Why Scrapbook?

Scrapbooking preserves your photographs and memories for decades to come by Brandie Valenzuela

Brandy explains why scrapbooking preserves your photographs and memories in a way that let’s them last forever, and allows your family members to enjoy them in a meaningful way.

More often than not, I meet people who love the look of a scrapbooked memory album. There are other times though that I meet someone and they say “Why bother with scrapbooking? I just put my photo in an album I bought at the store.” At one time, my response was in regards to the archival safety of such products “bought at the store”. Most of the photos albums sold years ago contained extremely high levels of acid, which end up destroying your precious memories.

However, today there are many photos albums sold that are acid-free. But is that the only thing you should be concerned with? Definitely not. Read on for my reasons why you should create a scrapbook with your memories:

• Memory albums, also known as scrapbooks, allow the story behind your photos to be told. A photo of a startled child may be interesting to look at, but isn’t it more fun to know that the shocked look is because her brother surprised her with his new toy snake that Grandpa bought him?

• Memory albums are beautiful. Just like the furnishings in your home, your albums will reflect your special style. You will be proud to have your albums on display in your home and your guests will be in awe of what has been created with your photos.

• Memories should be enjoyed and shared. They can’t be if they are shoved in drawers and shoeboxes. Just don’t have the time? There are professional scrapbook artists that you can hire to complete your albums.

• Memory albums last forever. Whether you use your own time to complete your album, or hire a professional scrapbook artist, there is a cost involved. Unlike the housecleaner that cleans your home each week or the mechanic that gives your car a tune-up (although both are important), a completed scrapbook is a treasure that won’t need to be redone or maintained. Once your album is created, it is done and ready to be enjoyed for generations to come.

• You’ve invested a lot of money and time in your memories. Because we want to remember every moment in our lives and the lives of our loved ones, we spend hundreds of dollars on cameras, film, developing, and portrait studios. Why would you give the final prints shabby treatment? Don’t take the display of your photos lightly. By creating scrapbook pages you are giving your memories the treatment they deserve.

• Acid-free isn’t everything. Acid-free is a hot new term, and while it is important, it isn’t the only thing to worry about. An album you find at your local discount store is likely to be labeled “acid-free”, but scrappers knows that the products she uses must also be free of lignin (its presence in paper aids chemical degradation) and that they must be archival quality.

• Future generations won’t be clueless. Unlike photo albums, scrapbooks allow every memorable detail to be included. Years from now, when your children’s children are viewing the albums that you had created, they will know exactly how life was for you and your family. You won’t always be there…but with your albums, you really are.

I Didn’t Know These Are Slowly Destroying My Scrapbooks!

Learn about the various chemicals in your scrapbook materials that can damage your scrapbooks over time.

by Palyn Peterson

Once you spend your precious time and energy creating a scrapbook, make sure it lasts! There are a few simple things you can easily do to ensure that your scrapbooks look just as good as the day you finished them, for years to come.

The first thing to avoid is paper that is not lignin-free. You’ve probably heard that before, and it is true, but what is lignin anyways? Lignin is a stiff component of a plant that quite literally holds it together. Although lignin is necessary for plants and trees, you want nothing to do with it! After a while, lignin will cause photos, fabrics and other paper that touch it to turn brown. Yes, lignin-free paper does cost more, but it is a vital part of preserving your cherished scrapbooks.

If the paper is not lignin-free, it will eventually discolor your photos and other materials touching it. So when buying paper for your scrapbooking projects, be sure to look for packages that say “lignin-free,” because if it doesn’t say it, then it most likely isn’t.

Fabric is a big concern for preserving your scrapbooks, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Many people assume that all fabrics are acid-free, but they aren’t. Silk actually goes through an acid bath during the manufacturing process, as well as many tie-dyed fabrics. This isn’t to discourage you from using it, not all. Just try to make sure that no photos directly touch fabric, and if you need them to overlap, make sure there is a layer of paper between the two.

Another consideration when using fabrics is if the color will bleed off onto your page and other things touching it. To test for this, cut a square inch off and soak it in a glass of water over night. If there is no color bleeding from it the next day, then there isn’t any risk to your scrapbook. But if you do see color in the water, or collecting at the bottom of the glass then don’t use that fabric in your scrapbook at all.

When using glitter, be sure there is a top layer of spray adhesive to lock them down, or better yet use special glitter glue where the glitter is mixed right in. If this is not done right the glitter will slowly fall off, and loose glitter means scratched photos.

After you have planned the layout for your photos, be sure that you are using the right kind of mounting tape for them! Regular mounting tape is fine for buttons and bottle caps, but when it come to mounting photos you need to use special photo mounting tape which is completely acid-free. If you don’t, your photos will slowly discolor. The tape should say “acid-free” right on the packaging.

These are just a few simple things you can do to ensure that your scrapbooks last and last.

Scrapbooking Your Christmas Memories

Christmas memories are some of our fondest, most heartwarming ones. So of course we want to preserve them in our scrapbook albums. However, when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us, we may forget to take particular photos or save certain memorabilia. To help you remember, below is a list of Christmas memories and keepsakes you’ll want to capture in your scrapbook album.

Cutting Down the Tree

For those who get their trees from a tree farm, cutting down the tree is a favorite Christmas activity. Take pictures of the tree before, during and after the cutting. Journal about who picked out the tree, where you got the tree and what the weather was like that day.

Trimming the Tree

Whether your tree is real or artificial, trimming the tree is a special event. Take pictures of the tree in various stages of being decorated. Include people hanging their favorite ornaments, putting on the star or angel, and posing with the fully decorated and lit tree.

