Friday, November 19, 2021

Creating Clusters Design Guide!

My Creating Clusters series on Youtube offers a variety of foundation designs that I use to build my embellishment clusters and I wanted to offer you a quick guide to use when you need a bit of inspiration! So here's a quick overview of the guide and the downloadable pdf format!

Each of the designs is illustrated with a quick description and three of the layouts featured in the accompanying video! I hope this will be a great resource for you all!

Here is the downloadable pdf: 

Here is a link to the playlist that hosts all of the videos from my Creating Clusters series:

As well as the first video in the series, introducing the concepts:

Friday, October 29, 2021

Impactful Title | CVS DT

Hey y’all! Laura back again with a really sweet layout using what I call a ‘picture in picture’ design using the new These Days collection. This design features a smaller layout inside of a larger one and gives the impression of a frame or shadow box. The inside layout is 8 1/2 x 10 inches with a paper pieced wood grain border to frame it, then attached to the gorgeous heart background of The Good Life patterned paper. I also added one of the super cute wood buttons from this collection at the top to give the impression that it’s push-pinned on a wall.

I switched things up for myself with this one, moving the photos to the bottom of the page and the journaling to the top, which is quite opposite of my normal style. Along the beautiful green polka dot border, I added fussy cut houses from the cut apart side of The Good Life paper. Some of these little houses are raised on pop dots and others flat, for an impression of dimension. On the top right of my photos is a corner cluster that wraps around with a large and medium floral, plus a tab.

Each of my photos has a white border and a vellum photo mat to soften the layers.The title is actually fussy cut from one of the journaling cards included in the These Days collection and it fits perfectly between my two photos. By layering two of the ephemera floral clusters underneath of it, the title appears to burst out from the page. I’ve also fussy cut several of the tiny flowers from the pattern papers to use as scattering bits around my clusters.


I really love the way this rainbow stripe peeks out from the side of my photos and adds a bit more color to the overall layout. This bottom left photo features a horizontal cluster with more fussy cut florals from the stunning Home Grown patterned paper. As a finishing touch, I added gold Nuvo drops in the centers of some of my flowers and dotted around the outside of my clusters.

I hope this inspires you to look at your patterned papers and journaling cards a little differently and incorporate them in a big way on your projects too! To see how “Little Moments of Joy” came together, check out the process video below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Shaker Page | CTK Guest DT

Hey friends, Laura Alberts here with the stunning Merry & Bright Christmas 2021 kit to document my childhood Christmas stories! My personal favorite parts of the holiday season are spending time with family and enjoying the beautiful lights! Christmas is my favorite holiday and while catching up, I try to get photos of our family and friends in casual conversation rather than posed photos. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting the perfect holiday photos and forget to make the memories!

I’m working in a green Citrus Twist Life Crafted album for this project and loving the flexibility of the rings. For my layout, I’ve focused on a large TN page on the left and a pocket page shaker on the right. On the left side, I’ve used the Crate Paper Busy Sidewalks paper pad for a cheerful red background with branding strip banners down the one side as an anchor for my photo. I fussy cut these gorgeous poinsettia style flowers from the 6x8 paper pad to group on the top left. Then, below the photo I used the small pale blue alphas (that match my dress!) and one of the stamps from the Merry & Bright stamp set for my title.

The tag was fussy cut from the 6x8 paper pad as well and tucks into the side of the photo for hidden journaling. This photo is from when I was around two years old and I don’t remember much from that time, so instead of giving the who, what, when, and where of the photo, I share my love for the Christmas season instead! I decorated the front of this tag with a simple ephemera piece and word phrase sticker to give it a custom look.

The right side of my Life Crafted spread is a really fun shaker pocket style page. This uses the eight-pocket page protector from Citrus Twist and the little packet of sequins included in the Merry & Bright kit. I tipped the sequins into two of the pockets and then filled the rest with a variety of chipboard shapes, ephemera pieces, and puffy stickers for a purely decorative touch. This fun little shaker page really captures the excitement and energy of the photo too!

