I Like the Sound of That

While Rascal Flats doesn't strike a chord with me very often, I do like this song--I thinks it's well-written and I like its little twists and turns. I mean how often does Justin Timberlake get a mention in a country song, right?

The premise of the song makes me smile so, of course, I made my own list of sounds associated with my love and turned it into a scrapbook page.  And it was a good spot to use this photo that I really like (in theory) despite its less-than-lovely composition. It was taken while we were in Cabo. Joal was leading a Sunday morning worship hour for our traveling companions and I was a really lazy photographer that day. 


One design note...this is a totally random occurrence but interesting, nonetheless. Three of the cards that I used to surround the photo came from the Project Life Honey Edition Core Kit designed by Lori Whitlock. And in a totally random twist, the wood grain arrow paper on the right border, which I think is reminiscent of the guitar, is a sheet from the All About a Boy line by Echo Park, also designed by Lori Whitlock!! 

She's a pretty busy scrapbook gal... Lori Whitlock! 


Happy Scrapping!


Pretty not Perfect

I don't do perfect.

I rarely use the word "perfect".
I don't strive for perfection and in most things, I don't really believe perfection is possible, so long as members of a broken humanity are involved and heaven remains at bay. In fact, I'm drawn to imperfection and things that are on the verge of being discarded.

I'm a rescuer of things that, unless you choose to look closely, their value and beauty isn't obvious at first glance.

It's easy to like perfection...doesn't take much depth to embrace something that's perfect. Doesn't take much grace to accept something that doesn't challenge you. 

I love pretty things but my definition of "pretty" doesn't really include perfection. In fact, my definition of pretty is anti-perfection. 

Let's talk home decor, for example.
I like easy.
I don't like fussiness. 

This makes my heart skip a beat.



old...loved but discarded...crumpled...
These are my things.
I crave things that have had life before me and will probably go on after me.

I love antique malls and junk stores, especially those in sleepy little towns with a town square and a cafe that's not a franchise...where they serve sweet tea in Mason jars and biscuits made in cast iron skillets.
I enjoy the fine art of thrifting and going to estate auctions with my brother. Old stuff, out on display. Old frames, old glasses, old books, vintage cameras, Bibles that are tattered and well-read.

I love a house with years on her bones and 6 layers of paint on her walls. If she has a deck made of wood that's gray from the weather, all the better.

I love old songs, old hymns and old music.
I like the smell of old maps and faded books with deckle edge pages.
I treasure old letters and lists, notes and pictures of old people and greeting cards from decades we haven't seen in a long time.

I'm a girl with scars and I don't hide them.
Scars are proof of life.
There are scars on my body and scars on my heart.

I love a man with some gray in his beard and some years in his hands.

Yep, I don't do perfection.
I do pretty.
Keep your Pottery Barn and your Anthropologie.
Give me salt-water washed wood and faded, yellowed, authentic things.
Any day or the week.



My new workspace

In the past two years, I have moved my scrap space 7 times between two different houses. When we remodeled the Nashville house, I completely packed up my scrapbook space in the bonus room and moved it to a bedroom. A month or so after the renovation was complete, we suddenly decided to put the house on the market, so my scrap space got packed up and sent to storage (some call it decluttering)...except for a few small totes of crafty things that I used to stage the newly renovated craft room downstairs.

I think the fantastic craft room staging contributed to the sale of our home **in three days**. I'm jus sayin'.

In the new house in Texas, I started in a large walk-in pantry, moved to a small bedroom, moved to a different bedroom, and now I have finally come to create in the sunroom.

Empty, the sunroom looks like this: 



It's a long skinny space that is at the back of the house. It's off our dining room and kitchen (the French doors connect the sunroom to the dining room) and it overlooks the back deck.

I love the Windows!!

So my husband took a few days this week to work from home and he so generously provided the needed muscle to get this space transformed into my new (and hopefully final) scrap and stamp workspace.

I love the light from the Windows!


I'm taking up a little more than half the sunroom and using the small bookcase as a divider. In the unused part of the room is the treadmill (folded up) and the access to the deck.


The best part of this space plan is that I can work in this calming relaxed area while retaining the bulk of my supplies stored in the walk-in pantry. 

I really like a space that can be kept clean and organized easily and that won't make me feel like I should be embarrassed at the state of my crafty crazy, if/when others see it in use.