Deck the Halls

In addition to the tree, you probably have lots of other Christmas decorations throughout the house. Take photos of the foyer, staircase, dining room or any other room you’ve spruced up for the holidays. If you have outdoor displays and lights, remember to take pictures of them, too.


We all have our own Christmas traditions such as baking cookies, going caroling, or hosting the neighborhood party. Make sure to capture these special traditions with photos. Keep in mind that journaling is especially important when it comes to traditions. For example, include your family’s cookie recipe or some of the words from a favorite Christmas carol.

Letters to Santa/Christmas Lists

If you have children who write Christmas lists and/or letters to Santa, make copies before mailing them so that they can be preserved in your scrapbook album. You, your children and your grandchildren will surely enjoy reading those letters together one day.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Here are some ideas of what to take pictures of on Christmas Eve: the family dinner; a gathering of family and friends; everyone dressed in their “Sunday best” for Christmas Eve mass; stockings hung by the chimney with care; snack/drink/note left for Santa and his reindeer. If Santa leaves the note behind, remember to save it for the scrapbook album.

Christmas Morning

If you have young children Christmas morning can be quite chaotic, and it may not be easy to get certain shots. Some to try for are: the kids coming down the stairs and/or into the room with the tree; the tree before all the gifts go flying; the full stockings hanging by the fireplace; everyone with his/her favorite gift; the family breakfast.

Christmas Visiting

Whether you’re traveling over the river and through the woods or hosting at home, it’s hard to get pictures of everyone you’re celebrating with. Try for a whole group photo (if the group’s not too big) or break it down into smaller groups: the grandparents with the grandchildren; the grandparents with their own children; the men/boys; the women/girls; three or more generations; a photo of each family. Remember to include everyone’s name in your journaling.

Christmas Card and Newsletter

The holidays tend to be a time for formal/professional portraits: family portraits, portraits of the children, and the traditional picture with Santa. If you saved your children’s letters to Santa, you can make a two-page spread of the letters along with the picture of the children on Santa’s lap.

Keep this Christmas list of scrapbooking ideas handy during the holiday season, and you’ll be sure to capture those precious Christmas memories.

Tips for Taking Care of Punches

Craft Punches. Love them or hate them. They punch out wonderful tiny additions to our scrapbook pages, but when they are not working smoothly, they are a real nuisance. There are two major problems I have encountered with punches – and two related resolutions that I have gathered.

• Sticky Punches. Sticky punches give you a good punch out, but the top part of the punch stays down, requiring you to jiggle and cajole before you can punch again.

Recommendation: Make sure the punch is clean. Especially if you have punched paper with adhesive already on it, the punch may have adhesive residue that is making it stick. Recommendation: Take a piece of waxed paper, and punch it several times. The wax seems to lubricate the punch so that it works better. (NOTE: Although the “conventional wisdom” among scrapbookers is that this works well, I have heard one account of someone getting bad results with waxed paper.)

• Dull Punches. Dull punches tear your paper instead of cutting smoothly. Recommendation: Take a piece of aluminum foil, and punch it several times. The metal in the foil seems to sharpen the punch, just a little bit.

Recommendation: If the aluminum foil doesn’t improve things enough, you might try very fine-grained sandpaper. Punch the sandpaper a few times, both face up and face down; this will sharpen both the upper and lower portions of the punch. (NOTE: I have not actually had to try the sandpaper “trick”, but some people swear by it.)

These are low-cost methods that you can try. At worst, they should do no harm. At best, they will improve the performance of your punches.

Brush Up On Scrapbook Safety

Brush Up On Scrapbook Safety

Chances are you have already removed any photo’s you have left stored in sticky magnetic photo albums, but are you remembering to practice the other safety tips when scrapbooking your photos and memorabilia? Perhaps you are still using a ball point pen to label your pictures? Don’t forget that even pencil can do long term damage.

As an avid scrapbooker I was always very careful to use only acid free paper and glue, and then I found myself storing the pictures in a PVC container prior to Scrapbooking….what’s wrong with that? Read on! This article offers some tips for scrapers to brush up on archival safety!


As you may remember in chemistry, the PH scale runs from 0-14. 7 is considered neutral. The lower the number on the scale, the more acidic with 1 being the strongest. When choosing photo safe pens, paper, glue and other products that will touch your photographs, you should choose products with a pH level between 7.0 and 9.0. If you are unsure of the products pH level check the label or ask for assistance.


Lignin paper is readily available but can harm photo’s. It is a natural substance that is found in wood and plant matter. It can turn brown over time and deposits acids and peroxides on your photos. It is often found in newspapers or cardboard. Check to make sure that paper around your photo’s are Lignin Free which will mean it less than 1% Lignin.


When paper often forms acid that can damage your photo’s. Buffered paper is paper that has calcium carbonate added to counteract the acids that may form later. It works as a type of neutralizer for the acid and “Buffers” them from migrating. Using buffered paper to mount your pictures on will increase the life of the paper and help protect them longer.


Even when you are using paper that is acid-free your photographs can become contaminated by other products that are not safe if you are scrapbooking or embellishing your album pages. These acids can spread throughout your entire photo album. The buffering process mentioned above can help but another way to protect the page would be to use acid free sheet protectors. They are available in several types from heavy duty to light weight and can be non-glare according to your personal preference.

After you have surrounded your photo’s with safe products, the next step is to keep in mind what other things are the most damaging to photographs so that you can avoid them also. Keep photo’s away from direct sunlight and ultraviolet light. Water and high humidity is also damaging. Photographs like consistent temperatures so if you have been storing photo’s in the attic, basement or garage you will want to find a safer location.

Pictures that are enhanced with other memorabilia have great sentimental value but do not use rubber bands, paper clips, scotch tape or masking tape to attach them with. Even some plastics are not safe for photo’s because they contain PVC’s. (poly-vinyl chloride) Most craft stores carry acid free, see-through pockets that can store the locks of your baby’s first haircut, hospital id bracelets or other mementos safely.

