Telling longer stories

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking33 Comments

Are you a fan of the journaling?

It seems that in the world of scrapbooking, some of us are, and some of us aren't. Some of us kinda sorta like it, but I think those numbers err on the smaller side. You're likely to be a big timer journaler, or not.

I go both ways, but more often than not, there isn't enough room on the page for me to adequately tell the story I want to tell.

Last week, I wanted to design page to do two things: 1) Recycyle an old design from a favorite page and 2) Give me room to focus more on the story than the photos or the stuff of scrapbooking.

The page I created focuses on the changes in my lifestyle over the past 20 months of my life, and it looks like this:


SUPPLIES: Layered Template No. 91, Little Labels No. 01 (Cathy Zielske) β€’ Just Linens No. 4 (Michelle Martin) β€’ Tonal Pinks (Jesse Edwards) β€’ Archer font

The page this design was based on came from a post back in January 2007, when I needed a lot of room to journal about my obsession with Neil Finn (the lead singer of Crowded House):


SUPPLIES: White and grey cardstock, and type.

One digital page with long journaling based on an older hybrid page with the same long journaling.

Some of my favorite pages have been long in the word department, light on the photos. Not that I don't love photos. Lord knows I do, but I also like making room for lots of words in my scrapbook albums.

In fact, when I look back through my collection of pages since I started scrapbooking in 2002, the ones I'm most drawn to area always the ones with longer stories.

Freedome in grapevine

When we became 3jpg


(Click on any of the above layouts to see them larger, in a new window.)

Have you told a longer story lately? If you haven't, why not? If you have, why not do it again and recycle an old design of yours that featured a bigger chunk of journaling.

Remember, your writing doesn't have to be perfect, you simply have to recount whatever it is that you'd like to remember, with a few facts and a few feelings tossed in for good measure. You might surprise yourself once you get going and find you run out of room before you know it.


NEED HELP GETTING STARTED WITH DESIGNS? Check out a handful of my templates that can serve as a great jump start for giving you a base to begin. Complete them digitally, or simply turn off the photo layers and just use the journaling blocks and titles, filling in the photos and embellishments in the traditional scrapbooking sense.


Template No. 91


Template No. 7


Template No. 14


Template No. 47


Template No. 51

Or, try downloading one of my free template sets by clicking here. This post provides both a free download plus a video step-by-step to help you create either an 8.5 x 11 or 12 x 12 design featuring lots of room to tell your story.






Cathy ZielskeTelling longer stories

33 Comments on “Telling longer stories”

  1. #1

    These look great Cathy, sometimes a more journaling is what I like to do also. Love seeing your blast from the past layouts, most of them are in my Cathy Z. binder as favorites.

  2. #4

    I love that you said that when you look back on past layouts, you’re drawn to the ones with lots of journaling. Me too! Somehow there is this sort of…I hesitate to use the word “stigma” but it’s sort of right…hesitation, I guess, to use lots of journaling. I don’t understand it! I, too, love the lots-of-journaling layouts. And I have lots! So I love this post. In fact, I’m going to share it with my Write Now students RIGHT NOW! πŸ˜‰

  3. #5

    Cathy, I own quite a few of your template collection. You have sparked inspiration once again to pull them out of my digi files and use them! I LOVE your clean and simple design that is why you are still one of my favorite designers!!!

  4. #6

    I’ve never purchased any templates before but have always been drawn to yours and Ali’s. But these, these I will buy! I love telling the stories. I agree that I love to the photos too but feel they need a story not a caption to go with them.

    I’m a big fan of handwritten journaling and do it most of the time. Except when there is a really long story to tell it’s so much easier and cleaner to read typed journaling.

    Now to learn how to use these templates πŸ˜‰

  5. #7
    Tammy Eberhard

    Congratulations Cathy to sticking with the Move More Eat Less! You’ve been such an inspiration to me. Keep up the great work. I think its important too to keep it real & that it really isn’t always that easy.

    PS – have always loved your templates & scrap style too.

  6. #8
    Alice Golden

    I saw a quote the other day that really resonated with me and I thought you might enjoy it as well… “if you are sick of starting over, then you have to stop quitting”

  7. #9
    Tammy B

    I feel that all my pages need journaling of some sort on them. I often have trouble with this though. Way back I started keeping a photo journal/log but haven’t been doing it for a while. Every time I would get a roll of film developed I would sit down with the photos and write the story behind them, even if it was only the 5 W’s. When I went back to scrapbook those pictures, I would have my journaling right there. This seemed to work pretty well, as long as I did it. Also, my thinking was that if anything were to happen to me and I couldn’t work on scrapbooks anymore, my husband would be able to take the photos and the journal logs to someone and finish the scrapbooks.

    Thanks for this inspiration Cathy! I think I might scraplift your ‘Blink’ page idea and do some writing from the heart!

