My Favorite Organizational Tools

My Favorite Organizational Tools

Let’s talk stuff for a minute now–organizational stuff to be exact.

When it comes to organization, try to use things you already have before going out and buying more storage bins and baskets. Keep in mind also how you use things. Do you need things to be out in the open in order for you to use them, or will you remember you have something and prefer to have everything tucked away? These are very important things for you to think about before you go out and purchase anything, and before you start re-organizing your supplies.

That being said, these are some of the items that I use all the time, and you might like them as well.

In the closet:craft closet updated

The 12×12 paper is stored in cropper hopper vertical files with the fully open side facing out rather than upward. This makes it very easy to thumb thru and find a single sheet, rather than having to pull out various sections to find the paper you want to use. The 8.5×11 paper is in magazine holders that are laid on their side as well. Photo boxes are used as category drawers, and for a few still unsorted photos.

Next to the computer, the printer sits on a shelf made of plywood covered with handmade paper which is supported by seven wine holders. Seven of them fit perfectly across the width of two regular file cabinets. And being able to sort markers by color? Perfect!

craft room ||

Most of the rest of my supplies are stored in an Iris 6 drawer cart, an Iris scrapbooking cart, or an Iris cart with deep drawers, depending on the size of the object and how much of a particular type of item I have. Large bottles of paint and kid craft supplies go in the reclaimed and repainted locker, and most often used tools and supplies go in boxes and bins and baskets scrounged from the rest of the house.


And my go-to tools that I use on most every page? Stacked revolving bins on the corner of the desk keep them all corralled and handy.

Do you have any favorite organizational tools? Share them in the comments! If you’d like to see more organizational ideas on the blog you can find them here.

Pocket Pages to the Rescue!

Pocket Pages to the Rescue!

Earlier this week, you saw the picture-less spread about my trip to Jamaica, and read the whole long story about why I didn’t have any pictures.

Jamaica--no photos ||

But then, I found them. And printed them. And used them.

pocket pages to expand a story ||

A picture on the back of the wedding invite and cardstock insert added the most important details first, and pocket pages filled with some shots of the people and places involved rounded out the details. An enlargement of my favorite photo with some fun papers satisfied my need to make something pretty, while adding a nice final touch to the story.

pocket pages to expand a story pt 2 ||


Putting together these pages, I was totally inspired by the pocket page classes I took through True Scrap in January. Monica McNeill’s class on batch processing, and keeping it simple helped me focus on what I wanted the end result to be: story and picture driven. Lilith Eeckels’ class gave me the additional permission I needed as well as inspiration to add a full scrapbook page in with the pocket page story. If you haven’t checked out those classes, you totally should, especially since they are only on sale till the end of the month. ($9 a piece instead of over $12! And, if you decide to buy all 6 pocket page classes, you can get them for $7.50 each. Just use coupon code SAVE40 at checkout.)

The best part? I don’t have to do anything else to tell this story. It’s done. I suppose I can use some of these pics to help tell other stories, but this story is DONE! And that feels good. :)

Have you ever lost any of your photos? What have you done to tell your story without them?

Blast from the Past: Scrapbooking without photos. And a few tangents along the way.

Blast from the Past: Scrapbooking without photos. And a few tangents along the way.

The kids are on spring break and we’re off to visit relatives this week. Here’s an old post for you from 2010. A very LONG post. So grab your favorite cuppa, and enjoy! 

I thought today might be a good day to walk you through the process of creating a scrapbook page with no pictures. “What?” you say, “How can you scrapbook without pictures? Isn’t the whole point to USE YOUR PICTURES? Your family treasures?”
Well yes, using pictures is fun, and while it makes you feel like you are making progress, it’s really a false sense of progress, unless you include the MOST IMPORTANT THING: Your words.
I have looked through a scrapbook that my grandparents had from when they first got married. There are a few captions here and there, so I’m not completely in the dark, but for the most part I have no idea who all these people were, and why they were important to my grandparents.
Isn’t that sad?
I want to know more about my grandparents’ experiences as kids growing up, as high school students during the great depression, as young marrieds at the start of World War II. I want to know more about their life together raising three kids, and the careers they had, and their take on life. And while I knew them fairly well, and even lived with them occasionally, there’s still so much I don’t know that I wish I did.
And that is why I scrapbook.
Because even though someone else may get to know me very well, they still can’t tell my story the way I am experiencing it. And if my children are anything like me, they will want to know my story, too. And this is why I’m trying to get my mother to write a little about her story, because even though she’s still around, and I can ask her any question I can think of, it still won’t be HER story without her perspective.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. But I love scrapbooking. Because it’s ALL about love.

