When Pre-Made Doesn’t Work

…grab your punches!

But first…you gotta love these photos! My nephew Kyle is such a ham for the camera. I was looking through Kyle’s section of photos and started to see one tongue shot after another. Kind of begging for their own page, don’t you think?

It’s taken me a week to get this one done. A few minutes here, a few minutes there. Frankly, it was a challenge. I’d rather have a block of time to work on it until it’s in good shape, but that was not my reality last week. And because of that, the design kept changing. I had to try a bunch of different things before finally settling here.

What didn’t work? (Wish I had thought to take some photos to help illustrate, but I didn’t think of it!)

Orignially, I had the photos directly on the zigzag background and it was too busy. I wish I could grow to love my layouts on pattern paper backgrounds. I am always impressed by Shimelle’s use of pattern paper backgrounds but when I do the same thing, it doesn’t work as well. But I do love this paper and it’s just right for these photos, so the background stayed.

I just had to firgure out how to save the rest of it.

I tried a combo of red and yellow cardstock first, using different colors for the two rows of photos. But it wasn’t working for me. I didn’t like how I cut the frames or the alphabet stickers I originally picked.

So I went back to what I know best: neutrals. Once I added my photos to white cardstock and enlarged the frame, it finally started feeling right. Next, I needed something to fill in the white blocks of space where I would put my title and sub-title.

I tried a variety of things. I went through a huge stack of journaling cards. I thought I could find some that would look fun stacked up in that space with the title on top. Nothing looked right. The colors were off or the scale wasn’t right. I even tried some Project Life journaling cards and they were just too big.

Punches to the rescue! When all else fails, create what you need with your own tools. I turned to my trusty flourish square punch and an old paper shaper tag punch and created exactly what I needed. The punches added the fun color I wanted. I added another half punch at the top left and bottom right to help create diagonal flow and lead from and to the other embellishment clusters.

A few flair buttons, some hand stitching and ink splatters finished it off. I’m finally pleased with how it turned out!

Now, if only I had to time to follow it up with another layout. But I don’t. I’m off to work.

Hope you are having a great week.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Such a cute collection of photos, Tammy. I love the little clusters at the top and bottom of the page. The large white mat works perfectly with the patterned background.

  2. LOVE this! The punches are perfect for those super fun photos!

  3. what a great layout and the photos are priceless!!!

  4. What awesome photos! You definitely worked it out! Love it! And why is it that work and other commitments get in our way of crafting???

  5. Oh Tammy, those photos are absolutely perfect & the chevron paper definitely adds that bit of movement and fun that you see in the photos. Putting the photos on the neutral background worked perfect! Great job!

    Hang in there!! When I returned to work last January I thought I would never adjust to having a schedule and getting it all done after being off work for so long, but it finally came together after a while.

  6. The final page is absolutly beautiful!!

  7. I had a terrible time finding where to comment…silly me. Wonderful layout and great idea with the photos. Great colors. Totally terrific idea to use the punches as layers.

  8. Great page, we all grease our own style and have to do what works for us 🙂

  9. That paper collection is just wonderful! I have it in 6”x6” but when I see it like this I really want to have it in full size as well! So good for the kid’s photos! The stitches are such a darling detail. I wish my daughter could stop making faces at photos, I have too many of these! Thanks for sharing!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.