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Scrapbooking Q & A : Scrapbooking Baby, Getting Started/Design Teams, Telling Your Story


I'm excited to hear about your plans for scrapbooking your
pregnancy.... are you putting together a scrapbook at all and if so...
how are you going about it?

Posted by: Jamie Wolma

Right now I am documenting things in a book called Waiting For Baby created by my friend Tracey Clark. It's perfect for me - I just want to get stuff written down for now and later on can decide if I want to make stuff with the content or just let it live as is within the pages of the book.

Can you tell us how you are preparing 'scrapbook-wise' for the baby?...are you doing pages ahead of time? Are you purchasing a baby book or making your own?
Posted by: caryl

I am not sure if I will do pages ahead of time or just leave it until when the baby arrives. Most likely I may put together some sort of baby book minibook or album - just not sure yet. So much of it will depend on motivation, time, etc. I want to think it through a bit more before tackling it.



I am extremely intimidated by scrapbooking - it seems expensive and there is so much out there. How can someone on a meager budget get started? What supplies are essential? How do I decide where to pick up in my life - I struggle with not doing things in chronological order?
Posted by: nicole miller

One of my biggest tips for someone wanting to start scrapbooking is to really stick with the basics in the beginning: cardstock (you don't need 50 colors - grab three colors (or less) and start there), adhesive , a good trimmer, black pen, maybe some basic letter stamps + ink (which can go a long way vs. a single use letter sticker sheet), and an album to hold your finished pages.

Scrapbooking does not have to be a lot of stuff. Keep the focus on the words + the photos.

As for where to pick up your life story, it is really up to you. As I mentioned in a previous answer yesterday, consider choosing three stories to focus on first. They could be from yesterday or today or 15 years ago. I don't scrapbook in chronological order but I do put my pages in my albums in chronological order. I tell the stories that are most inspiring me or most needing to be told at any particular time.

As you are thinking of those three stories others may pop into your head that you want to tell. Have a piece of paper handy (or open a new document on your computer) and jot those down as they come into your head. Once you get going I am betting that a lot more stories will come to mind that are just waiting to be told by you.

I've been trying apply to different design teams but get turned down all the time. Everyone keeps telling me no, and I was wondering how you dealt with that in the beginning and if you have any ideas for me?
Posted by: Linda

Maybe it is time to take a break from applying and time to focus on just making pages you love rather than ones to submit. I think there is a different mentality that goes into pages created with a contest or try-out in mind and those that are made "just for fun" or "just for you."

When I first started scrapbooking design teams were not as popular as they are today. I know when I first began submitting pages to the magazines I sent in every single page I created (not thinking I was going to make a career out of this but just enjoying the process) and none of them were picked up until I became one of the Hall of Fame winners in 2003. Even after Hall of Fame many of my pages were not chosen for publication.

I think when it starts getting you down it is time to re-evaluate why you are submitting in the first place and how the entire process is impacting you love for this craft.

What suggestions do you have for someone who has an interest in making a career out of scrapbooking? How do you get started or get your name out there? I have done a wedding album for someone and she loved it and everyone is always suggesting that I scrapbook for people and get paid but I don't know where to start!
Posted by: Nicole

A lot of it depends on your definition of "career." Do you want to make a bit of additional income or do you want to support your family or yourself with this money? It is hard to make a full-time career out of scrapbooking. There are many people who are supplimenting incomes or piecing together an overall income with money generated through making pages for others, magazine publication, book writing, working for manufacturers, product design, etc.

If you are looking to create a business making albums/pages for others I would suggest reading up on starting your own business. Learn about marketing, finance, wholesale ordering, taxes, etc - there are so many things that go into owning your own business that are really important to learn about before jumping in with both feet.

I think having a blog and showcasing your work online is one tool in your marketing toolbox. If you are looking for local business you should check into local events that are targeted towards the market you are looking at servicing. Word of mouth is often one of the best ways to get your business known in local communities.



I've been struggling a lot with my journaling lately. It just isn't flowing easily for me (might have something to do with being 37+ weeks pregnant). There's so much I want to say yet when I sit down I can't seem to get it out on paper. Any tips?
Posted by: Heather M.

