Start with the Story: We Overcame

So I'm taking a class on journaling by Scrap Gal Tracie Claiborne. You can find her classes at I'm up to lesson 8 of 12 plus a bonus and I've found it to be very inspiring. Journaling is something I've done all my life and it comes very naturally for me, however, I feel like this class has helped refine my skills and narrow the focus of my sometime spastic brain. Tracie has a way of verbalizing things I have always known but have never been able to articulate. Sometimes she says exactly what I am thinking--it's the weirdest thing.

This is the first layout I have done since starting the class. One of the strategies Tracie recommends is to look past the obvious story of a photo and write about the unseen. 


Here's the journaling:
May 7, 2015
This was a monumental day for Julian and me, on many levels. On the face of it, we had overcome more than a thousand miles in the car, traveling from Texas to South Carolina, taking Grandma Bonnie to visit Great Grandma Hammond, who was in failing health. That was certainly no small accomplishment!

On a deeper level, even though this time at the beach was incredibly short--only a few hours--it was spent in peace, entirely without conflict and full of just plain fun. We walked back and forth along the waters edge, quietly taking in the sacred of the water and the sky and the sand and everything we love about the beach. That, too, was no small accomplishment.

As often happens when I'm on the beach, I was overcome with emotion and cried it all out right there on the beach. Julian and I have walked a difficult path the last two years--a single year ago he was spending time at Vanderbilt's Psychiatric Hospital, learning new behavioral techniques for coping with his anger and adjusting to new medications. I was seeing a counselor for all the same reasons. At that time, I wouldn't have even considered taking a two thousand mile car trip with him. He screamed at me often. Sometimes, I screamed back. We were not good together because we were together way too much. Anger was destroying both of us.

Spending time with Grandma and Papa saved us both. Time apart gave us healing. And life experiences apart. What a gift! Julian got a sense of humor and I learned to breathe again. Moving to Texas made us all feel less alone and brought our whole family into our lives on a daily basis. Our village got bigger and stronger and we are better for it. 

That day, Julian and I had lunch at a little cafe right on Wrightsville Beach, then we walked for a few hours before a spring thunderstorm came rolling in and dropped some rain right on us. Driving back to the hotel that night, Julian took a nap in the car and I had a little time to reflect on our newfound kind of peace and be grateful for it. It was a day of redemption for both of us--a day for which I will always be grateful. 


The 6x6 pattern papers on this layout came from last month's Simon Says Stamp card kit. I do like these papers but this is a definitive example of there being something included in a card kit that I never would have picked out for myself. This kit stretched me, for sure. 

And bonus points: I used that piece of background paper as the base--it's by Creative Imaginations. The line was from approx 2009 called Dead Men Tell No Tales. I can't even remember when I bought it. 

I do love a good scrapbook page that tells a story! Don't you?



Start with the Story: She's just a Child!

For me, scrapbooking is all about the story! My favorite pages tell a story. 

Might be a big story.
Might be a small story.
Might be an account of an event.
Might be just a thought that is important to no one but me.
But a story is a must.

I am a fan of the show, Top Chef. I always really enjoy the episodes that allow the chef contestants to show who they are as a chef without a bunch of crazy twists or requirements. Just let them cook! I like it when they say "this is me on a plate."

In that line of thinking, this layout is "me on a page"! It's clean, it tells a story, it has a title and a photo and is mostly cardstock. 


Start with the story!


One Little Tip--Cataloging Ideas

Sometimes it's the smallest adjustments that can lead to big changes in our lives, right?

After the most recent episode of the Scrap Gals brought me to realize that my photos are all over the house and in total disasterous array, I began looking for a small way to improve the situation "one bite at a time" because this is a huge problem and I am completely overwhelmed by it! Already. 

I am a huge very loudly vocal proponent of printing pictures! It's something I feel strongly about. Print your photos!! I preach about this regularly to anyone who will listen. 

I get photos printed regularly...and consequently, there are stacks of photos always hanging around my workspace, my office, drawers, get the picture! 

So it's nice to talk about organizing photos and all but to think about actually tackling the task all at once sent me into fits of anxiety. That's scary.

It did occur to me that perhaps I could start by organizing just one kind of photos--kind of embrace the "eat the elephant one bite at a time" concept. Baby steps.

So here's what I learned.

For as long as I can remember, I have been trying to accomplish being an organized idea keeper. Let's face facts: one of the major aspects of being a papercrafter  is the (endless) collecting of ideas for potential future projects. 

There is never a shortage of ideas...and over the years, I have tried several methods for keeping them organized, with only moderate amounts of success. Most recently, I have come upon a way that allows me to create a catalog of ideas and inspiration from a variety of sources and keep it fresh and easily accessible. Another factor that leads me to happiness with this method is cost: it's very inexpensive! 

While browsing Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or Google for inspirational images, I have learned that the quickest way to capture whatever images inspire me is to do a screen capture. On the iPhone, (my primary internet tool) if you press the home button and the button on the side at the same time, whatever is on the screen at that moment gets captured and saved as a photo. It's a very handy tool and once you start using it, it will quickly become second-nature.

Screen captures can be printed as photos. Every time I upload regular photos to my local print service, I also upload 20 or 30 of my favorite screen captures of ideas. For 9 cents each, I can get a 4x6 print of an idea that I really like and want to use. (That's less than the cost of a magazine.) 

Next, when I have amassed a stack of printed images, I arrange them into categories or themes and give them a home in a traditional photo album. 

Today, I happened to realize it was time to make a new idea catalog (the pictures were piling up) so I stopped at Michaels with a nice coupon and picked up this cute photo album.

I probably should have looked in the closet for an empty album before going out but this one was cheerful and cute and ya know...I had a coupon! 


This particular catalog focuses on card designs. I grouped the images together in a way that probably only makes sense in my head...but isn't that the point? 

I think my next catalog of ideas will be Christmas themed. I kept those separate. 

Here a quick little video flip-through of my idea catalog.

There are a few open spaces left--room to improve the collection is always a good thing. Now I can go and delete the screen captures off my phone and free up some space!


How do you preserve ideas and inspiration?
Tell me!