And the hits just keep on comin’

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking38 Comments


[Both stamps here from Cat's Life Press; paper from the uber cool, always well designed Cosmo Cricket]

So a few weeks back, when Ali posted about sorting our her scrapbooking, it got me pulling out my albums, just to spend a little time with all these pages I've made since 2001. I had similar reactions to things like: wow, THAT was a good story and what the hell was I thinking when i did THAT? (Specifically… a one page layout with a picture of Cole that didn't use such gems as "believe" or "cherish"…no, this one used "little imp" because I was trying to be clever.) Oh what the hell…. here it is and yes, I'm cringing for several reasons, which I will innumerate shortly:


1. This, for me, doesn't belong in a scrapbooking album. Period. It belongs in a photo album. It says absolutely NOTHING about Cole, who he is, his life, etc, etc. (Other than apparently, he was a  "little imp." And that I had just purchased a set of PSX mini stamps. Seriously. It took me FOREVER to decide to commit to adding that brad-like thing. This page almost sent me into scrap therapy. It could have been SO much more… ahem.)

I found MANY such atrocities in my older albums. And it's not that I would go back and do it differently (wait, yes I would) but… it helps me to understand what I want to do as a scrapbooker. Today. In the here and now.

For example, a sweet and tall lady I was fortunate enough to spend some time with once, Susan Keuter, had a totally rad idea, she called Twelve on the 12th, (which you can read more about on her blog). I only did it once, but I clearly recall picking up the phone, calling Ali and saying: This is the ONLY layout I ever need to do, ever again. The same design. The same concept. This is IT!"


My point is simply that looking over my pages really does tell me a story, but not always the one I'm looking to read. Because that's what I want from MY pages. To give me something meaty. But don't confuse 'meaty' with deep and meaningful. Meaty=detail. That's it. I want the goods, baby. The dirt. The 411.

The first layout above is one I made in the past six months, just for me, with lots of great old shots of me and Dan. I love this page. It's not deep. It's not complex from a design standpoint. But it's meaningful. Because it evokes a sense of time. Time with this man that I love and have spent half of my life with. It makes me feel older. And grateful. And really friggin' lucky.

That's what I want from my pages. I want the "hits" to keep coming. The pages that give me exactly what it is that I'm looking for.

And yeah, it's absolutely okay to look through your body of work and scratch your head to help you know what you probably DON'T want to do again…



Cathy ZielskeAnd the hits just keep on comin’

38 Comments on “And the hits just keep on comin’”

  1. #1

    Okay, so I totally feel so “bad for you”, if this is the worst page you could find!!! So not sorry for you when many of my older pages have cut out basketball shapes and cutsey sizzor outlines! If not telling a story is your problem, then sit down a while to hear all of mine! All I’m saying girl is you rock, and i don’t want to hear your not so tragic stories!

  2. #2
    Lisa Dickinson

    Can i just get an “AMEN!” that your worst page doesn’t have Mrs. Grossman’s stickers or a heart-shaped photo on it? Let’s just say my worst page ain’t ever gonna see the light of the blog:) But yeah, it’s good to get perspective now & then!

  3. #3

    So agree with the person above –[except – love ALL your storeis btw!]- I’ve been a photography nut and scrapbooker forever. [Have REAL scrapbooks from the 70s in Middles school! – Kept the photos in sep. albums in those days…]When CM came out with the archival stuff it’s like my whole sense of design went out he window – I have an on-going debate with myself about re-doing these hideous pages. But they were the style of the time – seriously – I still have Creating Keepsakes “1998 Idea Annual” – and let’s just, we’ve come a long way baby!
    THANKS TO YOU AND STACY AND SIMPLE for getting me back on track to my true self!

  4. #5

    I’m with you; it has to be a story on the page. If there is none, I’m not gonna remember when/why I made the page. Heck, I barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday (not that that’s important, but you get my point?).

  5. #6

    Love the pics of you & Dan from the 80’s…
    Love the twelve on the 12th idea…

    Oh & I started scrapbooking about 12 years ago when introduced to Creative Memories. Trust me, your “worst” page is a masterpiece compared to what I learned from them about scrapbooking. (Thankfully we all evolve). I am, however, endlessly thankful for the journaling on said pages, despite looking at them & cringing! I could never have retold all our “stories” in such detail without our scrapbooks.

