Category Archives: Scrapbooking

In the Picture

Today, as I was working on a project, I came across this post that I wrote almost a year ago. I didn't share it here, but rather wrote it for The Daily Digi, a site dedicated to digital scrapbookers and photographers. However, I think it is an important topic for us as mothers.

Tomorrow isn't promised. We're but a vapor. The long days turn into short years and all of our excuses for not being in photos with our kids will amount to empty albums and wondering hearts.

"What was my mom like when I was young?" "What did she look like when she was a young mom?" "What did she do with us?"

I know your kids will ask these questions someday because I ask them often. I remember surprisingly little about my childhood and so while our family works to create happy memories, I know that the memories may only exist in the photos we take.

I am part of their story and I want the photographs to prove it. My weight has fluctuated over the years and I dislike many other things about my physical appearance. However, I cannot and will not let that stop me. I know that these moments are important and I know that my kids will be thankful that I set my insecurities aside long enough to be in the photo.

divider graphic     I'm passionate about a lot of things. If someone brings up one of my hot button topics, there is no stopping me. When I believe something, I believe it all the way. And this, dear readers, is one of those topics.

You need to be in the picture.

I know. I know. You plan on doing it. You'll get in pictures with your kids when you get out of your yoga pants. When you lose the weight. When you do your hair. When you get some new clothes. When... I know. I've been there. I don't always want a camera pointed at me. There are days when I haven't showered and I am many months away from being at a weight I am happy with. And yet, I still get in. This is a picture of my mom with my older brother. I LOVE it. Adore it. Am jealous of it. I love the way her happiness just beams. She is looking at this little boy who she waited so long for and she is completely in love. I love this picture for so many reasons...the look on her face, the Pooh wall hanging she had made, the diaper changing station on the deep freezer, the plaid pants, the paneled walls. What's not to love? This is a photo that captures a beautiful moment in time. Priceless. Unfortunately, I have very few photos of me with my mother. In all the scrounging around I have done, only a few have turned up. These photos are so precious to me. But I wish I had more. I wish I had photos of my mom holding me as a baby. I wish I had photos of us playing together...her reading to watching her cook. I understand why there aren't many. Photography used to be a much more expensive hobby. Buy the film. Pay to have it developed. There wasn't opportunity to take a hundred photos of every outing. So my parents, like most, mainly took the obligatory holiday photos of just the kids.
When I had my children, I knew I wanted more. I wanted my kids to have photos of me. I wanted them to have documentation of a life lived together. I wanted them to be able to see the love in my eyes. I wanted them to have photos of me loving them, snuggling them, and laughing with them. When they get older, these (I hope!) will mean the world to them. In 2003, I had my first daughter. And from then on, I have made it a point to be in picture. I don't always love how I look, but I am so glad to have the memories. This is our life together. I want to be a part of it. With each child, I have continued to push myself to do whatever it took to be in the picture. Here is me, nine months pregnant with #3...

Here are some tips for being in the picture:

1. Stop Worrying. Don't worry so much about your looks that it keeps you out of the picture. Your children won't care how much you weighed or what your hair looked like. They care about you. Don't worry about what your house looks life. Real life is beautiful...and real. 2. Ask someone to take pictures for you. I often ask my husband or other children to grab the camera. I love to take photos but sometimes I want to be on the other end. My kids and husband are getting pretty good! 3. If all else fails, use a tripod, a phone, or a mirror. Do whatever it takes to be in the picture. Photo Booth can be your best friend! 4. Hire a professional. I adore our real life moment photos, but I am also glad that occasionally we have someone outside of our immediate family take pictures for us. Not only is the quality better, but also that person has a view of us that we might miss. Photos are an investment. Don't be afraid of hiring someone. 5. What do you want to remember? Ask yourself, "What kinds of things/events/moments/activities do I want to have photos of? Think about those special first moments, activities you do every day, and special events that you want your kids to know you were a part of. Write some down and be more intentional about getting in the picture. 6. Not all of you necessarily has to be in the picture. Try different angles and shots that show relationship. 7. Don't wait. Do it now. Do it today. You never know when tomorrow will stop being an option. 8. Start scrapping! Check out "Get In The Photo" for more tips from Katie and our team.

