Layout Share: I have something I want to tell you

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking33 Comments


The past few weeks have seen me experiencing a whirlwind of emotions: first with my daughter leaving the country for eight days, then by living through her absence for those very eight days, and then getting her back safely in one piece.

And what do we do ladies (and scrapbooking dudes) do when we process our life events and innermost feelings? Why, we scrapbook them. Naturally.

I designed a new template with the idea of having something to tell someone, in this case, my now 16-year-old daughter, Aidan. I envisioned it as a letter of sorts. A letter with photos and a title, assembled onto some cardstock.

Here is the finished page:


JOURNALING READS: Time, my dearest daughter, is a bullet train. Now I know this doesn’t really register when you’re 16. Right now, you are infinite. We are infinite. Life moves forward but not in the same way as it does for me. At least not anymore. You had such an amazing adventure in El Salvador and though you’ve been away from home before, something about this trip sent me into a state with which I’m mostly unfamiliar: the state of connecting to the fact that you won’t always live with me.

I know you’re supposed to grow and learn and eventually leave. That’s the path for many children. It was my path and once I left for good, it felt right. And good. And realizing how I’ve traveled this path in my own life made me realize that you too are going to follow your own version and it will result in you not living under this roof anymore. Last week when you were away it really hit home and I was overcome with the sadness of it.

Not sad that you get to live your life; that’s not it at all. I want you to have everything in life that you want; to experience things that bring you passion and joy; to continue forging this amazing, singular identity of yours. I’m so proud of you and your independence. I just want you to know that sometimes,  I will feel a twinge of sadness at this rite of passage in both of our lives. I wouldn’t keep you home forever if I could, but sometimes, the idea of it… well, it puts a smile on my lips.

I just want you to know how much I love you and how thankful I am for our relationship. I still need to get out of the way from time to time, but I think we both know we have something very special here, something kind and supportive and loving. I will always be part of the four walls of your home that support you. And those walls, even when they’re not visible, will be with you for the rest of your life. Love, Mom.

TECHNICAL NOTES: I began this page using a base template and working in Photoshop. I placed all of the elements into the template: photos, words, embellishments. Then, I turned off the photo layers and the date bar layer and date text, and printed the rest out onto a sheet of white cardstock. Next, I turned those photo layers back on, and turned off all the other layers (text and title). I moved the photos in from the edge, moving both the photo and its layer mask together. (I did this by holding down the Shift key and selecting the appropriate layers.) Next with everything moved into the center, I used the Pencil Tool to create some trim guides. Why? Because once I drew the guides, then I could make the layer masks on each photo slightly bigger than they originally were and this would allow for bleed on the photos for trimming. Here's what the page I sent to print onto photo paper looked like:


In essence, I created some hasty crop marks to help me trim the photos to the correct size. That's how you can take the base of any digital template and begin breaking it apart, turning off and on layers to create a hybrid design like mine.

DESIGN NOTES: The balance structure on this design is asymmetrical—if you draw a line down the center, what you have on the left is different than what you have on the right in terms of the space occupied by the elements. I use repetition both in color (orange), font (Archer is the font for the title and journaling), and for elements (the digital flower stamp.) One thing I look for when desiging is how can I align elements so they make sense. Notice in the title how "I have" aligns with the same left edge as the journaling block. It's a simple touch, but looking for subtle alignments is a great way to create a design with unity. Also, I maintained equal amounts of white space around the photos and around the edges of the entire design. Unified and common white space contributes to a sense of purposeful design.


Cathy ZielskeLayout Share: I have something I want to tell you

33 Comments on “Layout Share: I have something I want to tell you”

  1. #2

    time does go by fast. i can’t believe i am 46 years old and when i look back realise i have actually achieved a gr8 deal in that time. so wonderful to have pages like this for ur daughter to look back on and share,
    jo xxxx

  2. #4
    Paul B

    Beautiful LO Cathy with poignant journalling. You are just so awesome at pin pointing the exact emotion and the words to convey it. Your children (& generations of Zielkes down the line) are going to be so lucky to know the thoughts & events that have made up your lives. Including the joy & pain of a mother watching her babies stretch their wings. Pxx

  3. #5

    Those words are so beautiful and so true. Time felt infinite and my parents immortals when I was her age, I guess that’s how you manage to spread your wings and fly. Now that my timehas come as a mother I wish every minute could last forever…except for tantrums ;o)
    Thank you Cathy for sharing those words of wisdom with us

  4. #6

    what awesome words and the template is perfect…I have been a slack scrapper so have challenged myself to tell a story a day for April …this simple template will help me get a few told 🙂

  5. #8
    Lisa S.

