Jen Naulls
I admit it, I have a bit of a weak spot for themed papers. Be it Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s, I do love so many of the ranges that come out, but I’m often left with lots of stash and not enough themed photos to go with it. I know many scrappers overlook the themed sections of shops, but you’ll often find that collections include many versatile prints in cute colour combinations, without being covered in hearts or snowmen or bats, and the B-sides are always worth a look too!
For this post I challenged myself to use a set of themed papers in both a conventional and non-conventional way, and I have to say I’m thrilled with how different the pages are. Most of my papers and embellishments for these pages are from the  
range – I adore the quality of American Crafts products, and love that they always have lots of coordinating embellishments. 
Remember you can click any of the pictures in this post to see them bigger. 
The ‘stick-to-the-theme’ layout

I really went for it on the love theme for this page! I used a wedding photo, so straight away I’m right in the intended zone of these papers with all their hearts and lovey sentiments. Sometimes I think we all need a bit of the mushy love stuff in our scrapbooks!

I focused on lots of layering on this page. Before I stuck anything down I asked myself ‘can I add another layer to that?’ and often I found that just backing an element with an additional cardstock border added a huge amount of depth and interest to the page. I scuffed the edges of most of the things on this page with my fingernail, for a little bit of extra dimension. 
For the border made with the mini hearts paper, I cut a 12×1.5″ strip, then punched it to a scallop shape on one edge (using a Fiskars scallop sentiment border punch), then I very roughly folded & pleated it (you might need to stick a few of the pleats down with a small dab of glue otherwise it has a tendency to pop up off the page!).

I used four different kinds of Thickers on this page:
Sticking closely to the love theme, my title is simply ‘Love, love, love’. This title should be sung to the tune of ‘All you need is Love’, I can’t seem to say it any other way! 
I added a subtitle by simply using one of the dimensional sticker sentiments layered up over a tag and a couple of other little elements. Premade embellishments like this are great for layering.

I always try and think of the ‘visual triangle’ when I make my pages, and so for this layout I created three clusters of embellishments, all based around tags, with a punched butterfly or two for good measure. By adding a triangle of embellishments you pull all the elements of the page together, and allow the eye to flow naturally over the page. This is my go-to technique whenever I am stuck on a layout – creating 3 small embellishment clusters around my photo.
The ‘outside the box’ layout

This page really has nothing to do with Valentine’s, or weddings, or love (although I did add one teeny tiny heart for posterity!). This page is all about how I’m a country girl at heart, and although I have lived in big cities (Leeds and Norwich), I much prefer a quieter pace of life surrounded by fields and forests. The photos were actually taken at the end of April this year on a girly scrapbooking weekend – we took a lovely walk on the Saturday afternoon to take in the sights, including these miniature ponies. These are just pictures that seemed to suit the theme of my layout, and I could lay my hands on easily!

I used a really simple misting technique to liven up the plain background sheet that I used as the base of this page. Simply place a doily (some cute doilies available in the shop here) on the page – I placed mine into the bottom left corner, adhering it in the centre with a small amount of repositionable adhesive (Herma is great for this job!). I chose a mist that was a similar shade to the background, but a darker colour , and sprayed all over the doily mask. Then simply allow the mist to dry and remove the doily leaving you with a beautifully intricate pattern upon which you can layer up your photos and embellishments.

I found plenty of lovely papers in this collections which weren’t covered in hearts – some stripes, floral and scroll papers caught my eye for this particular page. I inked and scuffed the edges of everything for a slightly muddy, country look!

Even the elements of a collection which at first glance appear very ‘in theme’ can be used on out of the box pages. I used some of the tags here – ones with stripes and scrolls on fitted the layout fine, and altered a couple of the dimensional stickers by removing the little heart topper and replacing it with a threaded button. 
So there we have it, two very different layouts from one themed collection. 
I challenge you (just for fun!) to use a themed collection for a page on a totally different subject to the intended theme – I’d love to see what you do, so leave a link in the comments section!

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