Mind you, I'm not denying that I do, in fact, have plenty of crafting crazy...just that its stored in a closet and not out in the open where everyone can inspect it. 

I have three rolling Raskogs for transporting certain tools from the closet to the work space easily and for quick clean up of the work space. Each Raskog is dedicated to a certain task--stamping and embossing, die cutting equipment and the last is the punch center.

My Stampin' Up stamps are stored in the corner on this rolling shelf. This stamp collection is arranged alphabetically and makes me very happy. 


When we have company or family dinners, I can easily roll the carts to the closet and slide the table out from the corner and have seating for four extra people! 


The view facing the opposite direction. 


And finally, the Gayla Pugh art that hangs in my window. 


I think I'm going to be happiest creating in this bright sunny space...I hope so because pretty much the only remaining space in this house that I haven't tried is the attic. :)



No design team work for me

So I've been paper-crafting for twenty years.

Twenty years! Wow.

Seems like forever.

In that time, I've done many related tasks in addition to scrapbooking--just because I might be a little obsessed. I have:

*made scrapbooks for other people

*hosted scrapbook weekends for friends

*had my pages published in national magazines

*taught scrapbooking classes in local stores and conventions

*sold scrapbook supplies for a direct sales company

*created scrapbook pages for manufacturers to display in trade show booths

*created scrapbook pages for online displays for manufacturers of scrapbooking supplies

*displayed pages in on-line galleries for fun and for pay

I have worked on a couple of design teams--for the uninitiated, a design team in the paper crafting world is a group of maker's who make projects for a product manufacturer, using specific products and demonstrating how specific products can be used in paper-crafting. Sometimes, design team members are compensated with a paycheck and sometimes (especially back in the day) they work in exchange for product.

I learned a great deal while working on each of these design teams but after much thought, and reading some other blogs that have discussed design team intricacies in-depth, I have decided that the days of design teams are over for me.

Scrap Gal Tracie Claiborne wrote about design teams here.

Here are my reasons:

1. I'm done working for product. There was a time when product boxes arriving in the mail made my day. It felt like Christmas once a month! I had a lot of space and enjoyed creating with products that perhaps I wouldn't have selected  were I shopping in person for myself.

Those days are done. I've become super picky and my space is limited. As Dave Ramsey says, "cash is king".

I have worked for two teams that paid in cash.

In my experience, the teams that paid on a cash per project basis seemed more straight-forward and were more clear in their expectations and directions. Efficiency matters to me, as does communication. With one of my teams, I felt incredibly respected, was inspired by my fellow teammates and was treated well in terms of timely communication. Unfortunately, the other one--not so much.

2. I like to mix product lines and companies. I am not loyal to one company and I believe that generally the only people who are, do so because they have a financial incentive to do so.

I get a little jazzed when I accidentally discover a super collaboration between products manufactured by different companies. It makes me very happy when I see a design team member say "I just realized that our 123 product works super well with this product from XYZ company." But let me tell you, it's not a common occurrence. And that bugs me.

In my opinion, it shows a lack of actual real-world usefulness. That kind of single-minded devotion doesn't help the everyday scrapbook consumer see how product can work in her creations along-side the other product she probably already owns.

We've all seen those design team projects that are clearly design team projects. The flower company that sells seven dollar packages of flowers sends ten packs of flowers to their designer and she puts all ten packs all on one page, because she didn't have to shell out seventy dollars for all those flowers.

Normal scrapbookers don't spend seventy dollars one a scrapbook page very often    

I've said before--most design team work can be compared to shopping from only a single aisle at the grocery store. That just doesn't work for me.

3. Social media has changed everything! Individual scrapbookers (those not working for a manufacturer or company) now have direct and immediate access to a wide world of other scrapbookers just like themselves and having a blog, a following on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest makes one an instant member of a community that embraces all design styles and all levels of skill. I think the days when a manufacturer needs a stable of designers to create on their behalf are rapidly coming to a close.

Manufacturers need a social media specialist...not a designer. OK, maybe one designer.

4. It's not about the product. Finally, my beef with most of the design team work I see is that it's primarily product driven.  As much as I enjoy the shopping and treasure-hunting aspect of scrapbooking, in the end, the layouts I love the most were supported by the product, not started by them. 

5. I'm selfish with my scrappy time. I don't have a ton of it and I want to spend what time I do have for scrapbooking pursuits working on that which I choose--not what someone else has assigned to me.

