This layout appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today, in the readers’ gallery on page 72!

I’m reposting my original blog post (from December 20, 2020) about the layout…


I bought some new papers from Shimelle’s Never Grow Up collection near the beginning of September 2020. I was so excited to use this light blue starry paper as a background for this layout for my Disney 2016 scrapbook. I immediately laid out the basic design for this layout…And then it sat there–for some reason, I was just stumped. I think part of it was the fact that this particular event was pretty special, and I wanted to make a layout that would convey “perfectly” all the little moments that added up to make this a memorable evening for my daughter (and me!).

Finally, in the very beginning of December, I buckled down and really worked on it. I started small: I added a white mat to each photo and finally figured out how I was going to include my journaling: I typed it up and used my Silhouette Cameo print-and-cut feature to make sure that my boxes were cut exactly where I wanted them to be around the text.

left side
right side

I was very thankful that my husband had written down some details of the interactions between my daughter and each princess in my daily trip journal that evening, because it really captured some of my daughter’s personality at that point.

Once I had those white mats and journaling ready, I was able to break through my “scrappers block” and start embellishing. One thing that I’d known for sure from the very beginning that I wanted to include was this “starry-eyed” sticker from Shimelle’s Head in the Clouds collection.

In fact, I’d taken it out of the 12×12 project pad and stuck it temporarily to the edge of a box I had on my desk, to remind me to use it… and in those months in between starting and finishing, I managed to lose it! I’d been doing some sewing in that time, and I was pretty sure it had gotten caught up on some fabric… but the problem was that I didn’t have any idea where it could have been carried! I searched and searched (and used it as an excuse to put off the layout even longer!) and my daughter even offered to give me her sticker from the project pad I’d given her! (so sweet!) One evening, after I’d all but given up, I went into my sewing closet to pull something out for a hand-sewing project, and lo and behold! the sticker was there at the back of the shelf! And undamaged, at that! I was so excited.

Among the photos and journaling squares, I had two “feature” squares, one using a 3×4 cut-apart (from Shimelle’s Head in the Clouds) that I trimmed down to a 3″ square, and one using some smaller cut-aparts (from Shimelle’s Starshine) that I combined together to make a square.

As I put these feature squares together, they established the embellishment scheme I ended up using for the photos. I used doilies behind each of the posed photos of my daughter with a princess, and I layered strips of patterned paper and washi tape on different sides of the squares.

On the photos of my daughter interacting with the princess, I added a small, horizontal piece of washi tape and a wood veneer piece (hearts or birds– both old Studio Calico products). I sprinkled gold glitter enamel dots around the whole layout, and of course also used them to make a hidden Mickey!

I used the same elements in the title block– strips of washi, gold glitter Thickers, a tiny doily, and a wood veneer piece to tie everything together. I added the location and date on a tiny label sticker from Shimelle’s Sparkle City sticker folder. The aqua alpha tile stickers are from Shimelle’s #stickerbook.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure why I was so hung up on this, but I am glad that I didn’t force it, because I really do love how this layout turned out!

Almost five years ago now, my husband and kids went on a little adventure together while I was off having a craft day with some friends at church. They first went to the aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and afterward, they rode the dragon boats! My husband took photos and I asked him to write some journaling on some cards. For all this time, the cards and ticket stubs have sat in my archive, and these photos have been printed for a while, too! I am so happy that I’ve finally put them together on a layout (the aquarium layout will face this one– I haven’t made it yet!)

I mentally arranged and re-arranged the photos until I was looking through some of my completed layouts the other day. I really loved how THIS layout turned out, and I decided to scraplift myself. I used watercolors on a gesso’d sheet of white cardstock to coordinate with the colors in the photos.

I didn’t have nearly as many photos this time, so I added patterned paper to fill out the grid.

I added stitching around the patterned paper blocks for texture and interest!

I have to say, I was stumped for a bit when I was looking for embellishments, and then I remembered the adorable dragons in the Head in the Clouds project pad– and they are just the right colors!! I was especially excited when I realized that this purple dragon’s tail curled perfectly around the top of the journaling that my husband had written long before I even had these products!

I added the teal camera at the base of the journaling (stamped and embossed on patterned paper, then carefully cut out and popped up on foam) because while the camera illustration on the card was very cute, it just wasn’t standing out enough. I didn’t have patterned paper in a saturated color to match, so I used a more muted paper and blended some aqua ink to intensify the color.

