Digital Album Project: A Message to my Girl (or Boy…or anyone special in your life)

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life65 Comments


One of the things I love most about scrapbooking and storytelling is the ability to put together mini-albums with a message. The newest addition to the CZ Design line of digital template products is a set called "Message to my Girl" and "Message to my Boy" (coming Oct. 25 to Designer Digitals) and I'm excited to show you how it works and looks.

First the sets:



This new template set comes with 6 individual layered templates and is designed to help you create an 8 x 8 album of messages, advice, or just your general thoughts to someone in your life. The templates are designed to say "girl" and "boy" but you can turn off those title layers in the template and add in anything you like.

The end goal of this set is to create an 8 x 8 scrapbook of messages. I decided to use the templates to create an 8 x 8 hard cover Shutterfly book for Aidan, and am really happy with the final results. For the cover, I simply used a photo from inside the book, and for the back cover, I used a large swatch of the patterned paper from the inside. Take a peek:



Better yet, watch this video to see all of the spreads and learn a bit more about the project. (or click here to see the album in my gallery at Shutterfly.

Message to My Girl Preview from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

DIGITAL SUPPLIES: "Message to my Girl" Template Set (Cathy Zielske) • Alana Paper Pack (Michelle Martin) •  Weathered Neutrals Paperie (Anna Aspnes) • Krafty No. 7 (Katie Pertiet), PMN Caecilia Roman 55 font.

(NOTE the mini brads in the sample on the video have been swapped out with better looking ones, thanks to Katie Pertiet. Thanks, Katie!)

I designed the album project using a font called PMN Caecilia Roman 55, which is classified as a slab serif typeface. The type on the title page of this album design is converted to graphics and you don't need the font to print them, however, if you would like your journaling to match, you would need to have the font. You can always do a Google Search to look for free versions as well. (Or, any slab serif typeface would do. You may even have one in your collection!)

This project would make a simple and meaningful gift for the holidays. Whether you create a Shutterfly book, or digital pages for an 8 x 8 album, or simply adapt the design for a hybrid project, you'll be surprised at how quickly the words fill up when you are writing from the heart.

Word to the wise: don't tackle this project when you're overly hormonal without a good supply of Kleenex on hand. I'll admit, I had a touch of the waterworks going when I wrote this:


(click on layout to see larger in a new window)

Questions about this project? Feel free to post in the comments. The templates will be available beginning this weekend at Designer Digitals.

Cathy ZielskeDigital Album Project: A Message to my Girl (or Boy…or anyone special in your life)

65 Comments on “Digital Album Project: A Message to my Girl (or Boy…or anyone special in your life)”

  1. #4

    It’s lovely. I made a similar one from your BPS Design class for my daughter. I collected advice from some of the female adults in her life (was easier than doing it all myself) and gave it to her for Christmas. Mine was not digital though!

  2. #5

    wow you are on a roll with the Designer Digital stuff! love it all, great work! No questions…hope your girl enjoys that gorgeous (filled with very wise advice) book for Christmas.

  3. #7

    Wow! What can I say? This is fabulous! I have been planning a mini-album. I may just have to try this out. I am (not too) patiently waiting for a new computer to work on, but I can start dreaming…right…GREAT JOB!

    Thanks for sharing, Leora

  4. #8

    Cathy: This is Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Do you upload the completed templates to Shutterfly to be printed? I’ve never used Shutterfly before….

  5. #9

    Jess, yep. You flatten the files, save them as JPEGs and upload them to a folder you create at Shutterfly. Then, you pull those images into your book file. It’s pretty slick.

  6. #10

    Nice job! It’s a great idea for any parent to give.
    I made a book like this last March called “Messages to My Children” with personal life lessons on each page… 22 pages in a stitched hardbound book and gave each of my 4 children a copy. They LOVED it! Working on one now for my grand-children. 🙂

  7. #12

    I too, like Judy, made one for my daughter – totally scraplifted it from one of your books or magazines but I may have to make another using this for my other daughter.

  8. #13

    Cathy, Cathy, Cathy. You never cease to amaze me! I am loving these templates and wondering if I can write enough stuff to say to fill up that one page! Now, do you include “instructions” with the template. IE like we did with MeTav–open word processor page, write x number of words, then copy paste. I don’t need the step by steps, I just want to know how many words I need to write to fill the page.

    My son will be 13 in December and what a great present for him.

  9. #14

    Seriously, your daughter needs to be a professional model. She’s so very photogenic and just a lovely young lady.

  10. #15
    Leora Henkin

    Hey Cathy! I see that you asked for questions. I am wondering if you would be willing to share some ideas about how to use this beautiful template in a hybrid fashion. Can you see me drooling?

  11. #16

    What an incredible gift for your daughter!!! And what incredible words of wisdom and support you offer inside. BEAUTIFUL BOOK TO CHERISH!!!

    As for her not checking your blog… good luck with that. The way she admires your every move, I’m betting she sees your post, but will still be completely touched.

  12. #17
    Sherrie M.

    What a beautiful book and a great idea! I have notes for a book I wanted to make for each of my three daughters (advice/things I want them to know) in case something ever happened to me. I’ve been quite intimiated by this project both from an emotional standpoint and just taking the time to create three books. This will totally make it easy for me!!! Thanks!! Question though – I am totally buying this this weekend. I’m completely new to digital scrapbooking, is there instructions or will I be totally on my own to create the pages?

  13. #18

    I really like the book, so great for you to share the finished book with us. I am new to PSE but think this would be an easy first project.

  14. #19

    Love this. I did a similar thing about 2 years ago for my kids: 10 things I love about you…Little accordian mimi books. They all still have them displayed in their bedrooms.