Because I have said "no" to design teams, I am free to work at my own pace and take on projects for others that I deeply enjoy and yet never share with anyone else or on-line. 

6. Inevitably, at best, the relationship between the blogger/maker and design team is one of mutual use. You know this going in...the manufacturer is primarily looking for design team members who already have a dedicated social media following. They are looking to add your followers to their own. And as a designer, you are looking to add the manufacturer's users to your own following. Everyone is using everyone and she with the biggest following wins. 

I get that this is how it works. 

I just don't like it. 

I don't want attaining a large following to be the driver of my bus. 

Most of my favorite scrapbookers are also people who aren't seeking professional design careers. They are just ordinary scrapbooking enthusiasts like myself and I love to learn from them. Some are scrapbookers who have had the "diva dot" career as a scrapbooking expert and gave it all up in order to get back to creating from a more genuine place.

I liken design team creating to the genre of another creative industry--fashion design. Some designers create fashion for the rack that has wide appeal and will sell to the mass market in many sizes and colors. Conversely, some designers do avant garde pieces that are an exercise in creativity for creativity's sake. They are experimental. No one besides a model can even get into these pieces nor would they ever want to because while they are interesting to look at, they are difficult to wear, to function in and cost a fortune. 

So now you know. 


Where the Wild Things Are

So as my scrapbooking style continues to be fleshed out, (it's a lifelong process) I can tell you that I love a page with a really good title and if that title is a phrase that already exists in my cultural lexicon, I'll just love it even more.

Such is the case with this layout called "Where the Wild Things Are". 

"Where the Wild Things Are" is, of course, the title of a world famous book by Maurice Sendek. I love this book...so when I wrote this bit of journaling, I started with the title and applied it to my love of antique hunting.

The title is hand stamped using Stampin' Up! Layered Letters Alphabet. This alphabet has to be the easiest to cut out of any alphabet stamps ever. Since the letters are kinda sloppy, the cutting doesn't require much precision. I love that!

Happy scrapbooking!


Flowers are a copout and other observations about scrapbooking

I'm as guilty as the next scrapbook or of placing a pretty picture on a pretty paper, surrounding it with flowers and calling it good. It's easy. It's pretty. It's pleasant to look at briefly but what does it say?

Are flowers a cop out?

For me, pretty flowers have become the lazy girl's answer to page embellishment. It's true I can do flowers to paper in my sleep.  And a quick browse through my favorite on-line galleries of scrapbooking layouts and creations show me that I am so totally not alone. 

When I haven't fleshed out enough story or when I haven't given enough thought to my design, flowers are the easy answer.

About ten years ago, I attended a class with a very popular scrapbook instructor--at that time we would've referred to her as a *scrapbooking celebrity*. Oh how that term turns me off now, but I digress. Her class was well publicized and many people attended along with me. And we paid a pretty penny for the privileged too. It was a good class. There was what I considered to be a nice amount of inspirational content and it was well-balanced with unique techniques that made me feel like I was learning something new as opposed to those classes that are just about copying the designer's project.

By and large, I was quite satisfied with the class, which is kindof unusual--I can be a little picky about classes.

However, there was one little thing that kinda struck me as annoying and less than professional. After completing one of the main class projects, one of the class attendees dropped a rather large stamp on top of her page and it landed inked-side-down, of course, right smack on top of the pretty part of the layout. She was understandably crushed. She gasped rather loudly when it happened and this caught the attention of the class instructor. The class instructor came over to assess the damage. When she saw the extent of it, she declared with a laugh "oh just stick a flower over it and no one will ever know. That's what scrapbooker's do--stick a flower on it."

The class attendee was quite obviously NOT going to be satisfied with the "stick a flower on it" advice and I admit, it didn't sit right with me either. A flower would change the entire composition of the page and this attendee had worked diligently to create the page just as the instructor had demonstrated--without deviation. Her disappointment was obvious.

Years later, I remember this incident vividly and those words ring in my ears. Is that really all we do? Just stick flowers on things and make them pretty?

I want to say "no".
But I'm not sure it's true.  

A pretty paper covered in flowers to me is the scrapbooking equivalent of getting all dressed up and having no place to go and no one to go with. 

I want more substance.
I crave a better mix of the story and less of "just pretty".


Pretty is just way down the list..


