Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fighting Creative Block - Pamela McNichol

I hope that you all have been enjoying the interviews this week. I know each lady brought something a little different to the table in the way of insights and inspiration. I know it gave me a lot to think about and try (and a lot of new links to check out!!)

Our last interview about getting out of a creative rut is with Pamela McNichol of Digitreats. She's one of my favorite designers, and I've blogged about her before. Here's a little about her....

I have been paper scrapbooking for over 15 years but found digital scrapbooking around 5 years ago. I bought Photoshop Elements 5.0 and purchased a few video tutorials and figured the rest out on my own. I quickly went from just scrapbooking my own photos to trying to figure out how templates were made and then full out designing. I started designing freebies a few years ago and giving them away on my blog and then opened my Digitreats Store shortly after and began selling my designs. I still give away lots of free designs and I am currently working on 3 different kits in 3 different colour schemes that I give a portion away for free every day.
Digital Scrapbooking ... I love that I don't ever have to make a commitment in digital scrapbooking - I can move things around, make changes without having to rip things off of paper and I LOVE that I can reuse my supplies. I also love that I don't make nearly as big of a mess with digital scrapbooking.

What causes creative block for you?

Pressure ... the pressure to get something done especially when I feel like there is a due date/timeline. I like to give out a freebie every day on my blog and on days where it is getting to the end of the day and I haven't had time to make something I start to feel the pressure and then get blocked. Those are usually the days when I don't post something!

Which is harder, getting started or getting finished? Why?

Finishing ... I love to start a million projects but then I feel a sort of pressure to finish it and I bail! This is especially true when the project is not exactly working out how I imagined. I am a perfectionist and if it doesn't turn out exactly the way I wanted it to then I trash it all together.

What do you do when you get stuck in the middle of a layout or proje
Start a new one! I just move on and hope to come back to it later. I got sick of doing my Project 365 album from 2009 and just left it until January of this year even though I was more than 3/4 of the way through it in 2009. I got it in the mail last week and I love it ... wish I had it sooner lol!

Do you have a photo of a "stuck project?" (any plans for getting it un-stuck?)
I find it difficult when I have way too many pictures for an occasion and I want to include them all. I cheated on my Year in Review book last year and just ordered photobooks with no digital scrapbooking - just photos. I am disappointed in them and will have to go back and do it over again. I usually get stuck on the "what to say" part of a page but the layouts always look better with text and it really is an important part of capturing the memories.

Do you have any "go to" tricks or techniques that always work for you?
When I get stuck and feel pressured to complete a layout I purchase a new kit that I love and then "save" all of the layouts the designer/creative team has made with it and then I scraplift! Once you get a few quick and gorgeous layouts done with the new kit the inspiration comes back!
(what a great idea!!!)

Do you ever find inspiration outside the digital scrapbooking world? How does that "outside inspiration" translate to the digital canvas?
No ... I can't say that I get inspiration from outside the digital scrapbooking world except from my beautiful children of course :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fighting Creative Block - Katie the Scrapbook Lady

I cannot tell you how excited I am for today's interview!!! Katie Nelson is one of my favorite digital scrapbookers in the UNIVERSE! I look forward to reading her blog every day. It's simply inspiring. She's a "real life" person whose passion is to record her story. When I sent out invitations to different people to participate in this feature about creative block, I chose a few "big names" that I figured would politely decline, and Katie was one of them. When she sent me back a YES I literally jumped up and down in my kitchen!!!

So without any further's Katie!

My name is Katie Nelson but I go by “Katie the Scrapbook Lady” in the online world. I started paper scrapping when I was 14. I discovered digital scrapbooking in 2005 and never looked back. I blog at where I share my projects, inspirations, and creative passions. I’m a contributing writer and team member at The Daily Digi where I help teach thousands of people about the joys of digital scrapbooking. I’m a creative team member for the Shabby Princess. I’m also a course instructor at Big Picture Classes where I currently have a self-paced project on creating easy & color photo mosaic albums. I’m also a regular guest on the weekly Paperclipping Digi Show podcast where we have fun talking all about digi!

YELLOW mosaic

What causes creative block for you?
When I’m tired or sick I have a hard time feeling creative. I really need to take care of myself if I want to have the energy to create.

You love me - as seen in MSA Flourish June 2009

Which is harder, getting started or getting finished? Why?
Getting started is the hardest part for me. Finding the motivation and energy to begin is sometimes a roadblock for me. Usually once I get started, it is on my mind until I finish so I feel very driven to finish.