Do you get in the picture? What motivates you? What hinders you?

Nine Years and Counting

International Scrapbooking Day

We've just finished "birthday season" around here. Alaina starts us off on January 30 and Caleb brings up the rear on May 1. In an eight week stretch between March 6 and May 1, we celebrate SEVEN birthdays. That's a lot of cake.

I have a lot of photos and other things I want to share about my kids as they "grow big and change numbers," but today I need to talk about another special day.


It's been nine years. Nine years since I started digital scrapbooking. Nine years since my life changed.

I love that my scrapping anniversary coincidently falls on (inter)National Scrapbooking Day weekend. Obviously scrapping and I were meant to be.

In the past I have shared my story about how I got started and why I love it (you can read more about it HERE and HERE), so I won't rehash all of that again. But I do want to take my once-a-year opportunity to talk about this hobby that I love so much. I decided that this year, I would create a short video so you can actually see what digital scrapbooking is and how it is done.  So enjoy this quick video and let me know if you have any questions.


WATCH ME SCRAP Click  & Create class: Get it HERE

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 6.35.06 PM  

Also, Sweet Shoppe Designs has kicked off its celebration and is having a storewide 30% off sale.

iNSD2014-store   My semi-annual SCRAP YOUR HEART OUT template pack is up and ready to go. With the sale price this weekend, each template is only $0.70! Alrighty...back to your regularly scheduled non-scrapbooking talk.

I Meant to Tell You Earlier…

I really meant to post this a few days ago, but an unexpected (and truly amazing) trip the beach was offered to us and so we are busy enjoying the sun and the sand. We head back to Asia in less than four weeks and this week of family time is just what we need to refresh and inspire us to push through what the next few weeks will bring.

Many people have asked about digital scrapbooking. As I mentioned in my post last weekend, it has been a huge part of my life for the last eight years. It would be easy to write — once again — about why I love it and why am so thankful for it, but I have already written extensively about it here and here.

What I didn't share is that last week, a dream of mine came true. About four years ago, as I laid in bed with a temperature of 104+, I started to think of ways to help others who wanted to learn about digital scrapbooking. So many friends had asked me about it and I had attempted to sit down with a few and show them what it was and how it worked, but I knew that there was no way I would have the time to teach everyone who wanted to learn. Laying in bed, sick as could be, I had an idea: I would write a book.

Over the next few days I brainstormed and outlined every chapter. I knew how I would want to learn if I had to start over and I wanted to make it something that busy moms could learn from. It had to be easy, practical, and not too overwhelming. I was so excited!

But life got in the way and the book never got written. As we found ourselves in the States this year with some extra wiggle room in our time, Jason and I decided that this would be the year to finally do this project. However, in the last few years, technology has changed and advanced and I decided that rather than write a book, I would instead teach digital scrapbooking via video tutorials. And that is what I did.

And last week, I finally released my WATCH ME SCRAP video tutorial series. The videos total over six hours in length and take you from not even knowing what program to use to being able to create gorgeous pages. In each of the 30 or so videos (averaging about 15 minutes in length), you get to WATCH ME SCRAP (via screen capture). I talk to you about what I am doing, why I am doing it, and then I challenge you to try it (with a 30 page written activity guide). All of the information and supplies you need are included in the purchase price. After watching the videos, you will have created three beautiful layouts and in doing so, you will have learned all the skills you need to create your own memory-filled pages. The videos teach you how to download a free trial program, how to set up your digital workspace , and how to create layouts from quick pages, templates, and starting from scratch.

