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Getting started with Little by Little

Getting started with Little by Little // scrapbook page by Kirsty Smith

I’m delighted to share a scrapbook page from Kirsty Smith to kick off a look at what other designers are making with Little by Little. I’d love to see what you’re making too! If you’re posting pictures on social media, add the hashtag #AClittlebylittle. And now over to Kirsty for a quick dive into the new collection!

It was such a wonderful treat to be able to work with Shimelle’s beautiful new collection, Little by Little. I was really struck by the versatility of this collection: the colours are wonderful and I was able to select a whole range of complimentary hues from a wide palette of options. To stay in keeping with my photo, I chose shades of blue, purple, pink and green; the range of shades and designs was just made for layering!

I used patterned paper to frame my photo in layers, opting for one of the boxes from the cut-apart sheet for my journaling. I love the paper with the large chevron as it has such a lovely textural mix of colours and patterns. I used the chevron to point towards the central design.

Getting started with Little by Little // scrapbook page by Kirsty Smith

I love the floral motif that moves through Little by Little, as it’s subtly present in lots of different elements of the collection, creating a delicate, whimsical feel. To complement my page I introduced the floral die cut word ‘happy’ (from the die-cut pack) and matched it with the scripted word ‘adventure’. I adore anything that involves a hand-written look and so I love this page of foam Thickers in a brush-lettered style.

There are so many lovely elements in this collection to add the final embellishment for a scrapbook layout. I punched hearts out of patterned paper to scatter over the page, and layered stickers in little clusters. I am a big fan of including cameras on pretty much every page I make, as I feel it’s so relevant to scrapbooking, and one of my favourite parts of the collection are the puffy camera stickers. They’re so cute and petite, but add a brilliant splash of detail. I love the enamel dots too!

Getting started with Little by Little // scrapbook page by Kirsty Smith

Overall this is such a beautiful collection to work with, and it has the potential to work for layouts of so many different themes. I hope you will enjoy using Little by Little as much as I am!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day Special on Online Classes from Shimelle Laine

Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, I have a little something sweet for you. Sign up for any online class today, and you’ll receive a $5 credit to use toward a new class any time in 2017. There is one coming up very soon, actually! But you have all year to use the credit, and classes available are as low as $8.

Find all the available online scrapbooking classes right here!

I hope your day is lovely!

A Little by Little B-Side Paper

Scrapbooking with B-Sides // Scrapbook Page by Shimelle Laine

B-side papers are something I think about throughout a collection but they are actually the very last thing we finalise. Sometimes we have everything laid out, ready to go, and it can only then become obvious that there isn’t enough of this colour or a smaller version of that motif. But some of my favourites are the b-sides designed to be a super quick way to a beautiful layout.

Little by Little patterned paper by Shimelle for American Crafts

Okay, I love the multicoloured feathers but I admit it is perhaps not the most universal patterned paper ever designed in the history of the world. That’s okay. But the b-side to this paper (called Delightful Journey) is one of those pages made with speed and ease in mind. The pastel shades of the colour palette are included in a geometric pattern that all revolves around one quarter of the page. I love working with thirds and quarters on the 12×12 page because it works so beautifully no matter what you add to the composition. Just start on that line and build. It will work!

Scrapbooking with B-Sides // Scrapbook Page by Shimelle Laine

You can turn this paper in any direction and start adding somewhere on that line that separates the colourful section from the solid aqua background. I love a layered stack of papers, stickers, and die-cuts to surround the photo on that quarter line. And in this case, I used that old favourite – the loose diagonal line of embellishment – but included my journaling and title as part of the diagonal line. Completed page in such a short amount of time!

All the supplies here are from Little by Little, including both sets of Thickers, the sticker book, the 6×12 sticker sheet, 6×6 paper pad, wood buttons, embossed die-cuts, and puffy stickers. But of course the patterned paper works with the embellishments you love and have to hand as well.

I hope you enjoy using this paper too and would love to see what it inspires you to make!

Exploding Heart Scrapbook Pages with Little by Little

Exploding Heart Page Design :: Scrapbook Page by Shimelle Laine

We love a little heart explosion across a scrapbook page around here, and there’s literally a patterned paper made with that look in mind within the Little by Little collection. It’s called Evolving Love and has a pink background with dozens of colourfully patterned hearts ready and waiting to be cut out and scattered across your next scrapbook page.

Exploding Heart Page Design :: Scrapbook Page by Shimelle Laine

I used it with this collection’s bold floral, Cultivate Joy, framing the photos with some of the yellow b-side patterns for a bit of contrast against all those multi-coloured patterns. But of course, your heart explosion will look unique when you choose a different coloured or pattern for your background as well as which of the hearts you choose to scatter!

