Scrapbooking My Way

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts

I’ve said before that my scrapbooking style is simple, and it really is. But I’m working on changing my focus from scrapbooking as many pictures in the shortest amount of time to scrapbooking actual stories and memories. I’ve finally concluded that if it’s mass that I want, can just use those photo sleeves (which I actually haven’t found yet – I want the 12×12 ones with 5 slots on each side. I know they exist because I’ve seen them around. Do you know where I can get some of those?)

Anyway, I don’t need to scrapbook every picture like I was trying to do! I’m starting to realize that choosing one photo that really tells a story is really what scrapbooking is all about. Photo sleeves take care of quantity – scrapbooking is for quality journaling and story telling. I’m starting to move into one-picture-per-page land, a place I previously avoided.

Here’s the first page done using my new philosophy:


Okay, so you can see that I’m no scrapbooking genius, but I don’t have to be. I have my own style and it works for me – I love this page because it is a visual a reminder of the feelings I had in the moment that I took that picture. And I like thinking of titles. Maybe that’s cheesy, but I like it.

I’m loving the simplicity and freedom of one picture per layout. I can really focus on the story and have plenty of space to mess around with rather than being cramped and stressed about being efficient. I think me and scrapbooking are going to be getting along much better from now on.

canon selphy cp770 compact photo printerIn case you’re curious, I used my Canon Rebel XSi to take that photo. I couldn’t live without my digital SLR – I love Canon! I used the Creative Memories Corner Maker to round the corners and the Creative Memories Custom Cutting System that I found at a yard sale to make the sunshine circle shape – I love those little templates. I use them all the time and they make cutting circles and ovals sooo easy. Hmm, what else. I used my Canon printer to do the colored title and journaling. Oh, and I also used a new little gadget by Canon to print the picture – the Canon Selphy CP770 (pictured at left – it’s such a tiny and cute little thing!). It was really nice to be able to print the picture immediately and scrapbook the story while it was still fresh in my mind.

So that’s how I do it. I’m really curious to hear about your scrapbooking philosophy – what you focus on, how you choose which photos to scrapbook, your favorite tools, and anything else that influences how you scrapbook. Leave a comment with your ideas and I’ll include them in a post soon. I would also love to see some of your favorite layouts, so email them to me at kelsey[at]vanillajoy[dot]com and I’ll include them in the post also. I can’t wait to hear from you all!


1 Amy V. September 3, 2008 at 6:06 am

Hi Kelsey! Those 12 x 12 photo sleeves you’re hunting for…you can find them from Close To My Heart. They come in two different styles, four pocket (two horizontal & 2 vertical pockets) or six pocket (six horizontal pockets). They come 10 to a pack and are $8.95 plus S&H and tax. I have them and love them (but be warned, I’m a CTMH consultant so I’m biased!).

As for scrapping style…I wish I could be faster. My pages take forever! And I scraplift and use sketch books. I feel good about telling my stories, but wish that I was more efficient.

2 Sue D September 3, 2008 at 7:01 am

I’m coming into scrapbooking late in the game. My kids are all grown but I am going to try to make each of them (4) an album of important events in their life–a chronological album. I did start a vacation album of our favorite vacation spot and put in all the pics throughout the years. I guess that would be called a theme album. I like your idea of choosing a photo that tells a story and making a page with just that picture. I really like the page you made of your son. Important thing is not to stress over it–have fun and enjoy the process and realize you do not have to scrapbook every picture you ever took.

3 chris September 3, 2008 at 7:13 am

I too ,am just exploring scrapbooking . I have two grown sons, one married last year ;which prompted me to try this out to create an album for my wedding memories. I like the smaller size 8×8 so I can focus on 1 or two photos with a story format. It has opened a new world for me to explore.

4 Jeri September 3, 2008 at 7:17 am

Pebbles in My Pocket also has their Share & Tell albums (I’ve never used them but I get press packets about them all the time). The info is here:
Dealing with scrapbook layouts all day every day my personal feeling is this: don’t spend your precious time making a page unless it SAYS something. Memories of an event, personal thoughts or a message, lots of details. Those are the things you want to remember and will make the layout special in the future. Also use pictures where the subject is DOING something. So many people have albums full of:
– beautifully designed and meticulously scrapped pages
– hundreds of dollars worth of embellishments
– a layout designed around a single, posed picture of a kid smiling right at the camera
– no journaling or a meaningless sentence like “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

So make sure that your layouts do these two things and I think you’ll be really happy with the results. Also maybe you should put together an Enrichment group or something where you have a few hours each month dedicated to scrapbooking.

5 Jen T September 3, 2008 at 7:18 am

I have 4 kiddos, and I am probably more like you before thinking I need to get every photo in, and I need to cram them all in. I have a book for each kid and then a family book. It can get very ovewhelming, but I really enjoy it when I do it–which I hope will be more now that summer is done and the kids are in school. I got Becky HIggins’ School kits this past June, and I love them! I think that helps with the simplifying. I think journaling is so important, and I do a lot of that on my pages. I am a very simple scrapbooker. I don’t have time to get all fancy with 4 kids! Keep life simple and enjoy ti!

Love your site!

6 chris September 3, 2008 at 7:28 am

I also am a newcomer to scrapbooking. We have two grown sons and last year , the older guy got married. They had a small wedding,and the budget did not allow for parent’s albums. I decided to create my own in the smaller 8×8 album so I could have 1-2 photos on a page with comments, a verse or a phrase. I really like the simple philosophy for pages . I picked my favorite photos and went with them. I didn’t include everything, just special snapshots.
Now I’m off and running to try other occasions; trips, visits the sky is the limit!