I am truly excited about these videos. When I think of what a blessing scrapping has been in my life, I know that I want others to be able to experience what I have. I may not have the time to sit down with each of you individually, but I really want to help you learn. I figured that these videos of watching me scrap is the next best thing to sitting down with you personally.

Here is a little of the positive feedback I have gotten:

"I am LOVING the tutorials. They are clear and concise and really easy to understand. I am about half way through so far-I particularly like how you break each step down and on a couple of occasions you show how it can go wrong and them how to fix the mistake. I'm really enjoying digital scrapbooking, it seems to just fit my need for a creative outlet!" "I've only watched the first few videos but I have already learned SO MUCH!"

Today is the last day that the videos are available for 30% off. So if you have wondered about digital scrapbooking and have wanted to learn, here is a great opportunity to get started (and to support a mission family in the process!)


Okay...enough of that. I'm closing the laptop at McDonald's, finishing my coffee, and headed back to the condo with no internet and no smart phones.  There is something so freeing about being unplugged for at least 23 hours a day. We have an afternoon at the beach to get to! I am sure my next post will be filled with vacation photos and some mushy words about how much I love my family 🙂 And seriously, if you are thinking that you and your family could use some time away...DO IT. I am always amazed at how much being away from every day life makes me reaffirm my commitments to what is truly important in life and to return home with peace and inspiration to keep walking the path God has called me to. It doesn't have to be far away or expensive, but getting away with those closest to you is a solid investment in what is truly important.

Eight Years of Scrapping

I've always been a memory keeper.  In high school and college I filled journal after journal with the overflow of my mind. My heart needed a place to keep its words and those lined books were the perfect spot. It was soul-spilling and soul-filling. In keeping record of the day-to-day, I was often reminded of my own brokenness and of God's goodness. The pages would tell you that for years, I was in slimy pit, one filled with mud and mire. And then there are those pages that foreshadow the time when God would pull me out, set my feet on a rock, and give me a firm place to stand. I am so glad I have those pages so that I can remember God's abundant grace to me, a broken and wounded child.

After college, my journals continued to be an outlet for my heart stirrings. Just six months married, we moved to India and those journal pages saw me through culture shock, loneliness, and the pain of three miscarriages. Daily pen to paper was my version of putting one foot in front of the other.

And then, I had kids. And the words, while not lacking, didn't find a way to the paper. I longed to find a way to remember, but writing time was replaced with nursing and changing diapers. More and more, the click of a camera was my "remember this" tool of choice. Click. Click. Click. God's grace was still flowing and my camera captured it. Moment by moment. God's goodness. His grace. His hand weaving my story. My stones of remembrance were being piled through clicks of the shutter.

And then one day, the words and the clicks met and fell in love and the result changed my life.

It may sound a little dramatic, but that is the only way I can describe what scrapbooking has done for me.

After being given a stack of scrapbooking magazines and stumbling upon and article on digital scrapbooking, I looked at my tub of never-used paper and scissors and thought, "I could do that." So on the first weekend in May, eight years ago, I created my first digital scrpabook page. It was nothing pretty, but it was the first drops of something that would soon fill my soul and quench my thirst to remember.

Over 1500 pages later, it is still the place where the click clicks of my heart and the shutter of my camera meet with the words in my soul. Scrapbooking is my way of tangibly saying and showing that God is good.  That God's grace abounds. That God is not done with me yet. That children are a blessing. That there is beauty and healing in memories. That friends and family are God's precious gifts to us. That it is the little and seemingly insignificant moments that make life special. My albums are filled with reminders that I blessed. Even in the heartache, even in the unknown, even in laundry and dirty dish filled days, God is good.

And so today, on my eight year anniversary of digital scrapbooking and coincidentally (or perhaps not so?) on International Scrapbooking Day, I once again find myself in awe of what the last eight years have done for my soul. Scrapbooking does for me what nothing else in life ever has: it makes me see. It made me stop and notice the little moments that are building my amazing life. It makes me notice how each of my children is fearfully and wonderfully made. It makes me take notice of the beauty of God's creation and the grace-filled moments that fill our life. Scrabpooking has taught me how to live out the command, "In everything, give thanks."

In November 2011, I shared more about Why I Scrapbook. Feel free to read it. I also updated my scrapbooking page with some exciting news I will be sharing about more later. And as I took a trip down memory lane, I found this journaling from May 2006, my one year scrapbooking anniversary...

Project - It All Began Here by ALittleEclectic posted 05/07/06 at 06:55 PM  Galleries: Scrapbooking

National Scrapbooking Day coincidentally fell on the one year anniversary of my completing my first LO. In honor of these two special events I finally scrapped the story of how I got started in all of this.  Journaling Reads: My journey to the “dark side.” Ever since I saw my first “modern” scrapbook my junior year of high school, I have been fascinated with the art. Preserving memories is something I see infinite worth in. To pass on the memories and stories of our lives to future generations is a gift to which little can be compared. I tried to paper scrap, I really did. I owned lots of materials, had thousands of photos, and had every good intention in the world. But it never happened. I did a few pages here and there but the effort it took to get out my supplies and photos never seemed worth the trouble. After all, it would just leave me a mess to clean up later. Even the birth of my first child was not enough incentive to actually start getting my pictures in albums. Guilt was my friend as I thought all the memories I wasn’t scrapping. And then it happened…the moment that changed it all.  A friend of mine was moving and she gave me all of her scrapping magazines to look through. One night as I sat on my bed drooling over the gorgeous pages I was looking at, something caught my eye. In the magazine was an article entitled, “Shift into (Hard) Drive.” There I was, starting at beautiful layouts, and this article said these were created digitally. What? On a computer? But they look so REAL! I had to find out more. The article gave some websites to look at and some other resource ideas. I logged onto and there was no turning back. I knew I had found something that was for me.  It took me a while to get the hang of things. I bought a book to learn my software, downloaded lots of free kits and embellishments (especially from Shabby Princess!) and just played around. There was a learning curve but I stuck with it because I knew that I wanted to do this. For my family and for me.  One year ago today I created my first layout. It wasn’t anything special in itself, but it was the beginning of a beautiful journey I have been on for the last twelve months. Never would I have guessed where this road would lead me. Not only am I preserving precious memories for my family, but also I am finding an outlet for my creativity. I’ve always known it was there, but it never had an way to express itself. Until I found this.  In November 2oo5 I stumbled upon 2peas (a scrapbooking website) and found a new “home” for my hobby. I have met some of the most wonderful women through the gallery and message boards. My love and thanks to my peas. I love you!  In January 2oo6 I was accepted to my first design team (thanks MandaBean!) and have since been accepted to numerous others. I love creating pages that show off another’s creativity.  And so here I am, one-hundred and fifty layouts later, celebrating my one year anniversary of digital scrapbooking. Coincidentally, this day is also National Scrapbooking day. It’s been quite the ride and I can’t wait to see where else this road takes me. Inspire. Create. Imagine. Scrap (digitally, that is.) 

This is Why I Scrapbook

I scrapbook (digitally, that is). It is a hobby I discovered six and a half years ago and I still love as much today as I did then. As the digital scrapbooking world celebrates Digital Scrapbooking Day tomorrow, I thought I would reflect on why I scrapbook.

Now before you start feeling guilty for not scrapbooking, know this:  no one  has to scrapbook.  There are no rules that say being a good mom = scrapbooking.  I don't even encourage many people to start scrapbooking because I am pretty sure it is the number one guilt-inducing hobby.  As moms, we have enough guilt about real issues that we don't need to suffer through feeling guilty for silly things like an unfinished scrapbook.

Now that I have cleared the air...