It felt a little “risky” to be using products from the collections I’ve purchased to use for my Disney 2016 album project! However, I didn’t have any specific place in mind to use the dragons, so I’m glad that I used them here. They really are a perfect match… I also used the aqua glitter Fitzgerald alphas for my title (also from the supplies I purchased for that album project). Again, they were just right, and after all, products are meant to be used, right? I don’t want to be so stingy with my things that they don’t get used– there are always more to buy!

After I created the grid and added the dragons, it was looking a little bare, even with the bold watercolors underneath! I decided to add layers around the the top section, especially around the main photo.

This turned out to be the perfect place to add a pull-out where I can keep the ticket!

In the end, I have to admit that this isn’t my favorite layout. I actually like the original layout upon which this is based so much better. However, I wonder if my opinion will change. What is interesting to me is that when was looking at my old layouts for inspiration, I came across another, much older layout that I considered scraplifting for this project. I looked up my blog post for it, and I wrote that I didn’t really like it! Yet here I was, five(!) years after I made it, viewing it as inspirational!

The important thing is that the story is there. The memories are preserved, and I can look back and enjoy them (and laugh that my kids were less impressed by the dragon boats than we’d hoped)!

In mid-February, I decided to a bit of sewing. It was the first garment project I’d started since my epic dress project. The sun was shining, the kids were outside playing, and I decided to break out some fabric I bought at the end of 2019 and a pattern I purchased in 2016! Ever since I bought the pattern, I’ve been wanting to make the Halifax Hoodie from Hey June Handmade.

I found this lightweight grey French terry at LA Finch Fabrics, and I absolutely love it. It is super soft and has a wonderful drape. I made view E in size XL with no modifications.

I took my time with this project, adding some topstitching details along the wrapped side seams and along the hem band and cuffs. I ended up playing thread chicken a few times, too!

In the end, I finished it in time for an early March spring break trip to the beach. It was absolutely the perfect thing to wear when it was windy or cool in the evening.

Husband was my persistent and patient photographer on this day at the beach. It was so windy! It was kind of challenging to get photos that showed the sweatshirt at its best (rather than poofed out like a full sail!). It got pretty silly… and of course there are always the shells to distract me…

I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt on repeat ever since… And I have my eye out for the perfect fabric to make another one (or more!).

I don’t have many people in “real life” who are willing to listen to me muse and ramble and think out loud about these things, so lucky you, dear blog reader– you get to hear/read! I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to know your thoughts.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you KNOW that I have Thoughts on photo management.* Haha! You probably even know that I have Thoughts (and some more here) on planning my album projects.

What I do NOT have a good handle on is how to manage the stories I want to tell that are older (I only started captioning my photos in 2011-ish after my daughter was born) or don’t have photos (this is rare, but it happens!), or that have extra bits and pieces (ephemera, etc.), or aren’t part of a larger story arc.

This became especially apparent to me the other day when I was toying with the idea of scrapbooking some of my honeymoon and/or pre-wedding photos (I got married in 2006). I have made a wedding scrapbook that I am still proud of (yay! it has stood the test of time! ….although the quality of my blog photos does not…), and I’ve even made pages about the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, but nothing about getting ready before the wedding, and nothing about our honeymoon or our second reception.

I pulled out the photos I had printed years ago– some are stored in a photo album (so that they can be flipped through), and some were simply in their envelopes, and I realized that I’d actually done some album planning already. This is what I would consider an “album project” — a larger project that will have an overarching story in a dedicated album or two. I went on a hunt and I located the papers upon which I had made layout design sketches, and I’d even written journaling! (and in fact, I’ve discovered that I even wrote about my plans in an ancient blog post here). I am so thankful for that planning, even if I end up changing my design ideas, because that journaling is priceless.

But what about the “random” stories? The events (big or little) that will only get a page or two? Or things that I want to scrapbook but I don’t know how big of a story it will be come? How do I store those bits and pieces?

Right now, I have two main locations. I have a plastic file box (originally intended to store kids’ schoolwork, but since they are still in elementary school, they have a small enough collection that they can share a file box! haha!) I’ve divided my ephemera into hanging files– sometimes the files are for an individual event; sometimes they are for whole seasons of a year, folders that collect all the smaller bits. This is a vast improvement over what it used to be– a large basket stuffed with random envelopes. (it was scary, to be quite honest.)

I also have a 12″x12″ album where I’ve collected items and story “prompts” to myself in a similar way, but instead of file folders, I used the page protectors as dividers.

But I’m not happy with this system. For one thing, there is a weird amount of overlap between the two locations. But is it worth re-organizing? Probably not. I’m sort of at a loss as to how to even begin to think about it. I’d rather spend my time actually scrapbooking.

