Things I’ve learned from gettin’ my Simple on

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking38 Comments

I thought I'd do some reflecting throughout this last month of my time with Simple Scrapbooks magazine, and I've given that reflection the heading of "Gettin' my Simple On." Join me, won't you? As I reflect on what I've learned from gettin 'my Simple on.

No. 1โ€”Don't Reinvent the Wheel


[page taken from Scrapbook Play, from Simple Scrapbooks]

When Cole was three, I did this page:


When Cole was 7, I did this one:


Same title. Same design. Same journaling structure. Different pictures. Different Stories.

One of the best things about letting go of having to be the most creative scrapbooker in the room is that it frees you up to do the thing that really, let's be honest, you do better than anyone else. What's that thing? Simple. It's telling your stories.

Gettin' my Simple on has reminded me that I can use the same design and the same journaling approach and have results that are totally different, but ultimately result in exactly the kinds of stories I want to be saving.

My goal in scrapbooking is two-fold: one, tell stories that matter to me, and two, make them look good in the process.

That, in and of itself, is a fairly simple goal. It's not about being the best or having the most pages done. It's just about removing the whole reinvention notion, and getting to the good stuff. No guilt-laden detours in sight.

Good stories. Good design. No reinvention stress. That's one thing gettin' my Simple on means to me.

Stay tuned for more.

Cathy ZielskeThings I’ve learned from gettin’ my Simple on

38 Comments on “Things I’ve learned from gettin’ my Simple on”

  1. #1

    As usual – you inspire me. Sniff … sniff …

    Promise me you won’t go away? If you do I might get crazy and break out the old Paperkins or something. Start making my own papers …

    Nobody wants to see that from me. Nobody!

    KISSing it back to ya for the reminder of what I love about my scrapbooks – the simplicity of the pages capturing the complexity of our memories. Thanks Cathy!

  2. #3

    Cathy – your DYL class taught me this – and it’s nice to hear you say it outright here. I struggled at first to try to make your fantastic designs “different” – and finally gave in to using them as they were. That’s when I discovered that the photos, papers, colors and ultimately, my own stories were what made them unique. Thanks again for sharing your marvelous work, process and perspective with us. You’re the greatest!

  3. #4
    Sharon F.

    Yes, this is what keeps me moving forward. No need to reinvent. I so loved your DYL class and wish it coudl continue. When a door closes isn’t there a window open somewhere and its cold out there…or is it an angel and wings…:) I have a feeling its time for you to do what you do on your won or partnering with others. But you have alot more to teach – if nothing else you are keeping me current on music. YOu are creative and excellent at telling stories and that is why I scrapbook, to tell my stories in a way that I love the look several years later.
    You have a lot to offer and there are many of us who would pay…:)

  4. #5

    Even though DYL is over we have learned so many things and I often look through my album and think oh I love that layout and want to make it again. I have a new passion for this hobby and will be keeping it simple.

  5. #7

    Who in the world came up with the concept that we need to recreate a new scrapbook page every time we want to record our memories? I am letting go of the reinvention stress. No more. See ya. After taking DYL, I am all about taking a good design and using over and over. Thanks Cathy for your inspiration and permission.

  6. #8

    wish we were “bringin simple back”… instead of sexy. not to say you’re not sexy! that orange sweat shirt… whoa boy! hot. and the socks… can’t forget about the sox… makes me shiver. smooch!!

  7. #9

    How very true! Sometimes I just want to tell a story but I’m worried that the page won’t look nice enough… how sad is that?! I admire your scrapbooking style, and I’m so impressed with the scraplift you did of yourself, and how great they both look. It’s really the stories that matter most, and you’ve really captured your son’s personality on these pages – he’s so endearing! Thank you for being a huge inspiration Cathy!

  8. #10
    Fabi Moraes

    Cathy, I love reading your blog. It’s funny how close to you I feel when in fact we never met. You are constantly feeding my mind with your wit, intelligence and refreshing comments on anything!

  9. #12

    I’m all about not re-inventing the wheel, thanks for the affirmation that it’s “okay”.

    As always, you rock.

  10. #14

    THANK YOU! I totally feel like I just got permission to stay with my own “style” and not have to constantly be making pages with the most current styles/products.

