I am Queen | Get Messy Art Journal + a non-tutorial

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Hey paper nerd!

I’m popping in to share a little bit of art journaling and a how not to. I’m serious.

This week I  saw this great tutorial on Lauren Hooper’s blog for making your own stamps and I wanted to give it a go. Except I had no self-adhesive foam (or any kind of foam for that matter). And since there aren’t any craft stores within range I decided to see what else I had in my stash that’s self-adhesive.

Enter cork sheets.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

I’m never gonna use up all this cork – it punches and cuts awfully, I’m sad to report. But I thought it’d make do for some custom stamps.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

So I drew my design with a black marker and cut it by hand. I actually layered two sheets of cork together to get more of a cushion effect.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

I mounted it on a clear block.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

… and proceeded to stamp on my page.

Not impressed.

It’s not like it’s awful. But it’s not like it’s very nice either.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

Luckily art journaling isn’t about perfection and once I outlined the stamped images with my black marker it actually worked out okay.

But I need to get my hands on some sticky foam. ;)

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

I hope you enjoyed this non-tutorial and feel inspired to not go about making your own stamps like I did. :)

Thanks for stopping by.

xo Nina

This project is part of the Get Messy Art Journal Challenge.

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Birthday card for my guy | Making a Masculine Card

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Hey paper nerd!

Back in December my guy turned 30. That calls for a card!

I very rarely make cards and I it’s even more rare for me to share them here – but cards for guys are kind of special, so let’s explore that for a moment.

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The key for me is to keep it as non-cute and non-sentimental as I can. And it doesn’t hurt to stick with mostly “guy colors”.

I don’t ever go for dark, and I never ever go for guy-themed things like cars, mustaches or gears. That’s just way more literal than it needs to be, if you ask me.

I also believe that giving a card is not only about who receives it. It’s something I made for him so it needs to be true to my style – that makes it more special.

So yeah, I put a doily on it. :)

Do you have any rules for making a masculine card?

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far, friend. Thanks for stopping by.

xo Nina

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How I’m doing Project Life in 2015 | Free Page Planner Printable

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Hey paper nerd!

I’ve recently started my 4th year of Project Life and have hopefully found a way to approach it that I can keep up all year.

I wanna share my 2015 Project Life plan with you guys. I also want to share a free printable further down. You may skip to that or keep reading. Here’s what’s up. :)

Stuff I’m using

My opening page is incredibly simple. And I put it there because I’m not entirely happy with the title page coming right after. This way I don’t have to see that weird title page every time I open the album. :)

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I wanted to take a great photo of the three of us to put on the title page but I was sick for the last few days of 2014 and it just didn’t happen. So I grabbed a great recent photo of my two lovelies and called it a day.

I may change the title page at some point. I kind of think it’s over-embellished (yes, really).

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And so it begins. Week 1 of 2015. A few words and some photos. I was happy to include myself already. Kept it super simple, bright and colorful.

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See how the photo cards I made in Collect just makes everything look good? So good. And that confetti card makes me happy!

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My Project Life approach

As you can tell I’m not doing weekly spreads. I’m just putting the cards in more or less chronologically. I add a Week Number Card every time the week changes.

I’m also doing square corners only. I’m kind of pooped that I can’t use my Studio Calico cards, We R cards or Becky Higgins cards but I just can’t go for the round corners again. I so prefer the hard grid the squares provide.

So far I’ve been editing photos almost every day in PicTapGo and adding journaling to them immediately in Collect. As long as I have photos and journaling ready on my phone I won’t get too off track.

Every 2-4 days I’m printing photos and sticking them in pockets. It’s crucial for me to get to the actual physical creating stage. It keeps me excited and motivated!

In the very back of my album I’ve put some Pocket Scrap Planner Pages in case I fall behind. More on that below. :)

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Free Pocket Scrap Planner Pages

To help me catch up, if/when I’m gonna need it, I’ve created these simple Pocket Scrap Planner Pages.

Note: A5 versions are designed to print on a sheet of A4 paper, then cut down the middle so you get two copies. Halfletter versions are designed to print on a sheet of Letter size paper, then cut down the middle so you get two copies.

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The Pocket Scrap Planner Pages fit nicely in a 6×8 pocket. I’ve stuck a handful in the back of my Project Life album so they’re handy when I need it.