Another slight tangent regarding why I don’t have any photos from the trip I and my husband took to Jamaica. While happily snapping away during the dinner after our friend’s wedding ceremony, my camera froze up. The lens cover would no longer open and close, and it would no longer turn on. When a change of batteries did not solve the issue, I concluded that I probably got sand into the camera housing. Getting it cleaned and repaired would cost more than a new point and shoot, so that’s what we decided to do. Eventually. On Mother’s Day of the following year. So I went without a camera from November to May. I do have some video of Ethan on Christmas thanks to the video camera Ross had given me the previous year, but not much in the way of daily life snapshots.
I took the memory card from the camera to a local photo shop and had the pics put on disk, but didn’t print any because I wanted to decide what to print and what to toss first. I remember seeing the pics once, but have not been able to access the disk since. I’ve got one more trick to try at home before I go back to the local shop and ask, beg and plead for help with my now 4 and a half year old disk.

Anyway. No pictures. But I do have memorabilia. The wedding invitation. The ticket stub for the plane. A business card from the resort we stayed at. A postcard that I sent to Ethan while we were there. (I missed my boy-o a lot, but really relished the child free mornings and evenings.)

How it all began:

Stacy Julian put up a prompt on her website for a color combination she called “spring surf.”  The colors reminded me of the whole Jamaica experience, so I decided I’d do a page about that. I printed out a screen shot of her color inspiration, and pulled out papers that were close to what she had listed, pulled out my memorabilia box, and threw all the pieces together on my work table so they could live together and learn how to get along. In between trips to my MIL’s house to paint the hall, I shuffled papers and memorabilia around, and gradually weeded out the parts that didn’t work. I decided to use 5X7 page protectors on one side, so I could have a place for one of the invites and the postcard, and additional journaling, if I want to get into how much I needed a vacation at that point in time. Oh, and to add the weird stories, like the glass bottom boat operator who exposed himself while I was recovering from a bit of claustrophobia after snorkeling, and the walk up the beach to a Jimmy Buffett themed resort to watch football with the guys.

Any way, those stories may or may not get recorded, but I have a place for them if I feel the need to add them. I finally figured out that I wanted just the highlights of the trip as part of the page, so printed them out with word. Using the color scheme, I added bits of patterned paper and cardstock to the small spaces of the 5X7 page protector, and added a strip of lace paper on top of the Jamaica/Caribbean patterned paper I’ve been saving for 5 years. I placed it over the red part of the collage to tone it down, and used that as the base line to build out the other parts of the page: the invitation, the ticket stub, the journaling, and the business card. I used an old rub-on and some letter stickers to add a title. I probably should have used larger letters for the Jamaican part of the title to make them easier to read, but I’m okay with imperfection. I’ve got more important things to do than get every scrapbook page exactly right. I added a piece of raffia to the postcard to make it easier to pull out and read. I chose raffia because it echoes the natual fibers Kate used on her wedding invitation, and the thatched roofs of a lot of Jamaican buildings.

If the local photo shop is able to save any of my photos, I’ll add them to a divided page protector, and call it done. The trip was a wonderful diversion, and I don’t feel the need to spend much more time on it than slipping a few photos into a few pockets. I would like a picture of me pregnant with Simon, though, which is why I’m still trying to get the photos.

Jamaica--no photos ||


Since I originally posted this in 2010, I have found the fabled lost photos, and begun to scrap them. I’ll update you with the rest of the Jamaica pages later this week!

Pocket Page Craze

Pocket Page Craze

A lot of you who drop by are looking for ideas of what to scrapbook and how to scrap using pocket pages. You love my printable with suggestion of photos to take, but I’ve got some more class ideas for you to help you get started scrapbooking with pocket pages.

You may recall that back in January, there was an event called True Scrap Pocket Pages? Remember? Well, all the classes are now available for individual sale.