4 Tips For Taking Digital Photos of Your Scrapbook Pages

Sharing Your Scrapbook Pages Digitally

Taking pictures of your pages with your digital camera is the quickest and easiest way to share them with friends and loved ones who live far away. Many scrapbook page contests and layout galleries online require you to save digital images of your pages so you can email them for entry. Digital photos are perfect for this. You can also use this technique to save a digital copy of your pages in case of disaster such as fire or flood. Some tips will help you take the very best photos so that they can be digitally cropped to look just like the real things.

Tip #1: Use bright, indirect lighting. The best lighting for taking pictures of scrapbook pages is actually sunlight. The sun will allow the true colors of the page and pictures on the page to show up in the photo. My preference is to simply lay my pages flat on the front, concrete stoop on a sunny day to take digital photos of them. If you have a “true-light” lamp, you may be able to set-up a small photo studio at home to create a nice bright lighting situation for your photos.

Tip #2: Turn off your flash. Any direct, bright lights will cause glare from the photographs and embellishments on the scrapbook page. Also, be careful that lamps and overhead lights in the room are not showing glare on the page.

Tip #3: Line up the page squarely in your view finder. Many pages that are submitted for Technique Challenges or Layout Galleries have been taken at an angle. If I try to crop the photo of the page to remove the background there will be no way to get a nice square page. You have two choices to help you line up your shot: 1) Put the page on the floor and stand directly above it, shooting down; or 2) Prop the page upright using a page stand, books, or music stand.

Tip #4: Leave some room for cropping later. You don’t want to take the shot only to realize when you start working with it that you cut off a small amount on one edge of the page. The easiest way to get a great picture of your page is to go ahead and leave some space around the page when you take the shot. You can crop this background later with your photo editing software.

The Finished Layout: Once cropped the photo now looks like the picture of the scrapbook page. With a little practice, you will find that you almost never need to “scan and stitch” images of your scrapbook pages ever again.

Saving Your Images:

If you are submitting layouts to a website or contest via email, 72 dpi resolution and about 600×600 pixels in size will be good enough. This will also keep your file size under control for emailing. Be sure to read submission requirements in the contest rules to find out how large they would like the images to be.

If you plan to print your images, you will want to save them at a higher resolution. 300 dpi is usually sufficient to get a very nice print made from the pictures. If you want to print 12″x12″ copies of the pages you might want to look into a Large Format Printer.

Storing Digital Images for Back-up Copies:

If you plan to use digital images of your pages as a disaster back-up copy, be sure to burn them to CD’s and store them somewhere other than the place where you store your albums. In the technique world, this is referred to as off-site back-up storage. You may want to ask a relative to keep them for you, or store them in your safe-deposit box.

Getting Started on Your Family Scrapbook

Getting Started on Your Family Scrapbook

Photos are the heart of most scrapbooks, but they are just the start of the items you can include in a scrapbook that tells the story of your family.

Start Simply

A family scrapbook tells a timeless tale. It can never reach to the beginning of your family, but it can create a link from one generation to the next, a link that will last as long as your family.

Scrapbooks can be very complex, with fancy fonts, embellishments, expensive papers, and hours of painstaking hand-crafting. Many of the examples displayed on these pages fall into this category. But a meaningful family scrapbook can be a much simpler affair, too. Don’t hesitate to start your family scrapbook because you don’t feel you have the time or artistic talent. A simple tale, told simply, is every bit as compelling as the most elaborate yarn.

So where do you begin? At the beginning, of course. And for every scrapbook, the beginning is the process of gathering the photos, letters, objects, and memorabilia that have meaning to you and the members of your family.

Add Photos

Gather as many photographs as possible. Sort them so they relate to one another and to the album’s theme. You can affix the original photos in your album. However, if you want to save them for other purposes, make copies of the originals on a color photocopier.

Find “hidden” photos. Remember your collection of slides and reel-to-reel 8mm films? These can be converted to photographs at a relatively low cost. Check your local photography supply shops and photo studios.

Treat photos with respect. Be sure to wash your hands before handling your old photos. The dirt and oils from your skin could damage them. The same is true for handling photo negatives.

Make copies. A family photo that has yellowed, become brittle, or been affixed with tape should be moved to a safer environment. However, you may want to copy the photo before moving it or have it professionally photographed while it’s still in its current site. If you decide to use the original photos, consider securing them to the scrapbook pages with archival photo corners, instead of permanently adhering them to a page.

Include Mementos Collect everything! Save small items that relate to your theme — old letters, awards, certificates, ribbons, calling cards, a lock of hair, menus, place mats, brochures, business cards, newspaper and magazine articles, programs, announcements, matchbooks, and food wrappers. These items add interest to the pages — and to your family’s history. Even objects from nature make interesting mementos. Use a pH tester pen to determine the acidity or alkalinity of such items.

Protect scrapbook pages by photocopying or by placing the item in a clear, self-adhesive, acid-free memorabilia pocket. They’re available in several sizes with Scrapbooking supplies.

Use photos of objects. Heirlooms, such as a brooch, pocket watch, or even a large quilt, are family keepsakes worth preserving. To enjoy these items, photograph or copy them and include them in your heirloom scrapbook.

Tips: Taking Great Photos Keep your camera handy. Great photographs make great scrapbooks. Carry your camera everywhere and keep these simple guidelines in mind whenever you want to capture a memory:

Be generous with film. Opportunities will present themselves just once, and the price of film is very minor when compared to the cost of a vacation or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Capture the moment. The best shots are unposed and capture the personality of the subjects. Blurred movements rarely occur with today’s super-fast films.