Talking Back: Episode 102 Guilt-free Scrapbooking

So this week I listened to Episode 102 of the Scrap Gals Podcast...and doing so really got my wheels turning. Tiffany and Tracie shared some very thoughtful tips for those in our paper crafting community who maybe struggling to continue scrapbooking. Having gone through a three year stint of being a "former scrapbooker", I especially appreciated their insights.

And you know it...I have a few thoughts of my own.

These are the things I thought about as I was listening to the show.

Tips for Guilt-free Scrapbooking and Relocating Your Lost Mojo:

1. Give yourself credit (generously) for doing any scrapbooking-related
task. Organizing, shopping, ordering photos, idea collecting, packing a kit, hosting a mini scrap party with a friend... Embrace these tasks because they prepare you to be creative.

2. If you are struggling to create a scrapbook page you feel satisfied with, COPY someone else's project. Don't apologize for copying. Do it because you love the project and you value the design.  Give yourself permission to not reinvent the wheel every time you create. 

3. Surround yourself with encouraging people and make your workspace comfortable. This one should probably have been divided into two but the thoughts were flowing and I was writing my list as fast as I could. Surround yourself with other makers or at least people who understand how much it fulfills you to make things. No negative nellies allowed. Scrapbooking (or making) is a sacred task. Don't allow anyone to rain on that. Ever. 

Make your workspace comfortable. Because I have spent most of my adult life living with three men, I take the liberty of girlifying the snap out of my scrapbook room. There is art on the walls that I like. There are pretty wooden letters that spell the word Create and there are items I have created displayed. My chair is comfortable. The Raskog army stands guard. There are flowy curtains and lots of reminders of our beach trips and painted furniture. It's my space. It's where I am most comfortable.

4. Give yourself plenty of opportunities to observe and embrace other types of creative arts. One of the most inspiring things I have ever done that had nothing to do with Scrapbooking but made me want to rush home and cut up tons of paper was visit the annual quilt show in my town. I was completely blown away by the artistry and the attention to detail demonstrated by quilters of every level. Of course, there are similarities between quilting and Scrapbooking, but the experience of seeing hundreds of quilts all at once was massively inspiring. Makers may end up with differing results but the need to create beauty from nothing resides in all of us. Don't neglect to fill your creative tank...look for what speaks to your soul in other areas of creative arts--for example, gardening, sculpting, painting, lettering, music and poetry.

5. Don't be afraid to just do something. If you break Scrapbooking down into individual tasks, you can achieve a successful page one tiny task at a time. This particular tip is my personal favorite. There are times when I feel like I don't have it together enough to commit to full-on design work. Narrowing my focus down from a whole page to single tasks--such as stamping images and cutting them out--allows me to be crafty without the pressure of designing. 

I keep a box filled with individual plastic bags of assorted ready-to-use elements right on my desk. 

6. Scrapbooking is more than just paper layouts...scrapbooking is a way of life! Incorporate photos into your life in other ways--especially in your home. Don't be timid. Find your favorite photos and blow them up. Make them big and happy!

I think makers are prone to experience ups and downs on occasion and being prepared to change things up to combat any creative blocks will save us all from just struggling through the difficulty.

So what do you do to keep going when you don't necessarily "feel it"?



Scrapbooking Around

Buckle up, dear friends.

I'm about to put forth a bold proposition.

What if you didn't scrapbook your children?

What then?

I hear it all the time.
I scrapbook for my children.
Each child has his own scrapbook.
I scrapbook all the big events so they will remember.
I want them to know how loved they were when I am gone.

Clearly, these are all very valid and altruistic reasons to create scrapbooks. 

But what if you took a break from scrapbooking for the children and a break from scrapbooking anything child-related?

Could you do it?
Could you find something more to scrapbook? 

Lately I've been examining the why--why do I do this and I've come to the conclusion that there is more to my love for paper crafting than "I do it for the sons." 

Oh don't get me wrong.
These boys were raised up right. The scrapbook genetics are strong with those two and they know that mama is a scrapbooker and she is going to take your photo whenever she pleases. 

However, I wear many hats and I lived a life before I was their mom. And since. Surely, my scrapbooks should bear that out. 

So for right now, I'm taking a break from scrapbooking all things boy-related. I'm going to stretch into topics and stories that are important to me.