What do you do when you get stuck in the middle of a layout or project?
I will take small breaks when I feel stuck, but I find the best way to get through it is to just power on and keep working. Eventually, it all clicks and then it gets much easier. I find if I feel stuck, that I usually am overthinking the whole process. If I ask myself “What do I need to do to finish this?” I can usually find the answer within myself and get it done.

Do you have a photo of a "stuck project?" (any plans for getting it un-stuck?)

I started this digital layout more than 5 months ago in the hopes of researching my family tree. I created this layout to go with a post I wrote for The Daily Digi about Scrapping Your Family Tree. I know it won’t take much effort to finish it– most of it involves simply asking my parents some questions and sending a few emails. I just keep putting it off though, mostly because I filed it away on my external hard drive. I need to put this on my computer desktop so I remember to get it finished!

Where do you find inspiration?
This is a really broad answer, but I have to say the internet. I find SO much online that inspires me. I have several sites that I visit every day for creative inspiration; Flickr, The Daily Digi, Pinterest, and the Gallery Standouts Finger Pointing blog.

Do you have any "go to" tricks or techniques that always work for you?

My 2 best “go to” tricks are:
1. Use digital scrapbook templates. I almost always use templates these days and it makes it quicker, easier, and more fun to scrap!
2. Add some type of border or edge treatment to layouts. I did a post about this on The Daily Digi because it is one of the most useful scrapbooking tips I’ve ever found.

My word for 2009 is Learn

Do you ever find inspiration outside the digital scrapbooking world? How does that "outside inspiration" translate to the digital canvas?

I really like typography and graphic design. I may not copy the inspirations I find in those areas, but they do influence my style of scrapping. I find that I like clean lines, big photos, and great fonts.

I love Katie and all of the wonderful, inspiring ideas she provides to digital scrapbookers. Please check out her blog and her flickr photostream. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Getting out of the creatvie rut - Yin Goh

Thanks for stopping by again today. I hope you're finding some ideas to turn your creative blahhhhs into creative aaaaaaaahhhs!!

Today's guest is Yin Goh. I stumbled on Yin's blog because she was offering a free template that had a bunch of photos. Well I'm a sucker for a layout with a bunch of pictures, so I stopped by to download, but the more I read, the more I really appreciated Yin. I love how her photos are the stars of her pages. Here's how Yin describes herself....

I'm just someone who makes up templates from my layouts! I had a stint as a designer of kits about 4 years ago but stopped because it was too time consuming and I really just want to scrap my own photos! So making templates from layouts I had made seemed like a really great idea!

What causes creative block for you?

I always start with my photos in creating a layout. Once the photos are arranged in place, I look for the background papers and plan design elements. This is where I can get stuck - sometimes just not being able to find a satisfactory color scheme (it works or it doesn't!) or not being able to find a pleasing way to complement the layout. Then I can go on for a long time just trying out paper after paper, or element after element.

(I don't know...I think she does pretty well....imho)

Which is harder, getting started or getting finished? Why?

Getting finished! I'm always thinking there's another paper or element in my hard disk that will be better on the layout!

What do you do when you get stuck in the middle of a layout or project?
I usually lay it aside, start working on another layout, and come back to it another day when I'm fresh with new ideas.

Do you have a photo of a "stuck project?" (any plans for getting it un-stuck?)
Well, I have been wanting to complete our New Zealand album for the longest time, it was started in 11X8.5 format, and recently I finally got started on it again when there were requests for 11X8.5 format templates!

Knowing you are in the middle of your house renovation, do find yourself getting stuck in that project?
Definitely the renovation project completely took over all our energy and focus. But every four to five days, I will take a break and just dabble in some scrapping. I simply started many layouts, got the pictures saved in separate files for each layout. It did not take long, so that later when I have some time, I could jump straight into the arranging of photos, and searching for papers and elements, the parts I love most!

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Magazines, book and CD covers, movie posters, others' layouts! I'm always looking out for layout arrangements, color schemes, images that appeal to me.

Do you have any "go to" tricks or techniques that always work for you?
It is obvious, I almost always add a white shadowed mat for my photos, as I feel that they give each photo a distinctive border and make them stand out and more striking.

Do you ever find inspiration outside the digital scrapbooking world? How does that "outside inspiration" translate to the digital canvas?
As mentioned above. In addition, a lot of stuff I read inspire me in journaling and provide ideas and (topics other than events) for me to scrapbook. Now all I need is more time! :)

Thanks for your imput Yin!! Visit her on her blog.