Record the moment. Keep a small notebook with you so you can write down names, places, dates, and any other pertinent information about the people and the places you photograph.

Stay close to the scene. Try to position the camera no more than 8 feet from the subject.

Two is better than one. Take one shot of the people, and then take a second shot of the background in order to set the mood.

Throw some light on it. Have your subject face the sun, or keep the sun behind your own shoulder. Early morning and late afternoon on a sunny day are ideal times for taking pictures; bright noonday sun creates harsh shadows and makes people squint their eyes. Gray days produce grainy photos.

Create an eye-catching composition. Rather than place your subject directly in the center of the photo, adjust your frame so the subject is about one-third of the way from the edge. The same rule applies when shooting a still life or landscape.

Better Journaling For Scrapbookers

Without journaling the photos on your scrapbook pages will lose their meaning over the years. As memories fade, the pictures no longer hold as much value by themselves. Journaling is simply telling the story that goes with the photographs. It can be as concise as a date and title, or it can be long paragraphs that share your thoughts and feelings. Here are three things you can do to make your journaling better:

1) Write from the heart. Journaling that tells how the people in the photographs felt, what they heard, smelled, saw, and enjoyed is journaling that completes the story found in those pictures. On your next scrapbook page, ask yourself these questions: Why do I love this picture? What was special about that day? How did I feel when I took this photo? Use the answers to help you improve your journaling.

2) Use a poem or quote. Sometimes you just cannot come up with the best words to use on a scrapbook page. At those times, it could be that the best words are not your own. Try using an excerpt from a poem or a quote that applies to the photos.

3) Use fonts sparingly. I love all the fantastic fonts that are available for scrapbookers, however, a common mistake is using too many on a page. Stick to just one or two fonts per layout, to give your pages a clean and cohesive feel.

Journaling Your Memories by Your Family Legacy

In preserving your family heritage, journaling is the addition of written details often done to compliment a picture or document. The most common kind of journaling is noting the names of people in a photograph, but as easy as this is, there is one all too familiar mistake made here – the habit of referring to people in relation to oneself. You may have already encountered this in your own quest to discover the identities of people in old photographs even when someone went to the bother to include names, such as “Great Aunt Claire, Mom, Dad, and Sis.” You may find yourself asking, “Whose Great Aunt Claire? Whose Mom and Dad!” The frustration can be maddening, so always use first and last names. Remember that journaling isn’t just for your own reference but for future generations who may not know who made the notations. Of course the paper and ink you use should be archival quality and you should avoid writing on the actual photo or document. Journal next to, beneath, or on an adjacent scrapbook page. Include dates, names, events and any other details you may know.

Think of journaling as telling a story – write down the sort of things you say when you show someone your scrapbook or genealogy collection. Perhaps an ancestor was a privateer during the American Revolution, or a blacksmith who fashioned his wife’s wedding ring himself out of gold he panned in the Black Hills.

Journal notations are the perfect way to hand down family lore too, noting of course that they may not be fact. You may note that the tree in the background of a photo was where a known outlaw was supposedly hung, or that an ancestor was the first to suggest to Abraham Lincoln that he go into politics, or that the family home in the last century was thought to be haunted. You may wish to dedicate the first page or first section of your heritage album or notebook to family stories and lore. Don’t be afraid to include family superstitions since they say so much about the times, including our own.

Of course journaling doesn’t have to accompany pictures or documents. You could keep your own journal of your daily life or take a notebook along to genealogy libraries, cemeteries, and record rooms of private libraries, anywhere you go to do your family research, and jot down your thoughts, ideas, questions and theories. They may help you in future searches or give clues to genealogists researching your family a hundred years from now.

Journaling with More Speed and Ease Pre-writing the Key to Faster and More Satisfying Journaling By Joanna Campbell Slan

Pre-writing is the act of planning for what you will eventually write. Much of pre-writing has to do with collecting and organizing your information. One of my writing teachers once explained that by pre-writing you cut your actual writing time in half. I think you can actually save more than that by having information at your fingertips when you start to write.

Let’s go through the steps of the pre-writing process:

Collect your information. Carry a Tyvek envelope with you on trips. (Tyvek is that indestructible material they use to make mailing envelopes. If you pick up these envelopes from the post office where they are free for priority mail use, you could also mail them home if you get overloaded.) Toss in memorabilia such as brochures, postcards, ticket stubs and so on. Debbie Mock from Memory Makers magazine also slips receipts into smaller envelopes in date order. Re-tracing her steps is made easier by checking the places and dates on the receipts. If you are confused about where you were on Monday, and you know the date, a look at the restaurant receipt may bring the whole day back into focus for you. One problem with this: When I looked at my receipts from Egypt, they didn’t do me much good because I couldn’t read the language. You might want to jot a note on the receipt as you tuck it away-in your language or one you can decipher!

File your information. Files that work for me include topics like pets, family, parenting, kids, poems, sports, and trips. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find in the newspapers and magazines when you start to look. Cool quotations, cartoons, art, facts, and studies all help round out your journaling. So, when I found the perfect poem about parenting, I tucked it in to a file and used it as the basis of pages to explore my relationship with my son. A photo of a doll cake reminded me of cakes my grandmother used to make for us. A cartoon with a plaintive dog will give me art to copy on my light table to illustrate “Who let the dog out?” the chant we hear at all the Rams games.

Sort your information. Use page protectors to sort your collected information. When I have the photos developed, I throw the ones I want into a page protector, along with paper, embellishments, and then pull the information I’ve collected. (Sometimes the information comes after the photos, and then there’s little need for filing because everything goes in a page protector.) Having all my pieces in one place makes getting started on pages easier.

