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February 27, 2009

The Closing of One Door (and it's been a really great door, too)


Even though the final issue of Simple Scrapbooks Magazine won't drop until sometime in mid-April, my final day with this mag that I've come to appreciate on so many levels—creatively, professionally, financially—is here. And I thought I'd take some space to wax poetic, or at least say thank you to the amazing group of people that I've been honored to work with over the past 6 years.

Sigh. Six years. Not sure if I ever told the story, but see there was this new magazine, and I was a new scrapbooker, and when I saw this magazine, I thought: "Hey, my pages are simple. Wonder if they'd want any of them." So I sent a few in.

About a month later I received this slightly manic phone call from a woman named Stacy Julian, who said, "Hi, I'm Stacy Julian from Simple Scrapbooks magazine and I don't know who you are and I don't know how I'm going to do this, but I want to work with you."

Famous last words.

It started with a few layouts here and there, and a magazine cover that ended up looking a lot like this:


I worked on that layout for HOURS. I know. Hard to tell. Still... landmark moment for me. And ushered in my heavy usage of the Carpenter font. Oh, those were the days.

Eventually, they let me do a column called, "Font 411." It made sense. I knew type. I knew scrapbooking. Le voila! One of my early columns looked more or less like this:

Mock up  

Then they let me write some features. Then I convinced them that if they really truly needed some freelance graphic design help, I really DID know how to do that sort of thing. Then they believed me. Then they hired me as a contract designer. Then on the side I wrote a book. Then another book. Then I designed books for Donna. And Stacy. And then did more columns, which we later changed to "About Type" and then later to "About Design". And then I was working so many hours they said, "We're going to hire you full time, with healthcare benefits." And I said, "Cool."

Many of us work. We have jobs that we get up and go to. Every day. Once in a while, you connect with a job that not only pays you every two weeks, but if you're lucky, it fills you up creatively and personally. I'm no dummy. I know these jobs are few and far between, especially speaking as a graphic designer who has worked for a trade association of debt collection agencies (1991-1997); or a chain of Texas grocery stores (1988-1989).

I got to work with and design for something that I loved, and still do: memory saving and story telling. How cool is that?

So this is my little thank you to the people who have made this a pretty singular experience. People like Stacy and Lin, Don, Mark and John. Wendy, Angie and Jennafer, Tracy and Dana, Carolyn, Rachel and Lynda, and Megan and Jen, and Jenny and Elisha. And people like Marin, who is my design soul mate and really made my job possible in more ways than one. And Tom. And Brian, Symoni and Claudia. And the prepress guys. And the printers. And all of our Simple contributors. And Paula, Emily and all the women in the events team. And the Retail team. And the IT team. And Mike in the mailroom. And anyone else that I'm forgetting, but that I will very likely remember as soon as I hit post.

And, to our readers. Thank you.

So what's next? (beyond having more time to spend blogging, and on Facebook or Twitter?)

That's a very good question, and one that I will be delving into next week! I will tell you that I've been working on two new online classes for BigPictureScrapbooking that I'm pretty dang psyched about (and the first one revolves all around the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter, and I think some of my fellow online junkies will dig it!). I'm also going to find some new ways to talk about the things that I love most: telling good stories and making them look good in the process.

And one last thing for those of you who follow your feed, or your bookmark, or your accidental internet stumbles, and find yourself here: thank you for reading. It matters to me that you have an interest in anything I write here. And if that makes me a slighly insecure person for saying so, I say, "And this would come as a surprise to you because...?"

So long Simple.

Your Friend Always, Cathy


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Ohhhh..could I really be the first commenter? Yay! Anyway-just wanted to say thank you so much for all of the amazing work you did on Simple. You rock! Can't wait to see what's next for you!

I am so excited to hear you are going to be doing more clases. I loved your class last fall and look forward to more! You are awesome!

I am sure looking forward to what you have in store for us. Being a BPS junkie and now having been sucked in by the vortex called Facebook and Twitter (thanks a lot LisaW aka timelesscrone), I am joining you in being psyched.

Long live the internet life, friendships and business!

Thank you for taking us on the ride with you!! I know it sounds silly since I am hundreds of miles away and have never actually met you, but you and the magazine mean so much to me! I am ever so thankful to get bits and pieces of you on your blog!