I can’t wait to see how you use the Merry & Bright Christmas kit in your holiday documenting! I hope you find inspiration in either using hidden journaling or a shaker element on your page too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Mood Board Inspired | CVS DT


Hey y’all! Laura back again with a layout inspired by the gorgeous October Mood Board. The color scheme was perfect for the These Days collection and these sweet florals and greenery reminded me of this cut file from Liz Longest Designs. It’s a very simple wreath that looks divine when dressed up with these floral ephemera pieces! I backed each of the leaves with a green floral paper from the A5 paper stack.

I separated out the colors of the flowers in the floral ephemera pack and stuck to the smaller ones for the wreath, balancing out the mix of colors around the page. Each of the flowers has a drop of Nuvo in the center to give it a little extra texture and sparkle! I used the small puffy alphas for my title, spelling out ‘My Sister My Friend’ right next to my top photo. These photos are of my twins and catching a rare moment of them being sweet to each other was definitely a scrapworthy moment!

I created four clusters on this layout around my photos. The top cluster has a fussy cut frame as a base, with a bit of fussy cut florals and floral ephemera laid on top. The sparkly gold cloth hearts are squeezed in too along with a puffy word phrase and heart. These details really make a tremendous difference to my clusters, giving them the finishing touches they needed.

Similarly, this cluster to the left of the bottom photo contains the same elements. This helps all of the clusters feel cohesive on the page. In addition to the Nuvo drops, I also splattered with gold ink spray around the floral clusters and the perimeter of the wreath for a whimsical look.

I hope this inspires you to look at your cut files a little differently and incorporate them in a big way on your projects too! To see how “My Sister My Friend” came together, check out the process video below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Overlapping Grid | Cocoa Vanilla Studio DT


Hey y’all! Laura Alberts here with a blast from the past! This layout features Hello Sunshine and a bit of Endless Summer, some of the oldest Cocoa Vanilla collections in my stash!  To start this layout, I backed the stunning denim style patterned paper with this Happy Days pattern paper to give it a bright, cheerful border. Then, I used Vicki Boutin’s Iridescent Glaze to add some lovely hearts around the perimeter of my photo clusters. These little hearts help to define the shape of the center clusters.

In the top left corner, I layered an ephemera frame and florals from Endless Summer with a sticker banner from Hello Sunshine. I love the way some pieces are tucked underneath, while others are on top. The mix of the two makes this area of the layout feel more dimensional even though it’s quite flat.

On the top right side of the layout, I repeated that process, layering Endless Summer florals underneath of the photo and stickers from Hello Sunshine on top. To give these hearts a bit more interest, I added Endless Summer enamel shaped hearts and tiny punched gold foil hearts into the background. I love the mix of colors and textures in these clusters as a result!

The photos featured in this layout are of my husband and I’s favorite treat restaurant for date nights. It’s a special place for the two of us and makes special occasions feel even more special! Adding the ‘Just Perfect’ banner underneath the restaurant’s sign seemed fitting!

This title is actually a cut apart, but it blends in really well with the background, giving it the appearance of a stamp! After I finished the embellishing, I added gold Nuvo drops and splatter around the clusters for a bit of sparkle. My journaling is written around the entire perimeter of the layout, giving it a handwritten border, and talking about how much we enjoy this restaurant and why we we love it!

I hope this layout inspires you to reach deep into your stash and pull out some old Cocoa Vanilla Studio favorites! I love finding new ways to use older product!    

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Borders & Frames! | Cocoa Vanilla Studio DT


Hey y’all! Laura back again with this really fun paper pieced layout. I am loving the gorgeous ombre background in the These Days collection and just had to use for these fishing photos. Today’s prompt was borders and frames, so I decided to use the manufacturing strips to create a staggered mat for my photos and then tucked in several of the small frames that I fussy cut from the Wall of Fame patterned paper. I also brought in quite a few word phrases and banner flags from the cut apart paper as well. In addition, I’ve added a few clear stickers like this one here with the small ‘X’ shapes behind some of the embellishments.