Make notes as you work on the page. Scribble them on a scrap of paper that you can tuck in your page protector. Often as you work with memorabilia and photos, old memories resurface. That information surfaced at a key moment, and you want to keep it with the material that triggered it.

Create your page layout, leaving room for SOFJ.

Sit down and write. Typically, I’ll have four to six layouts done when I sit down to write up the journaling. Because I always compose on computer, I simply stack up the pages and write my journaling for each one. I print out rough copies on regular computer paper. I compare the print outs to the spacing on the page. Then, I adjust for margins, color or spacing. When I’m happy with my results, I print out the journaling on archival paper. Because I’m writing for many pages at once, I waste very little paper. Often I can put two or three journaling blocks on one sheet of archival paper. With that in mind, I group together the journaling that will go on cream colored paper and separate it from the journaling that will go on white paper. If you don’t want to use your computer generated journaling boxes, you can still use your computer to compose your journaling. Afterwards, hand letter your journaling onto the page in the space you’ve saved.


I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that journaling takes effort. I write for a living, and some days I sit down to journal and think, “This is like eating my vegetables. I’d rather be eating dessert, thank you.” That said, today I ran across an old handout I’d written for a journaling class. The handout included a humorous anecdote about my son-an anecdote I’d totally forgotten. I marveled at the story and thought, “Thank goodness I wrote this down!”

Yes, writing family stories can take time and energy. But so does everything worthwhile in life. As time passes, you’ll return to the pages you made with complete journaling on them and recognize how precious they are. After all, it’s the stories about your family that make your pages unique. Without our stories, we just have photo albums. For most of us, our goal was memory albums, and those demand a little more of our time and effort.

Photography – Keeping the Camera Stable

If you wish to avoid blurred images (a process known as “camera shake”) it is essential to keep your camera steady. When standing up – keep the camera strap around your neck at all times, put your eye to the viewfinder, and tuck your elbows into your sides for stability. Take a deep breath and exhale. At the bottom of the exhale, snap the picture. When taking vertical shots – hold the camera against a solid surface such as a post, a wall, or a tree trunk for support. Or rest your elbows on the back of a bench or table. If you have to lie down, try using your camera bag as a support, making sure that buckles and/or straps are not in the way of the lens.

Use Your Coluzzle

The Coluzzle cutting system is one of the most versatile and innovative tools in the paper crafting industry. But some people find it downright intimidating. And yet your Coluzzle allows you to create evenly spaced borders and mats in a variety of templates, as well as custom envelopes, cards & tags, creative lettering, and other page accents. You can even combine the standard templates to make new shapes.

Using your Coluzzle is easy when you keep these tips in mind:

Step One: The first thing you’ll want to do is take off the plastic film from *both* sides of the template. This very thin covering is just for protecting the templates from scratches that could occur during shipping.

Next, it really helps to clean your channels, even with a brand new template. Hold the template up in the air, so you can see through it. Then run the dull (non-cutting) side of your blade through the channels.

Step Two: Place a rubber mat on your work surface to protect it from cuts. Place the Coluzzle Easy Glide cutting mat (which looks like Styrofoam packing material) on top of the mat. Your photo or paper goes on top of the cutting mat, and then the Coluzzle template of your choice goes on top of that, carefully placed where you want to cut.

Step Three: Now you’re ready to start cutting. Hold the cutting knife in the textured area between your thumb and pointer finger. This finger placement will help make sure you keep the knife straight up and down (perpendicular to the cutting surface). One of the most common mistakes is to try to hold the knife as you would a pencil, but this can make the blade break and won’t allow for easy cutting.

Find the straightest point on your template (the point that is curved the least), and carefully place the tip of the blade in the channel. When you insert the blade, make sure not to nick the sides. If you get a nick, you can sand it out with very fine sandpaper, but it’s important to do your best to prevent them in the first place.

Now simply let the blade do the work. The channel will guide the knife naturally and will steer itself around small curves and corners. At 90 degree angles, it helps to reinsert the knife and cut from the other direction. A

s you let the blade slide through the channel, keep your wrist still. In fact, the Coluzzle website advises users to imagine the wrist in a cast. Lift your elbow off the table and move your arm from the elbow, as though you are moving a gearshift. Try not to twist your wrist or your fingers. Instead, pull up the blade and start again. If your blade isn’t sliding easily through the channel, clean your template again, as described in Step One.

I’ve marked each channel in my nested templates with a different colored maker, so I can more easily tell which channel I’m using. Other paper crafters number the channels or color every other channel with a marker.

I also use my Coluzzle to save on cardstock. You can cut mats and save the center for other items on the page.

When you are finished, store the Coluzzle on a flat, even surface. And don’t leave your templates in a hot car. Heat can warp the plastic.


Scrapbooking is unlike almost everything else in your life.

As a mother of small children, the layouts and cards that you make stay finished, unlike the dishes and the diaper changes. When your done with a piece, put it up where you can see it as you walk past, and feel a small but sure sense of accomplishment. And that is one of the reasons to scrapbook. There are others: – Scrapbooking offers a connection to the community. Classes and crops are serving the same social function that quilting bees once did. This is a time to get together with friends, to share precious memories, to exercise your artistic expression, and to get something accomplished. – When your children leave home, and if they are ever feeling down, they will look through the scrapbook you’ve created for them. They will hear your words and feel your love span across time and space. And, beyond that, when you are gone, your voice, your memories, and the written and visual record of your philosophy and your values will live on. – Scrapbooking helps us to remember that our life is our art. The time you spend Scrapbooking helps to remember that every single moment you spend being a good mom – as well as a good human being – is time spent in positive, artistic creation. And I have no doubt that if we all spent more of our time in positive, artistic creation, the world would be a better place. Whenever I spend time cropping, I relish the present moment with my family more fully as the very moments I seek to capture and celebrate on my pages play out in my living room. Time spent Scrapbooking is time spent in open, ardent appreciation of your family and the experiences that you have had. It’s a way of honoring the experiences and people in your life with your time and reflection. A scrapbook is a treasured gift. It is a piece of the real you – the real artistic, emotional you – which encourages others to show their artistic, emotional, real selves, too. And you can start today!

