I am always interested in a scrapbooker's process; and, I often think about mine as I look at a fresh-made layout and wonder "Well, how did that happen?!".
When I started scrapbooking (and depending on how long you've been a scrapper, this may apply to you as well), everyone took a photo and selected papers and embellishments to match. This is still the preferred method for many scrappers and it works just fine. Honestly it makes for very well coordinated layouts in your albums and that is very pleasing to the eye. And this process is still at the forefront of whether I choose a cream-based vs. a white-based paper to scrap my photos.
But I believe nowadays many of us have turned this process on it's head. While many times our photos still coordinate with the paper, it's the paper that comes first. We purchase the newest and loveliest papers, and then in our need to play with them like a new toy, we find photos to coordinate with them. Case in point: my recent road trip photos are the perfect companion to my new Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm because they are very white-based photos in which I wore a navy & white top and my mom wore lovely pink sweatpants (how fortunate!?!). But whether or not I had those photos, I'm sure I would have found something in my vast stash of photos to coordinate - this latest purchase is getting used regardless of whether the photos are 'perfect' or not!
Then there are those themed papers that popped up on the scene many, many years ago. We gobbled up these themes, as it wasn't enough for the photos or journaling to tell the story - our paper needed to lend a helping hand. I still enjoy a themed paper now and again - especially for Christmas or other holidays. And if you really think about it, even those yellowed or distressed papers are the ones we will reach for first when scrapping heritage photos - and that actually creates a theme (of course, heritage photos aren't the only thing to scrap with this paper!) But regardless of how much we like/dislike themed paper, they are merely an extension of the coordination of photo with paper... Christmas photos coordinated with Christmas paper telling Christmas stories - it only makes sense and can be exceedingly fun to boot!
Of course, photos and paper aren't the only parts of a process. Layouts can be based on anything and everything. New 'toys' can get our creative juices flowing - I've recently created an entire layout starting with a single diecut. Or maybe we see a photo of someone else's work that provides the inspiration - I have a few of these recreations hanging around. Or we find a sketch that speaks to us - I love a good sketch. And more and more often, our process - regardless of how we get to any one point - involves walking away... we set the layout on our desk or put it in a slideshow, and then look at it later to get a fresh perspective (of course, if you're one of these scrappers, it's helpful if you use a removable adhesive until you're absolutely sure).
And so, in the name of "The Process", I am going to talk about the process behind each of these layouts. (I'm afraid you will find that my 'process' can often be as chaotic as the rest of my life!)