What a touching tribute. How awesome for you to have had that experience and how awesome for us that you shared and share so much with us. Thanks Cathy and Thanks Simple. We will miss thee.

Cathy, I have every issue of Simple and am so sorry to see it go. Simple made me realize that all I really need are pictures and stories to scrapbook. Between Simple and the classes at BPS, I have become a much more productive scrapbooker - telling the stories that are important for me to communicate to my children. I look forward to your new ventures at BPS. Please know that you inspire so many of us. The best is yet to come.

Truly lovely Cathy... As an online junkie, I'll look forward to hearing about your new BPS classes.

This is the first blog I read every day... it's warm, funny and very real and I just can't quite get my day started until I see what's new in CZland.

Thank you for taking us the ride with you. I know it seems silly because I've never met you, but you and the magazine mean so much to me! I'm ever so thankful I get bits and pieces of you on your blog!

Thank you for the inspiration over the will be missed. I will be watching for the new classes at BPS.

{{{{HUGS}}}} Cathy .. I know another door is going to open and BIG things are going to happen for you!

I'm sorry to see Simple going away .. it was my favorite .. but I know better stuff is going to come out of it...

Congratulations on a job well done.

I'm so glad you will be back at BPS - you are a great teacher! Love the facebook/twitter idea.

Looking forward to what is coming...

I am sorry to see Simple going away. I have had a subscription since the beginning. I have read your books and keep them handy. This is really the way I like to scrap. Keep inspiring the simple concept...

Treasure those memories and hold them close - they will provide a warm sense of security to you as you venture into ne territory - thanks for letting us enjoy the ride with you - I do care what you write each day and really like all I have gleened from you thru Simple and your blog - blessings to you - now, it's time for another dream of yours to come true!

I just wanted to tell you...YOU are the reason I continue scrapbooking! When I first started it was all stickers and buttons and bows. I am so not like that. Then I found you...YOU, you are wonderful :) That was your daily affirmation!
but seriously...when I saw your books I said "I can do this...this is just the kind of pages I want"
So thank you Cathy. And I will be looking forward to your new classes at BPS.

loved simple scrapbooks for the simple fact that you were involved with it - period. can't wait to see what you will dip into next. I am sure I will love it just as much. I also love coming here everyday to see what is up. it always entertains me and sometimes shocks me to see what you post and I love reading about your life and your family. they are very lucky to have you! happy friday! ciao!

Does anyone have a kleenex?? So well done Cathy...hug Chippie and know that we can't wait to see what the next chapter is for you!!!

Great post. Loved hearing your "story" with SS. I'm really going to miss them. I am glad we'll still have your blog. I check in a couple times a week, but don't always comment. Your posts always make me laugh.

Good luck with what you find under the next door! ;)

Hey, Cathy. You were my favorite part of Simple. I'm so glad you have this blog, or I don't know what I'd do!

Still thinking that you should start your own DYL magazine. I'm much more of a dreamer than a practical applicator, so I'm sure in my dreaming mind it's easier than it actually IS.

Really sharing your sadness today, but I'm looking forward to what's next for you. I'll be keeping track of your classes at BPS; perhaps I'll be your student again.

What a touching tribute . Here's to all the new adventures that are coming your way.

All of this is so sad but also inspiring! The fact that you still have your incredible talent and are able to explore more avenues is something awesome.

You have given me faith that someday I will jump out of bed, get dressed feverishly, and slurp my coffee because I can't wait to get to work!

I look forward to sharing your new ups and downs.

Have faith!


Hey Cathy,

You just make me smile.

your biggest fan!! (I'm a little heavier it seems right now)

Cathy, I loved your contributions to SS, your books, and Design Your Life. Can't wait to see what's next!

I liked hearing your "simple tale"looking forward to your next chapter. tena

Smiff, sniff. I so do not want the end of simple to be real. Surely, it's just a terrible nighmare.

Thank you Cathy for all you do and share and love and write about. I'm so excited to see where this new freedom takes you and us your readers in the process! Very much looking forward to your online junkie class now too! :)

SS will be missed, but it is comforting to know that you will still be out there, doing what you do, inspiring us on your way. See you on BPS and FB!

Hooray to more classes with BPS! I loved Design Your Life...can't wait to see what you offer next.

I remember that first cover well, sweets. And the carpenter font (which I still love, don't hold it against me). Knowing you, whatever way the chips fall, you'll be standing on top of the pile. But not having any because of the points...unless they're the Olean version (which are actually quite good!). Love you!