Introduction To Tear Art

An Article for Those who want to be a Little rough Around the Edges

One night about six years ago, a Scrapbooking friend and I tore things up in my scrap room. Literally. We ripped, folded, and glued paper and cardstock until our fatigued fingers hung limply from our hands. This late-night project was inspired by a fellow teacher who tore paper pieces to artistically enhance her classroom bulletin board displays. Certain that her “tear art” could be applied to our scrapbooks; we set out to deliberately alter our perfectly pristine pre-cut edges until our fanatical shredding became a skill. Throughout the process we learned that paper tearing:

Saves time
Provides new artistic options
Draws a new kind of attention to layouts
Offers quick and easy designs that are easy to implement in a variety of layout themes Pushing ourselves beyond our perceived limitations, ironically, helped us discover that tear art looks its best when done simply!

Here’s what else we discovered that grueling night: How do you tear paper or cardstock to get the look you want?

1. Hold a piece of cardstock in front of you with both hands.
2. Grasp it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers (between the first and second knuckles).
3. Squeeze and pull forward at an angle with your dominant hand and twist backward with the other. This way your finger and thumb of your less-dominant hand becomes your anchor and gauge while you’re dominant hand becomes the tearing machine. Note: The closer you hold your fingers (especially your thumbs) together, use short pulling motions, and slow down your tear speed the more control you’ll have. The further apart, the less control and the deeper the raw torn edge will be.
4. Practice on scrap paper until you’re comfortable and can achieve the look you want.

Tearing creates a soft edge on paper or cardstock that subdues bold colors, enhances texture, and offers depth to your layout without adding layers of paper to your layout. The texture of tear art works especially well in country, folk, collage, masculine, and heirloom layouts. We found that torn edges provide an aged look and feel in heirloom layouts that set off older photos and that the more rugged the rip in masculine layouts the better. Different types of paper produce different types of tears. Dyed cardstock and paper create like colored tears while printed papers are varied depending on the core paper or cardstock the paper was printed on. Because of this, torn printed paper produces a beautiful light against dark contrast when the center layer is exposed. My favorite paper of choice is the cardstock from Bazzill Basics Cardstock because of its texture, the way the torn edge looks and the coordinating colors. There are many benefits to using tear art in your layouts. For example, tear art is not precise so it is easy to do. Here are some illustrations of what tear art is:

1.Tear art is a timeless technique that can be used for present day or heirloom photos.

2. Tear art is easy to do.

3. Tear art is dressy or casual.

4. Tear art is versatile and can be finished with numerous techniques and products.

There are eight easy steps for making your final tear art product a success.

1. Pick or design a desired finished pattern.
2. Choose your paper or cardstock.
3. Measure where you will place your torn pieces.
4. Trace or draw your pattern with a pencil.
5. Tear on or near the penciled line.
6. Erase pencil lines.
7. Decorate or embellish your pattern.
8. Add completed piece to your layout.

If you’re a Type-A personality, the thought of tear art and its irregular edges could make you squeamish. I know. That’s where I used to be. But, by putting my precise ways aside, I’ve learned that it’s okay to let loose, tear it up, and get a little rough around the edges; especially since it’s the imperfections of life that make our world a masterpiece. Get your Cardstock today and start tearing your way to beautiful pages!

Simple Scrapbookooking Tips and Ideas

Simple Scrapbooking Tips & Idea Scrapbooking is a great hobby and a wonderful way to preserve your photos with style! The art of Scrapbooking is not hard at all! All you really need is a creative mind and the urge to create masterpieces! Once you have the general idea of Scrapbooking down, use these ideas to create more meaningful pages! Your Photos- The photos you use in your Scrapbooking layouts will reflect the moment you want to save forever. Instead of having everyone pose for photos, try to take pictures without poses. The pictures you catch in action, also make great photos for layouts. If you use pictures that have been professionally taken or pictures that were posed for, try to also add some pictures that capture actions and faces, instead of all posed pictures. Color Schemes- When you are selecting the color papers to use with your layouts, try to coordinate with your photos. This way you do not draw to much attention from the photos. When you’re pictures, paper, and embellishments coordinate with each other, your pages will stand out more than if everything clashes. If you have an idea for a layout and your pictures just don’t match, try to edit the pictures with any photo editor and make the pictures black and white, or sepia. These tones seem to work well with any color schemes, Journaling- Once your page is complete; make sure you add your journaling! It is important to add your thoughts on the moments that were captured in the pictures. Journaling is a great way to express your feelings and a good way to save the memories for years to come. Journaling can be in the form of what was happening when the photos were being taken, where the photos were taken, and your thoughts when you saw the pictures, or any thing that comes to mind when you think of the photos.

Xyron Help

To eliminate the extra adhesive around die cuts, letter blocks, etc. that I have run through my Xyron, after I run my item through and BEFORE I peel the clear plastic coating away, I use my embossing styles to gently trace around my object, then peel away the plastic and that extra goo is gone.

Sticker Art

Working with scrapbook stickers can be tricky. You want to make your design is laid out properly before you adhere them to the pages. An easy scrapbook technique is to lay out your design on wax paper or plastic wrap. As wax paper and plastic wrap are transparent, you can move it around over the page and get some idea of where the art will look best before having to commit.

