Hybrid Scrapbooking: My Intention for 2017

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking12 Comments

Learn to scrapbook without all the bells and whistles at cathyzielske.com

Learn to scrapbook without all the bells and whistles at cathyzielske.com
And here we go with another year of memory keeping.

I started scrapbooking in 2003. Or was it 2002? I think it was the former. Either way, that is a hella long time to have a hobby and actually keep up with it. It started innocently enough by walking into a local scrapbook store and then finding an online community of memory keepers, some of whom have become my dearest friends to this day.

And here I am at the ripe age of 50, one kid in college and another headed that way in a year-and-a-half, give or take, and I’m not sure what my traditional approach to memory keeping looks like right now.

Yes, I know how I’m going to document our stories each month (Scrapbook Your Year)—and you can see all the posts from last year by clicking here—but what about the other scrapbooking? What about the little stories that deserve more of a home than simply a 6 x 4 slot in a digital book?

Aside from Year 1, I have never been a truly prolific scrapbooker. True, I wrote two books and those books required an awful lot of pages, and I’ve taught a handful of classes over the years that also required lots of layouts, but by and large, I really only scrapbook when I have a story that I truly want to tell.

Note: download a free binder label designed to fit We R Memory Keeper albums here.

You can’t have the space I have for albums and go nuts with pages every week. I’m tapped out, quite literally, unless I want to start putting albums in my office closet, and where’s the fun in hiding all the goodness, right?

But it’s not just the frequency either. It’s the stories. What stories to tell? If life right now feels uncertain in so many ways—hubby’s new career, daughter embarking upon adulthood, son closing in on his final year of high school—do I just focus on me and my feelings about all of it? The thing is, I’m trying not to be a woman ruled by my feelings. People, that’s caused me more trouble than you’ll ever know.

I really am in the middle place. I don’t feel the need to present you with a picture of life that is dreamy and enviable, most because it doesn’t exist in reality. You may envy that I make my living doing this stuff and believe me, I envy me and never take it for granted. Like, ever. But life is messy. It’s not all that dreamy. It’s not laden with magical fluff around every corner. I’m here and it’s real and I’m wondering how to take note of it all.

So there’s that.

The hybrid page I made was to highlight the One Little Word I chose for 2017 and when I started to journal, I realized, “Damn. That word might be too much to handle.”

Learn to scrapbook without all the bells and whistles at cathyzielske.com
I mean, I’m not Mother Theresa.

But still, I created a simple hybrid page to set the intention in writing, so to speak. I printed the journaling and black frame first, then layered in the photo and the “2017” card which comes from this new release.

I actually placed the “2017” card on the page as I was designing it and then put it in the spot where the photo was slated to go so I could just cut it out and save paper. Very unlike me, to save paper. Does that count as living with more purpose?

I say sure, why not?

I even made a Hyperlapse clip of the creation of this page. (Pardon my lack of manicure.)

Oh hybrid process, you old so-and-so. ❤😍#onelittleword #czbehindthescenes #hybridscrapbooking

A video posted by CZ Design (@czdesign) on

Let the year of memory keeping commence. I’ll share how it shakes out as a I go.


Learn to scrapbook without all the bells and whistles at cathyzielske.com
Need some cards to use for your 2017 projects? Why, I have just the set for that! Click on the image above for more info.


Cathy ZielskeHybrid Scrapbooking: My Intention for 2017

12 Comments on “Hybrid Scrapbooking: My Intention for 2017”

  1. #1
    Beth Quiroz

    Cathy – I’m right there with you, except that I really slacked off with my PL album last year as well. How many shots of my lunch, or coffee, or of me lying on the couch can I include in one album? I’m a little bit younger than you (45) but my kids are a bit older than yours (26 and 25), so generally we’re in the same boat.