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When I’m missing a week I’ll simply take a full 6×8 pocket page and put the Pocket Scrap Planner Page as well as some photos and elements I want to use in it. I’ll then stick the pocket in the album where there’s a week missing.

I also discovered that the A5 Filofax hole punch makes the printables fit perfectly in 6×8 albums (at least my Simple Stories album) and 12×12 albums (at least my We R Memory Keepers album). See below. How cool is that!

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I’m really excited for Project Life this year. I may finally have boiled the process down to where I can keep it up. (And I’m so gonna eat my own words when baby arrives and everything is chaos – haha!) For now I’m feeling good about it.

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Let me know if you have any questions regarding Project Life. I’m always happy to share!

Have fun with your Project Life, if that’s your jam too. If not, have fun with Actual Life. ;)

Thanks for stopping by.

xo Nina

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How to start a layout – a.k.a. The Pretty Pile Method

How to start a layout - the Pretty Pile Method | Nina is a Paper Nerd

When I first started scrapbooking back in 2011 I had no clue how to start. Literally, how to begin the act of scrapbooking. I’d have my relatively small stash of papers and bits, a bunch of photos on my computer ready to print, adhesive and time. I was ready. Except I was not.

In case you tend to struggle with starting I wanted to share my fool proof (Nina proof) method today. Maybe you’re new to scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve lost the mojo, as we call it. Or maybe you’d just like to try something new. Either way, let’s dive in!

Step One: Choose a beautiful photo

This is where we’re gonna get a bit superficial. You want to start with a beautiful photo. Save those flash photos of your flooded basement or the red-eyed, dark and blurry photos of your niece for another time. Instead, pick a beautiful photo that’s easy to scrapbook. Don’t even worry about the motif or story.

Think of your favorite Instagrammers. Think sharp, light and professional-looking. That’s the photo you’ll want to work with.

Tip: I find that photos with white borders (or a white photo mat) are so much easier to work with. They’re easier to put on a page and not clash, simply because the white border separates the photo from the background.

Step Two: Don’t worry about the subject

Don’t think you have to come up with some great story to justify a layout. Don’t worry about the title and journaling and deeper meaning.

Most of the time, with the exception of Project Life, I create because I want to put paper together and make it look good. I’m not on a quest to document everything. I’m notoriously not taking pictures at big events because I’m busy living them and experiencing them instead.

Let it go. Abandoning the pressure of portraying some important subject or theme and doing it justice will help you to just start.

Step Three: Make the Pretty Pile

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘kids respond well to limits’? Fact is, we all respond well to limits. So now comes the fun part (at least for puzzle nerds like me): Putting together a Good Looking Pile of scrapbook stuff that’s gonna serve as your kit.

My theory is this: If you gather a bunch of supplies and they make a Pretty Pile, then they will probably make a pretty layout as well.

Begin by looking at the photo you chose. What’s the vibe here? Is it light, dark, vibrantly colored? Which colors are in it?

In the example below I have a quite light photo with the main colors being greys, whites and dusty greens – with a splash of red. So I start looking for papers to match those colors in my beloved scrap drawer (see the photo at the top of this blog post). I save pretty much all my scraps and put them in that drawer.

But what if you don’t have a scrap drawer? I say, start one now!

My photo is very soft-looking so I make sure to pick mostly papers in lighter shades of green so they compliment instead of compete with the photo. I add a ton of neutrals which is a staple in any scrapper’s stash. Last I pick out a single brand new piece of 12×12 paper and some mists I want to use on my background – because I’m me and I can’t do a layout without mist. :)

How to start a layout - the Pretty Pile Method | Nina is a Paper Nerd
These things make up a very Pretty Pile. I’m not even gonna worry about embellishments or title right now ’cause that will just complicate it. It’s time to start scrapping!

Step Four: Commit

Keep your photo close and start building your background.

You have limited options because you made your own kit so don’t go rummaging through the rest of your stash!

I had these long strips of white cardstock in my scrap drawer that were left over from another project. I knew I wanted to use them as panels on my background so I simply started building those and gluing them down immediately. It’s all about committing. When you glue things down as you go you’re less likely to want to move them around again – ’cause you can’t, hah!

How to start a layout - the Pretty Pile Method | Nina is a Paper Nerd

I added stitching on my sewing machine and splatters of ink mist.

Next you build the main element of the layout – the photo cluster. Here it’s basically another Pretty Pile, as you can tell.

