Paper Talk with Emma from United Kingdom

Emma loves that her hobby has given her a creative outlet with a true purpose. She is an avid family history researcher and loves the connection that this research has to modern scrapbooking. Each generation leaves it’s legacy and stories and she is hoping to leave hers on sheets of very pretty paper in albums!

Who are you? Can you tell us about yourself?

Hello there, I am Emma Trout! I live in the beautiful countryside of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom. It is very quiet here! I have two adult sons, who many of my crafting friends will have known since they were young boys. Time flies! I am so very proud of the wonderful men they have grown in to.


I am a scrapbooker and paper crafter who struggles to make a simple card but will spend a week making a layout! I am super grateful to have been on several manufacturer DTs over the years and am currently on the wonderful Mintay Papers Dream Team, a Polish papercraft manufacturer.

When did you start with paper crafting? Why did you start with paper crafting?

I started scrapbooking in around 2006 but have always been artistic. As a child. I would spend many hours drawing and making thanks to the influence of my talented parents. My Mum has always had the ability to ‘make something from nothing’ usually with fabric and I would sit and learn sewing, knitting and macrame with her. My Dad was very artistic and loved watercolours. He would teach me how to paint and encouraged me to use my talents. I followed the route of art college and then went on to study Graphic Design at university.

Years later I went to visit a neighbour and when I walked into her house she had this arrangement of pretty papers across her dining table. I was immediately drawn to them and had to ask what she was doing, to which she replied, ‘Scrapbooking my baby girl’.  I was intrigued…, I was totally in love with the idea of creating beautiful albums that told my family history. One look and I was hooked! And that is where my journey began. I went home, found an old photo and created my first layout.

What is the best thing about paper crafting?

I love paper! I love the smell and texture of paper and how it can be manipulated.

I remember learning about papermaking at school when I was very young and being fascinated that a watery pulp could turn into a smooth sheet of paper that I could write on.  As a child I visited a museum where we dipped a tray into some very murky water to grab pulp and made our own paper to take home. I was so proud of my sheet of handmade paper.

I also love that my hobby has given me a creative outlet with a true purpose. I am an avid family history researcher going back through our family tree over hundreds of years and connections to castles, Sherrif’s and Kings!!l I love the connection that this research has to modern scrapbooking. Each generation leaves it’s legacy and stories and I am hoping to leave mine on sheets of very pretty paper in albums!

Have you made any mistakes when papercrafting and would you like to tell about it?

Oh, everyone makes mistakes! I have cut things in the wrong place, glued things on backwards, spilt glitter everywhere, sat on a tube of glue and sliced the side of my finger more times than I wish to remember. It’s part of the crafting journey.  I just try not to get too hung up on perfection in my work because in the end, it’s only you that knows the mistake is there!

What kind of paper projects do you make?

I am predominantly a traditional scrapbooker creating layouts in 8.5x 11 inch format. I did start out using the traditional 12 x 12 size but found the smaller size easier to store so have stuck with this size for years. I am fiercely passionate about using personal photographs on my pages. They don’t have to be the best or most artistic photos in the world, but they do have to have meaning for the family. I want my scrapbooks to be full of memories for my family, with a bit of journalling and the date on each page. When my boys one day inherit my albums I want them to be able to read where and when the photo was taken and who is in it. I think there’s nothing sadder than looking through old family photos and no-one can remember anything about the occasion or why the photo was taken.

I do also like to make off the page projects and have been creating a series of ‘big build’ creations that I make from scratch. I do like the challenge of figuring out how to create a Gypsy caravan, for example, with nothing more than foamboard, paper and a few embellishments.

How often do you craft?

Almost every day I am cutting paper, even just a few small pieces.

Can you describe your style? Have your style changed since you started?