I scrapbook because:

1. It fills me up. Some people love to decorate their home.  Some people love to run.  Some people love to ski.  Some people like to curl up with a classic and read.  Some people like to host huge parties and entertain their friends, family, and neighbors.  Me?  I like to scrapbook.  It gives the creative part of my being a place to breathe. When I create, I relax. When I have quiet, I relax.   And relaxing for a busy homeschooling mama to five is a good thing. If it didn't fill me up—and instead made me feel guilty for all the "catching up" I had to do—I wouldn't do it. If getting a chance to do something I love also calms me down, and that in turn helps make me a better wife and a better mother, then I am all for it.

2. It is a benefit to my family. I am in a chapter of my life where I don't have a lot of "me time."  That's okay.  Scripture talks about giving our lives to serve the people he has placed in front of us, not make sure we have enough time to watch our favorite television shows or get our nails done. But because I don't have a lot of leisure time, I want the time I do have to be filled doing something that also benefits others.  My children love to look through our family albums and remember the stories and the moments that make us who we are. They love to remember as much as I do.  I can picture myself in years to come, surrounded by grown children, laughing and remembering all the crazy things we did and said.

3. It makes me thankful.   I struggled with deep depression for many years. Although I saw some improvements after getting married and moving overseas, the greatest changes happened once I started scrapbooking.  At first I thought it was strange but then I realized how much it actually made sense.  Scrapbooking (and the photography that goes with it) makes me slow down and notice my life.  I am able to stop and soak in the little moments that make my life so big.  A face covered in chocolate chip cookies, a big sister reading to a little brother, a determined look on a two year old's face as she tries to get dressed herself, a flower newly opened up and dripping with dew—I now notice all of these things and strive to capture them.  And because I do this, I am aware of the many amazing blessings that God has given me. Even when dealing with medical issues, even when wondering where grocery money is going to come from, even when marriage hits one of its lower points, even when friends and family turn their back—even in all these times I have known I am blessed. I am loved.  I have been created to enjoy these good things and to spill that blessing and love onto others. Scrapbooking opened my eyes to the world around me and made me thankful.  And gratitude heals hearts.

4. It shapes my children's memories. Most of us don't remember much from our childhood.  Most of our memories are bits and pieces we have from our own flawed mind and then the stories and photos our parents have preserved for us.  I was surprised one day when I realized that many of my "memories" were directly connected to a photograph.  What I began to understand was that the photos themselves are the memories. If I hadn't seen the photo, I probably would not have any recollection of the days/events. I want my kids to remember.  I want them to always know that their childhood was filled with love, smiles, adventure, and lots of laughter. I want to preserve their childhood so that one day they can look back and see the little pieces of them that God was putting together as His plan for their life unfolded.

5. It gives me a way to express my love to my family in a way that can be preserved. I used to journal.  All through high school and college and even into marriage I journaled on a regular basis.  It is fun and interesting to now look back on those journals and to see all that has happened in time since. My history is important and I am glad I have those thoughts and feelings preserved (even if I did go on for about four full journals about my love for a particular guy who didn't return my love!) Then one day I had kids and my time and energy for journaling disappeared. But scrapbooking has given me another outlet—another way of expressing thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams for myself and the people I love most. I want my kids to be able to look back and see the things I wrote to them/about them when they were little.  I want them to read about the good times and the hard times (yes, I scrapbook about hard stuff, too!) In scrapbooking, I give them a little bit more of me and my deep, deep love for them.

My motive in sharing all of this is not to convince you of your need to scrapbook. This is something that works for me. It is something that I can bless myself and my family with.  Maybe there is something that does the same for you.  Maybe there is something that calms your spirit and points your eyes and heart back to the Lord.  If you have something like this in your life, embrace it. Anything that makes us see the magnificence of the Lord and His blessings in our life is worth pursuing. For me, it is scrapbooking and photography.  For someone else, it is hiking.  For another, it is getting out pretty tea cups and making their family feel loved over a cup of hot tea and fresh bread out of the oven.  For yet another, it is carefully tending to a garden and growing vegetables that will feed and nourish bodies and souls.

Scrapbooking is my happy place. My thankful place.  What is yours?