    I love “new” stuff (and buy ALOT of it), but my main goal with this hobby is to tell our family stories and preserve those precious memories.

    I think I will stay in my ratty sweats and “Get my simple on” today!!!

    by the way……… rock!

  11. #15

    And this is why I loved DYL so much. Good design, good stories, and heck … if you like it … don’t hesitate to use it again (and again and again)!

    That class was one of the best investments I’ve made in my scrapbooking adventure (next to my EHD and ACDSee lol!).

    I am less worried about all the bits & do-dads and I just scrap & tell our story. And I get SO many compliments.

  12. #17
    Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY

    You’re right about not “re-inventing” the wheel and it doesn’t take much to breathe new life into an old layout design.

    Sorry to see SS go. Good luck with your future creative projects and ventures.

  13. #19

    DYL changed my scrapbooking from a headache to a simple pleasure. I’ve had more compliments on the pages I did during class than anything else I’ve ever done (due almost entirely to the designer of the sketches and the simple instruction). Now I’m all about not re-inventing the wheel. It’s really all about the photos and the stories. Thank you for your contribution to SS – my favorite magazine which I will miss terribly.

  14. #20
    Kris Van Allen

    Scrapbook Play is a book I go back to time and time again. Love simple creativity! Might have to lift your quote here…so well worded!

    “My goal in scrapbooking is two-fold: one, tell stories that matter to me, and two, make them look good in the process.”

  15. #21
    Brigid G

    Thanks so much for putting things into perspective! Scraplifting rocks, as does making an entire album from the same basic template. I am sooooo gonna miss Simple Scrapbooks! I loved DYL, and I hope you do more classes with Big Picture Scrapbooking.

  16. #22
    Jeannette P

    Loooooooooove it! (sing songy)

    I love that Simple says its okay to use the same layout for more than one page. I think it ROCKS!!!

  17. #23

    I’m going to SOOOO miss Simple Scrapbook Mag. This is a great way to reflect and I hope that BPS grows BIGGER & STRONGER. It brought my SIMPLE on!!!

  18. #24

    (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately)

    Maybe I should redirect all my dejection into my own lessons from Simple or something : )

  19. #25

    and THAT is exactly why I scraplift so often. wrote a book about it! *WINK*

    (which reminds me, crap, I need to send you something! D’OH!)

  20. #27

    “Gettin’ my Simple On” that sounds like a wonderful underground society that I will join in a heartbeat. Any plans?

    In fact I’ve dreamed of all you wonderful gals who provided so many of us with Simple Inspiration banning together to continue fighting for the cause in this online world of ours.

    What I learned from Simple is that I don’t have to keep up with the latest trends to have beautiful, meaningful pages. I am able to go back to older issues and STILL find the inspiration relevant.

  21. #28

    This is why I buy your books, read your articles and savor your blog (that last one has the potential for sounding nasty) ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are extraordinary. and simple.

    Thank you,
    Olympia, WA

  22. #30

    This is why I visit you and why I love SS. The basics and getting back to them, but making beautiful and fun LO’s at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

  23. #31
    melanie louette

    You know I adore you and I’ve told you many times that you’ve been such a huge inspiration to me. I sure hope you keep on scrapping, even though Simple is no more…that would be a double whammy that I’m not prepared to deal with!

  24. #33
    Nancy C. from Wilmington, NC

    I feel like I should “lift” the title of a famous book and change it to say,”Everything I Learned about Scrapbooking I Learned from Cathy”. Your first book was the first thing other than CK that I had purchased. I wasn’t happy with CK because it was the style then to see how much junk could be put on to a page. It wasn’t me and then I read your first book and felt so free. Your pages were so simple and elegant. I’ll never have your composition skills, but I’ve found my style!

  25. #35

    Your style, your ideas, your permission to keep it simple yet riveting — have helped me to ditch the guilt and enjoy the crafting and memories. I hope you will continue to teach, publish and write on “simple” scrapbooking. I’ll be watching for your byline in mags and on-line.

  26. #36
    Kathy in Minnesota

    Ya know why I read your blog? Because the stuff you put down is AWESOME. (yes, I’m a product of the 80’s. Sue me!) You inspire me. You make me laugh. You’re one of us. (Really, you are.) ok, slightly off, but still one of us

    God, I miss SS already.

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