  8. #14

    Tammy, the Blink page is probably my favorite concept ever. I realized that its time to do one for Coleman. Planning to do it this week. I just have to find the right before pic.

  9. #15

    I’m a journaller, through and through. And your templates are a perfect blend of good design and story-telling space. Such an awesome way to tell stories. Thanks, CZ! πŸ™‚

  10. #17

    Hey Karen, I think what you did looks pretty cool, actually. I think the only thing I would have done is to match up the font in the banner with the font for the first headline, although, I might have done it in all caps, or just like you did, in small caps. Just to create a quick visual link between the two. I like the green card. That reminds me of my mom and dad who had those for many years before becoming US citizens. What program did you create this in? Its pretty impressive.

  11. #18

    I am a HUGE believer in journaling – in fact, I go so far as to say as I don’t think there is much point to scrapping if there is no story to go with the picture! I have several of your templates Cathy and I love them because they always allow for plenty of journaling or easy adaptation to accommodate more journaling.

    Thank you for providing product for those of us who like to get the stories down – good products and templates are few and far between. Amy S is so right, there seems to be a stigma attached to simple story focused layouts, we are always bombarded with product and the thoughts that we need more, when in fact, we just don’t.

  12. #19

    Hey Cathy since you are a fan of Neil Finn have you ever checked him out in Split Enz the band he was in before Crowded House (late 70s early 80s) with his brother Tim. I was a HUGE fan of The Enz and we are talking full on New Wave hair and make up. Some of there old film clips (pre video and dvd!!) are on Utube. Check out ‘I got you’ which Neil is singing and let me know what you think of those eyebrows!!

    Oh and I don’t want to make you feel old but his son Liam has just released an album.

  13. #20

    I used to be a non-journaler. Then I made up for lost time, and never had enough room on the page for my journaling. So, now I am trying to strike a balance between writing a meaningful story, and rambling on and on.

  14. #23

    Hi, I’m from Amy’s Write Now! class(and I used to be your student, too, Cathy.)
    I took Amy’s class because I would like to be able to write nice journal just for myself( or my future self.) I like to read other people’s ‘heart breaking,’ ‘touching’ or ‘fun’ stories on their layout. Cathy, I love your clearly beautiful and neat templates! Thank you for the freebie, too.
    (..I hesitated a bit before I post message to you and you, because I feel nervous leave my small comment in front of you two, my masters! But I dared to do this…click!)

  15. #25
    Karen Breen-Bondie

    Thank you Cathy. I agree, the banner typeface isn’t ideal but wanted to show some contrast between both but it’s just not congruent enough for me. I’ll take a look at it in Akzidenz Grotesk (the first headline font).

    I used InDesign to create.

  16. #26
    gypsy chaos

    Karen, I read the entire story. Your mother has captured an important part of history. What do you do with something like this? How do we ensure that those who study the past are aware of such first person documentation?

  17. #27
    gypsy chaos

    Amy, I never understood the outright fear of journaling some friends have. Then I noticed a correlation between general conversation and journaling.

    When I talk about an experience, I am VERBOSE. All caps, bold, italic verbose. I use lots of descriptive words and weird but generally successful analogies.
    I could write pages about many photographs.

    My friends? They get their story across in few words. They cover the key elements without much embellishment unless questioned by the listener.
    They struggle to find information worthy of sharing beyond the five Ws. They ‘know’ they should have more to say, don’t, and now fear journaling.


  18. #28
    gypsy chaos

    “we are always bombarded with product and the thoughts that we need more,” ~ Amy

    wow. Amy, you’ve captured perfectly one of today’s developed countries’ universal truths. We are always customers.

    thinking as a marketer – I want to sell the idea that the more embellishments, the better; the idea that the more techniques used, the better. Journaling? That doesn’t sell much product and it chews up space for other products. Reduce sales?

    Obviously not all businesses operate this way – Cathy has her own agenda, one I love.

  19. #29
    gypsy chaos

    Yoko – your comment clearly conveys your thoughts. I’ll guess that English is not your first language; I suspect Japanese is.

    Please continue to comment and to share your thoughts. A few minor grammar errors can’t diminish your message. Even Cathy and Amy were once stumbling novices!

    Much hugs.

  20. #31

    If I write a lot of journaling on a scrapbook page, I do it for me. Because my mom and my kids look through the book and when they come to a page with lots of journaling, they say the same thing to me, “DO I have to read all those words?”

    I always smile and say, “Nope! Just enjoy the pictures if you want,” and that’s what they do. I am thinking that the day may come when curiosity gets to them, and they feel like finding out what I was thinking. Until then, I’ll just keep writing. For me.

  21. #32

    good for you! : ) Believe me though, years from now, those words will mean SO much to everyone else. It will be a sweet bonus. : )

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