I have to smile when I read this question. When you have been crafting a long time your style is bound to change or evolve, much like you do as a person. I think we all go through different periods in our creative journey, much like Picasso is famous for (but maybe not in such an extreme shift!). When I started Scrapbooking I was very scared to use my own creativity and stuck very much to rectangle photo mats and a few embellishments. Once I had realised there were no actual rules and that I could use paints, inks, layering and even cut into that big sheet of pretty 12×12 paper, my creativity was released.

My style is very recognisable. I cut everything!! Every sheet of paper is cut into pieces, and then those pieces are cut again! I use lots and lots of layers and details, everything is doodled or outlined and there’s always some watercolours/paints and inks. I do try to tell a story in my work.

Show us 3-5 of your favorite projects. Why are these your favorites?

This is one of my favourite layouts. I was inspired by Mintay Papers ’Grandmas Attic’ papers and the wonderful vintage designs in it to create a page telling the story of my mother’s love of thrifting.

One of my recent layouts using Mintay Papers ’Places We Go’ collection. This range was perfect for scrapping a basic snapshot photo of my Son and his girlfriend on their trip last year to Florence, Italy. An important ‘first holiday’ memory to add to the family album.

One of my favourite off the page projects. I knew exactly how I wanted this to look before I started. I adapted a toy trailer as the base and found a perfect size wooden elephant to alter. The roof of the caravan opens to reveal a mini album inside. It took many hours to complete but I love the end result and satified the inner child in me that always wanted to look inside one of these wagons.

Another favourite layout documenting a family history story. I was inspired by one small, dappled horse image in Mintay Papers ‘Old Manor’ collection, and it reminded me of the horse in the photograph. I was able to tell my Gt. Grandfathers story on my layout just because of this one piece of inspiration.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the story I wish to tell on my pages.  For example, I might receive a collection from Mintay Papers that triggers a family memory, and I will build my design around that.  That could be a simple ice cream image in a summer collection that reminds me of the story of a family member who made his own ice cream over 100 years ago and sold it to local villagers from his Donkey and cart! I think it’s so important that these family stories are recorded for future generations of my family to read.

Is there anything in paper crafting you would like to learn?

I would love to be more ‘painty’ in my work. Not so much full on mixed media but a halfway between my style and going wild with the paints. I keep adding bits of mixed media work but haven’t found that happy balance yet.

Can you mention five products/tools you cannot live without?

  1. Top of my list, and they have been for so many years, my Tim Holtz scissors.  I use them for everything- crafting, DIY, gardening!!
  2. Patterned papers. Who doesn’t love the smell of opening a new pack of patterned papers?! I am so grateful to be a part of Mintay Papers DT and to receive their beautiful, inspiring designs regularly. 
  3. A good white cardstock. I love a nice bright, white cardstock base for my layouts that also accepts wet media well.
  4. Spray inks. Water soluble inks are my go to every time.
  5. Pens. I use lots of pen work on my projects and my go to are Uni Pin fine line pens.

What is on top of your wish list right now?

An electronic cutting machine! I would love the ability to press a magic button and it cut something out for me.

Who in the paper crafting community would you like to meet «in real life»? Why?

I am so very, very lucky that I have met many of my scrapbooking/crafting idols already. I remember the feeling of walking around CHA many years ago and it was like being at the scrapbooking version of The Oscars! I was in awe.

Living in a very rural community without any craft shops or papercraft groups nearby, it is just nice to meet like-minded crafters and talk about papercrafting. I would love to meet more of my online friends and DT members in the future. I have known Mintay Papers owner, Karola Witczak, for so many years and we have never met. I would love to be able to meet her one day.

Can you describe your craftroom?

I don’t have one right now! I currently craft in the living room but there are plans for me to have my very first craft room very soon. The thought of having a whole desk to spread out my work on is quite exciting and I might finally stop losing those little pieces that I have cut out and lost (usually down the back of the sofa!!).

Other things you would like to mention in the presentation?

I would like to thank you for asking me to be a participant in the Paper Talk series. I am very grateful that you chose me to talk about my love for papercraft.

Where can we find you? (Blog, website, social media etc.)

Mintay Papers: