Thursday, July 11, 2013

Milestone: My First 8.5 x 11 Scrapbook Layout

I've had "make scrapbook layouts" on my list of goals and dreams for a while. Obviously I'm doing it with Project Life, but I wanted to challenge myself to make "real layouts" that start with an empty sheet of paper and don't have the convenient constraints of all those little pockets to fill.

I've been intimidated by that concept and unable to get started. Finally yesterday, when T was on her first-ever "sleepover" with my parents, I decided to Just.Do.It.  I grabbed Cathy Zielske's most excellent book Clean and Simple Designs for Scrapbooking and started to read. The book is 9 years old, so some of the papers and embellishments look a little dated, but overall her design is so clean and classic that I knew they'd translate well to current papers and color schemes that are my style.

Click any photo to see a larger version.

Here's the design I "scraplifted":

Cathy Zielske, Clean and Simple Scrapbooking, p 37

Here's mine:

My first 8.5x11 layout!


It's obviously a copy of the original design, but I love how it looks updated and more my style, with colorful patterned papers (Amy Tangerine Yes, Please and Sketchbook 6x6 pads) and color photos all taken on my phone.  The squares are 2x2 inches, which is small enough to make a nice grid, but large enough to *see* the photos and add some journaling.  I didn't use the slide mount "pockets" as she used, and just arranged the photos on the page directly. I added a date stamp to the bottom.  I started with the heavy white woodgrain embossed cardstock I've been hoarding - that stuff is truly lovely.

The title block is up on thick foam dots, higher than the ones I used for a few of the grid squares.  The letter stickers are from Kelley Purkey's collection at Simon Says Stamp and the enamel dot is from the super-cheap-on-sale Kathy Davis packs at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts.  I had to restrain myself from using a ton of little sparkly things and stamps - I wanted to retain the clean look of the original.

On a side note, if you have any tips on getting tiny letter stickers straight, I'd love to hear them.  I used a ruler, and they're STILL not perfect.

I usually HATE journaling in the second person ("you") like you're writing a letter to your kid, but I couldn't figure out what else to do on this spread.  Using third person ("she") seemed too impersonal, and using first person from T's point of view ("I") seemed cheesy and contrived.

While I adore the look of computer journaling, it would have taken way too long to format, print, cut and paste it here. It's also important to me to have my handwriting on my layouts somewhere - I think that makes it more personal and "handmade"-looking. I know, this is just my own quirk and laziness mixed in and that's why Cathy Z is a professional and I'm just copying her work :)

But this was REALLY fun to work on.  Once I got past the block of the blank page and just decided to lift someone else's design, I felt free to make changes to "make it my own".  Baby steps, I guess!

Now I can't wait to make more.


  1. Yay! Love it! See, that wasn't so scary... ;)

  2. Lovely! Trillian is so rad... such a worthy topic to cover. I love how you used "Age 3.75". :)

    Tip on getting letter stickers straight: Don't worry about it. Digital scrapbookers purposefully tilt their alphas to make it look more handmade! I would never have noticed if I hadn't looked really, really closely after you mentioned it.

    I've never had the patience to format/print on non-standard sized paper either... I usually just print on either white paper and cut it into strips or I print on vellum and layer it over.

    I have to ask... why 8.5x11? I've been considering moving up in the world from my 8x8's, but feel like the rectangle shape would throw me off. I won't go to a 12x12... too big!

    1. Hey, thanks! 8.5x11 because that's the size of that lovely woodgrain paper I have. I bought a lot of it to cut in my old Silhouette SD which was letter sized.

      12x12 scares me too - so big! I didn't realize yours were all 8x8, I just assumed they were 12x12. I also love the 8x8 size but thought I'd try something different. I like both 8x8 and 8.5x11 so far.

  3. congrats! love the collage of squares look - fresh and modern!
    linda from

  4. Glad you had fun with it!!! The blank page can be overwhelming at first. But just jumping in is a great idea:) starting with a smaller page was a great idea.

  5. Wow...This is what i have been looking for and you have done a great job. Beautiful layout. Thanks for sharing.
    Scrapbooking Stores

  6. Absolutely gorgeous! Love your colorful take!

  7. Awesome take on the original love the design :)

  8. I love it! In fact, I love your version better than the original. The bright colours on the white background really make it pop and I think you've chosen a really nice selection of pp and balanced your photos and journaling well, too. And I think hand journaling is totally the way to go, especially when it's a page for/about a family member (but I'm biased toward hand journaling). :P

    1. Thanks so much! I do love hand journaling too, but have a soft spot for the clean lines and cool fonts Cathy Z uses in her books.


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