RIGHT NOW {April at Simple Scrapper}

April at Simple Scrapper is all about Right Now. Sometimes I can become so focused on the past or the future that I forget to enjoy what is happening at this very moment. The Story Starters this month challenged me to celebrate the present and make to most of right now. And the April Sketch Templates helped me create great layouts for my stories.

A few weeks ago I bought two new pairs of skinny jeans from The Gap. As I was trying them on, I chuckled to myself  about how popular skinny jeans were when I was in high school. My friends and I often used safety pins to make our own skinny jeans. Now here I am wearing them again! This story came about from one of April’s Story Starters that prompted me to compare something I am into right now with a past time period. I used one of April’s Sketch Templates to make this page. Even though the sketch was originally for one photo, I easily replaced one of the patterned paper blocks with another photo to accommodate my story.


One of the things that I am deeply involved in right now is homeschooling. I have three children ages 15, 13, and 11, so much of our time is spent reading, writing, and studying. Homeschooling definitely takes a lot of time and energy, but I feel fortunate that I am able to do so. Another one of the Story Starters this month prompted me to reflect on something that I’m doing right now to shape the future. I immediately thought of how through homeschooling I am able to shape the future of my children. After finding three photos fitting my theme, I used another Sketch Template from April to document this story. This sketch was designed for three smaller photos so it I was easily able to complete my page.


What are the things in your life right now that you would like to document?

Back in My Day–March @ Simple Scrapper

Recently I was given a large box of photographs from my dad’s side of the family. There are pictures of my great-grandparents, my grandparents, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins (of which there are a great number), my parents, and my sister and me as we were growing up. There are tiny 2×2 black & white photos from the 1920s, Polaroids from the 1970s, 8×10 family photos, pictures from film taken during the early 1990s, as well as a number of other types of photographs. It is truly amazing to have such a collection of pictures!

For a while, I was not sure what to do with all of these photos. I felt some need to organize, catalog, and document them all, possibly assembling a large album that could be shared with my extended family. However, every time I thought about undertaking such a project, I became overwhelmed. I expressed my misgivings with my sister one day and she gave me some great advice—she said that the photos belonged to me now and I should use them in a way that made me happy. Such great advice (even if she is not a scrapbooker)! I immediately began sorting through the photos and letting the stories come to me.

Since then I have scrapped many of those pictures. I make digital copies of the ones I want to preserve, then (I know this will sound blasphemous to many scrapbookers out there!) I use the original photos RIGHT ON MY PAGE. I know I should use copies, but I just love the look and feel of the original photos on the layout. One of my favorite ways to use these older photos is to scrap a photo of me at a certain age and then pair it with a photo of my children at that same age.

This month at Simple Scrapper, the theme is Back in My Day. I immediately went to my collection of old photos and began looking for one that spoke to me. After a short search, I found a Polaroid of my and my sister when we were about five and seven in our front yard beside a tall snowman. We had recently had a huge snowstorm here, so I had plenty of pictures of my kids playing in the snow. I paired these photos with one of March’s Sketch Templates, and my layout came together quickly.


The second layout I created for March began with a Story Starter about a change happening in my lifetime. I immediately thought of a recent photo of me and my sister with our children. Whenever we all get together, I am always so surprised by how much they have all grown up. On this page I document how our kids used to like to play with toys and now they prefer texting and going to the mall. Quite a change!


If you are inspired by these pages and would love to scrap more about your past, take a look at Jennifer Wilson’s current class at Big Picture Classes, Before Your Story. “In this 6-week workshop with Jennifer Wilson of simplescrapper.com, you’ll have all the guidance you need to tell your growing-up story in one gorgeous 12″ x 12″ pocket album. Her class combines the ease of slipping photos and journaling cards into photo sleeves with the brilliance of Stacy Julian’s ‘Library of Memories’ scrapbooking categories.” But hurry, registration ends March 5!

Looking Back

December is always a time of reflection for me. I look back over the year that is just about to end and marvel at how fast the time has gone. This month at Simple Scrapper, the focus has been on the past–a timely subject for this month. 

In my first layout, I looked to the past, but not very far back. My daughter and I had just recently taken a road trip to Kentucky for her thirteenth birthday. This trip was a first for us–we had never taken a girls-only weekend before. So I wanted to document this event fairly quickly. I chose two photos that best represented our trip and used one of December’s Sketch Templates to create my page.


In my second layout, I went much farther into the past. Back in 2000, my husband and I made a cross-country move from North Carolina to California. We lived in San Jose for two years–it was an incredibly exciting time! I didn’t start scrapbooking until just before we moved back to NC, so I don’t have many pages about the life we led there. Luckily, I found two photos of us in front of our house in CA, so I used a December Sketch Template to pull this page together.