Since I used three photos on this layout, I knew that I wanted to keep the embellishing fairly uniform and simple. Using a wood button on two of the corners added a big pop of interest without distracting from the photos. I also layered several word phrases over the photos on opposite corners to create balance on the page. I really liked how these word phrases mimicked the background strips behind the photos. Another way that I mimicked the shapes in this layout was with the frames, staggering them along the top and bottom of the photos to reflect the border strips underneath them. For the title, I used a set of clear stickers that puzzled in beautifully below my photos.

On the other two corners, I drew in some journaling lines and shared the story that accompanies these photos. My family often makes trips to Michigan to visit our extended family and friends. An added bonus is that we also get to enjoy the beautiful property on the water that they have there. In these photos, my husband is showing our sons how to use fishing rods, which was rather exciting for them! I love challenging myself to scrap more masculine photos with feminine collections and this one worked perfectly!

I hope this inspires you to look at your supplies a little differently and experiment with creating backgrounds! This collection has such a versatile color scheme, it’s a real joy to create with. Can’t wait to see what you make with the These Days collection!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Split-Level Design | Cocoa Vanilla Studio DT


Hey y’all! Laura here again with a deep dive into my Cocoa Vanilla Studio stash for the oldest collection I own, Hello Sunshine! For this silly layout featuring selfies of my darling son and I being exceptionally silly, I decided to create a split-level layout design, with a simple photo display on the right and a grid layout on the left. By creating this split, I can use plenty of embellishments without overwhelming my photos.

Each of these 2×2 inch squares has a large embellishment, small embellishment and a dot of Nuvo in gold for accent. I then took my navy pen and outlined each of them in a messy faux-stitching style to reflect the stitched design on the denim-styled Chill Out pattern paper under my photos. The mix of patterns on the left side really add a pop to the overall layout and give those puffy stickers the time to shine!

By layering stickers and ephemera pieces together into clusters onto these squares, each piece of the grid feels unique, but the coordination of the colors helps them feel cohesive. The outline of each square really gives the appearance of depth on the left side of the layout, giving each a shadow that helps them pop off the page!

I was so excited by how this layout turned out, that I created a sketch based on it to share with all of you! I hope you enjoy using this sketch to inspire you to try a split-level layout too!

I hope this inspires you to look at your older Cocoa Vanilla Studio stash a little differently and incorporate them in a big way on your projects too! To see how “Hello Sunshine” came together, check out the process video below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Scraplift Frames Layout | Cocoa Vanilla Studio DT


Hey y’all! Laura back again with a fun scraplift of Gwen Wruck! I absolutely loved Gwen’s fabulously frame-filled layout, so I just had to recreate it with the new These Days collection! Some of the things I loved most about Gwen’s layout were the variety of frame/photo sizes, the way her embellishments overlapped the frames, and the large title at the bottom. So, these are the elements I focused on when creating my version of her fun design.

First and foremost, I needed to create some frames! I used the A5 black and white floral to create frames for my 4×4 inch, 2 – 3×3 inch, and 2×2 inch photos. Then, I fussy cut several of the smaller frames from the patterned papers as well. The combination of the two work beautifully to contrast the bold and colorful Family Ties patterned paper that I used for a background to mimic Gwen’s painted one. I filled each of the frames with either a photo or an embellishment and puzzled them together as closely as I could to Gwen’s design.

Adding in a variety of textures to this page was so much fun! Between the fabric hearts, puffy stickers, wood veneer buttons, and Nuvo drops, this page is filled with texture! My personal favorite was the tiny houses, which were perfect for photos showcasing backyard fun at our home. I added gold Nuvo Drops as controlled splatter before going wild and crazy with gold ink spray around the perimeter of the frames (as is my usual style!).

To finish this page off, I added a bold title similar to Gwen’s below my frame collage and then fit my journaling into the small frame beside it. I love the way these frames really focused in on my photos and allowed me to fit so many onto one page without it feeling overwhelming!

I hope this layout encourages you to try your hand at making your own frames or fussy cutting them out for your next project! If you’d like to see how “Always Together” was created, check out the process video below!

Thanks for stopping by!