Build the Pretty Photo Pile separately, away from the layout. This way you won’t feel tied down to placement and making it fit just so.

I always make sure to mat the photo plenty. Here it’s “framed” by soft pink squares that are barely peeking out from beneath, and the black text on the left of the photo combined with the kraft tag on the right kind of sandwich around the photo and makes it center stage. I staple the whole Pretty Photo Pile together, adhere the photo and take it to my background to decide on placement.

Tip: Mount the photo on foam adhesive to make sure it literally pops off the page. If your photo is the tallest element on the layout you’re golden.

Now add a title and journaling, if you feel like it. But don’t feel like you have to! It’s taken me a long time to not feel weird about titling layouts and my journaling is even weaker.

I skipped both journaling and embellishing in this layout. :) Screw convention, my friend!

Whatever you do: Finish it. In one sitting, if you have the time. If you go back and forth too much you’ll have a harder time sticking with the kit and limitations – I know this from experience. You’ll feel like adding stuff and removing other stuff and it just gets messy (and not in a good way).

Step Five: Celebrate!

You did it. :) It’s finished and you can enjoy your lovely layout.

I hope you liked this five step shortcut to getting started on a new layout when you’re just not sure how to even begin. Let me know if you ever try it! It always works for me when I’m in a funk and I’ve started defaulting to this method because it’s just so fast!

Have a great weekend, friend, and thanks for stopping by.

xo Nina

PS. I’ve very sneakily made my very own marsala color ink mist in this project by mixing a bronze brown and dark red mist. Creating a layout using the color marsala just happens to be the January 12 in 15 Challenge still running on my blog. Make sure you enter! You can win a beautiful one-of-a-kind marsala felt fauxdori. And if that sounds like something off a French menu to you go check out what it is right here. :)

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Enjoy the silence | Get Messy Art Journal

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen
Hey paper nerd

Brace yourself. Here’s a personal update. :) 

I don’t keep a regular journal – and every time I try to keep one I stop after one or two entries because I’ve fulfilled my immediate need to get something off my chest and down on paper. And then that need doesn’t reappear for a while.

Well, recently I felt like writing again. As the birth of baby brother gets nearer (about a month from now) I’m starting to get increasingly tense about certain things. Things I thought I was okay with. Thing I thought I dealt with.

During the holidays my entire family caught a stomach bug and when it hit me I got super bad cramps. I’d even call it contractions of some kind. I downloaded an app to time them and they were one minute long, about 4-8 minutes apart for about an hour. That was so scary to me. I knew it wasn’t labor but it reminded me of it and that was enough to make me reconsider if I should just schedule a Cesarian and avoid that whole labor thing.

Safe to say, I’m not over my birth issues.

I’m gonna have another talk with my kick-ass therapist (I love her) and really try to feel good about this birth. It’s supposed to be a good thing. I’ve kind of neglected some of the mental exercises she and my midwife’s taught me to help cope, so I need to get on that.

Writing helps. My art journal is simply my journal. So the other day I just poured my thoughts onto paper – didn’t care if it’s legible – and wrote until I ran out of space.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

Enjoy the silence.

Prepare.

And love.

Most of these thoughts actually have to do with my feelings toward Ada in the midst of all this. It occupies my mind a lot. I feel guilty for preparing for the new baby. I feel guilty that I want a “better birth” than I had with her.

It’s the strangest thing. Nothing rational about it.

I also feel like I’m on death row. Like it’s the “last days” in a way. I’m breaking all kinds of parenting rules by spoiling Ada because of it. I need to enjoy this quiet moment before baby comes, and not claw onto it so fearfully and desperately.

Paper Nerd Art Journal | Get Messy Art Journal Challenge #getmessyartjournalchallenge by Nina Christensen

The painted page is kind of random but I felt great creating it. Layers and layers of paint and ink. And some messy stitching. I like that a lot. I put the ‘No 3′ on there ’cause it reminds me that we’re three people in this family now and soon we’ll be four.

Savoring it. Trying to enjoy it. Really, really trying.

The Triangles print is an A5 version of the larger Triangles art print sold in my shop. I’m giving away the smaller Triangles prints with all physical orders at the moment and I still have a few left.

Thanks for reading, if you did. Thanks for looking at my pages, too. Love having you come by.

xo Nina

This project is part of the Get Messy Art Journal Challenge created by Caylee and Lauren. You can join too! #getmessyartjournal

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