In other news, The Scrap Gals (Tiffany and Tracie) talked extensively about my Facebook diatribe about people pushing hurried-ness upon me and it was a lovely conversation. You should check out this week's episode over on iTunes. 

Don't rush me.


Scrap Philosophy

Whatever I manage to get accomplish used in the way of scrapbook tasks in my lifetime will just have to be enough. 

I'm not behind. I have lots of stories waiting to be recorded but I am not behind. Remember, I'm making a life as well as a scrapbook about that life.

While I love that some future descendant may glean enjoyment from my scrappy craft, I do it because I love it. If no one ever loved it, I would still do it. It makes me happy.

The stories I manage to capture will just have to be enough for the future.

If there are big events that don't make it into my scrapbook, so be it. 

I don't owe my sons a certain number of pages about their childhoods.

If my grandmother had been a scrapbooker, (at 89 she hasn't taken up this hobby so I don't really think she's going to catch the bug in this lifetime)  you wouldn't hear me complaining about what she didn't include in her scrapbook.  No way, no how.

I would be happy as a clam with whatever she decided to include.

I expect it to be that way with my heirs. I do what speaks to me. I tell the stories I value. 

And that will just have to be enough.

That's today's bit of Scrapbooking philosophy.


Isle of Palms

For the past three years, Joal and I have taken a week in October to spend time at our favorite spot in South Carolina--Isle of Palms, just on the edge of Charleston.

We leave the sons at home and enjoy the beach together just as the tourist season is coming to a close. We often have our stretch of beach to ourselves or sometimes three or four others...it's a blissfully quiet, generally uneventful time that we can use to be renewed together. We rent a condo right on the water and I find it deeply inspiring. 

We have serious conversations and we laugh a lot together. We go out for some meals--mostly because I have a mile-long list of Charlestons fabulous foodie places that I am dying to try out for myself--and we cook some meals in the condo and eat on the deck. Joal brings his guitar and I bring a journal and a few pens, maybe some stamping things. It's a very rich time for both of us.

I haven't scrapbooked very many of the photos yet, but just this week started laying down plans for an on-going scrapbook project that will encompass all the trips together. The first page of the most recent trip is done...

I've been holding on to this quote that Ali Edwards created in her fantastic handwriting and gave away on her blog several months ago--it's just the right and appropriate observation for my page. I printed it on vellum so it would tone down the washi tape underneath it just a bit.

Thanks for taking a peek!
Happy Scrapbooking!


Scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!

Over the years I have been a little frustrated from time to time with the almost-complete lack of emphasis that Stampin' Up! has placed on stamping in scrapbooking. I don't understand it. If you conduct a Google search for Stampin' Up! scrapbook pages you will be rewarded with a bunch of pages that don't tell stories and generally are pretty but don't actually have actual photos.

A year or two ago, Stampin' Up! teamed up with Becky Higgins to create a few Project Life items for Stampin' Up!--an encouraging move that did bring a little bit of scrapbooking to the Stampin' Up! Army.

To me, a scrapbook page needs to tell a story. 

When I was a SU demonstrator, I wrote a blog called "Stamp Your Story"...that's how much I believe in this concept. In the years since, Hero Arts has taken up the Stamp Your Story mantle as well.

Renown scrapbooking enthusiast, Stacy Julian was recently quoted on a ScrapGals podcast as saying "I'd rather have stories without photos than photos without stories." I agree with her 100 percent!

It's the story that must be preserved.
The photos are just supporting evidence.

Finally, a few weeks ago I came to realize *why* I think Stampin' Up! does not fully embrace stamping in your scrapbook as extensively as I wish they would--the reason is very simple.


With card-making (Stampin' Up!'s biggest section), the process of creating a beautiful card--from the moment you cut the base to the moment it's ready to go into an envelope, is not (or doesn't have to be) a long process. We all know that there's a certain amount of gratification that comes with completing a project in a few minutes and knowing that very soon someone you love (like?) will be enjoying your creation.

I think, by and large, card-makers have gotten hooked on that gratification so much that they see completing a scrapbook page as a process that takes too long and may not be enjoyed by anyone else for a while. A scrapbook page usually does take longer to complete. There are more steps to the process and more elements to include. And the "canvas" is usually larger.

Just a note: you will never see scrapbook pages on my blog without photos. I don't believe in those. A scrapbook page is a personal creation and while I've done my fair share of those go-to-a-class-make-a-page-for-later deals, I now know that most often, they never get completed.  They become drawer dwellers.

