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 🙂

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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 // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more!

Make It Monday // Displaying Paper Crafts {Feeling Crafty}

Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more!

Connie Hanks Photography // // Make It Monday, blog hopBack with another fun Make It Monday! Do you remember the True Scrap classes I’ve mentioned here? True Scrap Events are LIVE online classes full of inspiration, community and fun! Well, we just had True Scrap 6 earlier this month and one of the instructors totally inspired me with her wall display! Layle Koncar taught a fabulous class on interactive mini books, and in the intro of her video clip shared a peek in her studio. She had a similar display and I knew that was exactly what I needed in my space! She actually taught at True Scrap 5 and I had spied that wall display back then, too! I’m so glad I finally got it on my wall and off my to do list!

Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more! Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more! Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more!

I’m able to display five 12″x12″ layouts, along with 4 to 5 cards or tags. It’s a little hard to see with the glare, but it really looks awesome! I can’t help but stare at the wall when I’m in my craft room!

Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more! Connie Hanks Photography // // easy wall display for scrapbook layouts, tags, cards and more!

The page protectors become side loading and super easy to work with. So what did I use?

Measure out how long you want the telescoping curtain rod to be, then mark where you want the mounts to be – measure out both width and height – you don’t want one side higher than the other! Add your hooks/rings and clips to the rod before you secure it in the mounts. Tighten up the mounts after you place the rod where you want it. Add your layouts to your page protectors SIDE loaded. Clip your layout and page protector onto the rod and enjoy your creations!


I love that I’ll be able to easily swap out layouts, easily displaying new creations. I know my daughters love when I make new pages and now they’ll be able to enjoy them by just walking into the room! I might even do this on another wall in the house to display their art pieces – we have a pretty amazing art program at their school 🙂

14novackermanfreeI can’t help but point out that not only are the projects in the True Scrap classes full of inspiration, but the instructors themselves are amazing! Another True Scrap instructor that I just adore, not only for her projects, but truly for the amazing person she is and how she incorporates faith into her art, is Stephanie Ackerman! She’s teaming up with my friend Lain Ehmann and offering a FREE ONLINE CLASS! Do yourself a favor and sign up here… it’s FREE!! In the scrapinar on November 3rd, Stephanie shares how to turn ordinary text into inspiring, faith-filled works of “Heart!” So excited!

Connie Hanks Photography // // Make It Monday, blog hopAre you following the Make It Monday hop? Did you land here from Alison Day Designs? Alison is sharing how to tie a current photo with an older story that didn’t have one, on her layout today. If you haven’t stopped by her site today, be sure you do! But first, continue the Make It Monday hop and head on over to check out my sweet, smart friend Melissa Shanhun at Digital Scrapbooking HQ. Today, Melissa is sharing a super simple, but FINISHED Week in the Life album – with free cut files for you!  Woot woot!

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!


So what are you going to do first? Sign up for Stephanie’s FREE Scrapinar? Head over to Melissa’s Week in the Life album? Check out any of the True Scrap 5 classes? Whatever it is, I hope you love it!

Live creatively!

PS. Linking up to the Daily Post “Cover Art” photo challenge as I realize each of these layouts really is a book on it’s own… Our Love Story, All About Me, The Adventures of My Daughters and so on 🙂

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Connie Hanks Photography // // scrapbook layout "Love…" - wedding layout with black and white photo using red, black and white papers

What do you do with all your photos? I wanna know!

Connie Hanks Photography // // scrapbook layout "Love…" - wedding layout with black and white photo using red, black and white papers

Photos, photos, and more photos… over 108,000 of them in my Lightroom catalogue, let alone the boxes and boxes of prints that I have from before the digital era. Crazy, I know! Why am I telling you this? Because it’s what I do with those photos that makes my heart sing… I frame them, I post them, I share them, I gift them, I scrapbook them.

When I had my first baby, near the beginning of the digital camera era, I had snapped over 1100 photos of her before she was 3 months old – more than I had taken the previous three years combined! After framing and filling a loooooong hallway wall with photos of those early months, I feared I’d end up wallpapering my whole house with her photos before her first birthday! So I had to find another way to give those special memories some love, and that’s when I entered the world of scrapbooking!