  6. #7
    tiffany k. smoot

    omg cathy! i want to just shrink you and stick you in my pocket and then when i am working on scrapbook pages pull you out for such a grand sense of inspiration!
    your blog was awesome. i truly enjoyed it. it made me really think about why i am scrapbooking and the stories i want to tell.

    thank you cathy for just being you. you are awesome.

  7. #9

    Thanks for the motivation to get what matters most on the page. You’re writing about the big things, but I have to admit, all I’m thinking is “Where did she get that ‘notes from today’ stamp?”

    Can you fill me in?

  8. #11
    Teri A

    Amen and AMEN! I want a story on my page. I love other people’s one picture, one word, artsy pages. But, for me, I want a purpose for printing that baby out and putting it in my album. So for me, scraping usually means, multi-pictures with journaling. I just wish I could tell my stories like you….you are the master!

  9. #12

    Okay, maybe you can help me with this.

    I have been scrapbooking for many years, but have been unable to the last few (too many kids, not enough time). But I have recently discovered digital scrapbooking and I LOVE it.

    And I needed some inspiration so I went out and bought, not just one, but BOTH of your books. I love them. They appeal to me and what I want to be as a scrapbooker.

    But I am really struggling with finding my own style and telling my own story.

    How do you do that? Where do you start? And what makes a story good? I just don’t know.

    Any thoughts?

    (Thus the reason I am here.)

    BTW, I get what you mean about the “what was I thinking”. I mean, obviously, the commenters here all like your work, but when it’s personal, and it’s our own work, and it doesn’t do what we want to it…even if other people like it, it can still be a big “what was I thinking?”

  10. #13
    Natalie T Myrwold

    I think scrapbooking is a lot like fashion…when the one word description was all the fad, we did it like crazy, just like wearing leg warmers in the 80s. Now, we look back and think, hmmm, leg warmers, really? I think this whole process is just the natural side effects of creativity.

  11. #14

    I agree with everyone about how your “bad” LOs are just “not bad”! I started scrapbooking in 2004 & I cringe when I see those pages. I totally agree with your philosophy – I like to see pages that tell stories. I mainly digiscrap now & I see so many pages lately that are 1 tiny photo in 1 corner of the page with no journaling. They look lovely, but WTH?! Thx for the daily entertainment & I must ask…do you have Guitar Hero for that boy of yours?!

  12. #15
    Jennifer W.

    CZ, you rock. Your worst page is nothing like my worst page with it’s heart shaped phots and floating sandylion bears!
    I love your style and the stories you tell. I missed your blog and am so happy that you are back — I know I’m late with that sentiment, but I really am glad.

  13. #16
    Kate Titcombe

    Hi Cathy,
    I’ve noticed you and Ali using 3 ring albums. Do you find them better than post bound? They look like they would be sturdier. I like the look of them too. What do you like about them? Could you maybe put a few words and photos up about them on the blog…love the blog!
    Kate from Baranduda (sunny – hot Australia)

  14. #17

    Can I get another amen here? Love your point about “meatiness” – it’s about what’s important to you right now, and that does *not* mean it has to be the most philosophical, earth shattering stuff.

    The Cosmo Cricket paper rocks – you are such a cute pair!

  15. #18

    For the past year I’ve been struggling with this art/hobby. I wasn’t feeling satisfied…sure my pages were gorgeous, but good grief they didn’t say anything! So, I’ve come to this place now where I will not scrap anything that doesn’t tell a story…no more pretty pictures just to make a pretty page. It’s time to get real. It’s interesting how many scrappers I’ve come across lately that are all coming to the same realization.

  16. #19

    For the past year I’ve been struggling with this art/hobby. I wasn’t feeling satisfied…sure my pages were gorgeous, but good grief they didn’t say anything! So, I’ve come to this place now where I will not scrap anything that doesn’t tell a story…no more pretty pictures just to make a pretty page. It’s time to get real. It’s interesting how many scrappers I’ve come across lately that are all coming to the same realization.

  17. #20

    Awesome Cathy!! As I already told Ali I am going to do this later this year. You rock! Love reading your thoughts on this.

