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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

153: Scrapbooking

Howdy! I made my first scrapbook after having a micro wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada. I'd seen the formal wedding albums of my peers and felt that wasn't the best expression of what was essentially a destination wedding, the main event of a fun trip with family. And while it was a learning experience, and there are some details I'll doubtless tweak in time, I love how it turned out. Lately I'm working on my second scrapbook, this one centered around my two dogs, Samwise and Sonmi.

For my first scrapbook, there was a set narrative. The trip had a timeline, and the pictures offered enough setting to set a direction for the page layouts. I printed the photos we, our guests, and the photographer had taken, pressed the bridal bouquets, ordered Las Vegas and wedding themed stickers and a blank scrapbook, before leaning into my craft space for everything else. I have stock pile of magazines, for collaging, as well as scraps of ribbon, fabric feathers, string, beads, wrapping paper, construction paper, fashion brand tags, keychain charms, etc. Not to mention the crafting staples of an x-acto knife, various paints, markers, glues, and a hole puncher. So I had plenty of room to gallop. Our wedding invitations and the cards loved ones sent also made it into the final layouts.

My husband, in light of progress with the current scrapbook, mentioned that most people just use, ya know, scraps. And I know what he means. The average scrapbook page has, perhaps, a patterned paper as a background, and a cut paper frame around the unaltered rectangular photo or two. The crafter has likely shared the date and location, or perhaps a quote on the page in their tidiest handwriting. Maybe glued a bow or taped some flowers down for an added tactile element, and that's all well and good. But to me, everything is a resource. I have the stack of magazines, as well as a shoe-box of elements I've already cut from them, so those are fair game. Recently I went through my sentimental binder, removing the majority of greeting cards, basically all those not carrying a long hand written message therein. Rather than throwing them away, I've migrated them to my studio. What all will make it into this book? Time will tell.

Unlike the wedding scrapbook, I'm working from photos of my dogs, and while they've traveled some, the majority of settings are vague, scenes of sidewalks, gravel paths, grass. Meaning that I seek inspiration from beyond the image before arranging each page. When the photo has offered any detail at all beyond the ordinary, I've taken that into account. For instance, Samwise dressed as Scrappy Doo for a Halloween which determined the theme. The front-most pumpkin is actually a sticker from Conflicted.

And Sonmi was a lobster so she earned a nautical vibe. Since this photo was taken, I put a picture of pink sand over the exposed paper on the left-hand side. It would be cool to add real sea shells to this page.

Another Halloween Sonmi was a TY Beanie Baby, and I still have the tag I made her, so I made another for Sam as well. Down the line, I'll probably give Sonmi a collar but for now I like how this looks. The tags make for a nice 3D element as they hang from the page, rather than being glued down.

Ages ago I made a watercolor painting of the dogs, and when either CVS or Walgreens dropped a free magnet promotion, I had one made of the painting. It happened to be a good size for including in the scrapbook so that became an art-themed page. I might add some paint splatter later. Or perhaps a winning blue ribbon.

I made a Christmas spread featuring their human cousins and their new dog cousin, Chevy. I think that top photo was actually taken around Thanksgiving a few years ago, whereas Chevy was adopted this past fall, but hey, artistic license, right? I'm very open to swapping in a better picture of Chevy later.

One picture featured Sonmi walking by my favorite wild flowers, pink ladies, so I based a page around that bloom, even pressing a handful to add to the composition. The gold elements I cut from a greeting card and the paper insert that came with a thrifted frame.

For other pages, I took the opportunity to use old resources, such as an "I Voted" sticker I've been sitting on, and a cut out of a fireman I doubt was ever going to work for a more formal art composition. I have star stickers that might work on the voted page and I'll probably add more fire to the fireman one.

I happened to stumble across a picture of a dress in a magazine that reminded me of the cone of shame, and Sonmi had just been fixed when we first brought her home as a foster, so that became a page. The quote says "Elegance is an attitude," and I made sure to juxtapose that with Sonmi making a funny face.

