Weekly Warm-Up: The Ten-Minute Challenge

08/31/2009 at 5:00 am | Posted in weekly warm up | 9 Comments
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meganHello, and welcome to CK! I’d like to make you a special guest editor today, if you don’t mind. This means I need you to join me for our weekly staff meeting. Are you in? Great! Let’s go. We don’t want to be late.

Today’s agenda: Creativity Training with Brittany

*Me, whispering to you*: “Sweet! Creativity trainings are the best—so much more fun than when we’re asked to do grammar trainings. Know what I mean?”

Your task: Create a two-page layout in ten minutes. The layout must include:

  • An accent or embellishment of some sort
  • A spot for journaling (but no actual words need to be written)
  • A title
  • Note: You do not have to add the photos, since that would definitely take more time to plan for than this ten minutes provides.

You have three minutes to gather supplies from the different bins of materials and then the clock will start.

Ready? Go!

*Me, freaking out to you*: “What?! Only ten minutes to do a two-page spread. Like that’s going to happen. I can’t even zero in on my products in ten minutes, much less select and assemble them! Ahh! I’m freaking out here, man!”

*Me, taken aback by your confidence*: “What’s that? You think I can manage this if I just put my mind to it? You’re excited to give it a try? Well, aren’t you an eager elf. And it’s only your first day, too. Sheesh! See if I ever bring a special guest to our meetings again. You’re making me look bad here…but, you’re right, I’m sure this can be accomplished if I put my mind to it. Especially if I stop chitchatting with you and actually get to work. Let’s do this!”


Yeah, that’s pretty much what the scene looked like in our weekly staff meeting last Wednesday. Brittany did ask us to create a two-page spread in ten minutes and I did freak out, but I got it done, at least as much as I was asked to get done (thanks for your faith in me)! And I actually had a blast doing it. There was something about the rush of beating the clock that really sparked my creativity. Here’s what I came up with:


Okay, I confess, I cut out and added the tress after my time was up, but I did manage to get my products selected, my theme determined and the general design of my page concepted all in the time provided. Not too shabby, eh?


I wasn’t the only one to get the job done. Take a look at what cute Joannie did with her mini marathon. Unlike me, she had a plan going in. She knew she wanted to make a page about her son, so she went in with a goal and selected her products accordingly.



And here’s sassy Lori F.’s page. This wise woman maximized her time by selecting a page kit to work with. Then it was only a matter of arranging the elements in a way that worked for her.



Brittany did more than just pose this intense challenge, she also participated. And, as you can see from the outcome, she was ready to work under pressure. She took a colors-first approach, selecting colors that spoke to her. She then let the colors determine her theme. Since they’re nice colors for a little boy, she decided to do a layout about her nephew. (Check out Brittany’s blog to see additional details she’s added to her page since our meeting.)



Brenda, our editorial assistant and the newest member of our team (also the editorial assistant for Paper Crafts), also went the coordinated-product route to create her dancing page—a smart move, especially when time is of the essence.


What about you? Can you put together a spread in only ten minutes, minus the photos and journaling? I’m sure you can, being the creative person I know you are.

Believe it or not, this exercise was more than just a creative relay race. Like any good lesson, it had its teachable moments. Here are actual notes from our meeting, outlining some of our discoveries:


As a group, we concluded our discussion by recognizing that these notes relate to just about any task at hand, whether it be scrapbooking, writing, editing or even tackling a messy house. The next time you’re faced with a task that seems impossible, keep these tips in mind and see if your perspective changes.  

In the spirit of tacking big tasks, we’d love to read any tips you have, whether it be a scrapbooking shortcut or a general approach you take to getting a project accomplished. I’ll give you ten minutes to leave a comment. Ready…get set…go!

Megan Hoeppner, Creative Editor

P.S. I love shopping and finding a good bargain. Do you? If so, you’ll love these hot money-saving tips that I have to share today:

1. ACDsee is having a summer sale. Purchase the ACDSee Photo Manager 2009, a powerful digital photography organization tool for at-home use, and receive a free copy of ACDSee Photo Editor in a special two-for-one sale. Hurry, this offer ends Sept. 1. Visit their website for more information.

2. The Anna Griffin Scrapbook Super Sale is coming and, according to my Anna Griffin contact, it’s going to be “over-the-top and out-of this world, with unheard of pricing and deep discounts!” This is a 3-day event that runs Sept. 5-7. Check their website for more information.



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  1. Weel, Beth, I didn’t meet the 10-minutes to leave a comment..but here I am! I was blown away with the idea of doing this challenge in 10-minute. But what a great idea!! I’m going to give a try..as I spend way too much time trying to find the “perfect” products to use for pages. 10-minutes???? Impossible!!! But….maybe not!!

    Thanks for the great tips. I’m off to my scraproom!!

  2. Ok, I think I’m seriously going to try this too…I can spend way too much time with a single lo.

    Here’s my tip for making it go quicker. Go to a crop…or at least pretend to. Whenever I go to work somewhere else (a store, a friend’s), I have to take a little time to think–what do I want to work on, what embellies do I want to use, which alphies would work best with this paper–a little time to pack and then I make do with what I bring.

    If I’ve forgotten something I know I need to add, I just leave a spot and add it later. If it’s not essential, I just use the things I brought and get it done.

    This definitely works better when I’m not home and within reach of all my supplies, but when I haven’t finished my crop pages, they are all put together and I can sit down and finish them quickly at home.

  3. COOL takes ladies 🙂

  4. For me the thing that takes the most time is picking out which products I want to use on my layouts, so periodically I’ll make “page kits” for myself.

    1. First grab some Large sized Ziplock bags, large enough to hold your largest supply (for me it’s the 12×12 papers)

    2. Decide which photos you want to scrapbook

    3. Pick out up to 4 papers (I have a hard time choosing paper and want to use every pattern of every line so I have to limit myself)

    4. Pick out embellishments (ribbon, brads, etc.)

    Now when I go to a crop or to a friends house, or even when I only have a few moments to scrap, I have all my materials together and ready to go. And the bonus is that if I don’t get finished all I have to do is rebag everything and set it aside till I have time to work on it again. Then when I’m ready all of my materials are together in one place and not “accidentally” used on something else or lost in the never ending pile-0-scrap!

  5. I love this challenge and will have to try it.

    My time saving technique is to not freak out about creating a new design every time. Because I use different products and have different stories, the LO will look different, so I tend to put my photos in a grid–every. single. time. And I’m OK with that–it saves me time!

  6. OK, I gave it a whirl and I must say it’s hard to “stop” working on a LO. I guess I’m the type that keeps “fiddling” with it until it feels done. I did try and use “big” elements, the pumpkin and the arrow to give it some impact and vellum quotes instead of journaling. Anyway, if you want to look at it here it is:

  7. I don’t have a tip to share, but I love this post! Great inspirational and challenging idea. I’ll definitely try it this week.

  8. Haha! reading this post…I could clearly imagine the panic you felt with the ticking of the clock in your ears.
    I have to say…I am impressed! Great work for a mere 10 minutes.

  9. Great challenge!! I can’t wait to see what I come up with 🙂

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