Monthly Archives: May 2014

When Is an Excuse a Good Excuse?

When Is an Excuse a Good Excuse?

First of all, let’s get this out of the way. This is not about letting you (and me!) off the hook and letting your excuses control your life. Not at all.

This is about when life throws you curve balls while you’re standing hip deep in muck with your hands full of very expensive family heirloom china. (Did I mix enough metaphors for you there?)

This is about the reasons and times when you choose not to scrapbook. (Operative word there-choose! Very important.)

There have been times when I haven’t scrapbooked. Wanted to, but just couldn’t get myself on the horse.

(Warning! Personal stories ahead!) šŸ˜‰

When I first started scrapbooking, my output was very limited because I was very unsure of myself. I wasn’t sure about how to go about telling the stories I wanted to tell. I also felt like I was missing something as far as design goes. You’d think as a productive rubber stamper I’d have had the design thing covered, but something about the size difference threw me off.

Not being one to let that stop me, since I really did want to scrapbook, I set about finding things to help with journaling and design.

I took classes at the local scrapbook store. I looked at all the scrapbook magazines I could find out there, and chose one to subscribe to. I read books. (The best intro to scrapbooking tome was from Memory Makers–Scrapbook Fundamentals. Hard to find now.)

The local classes weren’t very helpful, since all the instructor did was read from a book, but they did help me realize that journaling is just writing. I write all the time. Why was I making it harder on myself? Why did I think there was something special or different about it? Still don’t know the answer to that one.

The magazines were wonderfully helpful however. I subscribed to Simple Scrapbooks, and never looked back. I’d occasionally buy another magazine, but Simple was where my heart lay. And it was full of ideas! Design ideas. Story ideas. Album ideas.

And then through Simple, I learned about Stacy Julian’s brain child: Big Picture Classes. And then found out one of my favorite contributors to Simple, Cathy Zielske, was going to be teaching a class all about design. I signed right up.

After that, I was making pages like crazy. I signed up for Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories class, because that was the next problem I had run into while taking CZ’s class– never having the photo I wanted easily accessible.

So that’s one way I solve my excuses. If I don’t know how to do something, I do research, and take classes, and immerse myself in a subject. I call it batch processing my life. You should have seen me on my Doctor Who binge.

The next big excuse that stopped me right in my tracks was the death of my mother-in-law. Besides the obvious emotional upheaval, I also struggled with a lot of guilt at the time, because I had scrapped so few pages about her. This was one of those times where I gave myself permission to just not scrap for awhile, to let the raw edges of grief desensitize. One of the first pages I made when I slowly began to scrapbook again was a layout about my mother-in-law.

adventure  ||


Afterwards, my scrapbooking pace slowly increased again, until I found Lain Ehmann’s Layout a Day Challenge group. With that, there was no stopping me. Right up until I played assistant to Lain’s MotherLOAD challenge, I finished every single challenge, with at least a page every day.

Of course, there came times each month where I would be tired or sick or just not motivated to make a page. Every time that happened, I tough talked myself into making a page. After all, the reason I didn’t want to scrap that day was basically because I just plain didn’t want to. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty lame excuse for me to use. So I’d make a page. Everyday. For a month. Repeatedly. And I loved it.

sick & tired ||

Not going to let a little thing like being sick stop me!

Nowadays, I don’t make myself finish a page everyday during a challenge. I KNOW I can do it, but really don’t feel the need to. I don’t have anything left to prove, at least not to myself.

Those are some of the excuses I’ve used and surmounted in my scrappy life.

Now it’s your turn. What are your excuses? Do you let them stop you? How do you keep scrapping?


Why We’re Leaving Our Excuses Behind

Why We’re Leaving Our Excuses Behind

There’s a reason this website is called No Excuse Scrapbooking. Some people may think the idea is a little harsh, but it’s not. It’s all about seeing yourself in a positive framework.

We all make excuses about why we can’t do things, whether it’s scrapbooking or gourmet cooking or hang gliding. We all claim we don’t have enough time, or enough money, or enough guts to do whatever it is we say we want to do. But that’s not really the problem.

The problem is we’re afraid.

What if we get it wrong? What if we show what we make to other people and they don’t value it as much as we do? What if the design becomes dated? What if we spell something wrong? What if it DOES take hours to create? What if it doesn’t? What if we really are boring?

What if we like it?