Scrapbooking about the past can be very rewarding. The December Story Starters and Sketch Templates at Simple Scrapper can get you started in the right direction. So check out the site and if you are not already a member, sign up now on the membership page!

At Home with Simple Scrapper

Every month at Simple Scrapper, premium members are treated with five new sketch templates and ten new story starters. This month the story starters explore the theme “At Home.” As a confirmed homebody myself (see layout below), I truly enjoyed reflecting on these inspirational topics. 

Over the 20+ years my husband and I have been married, we have lived in a number of places. I used one of this month’s new sketch templates to document all of these places.

the places


My family and I moved into a new house with lots of land about four years ago so that we could have a place for our growing number of horses. The farm itself is beautiful, but there are several things about the house that still bother me. We have slowly worked on these changing these things, one of them being putting in new countertops in the kitchen. Using another of this month’s sketch templates, I journaled about this change in “To My House.”



In “Homebody,” I wrote about the fact that I love to be at home, using a past sketch template.



To see more of these great sketch templates and story starters, check out Simple Scrapper’s Premium Membership!

Hello Story Weeks 2 & 3

As expected, Ali Edward’s Hello Story class at Big Picture Classes has not been a disappointment. I have been intrigued with the new approaches to storytelling that I have learned in the first three weeks. In the first week, I completed a page using a time line. (See post Hello “Hello Story” below.)

In week two, we were encouraged to tell a story in a fill-in-the-blank format. Included in that week was a cute downloadable card meant for use in Project Life. I, however, used the cards to record the same day from the point-of-view of each member of my family. Using Heidi Swapp’s memory file and coordinating products, I came up with this mini-book.



The card had fill-in-the-blank sentences such as “Today was one of those _____ days” and “I’m currently dreaming about _____.” It was very interesting to hear the different answers from each person.

Week three focused on telling a story using direction, either literally or figuratively. I had just gone through some old photos and found one of my husband and I right after we were married, so I formed the idea of showing us then and now. I used several large arrows I had in my stash to show the direction of our lives.



I loved showing over 20 years on one page! 

I’ll be posting future Hello Story pages here soon!

In With the Old and the New

During a recent Stash Bash at Simple Scrapper, I went through my scrapbooking supplies, organizing, sorting, and purging as necessary. I still had, after four years, papers and embellishments stored in boxes in my basement from when we moved into our current home. I went through all of those old supplies and tossed what I did not want any longer. Afterwards, I was left with a pile of supplies that needed to be integrated into my existing stash.

As fate would have it, Shimelle Lane was rerunning a class of hers called Scrapbook Remix. The whole class is centered on mixing old and new supplies and collections from different companies. Following her advice, I made several new kits from old supplies mixed with my newer things.

I have used several of these kits so far, and I’ve been surprised how well I liked the old papers and embellishments when combined with new products. One such kit is shown below.


In this kit I have the following:

My Mind’s Eye, Lost and Found 2, Sunshine Memories patterned paper

Authentique, Glowing, Afterglow patterned paper

Basic Grey, Origins, Authentic patterned paper

Webster’s Pages, Spring Market, Market Menu patterned paper

Bo Bunny Et Cetera Filigree Die Cut patterned paper

Simple Stories, Fabulous, All About Me patterned paper

Bo Bunny, Et Cetera, 12×12 Cut Outs patterned paper

October Afternoon, The Thrift Shop shape stickers

Echo Park, For the Record element stickers

October Afternoon, Farmhouse shape stickers

Crate Paper, Random Collection phrase stickers

Crate Paper, Farmhouse phrase stickers

Bo Bunny combo stickers

Jenni Bowlin, Flag Banner number stickers

Simple Stories 4×6 card (leftover from a 12×12 sheet)

Echo Park cut outs 12×12 sheet

Basic Grey chipboard diecuts


Wood tags

Canvas tags


I made five layouts from this kit. Using the papers from this DIY kit was a bit of a challenge because many of them were leftovers from already-used collections that had large-scale or unusual designs on them. This time, Glitter Girl at Two Peas in a Bucket came to the rescue with a video on using papers with large-scale patterns. I have in the past tended to shy away from using these papers or using the alternate side, but, in an effort to step outside my comfort zone, I challenged myself to use these papers.


The first layout above uses the patterned paper Sunshine Memories from the Lost & Found 2 collection from My Mind’s Eye. To me, this paper has wedding written all over it. While cleaning out my old scrap supplies in the basement, I also came across stacks of old photos with which I had yet to do anything. I remembered seeing a photo of me with my sister and the other bridesmaids at her wedding. I believe that this picture was in a frame once upon a time, but had been replaced by newer photos. It seemed perfect for this page.