I will say, that I’m not delusional enough to think that I will ever scrapbook all of these stories. I have NEVER expected to scrapbook all of my photos (not even a fraction!! after all, I take a LOT of photos). In the past, though, I had a handle on how to winnow the photos and stories down to what I wanted to preserve scrapbook-style.

Aside from my China album, my very first “real” scrapbook album was a gift for my boyfriend-who-is-now-my-husband on our one-year anniversary of dating. (Turns out, that was the night he proposed!!). I made little slips of paper for each thing I wanted to document about the story of our relationship, and I moved them around and pinned them to my bulletin board — almost like a storyboard for the album!

This is a photo I snapped in February 2006 of my first album “storyboard!”

Subsequent albums were planned in a similar way, although now I made lists on sheets of paper, marking single pages and page spreads, rather than using moveable scraps, and I checked things off (with my big purple marker!!) as I made them. I’ve never been a scrapbook-in-chronological-order girl, but I DO want my layouts to be in my albums in chronological order. It’s just how my brain works.

But the volume of stories exploded once I had a child. I made special albums for her first month (December Daily-ish– and I’ve never done a flip-through!) and her first year (photo-a-day). And then… all bets were off.

For my second child, I did another photo-a-day album with lots of inserts, which is very nearly finished… (every year, I say to myself, “Maybe by his birthday, I’ll finish it!” Maybe by his seventh birthday, I’ll finish it! Haha. but really… can I??).

But what about the in-between years? What about the years after that second photo-a-day-album? I HAVE made one-off layouts for events in between those years, and I’m in-progress on two larger scale album projects (Disney 2016 and my 2019 “everyday” album)…

Obviously, I have albums started for those two big projects. Pages are planned, photos are printed, etc. The one-off layouts are stored in an “extra” postbound album on my living room bookshelf until they have a better home, but now that album is running out of space! What do I do?!

Should I buy more albums? (I think the obvious answer here is YES.) But do I designate an album for each year and just add layouts as I make them? (Again, I think probably the answer here is yes, but less definitely.) Do I make plans and lists and fill in stories like I used to? This seems overwhelming. How do I decide how many stories? What stories? What photos?

Husband and I have been discussing a photo-album style approach to printing photos– we want to have our photos off of our computers and viewable in a physical format, especially for our kids to see. (I will save this for another blog post when we’ve finalized our plans…) I don’t want this to replace my scrapbooks, but perhaps it will free up my mental space to see more clearly which stories I want to tell in a more “artful” format in my scrapbooks.

And this is where I trail off in confusion…

What do you do?


*The blog post I have linked here is a lot of years old, and yet, much of my workflow is actually still the same. It really works! I have learned more about Lightroom the time since I wrote it, and now I cull and rename photos inside of LR, which makes things go even more quickly. Someday, I should probably write a new blog post, but since so little has changed, I’m still going to put it off for a while longer.

I’ve been wanting to make myself a new handbag for a while, but apparently I needed a deadline to motivate myself! We took a spring break trip to somewhere nice and warm, and about a week before, I decided to start on this project, haha.

I used the Thistle Tote pattern, which is a free pattern from Blue Calla. This designer came highly recommended to me, and the pattern didn’t disappoint! Not only is it a lovely design, the instructions are very clear and the construction is very straightforward.

I bought the floral cotton on clearance a couple of years ago to use to make cloth napkins, and shortly thereafter inherited a huge stack of napkins, so this fabric has just been waiting for a new purpose. I’m excited that it will coordinate with my aqua cold-weather jacket and also look good in warmer seasons (the first example being our trip to the beach!). The blue and aqua solids that I used as accents and lining fabrics are remnants from other projects! I had recently received some hand-me-down (but new!) fleece interfacing from a neighbor, and I was able to scrounge scraps of fusible interfacing from other projects. I love when I can use what I already have. I even had the zippers and coverable button on hand! The only things I purchased for this project were one of the magnetic snaps and the strap hardware, and some thread (and that will be useful for future projects as well).

The prize for “I-had-it-on-hand-ness” goes to the piping, though!! I made this piping in 2011 (!!!) for my Amy Butler Field Bag, and I had just a short length left. It was the first piping I’d made, and I was very proud of it, so there was no way I was going to throw away the scrap! As I was waffling around about what fabrics to use where for this purse, I pulled it out, and lo and behold, it was literally the exact length I needed to add to the top of this purse. It was SO SATISFYING!!