  18. #21

    groan. i, too, had to google “kwim.” if i have any sister losers commenting after me, let me save you some time: Know What I Mean.

    anyway, i love you and all you commenters b/f me. i am so ashamed of my cm-days pages. school pages with photos in the shape of apples, halloween with photos in jack-o-lantern shapes, lots of circles and hearts. and stickers? oh, how embarrassing!

    the worst part? i hated it even then, but i didn’t know any better! that is, until i came across ss and cz. thank you!

  19. #22

    Okay, Cathy…I was going to write about the topic at-hand, but I went to your “About Me” page and I can’t get over the fact that you own only about 7 pairs of shoes. Could you please break it down for us? How do you get by with so few? I’d love some tips as I’m trying to reduce my closet. Second, I know you’re into music–please give Sia’s new album a listen. You might have already, and maybe it’s not your thing, but I think you’ll like it. Or go to youtube and do a search for her performing on KCRW. She makes me smile and her music is fantastic.

  20. #23

    Maybe you could just add:
    “I hope you dance…” to the bottom of the Aiden page. That would bring it up to speed.

    My older books have a lot of “vegetarian” going on too. Ah well.

  21. #24

    Cathy – I kind of like your “old” pages – although I agree completely that neither of them say a single thing about Cole or Aiden. What I like them for is that they dare say a LOT about YOU as their mother… you thought your son an Imp and your daughter beautiful… what is not to love?

  22. #25
    Christy Terry

    umm…exactly and then some…I feel ya….I REALLY am glad that you’ve come so far…helps me alot as I scraplift every one of your layouts hehehehehe

    keep rockin…it makes me laugh

  23. #26
    Maple Jenny

    I agree with two comments:

    1. Don’t kill yourself for producing pages that are the fashion at the time. We are products of the time we live in.

    2. Where do you get your three ring albums? Since I live in MN, I might actually have a chance of finding them.

    And on another note for the people who need ideas and inspiration, story based LOs are nice, but a story can be only a few lines long. Don’t pressure yourself to come up with something huge. Think detail; include the detail from life, even if it’s just one.

  24. #28

    You and Ali clearly define for me what scrapbooking is all about. Thanks for the perspective. Hey have you heard Joshua Radin’s new collection on Itunes??

  25. #29
    Amber Smith

    The pages of your kids crack me up. First because I’ve “done” those pages and I could recognize the paper for Coles. The Mustard Moon paper line is right in that time, I still have “swap” items with the one word titles.

  26. #30

    Well said, as ususual..Can I say I LOVE the layout of you and dan. It makes me want to run out and find all the pictures of my dh and I…but we probably don’t have half that many…My favorite part is how you have the Florida sweatshirt on in one and he has it on in another!

  27. #31

    Hi Cathy! I have pages like that too, and I can totally relate. I don’t intend to ever change them though. They may not tell the full story, but I consider those pages to be a kind of “white space” in my album, allowing me, or whoever may be looking, to rest a moment, just look at the picture, and not have to read or process too much.

  28. #32

    love this! My oldest pages are almost 3 years old but make me cringe. And I still remember how hard I worked on them. Maybe that is the story I need to go back and add???

  29. #33
    Au Lim

    thanks oh so much for that 12 of 12 idea and link and that layout concept! I just had to scraplift it a bit. Will post you a link as soon as i’m done with it. i think i will do this thing every few months or so from now on. you are such an inspiration 😀

  30. #34
    Au Lim

    thanks oh so much for that 12 of 12 idea and link and that layout concept! I just had to scraplift it a bit. Will post you a link as soon as i’m done with it. i think i will do this thing every few months or so from now on. you are such an inspiration 😀

  31. #37

    My idea of scrapbooking has totally changed in recent years. I don’t feel this need anymore to fill my scrapbooks with pictures thrown on patterned paper. So many people fall into this idea that unless they are using patterned paper and embellishments, they simply aren’t utilizing their pictures – like they might as well just flush them down the toilet if they aren’t going to make a “layout” (in the traditional sense) with them. I’m now all about showcasing pictures and telling the stories – so if that means that some pictures are put into divided protectors with one space where I write out all those things I don’t want to forget, great.

    I, as with everyone else, cringe at the old albums. Some had no meaning and purpose – it was just an excuse to do something fun and weird with paper. I wish I had learned NOT to use those original photos from my childhood as I happily cropped them into heart shapes. I want to kick myself. I will find a way to redeem some of those old photos and I WILL redo those pages because they deserve it. Someday, that is!

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