Memories can be beautiful, and yet…

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking32 Comments

2001. Early fall. I walk into an Archiver's store for the very first time. The magic begins. And who could have ever guessed?


I suppose because my blog banner tagline has the word "scrapbooking" in it, I should wax poetically from time to time about said hobby. Yes? You wouldn't be reading this if I wasn't a scrapbooker. Or at least you would've never known this blog ever existed, agreed?

I remember this page. I remember posting it at Two Peas. I remember this time, when I needed to try and make a page every day, come hell or high water. I was so high on the fact that I had finally figured out how to be crafty, and still manage to retain my dignity. That I had found a hobby that I could both do and make cool. That spoke to my need for…expression, and for coolness. As if my haircut didn't already take care of that one.

Today, I don't scrapbook like that. Meaning, constantly. I make pages for my "About Design" column in Simple. Do I still love it, and think it's the coolest thing ever? Yep. And yet, I walk through my dining room, nod at all the stuff I've managed to amass over the years, and keep right on walking. I mean, come on, I've got scarves to work on.

But I still believe in it. In telling stories, in writing stuff down. In saving your life.

For the record.

Cathy ZielskeMemories can be beautiful, and yet…

32 Comments on “Memories can be beautiful, and yet…”

  1. #3

    Been a couple days since I said this but,
    I love you!

    And while it’s true I probably wouldn’t have known about you had I not scrapbooked, if you never scrapped again and only blogged about your haircut, I’d still listen.

    dang, that sounded really woman-crushish and stalkerish. I’m really not crazy. Okay, well I am a little, but I won’t tap your phones or follow your children home from school to ask them what you ate for breakfast.

    cuz that would be weird.

    so? what did you have for breakfast?


  2. #4
    Damon Crawley

    The fact that you can still have an enthusiasm for this hobby and also work in the industry speaks to how much the need to create is for you. But at the same time, because of your totally awsome job, your personal and professional life have no clear separation. So it would be hard to make pages that are not attached to a deadline. Does it make you get pages done? Yes. Will they be appreciated later? Yes. But because of the deadlines attached, something is still yet taken away. But you press on and don’t look back.

  3. #5
    beth j

    just think of how many people have started telling their stories and writing it down…because of you. because you have shared yourself with all of us. it’s so awesome. so, thank you!

  4. #6

    CZ~ Somehow I believe that a number of us would have found you even if you didn’t scrapbook. I mean, look at Dooce? I’ve yet to see her scrap a page, and yet somehow people have ‘found’ her. Incidentally, I would rather have found you than her, if given a choice of only one or the other. And I think your ‘cool factor’ has more to do with your approach to life than it does with how you scrap or wear your hair. Although inspiring (c’mon…I cut my hair AND started scrapping after meeting you), I think a lot of us are learning that we had it in us for awhile…it just didn’t come out that way in high school that well. =) Well, except for your punk style. THAT was cool.

  5. #7

    I agree with Nitty.Gritty. If you are a blogger then chances are word of mouth would have spread and you would have been “found out” even if you weren’t a “scrapper”. (Scrapper, sounds so in the ring, come on let’s kick some arse…LOL)

    That said…

    I 100% agree with you on seeing the supplies collected and walking on by thinking ok…Maybe later, or tomorrow, or when I get a minute minus, kids, and the house.

    I still LOVE the hobby but I too, spend a lot of time “thinking” about it and not doing it.

    Well said you hip woman, you!

  6. #8

    I love the hobby too, its changed for me as well, but I’ve come to realize it is a hobby and I need to deal with it as such.

    love your blog, so glad your back at it!!! Its sooooo refreshing to come here and read your stuff. You should write more books 😉

  7. #9
    Susan Hessler

    I’m glad I found you – regardless of scrapbooking. Your blog pushes my emotional buttons. When you posted the iphone piece I laughed so hard, and then my daughter and I watched the intro. You have a fresh perspective, and I appreciate your being so open. It’s refreshing.

    I have a best friend – we think alike. When we’re apart we sometimes start to fell a little crazy, we don’t think like everyone else. When were together it’s like “oh yeah”, I’m not crazy, I belong here. Your blog makes me feel that way a little too.

    P.S. Scarves are cool!

  8. #10
    amy j.

    can’t believe Aidan was ever that little, lol! So glad you decided to become “crafty”!

    By the way, I just noticed your Sufjan Stevens listed at the side. He ROCKS! Have you heard his Christmas album? It is frigin amazing!!!!! I didn’t really find out about it until after Christmas, but have been playing it non stop since I downloaded it off itunes. He is a genius! Another favorite, that I totally stole from Dooce, is Andrew Bird.

  9. #11
    Jen Donnelly

    You should know it’s ok not to scrapbook all the time… it’s something you can take a break from– once you’ve started, you always see things differently, and it doesn’t matter whether you make the pages, as long as you can keep bringing that appreciation to your everyday life. And I think you do, don’t you? So you’re scrapbooking in your heart instead of on paper. That’s cool too. (I took a year off and just knitted instead. Came back refreshed and happy!)