Thank you to you, too, Cathy! In many way, you were an inspiration at Simple Scrapbooks -- not only for the design work, but for your honesty about your life, home, husband, kids.

Simply ..... thanks!

Simple Scrapbooks will be truly missed.
I love both your books and I'm thinking that those classes sound like fun.
I can't wait to see your next chapter.

A lovely farewell post. I will so miss this magazine and the inspiration I found there (especially from you!).

But I can't wait to hear more about the BPS classes! So exciting. :)

I am totally going to miss Simple, but as long as YOU'RE not going away, I'll be OK. That Facebook/Twitter BPS class sounds awesome, said the addict of both!!

I am thrilled to hear about more classes - this is a huge new door that is opening and am excited to ride along on your journey through your blog. I totally enjoy reading your blog every morning. Makes me laugh more times than not.

Count me in on your classes - I will be that person sitting in the middle of the room (now I need to wear my glasses) cheering you on! You Go Girl!

My heart is breaking for you!!!

I've so enjoyed your journey with SS. I even got the chance to meet you and take your class at CKU in Mpls. Have thoroughly appreciated every creative tip and your crazy sense of humor! I will continue to be one of your loyal "bloggets" and look forward to seeing where the journey takes you and us scrappers!

Have a great weekend!

Simply, you rock. You rocked the magazine, you rocked the Design your Life class last fall. You will rock whatever comes next because your passion and spirit will always find a home. And we will always follow!

You? Insecure? Come on! Maybe you will have more time to do another book- can't wait for the BPS works...

You made me cry. I feel for you and your loss of something that you really loved. I'll be watching to see what you do next and I'm POSITIVE it will be awesome!!! *big hugs* :-)

I have enjoyed your work in Simple Scrapbooks, devoured both of your books, been a brown-nosing front row student in your CKU class, and a star pupil in your DYL class. Your blog is my "home page" and in a sense I wake up with you every morning.
Thank you for all the inspiration. You have helped me transform my scrapbooking into something meaningful for me ... and my pages looks great too thanks to you!
I will follow you wherever you go. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you.
Thank you and thanks to Simple for introducing your talents to a world of scrapbookers.

I'll miss that magazine, and I can only begin to imagine how much this must feel painful and empty for you... but we'll always be here, reading. At least as long as you stay Cathy.

I'm so sad to lose "Simple", but am looking forward to your new ventures.

I will miss the magazine very much. All of the people who worked on it did a great job and should be proud of their accomplishments.
Simple will be missed.

I just want to let you know that I'm so happy you will keep blogging. I check-out your blog 3-4 times a week (that's a lot for me) because you are so encouraging. Your blog is real and it's refreshing to read about someone who deals with the same challenges as the rest of us unfamous and sometimes sort of boring people. So thanks and know you are loved and appreciated whether you work for a big magazine or just stay at home and preserve memories!

Always read your blog; every day! I open my work computer and you pop up! Makes my day. Very nice tribute to the people at Simple. I can't wait for the new BP online classes.


(Simple enough for you?!?!)

Looking forward to more Cathy, different bat-time, different bat-station!

Ahhh... goodbye to simple - will miss the magazine. But excited to see what is coming next for you. I've been continuing to work through DYL LOs and each time I complete one, I just say Wow! what a great class. Looking forward to more and thank you for the class and everything! %)

I hope that you can somehow find a job that you love half as much as it is evident you loved 'Simple". Most of us never have a job that we can embrace in such a positive way. Looking forward to seeing what the future hold for you...and your upcoming classes at BPS. All my best, Cathy.
Your online scrapbooking friend,

I'm going to miss Simple too.
Perhaps you will find time to write another book now?
I can only hope!

You are a genius Cathy. I will definitely do your class at BPS.

I cannot tell you how much I will miss SIMPLE SCRAPBOOKS! I'm still having trouble believing that it's actually going away.
I loved your story of how you came to be involved with it. Talk about being in the right place at the right time with the right skills!
You're not giving up this blog, are you?
Keep the faith. . . whatever that is!

Amazing post. Congratulations...experiences like yours are to be cherished. Good luck going forwards.

