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!

Organizing some favorite crafting supplies

Earlier in the week I was able to spend some time organizing a drawer of embossing powders and I can’t tell you how much I love seeing these!

now I know what the powders will look like!

now I know what the powders will look like!

I absolutely love thumbing through the swatches to find the color that’s going to work with my current project. I used two cute stamps, 2 circle punches (one for the swatch book, the other for the lids of the containers), versamark watermark stamp pad and each color of embossing powder. On the back of each tag, I added the color/name and manufacturer.

This week I created Valentine Tag samples for a class I’ll be teaching later this month. Having these swatches made it fun to find the perfect color and finish for each tag!

I have to be honest… every time I’ve gone into the embossing powder drawer, I’ve had to pull at least 5 (okay, 10) containers in search of the color I’m looking for.

this makes me happy!

this makes me happy!

Now I won’t have that problem anymore! And considering I have taken to embossing on everything – layouts, tags, cards, etc. – I know this will be totally worth the time it took!

Last January Michael’s cleared out their supply of Slice products. I got a steal on the Slice machine and a ton of design cards. Over this past year, I’ve used the machine to cut some great elements to use on all my crafts. Everything from words, to frames, to shapes for an art lesson in my daughter’s kindergarten class. Knowing the company is no longer producing design cards, I’ve been on a quest to find the design cards at deeply discounted prices.

at-a-glance view cards for the slice design cards

at-a-glance view cards for the slice design cards

Now I have a nice stash and created a quick, at-a-glance-ish book of all the designs on each card. Each card comes with a booklet, but I wanted a quick and dirty way to find what I was looking for. I scanned each booklet, then took the components into Photoshop and created a template to create the collage. This might be totally nerdy, but this type of organizing makes my heart sing!

Hope you are making time for your creative joy as well! Creative souls need to be fed, too! Happy crafting!!!



Ever have one of those days that’s creative, inspired, productive and calm? They’re so rare, so beautiful. And lucky for me, I had one of those marvelous days!

I had the house to myself this morning – which really, truly, absolutely NEVER happens! My amazing husband took our kindergartener to school, and took our pre-schooler to the zoo for the day. He did this so I could get some much needed me time. And what did I do with that precious time? I should’ve been running around the house like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, but alas, I dove into my craft space, organizing and listening to a scrapinar, ”Live Your Life On Purpose!”

I’ll be participating in Layout-a-day (LOAD) next month, so I thought it would be perfect to get some items in order. My desk and craft/office space in general are a mess, still not squared away post-Christmas. I can’t imagine starting February’s LOAD in this state. So I took time to catch up with some tasks. Felt great to indulge my crafty and organizational sides, creating a swatch book of all my embossing powders, and made an at-a-glance booklet of my Slice Design Cards. Over the top? Of course! But totally works for me!

I could’ve spent the afternoon cleaning, organizing and crafting, but had to rush off to my kindergartener’s school for Fine Artist Training workshop. I wasn’t thrilled to give up my personal agenda, but did it for the kids’ benefit. But really? I totally benefitted from the lesson. Learned about Vincent Van Gogh – did you know he was only 37 when he died? totally thought he was so much older! and did you know he was an artist for only 10 years? most of his art was created his last year of life? so much to learn! – and created an art piece, a landscape with crayons and watercolors.

Today was one of the calmest days I’ve had in a long time. I wish everyday could be so calm, rejuvenating and nurturing. I’m always so focused on time, as in “hurry up, or we’ll be late to school,” “get dressed now, before we’re late,” “we’ve gotta hurry, mama’s gotta get some studying/work/homework done before dinner”, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… It’s days like today that help me remember to slow down and savor the moments. Here’s to a year filled with flavorful, savored, wonderfully fulfilling moments!