In Sarah's world, a scrapbook page consists of four elements:
a story (the details you can't derive from just looking at the photo)
a title
a photo or two or three
a bit of creative embellishment

Please note that "the story" doesn't have to be some emotionally-charge, uber-observational, over-analyzed, life-altering, 8000 word essay on the meaning of life. While there may be a time and place for those pages,  "the story" can be simply dates and places, and other basic details.

With this in mind, I'm going to transfer some of the scrapbook pages I have completed for the old blog (from a few years back) to this one in order to attempt to get all my stuff together in one place. (It's been a few years, so some of the products will be retired.)

Happy stamping and scrapbooking!


The Basics of Scrapbooking with Stampin' Up! Part Two

This article originally appeared on my blog "Stamp Your Story" in July 2011

In February, after being a scrapbooker for more than 15 years, I became a demonstrator with Stampin' Up! (You probably knew this already.) :) Since the scrapbook stores in our area are all more than an hour away from me, I needed a new source for paper and supplies and one of the fantastic things about Stampin' Up! is that it's *the scrapbook store that comes to your door*. 

Since then, I have been completely impressed--blown away, in fact--with the calibur of the handmade greeting cards that I've found on blogs and in online galleries created with Stampin' Up! products. Stampin' Up! people are the masters at card-making. 

Scrapbooking, however, seems to take a back seat. I have searched and searched for Stampin' Up!-based blogs and crafters who are passionate about scrapbooking and have come up short. It's a little bit disappointing to read time and time again -- "I'm a Stampin' Up! demonstrator but I'm not really into scrapbooking." or "I only demonstrate 6x6 mini-pages when my customers ask for them--and we don't use actual photos." 

What?! How can that be?

Scrapbooking utilizes all the *same* tools and techniques as cardmaking. Stampin' Up! offers fabulous tools and papers perfect for scrapbooking...so I do *not* understand the disconnect. If you can do it on a card, you can do it in a scrapbook.

Nonetheless, here we are. So, I'm embarking on a mission to prove that Stampin' Up! is for *real* scrapbookers. :)

Let's start at the beginning. If you are like most folks, you take pictures with some regularity, probably with a digital camera or even perhaps on your cell phone. You show them off to family and friends occasionally, but rarely print them. When you do finally edit them, upload them to a printing site or service and order them, you wait for them to arrive, then you glance through them once or twice and then set them aside. They sit in a shoebox or a drawer for a little too long...they stack up. You wonder what to do with them. They pile up. The pile gets a little daunting or perhaps even intimidating.

Your last vacation, your wedding, your child's birth, your mom's 50th birthday, your sister's graduation from college...all these memories, just sitting in a drawer, shoe box or worse, the printer's envelopes. Unused, unenjoyed, unloved and cluttering up your space.

Guess what. This is completely normal. 
And very easy to remedy.

What you need is an easy system for organizing the photos that you want to keep, a way to get them into a format that will allow them to be enjoyed, and a place to document the stories you want to remember that go with them. Sounds like a chore? No way. Trust me, this is easy...and that pile of photos can be transformed into something you can enjoy looking at and sharing with your family and friends, with just a little bit of effort and the right supplies.

Welcome to scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!

Scrapbooking has been around for many years. Thousands. From Aristotle and Cicero in the late 1500s to President Thomas Jefferson, scrapbooking--the art of preserving tidbits and "life evidence" has been a part of almost all civilized cultures. It's definately not a new thing. You've heard of Mark Twain? He dedicated entire Sundays throughout his life to the art of scrapbooking. 

It seems that throughout history, people have held close an innate desire to not be forgotten...to have their legacy remain after they are gone. Scrapbooking is but one way to preserve your stories and memories, your adventures, you life lessons, your achievements. Don't underestimate the value of your life story to those who come along after you are gone. 

Imagine what the world would be if Anne Frank hadn't kept a diary? 

Modern scrapbooking has risen in popularity as a hobby in the past two, perhaps three decades and with just a few tools and supplies, you can easily create your own scrapbook of treasured memories and photos. Stampin' Up! is the perfect resource for the supplies and tools that you'll need. If you have a history as a stamper and/or a card-maker (as so many people who love Stampin' Up! do), you probably already have many of the tools and skills needed to become a delighted scrapbooker...you just need a tiny bit of instruction and some time to expand your playing field.