    I do think that you provided the answer to your predicament in your blog post, however. Take this line: “hubby’s new career, daughter embarking upon adulthood, son closing in on his final year of high school.” Those are prompts for some pretty awesome stories! And yes, your feelings on those subjects matter! Just because your kids are adults (or on the brink of adulthood) doesn’t mean you don’t have an evolving relationship with them. Celebrate that! Document that evolution! Years from now, when Aidan and Cole have children that are on the brink of adulthood, they’ll feel uncertain and will take comfort in knowing how you dealt with these years.

    I hope this helps.

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Wow. That actually really helps. It inspires me. Some of theses stories may only be stories I keep to my private scrapbooks, but still… you are so right about this time.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. #2

    I totally agree with Beth Quiroz. My girls are 24 and 26 and long gone from my house. Often times when I’m looking for a story, I’ll text them and ask them to send me a sentence or two about what they’re doing at that moment. It sure helps get the creative juices (hmmmm, that doesn’t sound so good), flowing. You get what I mean. Love Hello 2017 digitals – in my cart they go along with your 12×12 templates that you used for your PL book. I, like you, don’t have a ton of space for albums that big but I love the option of printing a book. I’m not sure I’m talented enough to upload pages but I always know how to reach you if I get into trouble. Ha!

  3. #3

    Thanks for this post today. I have been thinking about what my word would be for 2017. My word for last year was RETHINK ( to not always act on the first thing that popped in my mind as the way to solve something, look for other options. There may be something better). Right now I was leaning towards MORE for my word – to do more, to think more, to get rid of more, to think of others more, to share more, etc. Again, as you said this can go so many ways!

  4. #4

    I am not a writer, nor am I a deep thinker when it comes to scrapbooking. In my opinion, my scrapbooks are just a more creative and fun way of displaying our family pictures than just sticking them in photo albums. I always journal….sometimes a lot and sometimes a little, but it’s usually just telling the story of what’s going on at the time. I write like I’m telling someone about the pictures. My sons are 33 and 34 and haven’t lived at home for over 10 years. There are no grandchildren, but lots of dogs. So those are the pictures I scrapbook because one day those dogs will be gone and I’m sure looking at those pictures will bring back memories for them. I scrapbook family events, trips, special occasions, and sometimes just cute pictures (like my 2-year-old great-nephew’s love of hockey and learning to skate).
    One day my sister and I were looking at albums my aunt had made when she and my uncle were first together. She was really good at writing captions for all the pictures. We were laughing so hard at the pictures (especially the clothes) and the stuff she wrote, because it was so different from life today. My sister and brother-in-law recently passed away (and yes, I did include that in my scrapbook). We were looking at pictures from their wedding 36 years ago and laughing at how we have all changed and the styles that were popular back then. So that’s what I ask myself when I scrapbook….what will my kids (and their kids) want to see when I’m gone. I think they will be most interested in the memories invoked by the pictures, and not really care about my feelings or whose perspective the journalling is written from. Not that I think you shouldn’t include those things if you like to write, but I don’t think every page has to be like that.
    Obviously this is just my opinion, and I’m sure there will be many that will think differently, and I’m fine with that. But one thing I want to tell you, Cathy, is that when you post layouts using your templates or other digital products, I almost always immediately buy whatever you’ve used because I love your style. Looking forward to more inspiration from you!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Mmm. Thanks, Helen, great comment and again, this inspires me to be less concerned about the big picture, and to let myself have some joy in the every day basics. 🙂

