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"Flag Run" and Tips For Using Strips

I tend to get really excited about the 4th of July and creating layouts with my 4th of July pictures. It’s such a fun holiday. I love that it’s simply family getting together, eating great food, and enjoying some fireworks in celebration of our independence.

As a kid, I remember spending the day at my dad’s, shooting bottle rockets all day with my brothers, and then spending the evening shooting more fireworks at my grandpa’s with my cousins. Today, it’s typically the same day, except for location and my role in it. I think an added bonus of being a parent is that we get to participate in two different child experiences, one as a child ourselves and one through our own children.

When my oldest son was little we had a tradition that started with his second 4th of July. He was a year old, had just learned how to walk, and he had new tennis shoes on. We were hoping to get a few photos of him in his cute 4th of July outfit while holding some American flags, but he, as most toddlers do, had other plans. He loved hearing the thump, thump, thump of his new shoes on the hardwood floors so he would run around, waving the flags, and giggle. The pictures ended up being so cute that we repeated “the flag run” each year for many years. This layout is the fourth year of Drew's annual flag run.

On of my go-to designs is using lots of strips on my layouts. Paper collections usually come with several different patterned papers and many times I want to use them all. Using lots of smaller strips is a great way to use many different patterned papers and colors without it being overwhelming and too busy.

Here are a few ways you can use smaller strips like I did on my “Flag Run” layout.

• use strips of all the same lengths and widths (like my layout)

• use them in varying lengths and widths

• use either horizontal or vertical

• use them as a background for your title and journaling (like my layout)

• use them behind a long row of photos

• use them to cover a large shape and then cut off the excess for a colorful, striped shape

• use them as a photo mat

• use them to fill in an empty space in a large photo block (kind of like my layout)

• use them to create a large block on your layout to bring attention to a few photos

• cut a “v” at one end or both ends for a different look

Some patterned papers with larger designs on them are hard to cut down to smaller strips. You will typically lose the pattern, and it might not look the way you had hoped. One of my favorite solutions to this problem is using 6 x 6” paper pads. With 6 x 6” paper pads they are taking the 12 x 12” paper design and shrinking it down to the smaller, 6 x 6” size. They are perfect for small strips!

We stopped the annual flag run years ago when Drew became annoyed pretty much any time my camera made an appearance. But, I’m thinking that now, at 13, he might do it just for the laughs. I guess we will find out tomorrow!

What are some of your 4th of July traditions that you most look forward to?

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