All photos have one thing in common--they must be taken care of and stored properly to enjoy a long life. We are lucky to live in a technological era that makes taking snapshots oh-so-easy and inexpensive! Keeping your photos safe is not difficult.  Stampin' Up! offers products that are safe for your photos and will enhance your creative expression as you preserve your memories in your scrapbook.

Typically, a scrapbook page is comprised of three major elements--

the photo(s), 
the journaling (the title and the story), 
and the decorative elements (embellishments). 

When you've completed the assembling of the three major elements, you may choose to store your scrapbook pages in an album or have them framed for display. 

Whether you are facing down fifty years worth of photos or you've just started taking pictures, there's only one way to do this: pick a place to start and jump in with both feet. Take a deep breath and start with a step-by-step method that will help you create a scrapbook page or spread!

Select a group of 1-5 photos that you want to work with...perhaps a birthday or other event. Consider the story you want to tell using these photos. Maybe it's obvious, (like the celebration of a birthday) or maybe not. Either way is appropriate. The number one rule of scrapbooking is this: *your scrapbook, your choice*.

Seriously, if you have a single photo that you love, why not scrapbook it? There is no edict from on high that demands that every scrapbook page you create must have 3 photos on it. If one photo speaks to you...go with it! The right picture can certainly stand alone, just like a painting in a museum...remember, no rules!

For this project, I'm choosing a set of 5 photos from a trip to the beach that I took with my boys earlier in the year. As it worked out, we spent my youngest son's 8th birthday on a beach in South Carolina. It was early in March, so we had the whole beach to ourselves and it was a wonderful day. Not quite the usual birthday for an 8 year old...but a fantastic one, nonetheless.

I actually took about 80 photos on the beach that day and printed most of them. (I adore beach photos.) One of the easiest ways to become accomplished at scrapbooking is to get past the *must scrapbook every photo* mindset. Pick the best photos...the ones that speak to you, the ones that really tell the story and develop your plan for scrapbooking around those. The remainder can be stored easily in pages designed to preserve and protect, for easy enjoyment, along with your scrapbook pages.

Could I use all 80 of those photos in a scrapbook dedicated to one day on the beach? 

Well, of course. 
But do I really want to? 
That would be super time-consuming and could get expensive. I'm not up for that...but I do love the pictures...so I will scrapbook a few and store the rest, photo-album style.

Much of scrapbooking is about chooosing what suits you and what appeals to your sense of style. I may make three or four pages about our trip to the beach...on the other hand, you might choose to make a whole 20-page album that documents one vacation trip or event. It's good to have choices!

Remember the rule: Your Scrapbook, Your Choice!

Especially if you are just getting started with the whole "scrapbooking thing", choose pictures that you really really like, as you'll very likely find them easier to scrapbook. Photos you like give you pages you like.

You will notice that most modern scrapbookers work with albums that hold pages that are 12x12. Since most photos printed are 4x6, this size works well. Stampin' Up! offer several varieties of scrapbook albums in the 12x12 size (the internal pages are 12x12), as well as 6x6, 8x8 and 8.5x11. Select a size that works for your project.

Choose a focal point. Usually this is pretty easy...and with a little bit of practice, you'll be able to do this without even thinking about it. 

Which photo stands out?
Which photo most captures the story you want to tell through this scrapbook page or spread? 

Answer these questions and you have your focal point.

The most common supply you will use is paper! For the most part, scrapbook papers fall into two categories: solid color cardstock and patterned papers. Stampin' Up! offers a wide selection of both! Enjoy the process of choosing papers...there are many many styles and designs to choose from! 

For my project, I selected 2 pieces of 12x12 cardstock in the pale yellow color--So Saffron--as the base of my pages. I plan to use the photos (uncut) spread across the two pages, along with some embellishments (decorative themed elements) as well as the journaling. I like the "sunny" color and the subtle texture that this particular paper offers.

Don't let the many paper options overwhelm you as you get started. Choosing paper will get easier as you get more practiced at scrapbooking. 

When choosing paper, quality is important. You will notice that some papers are a heavier weight than others, some papers have texture and some are smooth.

What are you going to use to hold it all together? I bet you noticed...We need an adhesive to put it all together!