One of my biggest tips is to allow yourself to write in bits and pieces rather than feeling pressure to sit down and get it all out in one sitting.

Here's one thing I have done in the past: come up with a list of questions for yourself to answer each time you have a couple minutes to write something. Having a specific question to answer makes it a whole lot easier than staring at a blank piece of paper of a blank screen. I think that is why I am liking working out of the Waiting For Baby book right now. I am just answering questions - those promts are all I need to keep me moving forward.

Another thing - try writing in a different style. Write lists intead of paragraphs. Write to your baby - consider love letters. Give yourself a bit more freedom in how you "think" it should be.

My four-year-old nephew was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor two years ago. While he was in the hospital and also during his radiation and chemotherapy I took hundreds of photos. I tried to take a picture of every Doctor and Nurse who treated him so we could put a name to a face. It’s now two years later and he is in remission. My question is this: I want to make a scrapbook of the entire experience. But, I feel very overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation. How can you make a scrapbook lighthearted when it was such a heavy experience? Also, do you have any place that you’ve found good medical scrapbook supplies? Everything that I’ve found is too cutesy.
Posted by: Meg

My first question would be why do you want to make it lighthearted? It sounds like it was a very serious situation and my initial thought would be that I would want the scrapbook to reflect the variety of different emotions that go along with the story: the highs and the lows.

Here's a couple of suggestions:

1. Because you have so many photos you may want to consider using divided page protectors for all those photos. Here's some from We Are Memory Keepers that hold six 4x6 photos on each side. Some could be photos and others could include journaling printed on 4x6 pieces of cardstock or patterned paper. The doctor's and nurse's names could be typed or handwriting on journaling strips and attached to the photos before placing them in the page protectors.

2. Spend some time writing out the story before you start doing anything crafty. This part may take a bit of time as you literally document, from the beginning, the story of this journey. After you have written out the story (or typed it up as the case may be) then you can break it down into "chapters" which will help you in organizing the album.

As for the medical scrapbook supplies, I don't have any information on those. I don't usually gravitate towards theme-based embellishments that match the story I am telling. I tend to pick up ones that have to do with life, memory, time, etc - all of which would work with the story you are telling here. Let the photos showcase the medical equipment and the hospital.

I love the concept of words + photos. Right to the point and very effective, clean way to scrap. I was wondering if you have done any layouts about yourself with this concept? I want to make sure I include myself in my scrapbooks (something I am behind on) and I don't have many photos of myself as a child. So how would you apply this way of scrapbooking for layouts about you as a child?? And could you do layouts like this with no photos, maybe words only??
Posted by: kim strother

It has been awhile since I have done a page about myself. I need to add this to my list again especially now as things are changing for me once again. Here's a couple of examples of pages from my childhood that are mainly words + photos:

[ from A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking ]

This one is an example of a layout that is more photos than words. Sometimes the stories we know from the past are only bits of information - this one focuses on different activities I did with my Dad as a toddler.


This layout [ from Life Artist ] is most likely my favorite layout I have created. I love it because it is simply words + photos. This sort of model could be used on a layout about yourself as a child. Each photo (or almost every photo) has a bit of a story attached - this could be used to document a series of photos of you from different periods of time. I love to compare and contrast time in my layouts.

You could also do single page layouts with one photo of you as a child and document through your words what that photo brings up for you: memories, emotions, etc. Keep it simple and focused on the story.

And yes, I absolutely think you can do pages with no photos and just words. Absolutely.


Q & A posts :
MiniBooks/Sharing Your Story/Supplies
Design/Inspiration/Finding Your Style
Events/Teaching/Internet/Creating Keepsakes/Misc.
Hybrid/Digital Scrapbooking/Photoshop
Excess/Feeling Behind/Overwhelmed/Purging/Donating Supplies
Organization + Storage/Work + Life + Finding Time
Scrapbooking Baby/Getting Started + Design Teams/Telling Your Story
Techniques/Photography + Printing

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17 thoughts

  1. sara says…

    @Meg's question:
    I did a scrapbook for friends of mine whose daughter died of cancer... they chose the photos and many of them were of the hosptial since much of their time with her in her last years was spent there. I personally tried to focus more on their daughter than the surroundings. When we wrote about nurses we wrote about what she loved about them, and the scrapbook supplies were ones that reflected their daughters' intrests. Those things didn't change the gravity of the situation or make it more upbeat, but focusing on the person instead of the situation did give it more cohesiveness (not theme).
    Just a thought.

