Fresh from the craziness of the Christmas season and a huge project and a final, I am perfectly content - verging on deliriously happy - to have four days off in a row and spend them in pajama pants and a fleece hoodie. Especially since the first two were spent in my scrap room channeling Nichol Magouirk.
If you don't know Nichol, take a minute to follow the link. I think she's a goddess, and she's easily the one scrapper I'd like to be when I grow up. She has a way with patterned paper that is somehow both whimsical and delightful AND clean and uncluttered. Plus, she has the innate ability to just pile on all sorts of doo dads, and they look completely effortless. Every staple, every mini paperclip - they all look like they're exactly where they're supposed to be. There's nothing forced or "trying too hard" in her layouts.
Nicole first hit my radar as a Silhouette design team contributor. Since I'm all Silhouette, all the time (or so it seems, even to me) I quickly started to realize that she has a way of putting unrelated things together in a way that just plain works. She takes shapes that someone else designed and uses them in a way that you're just sure the original designer must have intended for them. One of the things that I love most about the Silhouette is how easy it is to customize shapes, and Nichol does that...only at the next level up from everyone else, mixing and matching titles and shapes and using all sorts of patterned papers resulting in pages that are pure eye candy.
I know there are avid scrapbookers out there who are very organized about saving layouts that inspire them. I have not been one of those women. First, I have it ingrained in me from God knows where that "copying" is cheating. Really? Where are the scrapping Refs? Do they wearing polka dots and Pima flowers? Are their whistles covered in bling?? It's silly. I know. And oddly, I don't think less of someone else who scraplifts - heck, I even admire them for their ability to let go and not get mired down in not reinventing the wheel. Anyway, as someone who's always felt it was taboo to borrow too heavily from one source at a time, I've never felt the need to have an inspiration folder on my desktop. But then, as magazines go belly up, and then fill their pages with designs that really don't make me excited, I find myself turning to web more and more for inspiration. And finally it occurred to me. Right click/New folder/"Nichol Magouirk". Right click/Save picture as...and voila: a year and a half's worth of very inspiring layouts, all in one place, with no interruption.
So that's the first one. Clearly, Nicole has nothing to worry about, but I'm pleased, to say the least. I love the fun title, the collage of pictures (I've done this before, but this time it's all about channeling Nichol), the fun number border (and how it relates to my typical December, which is about counting down, money, time, balancing gifts for 4 kids...numbers swirl in my head all month long), I even like the way I handled a mess up. I made the white border just a smidge too short. I was tempted to recut it, but decided that putting it down and covering the one end with a cluster of embellishments would work just fine. You can still see that the white border doesn't go across all the way, but now I say "Who cares? Looks great!" I am NOT one to embrace that kind of imperfection, so this feels like quite the accomplishment!
I can't tell you how much these photos have troubled me. I've really wanted to get Ted's football recorded, but look at those uniforms!! All that hideous red! Don't get me wrong. I like red. It's one of my favorites. But that red...it GLOWS. Pre-Nicole, I would have tackled the red challenge but using grey and black cardstock with red pieces thrown in here and there...but not too close to the photos. It would have been boring, and a little non-sequitur. After all, the only grey in the photos is the stands in the background, and the only black is Ted's UnderAmour. Not exactly the kind of stuff that dictates a color scheme, right? After Nichole, I went to my patterned paper box first. Granted, I got REALLY lucky, but still...I wouldn't have even looked before. I love the Game Day title, it's rugged looking...not cartoony or juvenille. I used black ink and a stippling brush to dirty it down. It was just to perfect looking at first, but the black ink grunged it up and made it gritty enough for the page. I used that same technique on the football lace border, and on the journalling block. Both were far too pretty and pristine to start with.
I'm really pleased with how both of these came out. And more than that, I'm pleased with how quickly they came together and that I finally feel more comfortable using the patterned paper I've been amassing for YEARS. I also like that by thinking about what it is that appeals to me about Nicol's style allowed me to break it down to very concrete ideas that were easy to incorporate. I'm a decent scrapper in my own rite. I won't deny that. But it doesn't hurt to be truly inspired. Or to get out the ruts I find myself in occasionally.