I made the pattern almost exactly as-written. The only modifications I made were to insert two interior zipper pockets (rather than one plus a slip pocket), and I added a zipper pocket to the exterior back as well.

I really like that the strap is adjustable so I can wear this purse cross-body or over my shoulder!

When she was in kindergarten, we encouraged my daughter to take part in the STEM fair at her elementary school. She was very excited to choose a project and worked very hard on her “experiments.” I definitely want to document that on a separate layout, but this layout is about her presenting at the STEM fair itself.

It all started with the SCT Spring Issue Cut File challenge to use the March 2021 free cut file on a project. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted to document this event. However, “sunshine” didn’t quite fit; plus, I wanted to make sure that it was quite obvious that she was at the STEM fair. So I modified the cut file! I chopped off the “SUNSHINE” letters using the Silhouette Studio knife tool and shifted the sunshine. I found a similar font and mimicked the open letter style with the offset tool to spell “STEM FAIR.” The letters are a bit more narrow than the original file’s, but I think it’s okay!

I actually mocked up the whole layout in Silhouette Studio, since I knew I had several photos that I wanted to showcase. Doing the mockup really helped me to figure out how large to make the title so that everything would fit, and how I should arrange the photos. In fact, it made the bulk of the layout come together remarkably quickly, since it was virtually complete before I even had cut anything out!

I also knew that I wanted to use the Pinkfresh Studio “My Favorite Story” collection for this layout. My daughter’s outfit and the blue display would coordinate so well with those colors, PLUS there is the gorgeous rainbow-esque stripe that was the only paper I considered for the background!

In fact, I love that background so much that I didn’t want it to be too covered up, so I simply backed the digital-die-cut with vellum. I cut it three times from textured white cardstock and the vellum is the fourth and bottom layer.

I chose coordinating Copic markers to color one layer of rainbow stripes, which are adhered to the vellum layer, so they appear inset in the final product.

If you look closely, you’ll also notice that I cut the large photo so that its edges do not appear behind the lettering, too!

It was really fun to add all the floral die cuts around the photos. I strategically placed some of them to hide bright distracting bits or random people’s backsides in the background! I used so many flowers that I’m also entering this layout in the Pinkfresh Studio March 2021 monthly challenge (flowers!).

The two chipboard circles were exactly the sentiments that I wanted to express– my daughter was so brave to participate. The event was so much more crowded, hot, and noisy than we had imagined, and it was intimidating to *me,* let alone considering she was a little kindergartener!

I wrote all my journaling on strips of smooth cardstock. It took some shimmying to get them all to to fit exactly how I wanted them, but I am glad that I could fit all my thoughts onto the layout.

patterned paper: Pinkfresh Studio “My Favorite Story” – Looking for Sunshine
cardstock: American Crafts white textured cardstock
vellum: The Paper Studio
embellishments: Pinkfresh Studio “My Favorite Story” chipboard flair, floral ephemera, enamel dots
adhesive: Scotch ATG, US ArtQuest PPA Matte liquid glue
Copic markers
cut file: Paige Evans for SCT (free HERE)
Silhouette Cameo 3, Silhouette Studio software

Edited to add: Thank you, SCT, for featuring my layout on the challenge winners blog post!

I created this layout back in January with the Scrapbook and Cards Today Pagemaps sketch (part of the Spring 2021 issue call). Here’s the sketch:

As I started to work with this sketch and some photos from my daughter’s very first spring dance recital, the one-page format morphed into two pages!

The lefthand side has a structure that is drawn from the sketch turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise…

…and the righthand page balances it with inspiration from the sketch rotated 180 degrees. (Can you see it?)

When it comes to sketches, I often use just a few bits for inspiration rather than closely following them.

I had the title in mind almost from the moment I began constructing the layout. I used a combination of a script title (font “Buthaynah”) cut with my Cameo–I cut 4 layers and adhered them together to give it a chipboard effect — and glitter alpha Thickers. These Fitzgerald Thickers were so sparkly silver that they were getting lost on the black-and-white floral paper, so I did two things to improve their visibility. First, I added a layer of vellum behind them, and then I added a thin layer of white acrylic paint to tone down the shine (Thanks, Missy Whidden, for the idea!!)

The layout’s color scheme is drawn from the recital costumes my daughter’s class wore, and it was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some little red paper flowers among the lacy floral cuts.

I had a lot to say, so I decided to type my journaling, making the most of the Silhouette Studio print-and-cut features. I used an office tag cut file and added some border lines using the offset tool and a text box to place my journaling exactly where I wanted it.