  15. #20

    Simply beautiful…so well written!
    I know what I think but can never word it so perfectly!
    What a treasure!

  16. #22

    Hey Ann, the template instructions don’t give a word count. But there is room for up to about 150 words. You do not have to write that much, either. : )

  17. #24

    Leora, you could use the journaling template to print out your journaling onto white cardstock, then trim it out.

    Then you could print both of the pages for the message spread onto cardstock, but turn OFF the layers for the photos and papers, and simply add in your own papers and photos.

    : )

  18. #27

    What an amazingly stunning book. I absolutely must make one of these for my daughter who will be 11 in January and really feels she is “too ordinary”. Breaks my heart. Thanks Cathy, once again you are rockin’ the digi templates!

  19. #28
    claire burk

    Wow! Your album is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been struggling with how to create an album for the first year of our twins’ lives. This is perfect. Just a couple notes on development & a love note from Mama & Papa. Are the tags editable so that I can add an 11 & 12 for those months?

  20. #30

    Hi Cathy! Beautiful, beautiful album. One quick question: Where did you get the circle journaling spot that’s under the numbers? Thanks for sharing… 🙂

  21. #31

    OK, duh moment! I just saw the journaling spots are part of the template. But did you make them yourself? Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

  22. #35

    Thanks, Cathy! I appreciate the response. 🙂 I use InDesign at work (newspaper), so if I get a break later tonight, I might try making a journaling spot for the fun of it.

  23. #36
    Lynsey Peterson

    I’ve never scrapbooked in my life—virtual or otherwise—and yet I am excited about this. Thanks for giving us lackeys—even the non-est of scrapbookers– a chance at looking cool.

  24. #38

    Right. That’s it. I am so making one of these for my boy on his 13th birthday this December 15th. I just showed my husband and he said he would write half the messages. Awesome!

    (You are keeping me busy with all these templates 🙂 )

  25. #39

    this is so thoughtful and sweet and such a treasure for your daughter. i mean c’mon, wouldn’t we all love to have one of these? and i have to say, i just did my own shutterfly book last month or so and it really is so nice. i was quite pleased with the quality.

  26. #42

    Oh I love this! One of the things that scares me about going digital is starting from scratch. This is the perfect “hand holding” that I need. Would love to see more themed-type sets like this one.

  27. #43

    I Love It!!! What a beautiful little book – I need to get my A** into gear and start trying out digital scrapbooking. I’m so slack and I know I’ll enjoy it once I get the hang of it! Thanks for showing us your book, I know Aiden will love it too!

  28. #44
    Margy Eastman

    Cathy! You are the busiest unemployed person I know- between the classes and the blog and the templates you’ve got it all! As I sit here with more patterned paper than time, I am going to order up these templates. My hubby is turning 50 this month, and I’d like to get him something besides grill utensils. He’ll love this.

    Thanks for the preview and video! Aidan is growing up to be a lovely young woman. Does Dan have his shotgun ready to clean when the inevitable boys come to call? Up here that’s really the norm…except the dads aren’t always trying to make a statement. They really are just cleaning their guns.

    Margy in North Pole

  29. #46

    Loved when you did this in Simple’s mini albums, but love it even more as a digital template! This would be awesome as a “Message to the Bride” or a “Message to the New Mom” albums. The shutterfly book is awesome, and Aidan is lovely.

  30. #48
    Pilbara Pink

    Oh darn, I am just going to have to give in and get Photoshop aren’t I? Just love these designs you are cranking and can no longer ignore the potential there …

  31. #51

    When you say you used a large swatch of the patterned paper from the inside, do you mean you stuck the paper on the back cover, or was this selected and printed digitally. If the latter, is there a choice of patterned papers that comes with the template or are these purchased separately form DD?

  32. #55
    Barb Beeghly

    Thanks so much for making something for those of us that like 8×8 projects! I can’t wait for it to go on sale! I will use the hybrid method to add my own papers –glad someone all ready asked that question. Please do more 8×8 and smaller projects!

  33. #56

    Hi. Love the ideas you share on your blog. Question about this book. What font is the g in “girl” on the first page?

  34. #57

    Was Caecilia getting jealous of all the attention you’ve been giving Archer?!

    Have always loved your work with Caecilia and this new template looks divine!

  35. #58

    The photo of your daughter is just lovely! Subject and technique! And, I love 8×8 so thank you, we are under-served as a group in my opinion! 😉

  36. #59

    Great album! My daughter is 8 and she needs a little encouragement right now. Sometimes she gets a little down on life and a little discouraged. This would brighten her day.
    I don’t know if I would do it digi. I’m not very good at it yet and find it time consuming. Plus I have a ton of real paper to use up.
    Thanks for the idea!

  37. #61

    Wow-Thanks for sharing this book idea. I copied it a few years ago from your SS issue, but this is a good reminder to do the book for different ages–our kids always need to know that we love, and hopefully this format will encourage them to hear our advice, also. Thanks again for your generosity in sharing these ideas with us.

  38. #62

    Cathy you did it really nice like everytime!
    some questions : i’m not familiar with templates . is it possible to change the text? what is done on computer and what is done “with scissors and paper” ?

  39. #64
    Jeannette P

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Shutterfly photobooks. I’ve got 11 sitting on my shelf right now & my whole family ejoyes looking at them often. I have used the Creating Keepsake ones & they are great. I’ve used just the plain background ones that you sort of try to enhance yourself….BUT this will take them to the next level. I’m just tapping into the world of PSE and to have some templates to work with for a Shuttefly photobook the way I want it makes me feel like I’ve just discovered GOLD! Thanks so much for your savvy, inspirational, creative ideas that you share. LOooooove it!

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