Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 9, 2009

Pages In Progress

[ yep, she closes her eyes just like her mama when she smiles ]

Right now I've got three pages in progress (and of course many others on my list of stories I want to tell) on my desktop. Most of the time when I showcase layouts here they are completed and ready to go into an album or uploaded to the printer. Today I wanted to share a couple that are in different stages and talk a bit about where I am going with each one.

Sometimes when I scrapbook my layouts come together quickly and easily.
Other times it takes quite a bit longer with significantly more effort. When I first started
scrapbooking things seemed to come together a lot faster. Today I find
that I have at least a few pages going at all times in various stages
of completion that can be there for weeks before being finished.

Why take a look at pages in progress?

(1) It's cool to see that things have a way of working themselves out just by leaving them alone for awhile.
(2) It's always great to remember that there are so many different ways a layout can come together (that whole "no right or wrong" thing).

When I am putting a layout together and I start getting bored or dissatisfied with the process I often just set it to the side and work on something else. There is something about setting the whole thing aside, letting it marinate a bit more, that allows the elements to come together to tell a more complete story.

Sometimes the whole thing ends up coming together in a completely different manner then I initially envisioned. I'm cool with that. It's part of the process of being open and flexible while still making sure that I am really communicating what matters most.

I try not to mess around with the elements too much. The more I mess around (moving things around, debating between this paper or that one, etc) the longer things take, the less confident I am in my choices, and the less satisfied I feel with the entire experience. I don't have a specific limit on the number of changes I make during any given project, but I can tell when I am stalling rather than just sticking it down (or placing it digitally) and moving on. When I feel myself stalling I either force myself to move forward or that's when I will set the page aside for awhile.

This image of Anna above is one I worked on last night. The layout began with the photo. I saw it. I loved it. I had to use it for something (most likely it will also be printed and framed to hang in the house). For the layout it's going to be printed big and added to a traditional paper page. In my head right now I see this photo either set flush at the top or bottom of a 12×12 page with a patterned paper that has a bit of light green either below or above. Additional journaling will likely be in strips.  

Here's a couple other digital pages that I am working on right now:


This one started off as this template from Katie Pertiet. What's left of it now is the stitched frame and the concept of the three photos placed side by side (a good reminder that templates and sketches are excellent jumping off points). The word art is also Katie's and can be found here.

What's missing for me on this one is some journaling. I am also thinking about adding a bit of separation between the photos (just a thin dividing line between each one – maybe white). Most likely the journaling will go around the edges of the photo gathering in the spots not already occupied by the word art. I might change the blue patterned paper but most likely I will leave it. It's working just fine.


Here's another one I started working on yesterday. It could still change quite a bit before I send it off to be printed. I wanted to experiment with my new half-circle number embellishments and get of some of these everyday shots of Anna included in a project.

I am considering adding in a larger photo for contrast (maybe inside that big text circle) and will make sure I get some journaling added in there somewhere. My initial vision for the journaling is a long narrow text box that would be aligned between the second and third circles (closer to the third). This page currently includes pink paper from this pack and my baby text circles.

So when is a layout done? For me it's when I feel like I have told the story I want to tell. Sometimes those stories have a ton of words and other times just a few.

Do you have pages in progress marinating too? Don't forget to go back to them. Fresh eyes are often all they need to reach completion. 

Once I finish these three above I will post them again.


  • 1.
    Elise Blaha said…

    good stuff ali.
    the half numbers of yours might be my favorite yet.
    question – do you print all your 12×12 digital layouts and just slide them into your albums?

  • 2.
    Karyn said…

    The photo of sweet, silly anna girl smiling is absolutely precious! it made me smile! Love your blog.

  • 3.
    Kathleen D said…

    Thank you for today’s blog. I feel like you personally answered some questions I was having about the “process” using digital and regular scrapbooking. I loved hearing your thought process. . . it helps me figure out how to tackle things better. I enjoyed it!

  • 4.
    Carolin said…

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks for sharing this today! Its so interesting to see how you create your projects and I’m looking forward to seeing the completed pages. It was kind of an eye-opener for me to read that you sometimes set your projects aside to wait for more inspiration. :o )

  • 5.
    Sandi D said…

    Your baby girl is so adorable! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

  • 6.
    janaina said…

    Ali are you thinking to do some word art related to friends?
    I have always something in my table I think more because of the lack of time

  • 7.
    Jane said…

    I always end up tearing up here! love the layouts!

  • 8.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Love them all – I am loving digital for how quickly some pages come together, but I do often get stuck – have a few marinating at the moment.

