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Fun With Photo Blocks | #1

Get the best of both worlds by including more photos with a large photo block on one side of your layout while still having some fun by creating a more traditional scrapbooking design on the other.

Summer is officially here! In my family that means my kids turn into fish and go swimming at every opportunity.

We’ve really lucked out in the town we live in because we have an amazing aquatic center nearby that has a large pool, slides, obstacles, diving boards, and a surfing simulator. For years both of my boys have watched people attempt to ride the wave, but they were too young and too short to meet the requirements. (And, maybe a little too scared.) When they finally were old enough, tall enough, and brave enough, they gave it a shot. Since it was their first time, they both opted to ride on their belly. Jackson wiped out over and over, but Drew held control for quite awhile, sometimes making it look effortless. I ended up getting so many great pictures and the blue of the water paired perfectly with the Simple Stories Summer Vibes collection. Sometimes water pictures and all the different shades of blue you might find can be hard to match with papers, so I really lucked out with how well these photos and papers matched up.

A few years ago, I worked with Simple Stories and created sketches that paired with their papers. The concept was built around their Pocket Pages. One side of the sketch had a more traditional scrapbook design while the second page used one of their Pocket Pages. Creating these sketches and working with Simple Stories ended up changing the way I scrapbook. I tend to often follow the same concept, the traditional side and Pocket Page side, when I’m creating layouts now.

If you’re anything like me, you take a ton of pictures. Duh. We are scrapbookers and that’s what we do, right? One of my biggest struggles with scrapbooking is finding a way to include a lot of pictures on one layout, but also still having fun with papers and designs. It can be a difficult balance. My solution to this dilemma is to create a layout design on one page and then create a large photo block that covers the other page, like my layout “Hello Summer.”

It’s like the best of both worlds. You are still getting the opportunity to be creative and play with designs while also including a large amount of photos. The best part is that a 12 x 12” photo block is easy to customize to what you are working with. If you have a lot of photos, you can create a 12 x 12” block full of photos only. If you have fewer photos, you can add in some papers or cards like I did on my layout.

There are endless possibilities and photo and paper combinations you could use with a 12 x 12” block. Here are some of the basic sizes and ideas you could play with:

• All 4 x 6” photos or papers • All 6 x 4” photos or papers • All 4 x 4” photos or papers

• All 3 x 4” photos or papers • All 4 x 3” photos or papers • All 3 x 3” photos or papers • All 2 x 2” photos or papers • Use two 3 x 4” photos in place of a 6 x4” photo • Use two 4 x 3” photos in place of a 4 x 6” photo • Use six 2 x 2” photos in place of a 4 x 6” or 6 x 4” photo • Mix in large strips or blocks • Mix in larger photos like 6 x 8” or 8 x 10”

A few tips when creating a large block of photos only:

• Try adding some embellishments to some of your photos to create a cohesive look across the page. My go-to for embellishing photos is adding word stickers to the empty spaces.

• Use ink, paint, or a nail file to sand the edges to add some definition to your photos.

• Mat a few photos. The easiest to to go with a simple white mat. I tend to mat photos with a 1/8” - 1/4” edge around the photo. This can also be a great way to tie together papers from the other page on your layout. For example, if you are creating a block of 4 x 4” photos, pick three photos, preferably one from each row, and add a mat with a different patterned paper. If I want those papers to show more, I would use a 4 x 4” mat with a 3 x 3” photo.

This concept of using a large photo block on one side and more design on the other also works well for those of you that want to take advantage of one-page sketches, but are typically a two-page scrapbooker.

I have several bundles of sketches available to purchase that are a similar approach to this concept. Each bundle has 9 sketches with one side following a more traditional scrapbooking design with the second page designed to coordinate with Simple Stories Pocket Pages, so the second page is a large, 12 x 12” block of photos and papers.

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