Like everyone else, when I sit down to scrapbook, I start with the photos. Unlike everyone else, however, the last thing I choose is the background paper. I discovered a while back that my wonderful supply of embellishments - from chipboard shapes to charms to beads and buttons and ribbons - was not getting used because I always had trouble finding just the right thing to match the paper. So, I decided to try something different and pick the paper after I had chosen everything else.
The key to this system was simple - two plastic dividers, the ones that come with the paper holders. I don't use those dividers so I trimmed two of them to 12x12 and then taped them together with packing tape. Folded, it is a background for a one-page layout. Unfolded, it is a two-page spread.
The next photo in the file folder was this one from Christmas, of my two boys and my nephew.
Since nothing was coming to me, I dove into my file of ideas, going through my collection of single photo and two-photo layouts. I cut photos out of scrapbook magazines and occasionally print ideas I find on Pinterest. I am hoping to switch completely to a Pinterest Board for ideas since it is a lot easier to carry around an iPad than an idea folder and you can watch videos and read blog tutorials from that site.
Once I had a vague idea, I started looking through my drawer of Christmas stuff - paper, embellishments, tags, ribbon, etc. I pulled out two tags, three pieces of tinsel, and a bunch of really old Fastenator staples from Making Memories that I had. I was really digging up old stuff here.
Next, I worked on the title. Again, these letters are so old that I can no longer identify them. They were a variety of colors so I painted them with (old) dimensional paint from Ranger and then coated them with Diamond Glaze.
While they were drying, I tried out a few different papers. That top one got rejected immediately, but the bottom ones had possibilities.
I trimmed and then tore the red paper, inked the torn section and then added silver embossing powder.
I added a second layer of paper (Coredinations/Tim Holtz), sanded the edges and added silver Distress Paint. I put a color wash of the Distress Paint on the tag by spreading a thin layer of the paint on with my finger, spritzing with some water and then blotting with a paper towel.
Finally, I picked the background paper (Creative Memories). I laid everything out one last time to make sure everything worked before gluing and stapled everything down.
(One quick note - I do not have the Fastenator stapler. I sold it ages ago because I found that it was much easier to poke holes where the prongs would go with a paper piercer and push the staple through than to use that hopeless tool. My method allows you to put the staples wherever you want.)
Like I said, this isn't the most successful layout I have ever done, but it was definitely good enough.
So, if you find that you aren't using your embellishments because they never quite match or work with the papers you have chosen, try scrapbooking backwards - starting with the title and the embellishments, the paint and the ink, and ribbons and buttons - and picking the paper last!