  • 9.
    Tina said…

    Thank you for sharing your process. I didn’t think you had to “work” at completing your projects, it makes me feel better about when I struggle. The only thing for me about setting a project aside is that sometimes I never go back to it because there is always something new and better to do.

  • 10.
    Shannon said…

    What do you do with all your 12×12 digital layouts? Do you print them? Where? I’m sure you have a fancy printer, right?? :)

  • 11.
    Jenna said…

    I’m so glad I am not alone in this process of unfinished pages. However, I have an entire album dedicated to those pages. I don’t have much time to scrap at home anymore and when I go to a crop the emotions to journal are just not there so I set all those layouts aside and I go back to them when I have time. Unfortunately the time has not been there and now I have an entire album filled w/ those layouts that need to be completed. You are definitely motivating me to get back to them soon!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • 12.
    Jen Davis said…

    That little Anna girl is so very precious! I’ve been loving her smiles lately when visiting your blog. Fun to see (and hear) about layouts that you are working on! =) Yay!
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  • 13.
    Stacy Milford said…

    Anna is so stinkin’ cute! Her fun smile is just what I needed this morning! :0)

  • 14.
    Dawn said…

    Just out of curiosity, where are some places that you have found to print your layouts satisfactory?? I’m just learning about brushes and going digital…very excited!

  • 15.
    Loretta Artful Yogi said…

    Beautiful. I have a few pages in progress as well. Last night when i was on a date with my husband i got a great idea to add cut flowers to a border. I will make time to complete that layout to see how that might look. Good advice about returning to the incomplete layout soon. If one waits too long the layout might seem stale or you may get that, “Why didn’t i complete that long ago?” feeling. But it is never too late to complete a layout.
    I love the advice you gave long ago that it my fave advice of yours, “Call it good enough and move on to the next story.”

  • 16.
    Mary Rogers said…

    oh Ali! she is just the sweetest thing! I love what you are doing here….have a fabulous day!

  • 17.
    Lisa Martin said…

    I can’t get over how much she looks like Simon. At least from here, lol. She is her brothers sister.

  • 18.
    Shanie said…

    Cute! Question…where do you get your 12 x 12 digital pages printed? Also, yep…I have way too many pages in progress. Need to get in there & finish some already! Loves…

  • 19.
    annie said…

    what a precious beautiful baby girl to go along with your sweet boy, simon.

  • 20.

    Cute photo at the top of the post. Love the lettering too.

  • 21.
    Jessica said…

    Thank you for sharing your work in progress. I have not made the leap into the digital world of scrapbooking but I always have several layouts in various stages on the drafting table. It’s nice to see I am not alone–LOL
    I can’t wait to see the finished projects.

  • 22.
    Lisa G said…

    Love the pic of Anna such a cutie pie!! It’s nice to know that there are so many of us out there that are just “stuck”. Now I think it will be easier for me to move to another project and go back when I have my focus back!

  • 23.
    Maria said…

    Thank you for sharing Ali. Anna is adorable and looks a lot like your mother. You’ve got beautiful children.

  • 24.
    Becky P. said…

    This was such a great post…I do the same thing! In fact, with 5 little ones and a dog under foot (not to mention a busy husband and life in general) I rarely get the chance to work on a page from start to finish in one session.
    The only way I can scrapbook usually is in 5 to 30 minute increments and I have learned to love it! :)

  • 25.
    tania smith said…

    That is a fantastic baby picture! It’s the kind that you will look at for years and hear her little happy noises in your heart.
    I have a set of plastic 12×12 shelves that hold various supplies but I allow the rule of 5. Only 5 unfinished projects and layout can be there at once. It helps me get at a project easy too. When I can squeeze in an hour of unplanned scrapping, all the elements are there to reach for. -tania

  • 26.
    {vicki} said…

    Can’t wait to see the finished projects and compare/see the changes/additions made to them.
    ? What do you mean by “send it off to be printed”?

  • 27.

    love to see the progress of these pages. Anna looks just like you Ali – what a cutie she is!

  • 28.
    Jenn A. said…

    This is right on point with where I am right now, Ali. Being a teacher with the new school year beginning to come into focus, there is a sense of “get it done now” around the house.
    This past weekend I worked on quite a few layouts that were 80% done, but needed a little journaling, or embellishment, or adhesive, etc. It felt so good to revisit them (some after a couple of days, some a couple of weeks…) and get them done. It was much easier and less pressured, I found, to just get them done this time. Somehow clearing all of that up opened up my creativity and I have been cranking out some layouts I love this week.
    Thanks, always, for the honesty and inspiration! It is greatly appreciated. Here are some of the pages:
    Jenn A.

