A Graphic Grid with Guest LeeAnne Jones

We are so excited to welcome January guest LeeAnne Jones back for her second post with us today, and we think you’ll absolutely love the striking, graphic design that she’s sharing with us. If you have black cardstock on hand, pull it out, because you’re going to want to re-create this page using our January products! Let’s take a look!

Hello! It’s LeeAnne again, following up my recent pocket page spread with a traditional 12″ x 12″ layout all about heart-eyed romantic love, using the new January 2021 kit and extras.

Supplies | January 2021 Kit, Jane Tile Alphabet Cardstock Stickers — Black, Love You Chipboard Stickers, Puffy Heart Stickers, Acetate Hearts, XOXO 6 x 8.5 Inch Paper Stack

While I didn’t use the Hugs and Kisses Stamp on this layout, one of the stamps in the set inspired it! The line of dashes leading to three hearts resembles sewing stitches, and it made me think of quilting. So I flipped through the XOXO Paper Stack to find sheets to create a patchwork, choosing variations of red, black, and white. I knew a black and white photo would go well with such a stark color combo—and it needed to be romantic. This one of me and my husband, Paul, taken back in 2011 by Jennifer Chaney, but never documented in a scrapbook, was just right. I chose plain black cardstock for the base, to make the patterned paper pop, and then embellished with the Love You Chipboard Stickers and Acetate Hearts to bring it all together.

I love the look of thread on paper, but I’ve never met a sewing machine that loved me back. That’s OK, though. It’s easy to hand-stitch, and it lends a bolder, chunkier design element. When stitching on paper, I always begin by drawing lightly in pencil where I want the thread to go. Then, using a piercing mat (mine is from We R Memory Keepers), a large needle, and a thimble, I poke holes along the pencil line roughly 1/6th of an inch apart. I don’t worry too much about perfect spacing, embracing the wabi-sabi of handmade. Then, I separate embroidery floss into two sets of three strands, thread the needle with one three-strand set, and back-stitch away—preferably with music, a podcast, or an audiobook in my ear.

When scrapbooking older photos or events, it can be challenging to incorporate journaling. The passing of time often makes the details hazy. I suggest looking through personal journals, letters, text messages, emails, and social media posts from that time to help construct something more personal than who, what, where, when, and why. In my saved emails (hooray for Gmail’s starred feature), I found a string of “things I like about you” messages that I sent Paul during our engagement and early years of marriage—including 2011! For my journaling here, I used several of the old “things” that still resonate today. They are both serious and silly, and I think they capture him well. The red Acetate Heart over the top helps balance the overall design without obstructing the words.

Once I created the patchwork element across the page (diagonally for visual fun and to maximize the space for patterned paper), I’ll admit I was temporarily stumped on how to handle the corners. I wanted something there to help anchor the design in the 12″ x 12″ space, but I worried a single object or cluster of embellishments would look disconnected. Eventually, I decided to repeat the angled embroidery of the patchwork but use darker red and pink hues to keep the “volume” lower. It also gave me a place to incorporate the date with the Jane Tile Alphabet Cardstock Stickers and to repeat the hearts—this time using red Puffy Heart Stickers.

That’s it! It was an honor and delight to be a guest designer for Elle’s Studio this month. I had so much fun playing with the products, and I hope I have given you some ideas for your own documenting. Be well.

LeeAnne Jones is a writer and editor for lifestyle and travel magazines—although she has pivoted to cookbook editing and social-media marketing during the Covid-19 pandemic. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters and has been scrapbooking off and on since attending a Creative Memories party 20 years ago.

Find more of LeeAnne’s work on her Instagram feed.