Monday, March 11, 2013


Happy Monday folks!

Today's installment of what I learned this week is all about minimalism.
Well ok- not ALL about it-
just the part that pertains to scrapbook pages that take hours and hours and hourssss.

I've always been attracted to the stark and beautifully balanced look of Japanese art and interior design.

This style is more about visual harmony and quality materials than proving you are wealthy (or a really talented scrapbooker) by gilding everything.

You can also fall under the false impression that minimalist projects take less time.

Yeah, no.
Not if you take forever and EVER to choose items so that they contrast just enough to make the page pop but not enough to stab the viewer's eyes.
That last part is subjective.
Materials: Scrap FX Endless Beauty wordlet #2012036, Sakura Flowers #2013009 and
Magnolia branch #2013001, Coredinations Jenni Bowlin paper, October Afternoon chevron pattern paper, GCD Studios Sweet Surrender print paper, 
I started with the beautiful Sakura photo of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
This photo is AMAZING. I still can't believe I took it.

My camera has a panoramic setting but you can use an app called Picstitch to get that same look with your iPod or you can crop and print to photos and stick them down on your page for a really fun collage look.
What I learned

  • Without basic design knowledge you can easily spend hours shuffling an image around the page for "balance". 
Simple is not easy.
So I found this chart by Grant Snider of Incidental Comics
It helped. A LOT.

  • I've been using CoreDinations paper a LOT lately. I went to their blog to get technique tips and found out they are having a design team call. !!!!  I considered applying but a public blog post is required as your application. Right... 'nuff said on that.

You can stitch through delicate wordlets!
Just use the hand knob to advance and bring up your foot so you don't stitch through the actual letters.
You can put it down again when you reach the border.
Hope I'm using the right terms for the parts there...
I'm reading Dina Wakely's Art Journal Freedom. You MUST pick it up!
She details the products she uses on her spectacular pages.
I picked up some acrylic artist ink which is super ka DUPER opaque
and the dropper means you get CRAZY awesome splatter.
Also? It fully covers chipboard in 1 coat!
 New finishing fave!
The larger Sakura is finished with Stabilo water color pencil and a bit of water to
smooth away pencil lines. The brighter white flowers were finished with artist ink.

  • Going by the chart above- I've already failed. The loose gold thread all over this page is hardly "clean".  I just learned the rules and I'm already having fun breaking them!
  • I also added hidden meaning (another no no- OOPS!) with some GCD Studios paper snippets so  you don't have to "search" for it in the page. You're welcome!
  • Sanding Core'Dinations paper is easier with a sanding sponge from your local hardware store. It's 2 dollars versus the 10 you'll pay for a fancy Tim Holtz scrapbook sanding block. 
  • I made vellum Sakura by tracing the chipboard and cutting them out. This was time consuming. I really love the look. I REALLY love it. I'll have to make a separate page just with those.
  • My scanner is still going strong. I can't believe I can get clear impressions even with the thick chipboard on this page! SO EXCITED!!! Now I can work AND shoot pages later at night!
Today marks 2 years since the Tsunami that killed over 19,000 people and displaced another 300,000 in Japan.
Sometimes my inner brain tells me things that my outer brain wants to ignore.
Let's all pause for the lives lost.
One of my favorite Williamsburg spots.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!


  1. These Monday "sessions" are great! You are amazing Michelle, very talented, a natural teacher :D
    Your minimalist page, even if it doesn't follow the rules, is precisely that...YOUR page and it's beautiful! I personally love the string :)

  2. Love this series Michelle! Your page is just beautiful and I am so impressed with your photography too. You are so right about shuffling papers around, thanks for the primer!

  3. Hey Michelle! So nice to meet you on PRT today. I actually did a whole podcast episode on "minimalist scrapbooking." You can check it out here:
    (Hope it was okay to link it up!).
    More soon!

    1. Duh. Corrected link!

  4. I love japanese minimalism, and I love your layout!!
    Thanks for stopping by!


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