Scrapbooking Christmas in January: What to Do when You Don't Know What to Do
Scrapbooking Christmas in January: When You Don't Do December Daily

Scrapbooking Christmas in January: When You Make a Layout You Don't Love

Christmas in january 2016
It happens to everyone: you have an idea for a layout, you make the layout, you finish and look at it, and think….ehhhhh. Consider this layout:

Christmas in january amy sorensen never leave home

I like some things about it: the green, gold, and cream color combination. Those cute rub-on houses, which go so well with the layout’s theme. The photo itself. (Strike that. I actually sort of love this photo.)

But I don’t love how the title turned out. I should’ve just cut the whole thing out of cream instead of swapping out the colors. And I think the quote at the bottom looks like it’s crooked.

I don’t hate it. But I don’t love it. It’s just…ehhhhh.

Which brings up a question: should you redo a layout you don’t love? Or just leave it alone?

Part of me wants to ditch this layout and start all over. (Even though I’d have to buy a new package of the rub-ons and a new piece of that gold-striped vellum). It’s the part of me that thinks but this is an important story I wanted to tell, and since it’s important, the layout should be impeccable. I think that motivation is a strong one—to make sure an important (for whatever reason) story is presented in a remarkable way. It’s part of what drives us scrapbookers to scrapbook. There are easier, less visually intensive, ways to tell our stories, but we choose to also illustrate them. It’s what we do!

But there’s another part of me that has learned something: done is always preferable to perfect.

I don’t know how many layouts I’ve made in my twenty-something years of scrapbooking. Close to 1,000, I would guess. Most of those stories I’ve scrapped are important ones, experiences, ideas, memories, tales and everyday details that I am grateful to have put down on paper. I’m happy to have the pretty illustrations, too. But I’ve learned in those two decades something that’s also important:

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what your layouts look like.

Especially not one layout in the context of hundreds.

Because think about it: your style is always changing. Products are always changing. Your design skills get better the more you scrapbook. You buy new tools, you use them for awhile, you get tired of them and pass them on to someone else. The thing that stays consistent in scrapbooking is just this: stories + photos. If you tell a story, and there's a picture to go with it (or you don't even have to have a picture!), the rest of it is fun, yes. But the embellishments and everything else—what the layout looks like—is secondary to the story.

Done is always preferable to perfect.

I can immediately think of five or six layouts I’ve made in the past two or three years that I actually kind of hate. Something happened between the translation of idea and finished layout. It just didn’t turn out like I wanted or imagined. But I did with those layouts exactly what I’m going to do with this layout: put them into albums and then move on.

There’s always another story. There’s always more pictures to scrap. If I let myself get caught up in a perfection quest, I’m doomed. So I reject that idea—that “important” stories demand perfect layouts. No layout is perfect, there’s always a typo or a slightly-crooked embellishment or a photo you processed too red or yellow. The next layout is just another chance. To tell a story, to use something pretty.

To get that memory onto paper where it might not be lost.

product idea: don’t forget that your fonts are also products you can use. I’ve narrowed down my font selection in recent years, especially for the ones I use to print journaling text, but one of my favorite embellishments will always be an illustrated quote like I made for this layout. What are some fonts you’ve loved? Use one or two in a big way on your next layout.

photo challenge: get yourself into a photo! Yes, I know. This is hard, especially if you’re the main photographer in your family. Sometimes it requires handing your camera to someone else and asking them to take your picture. I also know the argument: I’m too ___________ right now for a picture. (Fat, wrinkly, old.) My hair needs to be colored and I’m not wearing anything very special. To which I say: BULL! I have a handful of photos of me and my mom from my childhood, and when I look at them I never think she’s heavy in that picture. (Even though she would likely think that.) I think I am so glad I have this picture of my mom. I think I wish I had more pictures of my mom. You are never going to be younger than you are right now. You might be skinnier. But: you might not. You are only going to get more wrinkles and more grey hair. So let go of thinking you have to be perfect before you get in front of the camera. Just get in front of the camera now and then. Your future self—grey and wrinkled and softer and chubbier—will thank you!

So tell me: what do you do about layouts that you just don’t love?

Happy scrapping!



I leave mine alone too. We are our own worst critics. I'm pretty sure that my family wouldn't look at any of my pages and say they hate them or even dislike them. I also try to remember that if I go back and redo the page that is time for one less story to get told in my books. It is also good practice for this recovering perfectionist to accept less than perfection.

I love your layout by the way. The photo and the words are wonderful and that green word in the title is really just fine. :)


I find that over time, I eventually come to at least appreciate the layout, even if I don't really love it. My goal is to tell the story/record the memory and as long as I've done that, I'm happy.
I'm really enjoying your series - thanks for sharing your stories, layouts and tips!

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