Free download: A Month of Super Short Stories

Cathy ZielskeFree Downloads, Scrapbooking117 Comments

Because if you answered ‘YES!’ to this very question, then I’ve got a cute little project for you.

Presenting the “Month of Super Short Stories” Tag Book.


It all started on Friday, after going out to lunch with my sweet friend, Margie, which included a stop into the paper crafter’s sensory overload that IS Paper Source. While Margie pulled cuteness from all around the store, I focused in on one thing: these tags.

Now for those of you who are familiar with the fours walls of Paper Source, you know it’s nearly impossible NOT to spend a month’s worth of grocery money in less than 10 minutes, but I was exceptionally restrained. I simply focused on the tags and thought: “I bet you I can make me somethin’ with these here thingies.”

So here’s the thingie I’m making (with an emphasis on making as it’s not even remotely done). I’m getting everything prepped to do a tag book that will span one month’s time and be a cute little holding pen for random everyday story snippets and photos. I will begin collecting said data on March 1.

The idea of this project is NOT to jot down a story a day. Oh sure, if you’re REALLY motivated, go for it. But my hope is just to get you to record, oh…let’s shoot for, HALF of your days in a given month.

And what are you going to record? Whatever the heck you want to, but the challenge is this: just pick one thing from the day you’re recording, and write down a little tiny story about it. The tags I designed for this mini-book only give you so much room to write, so the exercise is all about choosing your words carefully, and realizing you don’t need to write a thesis to adequately capture a moment/story/bit & piece of your daily life.

Maybe you will write about your wild success with laundry on a Tuesday. Or the way you had a massive, institutionalization-worthy meltdown on Saturday. Whatever goes, goes. Just find a way to write a mini-record of one thing from one chosen day.

Then, take a picture to put on the back of the tagger. It’s that easy. And guess what? The picture doesn’t have to have anything to do with the story, if you don’t feel the need. Why, you don’t even need a picture. Just use some cute patterned paper and the reverse side of the tag and be done.

The other part of this project is to use something Old and something New
(you can leave out the borrowed and blue part, unless you are too cheap to buy your own scrapbooking tools AND you’re real fond of blue.)

For me, my New was the gorgeous new Sultry collection of papers from BasicGrey. My Old, was these way dusty Missing Link stamps in Colonial Style 5. I’m going to use those to stamp my dates on the taggers.


Beyond that, I pulled from my stash to complete the rest of the tag book cover.

I’ve already printed out 15 tag pages, and trimmed them so they are ready to go come March 1. What do you think? Are you in? Want to practice recording little stories in three to four sentences or less?

Here’s a quick shot of what I’m using:


Heidi Swapp Ghost Butterflys
Ink from Tim Holtz in Vintage Photo
Stamp  from Cat’s Life Press
Label stickers from Martha Stewart Crafts
mini glitter brads from KI Memories
paint, brush and sanding block from Making Memories
(tag design by yours truly!)
and… you’ll need a jump/binder ring to hold it all together

I will say that you certainly don’t need to buy the Paper Source tags (believe me, I get no kickback from these tags, though I wish I did!) You can print out the tag templates, and just trace your own from chipboard. But I’m telling you, the ones from Paper Source are so thick and rich! And for you nutty super alter-er people, they’ll hold up to around a pound of stuff and still be standing strong!

There is a tag template download below for March (the month I’m going to do, because it’s my favorite month, because it’s my birthday month), April and May. Beyond that, if people need other months, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Just print them onto your choice of cardstock and trim.

Finally, don’t get all hung up on the specific details of this. The idea is to wing it, people! I will be sharing some of my entries as we get into March. Cross my heart.

Note: This isn’t meant to be a monthly thing, though you may just have so much fun, you’ll become addicted. Like I used to be addicted to nicotine and am now addicted to Sprite and salt and vinegar potato chips!

