I’m a graphic designer who loves my family, typography, clean and simple design, french fries and Silence of the Lambs. If you want to challenge me to a game of  “pull the most obscure quote out of that film you can possibly think of” I’m totally in but know this: you’re going down.

I’m originally from Everett, Washington and now live happily in St. Paul, Minnesota with my elementary school teacher husband and my Ultimate Frisbee-playing son. I also have a fabulous Ultimate Frisbee-playing daughter who is sometimes away at college and sometimes at home. I miss her. But not the extra laundry. I’m 52 years old and have achieved the height of 5’6″. The photo above is about 7 years out of date. I fight sugar cravings daily and require absolute silence to sleep. Lately, I have better luck with the former.

If you’re curious, I’ve worked as a graphic designer for more than 25 years, primarily focusing on print design (which means this isn’t my first rodeo). I’ve managed to parlay my design skills into the world of scrapbooking and card making. Stranger things have happened.


I used to think that. Scrapbooking? Ummm, riiiiiiight.

I had the whole ‘who has the time for that?’ chip on my shoulder. And to my complete and utter shock, it turns out that I did. I had the time. Go figure.

I got into scrapbooking because I was a corporate graphic designer who craved something a little more tactile than just sitting at a computer and designing magazines and newsletters all day long. As soon as I started to dabble with combining my own words and photos, I felt this passionate, inner hobbyist rouse from a life-long slumber and was all, “This is the SHIT!” But I didn’t want to heat emboss.* I didn’t want to build an army of rubber stamps. I didn’t want to color code letter stickers.

And I sure as hell didn’t want to feel bad about myself for all the ways I didn’t get crafty. I knew I didn’t have time for that and my therapy bill was already adding up. I just wanted to create a meaningful, beautifully designed document of my life. I loved how creative it made me feel. That’s why I still do it today and why I’ll still make a page, stand back and say, “Damn girl. You’re good.” There’s something about combining my words and my images that is magical to me. And who couldn’t use a little non-glitter-based pixie dust in their life every once and a while?

Magic sprinkles notwithstanding, it’s hella fun. Yes. I’m middle aged and I say hella. Life is short, people.

*In 2017, I started to make cards and then I began heat embossing and turns out, it’s freaking awesome. Don’t judge.


Subscribe to my newsletter. They’re short and easy to digest. Sometimes I’ll give you free things. Sometimes I’ll tell you when things are on sale. Sometimes I’ll tell you when a new class launches. No big whoop.

Check out my blog if you still aren’t sure you can trust me. That’s the place I let it all out. What you see is what you get. I don’t front. And yes, sometimes I use swears.

Grab one of my books and learn about a clean, well-designed, guilt free approach to telling stories through scrapbooking. They’re entertaining. I promise. (Clean & Simple, Clean & Simple, the Sequel)

If you don’t like reading and just want to get started, sign up for a class. They’re interactive, entertaining and full of tips for making your scrapbook less… scrapbook-y.

Need to go at your own pace and ease into this thing? I’ve put together a super cool free template and video tutorial for you. They cover the bare bones basics of scrapbooking without all the clutter. Consider it an amuse bouche of the CZ Design experience.

Give my products a spin. They’re clean and simple and generally do not suck. I even have a line of clear stamps that might be right up your alley.


Cathy ZielskeAbout Cathy