What about you? Do your photos take center stage in your layouts? Are you simple and linear like Yin? Have you ever crammed as many photos on a layout as she does. I have, but it doesn't look as good as hers!

Fighting Creative Block - Tanya Hickman

So yesterday we started talking about what to do when you get in a creative rut. I thought it would be interesting to ask some of my scrapbooking friends what they do when they experience a lack of creativity. Our first guest is Tanya Hickman.

I know Tanya because we were hanging out in the same digiscrap forums. I always admired her layouts because they are of amazing things to look at. There's always a surprise. Here's how Tanya describes herself.....

Ok, here is the basic run-down on me =) My name is Tanya and I am a 29 year old Hair Stylist from southern California. I have been a Digital Scrapper for almost 2 years. I started paper scrapping about 15 years ago and I always loved the look of a traditionally scrapped album. I had heard of Digital Scrapping and after about 6 months of "thinking" about trying it, I gave in and haven't looked back!

What causes creative block for you?
Sadly, there are quite a few things that cause creative block for me! hehe. But I think that is normal. Sometimes my mind is just too distracted or there is too much going on around me. Other times, there is really no other way to describe it, I am just not in the mood to scrap. It happens to everyone. After 2 years of scrapping, I have really learned what products work well with my style and what products do not work well with my style. Sometimes if I need to work with a kit for creative team duties that just doesn't fit my style, it takes a couple days of figuring out what I am gonna do. It is a good challenge for my creativity. Even though I can't figure out how to use the product at first, I always find a way to make it work for me in the end. There is always a lot of trial and error, but that is the fun part!

Which is harder, getting started or getting finished? Why?
Getting started is always the hardest part for me. Like most scrappers, I have a TON of photos and trying to pick a couple takes me forever. It is usually the picture picking process that takes me the longest. Once I have that figured out the rest is a piece of cake.

What do you do when you get stuck in the middle of a layout or project?
I take a break. Sometimes it is just a couple minutes, other times it is a couple hours. When I stare at the same thing for so long, my eyes just need a break. Every once in a while I will send the layout I am stuck on to a scrapper friend to get their opinion. It is amazing how helpful it is to have a fresh pair of eyes look at your work and make some suggestions. I couldn't survive without my scrap friends.

Do you have a photo of a "stuck project?" (any plans for getting it un-stuck?)
I don't have any right now. Even if it takes me ALL day, I will finish my projects before I go to sleep, because I won't be able to sleep! lol. I have had nights where I am up till 5am because I have to finish what I am working on. Again, I just take a break and that is usually all I need to get the job done.

Where do you find inspiration?

Oh man. I find inspiration all over the place. A lot of the time it comes from fellow scrappers. There are some seriously talented people in the digi-scrap community and they inspire me every single day. Sometimes my inspiration comes from the photo I am using or even a color scheme that I have seen somewhere. There is a awesome new site called Pinterest, that I use to find LOTS of inspiration.

Do you have any "go to" tricks or techniques that always work for you?

I like to have great photos on my layouts. So photo editing is always a must for me. I really don't think I could live without photo actions, but sometimes it is just as simple and bumping the brightness of your photo. It can make a really huge difference and take a photo from drab to wow very easily. This is all you got to do:

Open up your photo (I am using Photoshop Elements):

Duplicate your photo:

Change the blend mode on the new layer to "screen":

Lower the opacity of the "screen" layer until you like the way it looks:

Here is my before photo:

And my after photo, it doesn't seem like much, but it can make a really big difference:

Do you ever find inspiration outside the digital scrapbooking world? How does that "outside inspiration" translate to the digital canvas?

I am a huge Disney fan and spend a lot of time at Disneyland. I scrap those adventures all the time, so I am always looking at ways for my layouts to really capture that "Disney" feel. Little things always make a huge difference when it comes really making a layout pop and give the layout the feel that you want. Here are a few examples of layouts I have made that I think do a good job of translating the Disney feel that I am always trying to bring in:
(I love this about Tanya's Layouts!!!)

Thanks Tanya for your feedback and the mini tutorial! If you want to visit Tanya's blog, go HERE. She's in the middle of a daily blog project that's been an interesting read. And go to ScrapMatters and check out their Design Star challenge. Tanya is one of the designers in that competition hoping to earn a spot as a designer for ScrapMatters.

What did you learn from Tanya's post??