Connie Hanks Photography // // scrapbook layout "Dream" - sleeping little baby with booty in the air, legs tucked under, toes peeking out; lullaby subtly showing in background paper printed on vellum

In the early days, I primarily bought lots of scrappy stuff, dreaming of all the wonderful pages I would create. Truth be told, it took a while before I actually jumped in and started creating. A little bit intimidated, a little bit overwhelmed, a little bit unsure of what to do, so I started looking at classes to take (yes, I LOVE organized learning!) and found classes to help me along the way.

One of those classes (well really it’s a more of a challenge than a class) and a primary way I make time to scrap is LOAD – layout a day. And LOAD is right around the corner – during the month of February (May and October, too) we are challenged to create a layout every day. It’s AWESOME! It might sound overwhelming, but just like Capture Your 365, there are no daily police, no one is waiting to kick you out if you don’t post that day. It’s a matter of having a community to share your passion and experience with; a prompt to inspire a daily creation; and a personal goal to document your story and photos for your family and future generations.

Connie Hanks Photography // // scrapbook layout "Together" - little girl with her yellow labrador cuddling and playing in the backyard

So are you curious to find out more? Last chance to sign up! Check it out here. And if you use code 28DAYS by January 30th, you can save almost 40% on your LOAD registration!


And please tell me… what do you do with all your photos? I’d love to hear : ) They can’t just live on your hard drive!

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

Paper, Crafts, Layouts, Tags {Photo Fridays}


Yes, I really am doing a post on my blog, about a layout, about my blog! Silly, but I really want to offer my fellow crafters some tips on photographing layouts for online posting. I created the page and took these photos early February, but haven’t had the opportunity to share them, so here we go!

1. Natural Light
Remember my post about natural light? Whenever possible, use natural light to photograph your pages / tags / layouts / cards / etc. It makes a huge difference! There are plenty of times I’m scrambling to upload before midnight during LOAD, using my camera phone, in my not-very-well-lit craft space, but I usually go back and rephotograph my pages during daylight hours with my DSLR. Natural light really shows the lovely details!

2. Make it Flat
One of the best ways to photograph a page and keep it flat is to stick it on a flat surface. For Christmas, we gave my daughter a bead making kit and jewelry box from Costco and it was tucked into a white box inside the packaging – it was the perfect size to tape 12×12 layouts onto for photos! I’ve seen a post where Noell Hyman from uses a small square end table (I think from Ikea?) that she lays on its side and props on a table to use for photographing her layouts.

I add a couple spots of removable tape to the corners of the box and stick on my layouts. I can usually photograph several pages using the same little spots of tape. This really helps me keep my pages flat, especially since I tend to use lots of mists and sprays, which inevitably make the paper curl.


3. Get Close and Personal
Be sure to get close up shots of some of the details. Layered embellishments, title treatments, tiny accents, etc. all need their time in the spotlight! They were important enough to add to your layout, so show those clusters and details some love!


4. Variety, lots of variety!
Get variety in the angles you shoot. I always get one where I’ve included the entire page head on, and I’ll crop it square, and usually fills the square perfectly. Sometimes it’s a little off, but that’s ok.  Stand directly in front of your layout. Having it flat on an item you can stand is perfect, especially since you can be perfectly perpendicular for the shot.
{paper}| <——— {camera lens}

For the close up shots, especially if there are layers or dimension, shoot at an angle. Meaning – get a little sideways on the shot. It adds visual interest and when you shoot with a wide aperture (meaning small number, like f/1.8 or f/1.4) make sure you select your focal point. That will definitely lead the eye where you want it, and the rest of the photo will be a bit out of focus. I love that look!


5. Create a setting
Add products, tools, or decor when photographing your piece of art. I didn’t do it with this example specifically, but I did it with a post earlier this week – Green Tags. It helps tell the complete story, so to speak : ) It’s also nice to use household decor pieces, or cute trinkets too!

I hope these tips help on your next paper-based photos! If there are any questions you have, or tips you’d like to see, let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
Live creatively!

Life Changer

There are certain things in life that are definitely life changers… meeting and falling in love with your soulmate, holding your baby in your arms for the first time, discovering a hidden talent, following a dream, traveling abroad – especially alone! And for me, participating in my first layout a day (LOAD) challenge, February of 2012. “Life changer” you ask? Yes, truly a life changer!