And! They are on sale through the end of the month (April 30, 2014), at only $9 a piece. Or, you can buy five and get the sixth one free with the coupon code SAVE40! That’s only $7.50 each!


Want some details? Let’s see what we’ve got…

Layle Koncar’s class, Pocket Scrapping 101, is a great nuts to bolts approach to learning how to start pocket scrapping. If you have any questions about pocket scrapping, Layle has got you covered. This is the class to take if you have no idea about where to start with pocket scrapbooking, since it covers everything from photo and memorabilia organization, to putting together a pocket page spread.

Marcy Penner’s class, Do You Hear What I Hear, has great tips for adding additional perspectives to your scrapbooks, whether that includes texts from your family, or bits of art and memorabilia from your kids. Plus, you’ll love seeing how she puts together a spread!

Monica McNeill’s class, KISS: Keep it Simple, Scrappy! is all about keeping the process of creating pages simple, and do-able. She walks you through how to batch process, in order to keep up, as well as to complete albums you may have attempted previously.

Stephanie Bryan’s class, Outside Lines, has some great ideas for adding hidden, and not so hidden, journaling to your pocket page spread. You’ll love her clever and simple ways to creatively add space for more stories or even more photos and memorabilia.

Lilith Eeckels’ class, Playing Big, brings together options for adding full page spreads to pocket page scrapbooks. She’s got wonderful ideas on adding traditional pages, collages, and huge photos to create more interest and excitement in your album.

Traci Reed’s class, Hybrid Hints for Paper People, adds digital options to your repertoire. The class is full of digital tricks for creating a pocket page type spread, as well as ways to make any digital layout more realistic. When combined with traditional supplies, you get a whole new, sophisticated look for your pocket pages.

If you’ve been debating doing pocket page scrapbooking, these classes will get you off the fence, and give you lots of inspiration for creating your pages.

Don’t be afraid! Jump on in! Pocket page scrapbooking is fun!


The Benefits of Dabbling

The Benefits of Dabbling

You may not have realized this yet, but I’m a big fan of ignoring the “rules” of scrapbooking. One of the hardest rules for new scrapbookers, and even well-seasoned scrapbookers, to learn to ignore is the idea that scrapbooking needs to be chronological.

Unfinished Project Life

Don’t believe me? You’ve heard of Becky Higgin’s Project Life by now, right? In part it was created when she felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with chronological traditional scrapbooking. She wanted a simpler way to document her life in a chronological way, and Project Life was born. (You can find it in her own words in her product catalog here.)

Yep. There’s the trap right there. Thinking that you have to scrap in order and that there’s a phase of scrapbooking where you’re “caught up.” You know what caught up means to me? Done. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be done with scrapbooking. There are always more stories to tell. Running out of stories to tell? Can’t imagine how that will ever happen. And you know what? That’s okay. More than okay, it’s wonderful!

Fifth Grade filler pagesBecause I am completely against the idea of making scrapbooking feel like a chore, I do not, nor have I ever, scrapbooked only in chronological order. That is not to say I do not have any scrapbook albums that are chronological. I’ve got my kids’ first year of life in mini albums, as well as their school of life albums. (Those are actually all “caught up.” LOL) I’ve got travel albums, where it makes sense to document the trip in a  day by day manner. I’ve got week in the life albums, where I try to capture daily life in detail for a week.

In short, I do some chronology. Key word there? Some. The rest of what gets done? Completely random. Pages about college are done right after pages about marriage, and right before pages about the latest weird/silly/funny thing one of my kids has done.

LOAD12 || wordsearch page
The result? My albums are eclectic. And possibly even chaotic. (I’m a fan of random.) And they cover bits of my life and my family’s lives. They are not complete, but that’s okay. Once again, I don’t ever want to be finished with scrapbooking.

And the benefit is that I always have stories to tell. I tell stories based on what is inspiring me, and motivating me at any given moment. I’m never thinking that I have to finish one particular (uninspiring) story before starting another (interesting) one. There’s no guilt, no must-dos, and no RULES! As a result, lots of stories get told. And that’s good enough for me.

Do you have any rules that get in the way of you actually creating pages? What are they? Are you really going to let them stop you from doing something fun?