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creative block

Creative block.....arrrrrgh.....
We all get it. We all hate it. We all have to deal with it, and it causes frustration along the way. For me it happens the most for me when I have too many things on my plate. If there's one thing I know about myself is that I need regular intervals of creative activity in my life. It can come in the form of music, writing, decorating in my house, painting, photography, or scrapbooking (which is my favorite). When I get too much stuff on my plate, I feel that need for creativity in my soul the most, but I rarely make the opportunity to do so. All in all, it makes me pretty grumpy.

My Paper Note Inbox 3

I'm in that place right now, too much on the to do list, and not enough getting crossed off. No posts on the glue or paint on my photos on the camera waiting to be edited... I'm looking at my calendar for a chunk of time that I can make an appointment with myself to get doing what I love to do, but often, when I do make that time for myself, I get overwhelmed at what to do. So many projects, so much inspiration, so little time....and unfortunately nothing substantial gets done! Aggravation on top of aggravation!

Sometimes it's not just the getting started that gets me, it's knowing how much it would take to get finished. Let's take my daughter's baby book. All the scrapbook layouts are in a box. Yep. A box. I was working on the pictures from the last few months of her first year when I discovered digital scrapbooking. Suddenly, I didn't have any desire to hold a glue stick, but I already had the pictures printed and supplies and embellishments purchased. I have even gone through and listed how many layouts I have left. Do you want to know how many? 8. Only 8. What's keeping me from getting them done....well....part of it is the frustration that I had with paper scrapping that I don't have with digital scrapping - never running out of letter stickers, not leaving a mess on the table when I have to stop scrapping to pick up my kids at school...I could go on, but I won't.

So what's a girl to do? There are a few things.
I set a timer. I have to have a deadline. I work the best under pressure. So I turn on the timer and attack my to do list. If I get stuff checked off, I'm more likely to not feel guilty for doing something creative for me. You need to know that sometimes this approach backfires on me. When I push myself so hard, sometimes I just don't have the energy to be creative.

Ticking Time

Another thing I do is look back at some works in progress. We all have them... I'll open up all the layouts on my computer for a book that's not quite done - like the Christmas scrapbook I've been working on for 2 years now, or the "Funny things my kids say" album that only has a few layouts in it. Sometimes that inspires me to try something to add to that album, or sometimes it just reminds me why I like scrapping.

One of my favorite things to do is to accept a challenge. Many digital scrapbook sites have a forum where members will challenge each other - either with new techniques, themes, or ideas - and sometimes the challenges are just random. One website I've been stalking recently is the Digi Dares. Each week, they post a challenge, and when you complete the "dare," you post your results in a gallery and link to it when you comment. Each week they choose a winner.

My favorite challenge is a speed scrap. My favorite place to speed scrap is Scrap Matters. They tend to have a speed scrap every week, sometimes twice a week, and most of the time they fall at times when I can participate. This is how it works. A host compiles a set of directions to complete a layout, and over the space of an hour, they will post those directions one at a time using either a chat room or a forum. Most of the time, you'll have 6 or 7 directions total and you'll get a new step every ten minutes. So at the end of an hour, you'll have a whole layout done! Now you're probably thinking, "Ten minutes per step?!? That's a lot of time!" Not so much! You're not in charge of the steps! And most of the time you're chatting it up with the other people in the chat room! It's a fun thing to do. When you're done with your layout, you can post it in a gallery, and check out what everyone else did with the same directions as you had. Sometimes you'll be amazed at how people interpret the same steps differently.

As I was thinking about Creative Block, I decided it would be nice to hear what some of the people from the scrapping community have to say about creative block. So over the next few days, you'll hear some perspectives from other inspiring people about how they get past their creative block. See you tomorrow for our first interview!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:In my car....

Friday, February 11, 2011

what I love about #3 at age 3

There's a lot that can be said about being 3 years old....
All of my kids hit the "terrible twos" in their 3s. And there are a lot of character building moments I'm having with my 3 year old. But this picture sums up what I love about being 3....I love that you can be big and little all at the same time. Look at how you cross your legs when you sit. Look at the big kid tennies you wear. You look so grown up when I put a long sleeve shirt under your tee shirt. You were big enough to go on Thunder Mountain today...but you're still small enough to fall asleep within minutes after we start the car after a big day. You're still small enough to carry and snuggle under my chin. You're still small enough that when you ask for chocolate milk it's cute. And you're still small enough that when you say "I love you mommy," and grab my cheeks, it still melts my'll probably never outgrow that.
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