But before I can explain how scrapbooking could possibly be a life changer, I have to give you some background…

I attended my first crop in 2008 with my cousin Irene. For non-scrapbookers, a crop is group of people who gather to work on their scrapbooks, oohing and aahing over each others photos and pages. After just a few hours at my first crop, I was head over heals and loved the possibility of scrapbooking my daughter’s life! I did afterall have a mountain of photos to work with. So for the next couple of years I would dream of making gorgeous pages and decided the best way to get there was to buy oodles and oodles of tools and supplies. Cardstock. Patterned paper. Stickers. Flowers. Brads. Scissors. More stickers. Eyelets. Alphas. Stamps. Ink pads. More flowers. More alphas. More stickers. I didn’t create another page for almost 2 years! Instead of a scrapbooker, I became a collector.

In 2010 I finally started using those products, attending crops every other month or so, creating a page or two or if I was really on a roll maybe even three pages! Fast forward another couple of years, and I have one birthday book for each of my daughters, with pages documenting each years birthday celebration. So, where’s the life changer? Ok, good, you’re still reading…

Over my years of “collecting” and dabbling in scrapbooking, I had been listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast and learned about Lain Ehmann’s Layout a day. A month long challenge creating a layout a day? That sounded impossible! I had never scrapbooked at home, and when I did scrapbook at crops, it took me hours (2, 3, 4 hours) to create a single page. How could I possibly do this for a whole month? I decided I’d give it a try and figure it out. I signed up for LOAD212 (February 2012) and it was ah-ma-zing!

In the span of 29 days, I created 32 pages – go ahead, check ’em out! Just be sure to come back to finish reading! Most of these are pages I love and am thrilled to have created. The daily prompts made me think of photos and stories I wouldn’t of considered scrapbooking on my own – the crush I had on my twin uncles when I was a little girl, how much I miss my grandfather, the story behind my daughter’s middle name, and on and on. Suddenly, it was as if a secret vault opened up in my head and I wanted to share, share, share!

Through this whole process, my artistic style evolved, as did my writing. I went farther away from who, what, when, where, and went into deeper, more meaningful journaling, almost love letters to my daughters. More daily life stories are being told, clearly more pages are being made, and in the long run, my daughters will have photos and handwritten journaling sharing my experiences with them. Ultimately, participating in LOAD has changed the way I approach scrapbooking all together. My collection of stuff started getting used. Some of it saw lots of action (Slice electronic cutter, Tim Holtz Distress Stains) and some of it not very much (stickers, alphas, brads). But through LOAD, I became a better artist, designer, writer, photographer. And now I’m venturing out and teaching my first class at Cool Scrapbook Stuff this Saturday, January 26th. Come join me – there’s still room in the class!

So don’t get me wrong, it still takes me a chunk of time to complete a page, but the outcome is totally worth it. Yeah, I might miss out on some TV during February, and I might miss a little sleep, but the books I’m creating for my girls, and eventually for future generations, totally makes it worth it. The girls know that during LOAD, I am in the zone! They come in my craft space in the morning to see what mommy created overnight. It’s almost as if I’m one of Santa’s elves working on a gift overnight! The sweetest sound is hearing them ooh and aah over the page, asking me to read it to them. Sometimes they’ll even ask for their scrapbook to be part of their bedtime stories. It’s gotta be pretty amazing as 3- and 6-year olds to have books written about you…  what kid wouldn’t like that?! And sometimes there competitiveness comes out when one (or both) say they want a page made just about them, “no one else in the pictures, just ME!” – gotta love their confidence and enthusiasm!

If you’ve ever considered joining LOAD, you’ve just gotta DO IT! Not to sound like an infomercial, but there really are only a few spots Trust me, it’ll change the way you create. Not just sticking photos on pretty paper, but it’ll change how you capture moments, how you document your life, how you share stories for future generations to enjoy. We’ll be blog hopping tomorrow (Friday), talking about LOAD even more, with lots of tips from LOAD veterans and even some newbies sharing their thoughts too, so make sure you come back and hop along with us!

Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day! Happy crafting!