For some pages, I'm letting my dogs' personalities set the vibe. Sonmi has barrier aggression. If a dog is barking from the other side of a privacy fence, she will lunge, on leash, to bark and snarl at that hidden dog. Once they are on the same side of the barrier, she's calm. But across the fence? Absolutely spicy. I took my pepper seed packets, a fabric sample, magazine elements, and made her a spicy page.

Other pages I plan to make are a Pride page for Sam since he's gay, one of both pups from when we first adopted them which will likely be baby themed, an outer space page more because I have the imagery to pull that off than because either dogs brings the subject to mind, a Grinch page because there is a photo of Sonmi cuddling with a sweatshirt that appears Grinch-like, another Christmas (or Thanksgiving) page to use that shot of the family together, and another of the dogs on Halloween, this time dressed as a hotdog and a latte. Otherwise, I don't have a ton of ideas right now, just a vague list of maybes. It would make sense to give them a book themed spread, or to give Sam a Lord of The Rings page and Sonmi a Cloud Atlas one, taking their namesakes into account. Sam is very long so I can probably do something with that.

I am being careful not to exceed the width of the scrapbook binding this time. With the wedding scrapbook, I ended up jury-rigging the cover because the pages were too thick for the original binding. I'm keeping an eye out for cover inspiration. I recently had to throw out a dog-face shaped novelty purse due to the rapid degradation of the colored pleather but I saved the face itself, in case I can alter it to make it look like my dogs. I also have all their old tags, a "dog mom" key chain, and a few resin dachshunds, made while experimenting with a resin kit. The project is very fluid. I'm holding off on hole-punching the pages because I want to arrange the spreads intentionally once they're done.

If somebody wanted me to make them a scrapbook centered around their photos of a trip, event, or their loved ones, I'd be down to offer the service. I'm not sure how much I would charge. Every one of these pages has taken 3+ hours. Some may look simple, but I still had to track down the elements, cutting them out fresh if they weren't available from my shoe box, and that doesn't include gluing everything down, which I've thus far only finished with the floral page. Perhaps I could charge by the amount of pictures I'd be including, or by the page? And there would need to be a lot of creative freedom for such a project to work.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I hope my process has inspired ideas for a scrapbooking project all your own! I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!


Howdy! This past week I was focused on woodburning and painting in time for this upcoming First Friday in downtown Bryan. Last First Friday, a potential customer requested I make a mushroom art piece for him to purchase later. I liked the one I made so much that I've turned that into a series.

My woodburning wand died in the middle of my second project of the week (after just 13 woodburnings, which is insane. I left a product review), delaying the work. I used that time to make digital mockups of future projects.

purple mushrooms painted on wood
Amethyst Deciever

Mycena Chlorophos Timelapse Video

green and white mushrooms painted on wood, and they glow in the dark
Mycena Chlorophos

As I've kept up with painting my woodburnings, I've learned to only use gouache for accents, highlights, and deep shadows, areas that need to be opaque. I've also learned to really saturate the wood when watercoloring so they appear airbrushed, rather than marker-y. Gouache requires greater precision because paint going over the outline requires covering up or removal, whereas the watercolors are less able to mark burned areas. Working with glow-in-the-dark paint requires a lot of layering. Also the picture taken above was in night mode. The effect, while visible, is less dramatic to the eye.

I also made the Christmas themed scrapbook page shown in the blog post above. I began putting together a Pride page for Samwise but it's not really coming together so that's on hold for now.

I didn't write this week. Nor did I edit. The plan is to jump back into revising Soul Walker after this Friday. I need to overhaul the writing style of the middle of the book for plot reasons.

I didn't read this past week. I expect my next read to be the sequel to Soulmates: A Metaphysical Love Story, which is Fated Tides, by Sarah Faeth Sanders. I have it on my Kindle. I just don't know yet if I'm feeling a romance novel this week. I did recently go thrifting and picked up some classics so I might read one of those instead.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by! I drop a new newsletter every Monday. Toodles!

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