LOAD Prep! What the what? {Feeling Crafty}


LOAD what? A load of laundry? Load the dishwasher? Nope, LOAD as in Layout-a-Day, the most magical time of the year, right next to Christmas of course!


If you’ve come to Clicky Chick Creates from the LOAD215 Blog Hop, welcome!

For those not familiar with LOAD, it’s a month long challenge to document life via memory keeping / scrapbooking. We receive a daily prompt, create a layout, upload it to our private Flickr group gallery and ooh- and aah- over all the gorgeous layouts in the gallery! No running to a physical class or crop, as it’s all done from the luxury of our own computer. You might get part of your layout done between work, school or getting dinner ready. You can even do it in your jammies! It’s pretty brilliant, actually!

Connie Hanks Photography // // Beach inspired scrapbook layout, blending, stencils, texture, embossing paste, distressing and more!

This will be my 10th, YES, tenth, LOAD! I had heard about it for about a year before I jumped in, and I’m ever so glad I finally did just do it! Some LOADs have been more successful than others, but ultimately, I end up with more layouts than I started the month with, so it’s definitely a win in my book!

Connie Hanks Photography // // "Thrill Seekers" scrapbook layout - an afternoon at the county fair!

Playing with trends? Make them your own!

I’ve posted about my LOAD experiences several times, and you can find lots of insight here, here and here, where I’ve shared my top tips for an amazing LOAD experience, lots of my favorite layouts, why LOAD is a life changer and I’ve even shared my top-secret Crock-Pot Chili recipe that makes my family quite happy during LOAD!

So if I’ve written so much about LOAD already, what could I possible have to offer this go round without repeating myself? Loads! {Pun intended!} Instead of strategies or tips, I’d love to share a few things I didn’t know about LOAD, and that now, as I approach my 10th LOAD, am blessed with and look forward to sharing with you…

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

Prompts that make you scratch your head

Before participating in my first LOAD, I thought I’d just create layouts. Period. I knew I’d receive a daily prompt with some layout examples, and being fairly new to scrapbooking at the time, I thought it would be “use a green piece of paper, 5 brads, and 2 photos” but I was wrong. There’s so much more to LOAD than the month long challenge and a daily prompt.

I had no idea that the prompts would be so insightful. Some of the prompts made me immediately think of the page I wanted to create. Other times, the prompts challenged me to scrap about a topic that would’ve otherwise not made it onto my pages. I should probably say that pre-LOAD, I was mostly an event scrapper, with birthdays and Halloween monopolizing most pages. So making a page about my twin uncles, or my husband’s guitar wouldn’t have been top of mind. But through the awesome LOAD prompts, those pages happened! Curious what the prompts were those days? Little Girl Crush made me scrap about my super cool and handsome uncles, and the Five-Senses: Hearing prompt led me down the path of creating a layout about the 12-string guitar I gifted my husband years ago…way back to our pre-kids days when we had money for our own toys 😉 // Sweet Girl Crush scrapbook layout about twin uncles



Inspiration from Prompts, People, Pages

There is no shortage of inspiration during LOAD! Not only are the prompts fantastic, but the pages you see in the private gallery created using the same prompts you’ve received, is amazing! It’s truly inspiring to see the beautiful pages, read heartwarming / real / funny / poignant  journaling, and find that someone may have processed and interpreted the prompt so differently from you, that you’re inspired to create another page using the same prompt! There are usually over 5000+ pages created during LOAD – talk about endless inspiration! // Playground Besties (everyday moments / real life) scrapbook layout distress inks, masks, stencils, love, circle, arrows, hearts, glasses, mustache, Heidi Swapp,

Friendships, the real kind, not just surface stuff

So during LOAD, not only are we creating pages, but we’re seeing everyone else’s pages in our private gallery. And what’s usually on our pages? Our lives! Our loved ones! Our past! Our present! Our dreams! It’s beautiful to know so many of these women and their families through the layouts that have been shared. Marriages, babies, graduations, losses, deaths, family challenges… we’ve all shared so much on our layouts. Many of us have formed deep and meaningful friendships, and have even met in real life for retreats, shopping, coffee, classes, crafting, laughs and more! I really had no clue how close I would become with so many of these women. We come from all parts of the world, all different ages, shapes, colors and sizes! Our common thread of scrapbooking brought us together, but the friendships go so much deeper than sharing a love of paper! I’m forever thankful that I made the decision to try LOAD all those years ago!

Connie Hanks Photography // // Jar of Dreams layout with butterflies, bucket list, life goals

All in all, I’m really thankful for LOAD and wish I would’ve known sooner, how amazing the community is, the support, the inspiration, the camaraderie, the friendships that are formed… they’ve made a huge impact on my crafty life path and many have left their inky fingerprints on my heart forever ❤

So are you ready to join us? You’ve gotta do it, at least once upon a time! Sign up here!

