Layout share: Gratitude Journal

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking24 Comments


I recently wrapped up teaching my Design Your Life workshop over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I ran the workshop twice during the past two years and have decided to retire the class and begin working on a new design course which will debut in 2011. 

After going through it the second time, I realized this: I really like a lot of the pages I did for the class. I like the sketches. I like the finished pages.

I'm going to be releasing several of my favorites from the class over at Designer Digitals in the coming weeks for anyone who wanted to take the class but couldn't. 

One of my favorite layouts from class was from our week studying color, and it looked like this:


(The papers are older on this page, forgive me for not providing links.) The challenge was to take some of the fear out of combining patterned papers. The solution? Find a few papers that pick up color from your photos, and combine them with neutrals (white and kraft). And don't lose to much sleep in the process.

This Gratitude Template is available as a layered PSD file, but also in PNG and PDF for you non-Photoshop users. You can print out the PDF onto your choice of neutral cardstock, trim along the crop marks, and create one or several pages to document things you are thankful for.

My students became very familiar with printable PDFs and crop marks. For those of you who are unfamiliar, you can use crop marks to show you where to trim your photo/element etc.

I created a lot of the original artwork for the class using Adobe InDesign, which allowed me (via a plug-in) to put custom crop marks on all of the elements for my class.

Crop marks can be tricky to use at first, but here's a quick photo montage showing how to use them with a paper trimmer:


For this example, I simply printed out the PDF file onto my favorite Bazzill white cardstock, and trimmed.

You can use crop marks in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements when you print something out. Let's say you want to make a 4 x 6 journaling block with crop marks. You simply create a new document that size, add your journaling, and when you send the file to print, you select the crop marks option (in CS it's under the Output drop down menu; in PSE 8 it's "More Options" and "Trim Guidelines.")

I decided to make a new layout in my gratitude series, this one focusing on being grateful that I have such amazing access to good food, and that I can afford to go out and get it. My page ended up looking like this:


I took some of my papers from the Studio Calico Joyland kit and paired them with some simple neutrals. My photo had color all over the place, so I just took a deep breath and thought, "Just grab two papers that go together (they both shared my favorite shade of green) and two neutrals and make the page."

I will tell you this: I stress far less over choosing the best colors ever as far as my patterned papers go these days. Sometimes, you've just got to let go a bit, and say, "This'll do donkey. This'll do."

SUPPLIES: Little Man Zig Zag Quite Contrary 2-sided paper (My Mind's Eye) • Avignon paper (7gypsies) • Gratitude Template (Cathy Zielske for Designer Digitals) • scallop blade (Fiskars) • chipboard heart (Heidi Swapp) • ZIG Writer

Cathy ZielskeLayout share: Gratitude Journal

24 Comments on “Layout share: Gratitude Journal”

  1. #1

    Ooooooh, I am SO happy you’ll be releasing some of your DYL templates at Designer Digitals! I picked up the gratitude one the first day it went up. 🙂

    When I took DYL in 2008, I wasn’t a digi scrapper, and you didn’t have digi templates… and I considered registering for DYL again, just to get the templates! Now I’m going to go back to my class notes and make a wish list of templates I’d like to buy. May I send a wish list for your consideration? <3

  2. #3
    Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    OK Can I pre-register for you next class now:) DYL was seriously amazing and I have let go of Justifying finally. What a gift to be free of that:) This template was one of my favorites. Do you remember the gratitude Oprah journal craze? I think this would be awesome project to do weekly!!!!!! Ah the inspo you give me.
    P.S. And I still think your rolling skating cool:)

  3. #6
    Heather R

    I am not a digital scrapper, despite my tries at learning it I just can’t seem to. I LOVE the fact that you have this available as a PDF and think I may just have to purchase it. I think this might be just the album project I need at this point in my life. Lately I find myself drowning in all the negativity so abundant in my life and all around me.

  4. #8

    I am so happy to hear that the template for this layout is now available for purchase (and that more will be soon). I wasn’t able to take your DYL class either time.

