Pizza and scrapbooking and nailing it

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking15 Comments

The other night, I made a pizza that if I’m being brutally honest, it was perhaps the single best tasting concoction that has ever been served at the House of Zielske.

I decided to re-create the famous—or at least famous in my neck of the woods—Pizza Luce Garlic Mashed Potato Pizza. The ingredients are simple: 1.5 pounds of red potatoes, boiled with about 6 cloves of garlic, then mashed with a little butter and potato water. Feta cheese. Scallions. Chopped tomatoes (some red, some yellow). And pizza dough.

Super simple. Totally winged it. And completely nailed it.

The other day, I was flipping through old scrapbooks and came across, if I’m being brutally honest, perhaps the single greatest scrapbook page in Cole’s entire collection.

It was a page I made in 2004 documenting his love of all things disaster-related, and appeared in my book, Clean & Simple: The Sequel. It wasn’t because it was the greatest design (it wasn’t) with the greatest photos (they weren’t). It was because it so fully told the story of something so specific from Cole’s life at the age of 5. As I read the journaling, I remembered him to the point that I could almost smell that 5-year-old boy as I recalled him rattling off the facts about the ill-fated Titanic in rapid fire succession.

It captured such a pure aspect of his ‘all-in’ personality and in that moment, I was so grateful that I stumbled into a scrapbook store all those years ago.

I was so grateful to have this story on paper. With some photos and some glue.

Not technically super simple. Totally let the story lead. Nailed it.


JOURNALING READS: Okay, technically his middle name is “Asher,” but with his latest five-year-old obsessions, we may as well file the paper work and have it officially changed. It all started with the Titanic. Somehow, he managed to get me to let him watch that big budget Leo DiCaprio tour-de-force (fast forward through the topless Kate Winslet part and the floating dead bodies, of course) and since that time, there’s been no turning back. Every week on library night, he would return with assorted books and videos covering the legendary disaster. Then he soaked up the facts and figures like a sponge. 

Ask him anything… go on, we dare you! Name of the lookout on duty that night? Frederick Fleet. Time the great ship struck the ‘berg? 11:40 p.m. Time it actually succumbed to the icy waters of the North Atlantic? 2:20 a.m. Name of the legendary band leader who played until the ship sank? Wallace Hartley. Were there enough lifeboats for all of the 2,200 passengers? Not even by half. The man who discovered the Titanic in 1985? Robert Ballard. Name of the sub he used to go down and explore? Alvin. He recites this stuff to anyone who will listen. He’s a walking Titanic almanac.

But as if obsessing about one disaster wasn’t enough, he found a new object of interest: natural disasters. Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, mudslides and volcanic eruptions, just to name a few. And so began a new library cycle: books and videos covering all of them. Story time at our house turned into part science class and part horror story, really. He recently brought home a “Where’s Waldo” book and asked me to read it at bedtime. My jaw just about dropped to the floor. “Huh? No devastating avalance stories tonight?” Go figure.

And so he continues his quest to learn as much about disasters as possible. He even checked out two books on the Hindenburg. I’m not too worried about this phase. I watch him play in the family room, re-enacting the Titanic sinking with his paper model of the ship and a cast of unsuspecting Lego guys, complete with all the sound effects of the scraping iceberg and screaming passengers, and I just smile. He’s a kid with a thirst for knowledge and a ripe imagination. But not only that, he’s got stone cold scientific facts to back it all up. 


I think the best recipe for scrapbooking is just to tell real stories in all their everyday glory with as much detail as you can muster. Perfect writing isn’t required. Just tell it like it is. Photos and design are always nice, but they will always take a back stage to a fully realized story.

Be storytellers, people. Your future you will thank you.



Cathy ZielskePizza and scrapbooking and nailing it

15 Comments on “Pizza and scrapbooking and nailing it”

  1. #1

    Isn’t it nice to be able to look back and reminisce. That’s what this is all about.

    Pizza looks delish!

  2. #2

    I remember that layout, soooo funny!! So cool that you look back at your old albums, I do that too. Forever and always a storyteller I will be, love this job!

    That pizza sounds YUMMY!! WAY TO GO!!

  3. #4

    Could not agree more, Cathy. It’s all about the story for me. Photos are optional.

    And nail it you did.

  4. #7
    Barb in AK

    Well, this came about 17 years too late! LOL!!! My son went through that Titanic-fanatic stage. He could meticulously draw the sinking scene over and over and over (this was before DiCaprio/Winslet). I have one of his drawings in the scrapbook, but honestly, there is no story with it. Don’t ask me to go back and slip in some journalling– my memory is not that good anymore. THAT’S why I scrapbook– to help me recall those sweet memories– but there are no details :'{ I’m trying to make up for it now, by journalling a bit more on my recent pages.
    Thanks for the post, Cathy! Really great 🙂

  5. #8
    Jenny B.

    Love it!! Oh, how I want to tell our stories. I suffer from analysis paralysis (not sure who coined that term, but it is me to a T). Sigh… Maybe I should go finish that grammar-free journaling class I started over at BPC. I’m thinking I may need a grammar-FUL journaling class, though. 😉

  6. #9

    i love the story behind this layout and the journalling. To me that is exactly WHY we record those moments in time and family stories – thanks for reminding me.

  7. #11
    Janet K

    I love this! I have been trying to concentrate more on storytelling as of late. This is a great reminder to me, how important it is!

  8. #12

    Oh, I so totally agree, Cathy. Stories are the reason our great-grand kids will still love our albums. Lack of story is why all those abandoned family photos wind up at the flea market. I’m a graphic designer–I need things to look good. But it’s the story that sticks with us, it’s the story that we love.

    Great job–on the page & the pizza & the post!

  9. #14
    Nicole H

    I met a man in his early 40’s so obsessed with the “real” Titanic that he is recreating rooms and decor in his house near a river. Great story!

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