One of the sweetest LOADsters I had the pleasure to become friends with would always give us a countdown of how many sleeps were left before the next LOAD started… so as Alison would say… we have six more sleeps before all the fun starts! Join us! You really will not regret it. And who knows, you might just make some new crafty besties! We’re a friendly, fun and fabulous (if I do say so myself!) group of gals and there’s room at the crafting table for you to join us 🙂

LOAD215 1000x500

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day! Make sure not to miss any future posts by signing up for the Clicky Chick Creates email list here! You’ll get a great little freebie download as my thank you!


Live creatively!

Now head off to read some more LOAD goodness from my scrappy friends! You’ll recognize some of these gals from our regular Make It Monday posts, and I’m eager to read all these posts! Hope you are too! Make sure you leave them some comment love if you do hop on over! xoxo

Kristie Sloan at Artful Adventures

Kelli Panique at Use It Scrapbooking

Lain Ehmann at Layout A Day

Christy Stickler at My Scrapbook Evolution

Lynnette Nagle at Sassy Scrapper

Dani Leonetti at Scrapper on the Street

Danielle Hunter at Eco Scrapbook

Leslie Smith at Out of the Mire

Heather Dubarry at No Excuse Scrapbooking

Melissa Pearson at A Day in the Life Of

Valerie Smith at From Valerie’s Heart

Marcia Fortunato at Musings and Memories

Karen Fitting at Photos Kept Alive

Nicole Gray at Nicole’s Scrapbook

Alice Boll at Scrapbook Wonderland

Lisa Hausmann at Recklinghausen Musings

Wendy Aebi at Life in the Button Factory

Connie Hanks Photography // // Top 5 for an amazing LOAD layout-a-day

Top 5 Tips for an Amazing LOAD {Blog Hop}

Connie Hanks Photography // // Top 5 tips for an amazing LOAD layout-a-day

Hi! I’m Connie and welcome to Clicky Chick Creates! If you’re following along on the LOAD blog hop, you should’ve come to my crafty corner of the blog world via the super adorable and creative Danielle of EcoScrapbook. She blows my mind with her recycled and upcycled creations!

Whether you’re new to LOAD (welcome!) or a veteran (like Lisa H who has completed 14 LOADs and over 400 layouts!), I hope my Top 5 tips for an amazing LOAD helps you! So, here we go:

1. Clean Up! If you’re anything like me, your desk or crafting space ends up becoming a magnet for every thing that once was neatly put away in a drawer or closet or bookshelf! What is it about the mess that’s created when crafting? Oh yes, it’s called CREATING! But before LOAD starts, be sure to clean off your space. Starting with a clean slate really helps start off on the right foot and not get overwhelmed from the word go! And along with starting off with a clean space, be sure to tidy up after each day/night. Set 10 minutes aside to put away all those goodies that came out to play so you can start with a clean space for the next amazing prompt!

Connie Hanks Photography // // All In scrapbook layout using The Crafter's Workshop Zinnia, Tim Holtz Distress Inks, Fiskar punches, embossing powder

2. Plan Ahead: Meal Planning and Prepping! We have just a bit under a week before LOAD kicks off – it’s a perfect time to get a jump start on some… meal planning! Did you just hear a record scratch? Wait, do they still make records and record players?! Yes, I am still talking about LOAD. Planning out meals – especially crock-pot or quick and easy dinners – really helps for an amazing month of creating! As much as we get into our lovely creative time, we do still need to think of our families and their needs! Some of my go-to’s are pre-marinating and freezing chicken and steaks, I just have to remember to grab it in the morning to thaw. Another go-to is making crock-pot meals in the morning – less to stress about later and gives me more time to create. Family favorites include my crock-pot chili and parmesan garlic chicken – yum!

Connie Hanks Photography // // The Legend of Anna Meatball scrapbook layout using Sweet Stamps Distressed Chevron stamp, Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Picked Raspberry, Dylusions Spray Ink in Bubblegum Pink, washi tape

3. Making a list and checking it twice! Even though the prompts we receive from our fearless leader Lain are ah-ma-zing, I think what has helped me have an amazing LOAD experience is having a list of story ideas and/or photos I really want to scrap. When the daily prompt comes into my email, I let it simmer and marinade in my head and see if anything comes to mind. I’d say half the time, a photo or story comes to mind that I hadn’t thought about (LOVE when that happens! That is the beauty in LOAD, of course!) and I can’t wait to get it down on paper. Sometimes I might be a little stuck or unclear in my vision, so I review my list of story/photo ideas and bam, it all comes together! Beyond being reminders of stories and photos I want to highlight, having that list feels like a safety net for those days my mind is a little cluttered or snoozy : )

Connie Hanks Photography // // Water Babies beach scrapbook layout using torn strips of patterned paper

4. Say Cheese! Besides actually making the layout, sharing it is what makes LOAD so amazing. In this week leading up to LOAD, find a place where you can set up a staging area to photograph your amazing layouts. Using foam core (I picked up white and black 24″x36″ boards at the Dollar Store – score!) is an easy way to get a clean, distraction free background, and a good flat surface to lay your creations against when photographing. If you need some help, I wrote a post with tips for photographing paper projects here, and my dear, adorable, uber-talented and totally-who-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up friend Jennifer Gallacher wrote a couple of fantastic blog posts about photographing crafty goodies, too. One post is “Photographing Your Projects with Jen” and the other is “Selecting Props for Product Photography” – check them out!