Trimming tip: B sure to trim your tags to the inside of the black guideline, and double-check they match up size wise to your Paper Source tag cover, or the one you make from chipboard. You may have to do a little trimming here and there, but don’t sweat it. It should work. Then punch a hole on the tag, grab a jump/binder ring, and you’re ready to start telling stories.


My posting will be light this coming week, and so… I wanted to leave you with something fun, and mildly meaty.

Here’s to meaty little stories!
love, Cathy

Here are the templates
for March, April or May. (and they’re all in brown. Sorry people, that’s the way they’re going to have to be. Brown is so neutral, really.) There is a little box on each tag, and that is for the date.  Good luck!

Download march.pdf
Download april.pdf
Download may.pdf

p.s. hopefully these files will work, and you guys will know exactly what to do. If not, post any burning questions here.

p.s.s. the template files will print on an 8.5 x 11 paper, but don’t bleed to the edge, so they should be easy to print.

Cathy ZielskeFree download: A Month of Super Short Stories

117 Comments on “Free download: A Month of Super Short Stories”

  1. #1
    Michelle Granger

    I totally love this idea!! Love the sultry too, I have played with some already too and it is great….I may do this in a 4×6 format instead…Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. #2
    Abby P.

    Very cute idea…and not so daunting! Thanks for sharing…and welcome back to scrapbooking-land! Missed your great ideas!

  3. #4

    “Like I used to be addicted to nicotine and am now addicted to Sprite and salt and vinegar potato chips!” Yep, I so hear you, except that it is ginger beer with my kettle brand salt and vinegar. I made your gratitude book for my sister for Christmas and it was the only scrapbooking I did all year. I love this idea and will do it for me for a change.

  4. #5

    this is such a fun project!! thanks for the inspiration. my friend and i have just agreed to do this. should be fun!!!

  5. #6

    oh this will be fun! i love tags and love jump rings … so this is perfect! been thinking of this anyway – may use it for a mix of things that happened and ideas for the month … another great idea! but don’t post too lightly for the week, i NEED your sense of humor! it is cheaper than therapy!

  6. #7

    I really need a little project to do for me right about now, so thankyou for this Cathy. I shall try and play along in March.

    (and yummy, those ‘sultry’ papers look delish)

  7. #8

    What a cool idea Cathy. I will try to do this. I like the simplicity of using only 3 or 4 sentences to tell a story. I saw that you’re coming to KC in Oct. I can’t wait to meet you and take your class.

  8. #9

    Thanks for the downloads, what a great project idea! Also wondering how you got ahold of the Sultry paper already? Is it in stores somewhere? (Just asking because I love it and need it!)

  9. #18
    Carolyn Mcavoy

    I Love March tooooo. My b-day also and so is my daughters…Just Love March and I like this project…I believe I’ll try it…

  10. #19
    Carolyn Mcavoy

    Are you going to share more on how to do each page as far a decorating? Do we have to use butterflies? Can we use a different line of paper produts?

  11. #21

    Perfect little project to get me going. Love that it’s not overwhleming and “do” able plus I actually have time to prepare before March 1st! This is a good roll for you, Cathy – – don’t stop! I’m still waiting for the next book 🙂

  12. #23

    Cathy- I was just thinking I needed a little scrapping inspiration, and here I have found it! Thank you thank you thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to start March 1st!

  13. #24

    I soooooo love this idea!!
    I can’t wait to play along!
    thanks for the inspiration-
    and the much needed laughs that
    reading your blog brings to my

  14. #28

    Oh cool, I’m in too 🙂 Fab project!

    Question: what paper size do I need to use to print those tag templates? Is it 8.5 x 11? (I’m in the UK and our standard paper size is A4 which will chop the edges off if I use that!) Thanks.

  15. #29
    Susan Gilman

    oh I love this idea!!!!!!!!!!! love the template. love the Sultry paper. love Cathy Z. love March, too (it’s my birthday month as well (18th) – are you seeing the connections here (in a totally NON-single-white-female way, of course?) heehee.

  16. #30

    Love this little project, keep the months coming! Love the paper, Basic Grey just never ceases to amaze me.