The thing about excuses is that they carry over into other parts of our lives. They become the dead weights that prevent us from becoming who we want to be. They become all the reasons we CAN’T do something. As if we’re incapable of being creative or thoughtful or joyful or productive.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN do things. You ARE an amazing person. You can be creative. You can appreciate your life, right now, in all its mundane, routine, exciting minutia. You can celebrate your life. You can MAKE things. All sorts of messy, gorgeous creative stuff that you never really believed that you could.

Because the difference between excuses and reasons are a state of mind. Excuses are our inner demons telling us we’re not good enough, that we CAN’T. Reasons are us saying we can, but we choose not to.

And that’s what it all comes down to. You don’t have to scrapbook, or cook gourmet meals, or hang glide, but it should be because you choose not to, and not because you’ve got a great big pile of excuses standing in your way.

Excuses are the things that stop us from being ourselves.

You’re not going to let those excuses stop you, are you?

You can make something wonderful! Why don’t you start now?



Inspiration Results!

Inspiration Results!

When I went wandering earlier this week, not only did the flowers in my front yard inspire me, but the people in my neighborhood as well.

flowers ||

Using the colors inspired by the flowers, this is the page I made about one of my neighbor’s daughters.Ā mischievous  ||
The story that these photos told, that captured how active and mischievous my neighbor’s daughter is, just needed a tiny bit of writing and, voila, Ā a bit of her personality at this point in time was captured.

Did you find something inspiring? Have you made anything based on your inspiration? If you haven’t, don’t you think it’s time to make something?!

My Inspiration for Today

My Inspiration for Today

Yesterday was a simply beautiful day here in the Northeastern US, so I went for a walk with my camera. The most inspiring thing I found while wandering? The colors in my front yard.

flowers ||


My youngest son and I planted a whole bunch of tulips, daffodils, and crocuses last fall, and they bloomed like gang busters this spring. Somehow, we managed to come up with a mix that really complemented the existing azalea.

I think this color combination will work great for a story about one of my neighbor’s kids, who is bold and bright and full of energy, rather like these colors.

How about you? Did you find anything inspiring?

Where to Find Inspiration

Where to Find Inspiration

For many scrapbookers, the hardest part of creating a scrapbook page is the act of getting started. Just sitting down with paper and pen and photos can be very daunting at times. One of the easiest ways to give yourself the tiny push you need when you’re stuck looking at a pile of paper and photos and no idea what to do, is to start with a bit of inspiration.

The most obvious place to start looking for inspiration for scrapbooking is in the online galleries of stores like or Two Peas in a Bucket or Studio Calico. Browsing through an online gallery will give you tons of ideas to scraplift, from design and product use, to story and title ideas.

However, there’s a lot more out thereĀ than just scrapbook pagesĀ that can inspire you and get you scrapping.

As far as design goes, there’s tons of good design surrounding us every day. Magazine layouts, product labeling, beautiful websites–they’re full of strong structure that you can adapt to a scrapbook page.

Color inspirations are everywhere you look as well, from the front yard to your refrigerator, and every place in between. Have a favorite shirt? Use its colors and patterns to inspire a page. Love the mix of patterns and colors you see in an ad? You can totally turn that into a layout.

This vignette from Better Homes and Gardens' Color Made Easy 2014 magazine makes me want to create something with wonderful texture and color!

This vignette from Better Homes and Gardens’ Color Made Easy 2014 magazine makes me want to create something with wonderful texture and color!

How about texture? Love the way texture makes you want to touch a page? Use the textures you find on your pillows and walls and clothes to inspire your product choices and design.

Those are all visual or tactile ways of finding inspiration. You can also get your ears involved.

Yes, scrapbooking is a very visual hobby, but you don’t have to use your eyes to find inspiration.

Listen to the world around you. The things your family and friends say, the noises surrounding you while at home or work, the songs you hear while out shopping or driving or just hanging around, those are all great starting points for scrapbook pages.

Finally, don’t decide where you’re going to start. Let someone else tell you where to start. Participate in a prompt driven challenge, where someone else gives you an idea or a product or a technique to start with, and create your pages from there. Layout a Day is a great prompt driven challenge (Lain’s even got a free iPhone app for that!) but there are a ton of others out there. Rather than me listing them all here, why don’t you all add your favorite prompts/ challenge sites in the comments below? That way maybe we’ll all find something fun and new to us!

Today, I’m going to keep an eye (and ear) out for things that inspire me to create, and make a page based on that inspiration this week. Why don’t you try to do that too! We can share our creations on Flickr in the No Excuse Scrapbooking group.

(And if you’re looking for some non-standard inspiration, I love to collect things I find on the web on my Scraptastic pinterest board. Feel free to follow me there!)