For more on that five-point palm exploding heart technique in a scrapbook sense, check out these two posts from the archives:
Exploding Heart Page Design :: Scrapbook Page by Zinia Amoiridou
Exploding Heart Page Design :: Scrapbook Page by Heather Leopard

And please share if you use Little by Little to create your own heart explosion or another heart-filled look! Leave a link in the comments any time or share on social media with the hashtag #AClittlebylittle.

CHA 2017: On the show floor with Little by Little

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

Here we are at my little corner of the American Crafts booth, with Little by Little ready to welcome the buyers who attend the CHA Creativation 2017 Trade Show.

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

We’ve wrapped books in patterned paper and framed some of the motifs from the collection, and there’s a big wreath backdrop behind me ready for plenty of selfie fun throughout the show.

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

When we’re not chatting or taking said selfies (shame), I usually scrapbook right there so I can show how the products come together to create a range of looks. This time I’m also painting a few little animals for store special events, so look for a chance to win something like this little bear from your favourite scrapbook shop, perhaps!

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

So much of Little by Little is filled with tiny nods to children’s literature, so I stole that chance to make a Peter Pan page while I was here!

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

But this was probably my favourite way to display the samples: that butterfly frame. Of course, when in America, one must do a Target run just to see what last-minute items are absolutely required for the booth. I think this one was required, and it’s from the Dollar Spot, so always a win!

CHA Creativation 2017: Little by Little by Shimelle for American Crafts

And of course Amy has a camera drone! So here’s the AC designer crew at the end of the show from the sky!

Thanks for taking a look: up next, scrapbook pages with Little by Little!

Counting Down to CHA 2017: and sometimes I get a bit emotional about stickers

scrapbook page by Shimelle Laine

Sometimes something completely trivial, most likely flippant, and certainly not intended to have a bigger meaning sits in our heads for years. That’s normal, right? Maybe it’s not normal and I have some sort of diagnosable issue here that you can spot from your armchair, but if that’s the case let’s just leave it because it is what makes me tick. When I say Go Now Go was inspired by a mix of backpacking around the world and taking in autumn in our local park, that’s a summary. A polite summary. There are some completely trivial, most likely flippant, and certainly not intended moments in both those places, on both those adventures, that became part of my development process as we worked on this collection.

I tell you this at risk of you laughing and realising that I take some things far too seriously. Please know I laugh at myself a lot for that very thing. I promise this will circle back to scrapbooking. In Go Now Go, there is a stamp set that is part journaling, part passport. It has this spot on the journaling block with a space for the smaller stamps to fit and you can choose from a train, plane, boat, or arrow. It’s something I like in my own passport, that many countries use a little symbol like that to indicate the means in which you arrived and when I have to stand in a line to show my passport, which I do less recently but had to do this morning, I flip through and those little symbols remind me of that journey. It makes my mind race and link memories together. There is part of me that still feels very much like it is still 1983 and travel was 100% glamorous even though airplanes were filled with smoke and every flight served the same cold and soggy croissant and there was always someone who drank tomato juice on its own so I thought it must be fabulous and I ordered it once and realised I was basically drinking ketchup on ice but I had no way to empty the cup but drink it. All those memories of my earliest flights and yet still, I remember it with this gloss of glamour over the top. But when we developed that stamp set, it was important to me because it had that link to flipping through my passport and having my head flood with stories, but also because taking it apart and using just those little pieces on their own is where my head is when I scrapbook these days. Arrows for go, go, going. That’s what we do. We are go, go, going all the time and yet it takes three times longer to get anywhere because it’s at the pace the legs of a two year old can manage. Planes because we live under a flight path and the novelty of pointing out every plane to pass over our heads shows no sign of losing its appeal so far. One of said two year old’s very first jokes of his own invention: Where do you think that plane is going, Mummy? I don’t know. Where is it going? To the airport, he says in a fit of giggles. It is, right? Yes. Yes, that is indeed right, now that you mention it. (There is a second answer sometimes, when he feels more daydreamy than jokey, I suppose, in which he says to visit Mickey Mouse.) A boat for the earliest science lessons of what sinks and what floats when you throw it in the bathtub. And perhaps as an ongoing metaphor for myself and my day by day judgement of am I sinking or floating. (That’s normal too, right?) And a train because it’s part of our everyday – it’s how we commute, it’s how we see friends, it’s an obsession that results in opening the front door to find a wooden track that leads through the entire floor plan of our flat, and somewhere a tiny battery-driven train is trying to chug, chug, chug all the way around with an unfairly huge number of mismatched magnetic freight cars trailing behind.

