Blog Index / Chat Room / Team Gallery / Member Login

OLW 2014 | Are Productivity and Simplicity at Odds?

I’ve had this topic on my to-write list for over a year now because I can’t quite sort it out. Maybe we can do this together?

Sometimes I feel pulled apart. I write as much about time management as I do about finding meaning. I have boards on Pinterest for both Create More and Slow Down.

And this year, as I’ve really thought about what it means to create space in my life, I’ve circled this question again and again.

OLW 2014 | Are Productivity and Simplicity at Odds?

Are productivity and simplicity at odds?

To begin, let’s define these terms at a basic level and relevant to a memory keeper’s life.

1. Productivity is the state of being able to create.
2. Simplicity is the state of being uncomplicated.

Hmm… interesting! One connection immediately jumps out. You uncomplicate scrapbooking so that you can create.

That sounds pretty great. So where do things get muddled?

Outside of scrapbooking, we often see productivity used in terms of shortcuts and life hacks. Plus, historically it’s been associated with industry and profit-making. It can feel fast and rooted in desiring more.

Along side of productivity we have simplicity. This movement is often equated with granola types or 100-thing-minimalists. It can feel slow and rooted in desiring less, but in a not-very-realistic way.

Speed up, slow down. Go faster, hit the breaks. So which is it?

What if this pulling apart, this dichotomy of ideas, is actually a delicate balance for us? We want to feel at ease, but empowered. We want to feel relaxed, but inspired.

We just want get stuff done without resistance or insecurity!

I posit that for some people productivity and simplicity are at odds. However, for you here in this community, I believe they are compatible tools that help you find that state of balance you crave.

So what do you think? Are productivity and simplicity at odds?


Create Page Titles Easily with Cut Files | Simple Scrapbook Idea

Maybe you’re like me. You got a Silhouette for Christmas, cut a few items, and then promptly returned to your old scrapbooking processes.

It can be a challenge to integrate a new tool into your workflow. In this post I’m sharing one simple way to use cut files that doesn’t require a lot of extra thought: scrapbook page titles.

Create Page Titles Easily with Cut Files | Simple Scrapbook Ideas

In the layout above, a sneak peek from our August membership collection, I cut my title into the foundation card stock and then backed it with patterned paper. The effect is dramatic and eye-catching, but using cut files for page titles doesn’t always require advance planning.

Create Page Titles Easily with Cut Files | Simple Scrapbook Ideas

The layouts above and below have similar titles, both cut from kraft card stock. In fact, I cut them from the same sheet. Piecing a title from individual letters is a little more difficult but it helped to save the original card stock to offer an idea of placement and proximity.

Create Page Titles Easily with Cut Files | Simple Scrapbook Ideas

All titles were cut from PNG brushes by Ali Edwards:
No Day Like Today | This One 

What is your favorite way to use the Silhouette die cut machine?


Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout

I am all about story and adding meaning to photos with words. But sometimes, a picture really is worth one thousand of them. In this post I’m sharing a 6×12 photo essay layout from a recent trip.

Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout

I began by selecting my ten most favorite Instagram photos from a recent adventure in Boston. My husband I were there on business and managed to do a little sight-seeing on the side.

While I do have some other photos of us together I want to scrapbook with a traditional layout, there wasn’t a lot of depth to these iconic images. We walked the Freedom Trail. We ate seafood. We went to a game at Fenway. We walked some more.

This easy storytelling scenario led me to an easy scrapbooking solution: two 6×12 collages assembled from 4×6 prints. No wait needed!

Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout

I used the Print module in Lightroom to create 3″x3″ and 3″x6″ images on 4×6 canvases. Each were exported as a high resolution JPG and then printed from within Photoshop.

To create the larger images, I used the ability to choose the cropping in the Print module to drag the image all the way to the top and then all the way to the bottom. In other words, I exported each image twice – first the top half and then the second half.

Before printing, I also added a small title in Photoshop to one of the images. The font is Proxima Nova.

Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout

The excess was trimmed from each photo before adhering collage-style to a 6×12 sheet of card stock. I chose to adhere them on both sides, but you could use two pieces of card stock and place them back to back as well.

Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout

The entire process took less than 1 hour from start to finish. The result is a high impact album insert that tells the story simply. Sometimes that’s all you really need.


8 Simple Tips for Stress-Free Photo Organization

You’re so busy with life’s daily demands that downloading your camera’s memory card is a cause for celebration. Sound familiar? These hectic times make it all to easy to push family memory keeping to the back burner.

8 Simple Tips for Stress-Free Photo Organization

Fortunately, there are small steps anyone can take to grab the reigns on a disheveled photo library. Use these tips to prioritize your energy and build momentum for new routines in memory keeping.

1. Make a list. While most everyone is using digital cameras these days, all but the youngest family photographers have traditional film prints and even negatives hanging around. Roughly inventory your entire photo library to get the lay of the land.

2. Download, now. If you found that some of your images are still living on photo memory cards, change that right now. Start a habit of downloading your photos within 24 hours of snapping the pic so there is no burdensome backlog.

3. Don’t overthink. There are an endless array of software solutions for photo organization and storage, but not everyone needs them or has the time to leverage their capabilities. Start with a simple folder system before jumping into complex applications.

4. Skim the surface. When you have a lot of photos to sort, don’t focus on the details such as tagging each image. Think about the big picture and work at that level of get things in a baseline sense of order. You can always come back later to add tags or sub-folders.

5. Start labeling. It’s often easiest to work backward. Start with your most recent digital folder and decide on a labeling scheme. Use both the date and the event title in a folder for easy retrieval later.

6. Multitask. Scanning can seem like such a repetitive chore. Set up your laptop and scanner on a card table in the living room so you can stay entertained while making progress.

7. Backup. Every hard drive will eventually fail. Keep your images in at least 2, preferably 3, locations to ensure their safety. Remember that offsite storage, whether at your office, out of town, or online will add a layer of protection.

8. Be patient. A lifetime of memories cannot be organized overnight. Consider your effort a work in progress and be OK with that. Work in blocks of 15 or 30 minutes to feel the most accomplished.

Organizing your photos need not be a monumental task. Just getting started will help you feel in control and reduce your memory-keeping anxiety. Stay focused and keep it simple to find more time for what you love.

This post previously appeared on Complete Organizing Solutions.


Download a Free Issue of Spark Magazine | Limited Time Offer

Download a Free Issue of Spark Magazine | Limited Time Offer

Spark is the Simple Scrapper membership magazine, a monthly periodical that offers exclusive content to help you simplify scrapbooking. To celebrate this holiday weekend as well as reaching the second half of 2014, I’m giving away a sample issue for a limited time.

This downloadable PDF issue includes 5 exclusive sketches, 12 storytelling prompts, and 35 sample layouts from our talented creative team. Plus, the magazine features my personal introductions to creating space for scrapbooking and how to start feeling more focused.

Download link expired.

This link will expire at 11:59pm CDT on Tuesday, July 8.