Guest Designer | Jen Carlson

We're thrilled to have the lovely and talented Jen Carlson as one of our guest designers this month and are excited to get to know her better today! Be sure to follow Jen here at Studio Calico.

HI, I'm Jen Carlson! I'm a 40-something-year-old scrapper who originally started out exclusively making 12" x 12" layouts. I slowly branched out to 8.5" x 11" layouts, yet still traditional. I resisted the Project Life® craze for a good while, until about five years ago. I figured out a way to make it work for my lifestyle and photos—not documenting week by week, but simply creating a 6" x 8" spread for a particular event. Sometimes it takes a couple spreads to capture all my favorite photos, in which case I just place them in chronological order in my album. Pocket pages are my favorite layouts to work on. I can usually assemble one quickly by balancing color and patterns. The photo selection and editing are often the hardest part! Just recently, I have expanded into the world of Traveler's Notebooks! It's often a fun break from the pocket pages to have full creative freedom in a new format. I love the space for extensive journaling, tiny photos, and color play.

I'm currently on four design teams: Ali Edwards, Kelly Purkey, Everyday Explorers Co., and Paislee Press. These teams give me a great variety of products to play with, whether digitals, physical kits, or stamps.  When possible, I prefer to scrapbook using a mix of all three. I love challenging myself to find new ways to use kits: enhance a digital to create an entirely new look, cut up physical kits and create a new feel, or layer stamps to achieve a unique style.

I love to use my DSLR to take photos at any opportunity. It has actually become an art for me: capturing the perfect light, a spectacular view, a current feeling. I think photos can speak volumes and I love the challenge of relaying that message from behind the lens. I also love going on adventures to new places. I'm always down for a road trip if it entails some really great photo ops! Whether it's the beach, a hike in a forest, or just a new brunch spot, I'm in.  

Oh yeah, I'm a total foodie too. I love to eat. The more absurd, the better. Anytime there's a unique dish on the menu, that's likely what I'll be ordering. Mushroom ice cream? Squid-ink pasta? Smoked shark? Yep, that's what I want. I love to try new flavors and experience different cultures. And as luck would have it, you often need to travel and explore to experience this! Hence, more awesome photos!

I live in Northern California with my husband of one year (Derek) and dog of five years (Winston). Originally, I'm from St. Louis and still hold close to my Midwest roots. When I'm not out exploring, I enjoy watching my husband play ice hockey or making dinner for him. It's a good thing he doesn't mind doing dishes because I dread that part of the process. I'm also an avid baker, but can't possibly eat all that I make, so I usually end up taking half of it to work. I work at a biopharmaceutical plant and am the only female facilities supervisor. It's sometimes a challenge working in such a male-dominated field, which is why I NEED my craft time and scrapper friends. :)  

A big part of my life is also spent exercising. Being that I love to eat, this is my trade-off. I enjoy running, ballet barre, and Vinyasa yoga. I'm currently working on my 200-hour yoga teacher certification, which of course, I'm documenting along the way. This year-long process has been incredible so far, and I can't wait for the reward trip at the end—a retreat in Bali. More traveling! More adventures! More photos! More scrapping!

I think that about sums it up! You can usually see what I'm currently up to in my Instagram story (@jecarl) or peek at my layouts and photos in my feed. My blog is where you can see a more in-depth discussion of my pocket page and Traveler's Notebook spreads.

West Coast Craft – The "Weekend Stories" layout was a great snapshot into my typical weekends with friends! I LOVED the font used for the title, "Weekend Stories," and wanted this to be a highlight of my TN spread. I'm a big fan of anything *tiny* in scrapbooking. It's just that much cuter when it's smaller! I sized down my photos to fit in a triangular pattern across the pages and added in bits and pieces from the kit. The orange shipping tag was actually created from another page within the Traveler's Notebook. I traced a manila shipping tag and replicated it so the color would match perfectly. The orange strip on the side of my donut photo was cut off the top edge of the sticker sheet. But the clear stickers were my favorite, hands down. I loved the look you could get by layering and offsetting them to create a unique look.

Summer Concert – The "Relax" layout is documenting a concert that my husband and I went to for our first anniversary. Year one tradition is paper so I was all for it! There's just something about live music and an outdoor breeze. I printed out the stage photo and adhered it to white cardstock, creating a frame to resemble a Polaroid. I used a bunch of the cardstock stickers on this layout, cutting and piecing them together (see the half circles above my selfie shot), and layered the stars on top. More clear stickers and some red-orange stamping to complement the green tones on the left completed this layout.

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1 comment

  1. Lisamarie1180 says…

    Love love love these spreads, Jen! And love getting to know more about you. I’m a big fan of your work!!

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