All that, but I know it’s basically a passport stamp that you can journal on. It is what it is. But along the way, it is a lot more, if only inside my head.

scrapbook page by Shimelle Laine

That’s basically how I work out if things are right for a collection. Can I find stories behind it or is it just something that looks pretty? Sometimes things that look pretty are just lovely and I buy them too. But they don’t stay my favourites. I want to make things that will be my favourites. The stories make them my favourites, and that feels like the best thing I can do.

There are puffy heart stickers in Go Now Go. On one hand, they are certainly not the first puffy stickers to grace the scrapbooking world. I did not invent this product. And yet, there’s a convoluted inner monologue to them too. Puffy stickers remind me of a time in my life when I was young enough to be carefree but old enough to be stubborn and independent and believe things like ‘if there are three of us going out together and our ages add up to total a perfectly normal adult age, we must certainly be just as safe and responsible as adults’. Actual responsible adults in my life at that time may have disagreed with my logic somewhat, by the way. So puffy stickers remind me of childhood but not toddler days. Days when we could ride our bikes for miles on a summer afternoon and still make it home in time for dinner and reruns of Three’s Company. When we went backpacking, it was just two of us, and we heard the same line from so many people: It’s so good you can do this now, when you’re not tied down by children. It was the sort of thing people say to just carry on the conversation. Trivial, flippant, not at all intended to sit in my head for years. And yet there it sat, the whole time we went around the world. And yet somehow I knew that didn’t need to be true: I think my husband had more stamps in his passport before he turned ten than I do to this day, and while I didn’t leave my home country until I was an adult, I visited the vast majority of the US states by the time I could drive. We could do this again. We could do this with children. We could do this with a child. Somehow. It was and is a complicated chain of thoughts in my head, but here’s the thing I kept remembering on that trip when those words got to me: think of those days of puffy stickers. The days when I had a basket on my bicycle and I acted like that was really uncool but actually I quite liked the practicality because I could use it to take my sticker book with me for those mile long bike rides and we would find somewhere to sit and eat peanut butter sandwiches, Ziploc bags of potato chips, and Nutty Bars. We’d drink a Thermos full of Kool-aid in which we’d secretly added double the sugar and we’d read the latest update in The Babysitter’s Club aloud and we’d trade stickers. Puffy stickers were worth three plain flat ones. Sometimes four. They were currency of early independence, some point in the eighties, I guess. There we were in 2010, on the road somewhere we’d never been, meeting people we’d never met, and the same old trivial, flippant comment would come up and puffy stickers were my mental way to shrug it off. So in 2016: let’s make puffy stickers and make them feel travel-inspired and autumnal and let them be heart shaped because I never think it’s wrong to scrapbook with hearts and let them be small so you get a lot in the pack and you don’t feel like you have to save them for something so special that will be worthy of those puffy stickers. And that’s what my voice says when we have these online meetings between the office in Utah and my studio in London and inside my head I’m thinking all the thoughts I can’t bring myself to say aloud because I know there is very little logical reason why a comment led me to the same memory time and time again. Just yes, let’s make tiny, colourful, heart-shaped puffy stickers please and thank you.

scrapbook page by Shimelle Laine

Okay. I’ll breathe now And you can laugh. And I can laugh. Yes, I take things like puffy stickers too seriously and I’m probably a little daft for telling you. Yes, when we work on products, my thoughts go into overdrive and I sometimes feel like I’m hyperventilating inside my head, but it seems to be what works so I go with it. Yes, I realise it’s really just paper and stickers and stamps and it’s not going to save the world or anything. Yes, I realise there is only a very, very small number of people who would be interested in this sort of bonkers description of what I do at work. But if you are one of those amazing people, it might help you know why scrapbooking is my thing. That I am driven by memories, they are my inspiration, my coping mechanism, and my perspective. I found this craft nineteen years ago and never would have believed you then if you’d told me I’d be designing puffy stickers and passport stamps. But I’d have believed you that I would still be making scrapbooks and finding something to write down.

scrapbook page by Shimelle Laine

And on a much less rambly note, I’ve arrived in Phoenix! Tomorrow we build the booth and Saturday the show opens. Yay! I can’t wait to show you.

Counting Down to CHA 2017: and then we whispered 'Go Now...Go!'

