Spring Break Guest | Cathy Zielske


While on vacation this week we've invited a few of our friends to share their favorite layout of all time  +  why it is so special to them.

Say hello to Cathy Zielske.

I didn’t have to think too long and hard to come up with my favorite layout of all time.

I’ve been scrapbooking since 2001 and there’ve been many a page that I leave out on my dining room table (a.k.a. my scrap room), walk by and go, “Yep. That one. I am kind of awesome.”

Maybe cocky statements seem out of place in this hobby, but I’d argue they’re a really good sign that you’re doing it right. And what is right? Simple. It’s doing it in a way that makes you happy.


The page I’m sharing today always comes to mind when I think of a layout that hits all the points necessary to bring me complete joy in the memory-keeping process.

The crazy part is that I had absolutely nothing to do with writing the story. For a girl who prides herself on telling the true, authentic story in her one and only writer’s voice, it had to be pretty high up on the list of everything else to claim the coveted top spot in my pantheon of pages.

Be still my memory-saving heart.

Let’s consider the top photo on the layout as Exhibit A, featuring a 31-year-old, first-time, ecstatic-to-have-procreated father with his 6-month old, ridiculously adorable and pretty-new-to-planet-Earth daughter. To me the photo says: unbridled joy.

Now for Exhibit B, the lower photo taken 14 years after the first one, featuring a 45-year-old much more experienced, tender-hearted father of two and a 14-year-old decidedly not-angst-y yet soulful teenager whose world was expanding every day. To me the photo says: unbreakable bond.

Ah, photos. They can hit you right in the stomach and evoke joy, gratitude and the sweetest kind of heart-tugging bittersweet pain.

Add to that a father who has a warm, personal message to share with his daughter and you have what is perhaps the best part of this hobby of ours: real stories.

JOURNALING READS | Here we are in 1996—big grins, big dreams, big life ahead of us. I have always cherished our exclusive time together. From laying in your bed until you fell asleep, to going for our runs with you in the baby jogger and later with you on bicycle, to walking down to the Chelsea Heights playground where you would discover a new best friend, you bring joy to every occasion. I recall once when you were about three, seeing a girl of about 13 walking by herself near Summit Ave. I never saw her face, but just the way she carried herself with her singular style and her confident gait made me jump 10 years to imagining that she was you. Here we are in 2010. Collectively our hair is about the same. Your gaze in this photo says so much about who you have become, who you have always been. Your assured demeanor,  your inner confidence, your poring, pensive nature are all on display here. I have spent much of my adult life trying to hold onto what it is like to be a kid in the midst of grown-up responsibilities. It’s exhilarating and scary to think of how much I still need to be a parent, but also how much, at the same time, it begins to be time to get out of the way.

Journaled by Daddy, February 2010


This is what I want my memory keeping to be.

I don’t care about the trends that come and go. I don’t care that I don’t have a shit load of product on every page. I don’t care if I use the same fonts and the same designs over and over again.

I just want to feel something when I look back on this document of life.

I want to remember a tender moment.

I want to bear witness to an unbreakable bond.

I want to see our true lives in all their wondrous, messy and imperfect glories.

I want to see perspectives other than my own reflected on the pages of my albums.

This is my favorite layout and every time I see it all I can say to myself is, “Yep. That one. They are kind of awesome.”

LAYOUT SUPPLIES |  Layered Template No. 47, Olan Solids Paper Pack, Just Linens No. 1 Paper Pack, Photoshop Elements, Archer Font.

Cathy Zielske is a graphic designer who loves her family, typography, clean and simple design, french fries and Silence of the Lambs. Her motto: own your life, document it well and preserve reality. Her mission: take the ‘crap out of scrapbooking. To that end, she offers digital products, online workshops, and writes about crap-free approaches to memory keeping on her blog.  

CONNECT WITH CATHY ONLINE | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Designer Digitals

Sign in or sign up to comment.

37 thoughts