7 Amy :) September 3, 2008 at 8:39 am

I love the page you created, and I couldn’t agree more with your philosophy! Also, I have used those photo sleeve pages from CTMH and they integrate very nicely into a 12×12 album.

8 Peg September 3, 2008 at 8:49 am

I didn’t start scrapbooking until my son was older and we don’t really have a lot of pictures of him when he was little so I’m taking the opportunity now to get all I can. My style is more simple. I like for the picture to stand out and tell the story. I think 3 photos are the most I’ve ever used on a layout and none of them have a lot of embellishment of any type. I took a class at my lss that ended up being a lot of listening to the teacher tell you what size square to cut and where to place the stickers given with the class supplies and I thought I would absolutely hate the class since it was nothing more than cut and paste, but I turned out really liking it. The designs were simple and we had to bring them home and finish them by adding our own pictures and I really like the look once they were completed. Who would have thought that cut and paste would be so fun to do again. :)

9 Baba September 3, 2008 at 9:16 am

I must admit I have been lax in my scrapbooking! Photos packed away, too many to do, yada, yada, yada. As for the pocket sleeves; I get all my sleeves here:

10 Jessica September 3, 2008 at 11:15 am

I heart my digital SLR, too. I am so glad my hubbie used every cent of state tax return money to buy it:-)
As for my style, I love to look at the beautiful layouts in magazines, but in reality I am simple. I use lots of papers as embellishments (b/c I am cheap) and I try to journal on as many layouts as possible. I don’t have beautiful handwriting, but I found if I wait to type out journaling, it NEVER gets done, so my handwriting does fine.
I think telling stories beyond the simple “we did this on day X” is important, too. Make what you say meaningful.
Oh, and I am glad some of you suggested the CTMH pages. I am going to a crop this weekend sponsored by a CTMH agent and I might just order a pack and try them out.

11 Becky Smith September 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

I have gotten those photo pocket pages at Archivers before. I love the simple layout of your page, some pages are just way overdone and have way too many embelishments for my budget or for my creative taste for that matter! I agree that journaling is the most important thing to go on the page! It definitely makes them more special.

12 Sherry September 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm


I just happened by your blog via a google alert and I like your style. I too am all about simple scrapbooking, except that I do use more than 1 photo most of the time. I like the simplicy of a page in order to tell the story either in words or in the photos, not in the embellishments like you see all over the magazines. I do have a hard time using only 1 photo, but I am looking into scrapbooking with the photo pockets. I saw an article about using them in CK Mag and I thought it was a brilliant idea. I too haven’t found the sheets so thanks to those of you who gave info on where to get them. I think there are lot of us “simple scrapbookers” out there and it’s nice to meet some of you!!!!

13 Lynda aka Arlsmom September 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Super cute page!!!

14 Sheila Oxley September 3, 2008 at 5:42 pm

I use to want to scrapbook EVERY photo also! I still do multiple photos and I am more inclined to do a 2 page spread. I started out doing 8 1/2 x 11 pages but quickly found I could fit alot more on a 12x 12. I haven’t a clue what my style is, but it’s me and I’m happy with it. Especially when my son wants to look at them over and over….that’s all that matters! :) I don’t get to scrap as much as I use to or want to but I did just finish a layout and I’m very happy with it…it tells the story of my son and his dislike of collar shirts! haha I figure I can blackmail him later in life!!!!!

15 Lorraine Wollman September 4, 2008 at 10:52 am

I don’t really have a style either. When I do a layout I work on it till it looks good. And it usually takes me a week to finish. I’m more into cardmaking but I do some lo’s.
But I thoroughly love this hobby.

16 Pamk September 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm

you might can find them at i believe that is the site they have sorage for all kinds of things related to film and photo storage.

17 bree September 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm

You are such a genius! Thank you for sharing your ideas!

18 Kimberly R September 15, 2008 at 9:30 am

My children are college age. When I first began scrapbooking it was for my daughter’s open house. (2006) I have since been working on one for my son – it is taking me a bit longer lol. I have found that I tend to be way to picky about each page and it usually takes me an entire evening to complete one. With all the new gadgets and embellishments out, I am not convinced it has quickened my pace – just made the choice harder to make -lol But I love it and I love the journey I go down each time I look at the photo’s.

19 Q September 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I am like you – I scrap one thing at a time. I tried to do the chronological thing but it’s just not my style. I just started scrapping and I scrap for the fun of it and to capture memories or feelings at that particular time. So, I usually pick a photo and then go from there. No pressure, no rush or stress trying to make it fit in with my other LOs. Thank you for sharing your style and showing that it’s “OK” to scrap one picture.

20 Amy Rhoads September 16, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I too have went back and forth of scrapping lots of pictures verses the one picture layout and I have to say that it is much more meaningful and fun to do the one photo per page with journaling. Your layout is beautiful and has given me a new idea!

21 Lorie September 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Scrapbooking to me is definitely about the stories. I love journaling on my LOs. I use the photo sleves (mine have 6 slots, not 5 thought) for holidays like Easter and Christmas where I have a TON of pictures, but the LOs are usually of a picture or two that captures a memory.

22 Wendy Lust September 22, 2008 at 10:26 am

My children are grown and I don’t expect to go back and scrap 30 years of photos. I have given myself permission to scrap photos as I want…no chronological…no “catching up”…no stress. I now enjoy both single photo layouts as well as multi photo layouts. I make many gifts of mini albums, altered items, and small albums.

23 Baba July 7, 2009 at 10:05 am

I so wish I had a Cannon! I have a Kodak that is about to die and I have to fight it to set on the camera dock every day. It’s a real pain. As for the page sleeves you need. I always look on ebay for things like that to get a good price. You might try looking there.

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