I also used a chipboard die cut from Basic Grey, stickers from both Echo Park’s For the Record and Crate Paper’s Random Collection. I inked everything with Distress Ink. My favorite touch is the yellow rose sticker from Echo Park that reflects the rose on the paper.


The next layout began with a sheet of patterned paper from Webster’s Pages called Market Menu from the Spring Market collection. The entire page was made up of images of small advertisements for Farmer’s Markets and old seed packets. I felt the sheet as a whole was a little overwhelming, so I cut out the individual pieces, inked them with Distress Ink, and made a border one side of a piece of Bazzill kraft cardstock from my existing supplies. We live on a farm, so it is not difficult to find photos that go along with the theme of this paper. I used pictures of our family picking blackberries last summer. The only other embellishments I added to this page were a mix of two different letter stickers, both from American Crafts.


Among the old photos I found in my basement were several black-and-white prints that my husband and I made back when we photographed with B&W film and did much of our own developing. I knew one of these prints would work well with the Basic Grey paper called Authentic from the Origins collection. The photo is of me and our first fur-baby, Hannah. I added stickers from the October Afternoon For the Record collection, washi tape from Recollections and 7 Gypsies, glitter letters from American Crafts, a button, and two pearls. I wrote the journaling along the vertical border sticker.


When I came across the Afterglow paper from Authentique, I assumed I would use the side that had just a cream-and-black checked print, since the other side was a Halloween print. I already have tons of Halloween paper, so I added this sheet to this kit. However, when I got ready to use the paper, I realized I had this photo of my older son at Halloween when he was two (he’s now fourteen). The subtle Halloween print worked very well with the photo, so I abandoned the checked print that I originally thought I would use.

The first thing I added were pieces of the ribbon I had amassed from various places. I used one of the cardboard die cuts from Basic Grey, stickers from Echo Park and Jenni Bowlin, and journaling block from Bo Bunny’s Et Cetera collection. I used just a few items from my current supplies—the wood embellishments from Freckled Fawn and some orange-and-black letter stickers.


My last layout is again based on a sheet with an all-over design. The photos I used are small and very technically imperfect, but they are of the first two puppies that my husband and I got from the pound just after we were married. Both of these dogs are no longer with us, so these photos are even more precious. I simply added stickers from October Afternoon and Crate Paper along with letter stickers and rhinestones from my stash.

I still have several items leftover from this kit, but I feel good about using up many of my old supplies!

Christmas in April

Recently I was cleaning up my scrap space and I came across a whole kit that I had not even opened yet. It was the December 2012 kit from Scrapbook Circle. This company has great kits! I have been receiving them for about last six months and I have never been disappointed with their products. However, before I realized that I would be getting a Christmas kit from Scrapbook Circle, I ordered a mini-book kit from Simple Scrapper for my December Daily album. (See this post for photos of the completed project.) So here I was, in the middle of April, with a brand new kit full of holiday items. I looked back through my Christmas photos, but found very few that I had not already used in my December Daily album. I started to put the kit away, saving it for next year. But as I looked through the papers and embellishments, I realized that by using the “B-sides” of the patterned papers and the embellishments that weren’t specifically holiday-themed, I could make several layouts from this kit.



The first layout I made is about the day that our friends brought their daughter (our goddaughter) home from China. The page has some red and green, but the B-side of one paper has blue which keeps the page from looking too Christmas-y. The tag I used is from a pack from Pink Paislee called City Sidewalks. Although the tags were from a Christmas pack, many of them were versatile enough to use on non-holiday pages.

Now That Is an Angry Bird


My son loves all things Angry Bird. He has made numerous craft projects featuring the famous birds and their nemeses the pigs. He made this mask of the red bird from notebook and construction paper and a red pen. This photo goes well with the red, green, and blue patterned papers and tag from the kit. I used another tag from the Pink Paislee pack.

Feeding Time


Even though this patterned paper is red and green, its colors are muted enough to go well with these photos of my kids outside. The tags are from the same Pink Paislee pack. I like how the black print on the tags echoes the black clothes my son is wearing.

Winter Wonderland


I loved this patterned paper when I pulled it from the box, but I also wondered how I would use such a large, busy pattern. Luckily, I had just run across a post on Shimelle Lane’s site addressing this very problem. She demonstrated in a video how to successfully use those pages with full-size designs. (I wish I could find the video again!) I had several photos from a recent snowstorm, and this one went perfectly with the patterned paper.



Last layout! Again these holiday-themed papers worked well with snow photos. The journaling cards were also part of the Pink Paislee pack. I definitely got my money’s worth from that particular product!

