As with style, the method of page completion is very much a personal one and one that can change over time. Each person must find the sequence of completion that works for them.
Some scrappers that I know vary their style depending on where or what they are scrapbooking. Some are very methodical, scrapping in chronological order and completing pages based upon those photos. Others scrap based on their most recent product purchases. I myself have gone through quite a few alterations in my approach to a page.
I admit, when I first started scrapbooking I tried the chronological approach, starting with the pictures I had taken over the last couple of months. However, I take so many pictures that I quickly found this would not work for me. I also had undertaken a project to scrapbook my childhood and teenage photos (a project which I admit is still heavily in progress.) Many of my friends have also felt this kind of panic. Chronological scrapbooking is certainly not for everyone. Just know that it is okay to do things out of order and that you DO NOT have to scrapbook every photo. Extra photos can be used for minialbums, photo frames or just the old style photo album. I keep many of my unused photos in boxes for easy access if I start a new project.
Following my failed attempt at the chronological approach, I moved to the nice and simple start-to-finish style. I would choose my photos, then my paper. After that I would decide on a layout and put the individual elements together one by one and journal at the same time. I wouldn't move on to another page until that particular one was complete. It was an efficient mode of completion, but one that stagnated me as I sometimes found myself stuck at finding the correct embellishments or the right words for journaling. This approach also made it difficult to scrapbook at crops as I frequently found that I did not take a product that I wanted to finish a page and I would often have to change my final product based upon what was contained in my crop bag.
I would mix it up on occasion by forcing myself to use old product. Generally this would happen after I had rearranged my scrapbook supplies. To complete this approach I would choose paper and coordinating embellishments that had been in my stockpile for quite some time. I would then add one or two newer items. After I had selected my materials I would move on to choose photos that would work with the color scheme I had developed. This is sometimes quite a fun approach, but I could never do it as a regular habit - I found that after one or two pages I became a little stressed at locating the correct photos. Some people do very well with this technique but have found that I need to use the photos to guide my pages.
I recently changed my approach yet again. I still pick my photos and my paper first - it helps me keep my sanity. I then design the page layout based on those two items. If I have a specific completed layout or page arrangement in my head I sketch it on a 3 x 5" index card and place it with the layout. Since I scrapbook in one room and store my supplies in another, this technique prevents me from having to go back and forth multiple times retrieving ribbon, letters, or other embellishments.
Once the pages make it past that initial stage, I take the stack (generally ten or more...right now I have about 35 in progress) into my supply room. They are all put through journaling one by one. Journaling is frequently my downfall as I find that I often get burnt out after two or three pages. I use my 3 x 5" cards to help me with this. If there is a certain topic or event I want to address, or if I have journaling in mind, I write it down on the card at the time of the photo placement. This helps break up the tedium of journaling to some extent. I admit I cheat a little, as I often do more first phase pages as the journaling pages sit if I have friends over to scrapbook or if I am simply not in the journaling mood.
Once the journaling is completed for the entire batch, I move them into the embellishment phase. Again the cards are used. All along the "assembly line" process I will sketch additional ideas, titles, and specific embellishments so that by the time the pages get to this stage it is really just a cut and paste approach for most.
Though this approach does seem to delay gratification, I like that I feel a little more compartmentalized and that I have decreased the "chicken with its head cut off" feeling that I had with going back and forth from my crop room to my scrapbook room grabbing all my little additions. Also, the amount of accomplishment I feel at the end of the process is exponentially increased as I finish ten pages rather than one.
Feel free to experiment with different approaches as you grow as a scrapbooker. Refine your own style...refine your own approach. Talk to your friends to see how they complete a page. The more examples you have, the more likely you will find a technique that works for you. Don't let scrapbooking stress you out. If you find yourself getting stressed with a layout, put it away and start another. Make sure the hobby stays fun.
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