Yesterday I was lamenting the withering of blogging. I miss the days of reading the blogs of people who became friends, many of them scrapbookers. I miss reading scrapbooking blogs that were about scrapbooking instead of about design team or kit club assignments. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…I understand that the industry has to function somehow.) I miss reading about one of my favorite subjects without feeling like I was being sold something. So I complained about it a little bit, on a Facebook group I belong to.
And then I remembered that I, too, have a blog. And I don’t write about scrapbooking very often anymore either!
Partly this is because I have let go of my scrapbookerly ambitions while I focus on writing. I’ve never wanted to be on a design team (because designing layouts with the goal of showing how to use products does not sound like a thing I’d be good at) and I don’t subscribe to any kit clubs (because the longer I scrap, the pickier I get about what products I will use). But it’s also because of low blog stats in general, and fewer comments. And because there aren’t a lot of other bloggers anymore to share the scrapbookery blogging camaraderie with.
I found myself thinking of Toni Morrison’s advice to writers: write the book you want to read. The same can be said for blog posts! So I decided that I’m going to start blogging more about scrapbooking. About the process, or about journaling, or about using supplies. Share tips or suggestions or journaling prompts. Or just my thoughts. Because after all, it is one of my favorite topics, regardless of who reads or not.
Today I’m thinking about an essential part of your patterned paper arsenal (wait? is it an arsenal? Well…I probably could cause quite a few papercuts if I started flinging paper around. I have a lot.) and that is multicolored stripes.
I learned the power of the multicolor stripe from quilting. It’s quite often what quilters use to bind our quilts (although I’m also fond of little polka dots). For me, it’s nearly always the thing I buy after my quilt is entirely finished. And as it generally takes me years to finish a quilt (not kidding!), there’s no way I could buy any of the same fabrics I used in the quilt. The key to finding a good binding is to look for a stripe that has the same neutral base (white, cream, or grey) as the neutrals in your quilt, and some (but not necessarily all) of the same colors in the same hue. It’s amazing how the striped multicolored binding pulls everything together!
The same thing goes for scrapbooking. I almost never use multi colored striped papers in big chunks, but as smaller accents that are there to tie all the colors together.
Take this layout:
When I first started chosing supplies, I didn’t even know where to start, because there are so many colors in the photos. I almost went with yellow…but decided on light blue and light turquoise. I pulled these supplies:
(I almost always pull WAY MORE STUFF than I could ever use on one layout. Then I have to put it all back when I'm done! Also, I took this after I made the layout...so some things I put on the layout couldn't be in this photo.)
But everything felt a little bit blah. So I riffled through my multicolored pattern drawer and came across this (very old…I think it’s from 2010) My Mind’s Eye stripe (from their Fine & Dandy line…I loved that line!) It had the turquoise/blue feel of what I’d already pulled, but it added brow and orange into the mix, and it was just the right amount of snap. Since everything I’d already pulled was mostly monochromatic, I added some brown and tan and got to work. (I didn’t add any orange because I didn’t want the layout to “read” as orange. Even though I love orange! It just wasn’t the feel I wanted.)
Without that stripe, I never would have added orange and brown to turquoise and light blue. But the stripe pulls everything together. And I absolutely never, ever would have thought to add brown and tan to an Easter layout. But the turquoise and blue keep it feeling springy.
That’s one way you can use a multicolor stripe—to add something extra while simultaneously pulling everything together.
You can also start with a stripe that goes with the feel of your photos, and then pull other supplies that work with the stripe. Usually I use the stripe in small pieces, so it doesn’t overwhelm the whole layout. But I have a bit piece of that stripe left. I think I’m going to challenge myself to use a good portion of it in a different way.
Maybe that will be my next scrappy blog post!
Do you like using multicolored stripes on your layouts?