  10. #12

    Well it’s finally a typical January beyond freezing cold day here in Minnesota and as usual your blog brings much warmth.

    I am a relatively new scrapper who is finding it hard to jump in. I am impressed that when you started you did a page a day. How did you do it? Where did you find your inspiration? Did you do much journaling “in the beginning?”

    I love your blog, wit, talent, point-of-view and the entire unique CZ package.

    Blog-on and thanks for sharing your scrappin’ successes.

  11. #13
    Anne Thompson

    I’m so glad that you are blogging again, and I love seeing your layouts, but sometimtes there is a lull, and it’s a good time to find something new for a bit….like scarves. I’ve had one on the go for a year now, and I’m inspired only now to finally finish before the weather turns warm again! Anne

  12. #14
    Susan Wesely

    I’m one of those people who decided to blog because of you. I’m having fun recording memories of my kids and sharing it with the grandparents. I don’t always have time to scrapbook because of the kids, but when I do, I do it without hangups thanks to you.

    And I agree, you should write some more books! 😀

  13. #17

    I know where you are coming from. I totally think it’s healthy to have a few obsessions going on and to circulate them. You can love something literally to death, then give it a break, and come right back and love it all over again.

    I can read the same book over and over, picking out my favourite bits, every night for weeks. First, I’ll read some of my new book, then just before I switch off the light I’ll read 5 – 10 pages of my current ‘favourite’ book. It’s like a comfort blanket.

    I’m the same with albums, foods, scrapbooking products, clothes. In order to push myself to try new stuff, have new experiences, I find comfort in marrying it up with the older stuff.

    I get the impression I’m not alone in that but that people don’t want to be accused of being weird by admitting we have comfort items and sensory experiences to give ourselves strength.

    My ‘other’ hobby is baking. I’m all about baking and giving away cakes right now for any darn reason I can find (‘happy Tuesday, have a cake!’ works) but I still like making pages.

    Hobbies are for fun and journalling memories is for recording all the fun. It’s by no means a chore but if it was all I did I’d lose out by not doing anything else, spending all my time recording all the fun everyone else was having!

    Pushing myself to try new hobbies/experiences/authors/foods, then using good ol’ comfortable scrapbooking to remember the fun.

    Just my 2p worth.

  14. #18

    That is one of your first pages? Wow! Thanks for sharing! It is no wonder I think you are cool. Clean & Simple from the start. Glad you are back blogging.

  15. #19

    I have to agree with you Cathy! I spend alot of time just thinking about what I would like to do with my photos or an unfinished page (of which there are many)but rarely get a chance to do it. I don’t necessarily feel the need to finish that page or scrap a photo. If I want to do it I know I can. It’s nice to know that it’s there if I want to.

  16. #20

    That is a GREAT first page. You obviously have a wonderful gift that you share with the rest of us who just manage to ‘tell their stories’. Thanks.

  17. #22

    You crack me up. Your blog is crazy busy with posters because of the scrapbook connection – but don’t let that fool you, you’d be amazed at the amount of blogs that get ‘found out’ by others sheerly because of great compelling content that brings them back and word of mouth. The ‘blogosphere’ is only so large.

    That being said, it’s cool to check in to see what makes you, well, you. Most people who are here admire what you do and aspire to be able to tell stories and reflect on things in the thoughtful way you seem to be able to do so well and naturally.

    Glad to see you around, girl 🙂 Keep sharing and we’ll keep checking in 🙂

  18. #23
    tara w

    ahhh how clean and simple were BORN baby. dont ever forget it.
    did you find and rescan that sucker or was it still on your computer?

  19. #24

    It’s okay to have more than one obsession.
    I spend way more time thinking about scrapping than i do actually scrapping.
    I spend more time knitting becuz it actually requires little thought, and becuz I can do it in the car while I am waiting for the kids to get out of school!
    ps-I seriously need to start checking my itunes library. I downloaded a song by Gomez yesterday, only to find out that I already own it. Who knew?

  20. #26
    Jen Aussie Gal

    From one short darkhaired gal in her 40s to another I love that liberating funky short hair do, you use to have! 2 Cute!

  21. #27
    Brek Noice

    Seriously? THAT’S your first page? I hate you. 😉 Its too good to be a first. My first involved cutting people out of pictures and using lots of stickers. ha ha ha


  22. #28
    Sara P-E

    Going to pull out the old REM today. Way back when I read an article with Michael where he said he has such a great singing voice because he has terrible sinuses. haha. It works for me.

  23. #29

    yea, I remember you posting on 2peas back in the day. You were honestly the first person who did “simple” so well. (And I was secretly obsessed with your layouts!) Not in a freaky way either! :o)

  24. #32

    I was on hiatus from scrapbooking for about 3 years, but was able to pick up the hobby again in ’06. Needless to say, I’m loving the hobby again (so much has changed), but I’m also moving at my own pace.
    I purchased your book last week. It has given me some great insight on design tips, colors, typography. So much, I wanted to stop by your blog and say thanks. Here’s a link if you’d like to take a look —


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