  • 29.
    Ariane said…

    Anna has the cutest little smile. It just makes me smile. She must be the sweetest baby. Thanks for sharing.

  • 30.
    Erin said…

    Love reading about your process. The picture of Anna is gorgeous and I can see why you needed to scrap it. She is beautiful and always smiling. You mentioned “sending a layout off to be printed”. Where do you have your layouts printed? I have done some digital layouts, but don’t have a high end printer. Not sure how to get them to paper. Thanks!

  • 31.
    jes said…

    its great to see your works in progress… i too tend to set things aside if i’m not “feeling it” at the moment. i’m currently working on our christmas photos from last year and just couldn’t get things to sit as i had envisioned in my head, so it’s all upstairs on my desk waiting for me to get back to it.

  • 32.
    Sarah said…

    Love, love, love the picture of Anna! Makes me miss the baby stage…my baby is 3 1/2 years old. Loved your layouts too. I read your blog every day and you inspire me so much…so I was glad to hear that sometimes you set layouts aside sometimes. I too, am a “marinader.” If I ever question whether something looks good or not I set it aside and look at it again the next night and see how I feel. It works for me!

  • 33.
    Dani said…

    I have a question completely off topic. Did you make Anna’s hat? I love the crochet pattern and was wondering where I could find the pattern.

  • 34.
    Anna Aspnes said…

    Interesting post Ali. I used to think about how my layouts would be. Now I rarely have time to think about it too much. I just sit down with a story or a photo, whichever comes first, and create. The rest is all gravy.

  • 35.
    Ali Edwards said…

    You know – I don’t feel like I think about all that much while it’s “marinating” – I just let it work itself out and when I come back to it it seems to come together.

  • 36.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I did not – I think it is from The Gap :) .

  • 37.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Either or shutterfly – both do a fine job.

  • 38.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Hi Shannon – here’s a post that talks about that process: /2008/11/gratitude.html
    I just upgraded to a larger HP Photosmart printer when my regular one died last week. This one is a HP Photosmart B8550 and it is a wide format – not sure that I love it yet.
    I still plan to send my layouts to to be printed.

  • 39.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Here’s a post that talks about that process: /2008/11/gratitude.html

  • 40.
    Ali Edwards said…

    The digital pages get printed at You can see what some of them look like in my album here: /2008/11/gratitude.html

  • 41.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I’ve been really happy with You can read a post about that here: /2008/11/gratitude.html

  • 42.
    Kirsten H said…

    Love that photo! I usually finish one LO before going to the next, but recently if I am “stuck” on one, I start another and let the first one work it out.

  • 43.
    Chelsea said…

    Honestly, you rock at journaling!! I get my layouts done but ALWAYS get stuck on the story I want to tell. I always worry that what I put on my page may sound stupid when we are looking at our scrapbooks later. I feel like the journaling gets in the way of my pages instead of enhancing them. Any ideas or things you use to get your journaling started or refined??

  • 44.
    Tammy B said…

    I love the picture of Anna! Put some dark framed glasses on her, and she’s the spitting image of you!!

  • 45.
    Anna Aspnes said…

    I guess I’ve never really looked at it like that. I suppose, subconsciously, a lot of my ideas do *marinate* before I put them on *paper* When I sit down, the idea is sufficiently *marinated* and ready to go. Good post. This one made me really think about my process :)

  • 46.
    Donna said…

    What a great photo of Anna – she really does look like you!
    Thanks for sharing your process – I am a very slow scrapper and I often leave things to ‘marinate’ when it’s just not coming together. I have somehow felt guilty about not finishing pages right away. I will try to look at is as part of the process.

  • 47.
    Em said…

    Hi Ali, that first photo is sublime! OT question: are those teeth I see?

  • 48.
    Ali Edwards said…

    We think they are coming soon…but nothing has popped out yet.

  • 49.
    Jenny said…

    Hi Ali! Beautiful photos and page as always!
    Question for you, do you scrap your children “equally”? While I don’t have children yet, I know that question will come up eventually. Just curious if you consciously scrap pages equally or just let them happen.
    Thanks for all your inspiration!

  • 50.
    Tammy Morales said…

    Ali, I appreciate you sharing the process. It is a great reminder that I don’t have to finish one page before I move onto the other. I love my project holder for that. Everything for the layout – so far – is put inside and I can pull it out another day with fresh eyes.
    I love your photography skills – need to search your blog for some tips.

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