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  2. Linn says…

    Thanks again for all the great information. Especially about scrapbooking as a career...I think it's so easy for us to see people like you and other scrapbooking 'celebrities' and think we, too, could make a career out of it. I like the idea of creating for yourself and then submitting things as a secondary goal.

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  3. Erin says…

    Wonderful Q & A again, Ali-thanks! Being 34 weeks pregnant with my 3rd son, something I've done with pregnancy is taken a monthly picture of myself and done a "pregnancy album"-jotting notes, and journaling about anything and everything each month. It's nice to see the baby belly grow through the album as well. Some months have tons of journaling, some months have none. Lots of work, I know, but totally worth it. Not that you were looking to hear all of this, I know, but thought I'd share!

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  4. Deanna says…

    I used the Waiting for Baby book also. I loved the open-endedness of it. I did not write as much as I would have liked, but I also had a regular spiral-bound notebook where I wrote my daily journaling, including frustrations and symptoms and little joys.

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  5. jkhenson says…

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the time and effort you put into answering everyone's questions in great detail. You seem like such a thoughtful person and I appreciate that. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. sharna says…

    Thanks for blessing us with all these Q&A's! I've really enjoyed them the last few days...

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Steph says…

    holy cow! :) that's all I have to say. that, and thanks for all the inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Molly says…

    Initial reaction: "she just keeps writing on and on" remarkable series here, Ali. Now to go back and read it ...

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. kim Strother says…

    Thank you so much for answering my question, with layout examples even! Wow! And all of the much good information here. I truly enjoy your blog.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Shelly says…

    Thank you, Ali, for taking the time to do these posts! I have learned so much from you--you're the best!

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  11. Jen says…

    Just re-reading this post now and I was struck my Meg's question. I did an album for my brother's 25th birthday-- it was the story of his being diagnosed with a brain tumor, 2 surgeries and ultimately his journey back to health. I too was looking for medical themed supplies but liked how it came out much better w/o them.
    Here's a link to my album (if that's ok- if not feel free to delete, Ali). Thought it might give you some ideas.
    Best of luck to you!

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  12. Ami says…

    Hi Ali,
    I was lucky enough to take your Evolution class in Provo. I love my album! Just wondering where you purchase the baseball card page protectors?

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. kass says…

    For Meg:
    I am a 2-time cancer survivor but I find it near impossible to scrapbook about it.
    If you don't feel up to telling the story yet, you could start by getting the basics down - choose your cardstock and maybe some paper, lay out a BASIC design and get the photo stuck down. Maybe write underneath who is in the photo. Leave room if you wish to do the journalling later, when you feel you can.
    That might make the task a little less overwhelming.
    Good luck and I am pleased your nephew is in remission :)

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  14. Gina Carvallo says…

    I enjoy very much reading your blog everyday, and I want to congrat you and your family for this baby!
    I have never been a good writer, but when I knew I was pregnant (Nov/2003) I felt I need to write everything I was feeling about my baby, it is a kind of diary, where I express all my feelings and thoughs about her, I remember I did not know if my baby was "she" or "he", but I used to write her how much I love her and every little thing I was feeling inside me. I still do it, not as often as I would like but I try. Sometimes I read it and it is like I come back time and feel it again. Someday I will give this diary to my daughter, because I want her to know how much my love has been growing since she was just a little and tiny "bean" inside me.
    Blessings for you and your baby!

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  15. feellike says…

    dear Ali
    Can I translate your Q&As in my blog to let more people know how to scrapbooking?
    I am a special education teacher in Taiwan.
    (Simon attracts me sooooo.. much.
    He is cute and I love children with autism.They all have pure heart! )
    I just started scapbookink for five months and be inspired from your ideas.
    thanks for all you give me.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Tash says…

    What a wonderful site you have, full of so much useful information, I will be bookmarking you for sure, really great work

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Tash says…

    Great Q&A, absolutely brilliant, love your site, always great info

    Reply 0 Replies

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