Monthly Archives: July 2013

Learn to Love Your Handwriting

Learn to Love Your Handwriting

We’ve established that your handwriting has value. But how do you learn to love it? How do you improve it?


Check out all the imperfect handwriting!

First, let’s think about why you hate it. Do you hate the way it looks? Do you hate the actual physical process of writing? Does it take too long? Are you afraid of making grammatical errors or spelling mistakes?

I’ve got a few ideas for you that should help with all those problems.

First up: the appearance of your handwriting. Do a little handwriting, and take a close and detailed look at it. Is there anything you like about it? What, in particular don’t you like about it? Next, think about the people who have handwriting you like. Focus on the details again, and note what exactly it is that you like. The shape of the letters, how they connect and relate to each other, the general flow. Once you’ve got all these details in mind, start practice writing using the letter shapes that you found you liked, and try to avoid the things you didn’t. This is going to take some time, because you’ve been writing the way that you write for a lifetime. It takes time to change those habits.


This is more like it. The letters are nice and round, and there aren’t any cross outs or rewrites!

Kristina Werner made a great little video about handwriting last month. You can watch it on Youtube here. She also recommends finding writing you like and mimicking it, as well as practice, practice, and more practice.

Next issue: Hating the actual physical process. Maybe it’s painful. Maybe you’re left-handed and always end up with ink blurred all over your hand. I can’t force you to like it. But maybe the reason you aren’t liking it has more to do with the tools you are using, rather than the process itself. Experiment with different pens and pencils and papers. See if there’s something that’s more comfortable and less messy before you give up on handwriting.

Third: Time. It takes too long to write neatly. Personally, I’ve found it takes longer to type and print and cut journaling to fit on a page than it does to write it. But I may not be the best example, since my handwriting isn’t exactly neat. If I slowed down, and concentrated on writing neatly, it would take more time, but still not as much time as using the computer. But that may just be me.

Fourth: Grammar and spelling. This is a case where the computer is very handy for those who are worried about misspelling something, or using the wrong their/there/they’re. It’s not so good at helping you write better composed journaling, however. That requires practice. Once again, writing how you speak is another way to capture who you are. You may have a particular turn of phrase that the computer will flag as grammatically incorrect, but that you say all the time. Why can’t you document that? It’s okay to be imperfect. We’re all much more likable that way.

Finally, I’ve got one more way for you to get your handwriting on a page. It’s a bit of a cheat actually, but a fun one! How about using your beloved computer to journal with a font based on your own handwriting? Try out this inexpensive handwriting to font generator from Your Fonts. (And yes, that is an affiliate link.) When you fill out the form with your letters, pay attention to how you write each letter in the box. By being consistent, you’ll get a better font flow, and it will look better on your page.

Are you ready to use your handwriting on your page now? If you still don’t want to do it EVER, please tell me why in the comments!

Handwriting Self-Hate

Handwriting Self-Hate

There are a lot of scrapbookers out there that refuse to write on their pages because they hate their handwriting. (You know who you are!) I can understand that. After all, my own handwriting is nothing to write home about. (Ha! See what I did there?)

My handwriting is a weird combination of printing and cursive, with bad habits exaggerated through a long history of working retail. (Working two jobs, with one always being a bookstore, paid off all my student loans and my first car!) My husband thinks it’s horrible, and my kids often have trouble reading it.

That doesn’t stop me though, and it shouldn’t stop you. As my mother says, you don’t have to be famous for your handwriting to be valuable. Think about it this way:

Things that are handmade are intrinsically more valuable than machine produced items. Items that are scarce are more valuable than items that are common. Items that were once common are becoming uncommon. Your handwriting is valuable because it is handmade, a finite resource (only YOU can write like you!), and is becoming more and more scarce as time goes by. (Think about how much you wrote by hand while in school, and how much less you do now. You may type all day long at the computer, but how much do you write by hand?)

Case in point:


This is a recipe my grandmother sent to my mother when she was in the service. Thereabouts. My mom lived on the other side of the country from my grandmother for quite a few years, back in the days when long distance phone calls were expensive, and snail mail was one of the best ways to stay in touch. And that’s the point. This handwritten recipe not only calls to mind my grandmother’s love of sticky sweet things and baking in general, but it’s also a record and reminder of how things have changed.

Your handwriting has value, both on a personal, emotional level, and as a cultural artifact!

But that’s enough deep thoughts for today. Later this week, I’ll link you up to some great ways to improve your handwriting, and get it on the pages you make!


Process Leads to Organization

Process Leads to Organization

So did you think about your process? Did you take notes? Did you even make a flow chart because you thought that would be fun? (Or is that just me who does things like that?)

Here’s the great thing about knowing your process: now you have a way to organize your stuff, and you have a way to get yourself out of non-productive ruts.

What? How is that possible? Like this:

First up: Organization


Keep commonly used items close at hand.

By knowing your process, you know how often you use certain items. Your paper trimmer gets used multiple times per page. Stickers rarely. You’ve found you love adding certain techniques to your page (stamping, anyone?) and others you stay far away from. This leads to the easiest and most obvious organization tip ever: Put things you use often close at hand and easily accessible. Things you rarely use can be put in less accessible areas, or even taken out of your stash all together.
How’s that for a cool result from knowing your process?

Another fun result:

If you know your process, you know where you run into problems. Have trouble finishing a page because you can never find the photo you want to use? Then you know you need to work on your photo organization. If you get everything done except the journaling, you need to work on your story telling. (My friend Lain Ehmann has some great ideas for those pages that are missing journaling on her Layout A Day podcast. You should definitely check those out.) Unsure of how you want to design a page? Explore the world of starting points and sketches.

Also, by knowing your process, you can switch it up if you feel like your scrapbooking has gotten stale and boring. (Stale and boring? Never!) If you always start with story, you could start with a product you love or a technique you’ve been wanting to try. If you are a photos first person, you could start with a sketch or design, and work from there.


Starting with the technique, rather than the story.

Aren’t those fun results, just by knowing your own process? Take the time to think about it. You’ll be surprised by how much knowing your scrapbooking method helps you become a better, more efficient scrapbooker!

Knowing Your Process

Knowing Your Process

Have you ever taken the time to figure out how exactly you created a scrapbook page? In other words, have you ever documented your process?

Take a look at mine:


Invariably, I start with an idea: a story or theme I want to add to our scrapbooks. This inspiration usually leads me to start thinking about the journaling in the back of my mind, while creating the rest of the page. This allows me to plan for enough space (lots of story vs a few words) which I can plan for while designing.

I then pull in photos and paper, and start building the page. (aka paper shuffling!) Sometimes I pull in reference materials like sketches or technique instructions and use them to adjust my design. I then pull in the rest of my product (like letter stickers or embellishments) add some journaling, and end up with a finished page.

It’s a fairly straightforward process for me, and you’ve probably even seen me use it if you’ve watched any of my process videos. (Using a sketch/starting point, and limiting product.)

The point is, what is YOUR process? What inspires you to sit down and scrapbook? How do you go about creating your page? Think about that, and write it down. Create a flow chart if you want! If you don’t know what your process is, sit down and make a page, and take notes while you make it.

There are lots of reasons to do this, and I’ve got two big ones to share with you a little later this week. So think about your process. Share it with me even. I’d love to hear about it!