the time.

One of the things that has helped me are lists, not just the lists of layouts I want to make, stories to tell and photos to take, but also keeping a list of the pages I complete - a great way to see just how much I'm creating, especially in the case of digital layouts since I don't print them right away.

I've also started sharing my layouts online more often -- on this blog, on Flickr or in the class galleries for Big Picture Classes. Not only is it another visual reminder of what I've completed so far, but receiving comments from fellow scrapbookers about a page is very satisfying. Especially since my only other feedback generally comes from my husband who has no appreciation for color selections to match a mood or the use of white space.

Another thing that's been working for me this year is trying more online challenges, whether I complete them on time and share them or just work at my own pace. I have gotten several great ideas -- for stories and designs -- from challenges and they help me be more productive since they give me a sort of jump start, plus a bit of motivation in the form of a deadline.

I've liked the challenges so much, I've made up a few for myself for the year. They include:
  • Make a page inspired by something I've liked on Tumblr.
  • Make (at least one) page inspired by each of the eBooks I have bought from Ella Publishing Co. (I currently own five eBooks and have my eye on the latest one, Scrapbooking the Everyday, so it's time I do more than just look at them.)
  • Complete a layout challenge from a site other than Write.Click.Scrapbook. (I find so much inspiration from WCS, that I feel like a stalker sometimes, so I am forcing myself to branch out a bit.)
  • Make a page every day for one week (I love the idea of a layout a day for a month, but sometimes I like to aim low).
  • Make a home decor item using my scrapbook supplies.
I'll share the results of my challenges as I complete them -- just one more way to keep me turning out layouts this year.