Finishing Starting Points

A few weeks ago, I put together some page kits with older products (and some new products too) from my stash. I created one layout for each but found I had enough papers for several pages. Because I did not want these older products to find a way back into my stash, I started creating Starting Points layouts.

What are Starting Points? It’s a concept I picked up from Shimelle where she would share a foundation layout with some strips of pattern paper placed in a certain way. I thought the idea was liberating. Creating a foundation even when you have no idea what it will be used for. It helps use up supplies and it gives you a half finished layout for later.

Today, I wanted to show my process for finding photos to go with these kinds of layouts.

Selecting Photos

Here, I’ve lined up two sets of starting point layouts in different color schemes. Each design is clean and simple and photos could be placed on them in any number of ways.

I have a large selection of printed photos, spanning many years, ready to be scrapbooked whenever I need them. I don’t print every photo that comes out of the camera, but I do print photos that I want scrapbook. It’s easier for me to print in batches ahead of time at an online developer rather than print two or three photos as I go along for each layout. The prints are organized by topic in boxes, so they are easy to access.

To start, I pull out groups of photos to see if I can find prints that work and feel good with the background. Right off the bat, I found a photo of my nephews that reminded me of some professional photos of the whole family.

Sure enough, I found a set of photos that would work. Do the colors in my photos match 100% perfectly to these foundations? Maybe not, but that does not bother me. I’m actually really pleased. I love the idea of running wallet sized photos across that band of text paper.

Other portrait photos from a different time worked great on this second layout, though I won’t use all of these prints. Once I figure out my story and how much journaling room I’ll need, I’ll pick two or three photos and the ones I don’t scrapbook get filed again.

So far, I’ve spent approximately 5 minutes on this process.

Moving on the harder color scheme, I started looking through more everyday snapshots of my nephews. I came across this one with neutral colors. I set the photo down next to the layout foundation and was really pleased that it worked.

I returned to the portrait pile and found two additional photos from different time periods that I could add to this layout.

Since one of them was black and white, it gave me the idea that for the last foundation, I could look through some older family photos.

It didn’t take me long to find two photos that I instantly wanted to work with. I have quite a few heritage-style black and white photos. I have not scrapbooked many of them. In fact, I can count all of the heritage layouts I have created on one hand. But when I saw this photo of my Aunt in her military uniform, I was drawn to it. As I kept flipping through photos, I came across this second one with my grandparents and my dad. That was all it took.

It only took me about fifteen minutes to search and find these photos. And now I have four layouts that are ready to be scrapbooked.

What happens if I can’t find photos that work?

First, if I find photos that I really want for the page but the colors don’t work, I may choose to reprint my photos in black and white. Is that a waste? I do not think so. I have photos with stories that need to be scrapbooked. Reprinting something that will help me get it on the page so that I can tell that story is a good thing. The color photo will go back in the file and maybe it will find it’s way on another layout someday. Or maybe it will go into a mini album or a photo album. But I won’t worry about it.

Second, I’ll take a look at my photo collections on the computer. I don’t print everything so maybe there is something in my photo backups online that will work. If I find something, I’ll print it at home and keep working or I’ll tag it and make sure put it in the next batch of photos I send off to the developer.

If that fails, I just push that starting point to the side and know that eventually, I will take a photo that will work with it. Is this a hassle? Only if you look at it that way. I would rather look at it like I have a layout ready to go as soon as the right photo comes along. And because I take thousands of photos in many different situations, I have no doubt that I will eventually take a photo that’s going to work. In the meantime, I’ll save my starting points in a 12×12 Iris case and keep checking back.

Change can be good for the soul

I know that this concept does not work for everyone. But I like to share different ideas that work for me, just in case it resonates with someone. Many scrapbookers prefer to start with photos and find pattern papers that perfectly match their photos. That might be hard to do using this process, though I have always found photos to work. They also want to customize a design to fit the number of photos they have. I get it. I do the same thing sometimes.

But in my 12 plus years of scrapbooking, I have discovered that it’s really, really good to mix it up your process sometimes. When you do things in a different order or in another way, it can stretch you creatively. I didn’t start out today with the intention of scrapbooking heritage photos. But now I can’t wait to finish that layout. Doing things differently can produce unexpectedly fabulous results. You’ll never know if something different can work for you until you give it a try.

In a future post, I’ll follow up with my finished layouts.

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. I have found this blog post immensely helpful and inspiring. I had not heard of Shimelle’s Starting Points but read all the information carefully. I had made a challenge to myself to not buy anything new in 2012 but to try to use up my stash. I am going to start to do that with some of my papers that are leftover on my desk from other projects instead of putting them back. I am going to scraplift my favourite layouts instead of starting from scratch…then I know how and where my photos will be, how many I can put on the page and what size the photos will be. Such a simple idea, but so helpful to reducing the stash and moving ahead with scrapping. I truly hope you will be offering more of these stash busting tips in the months ahead; I also believe that it might be a very interesting topic of many of us out there that have been hoarding our stashes!

  2. I should add that I was quite successful in my 2012 challenge and hope to continue it in 2013.

  3. Oh, there are several things I like about this approach. First, using up old supplies and determining not to put them back in your stash. Second, having a method that means you always have a quick starting place – some days that can be helpful if your mojo is a little off. And third, you are right that new approach can really stretch your creativity. I have tried several of Shimelle’s starting points, and always been pleased with the pages that I’ve finished. Thanks for showing your take on it, Tammy. And thanks for the starting points – I may take off from there.

  4. I like how you’ve walked us through your process Tammy. I usually pick my photos first when I’m working with Shimelle’s Starting Points, but I just might start the new year by creating some backgrounds first!

  5. This is a great concept.
    I will look more into it. My goal for the new year is to scrapbook more.

  6. Great starting points and tips, Tammy!

  7. I really like this approach, and it’s one I should try…as a change, as a challenge, as a jump start. Thanks so much for sharing your process, Tammy!

  8. I do like using this approach from time to time. Having a good stash of photos is the key, I think. And not overthinking. Looking forward to seeing the finished pages!



  1. Finished Starting Points – Part 1 - [...] I have two finished layouts to shared from an earlier post: Finishing Starting Points. [...]
  2. Finished Starting Points – Part 2 - [...] Today I wanted to share the last two layouts I finished from the starting points in this post. [...]

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