Scrap It Real—Are You Creative?


Of course you are creative. We all are. But are you ready to be liberated creatively?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
  2. Have you longed for a little more structure, a little less choice?
  3. Would it be nice to know exactly what to do and when to do it?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you are in the majority. We often lead overwhelmed, scattered, and dare I say, dull lives: get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, rinse and repeat. Our lives lack adventure and the spark of creativity when we allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut. And getting stuck is easy–it takes little to no effort on our part. It’s getting free that takes some energy and focus. So today we’re going to free that creative side with some limits and some  attention.

"Boundaries, structure, and limits are an artist’s best friend," according to Drex Davis, president of He suggests that setting limits will actually release rather than
hinder your creativity and he issued this challenge: Create a scrapbook layout with one pen, one photo, and only 2 pieces of solid-colored cardstock. What??? Can’t I use my super-duper patterned paper I bought yesterday? Nope. What about my new stamp sets from the garage sale? Sorry. Can I at least use a few brads, staples or ribbon? One pen, one
photo, 2 pieces of cardstock.

After the initial shock and resistance wore off, I began to feel liberated. My choices were certainly limited. I didn’t need much space to work with only 4 things out and I could pick any picture I wanted since I don’t have to go in order. Hmmm, I was starting to like this. Maybe I should try it more often. As I was cutting paper with scissors, I was reminded of my best friend  in high school and how we created collage cards out of magazine pictures and words. It was an unexpected and pleasant memory. Slowing down and simplifying has the power to refresh your mind and thoughts.


JoyI went back to basics and went with the flow. If I had an idea, I tried it. If it didn’t work, I tried something else. Instead of holding such high expectations of what I would create, I enjoyed the process and allowed myself to relax into my creativity for the moment.

One hour later, I had followed all the rules and had a page that was surprisingly good. Who knew? Why don’t strong>you give it a try…in whatever creative field you dabble. Whether you write, knit, sing, paint, or parent toddlers and teenagers, impose a few new limits and see how it forces your mind to think creatively.

In Real Women Scrap, I devote an entire chapter to simplicity (Simplicity Sharpens Our Focus). Not surprisingly, this is one of the chapters that so many women connect with and find themselves nodding their head in agreement. The chapter starts with a quote that I love:

"There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you." (I Cor. 7:29, The Message)

It feels good to hear it said that it’s not only okay, but it’s advisable to slow down and keep it simple. We need that constant reminder that it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we sometimes make it. Just live simply with joy and focus.

Amazingly enough, if you can keep it simple and embrace joy, you’ll find more time to do what you love: scrapbook your photos, learn to dance, or write that book in your heart. Try the simple activity above and choose one thing just for you this week. Reconnect with the dreams and passion in your heart and move forward…even if it’s one baby step at a time.

Until next time, live simple and creative.


Tasra Dawson
Lessons from the Scrapbook Page


  1. says

    This is SO true! I used to do such elaborate scrapbook pages. Before I had kids. And when I had one kid. Now I have THREE kids. And my pages are so simple. But truly, they are the best pages I’ve ever done. The pictures speak for themselves. A little embellishment goes a long way. :-) Great post!

  2. says

    How ironic – this is the next chapter for me to read in the book! Hmmm . . . sounds like something I need to look at a little more closely. 😀

  3. says

    Hmmm…this sounds very doable for me! I think I will involve my daughters to help do their own pages and give them the same ‘limitations’. Kids are very creative, maybe I can get ideas from them.

  4. says

    Great post & so true. I know when I get in a slump it is usually from being overwhelmed with possibilities. The things that usually get me out of my slump is participating in some kind of online challenge. It is because it limits my possibilities & helps me let go & actually scrap!

  5. Sherry says

    Very nice to read this reminder. Sometimes, when I go to scrapathons, I come home feeling very overwhelmed by all the fancy, fussy pages on display. I need to remember to do what works for me to just get my pages finished!

  6. says

    What a great post Tasra! I love reading your blog and the advice you give – thanks for the reminders. It’s so easy to get caught up trying to manage the perfect project or page. Simplicity is my favorite way to work :)

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