Quirks and quotes: an authentic way to tell a story

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking16 Comments


Some of my favorite scrapbook pages or projects are those documenting both the things that my subjects say, verbatim, or the quirky things they do that make them unique.

I featured one of my favorite albums in my 2nd book, called "Things You Say," a collection of random quotes from my then 6-year-old walking quote machine, Coleman.

SAY album

Here's a sample spread from that album (click on it to see it larger in a new window):

SAY flat

Quoting your scrapbook subjects is such an authentic and simple way to truly capture a bit of who they are, and it takes no more writing skill that the ability to report what you hear, and give it a bit of context.

To that end, I designed a new set of StoryGuide templates (both in 8.5 x 11 and 12 x 12) to help capture quotes, as well as quirks.

The template includes a journaling block for quotes, as well as one for quirks. I made an updated Cole layout over the weekend.


SUPPLIES: StoryGuide 3a (Cathy Zielske) • Olan Solids (Michelle Martin) • Krafty Ledger Paper Pack (Katie Pertiet) • Distressed Edges No. 9 (Anna Aspnes) • Avenir Font

Next, inspired by the question I asked on last Friday's sponsor giveaway (When was the last time you did a page just about you?) I decided to do a quotes and quirks page about yours truly.

On this layout, I created a hybrid version by turning off layers, resizing text blocks and then assembling it all on my dining room table. (Click on the photo to see it larger in a new window.)


I dipped into my ancient stash of patterned papers for a little swatch of Basic Grey, and I believe those little asterisks are from an equally ancient American Crafts alpha set.

There are a lot of you who do pages about yourself on a regular basis. That makes me all kinds of happy.

However, according to the comments left over the weekend, there are a great many more of you who do not or have not in a painfully long time.

If any of you have read my books or this blog over the years, you know I'm a staunch advocate of documenting the scrapbooker. Yes, all those stories you tell about all those people you love are important, but if you neglect to scrap the main story teller, you're doing a disservice to the craft. I mean it. I really do. This is me, on a scrapbooking soap box. Hear me roar.

Here's a look at my two print outs: one on white cardstock; one on photo paper.


I simply trimmed and adhered the photos and title to the background cardstock.

Here's a scan of my page, written in a second person voice, for those who like to read:


You could do this. You could write about yourself in the second person. There's like zero weirdnes with that. Zero. No, really… zilch.

I'd like you to at least consider the possibilities here.

For the love of repositionable adhesive, you have got to take a page or two and tell people something about yourself. And I don't want to hear the old, "But I'm so…boring…" or the classic cop out of, "I hate pictures of myself."

I've created a 4-page PDF downloadable handout to walk you through the steps of creating this layout. You now have zero weirdness and zero excuses.

Download CZ_HybridHowTo (file is 1.3 mb in size.)

Note: in my step by step, it shows how to drag guides out from the Ruler Bar in PSE 8.0. If you have an earlier version of PSE, you'll simply have to eyeball the repositioning of the small titles and journaling blocks.

My message for you this Monday? Keep your ears tuned to the things people say and the quirky things that only they do. Then be a savvy journalist scrapbooker and document away.

It's so much meatier than any "a good time was had by all" page ever will be. I can pretty much guarantee you that.

Oh yeah, and include yourself in the mix once in a blue moon, deal?




Find the 8.5 x 11 StoryGuide3a here, and the 12 x 12 version here. Questions or comments? Post them and I'll do my best to answer.



Cathy ZielskeQuirks and quotes: an authentic way to tell a story

16 Comments on “Quirks and quotes: an authentic way to tell a story”

  1. #1

    Cathy you’ve outdone yourself again. I love this idea and have always said that my kids funny things need to be recorded more often. Was fun to read yours and Cole’s layouts. Way to go on doing one for yourself. I tell my husband all the time that we need to hook up our son Sam with a mini recorder going all day because the kid just cracks us up and always saying something funny then we forget what it was later. Thanks Cathy!!

  2. #3
    Jan B

    Great template(s), Cathy. I’m definitely going to pick that up… And, also, I am so totally the same way about magazines…and newspapers. I’ll even hide them if we have company. The hubs knows to wait. Freaky. But I’m so happy to know I’m not the only freak. 😉

  3. #5

    These posts about “how to journal 101” are brilliant, helpful and seriously apt.I am putting together an album for my first born son at the moment called 12 of twelve, it is documenting his 12th year running up to being a teenager.

    I am doing a monthly photo and “some journalling” I use that term loosely as I am totally crap (excuse the profanity) at journalling.

    Your suggestions for interview style questionnaires etc are quite frankly the inspiration I needed.

    Ta Muchly

  4. #6

    Cathy, can you tell us what website you use to print your pages? I’d like to try it to see the quality. I do 12 x 12 pages. Thanks.

  5. #7

    Guilty as charged, although my goal this year is LOTS of me (needless to say our 17 yr old, usually the center of attention IS adjusting – he does actually love it, it does however mean there is less of him at times lol). Love the pages and your hybrid one – guess I am heading over to designer digitals!

  6. #8

    Deb, I use scrapbookpictures.com and have been very pleased with the results. I have also heard good things about Persnickety Prints.

  7. #9

    A useful poke in the ribs, as I rarely scrapbook about myself. Your stylish templates would make it so easy. Feeling the Hand of Temptation on my shoulder and Fate nudging my credit card closer to my mouse …

  8. #10

    I do the same thing with my daugher, Zoe (who will be 6 next month)
    I write down what I call “Zoe-isms”…funny things she says, etc….Actually, that’s the main thing I use my FaceBook for…to post her funny sayings & quirks b/c then I know I won’t lose it & I can save them every so often….It’s so fun to go back & read them, and I can’t wait for her to read them herself when she is older!

  9. #11
    Aliza Deutsch

    Love it all, as always. I am particularly fond of “so, how’s your childhood going so far?”
    Something I started using to collect those quotable quotes, is divided page protectors, the baseball card sized ones. I pre-cut some cardstock to fit inside, so I can just jot down their comments, and jokes as they happen. (My 9 year just made his first boob joke. Not sure if I should scrap it, or sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen.)

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