  17. #31

    OK, I’m playing too, I love this!! It is adorable. But hey, did you buy up all the tags, because when I looked at them at the site, they are sold out!! 🙂 I’ll check back tho w/ Paper Source.

  18. #32


    Count me in !! Love the idea, thanks so much for the PDF (and for Scarlett, I’ve used A4 size and it printed perfectly)

  19. #33

    Count me in, I am a March baby too, and I need to get the hang of this whole mini book process.

    Burning Question: what trimmer is pictured? I am on the list for a genesis, but seems like that is never gonna happen.

  20. #34

    Thanks so much for the template! Fun project! And, I see Paper Source owes you one — you sold them totally out of tags. They have got to be wondering what is going on! 🙂

  21. #36

    thanks for the awesome project and templates! Would you ever consider doing a tutorial on the way you set up your templates?? What program do you use to set the exact size of the tag?
    I also love March because it means spring break and warmer weather!

  22. #37

    Very cool! I’m in, I’m in (and heading to Paper Source … I mean, it’s been a whole month since I’ve been there)! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  23. #40

    Count me in too! I *think* that I need to go out now to ACMoore …. thanks!!! This should be lots of fun!!
    I hardly scrap anymore but when I do it is little books and fun stuff like this.


  24. #41

    Great idea Cathy……can I ask what adhesive you are using? I usually use the Ultimate but I have trouble starting it up each time (it clogs up at the top). Do you know of an adhesive that won’t make bumps and bubbles?

  25. #43

    i have been trying to get inspired all weekend, thanks to you now i am. love this idea. i am sending out this link to my friends that are having a retreat on the oregon coast in april and then we can all share our project there.

  26. #45
    Theresa Grdina

    This is too cool! Count me in! However, Paper Source is already out of the tags….any recommendations on what else to use??? Great project – great idea!

  27. #46

    Your post immediately made me think of this that i saw on the internet the other night:
    I was thinking of trying to incorporate this concept into a tag book…looks like you beat me to the idea…but wouldn’t this be cool. Hemingway, it says on the site, once wrote a six-word story and later proclaimed it to be his best work. His story? “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never worn.” How poignant is that?

  28. #49

    On my gosh! How excited am I? This is exactly what I was looking to do this month because it’s my birthday month too!! The 9th to be exact. So thanks for the birthday gift and inspiration. LOVE IT.

  29. #51

    I’m thinking this is just what I need to do right now.
    I’ve got a March birthday as well, and being the end of my 40th year…I wanted to do something different… this is it. Or something like it 😉
    Thanks for sharing. Your cover is gorgeous!

  30. #52

    Awesome idea ! I’m in !!! Love that new collection from BG – it’s my favorite from all of their new collections !

    A question for ‘ya : would you consider making for us francophones templates for those tags in French language ?

    The months in French are MARS, AVRIL, MAI.

    The abbreviated days are DIM, LUN, MAR, MERC, JEU, VEN, SAM.

    Thanks for your continual inspiration !!!


  31. #53

    I was so glad to see this project. Lately I’ve been needing inspiration to get anything done, feeling like I’ve lost my creative soul. Thanks for putting this together and giving us the jumpstart.
    Can’t wait to get started!
    ps – I don’t even need to go shopping for this one!

  32. #54
    Abby P.

    Comment #2: Just used your link to Paper Source for the tags (which I bought YESTERDAY) to double check their size…AND THEY ARE ALL SOLD OUT! They must LOVE you, Cathy! Glad I bought fast!

  33. #56
    katie m.

    Cathy! YoU ArE A GeNiUs … I know you MUST hear that all the time from your family, but I thought I would tell you too…
    I love this idea and am SOOOOOOO going to do this.
    Can’t wait, thanks tons!
    Love ya

  34. #57

    Such a great idea! I think I’m going to do the month of May because it’s my birthday, Mother’s Day and my husband’s birthday as well. This sounds like an awesome project that you could easily adapt to any month.

