Scraptastic!: Interview with Ashley Calder

Scraptastic!: 50 Messy, Sparkly, Touch-Feely, Snazzy Ways to Jazz Up Your Scrapbook Pages
Scraptastic!: 50 Messy, Sparkly, Touch-Feely, Snazzy Ways to Jazz Up Your Scrapbook Pages

If you consider scrapbooking to be as much about expressing yourself artistically as it is about preserving your family's special memories, Scraptastic!: 50 Messy, Sparkly, Touch-Feely, Snazzy Ways to Jazz Up Your Scrapbook Pages is the idea book for you. Author Ashley Calder's playful and creative pages are guaranteed to inspire you to take your own projects to the next level. In Scraptastic!, Ashley shows readers the methods behind the quirky style that's earned her a place in Scrapbooks Etc., Creating Keepsakes, Legacy, Memory Makers, Scrapbook Answers, and Scrapbook Trends.

Some of the many techniques covered in Scraptastic! include:

  • Paper piecing
  • Collage
  • Stamping
  • Golf leafing
  • Working with watercolors
  • Using metal foil tape
  • Flocking
  • Matte gel transfers
  • Contact paper transfers

Scraptastic! also offers suggestions for unique ways to use up your supply stash. For example, Ashley demonstrates how to use an assortment of mismatched eyelets and a bottle of acrylic craft paint to turn a simple die cut shape into a sparkly new embellishment for your layout. She also showcases a stunning layout that uses custom background paper created by weaving small strips of leftover ribbon and patterned paper scraps.

Although many of Ashley's pages feature her daughters, it should be noted that this is not a book for scrappers looking for help with themed layouts. Ashley's techniques will work equally well whether you're scrapbooking your child's first steps, your most recent vacation, or everyday moments with your significant other.

Interview with Ashley Calder

Recently, Ashley Calder took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the readers of LoveToKnow Scrapbooking.

How did you first become interested in scrapbooking?

When my firstborn was a young toddler, a friend sent me a link to an online gallery where she had posted a layout. I started looking around the Web site and was amazed at the creativity behind the layouts! I was amazed at the neat things people were using on their pages -- collage was a trendy style and everything was game for the page. I knew immediately I had to start scrapbooking. I loved searching out vintage fabrics and laces in secondhand stores and finding things around the house I could use on my layouts. I was hooked!

How would you describe your personal scrapbooking style?

Messy but linear: I love painty messes and a disordery, random feel to my pages but like to keep it all organized and clean by keeping things lined up on the page.

What are your top three "scrapbooking essentials"?

Bright, vibrant cardstock; rub-ons; and watercolor paint.

What are your favorite subjects to scrapbook?

I really just love recording our everyday lives. Things we do. Things my kids do. Distinguishing between events and moments isn't really important to me; I'm just scrapbooking to keep a record of our ordinary and wonderful days.

What is the most unusual technique you've ever tried in your personal scrapbook?

I think the most unusual technique award would have to be tied between the page I adhered plastic drinking straws and test tubes full of rhinestones to, and the page from Scraptastic! that is two full 12 inch pages covered in ribbon tabs. Everyone who looks at that page, including me, wonders -- what were you thinking and how long did that take?

Your layouts are beautiful, but some of the techniques in Scraptastic! look rather time consuming. Do you have any tips for our readers who are looking for a way to balance the need to express themselves artistically with a desire to get "caught up" on their pile of photos waiting to be scrapbooked?

Thank you. Yes, some of the techniques are time consuming, but as I talk about in my book, a lot of those techniques are completed in "stolen minutes" here and there. Small projects I like to take with me to the ballet studio, doctor's office waiting room, the swimming pool so I can work on them while my girls are at their activities and other appointments. Many of the techniques can be started or set up while watching TV in the evening, like the ribbon tab page I mentioned above.

Not all of my pages are time consuming and not every page needs to feel like it is going to be your final masterpiece. The truth is, I enjoy working on pages and I'd rather have fewer pages I liked and enjoyed working on than to have a library of complete albums. I think if being caught up was top priority for me, I'd like to balance my quick and fast pages out with an occasional technique heavy page, just for the fun of it and to see the diversity in my album.

For many scrapbookers, part of the fun of the hobby is collecting beautiful supplies. How you overcome the fear that you're going to "mess up" a layout and ruin irreplaceable items if you're experimenting with unfamiliar techniques?

Product hoarding was a huge obstacle for me to overcome when I first started scrapbooking! Then, I saw that those expensive, beautiful papers that I just had to have, and had spent way too much money on, were suddenly, a year or so later, not at all my taste any longer. As soon as I started removing unwanted supplies from my storage and recalled that page I had wanted to use those products on, but hadn't, for fear that I'd use them up, I realized that using products was much more satisfying than keeping them unused until I gave them away.As I have continued to shop for seemingly unique items I have come to realize that there is always going to be another length of vintage ribbon, another piece of vintage doily. And no matter what, seeing a product that you love used on a page is always much more satisfying than seeing it in a box in your craft room!

The fear of messing up is also another obstacle that must be tackled. I find that practicing on old or unwanted papers first works well - as does keeping in mind that some of my favorite layouts have come from accidents that turned into happy mistakes. Sometimes making a mistake on a page turns into a very good thing as the end product is often so different and so much better than the original plan had been. I think because fixing errors takes so much more effort and creativity than one would use in the normal process of creation, the end product is abnormally fun and creative.

Additional Information

~A review copy of Scraptastic! was provided by the publisher for this article.

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Scraptastic!: Interview with Ashley Calder