Hot Off The Press Designer: LeNae Gerig

About LeNae:

When asked, LeNae Gerig will tell you that she scrapbooks for her daughter, Lauren. She wants Lauren to remember baby stories and to recall the fun she and her family had when she was growing up. LeNae feels that the best way to do with is by telling stories illustrated with photos. As a lover of paper crafting, LeNae has been scrapbooking for over eight years and recently shared her techniques in Slide Mount Mania, Scrapbook Recipes for Journaling and LeNae's 30-Minute Scrapbook Pages. She also enjoys a variety of other crafts and has over 50 books to her name. LeNae has created everything from kids crafts and painting projects to home decor, wedding designs and florals. LeNae lives in Oregon with daughter Lauren and husband Chris.

Learn the basics of scrapbooking with LeNae at Every month, LeNae updates the site with a new Layout of the Month and Article of the Month with tons of techniques, information and suggestions for beginning the scrapbooking hobby, using patterned papers and certain supplies and so much more—a new technique every month!

Q & A with LeNae:

What gives you creative inspiration?
I get inspired by everything advertising, clothing displays at the mall (for seasonal color ideas), you name it. I also love to see other designers' work. I may notice how another designer tied a ribbon and it will inspire an entire layout.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in terms of your work?
I like that I have the opportunity to help out the beginning scrapbooker in my work at Hot Off The Press. I love the sophisticated work we do here, but never want us to lose track of the beginner. Leave no one behind!

What's the most challenging thing about designing full-time?
You must be creative on demand. When I have a daily deadline, I don't have the option to not feel creative today. Also, we design not only for ourselves and what we like, but we have to determine if the "masses" will like it, too.

Tell me how you get started on a project.
I am assigned a topic or a product and it is my job to think of new and interesting ways to use it ways that the average person may not think of. The first step is to think of the obvious ways it can be used and then add something a little extra to it as a "hook". A hook is designed to really catch your eye and get your attention. It may be something as simple as finding a way to dangle a charm or something more advanced like a paper folding technique.

What favorite technique can you recommend to beginners?
Try adding some torn paper to your pages and cards. It is really easy to do and instantly adds a "designer" look to your work. There is something very familiar about the look of torn paper. Maybe it reminds us of our youth, when we tore paper in pre-school, but when added to sophisticated paper crafting, it adds texture, interest and familiarity.

LeNae's advice to other paper crafters:
My advice is to keep an idea file from magazines. I try not to keep all of my craft magazines—it becomes overwhelming and I don't refer back to them like I think I will. Just before I toss them out, I tear out the pages with interesting techniques, folds, ribbon ties or anything else that catches my eye. I place it in a file and refer back to that when I'm stumped for an idea. I usually only have to look through a few of the things in my collection before I get inspired!

LeNae's top Hot Off The Press product picks:

  • 8"x8" mini albums. I adore mini albums—especially the baby album! I just wish I had a friend with a new baby to give it to! The 8"x8" format makes it so easy to finish a book that's filled with the most treasured photos.
  • Almost Done™ Page Kits. I think these kits are much more comprehensive than any of the other kits on the market right now. You get so much for such a great price. I specifically like the Wedding Kit and can't wait to redo my own wedding album using the page kits.
  • Attachments. My favorite two products from the Attachments line are the ribbons and the heavyweight paper frames. The ribbon is so colorful and inspiring and comes in just the right colors and the frames are easy to use and you can do so much with them.
  • Slide Mount Mania™ Super-Size Slide Mounts. The large size of these slide mounts makes them great for framing photos and making mini-books and even ornaments. There's plenty of room for fun embellishments, too!
  • sarabinders™. These appeal to both my artistic and my practical sides. I have so much fun decorating the cover and the inserts in creative ways, and I like that I can actually use them when I'm done decorating or give them to friends!

LeNae's other top paper crafting product picks:

  • 3-in1 Tag Punches. These are a real time saver! I've used these punches for everything from making gift tags to card embellishments. The Scallop Tag Punch is my favorite because they are typically the hardest to cut out.
  • 12" Carl Paper Trimmer. I could not live without my paper trimmer, I use it for everything related to paper crafting. My 5 year old daughter
  • even used it this Christmas when she made a 20-foot long paper chain.
  • Ribbon slides. I just love these. Just slip them onto 3/8" wide
  • ribbon and attach it to a card as a page border—just perfect!
  • 1/16" hole punch. This sounds like a simple thing, but I can't live without this punch. I use lots of mini brads and this punch is just the right size to make tiny holes—just big enough so the brad head doesn't slip through the hole.
  • 12"x12" black frame. This makes a great gift for friends—and in my case, grandparents—who would really love and appreciate a wonderful scrapbook page, but don't have an album to put it in.

LeNae's favorite project published by HOTP:
My favorite page I have done recently is the "My Favorite Photo" page from Scrapbook Recipes for Journaling. I have loved this photo of Chris and baby Lauren for years, but never thought of recording why I loved it. When the topic was suggested for the book, I knew instantly which photo I would use. Not only do I love the photo, I really like the idea of sharing why I love it. I liked the idea so much that I went right home and did a page for my own album.