Dearest Cathy,

My heart is going out for you today. Thank you for an inspiring and heartwarming post. You make us all think, "Hey, this is going to be OK." And it is. You are simply brilliant and I can't wait to be first in line to take your next class at BPS. Thank you for all you do and for who you are. If you don't think I'm being sincere- today is my birthday and I can't help but be sad for you. And happy. But also sad. I've never even met you but am sending you virtual hugs.

Stay brilliant, cool, and most of all Simple through and through.


Cathy: I am late to scrapbooking but I am catching up. I subscribed to Simple Scraps and will miss it very much. I read your blog for inspiration, a laugh or smile, a fun site you send me to...doesn't matter. And by the way, I'm old enough to be your mother so you taught this old dog a lot of new tricks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will continue to read your blog, smile, laugh or be introduced to new things as long as you want to keep on posting.

And a huge heartfelt thank you to you for putting your wonderful touch in SS mag and helping making it what it was. Good luck with any and all of your endaviours. I won't be surprised at all that you come back and announce great things for you in the near future!!! You rock!!!

Thinking of you especially today, Cathy. Especially today, because of its significance for you. Especially you, because of your significance for me. I know I am only one of many who is grateful for the difference you have made to me in so many things, and so many ways... Here's to you, the future, and hoping you will still continue to Go Forth and Design. :)

*sniff*. Door closes, window opens, and all that. Good luck on your next adventures!

Can't wait to read/participated in/ experience your future endeavors, Cathy. You offer so much that I know that many windows are going to be opening for you. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!


Thank you so much for teaching us Simple is beautiful. I learned so much in your class. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us.

I will miss everyone at Simple Scrapbook. I hope to connect with everyone via Facebook or online clasess.

Thank you again. I know I am repeating myself, but I really can't thank you enough.


What a lovely thank you. You have indeed been blessed. I'm sure the open door is full of promise! I so enjoy your little bits & pieces you share with us. Glad to know that's not going to change.

You ARE the best thing I found from Simple Scrapbooks.

You rock Cathy and I will forever follow you on Facebook, or Twitter, or this blog for as long as you keep posting! Thank you for sharing all your stories and your talent!

I feel like I personally lost something with the end of this magazine - I can only imagine how you feel. I think you are amazingly talented and I have enjoyed your work (and loved your BPS class!). I can't wait to see what you do next. This post gave me goosebumps.

Simple, to the point ... thanks for posting this. :-)

Can't wait to see your next steps. You are an amazing artist and storyteller. Thank you for entertaining and inspiring me!

WOW...great way to sum up your feelings! You can tell you really loved it and I can't wait to see what you do next.

Thanks for making me smile at least once a week!!

Cathy - As with so many others - you are my pre-email, first-thing-in-the morning - great start to my day! What you say does matter to us all! The "conversation" you have with us each day - echos in my mind as I sit down to journal a page. I think to myself - now just how would Cathy Z put it? Thanks for everything!

I'm one who enjoyed and appreciated your work with Simple...I have your column torn out of issues of SS. Are they "collectible" now? :)
I'm a reader here, make me smile!

I still can't beleive that Simple is going away. I'll mmiss it very much but am glad that all of my favorite people - you and Stacy and Elisha - will continue with your blogs. Best of luck for whatever is next for you!

I have only one thing to say: I freakin hate recession. Could someone please promise me that once the powers that be figure out this whole mess of a world we're living in that things will get back to normal?? My beloved scrapbook store that closed up shop last spring will come back and my mailbox can once again be filled with beautiful 'Simple' layouts!!! I know that many people just don't have the money to spend on supplies and magazines right now (I guess feeding your family IS more important hun?? lol). But I am just SO freakin sad. Scrapping is my 'getaway' from the world. Seems like the world has smacked right into my hobby. =(. Sniff. Sniff. Truly a sad day...

Oh, I am so excited to hear that you will be doing more BPS classes!!! Loved your DYL class and I look so forward to what's to come. Simple Scrapbook's loss is so sad, but knowing that means more of you on BPS is a GREAT thing!

{standing ovation}

I have quietly followed your career off and on from the pre-magazine days when you used to post your layouts on-line. While simple and clean layouts are something that is actually difficult for me to achieve, there was (is) always much to be learned from your style. I looked forward to your columns in SS and just wanted to make sure you got the applause you deserve!

Oh, Cathy - don't make me cry! I'm so bummed about losing Simple... I really feel like an era is ending. Thanks so much to you and to all the wonderful people who are part of the Simple family... the magazine will truly be missed. I'm excited to see what you have in store, and I wish you all the best.