    You are so lucky with your close relationship with your daughter. Oftentimes teenagers don’t want anything to do with their parents. Must be a testimony of how cool you really are! You are blessed….. And you know it!

  6. #10
    Lisa Along

    As a mother who will send her first born off to college in less than 5 months, I can completely relate with your situation. So many emotions… Beautiful layout and now I’m inspired to make one for my son!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. #13
    Donna (aka scrappyru)

    You got me crying on this one. Love it. My youngest daughter just married a month ago and left for her new home 8 hours away from me. I’ve had a month of contemplation of the changes since she left and your page spoke my heart. Enjoy Aiden’s HS years and cherish every moment because when they do fly from the nest, it’s hard on the Mom no matter how much you prepare for it. Off to make my page now. ..sigh..

  8. #14

    I’m tellin’ ya…Major university, close to home; she lives in the dorms, but comes home every sunday, and usually once to twice during the week to snuggle with the dog. We went on Spring Break together…just me and her. 🙂 We drove too fast, ate too much and had a great time doing it. 🙂 She got her nose pierced; I declined. She got tan, I ogled her cute body as much as the boys in the pool did. and every single second I relished the fact that my girlie would rather go on spring break to watch her little brother play baseball and hang out with her mama more than (almost) anything. We are truly blessed with these girlies of ours. 🙂

  9. #16
    Katie Wetherbee

    Hi Cathy~
    I’m a long-time reader, but first time commenter. Thank you for this beautifully written tribute to your daughter’s independence and your relationship with her. As the mom of a daughter who is graduating from high school this year, your words certainly ring true!

    Also, as a consultant to families of kids with disabilities, THANK YOU for writing that leaving home is the path for “most children.” Some kids won’t ever live independently because of a special needs diagnosis. Your wording was so inclusive and sensitive, and I’m thankful.

  10. #18

    You should have gotten the nose ring. ; ) Loved to read this. There is a part of me that wishes her to be at a major school close to home. Well see what shakes out.

  11. #19

    Katie, thanks for the comment. One of my very best friends has a daughter who will not be following that traditional path, and a blog reader recently reminded me of kids with special needs… that is a whole different emotional journey and Im thankful to that blog reader for also reminding me that so many different journeys are out there in the world. : )

  12. #21
    Karen G @ It's Still Life

    Love the idea of “I’ve got something to tell you.” for a page. My son turned 16 the day after Aidan did. It was my most emotional birthday yet. Time is slipping through my fingers. Love seeing my son grow, but I am so missing the little guy that I could cuddle and protect. Love your journaling here.

  13. #22
    Carmen King

    Oh, what I would have given as a child/youth/teenager/young mother to have a mom who told me these kinds of things about undying love and faith in my ability to be my own person and to have a life that wouldn’t always include her. I know that she will appreciate your love and support the rest of her life. Way to go Cathy.

  14. #24

    Cathy, beautiful letter and photos. I can totally relate. My son just moved from RI to Colorado to accept a job in his field, after just completing his masters. Although he was away while in college (both undergrad and graduate), he was still in New England and within a 3 hr driving distance. He also was home frequently. And while I knew it was inevitable that he would be leaving our home to start his career, it has been quite an adjustment (for me) that he is so far away. But he loves his job and Colorado, and he is thriving. I am so proud of him and glad to see him so happy in what he is doing. So I feel the tug of missing him so much, but the pride in seeing what a strong, focused, and independent man he is.

  15. #26

    Beautiful words, Cathy, and equally beautiful layout. As a mom, I can definitely relate. I just wish that time didn’t move like a bullet train. Sigh. Thank you for sharing.

  16. #27

    Deep breath. I am right there with you…I am trying to see this as an adventure of sorts: I’m starting to see who she will be as an adult and it is exciting to see her life start to take shape. Of course, in my darker moments it feels like the only exciting things left in my life are things that will happen to my kids, but still. Trying to see the bright parts more!

    Dumb question: which font did you use on the title?

  17. #31
    Jane Simmons

    My son recently turned 38 and announced he was moving to NYC–that’s a punch in the gut! So the template was a great inspiration to write how I felt about his move. I got the template, but where’s the flower? (Not that I used it on his page –got a cool stencil of the Chrysler building)I will want it next time I use the template I’m sure. Thanks for your patient responses to all our questions.

  18. #33
    Lorraine Reynolds

    I want to say Amen to all the comments above first.

    But then I want to say a great big PHEW!! Finally a full page layout – I was beginning to feel like you’d abandoned them and gone to the dark side….. I know that you are enjoying Project Life, but I have to say I’ve been missing your layouts. For the design lessons, and also for the more indepth journalling and sharing. I hope that you never give them up completely.

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