Connie Hanks Photography // // You Had Me at Shoes scrapbook layout using templates, stencils, Tim Holtz Distress inks, vellum, wood veneers

5. Share the Love! – Be sure to check out the lovely, inspiring creations in our Flickr gallery and leave comments for our fellow amazing LOADsters! It is such a fantastic way to connect with others who share our passion for scrapbooking. I’ve met some amazing women through LOAD who I now consider amazing friends, and in most cases, it started with a whisper comment : ) (sorry if you now have that song stuck in your head, but I couldn’t resist!)

Connie Hanks Photography // // No More? Easter scrapbook layout using Heidi Swapp color magic paper, Dylusions Spray Inks, Slice Elite cutting tool

So there you have it, my top 5 for an amazing LOAD experience! I look forward to sharing in the LOAD214 journey with you! Next you’re going to hop on over to Sherrie’s blog: A Little Bit of Everything Me. Be sure to leave her some love in the comments – and check out her amazing cards while you’re there… {{{swoon!}}}

If you still haven’t signed up for LOAD214 yet, whatcha waiting for? Don’t miss your chance  – click here to find out more!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
Live creatively!

Here’s our full blog hop – be sure to check out all the fantastic blog posts. These women are amazingly talented and have some fantastic insights to share!

Connie <——— You are here
Sherrie <——— Now go here!
Lisa E
Lisa H

And once you’re done with the hop, if you still want to read more LOAD-love, check out my previous LOAD posts!

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

Money Trees Layout {Feeling Crafty}

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress InksLayout a Day for the month of October has come and gone… Even though I didn’t get as many pages completed as I hoped I would, I’m still super happy with the few I did complete! Any pages done during LOAD is more than I started the month with : )

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

Our ScrapHappy sisters Lynnette and Leslie, with the help of Dani and her daily videos, led the month with prompts and amazing inspiration to create pages. The theme was “In Vogue” and the prompts took us through decades, spanning almost 100 years of amazing history. One of the prompts was “1930’s: Money is Tight” and it made me realize I hadn’t documented the chores and “work pay” we implemented this summer for our girls.

Even though we encourage our girls to save a third to half of their pay in their piggy banks, we’ve noticed one of our daughter’s is a natural saver, the other an absolute spender! It’s fun to document these types of characteristics – I definitely wonder how much they’ll change over the years! Needless to say, it was great inspiration and I love the way this turned out!

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

How do you document these types of life lessons? If you’ve created a layout, I’d love to see it, so share links in the comments!

Connie Hanks // // LOAD "Money doesn't grow on trees" layout, made using TCW Squiggle stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Inks

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
Live creatively!

PS. Don’t forget to share this or pin it on Pinterest if you’re inspired to get creative with stencils and inks!

A F F I L I A T E  L I N K S  //  P R O D U C T S   U S E D
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Broken China
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tumbled Glass
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Peeled Paint
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Forest Moss
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Shabby Shutters
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Gathered Twigs
The Crafter’s Workshop Squircle stencil
Birds die cuts made using Slice Elite and Vintage Findings Design Card
Stickles in Glam Pink
Woodgrain Amy Tangerine Sketchbook Muse Printed Chipboard Thickers


Connie Hanks Photography // // watercolor rainbow and heart art by my 6 year old

Color Me Happy!

How many times has your breath been taken away with beautiful colors? Be it in paintings from the masters? Or in a photograph of children playing? Or watching a glorious sunset? Or your kids watercolored art on your fridge? Or crafting a beautiful scrapbook page or photo book or heartfelt card? If you’re anything like me, it’s usually the color that pulls us in!

We’ve all heard about the Color Wheel and probably remember it from our school days. But as a photographer, as a crafter, and as a fine artist volunteer at my daughter’s school, the Color Wheel has proven to me it’s sticking near and dear! That’s why I’m super excited that this month’s FREE webinar over at Layout A Day is “Color Me Scrappy”


Knowing what colors work together, whether analogous or complimentary, is what takes a photo from “oh, that’s nice” to “OOOOH” and “AAAAAAHHH” : ) Understanding color helps photos, layouts, cards, really any kind of design come together. So what are you waiting for? It’s FREE! Sign up, already!

Every month there’s a different free webinar, and I really feel this one will help not only crafters, but anyone interested in color for all facets of life! Yes, that includes photographers! Click here to register and I’ll “see” you in the chat room, August 26th! Oh, and even if you can’t make it live, there’s a replay you can watch, as long as you’re pre-registered!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
Live creatively!

Can a Picture Really be Worth a 1,000 Words?


Have you ever scrapbooked a page with no words? Let me tell you, if you haven’t, you should! It’s a challenge, but made me realize how important it is to capture images that can tell a story all on their own.

Here we are, a week into LOAD213 and I am loving it so far! Creating a layout a day means getting photos off my hard drive, onto beautiful pages for my girls, friends and family to enjoy. I get to play with paper, mists, washi tape, glue, all kinds of goodness!

Every day for the entire month, our fearless Continue reading