Mulberry Paper

Mulberry Paper is a fibrous paper which adds a lovely soft touch to a mounted photo, journaling or title. There are several scrapbook techniques to keep in mind when working with this paper. Take care to use only paper which is acid free and lignin free. For best effect Mulberry Paper should be torn. The trick to tearing Mulberry Paper to the desired shape is to moisten it using a paintbrush dipped in water before gently easing apart the fibers. The wider the area moistened, the more ragged the edge. Make sure the paper is dry before mounting.

Finding Time To Scrapbook

Learn how to create time for your Scrapbooking Hobby
You’ve organized the pictures, you have lots of paper and other supplies — in fact you have so many, you are now a certified scrapbook supply collector! However, there is a bigger problem for you and it is called a lack of time. You know that no one will be able to enjoy the great moments you captured on film if you don’t get going, yet day in and day out, you just can’t find the time to scrapbook.

I know the reality is that sometimes it is just too hard to get going on our Scrapbooking. I also know that the majority of scrapbookers are mothers, who must take care of the needs and wants of their children, and take care of a home. With cooking, cleaning, and in some cases, work outside of the home, how are you to find the time? In this article, I hope to help you find that time so that you can make progress in your Scrapbooking.

Your Attitude

Now, don’t take that heading the wrong way, but you have to admit, you attitude has a lot to do with your lack of Scrapbooking. It isn’t that your attitude is bad; it is just that you haven’t got to a point yet where you really want to make the time to scrapbook. No matter how convincing I am trying to sound, and no matter how many times you read this article, or others like it, you won’t make the time unless you REALLY want to. Make senses?

Now is the time to change your way of thinking. While we all hate to think about it, imagine if tomorrow you were gone from this Earth. Would you leave behind albums full of memories or boxes full of photos? This is not to say that you have to be totally caught up — in some cases, you will never be caught up. Accept that fact and move on. Decide now and today that you will make Scrapbooking a priority!

To-Do Lists

“To-Do” Lists are one way to remind yourself to spend some time scrapping. With “To-Do” Lists, you develop a list everyday that has all the things you need or want to get done. I suggest starting off with the tasks that are most important. Chances are that with all the things you have to get done, Scrapbooking won’t be at the top of your list, but make sure you get it on there somewhere. Also, be sure to be specific about what you want to get done with your Scrapbooking that day. For example, if you have been working on a specific layout, make a goal to get it done. As you work down your list, cross off each task that you have completed. Imagine the satisfaction you will feel when you have completed your “have-to’s” and now you get to spend sometime on your scrapbooks!

Same Time, Same Place

Some scrappers have found that they can get the most done with their Scrapbooking when they scrap at the same time of day, everyday. This time is different for everyone. Mothers with small children in the home may find using the time they have during naps or after the children are in bed for the night, the best time to scrap. Others who have children in school during the day will find that to be the best time. Consider the following when deciding when the best time is for you to schedule your scrapping time:

Can I scrap well with my children around?
When do I usually enjoy my leisure activities?
Do I scrap better during long scrapping sessions or small blocks of time?

Answering these questions will help you to determine when scrapping will best fit into your schedule.

Me, My TV, & My Scrapbooks

Another idea for finding the time is to plan your Scrapbooking during a favorite television show. Let’s say you love to watch the hour long drama “E.R.” on NBC every week. Make a pact with yourself that you will not allow yourself to sit and watch “E.R.” unless you are scrapping at the same time. What a great incentive! The best part is that if you do no other scrapping all week, you can rest assured you are making some progress because you will get something done during that favorite TV show!

Your Own Scrapbook Area

I don’t mean necessarily a whole room (but those are great too!), but how about a table or desk, just for your scrapping? If possible, find an area of your home that you can set up and leave all your Scrapbooking supplies at it. If you have a place that everything is ready at all the time, you are more likely to work on your scrapbooks. If you have to lug out all your pictures, albums and supplies every time, you might find your Scrapbooking hobby to be a hassle and that isn’t going to help motivate you!


One of the best ways I have found to really get some scrapping done is to plan scrapping sessions, also known as crops, with a friend or two or at a local scrapbook store. Usually when you make plans with someone else, you will follow through, but when it is only you, you tend to let other things get in the way. So, find a friend that enjoys Scrapbooking — all you really need is just one other person, but sometimes the more the merrier! Then schedule the best time for your scrapping — once a week.

Don’t have a Scrapbooking friend? Visit your local scrapbook store and see when they have crops — sign up for the next one and in no time, you will have scrapping buddies!

Cutting Tools: Decorative Scissors

For a handy reference to see how your decorative scissors will look, use your scissors to cut card stock into 5.5″ x 4 .5″ rectangles. Cut one half, then turn the scissors the other way so you can see how the pattern will look in the negative. Keep the card stock in a display folder. When trying to decide on an appropriate mat you can lay the photo onto the pages of the folder and see how it looks. Take the binder with you when you go to purchase additional scrapbook cutting tools to make sure you don’t purchase a duplicate.