      1. #4.1.1

        Just to elaborate a little bit more and then I’ll stop (and this is kind of in response to what the person below me said about it being important to tell stories)…I totally agree, but I don’t think they all need to be about feelings. Here’s an example: my nephew’s wife sent me pics via text of their little boy learning to skate. I asked her how he liked it and I saved what she said. I will scrapbook those pics with her “story” about the experience and the pics I took at Thanksgiving of him playing mini sticks with the dogs. I’ll write about how he never puts the hockey stick down and how much fun he and the dogs had, and how much fun we had watching them. On the other hand, my sister died last year from leukemia. We did a stem cell transplant (I was her donor) but things did not work out. I scrapbooked that whole story and used two of your templates “I have something to tell you” and “In the blink of an eye” to help tell the story. That one included a lot of feelings. In the years to come, I hope that it will help my family remember that event and how much love and support we had for one another. But I also hope that, in 10 years from now, when Ben will probably be an awesome hockey player, they will look at those pictures and laugh about how cute he was when he was little. I have similar pages about my own son. Obviously there are some stories you wouldn’t post on your blog, but the ones about your kids playing Ultimate, your son’s band, crazy things that happen to your husband as a teacher, family celebrations, that kind of thing…I love those layouts. And I think your family will love them as they get older, especially since you are a great storyteller (and funny!). I love the captions you write with your IG photos. I wish I had that talent. Also, since part of your reason for doing this is to make a living…I’m sure I’m not the only one who buys your products after I see you use them. So I guess what I’m trying to say is…don’t overthink it…just do it! Inspire us all!

  5. #5
    Stacy A

    I also think that your journaling – your stories – is what is most important right now. We all have stories. You may have private stories for your family, and public stories that you can share with us! Even just writing this is a story of you and where you’re at right now. This discussion came up in another group I’m in: what’s more important? Photos or stories? Most people said photos because they would dearly love more photos of older family. But that’s not our problem anymore; we’re drowning in photos. But stories? Once you go, the stories go with you. One or two photos can sustain curiosity about “what grandma looked like” but nothing will ever give you her stories if she didn’t write them down or tell them to someone who wrote them down. So even if you’re not “scrapbooking” – especially PL-type scrapbooking which I have never had the energy for – you’re still scrapbooking. I just read an academic journal article (that I can’t find now for the life of me) that said Pinterest and Facebook are actually a form of scrapbooking in the older, traditional sense. Capturing things we see and read and snipping them and sharing them – just because we like them. It was interesting. So I say, do what you like and what makes to you right now!

  6. #6

    So thankful that you chose to share this today. Can completely relate, to all of it. It’s a bit of a struggle…navigating this chapter of life, with our kids sliding into adulthood. The stories that used to be our stories, are now their own, and so where do we fit?

    Really awesome suggestions here!

    Love the words, and the hyperlaps clip! ( Still praying to the hybrid gods that you’ll do a hybrid class)

  7. #7

    I too can so relate. Sometimes it feels even a bit painful to see scrapbook pages documenting goings on with young families. I just can’t make sense of where the time has gone so quickly. I now have a 23 year old who lives in his own place with his girlfriend, a 20 year old who attends college 5 hours away, an 18 year old who thankfully chose to attend college locally, and a ten year old who is growing up way too fast.
    I keep at it because I feel that documenting our lives actually affects the quality of my experiences in a positive way. I do sometimes have to remind myself to put the camera down and just be in the moment. But I believe that looking at life through the eyes of a scrapbooker/documenter has caused me to be more present. I pay attention to what people say. I relish and lean into sweet moments, and I kind of think it even helps with the rough times. I agree with you that I don’t want to be ruled by feelings, but I don’t really know how to (or want to) ignore them either. Getting them down on paper helps me process.
    And I think that it’s important to me to remind myself that even though I see my children less as they get older and get out into the world, these experiences that I have with them and the choices that they make as young adults are every bit as special and as precious as their first steps were. What is defined as my family is an evolving thing and always has been. If it weren’t, I’d still be living at my parents’ house.
    I really appreciate this post…I think it has helped me work through this a bit myself. I actually very much appreciate your voice in the scrapbook world and have since the early days!
    I would also like to second the request for a hybrid class…if it could include any indesign, all the better! Many thanks!

  8. #8
    Kathleen S

    I envy your bra-less ethic of freedom. What were we thinking when the buds formed and ‘training’ bras called? The unhearalded benefits of ‘the middle’. Now, as a scrap page? not so sure.

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