I used a lot of older stash supplies for this layout, but I love how it turned out. I am so glad to have these photos and this story preserved in my albums!

supply list:
patterned paper: SEI
cardstock: white textured from American Crafts
alphas: American Crafts Thickers
enamel dots: The Paper Studio
vellum, red textured cardstock, paper flowers (unknown, from my stash)
Silhouette Cameo 3
cut files: Paige Evans (floral), Kerri Bradford (office tag)
title font: Buthaynah
journaling font: Cochin

I’m not a winter person. By the time Christmas comes, I have been ready for spring for about a month! 😉 As soon as we dismantled the garden in the fall, I was already dreaming about my 2021 garden, and I just haven’t stopped.

Recently, I saw some neighbors discussing winter sowing, which was a completely new concept to me. I did some research and I was intrigued. Basically, some seeds need to freeze+thaw and/or experience soaking in order to successfully germinate, and winter sowing is an easy way to enact that process with minimal involvement.

Here are some sites for additional reading, since I’m not an expert, but there are lots of more knowledgeable people sharing their expertise on the internet:

I particularly wanted to try this with lavender seeds that I’d received from a neighbor. She mentioned that stratification was necessary, but I don’t have the refrigerator real estate for that process. I contacted my local Extension, and they responded by saying that winter sowing would satisfy the conditions that stratification generates. They also recommended the first link that I shared above.

With this confirmation on February 15, I eagerly jumped in! While reading the comments on the Joe Gardener post, I got the idea to try germinating some (very old–the seed packet says 2011) parsley seeds that I had on hand from a previous garden in addition to my lavender seeds. My daughter took photos of the process for me!

I started by cutting open two empty (clean) plastic milk jugs; I left a small section uncut for a hinge and punched plenty of holes in the bottom for drainage.

Note: I made sure to label each carton with the type of seed I was starting. I not only labeled it on the top, but I also wrote it on the base of the jug so that if weather wore my writing away, it would hopefully still be on the bottom. In addition, I got fancy and used two colors of duct tape to distinguish the containers!

In an empty pot, I mixed about equal parts of seed starting mix with leftover potting soil, then wet it down– it’s what I had on hand! Thankfully from what I read, you don’t have to have all sterile seed starting mix for the winter sowing process.

I filled the bottom of each milk jug with the damp soil mixture…

Once the soil was in the cartons, I added the seeds on top.

these are the lavender seeds!

After sprinkling the seeds into the soil, I used duct tape to re-seal the jugs closed.

I set the jugs in my empty garden plot. The lids are off to allow for some air circulation, and they’ve weathered ice and snow. I’m really excited to see how these seeds will do!

I am so delighted to share that I have a layout published in the Spring 2021 issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine!!  It is such an honor to have such a very special layout chosen to be within its pages.  Not only is this a beautifully produced physical magazine, but you can also read the full issue online!   

You can see my layout on page 72!

Wow, I was so pleased with the garden in 2020!

The 2020 garden–back to containers, testing a “deer fence”– was essentially a trial. If it wasn’t successful, I was prepared to give up gardening for a while.



I’d say it was a success!

May 23, 2020
July 3, 2020
August 4, 2020
August 31, 2020

Some quick thoughts:

  • Because the plants were in containers, the garden remained much tidier, with fewer weeds, and therefore I was more easily able to care for it. This meant that I (or my daughter) watered it almost every day (unless it rained), and the produce was good! (no sour cucumbers!)
  • The string deer fence seemed to work! I don’t know how the carrot greens got eaten at the end of the season, but that seemed to be the only thing that wildlife got this year. If all I need to do is plant carrots to divert animals away from my tomatoes and cucumbers, I will do it!
  • The cucumbers and tomatoes were delicious this year. Next year, I want to expand my garden to have even more tomato plants. I think the two pots of cucumber were sufficient for our family’s consumption, unless I want to try to make pickles!
  • The Tiny Tim tomato plant was prolific and tasted better than I remember in previous years, but it’s not my favorite. The tomatoes also seemed to go bad quickly–even while still ripening on the plant (and it was not blossom-end rot). If I have more seeds in the original packet, I might plant this variety again, but I will not buy these seeds again.

I started writing this post back in September, but I got bogged down with homeschooling, and so I didn’t get a chance to chart my produce production like I’d hoped. I’m glad that I recorded the reflections above!

Stay tuned: I’m deep in the preparations for this year’s garden, and I’m so excited!