    And can I add I just got an iMac and saving your little pdf was like a dream come true? So freaking cool.

  35. #59

    Whey-hey, you’re back! (Not that you were ever away, of course. Soz.) Love the tags, but can’t afford to be quite as profligate (2 tags per page)with my card! Hope you don’t mind, but I redesigned your glorious tags to fit six of them onto 12×12 card. They’re stacked up and ready to go – so looking forward to this, and thank-you!

  36. #64

    AWESOME idea! Thank you so much for sharing it. It’s gonna be a big month with our anniversary and hubby’s bday. Plus St Paddy’s day (with the Magical Leprachaun) and the Easter Bunny. (Is it bad to have so many immaginary visitors?)

  37. #65

    Cathy – you are absolutely, without a doubt, a fantastic person. Thank you for this idea and the monthly tag downloads. Awesome.

  38. #67

    I happened across your blog only about a week ago, and am soooo pleased! I bought your ‘Clean & Simple Scrapbooking’ here in NZ a couple of years ago and always go back to it – even though I am not so ‘clean and simple’ the elements I just love and I find it very inspiring. I’m going to try this tag project especially since part of the work is done already – thank for the templates and the inspiration!

  39. #68
    Pam Berkson

    I really need to use up some stash…great idea! I’m going to Donna Downey’s INSPIRED event in April and I’m pretty sure I will “need” to buy more stuff to stash.

  40. #71

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing the templates. I have no idea how to do this myself, so I really appreciate it!! 🙂

  41. #72

    this is soooo cool!! i finished putting mine together last night and i’m ready to go!! i’m going with the every-other-day stories so it’s so doable!! thanks for the great idea!

  42. #73

    Hey Cathy! I just printed out the march tags! My one and only problem which sort of made me sad, but has nothing to do with you, is that my pretty Stampin up paper is too thick for my HPall in 1 printer! This majorly bummed me out cause its so pretty! But Im over it and am happy with the white and brown which I love too! I may make my BB do this as well!

  43. #74
    Joanne Hodges

    I’m in! I love this idea AND since my b-day is also in March, I gave up nicotine and love salt and vinegar chips….what could be more perfect than starting in March! Thanks for the rockin’ idea Cathy.

  44. #75

    Oh Cathy,
    What a great idea! SO in on this one with you? You are so generous to share the downloads with us! Do I dare to ask you to give us January and February too? I’d love to have a whole year to print out from the get-go, that way I’m sure to fill them all in. It’s like striking when the iron is hot!
    Thanks so much for this whole idea!

  45. #76

    I’ve already gotten started assembling supplies to get this started in preparation for March. Love it.

    The tag designs are just so simple, and clean, and brilliant. I’d love a whole year seriesto use in my “year-in-review” book i’m compiling. It would be just perfect…so, y’know in all of your spare time, just whip that out for one of your acolytes!
    appreciating what i’ve already gotten from you, and never satiated on cathy zielske!

  46. #78

    Great idea. I’m going to try it. The tags you are using are on back order, but I’ll just head to the store and get an alternative. I think I am going to get my daughters into the act too. Thanks for the inspiration.

  47. #79

    What a fabulous idea, might have to just pull my socks up and make the effort to join in ! Thanks 🙂

  48. #81

    this is such a great idea, Cathy!! I’m going to get going on this wit ya’ll. I do have a ? tho…our days are very mundane…meaning the same thing over and over and over. kinda boring actually. help me think of some ideas to write down.

  49. #82

    You are going to think that I am a liar but after listening to episode 85 of Creative Mom Podcast (at while on my walk this morning, I was thinking about making a similar album from shipping tags… I was thinking of combining the shipping tag book idea with the 12 of the 12th idea 🙂 and then I find this on your blog! Fantastic!

  50. #84

    Thanks, Cathy. This looks great and manageable, too. I was hoping to be able to take Stacey’s Big Picture class this year but, alas, I still stumble through the virtual world on DIAL UP so it just isn’t feasible. I like projects I am able to download in just a few minutes as opposed to hours! Anyway, I also love the compilation spread you made with photos of you and Dan. Very excellent.