Stampin' Up! offers several styles of adhesive including a tape dispenser called Snail, which happens to be my adhesive of choice. Picking one that works for you is part personal preference, part job-specific choice. Your Stampin' Up! demonstrator can help you choose if you need project-specific advice.

Arrangement. Arranging the elements of the page in a visually-appealing way is the big trick. Are there photos that you really want to feature prominently in the page? Consider enlarging that photo or matting it with a special color to draw the eye to it first. 

Do you prefer clean, balanced lines? Or are you drawn in by a less formal, more whimsical look? Do you prefer that all the photos are the same size or do you want to adjust the size of some? (That's called "cropping", by the way.)

Finding what arrangements appeal to your eye takes a little bit of time and whole lot of experimentation. Take your time. If you see something that's appealing on a website or in the Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog, by all means, copy it! 

Embellishments and decorative elements can add a spark of creative play to your pages. Decorating with papers, stamps, ribbons, brads, tags, punches, paints...and a thousand other possibilities is what keeps a scrapbook from being a photo album. Just like you probably don't have only white blank walls in your house...you probably don't want them in your scrapbook.

Stampin' Up! has taught many many people to be super creative card-makers over the years. It's those same products, techniques and tools that you can use to bring decorative elements and spicy fun to your scrapbook pages.

I selected to create several suns, using a circle punch and the Petite Pennant Builder Punch for this layout. Nothing says "beach day" like a sun right? I stamped some surf boards for a little pop of bolder colors. 

Did you notice how easily the embellishments on this *scrapbook page* could become a card?

In the selection of decorative elements for your page, you may also choose to incorporate a title. Stampin' Up! offers multitudes of products to help you create an eye-catching title for your page, including alpha dies, alpha stamps, chipboard letters, alphabet stickers, rub-ons, etc. Dress your title up or down, make it big or go smaller. 

In my experience, choosing a catchy title is one of the easiest ways to make a page really jump out to those who will view your pages. Look for ways to create a little intrigue, rather than going for the obvious. One of my favorite tricks for great titling--song titles! 

For the title of this layout, I chose to go with die-cut letters--the Simple Things alphabet.

Journaling is the telling of the story of the photos. In some ways, scrapbookers are like journalists in that they record the details of the stories as a way of preserving them. You can start any page with the basics of who, what, when, where and why...but don't be afraid to continue with the deeper story or the story that might not be so obvious in the photos. 

You may choose to write the journaling by hand directly on your scrapbook page or print it using a computer and add it to your page. There's no *correct* or *incorrect* way. This is your scrapbook--do what feels most comfortable for you. Incidentally, you don't have to commit to just hand-writing or just computer-generated printing. Try both! 

Stampin' Up! offers tools for journaling. (Shocking--right?) Pens are perfect for journaling in a coordinating color. Some of our stamps offer a lined image portion that can easily aid you in keeping your handwriting in a lined up fashion. If you prefer to use a computer, our cardstocks can be used in conjunction with most printers.

I chose to print my story on a die-cut (from the Top Note die).

I've included the journaling at Step Seven because for most people, the process of scrapbooking begins with photo selection, moves through the choices of paper and decorative element selection and finally ends with the writing of the story. However, for some, the process can just as easily work in reverse. Don't be afraid to experiment. If there's a story you want to tell, do the journaling and see where it leads you with regard to photo selection and adding decorative elements. Using photos to illustrate a story is just as much "scrapbooking" as any other step-by-step process. The final product is a scrapbook page or layout that you love...that's the goal.

Assembly. Once you have all the elements arranged in a way that appeals to you, make a permanent commitment to it and build your page by attaching all the elements.

Ask anyone who's been scrapbooking for more than about a day and they will tell you that you will evole as a scrapbooker. As you learn new techniques and come across new products to incorporate into your pages, your style will change and develop. *That's a good thing.* Do what makes you happy on your pages. Use photos that speak to you and tell your stories, even if they aren't perfect. Most importantly, keep learning about your craft. Keep having fun scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!

At some point in the process of scrapbooking, you may want to get all your photos organized. If you have a large number of photos...or a large number of boxes of photos...I *don't* recommend doing any organizing before you actually start scrapbooking--I've seen too many people get completely overwhelmed by the daunting task of *getting all caught up* and it can be paralyzing. Keep a narrow focus...one group of photos at a time.

Scrapbooking should be a fun hobby--something you can enjoy the process of, not just the final product of.

Happy Scrapbooking!