Product Driven Storytelling

How to use product to inspire your storytelling |

Show of hands. How many of you have found that absolutely perfect stamp set or die cut and fell in love, but couldn’t think of a single way to use it? If you’re anything like me, it certainly didn’t stop you from buying it. And you told yourself that someday, someday, you would find a way to use it. Well, that day has come my friends!

I love fun elements on my scrapbook pages. I’m a sucker for ephemera and layering embellishments. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in all the stuff and forget about the storytelling. First, let me say that there’s no right or wrong way to scrapbook. Some people do it for the creative expression and don’t worry about the story. Others are happy to forgo the latest products and trends and focus solely on the journaling. For me, it’s a match made in heaven when I can do both.

About a month ago, the Etsy store Feed Your Craft had a sale on their mini flair. There were so many cute sets! I got caught up in the excitement and bought these adorable little citrus slices. Did I have a clue what I was going to do with them? Of course not. Could I pass them up? Are you insane?

Fast forward to last week. I visited another one of my Etsy obsessions, The Cut Shoppe, and came across their Fresh Squeezed 12×12 background cut file. Without a second thought, into the cart it went and I became the proud owner of a cut file full of sliced fruit. It’s hard to say when I became so enamored of fruit, but now that I had all these adorable products, I needed to figure out what to do with them. And, come to think of it,  wouldn’t this be a good exercise for all of those things I’d purchased over the years and never used? So I challenged myself to start finding ways to incorporate the products I loved into my storytelling.

I looked at them closely and asked myself- why did I feel the need to buy them in the first place? What was it about them that appealed to me. And then it hit me. They both scream bright, happy, sunshine. Summer! So I knew that was where I would find the story I wanted to tell. While I like fruit as much as the next person, I don’t have tons of pictures of it just waiting to be featured on its own layout. Now, I’m not above planning an activity or event for scrapbook fodder. I often joke that scrapbooking has helped me lead a more full life. But it was Sunday, I was still in my pajamas, and I really wanted to use these babies. So, I flipped through my recent photos and as soon as I saw this one, I knew my story.

How to use product to inspire your storytelling |

One of my favorite things about summer is gathering with friends, sitting on the deck late into the night, and sipping cool glasses of homemade sangria. Over the years, Natalie has perfected the recipe- just the right amount of brandy, a crisp red wine, and a combination of the perfect citrus. That’s right. Citrus! The photo alone isn’t much to write home about. It’s not well composed or exceptionally lit. But so many fond memories revolve around this one small detail. That makes it an important part of my summer storytelling.

Once I had my story in mind, the rest came together fairly quickly. I didn’t want the background to be too busy, so instead of using the whole 12×12 file, I cut it down to frame the top left corner of my photo. I backed a few of the slices with solid cardstock in bright summery colors and added mini flairs to the center of a few of them. The white of the cut file against the white of the background page was a little too blah for me so I used a crumpled up paper towel to add some faint blue underneath the citrus slices and the journaling. Sometimes you just have to use what you have on hand.

How to use product to inspire your storytelling |

The Open Alphabet cut file is one of my favorites! You can use it over and over without ever looking the same. I added patterned paper that matched the solid cardstock behind the citrus slices. For the word sangria, I mixed a couple of watercolors until I had the right shade and wrote it with my Aquash Water Brush. I fussy cut it and popped it up on Stamping’ Up Dimensionals for added dimension.

How to use product to inspire your storytelling |

Knowing there probably wouldn’t be too many other times I’d make a fruit-filled layout, I went through my other embellishments to see what I could use. I found these acetate fruits I had laying around from an old Studio Calico kit and thought they’d be perfect. Sure, there was no grapefruit or even lemon in the sangria, but they had the right color and vibe and that was good enough for me. Another mini flair finished off this embellishment cluster and tied it into the rest of the page.

How to use products to inspire your storytelling |

I love how this corner came together- with the flair and acetate leaves setting off the bright yellow fruit slice and the hint of blue in the background.

And just like that- I have a page that tells a story I might not otherwise have told if not for the product. How often do you find yourself with supplies you have no idea how to use? Do you ever use the product as a prompt for your storytelling? Any ideas for making the most of your supplies? I’d love to hear them!

Related Posts: Using Cut Files to Make Custom Backgrounds, Using Brush Lettering on Your Scrapbook Layouts,

5 thoughts on “Product Driven Storytelling

  1. Oh, this is fantastic, Adrienne! The blue you added to the cardstock is perfect and love how you only used part of the cut file! I’m definitely product driven, but I *try* to only buy things for specific projects so that I can keep my stash small. I’ve certainly been known to buy things just because they’re too cute though. 😉

    1. Thanks, Elise! I wish I bought less on impulse, but some of my favorite pages have come from pushing past my comfort zone and trying different things. Now, if only I used as much as I bought…?

  2. What a great post Adrienne! I am mainly a story-driven scrapbooker but I definitely purchase items on a whim and then wonder what in the world I’ll use them for. I eventually find connections for most of the things so I don’t feel as guilty for buying them. It’s so hard to resist some things though, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks, Susan! I have phases when I spend more time buying than crafting. LOL. Shopping for scrapbook supplies is definitely one of my favorite pastimes. Stories are most important to me too and I love when I find the perfect product to support them.

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