  51. #85
    Nancy L

    This is soooo great. I looove your projects and how cooool is that my birthday month is March too!!!! Well except for the part that I’ll be 40 this year and that I look like a pudgy 25 year old and act like a 9 year old. :p Boy there maybe alot of reflection in these tags. Darn. Can you make one template for Feb? I have alot to get off my chest already!

  52. #88
    Donna Bettencourt

    This is great……..I just bought two of these tags for an unknown album cover when I was down at CHA and stopped by Paper Source at the South Coast Mall with Miss Nora!! ‘Just love it when something I grabbed on a whim turns out that I “need” it!! LOL


  53. #92

    Cathy I just want to say THANK YOU!! –your last few posts about getting back to the simplicity of just telling the story, capturing the things that are really important and not getting bent out of shape with the “greatest and latest” hype are just what I needed to hear and the inspiration for projects as simple as this one are just divine! Little steps like this can capture the memories without getting crazy, and I love the way you impart the idea of just winging it! Thank you again, I plan on actually DOING this project!! –and I love that you give us awesome pdf files to work with, such a bonus!

  54. #94

    i, who never commit to anything which lasts less than two years, commit to this project in the month of March. because it’s your birthday. wait — that’s not right. 😀 – tiff

  55. #95

    Love this idea and totally going to do the next 3 months worth. Thanks for the great inspiration Cathy.

  56. #97

    Oh yeah….this little baby is just the little hunk of Slim Jim I needed ; ) I’m SO in on this one, but pleeeeease, keep the months coming!!!!!!

  57. #98
    Beth B.

    I definitely want to do this!! Thanks for sharing the template and look forward to seeing more on the blog!!

    Beth (tired mommy to a busy 4.5 yr old)

  58. #102
    Danielle Barton

    OMG, OMG, OMG!!! This is a GREAT idea!!!! I will SO do this!!! Although, I am going to use some of the tags I bought at staples(I think the box haas 500 in it). I’ve had them for over a year, just *waiting* for this poject!!! YipppiE!!! 🙂 THANKS!!

  59. #107
    Debby Moreau

    I made up my March tag book yesterday and I used my Bind It All to well, bind it. I think this is an awesome idea. I just love the format. I would add 2008 in a really small font for future templates. Just sayin’.

  60. #109

    Thank you for sharing this Cathy!! I printed the march tags right away and created my own March Tag Book! I´m looking forward to write down bits and pieces every day (I want to try to do it every single day…) Great idea, thanks again!! And have a nice day,
    love, yoyo

  61. #110
    Julie Goldovitz

    Great Idea Cathy. I am always on the lookout for mini-book ideas. One question, can you perhaps make a PDF of the tag template without any words at the bottom? It would be nice to stamp my own options in.Thanks!

  62. #112

    I just LOVE this project idea! I started a day late & without supplies, but for now i’ll be taking pics and taking notes, then when I can get my hands on some new BG, I’ll assemble. Thanks for the inspiration! I can see myself doing this quarterly, recording the different activities we do during different seasons…

  63. #113
    Raewyn A

    You are so giving and so inspirational Cathy! Thank you for including the templates, I have made up my tag album in readiness for our 18 yr anniversary honeymoon in Fiji this coming May. (18yrs together, 15yrs married), this will be our first honeymoon.
    Am going to start it off with a wee story about how we met! LOL

  64. #114

    Yes. I love this idea. I have been wondering how I could combine my love for writing in my journal and my love for scrapbooking. While a month seems a bit overwhelming for me…I think I am going to try this idea with a smaller project – like Easter week. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  65. #117

    Hi Cathy 🙂 I was looking through your archives and remembered that I downloaded these tags for March, April & May and I’m wondering if you’ve given free tags for Jan & Feb or if you’ll be giving away some for the rest of the year. 🙂 Thanks girl…you ROCK. :)x100

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