Top Ten Scrapbooking Tips

1. Use 2 or 3 main colors in your page layouts. I try to look to my photos for inspiration. Who or what do you want to emphasize? Use colors that draw attention to the most important subject in your photos.
2. Pick 1 or 2 photos to “highlight” on your page. Leave those photos a bigger size or double mat them. This gives your page focus and it makes it so much easier when you realize you don’t have to mat or double mat every picture.
3. Use simple shapes for your pictures. I use my trimmer, corner rounder and oval and circle cutting system to do all my cropping. They are fast and easy and the shapes look clean and neat. Every once in a while I cut my pictures into shapes. Don’t know what to do with all your stencils? Just trace the shapes onto your page for a fun “box” to journal in!
4. Try to think of your layouts as 2 page spreads. Even when your subjects change on each page you can “tie them together” by using a similar color scheme or technique. Even if you use completely different colors or decorations sometimes placing them the same way (like a border) gives the spread continuity.
5. Sticker Art! Don’t just randomly place your stickers on a page; use them as a group, a border or as an enhancement to your title or journaling. Don’t feel like you have to use all the stickers on a strip – sometimes one or two is all you need. It is also fun to mix different sticker designs. You can draw “doodles” around your stickers to better integrate them into your page design. One of the easiest ways to become a “sticker artist” is to use border rulers and fine tip pens with your stickers.
6. Miscellaneous pages – sometimes there isn’t a theme like Easter or School and you just have a lot of different pictures you want to include in your album. Think of a way to group them together by using a layout or title idea. Maybe a “favorite people” page or “What do I like to do” page. Even humorous pages like “I need to learn to take better pictures” or “the many faces of …”
7. Alphabet stickers – These are great for titles or making a phrase jump out on your page, especially if you don’t have perfect handwriting! You can also just use one letter at the beginning of a word or sentence and then handwrite the rest.
8. Patterned Paper – less is more. Busy papers can detract from your pictures but they can be a fun way to enhance your theme. If you use a busy print to mat your pictures – mat them on a plain color first to give them contrast. You can use patterned paper in small amounts like triangles in the corners of the page or even as a border so it doesn’t overwhelm my page.
9. Make theme albums. I keep chronological albums for my children but most of my other pictures go into theme type albums. You can keep an album for your husband’s camping, fishing and scouting pictures. Pictures from sporting events go into my “sports mission” book. You can have a family Christmas album with just a page or two from each Christmas. This is a great album to have sitting out for guests to look at during their holiday visits. You can use your leftover pictures to make gift albums for grandparents, aunts & uncles, tribute albums or learning books for my kids (abc’s etc). Don’t feel limited to keeping chronological albums. Also, if you take a big vacation – you may need an entire album for the pictures. I use the 12×12 size for my children’s albums and those that I know I will have a lot of pictures for. The 8.5 x 11 and 5×7 albums are great for gifts or for smaller theme albums.
10. Try something new! Look through the idea books and magazines. There are SO MANY good ideas that are easy to duplicate or adapt to your own theme. It is easy to get in a “rut” and start doing the same thing on each page. Try tilting a picture, putting a border in a different place or overlapping pictures.

Tips for Fabulous Photos

1. Use the right film. One film speed won’t work for all lighting situations so it can be tricky if you want to use one roll of film to capture your day at the park and your daughter’s indoor dance recital. 100 and 200 speed films are the least expensive but they need more light. They are good in bright and outdoor light settings. 400 speed films are great for action shots. The higher the speed of film, the easier it is to “freeze” the action. 800 speed film and higher are best for high action shots or low light situations.
2. Turn your camera. This is one of the hardest habits to break. I seem to take all my pictures in the horizontal mode. Remember to turn your camera and get the vertical shots – they are often the most dramatic and well framed. Don’t be afraid to try other angles as well for a different and unique look. Get on level with your subject (kneel down to photograph kids) for less distortion in your photos.
3. Pay attention to the background. This may sound obvious but it isn’t. Really look through your viewfinder at more than the subject of the photo. If you have ever had your pictures returned to you only to find that the picture you snapped in front of a busy background made it look like everyone had things growing out of their heads, well then you know what I am talking about. Try to find the least distracting background so the subjects of your photo stand out. Pay attention to where objects and horizon lines are behind the subject.
4. Get Close! Most pictures are taken too far away from the subject. Use your zoom lens or simply stand closer to get a picture that really captures what you want. It is like cropping your pictures without a paper trimmer. Your scrapbook pages will be more dramatic with larger photos instead of having to crop your pictures down to 2 inch squares to get rid of all the extra space in them. Try to frame faces with the frame of your viewfinder.
5. Don’t say “cheese”. Don’t ask people to stop and stifly pose and smile for the camera. You will end up with pictures that don’t capture who the people really are. The smiles will be more natural if you encourage your subject to interact with their surroundings. Catch them in the middle of an activity they enjoy or in action. Also, they don’t have to be smiling! Sincere moods of any sort make for very touching photos. Show the drama of real life and tell the stories of real people in your pictures.

Sew Much Fun

When I was growing up, my mom would sew dresses for me and my sisters for special occasions. We’d go to the fabric store and pore over pattern books, looking for the perfect pattern. I’d be so excited to try on each piece of the dress as it came together like a puzzle. Sewing clothing is as much a mystery to me now as it was when I was eight years old, but I’ve discovered a way to put that Bernina to good use! Even if you’ve never sewn a single scrap of clothing, you can still use your sewing machine to add fun looks to your scrapbook pages by sewing on accents, journaling blocks and borders From journaling blocks to accents to borders, you can create charming looks on your scrapbook pages by stitching elements with a sewing machine. Practice on a piece of scrap paper first to get the feel of sewing on paper. With a pencil or a disappearing ink pen, draw lines where you plan to stitch. If you’re going to tear the edges of your photo mat or accent , sew first and tear second. Avoid sewing through more than three pieces of cardstock. Avoid “knotting” off the end of your stitching by going back and forth over the same area, as you do on fabric. This will cause perforation. Simply quit sewing; the stitches won’t unravel easily. You may want to secure the item you’re sewing to the page with adhesive first so it won’t move while you’re working. Wondering what exactly to sew on your scrapbook page? That’s easy—anything you would otherwise glue to your page can be sewn on. Here are some fun ideas to get you started : Ribbon, ricrac or fabric accents, die cuts, Wallies or your own handmade designs, pockets, journaling blocks, memorabilia, title blocks photo mats, borders, patches & flowers.