I love how versatile scrapbooking supplies are these days. Who knew I could get five non-holiday pages done from a Christmas kit? I’ll definitely be looking at my themed supplies more closely to see how many different ways these supplies can be used.



Getting Artsy

Getting artsy with scrapbook layouts is all the rage these days. Adding paint, using stencils, doing resist–all of these artsy techniques are making their way further and further into the world of scrapbooking. I am a very simple scrapper. My pages tend to be a mixture of cardstock, patterned paper, photos, and letter stickers, along with a few embellishments. However, over the past few months, I have collected some of these artsy supplies such as Stickles, distress inks, and stencils. I’m usually just too chicken to use them. So when The Curious Scrapbooker’s Guide class came out at Big Picture Classes, I jumped right in. May Flaum (who teaches the class) is a great teacher who introduces you slowly into the world of artsy techniques. I have loved watching her videos and making new layouts with an artsy feel. Here are a few of my favorites.


This page is one of the first ones I made in class. I simply painted a strip of white paint behind my photos. The paint made the paper kind of crinkly, but I think that just adds to the charm of the page.

in the woods

On this page I used a stencil that looks like chicken wire with Mister Huey white color mist. I love how the background turned out! I also used Ranger’s Dimensional Pearls in terra cotta to make the dots on the blue strips of paper–a nice finishing touch.

make it happen

I used a stencil again on this page, but this time with a Ranger paint dabber in purple twilight on top of my photos. This technique was very scary for me because I’m always afraid I’m going to mess up my photos if I try a technique directly on them. But I really like how this page turned out. Even though the paint is essentially flat, by overlapping the photos, the paint seems to have dimension.


This page has the most subtle technique of them all. I used a fun bubble stamp with a Versamark pad to create a watermark look on the cardstock for the background. At first the stamping was very light and I was quite disappointed in the look. But once the ink dried, the watermark effect really showed. I’m anxious to try this technique with other background stamps.


I’m used to doing a lot of inking on my pages–it’s one of my favorite looks. However, the tearing and curling technique is new. I used scissors to distress the edge of the green patterned paper, curled it up, then inked the edge. Wow! Just that little bit of curling adds such depth and interest to the page.

This class has been super-fun. I’ve even signed up for May’s Camp Scrap coming this summer!

Last of Twelve. Part II

Here they are–the last of the layouts I did for the Twelve. class on Big Picture Classes last year. I have been hesitant to post these pages because I would have to acknowledge that this class is really over. I had such fun in that class! I’m still sad that I have to move on.

Christmas 2012


Every year we take a family photo to put on our Christmas cards. This photo is the one we used for 2012. I always make sure to scrap this photo too.

Natural Science Center



One of our favorite places to go is the Natural Science Center. Even though we have been there many times, I still love to scrap our photos from each trip.

Enjoy the Day


While doing the Twelve. class, I became really good at making everyday pages, especially these grid ones. It’s a fun way to use those ordinary fun photos that might not otherwise get scrapped.

Walking in the Woods


Since moving to the farm, I have taken hundreds of pictures of our walks in the woods. I love to document the changing seasons and the fun that we have whether it is spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Grandma Fleta


One of the twelve topics in the Twelve. class was People. We were encouraged to scrap about all the people in our lives, not just our immediate family. My Grandma Fleta lived beside my family while I was growing up. She was a huge influence on me. I recently found these old pictures of her and decided to scrap them. I had many stories of my grandmother to tell so I needed a way to include my extensive journaling on my page. I used a technique I learned from Stacy Julian–I printed out the journaling on a regular piece of paper and made a pocket on the back of the page for it. Now I have the photos and the stories in one place.

That’s it! I’m so glad I have all of these layouts from this class to look back on for years to come.


I’ve never been a trendy person. It takes me a while to warm up (if ever) to new trends in clothing, hairstyles, or scrapbooking. I have a closet full of bootcut jeans, even though the stores are rife with skinny leg jeans. My haircut has stayed pretty much the same over the last ten years. I think I have two pieces of chevron patterned paper. However, I do notice trends in my own personal scrapbooking. I tend to see a design element or technique that I like and then I use it over and over again until something else inspires me. Over the past month or so, I have noticed how I have framed several of my layouts. I used this design element first in this layout about my sister and me when we were young:


I loved this piece of patterned paper, but it was a little too much by itself. The dark brown cardstock frame grounds the paper and gives it definition.

I used this same design for this layout:


I originally had the page elements just on the kraft cardstock, but the layout seemed a little too plain. Again I used a dark brown cardstock frame to give structure to the page.

In this layout, I used this frame design again, but in a slightly different way:


Instead of creating a frame with cardstock, I edged this page in washi tape. I loved this effect and plan to use it again–a new washi tape trend, perhaps?