  5. #10
    sharon trumble

    Love the pages! Such cute templates. I will have to get those too. I so wish I could have taken this class from you… Hopefully, the next one you teach I’ll be there!
    I do also love the new this to that dot adhesive.
    sharon trumble

  6. #11
    Lisa Kisch

    I took DYL the first time, and it changed the way I scrapbook. I actually only did about 1/2 of the assignments, but the principles really soaked in. I had a newborn at the time, and I would watch the videos on my laptop while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. (Thank you for keeping me awake, by the way!)
    I can’t wait to see your next design class. I’ll be first in line. 🙂

  7. #12

    As a fellow magazine designer, I totally loved DYL too. Thanks for spreading the design love! I was thiclose to getting your template when I remembered that it was part of DYL. Doh!

    Thanks for the inspiration‚ I keep a gratitude journal on my phone but it’s waaaay cooler to do it on paper! 🙂

  8. #13

    I’m grateful for all the digital templates (in class & out!). While I love paper scrapping, sometimes the mood or time available simply demands digital. Or it’s late at night, I need to do a layout, and I really don’t want to get any paper goods out. At any rate, I’ve been thinking about doing a bunch of gratitude pages – you just made it much easier!

    I’m waiting in line for your next design class, too. I’ve taken DYL both times & am really happy I did. I learned a lot, and got a lot of great sketches.

  9. #14
    Margaret McGarry

    Ah, will 2011 never get here? I am looking forward to the new design class. (Took DYL the first time.) Will the new one be at BPS as well?

    Separately, and in the slightly-freaky-for-you-I’m-sure but pretty-funny-for-me and so I-had-to-tell-you category, you were in my dream last night. Actually, your whole family was. My car broke down, and you were there and you invited me to your house for dinner… there were lots of children and grandparents there, too. You served something delicious (don’t remember what) accompanied by several varieties of delicious homemade bread. I was concerned the bread was high in points, and you assured me it was “free.” Then we discussed camera straps.

    Thanks for the hospitality!

  10. #15

    the designs for layouts from DYL are still the ones I use most often and I did the class the first time. Fantastic you are putting them in deisigerdigitals. Think about at least one of the design principles from class each time I make a page too – and equal margins is just ingrained into my every breath.

    I’ll be there for the new design class – whatever the focus

  11. #17

    Just want to thank you again for DYL! Loved every minute of it.

    Also want to mention about crop marks and PSE8. They are there but can only be used when printing one thing on a piece of paper. You can set crop marks for a 4×6 journaling item if it is the only thing on the paper. Unfortunately you can’t print multiple things on one piece of paper and have crop marks for each one. Such is life.

  12. #18
    Cathy Doerr

    That was my favorite template from your class. I just printed out another copy with plans to do another page using it soon. Or perhaps a mini album. Very excited to hear you are planning another design class at BPS.

  13. #19
    Christy B

    Oooh Cathy, you’re making my day! I love the gratitude journal page too. I’ve been doing them since you gave it to us last year in DYL. But really, I can’t wait to take another design class from you.

  14. #20

    LOVED your class and your templates. Looking forward to Me-TAV in Sept. and your new design class in 2011 🙂

  15. #21
    Margy Eastman

    Yay! I loved DYL, and I still add to the “gratitude” album I started two years ago with you. I love that layout. Can’t wait!

  16. #22

    First, I am sad DYL is not going to be offered again. I haven’t been able to take it and was planning to next time around. BooHoo. BUT I’m glad you are offering something in its place. BIG question: will the new class be similar? Have I already missed out on something so good I’m gonna shrivel up and die? I have purchased most of your templates available through DD and look forward to new ones. One suggestion: please, please, don’t offer the new class so close to the holidays! I took Me-TAV, followed immediately by another BPS class, and wasn’t yet finished with either with the holidays thrust upon me. So my January was already spoken for. Was that really you in all those hair pix?!

  17. #23

    When I registered for DYL in 2008, I bought all the stuff and NEVER did ONE THING. Just to clarify I started a new job at the exact same time ,yeah I know what was I thinking? but just didnt do the class. Can I still access my lessons and do it on my own now?

  18. #24

    I took DYL the first time and printed out about 20+ pages of that gratitude journal page and made myself a gratitude journal. :)I love the idea of remembering to be grateful and being able to look back at things from earlier that I am still grateful for. 🙂

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