 use a random embellishment // scrapbook page by Sheena Rowlands

Go Now Go came out at the end of last summer, so it still feels quite new to me on my desk even if we were designing it at almost this time last year. Inspired by our big backpacking adventure (which I cannot believe was six years ago now) as well as autumn in the beautiful park at my doorstep, I originally imagined this collection with the name ‘Round the World’. When we scheduled our trip, that’s what travel agents and the like call the sort of plane tickets we booked: RTW. You pick a direction and just keep flying in that direction until you return to your home airport again, choosing the cities and countries you visit along the way. It’s a thing that is always at the back of my mind, just waiting for the right opportunity, because there is such potential to never have a remotely similar adventure twice! But once we had all the designs in front of us, RTW didn’t just seem right. It fit the few overtly travel-themed items but left the rest feeling like outcasts, and I don’t want to have lonely overlooked papers getting sad in the corner. With a bit more thought, I was drawn to something I’d heard whispered many, many times. Go now go is the whisper that starts the very beginning of a TV show I watched over and over and over again through my teens and twenties. It became a lovely little voice I would hear in my head when I was lacking the confidence I needed for whatever life was presenting. It linked to travel. It linked to running in the crunchy autumn leaves. It was all about the moment and not about the rehashing the past or trying to control the future. Whatever it is you need to do, just go. Now. Go. Once it hit me, it was that through and through and I would accept no substitute.

Anyway, enough of me rambling about collection names. It’s nearly time for CHA, and I’m delighted to share a Go Now Go page created by contributing designer Sheena Rowlands with you today!

 use a random embellishment // scrapbook page by Sheena Rowlands

Over the past few years I’ve noticed some new paper collections have some more unusual shapes in their die cut packs and sticker sheets, usually they just gather at the bottom of my die cut box but this photo had me digging them back out to use. Cacti on an English autumnal layout?! why not, their colour & shape fit perfectly with my outdoor theme and the Go Now Go patterned papers I used. I’ll certainly be more open to random embellishments in the future.
- Sheena

I’d love to see what you’ve been making with Go Now Go! Share a link in the comments or add the hashtag #ACgonowgo to your posts on Instagram so we can all see.

My bag is packed – next time I write, it will be from Phoenix! See you soon, Creativation!

Counting Down to CHA 2017: Handmade Cards with Starshine and Go Now Go

Handmade Cards with Starshine by May Flaum

Contributing Designer May Flaum recently shared a 1-2-3 approach to card making on her blog, with plenty of Starshine stickers to embellish. I love her take on how simple it can be to make your own cards, so I followed her steps but changed the collection. In just a short little window of time, I had three cards ready to send, so I know this will work with your stash favourites too.

Handmade Cards with Starshine by May Flaum

May’s 1-2-3 approach starts with a simple combination of choosing one patterned paper to become the card, one sticker or embellishment to become to the focal point, and a matted square between the two.

 Handmade Cards with Go Now Go  // handmade cards by Shimelle Laine

The only thing I did differently when working with the Go Now Go collection to add a word strip sticker below the compass. That compass square comes from a cut-apart sheet of paper, and that washi-styled background paper is one of my favourites for cutting into journaling boxes.

Handmade Cards with Starshine by May Flaum

For card two, May sticks with the patterned paper background but looks within a collection for something that has a frame, like the chipboard stickers in the case of this square. She still uses a big sticker or die-cut as a focal point, but dresses it up with things like her collection of beautiful sequins and buttons.

Handmade Cards with Go Now Go // handmade cards by Shimelle Laine

There’s a chipboard sticker frame in the Go Now Go collection too, so that was an easy choice to follow her formula. Both the bicycle and the floral washi tape stickers are from the sticker book, and instead of sequins and paint, I used a few enamel dots and some gold mist.

Handmade Cards with Starshine by May Flaum

It’s step three in that 1-2-3 card making process when May lets loose with a more collaged look that can incorporate leftover stickers, die-cuts, and paper scraps. Starting with kraft cardstock instead of another sheet of patterned paper makes it easier to see all the elements she selected and layered across the front of this card. Plenty of sparkle from glitter glue and sequins makes for something very special!

Handmade Cards with Go Now Go // handmade cards by Shimelle Laine

I kept that kraft cardstock look for the background and piled on pieces from the cut-apart papers, labels punched from patterned paper scraps, die-cuts, stickers, and chipboard, before sprinkling with more gold mist. May used her sewing machine to add the stitched frame, but I cheated and used a stitched border stamp design to try something just a little different. As soon as I finished this card, I knew exactly who would receive it: a friend who always has a serious longing to be in New York!

Handmade Cards with Starshine by May Flaum

I love May’s philosophy on making cards like this, and following the steps made it a much more streamlined process than my usual card making endeavours! I always seem to forget how paper works for at least an hour if I start on a card rather than a scrapbook page, but not this time. All three were done in a flash and with very minimal mess to tidy. I think this process works well in both directions: if you have a collection you love and want to use in every way, make a set of cards you will send to others, whether they be for an occasion or just for little notes. If you prefer to work with scraps, you could choose a nice combination to use then create sets either to write and send yourself or to bundle together and give as a gift. Thank you, May!

And thank you for your love of Starshine. If you have a favourite Starshine project you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see! Tomorrow we’ll talk a bit more about Go Now Go, while I get my bag packed for CHA 2017!