Monday, April 18, 2011


S:CY Design Team Member Helen Hollinger
Today our Designer Spotlight is focused on Helen Hollinger. Helen is the Mom of 2 guys and a canine critter, and lives in Ontario. Super-organized, Helen is on the Admin Team at the popular and busy Sisterhood of Scrap Forum and helps keep things rolling along smoothly there.

She is a Hall of Fame DT Member from Sketches: Creatively Yours, having served on our Design Team in 2009-2010. I asked Helen a few questions and she answered them in a way that really helps us get to know her better!

Helen has a 9-yr old Bichon, Sasha, who “still acts like a puppy at times!” She confides that since she has two boys to scrap, she appreciates having that sweet little girl to scrap about: Sasha provides Helen with an “outlet for using bling and flowers!”

In terms of scrapbooking, Helen is a lover of details and she says that she really feels that “details are what finishes a project off! You know, a bit of stitching, a threaded button, that sort of thing!!” She feels that “using a bit of detail can transform your projects from great to marvelous!”

Helen has traveled a lot in her life, and told me that the “ultimate best place” she’s visited was Malta. She explained, by saying “When we were living in Egypt, we spent a Christmas week in Malta, and it was gorgeous! Such beautiful people, awesome history, and the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen!!! I would go back in a heartbeat!!! Maybe a scrapbook retreat there would be something... hmmm...”

If Helen were ONLY able to scrap scenery, she says she’d choose old buildings. She reports that she loves “the look of the worn wood, broken cement, just everything!! I think that old buildings have a lot of stories to tell, and I always wonder what the walls would say if they could!”

Helen is a multi-talented scrapper, but she revealed to me that the one technique that she finds herself returning to again and again is stitching. She says that she stitches on almost every layout. She does have a sewing machine, but prefers to do hand-stitching. Helen laughingly reports that “This way I know I won't have a problem with the tension! LOL!!”

Having worked alongside Helen at SOS, I can testify that she is uber-organized. She feels that she handles deadlines really well, and says: “I think I work better under deadlines and stress. Being an ER Nurse for 20+ years helps with prioritizing too!!!”

If Helen cannot scrap for even a week, she (“Seriously!”) goes through scrappy withdrawal. She tells us how she knows this by saying… “I went to my Mom's for a week (she lives 3 provinces over!) and never took any scrappy stuff with me. I really found I was at a loss without it! She doesn't even have a computer to play with!! It was horrible!” Helen has already problem-solved this one, though, stating that “next time, I will take a box of goodies to at least make cards with!!”

Once in awhile, a scrappin’ rut rears its’ ugly head. Helen overcomes this by cleaning her scrappy space. She says that “sometimes I have forgotten about that ‘special’ paper or embellishment, and when I clean and organize, I tend to find my mojo!” If that doesn't help, Helen goes online and starts searching her favourite blogs and sites for inspiration.

Like the rest of us, Helen has certain ways that she likes to store small scrappy items. For example, all her buttons and brads are stored in watch maker’s tins, sorted by colour. Helen admits “I have 6 tins, with 12 holders in each! YIKES!!”

Helen also stores her cardstock by color, and her patterned paper by manufacturer. She says “this seems to work the best for me… but that could change!”

Here are some of Helen's fave projects...
"Then and Now" Layout by Helen Hollinger
Helen told me that this is one of her "favourite layouts ever" of her son Stuart.

"Family" layout by Helen Hollinger
Helen says "I loved doing this layout which was a challenge from Maggi (@ Sisterhood of Scrap)! I used many different techniques I had never used before... paper rolling the edges, using clusters of stuff and lots of layering."

Altered tray by Helen Hollinger
One of Helen's favorite recent altered items is the above altered painter tray from 7 Gypsies, done for her husband's birthday in March. She says: "This was so fun to do, and I will be making more of these for sure!"

"1922" layout by Helen Hollinger
Helen says... "This is my ultimate favorite layout of all times! I loved how everything just worked together on this one!!"

Thanks so much, Helen, for participating in today’s S:CY Designer Spotlight feature, and for sharing some of your favourite projects with our readers!

Now, what are the dates for that scrapbooking retreat you mentioned in Malta, Helen? LOL ;)

 ~ Ali

 (c) Ali MacDonald


  1. Great feature! It's so nice to learn more about Helen - and that scrapbooking retreat sounds like a good idea ;)

  2. Helen does such a wonderful job of keeping SOS running smoothly and keeping us all guessing at what is going to happen next. She also does such great layouts! I want to know when that retreat is gonna happen in Malta. :)

  3. Love the "Then and Now" page! Nice to get to know you a bit Helen
    Tammy Mary

  4. Helen, Thank You for being part of our S:CY Design Team and for sharing with us this week!
    Love that you're here. Enjoyed writing your feature, it was fun to do up! Beautiful Layouts and altered Painter's Tray! :) ~ Ali

  5. TFS some life's tidbits about yourself, Helen.
    Beautiful projects!
    Heather Getson

  6. Helen is awesome!! I love those projects you shared, I'd have to say that they are probably my faves of yours too!!

  7. Helen is the best....if I wasn't so old I'd want her for a second mom. Beautiful projects as always.

  8. Great to get to know you better Helen! I love your style! Congrats!!!

  9. Awesome to learn more about you, Helen :-) Your work is just gorgeous!!

  10. Ahhh thanks so much ladies! You are all so sweet!!! {{HUGS}}

  11. Helen, thanks for sharing so much about yourself, it is so nice to get to know you much better, and thanks for your countless hours at SOS ... you rock!!!!

  12. Awesome. Congrats Helen, nice to know a little more about you.

  13. I really enjoyed reading about your Helen. It is nice to feel closer to you. I love your favorite projects. They are all so unique and special.

  14. Wow! Beautiful work. It's nice getting to know you better.