Inspired by my own need for some angsty, emotional scrapping lately, I thought I’d share a few ideas with you all about scrapping the gloomy, depressing, angsty, angry, emotional, moody parts of life. As scrappers it’s easy to focus on the fun, the happy, the exciting events and cute things our kids say. But life isn’t always sunshine and flowers. Sad things happen. Kids pitch fits. Jobs are lost. People move away, get sick, even die. To present a well-rounded picture of our lives, we need to scrap what really happens, good and bad.
Graphic created with Today I Feel… by Lauren Grier
Now to get off my soapbox and give you some practical ideas!
1. Let color help tell your story.
We know scientifically that color is very connected to mood. You can evoke a certain emotion on your page simply with color. Dark, grungy colors work well to scrap, well, darker themes. Even unintentionally, we often gravitate to certain colors to express mood and emotion in a scrapbook page. If you’re stuck for how to start a difficult page, try starting with a color. Ask yourself “What color(s) come to mind when I think about this story?”
I love how MamaBanannie used the stark contrast of black and white to emphasize her point in her layout Dark Side. Very high impact!
2. Choose elements to set the mood.
Instead of lace, frills, bright flowers and orderly stitches, try accenting your page with metal, trashed/grungy elements, messy paint and scribbles, and tangled stitching to tell a story of frustration or anger. Or go with more themed elements like clouds and rain, classic symbols of sadness, depression, and general dreariness.
In my page about being frustrated with my oldest son, I went a little crazy throwing paint splatters and messed-up stitching all over. I intentionally made the page look a little haphazard.
3. Go photoless.
Not every story needs a photo, and I often forget to take photos during the difficult times of life (and sometimes I just don’t want to!). You can use color and embellishment to support your story, and let the journaling take center stage. It might help to type your thoughts in a word processing program first, if that helps you feel freer to just type away without worrying about the surrounding page. After you get the story out, then you can figure out how to fit it into your page.
I love nowens’ page design here. Her heartfelt journaling about depression takes center stage, and she supported the theme with the black paper block, clouds, and rain drops. The touches of pink and pale blue keep the page from being too dark and dismal, though, creating a perfect balance.
4. Don’t feel like you need to share it all online.
Some things need to be private. If you want to share your page, but not the whole story, remove the journaling before saving for web, or add a blur layer effect. You can do this in Photoshop by going to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Click OK to rasterize your type (you can’t edit it after this step so make sure your journaling is done!), and select a blur radius that makes it unreadable. I found between 10-12 worked for me, but it will depend on your font, size, and personal preference. I like to blur my journaling instead of deleting it for web, since my journaling is a design element and the page looks “wrong” to me without it!
If you want to protect the identity of people in your photos, Wendy at ScrapbookGraphics has an action to blur faces.
5. Don’t be afraid to share.
In my experience, the digital scrapbooking community is generally warm, caring, and sympathetic. You might be surprised at how many people share your struggles! I’ve found much encouragement in this amazing community.
I also found no shortage of thoughtful kits to help you scrapbook those tough times. Here are a few of my favorites:
And a few template packs with lots of space for journaling, photos optional.
If you choose to create a page documenting something sad, hard, painful, or unpleasant, I would truly love to see it. I will also be posting another of my own pages on this topic in the comments soon. We all need a little scrap therapy sometimes!