Thanks so much for creating and producing such a great magazine. When I started the hobby it took away my fear of making a mistake or designing something that wasn't "fancy" and encouraged me to just jump in and enjoy it.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing your future pursuits!

While I am still mourning the loss of my favorite scrapbooking magazine of all time, the thought that you will be doing another (or two or three, hint, hint!) classes at BPS has cheered me up immensely. Your design class ROCKED and helped get me motivated to do some of the best scrapbooking I have accomplished lately! Bring on those classes, Cathy!

I can't wait to see what this class is for twitter and facebook....i see a class in my future! :)
Good luck.

I have been a CZ fan from the very beginning. I have always loved your work and will continue to follow you!!! Thank you!!!

Hugs to you Cathy. I'll miss Simple magazine, it's one of my favorites. I'm so happy to hear you'll be doing more classes at BPS...I so loved your DYL class. I read you blog everyday and it always brings a smile to my face and you really bring home how a like we all are. Good luck in your new adventure. Maholo, Liz

I will also miss Simple Scrapbooks magazine, it is my favourite. Very happy to hear you will be back at BPS. Looking forward to your classes and love your blog. Thanks for sharing with us.

Cathy, God Bless You. I don't say that lightly. It is because of you - and SS - that I grew to love Scrapbooking. With no disrespect to the fluffy, layered pages that tend(ed) to dominate the industry, with you and SS I had found my people. Thank you.

It was a great ride and many are still mourning the loss of a great magazine. It seems so trite to quote the "one door closes.." old adage but I am positive great and breathtaking things are ahead in your future. Buckle up.

umm a scrapbooking class that has to do with Facebook? holy cow! I am IN!
So sad about SImple but I know you will continue to great and wonderfully inspiring things!

Cathy, I met you at Crafting Connection Wellington, but loved you long before then, I am a CZ blog stalker and am always thoroughly entertained by your words, I took your DYL class and downloaded and printed everything I could so I could listen to you and read your words as often as I wish and will be doing just that over and over on my laptop whilst holidaying in Fiji in June(its freezing in NZ in June but blissfully hot in Fiji), I have your books, (autographed by you), I love your sense of humour and never want to lose the connection with you via the www and hopefully again IRL (one day).
Meanwhile take care and girl, KEEP IT COMIN' YOU ROCK!

Cathy - you rock. I loved Simple, and I will miss it so much. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you and your design genius.

So long will definitely be missed.
BUT...I am thrilled to hear you are planning more online classes!!! DYL was amazing; I can't wait to reuse my sketches :) I can't wait to hear what else you have cooking :P

ooh, oooooohhhhhh, new CZ classes on BPS... when can I sign up???? Loved Simple, will miss it terribly (honestly the only scrap mag worth keeping). Love You! Can't wait for the next big adventure.

We're better off because we "stumbled" into your work in the pages of Simple. And now, we get you on the blog, twitter and fb. So cool. Our world is well, more interesting, because of you...and always funnier!

You are... Ok, so you just are (insert all good things here). Don't worry, you have such a loyal following that we will follow you anywhere!

One cool thing about working at home - at least you don't have to sadly walk through the office carrying your box of personal belongings. I look forward to your next adventure -

Simple will be missed but so glad to still have you Cathy!!

You're design techniques have been an inspiration to me and I'm looking forward to where ever you're going to take us. Still can't believe 'Simple' is ending:[

Love ya sista...looking forward to the next great chapter

I will miss it immensly. But I am comforted in the knowledge that I can still find you!

You are an inspiration to many of us, and I am so glad to know you will continue to be so in a public arena. So now I cancel my plane tickets to MN and my plans to park myself outside your window to see what you are up to (whew, I am glad, I hear its REALLY cold there in Winter!!)

Good lucky, Cathy!
And congratulations for the well job done.

Best regards!

It is sad to say goodbye to Simple. I have enjoyed your columns and perspective. I look forward to reading about your new adventures. I love your sense of humor and writing style. You are just real. And I love it!

You and Simple were awesome for each other but I am SURE that you have more great things to offer in the future. I smile everytime I check your blog and see a new post. And sometimes I even re-read a post... just because you know how to make people feel good. Thanks Cathy!

Simple, we hardly knew ye.

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