Anyhow, despite the fact that I can't share my assignment layouts yet, I have also been attending most of the webinars and "office hours" that are included in Masterful Scrapbook Design's bimonthly seminars. This month's seminar was "Make It Mean" and focused on really adding meaning to a scrapbook page through journaling, of course, but also with the other elements on the page such as photos, embellishments, title, etc. -- making all aspects of the page support and enhance the overall message of the page to give it more meaning. (Click here to view more details) THESE. ARE. AWESOME! Besides getting to "hang out" with talented and knowledgeable ladies, it's so interesting to listen to the contributing designers and find out why they designed a layout in the way they did. And during Office Hours, anyone who wants to can share a layout to get helpful critiques, suggestions for improvement, help when they're stuck for ideas, or just to show what they've done. It's a no-stress, supportive environment, but if you want it to, it goes beyond just the "nice layout" comments; Debbie Hodge, the guest instructor(s), and the other attendees discuss not only what they like but why they like it (and knowing the 'why' helps to apply the same principles in the future!), and if you want (but only if you want) they'll also give suggestions for improvement. And the awesome thing is, they do it without forcing their particular style on anyone else; instead they give suggestions that work with any style.
Can you tell that I'm hooked??? My favorite Office Hours so far took place yesterday. It featured the awesome Emily Pitts and Paula Gilarde - okay I'm partial to them since they taught the Guided Design Critique Workshops of which I was a part, but they are so good at explaining the what's and why's of what makes a great layout, and I've learned a ton from them. Despite some rare technical difficulties and an outburst from me (I was actually talking to my son about a deer in our backyard but didn't realize that my microphone had been turned on at just that second!) which hopefully was edited from the recording (insert embarrassed face!), it was an awesome session. They always have such helpful ideas for tweaking a good layout and making it great, and this session was no exception! I was able to share a layout of mine, which incidentally was inspired by an inspiration challenge on Paula's blog - a design and layout I've had in mind to do for several weeks and finally put together. Here's the original layout I shared, which I think was pretty good:
It went together very quickly and certainly told my story, but I knew it could use a few adjustments. Based on the critiques I received, here is the final layout - not much different, but definitely better. For instance, I love these Thickers from American Crafts that I used for the title, but they were a bit difficult to read; so I cut little slits in the e's, f, and g and now they are much more readable. (Just goes to show that you don't have to settle for exactly what you get in letters - they can be colored, cut, combined, and altered in lots of ways to make them fit your purpose.)
It often helps to have someone else look at it with fresh eyes. They'll point out things to change that I'll think, "Duh, why didn't I see that? - now it's so obvious!"
Click here to check out Get It Scrapped...you can even get a free e-book to get started and get a feel for what they have to offer! Also check out Masterful Scrapbook Design for the "Make It Mean" and other seminars - monthly, 6-month, and 12-month subscriptions, as well as back issues, are available.