I still have some layouts to work on from this fall, but I'm almost done. Here's one I made of Esper's Halloween this year. It came together very quickly because I copied the basic layout from this page I saw on Pinterest. I usually look for layouts on my boards that contain the same amount of photos so that it's really easy to copy a design. I actually sketch rectangles on paper to represent photos, either portrait or landscape based on how I shot them. Then I look through layouts that feature the same amount and orientation of photos or close to it. The one I found was one photo shy, but I knew I could make it work.
As you can see, I usually start with the basic shapes and placement of the page and then go from there.
It's simple (but simple means fast!) and keeps the focus on the photos. The banner was one from the Eventful Year Hostess disc that I recolored.
So give it a try! CASE'ing really takes all the brain power out of creating. It's great for me because I'm usually running low. :)