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306 posts categorized "scrapbooking"

June 18, 2014

A project a full school-year in the making


I had an idea late last August. One that I really wanted to tell other parents about.

But I also really wanted it to be a surprise for my senior girl, who at that time had roughly 39 weeks of actual senior year school to complete before I could give it to her.

The idea was simple. Each week, write a short note to her and find one photo from that week to pair with the message.

A photo. A message. From a mama to her girl.

I set a calendar reminder every Monday morning at 11 a.m. As soon as the alarm popped up on my desktop, it was time to stop, drop and write. Then I snagged a photo from the week at hand and dropped it into my template.

I created a simple 6 x 6 design, knowing I would upload it at year's end to create a small, soft-cover book from Artifact Uprising.


With a set limit on how much I could write, it was both extremely do-able but also challenging. I find I have a lot to say to this young woman. I chose my words carefully.


Nearly all of the book's images were taken with my iPhone.


Using a basic template, each week I would open the previous week's file, do a File > Save As… and rename the file for the week at hand. This created a lovely (and numerically ordered) set of PSD files.

Once the school year was over I spent time proofreading each file, then saved each one as a JPEG.

Next I created a simple cover design, saved it as a JPEG and uploaded it first to create the cover.


Then I uploaded all the weekly files to Artifact Uprising, in order, to create the guts of the book.

I created a final closing page using images that appear in the album.


I gave this book to her last Saturday. As of today, I'm not sure if she's read it yet. She told me she wasn't ready.

That's cool with me. I'm not ready to read it again right now either. Not just yet.


I think this would be a really great project for any mama or daddy who has a senior starting that last, final hoorah in the Fall. Heck, you could do it for any school-aged child. The titles are all editable and use free fonts so you can make them say anything you like. I wanted to share this album today so those of you who do could start thinking about it before September rolls around. Whether you use my design or create one of your own, this is a very do-able and potentially meaningful memory project. 

And yes, if I make a little money off this project, you can rest assured it will all be going to the University of Wisconsin–Madison come September. 


June 10, 2014

Hybrid Layout: She Did It (plus some thoughts on graduation)


She did it. She finished high school. One chapter has come to a glorious end.

For six years, she's been at a very small Montessori 1-12 school. There were only 37 graduating seniors. Because of this small number, each senior was able to give a short speech on graduation night. Of course, because of the letter Z, my girl was the final speaker.

Apparently she'd written and rehearsed her speech but after seeing each of her friends get up, she decided to more or less start from scratch. She was scribbling furiously and by the time she got up to talk, she had a new speech altogether. 

It was at times supremely eloquent and emotionally vulnerable. I think Dan was a lot more misty-eyed than I was, but I had spent a good chunk of that morning crying, so it all balanced out.

It was so cool to see my sometimes stoic and mature daughter give in to the emotion of the night.

It was just so cool.

I made a simple page with a few photos. Yes, it's the exact same design I used for my recent Great Outdoors page. I just combined the title areas into one big photo.


(click on image to see a larger version)

Next up, the graduation party. I'm sure my house will be clean and if we run out of food, there will be plenty of alcohol for the adults, so maybe no one will notice.

And then summer.

And then she's off to Madison, Wis. in the fall. (What? I thought she was going to school in Illinois!) We did too, but the University of Wisconsin came calling and she really wants to go.

I say great. That school? It's only four hours away.

Go Aidan.



May 19, 2014

Hybrid Scrapbook Page: Love This Fun Little Slice of Life


I'm on a hybrid scrapbooking tear.

This marks the third layout in three weeks. Now that may sound like an average—heck, a super BELOW average—production rate for some of you, but I have not been making pages like this in a while.

Do you suppose it's that whole, "My baby girl is heading to college in the Fall and need to scrapbook her NOW!" thing at work?

I think it is. 

Here's the full layout. (click on it to see it larger)


And yes, I know what you're thinking… she didn't use white cardstock. At least not for ALL of it.

I'm working the steps in my program, people. The first step? Using shades that are close to white. 

This page was built using a hybrid helper template,  a 4 x 6 photo and just a few little embellishments.

And I love it.

Here's to sweet relationships.

Note: the little wooden banners are part of Studio Calico's Camelot Project Life kit.


The Designer Digitals Quarterly Sale is on now through Friday. Save 40% off everything in the store. Thinking about dabbling in a little hybrid scrapbooking? Now would be a great time to snag a template and give it a whirl. Shop my collection here.

May 14, 2014

Six Simple Steps: Digital Stamps Two Ways


Digital stamps can sometimes seem like the domain of purely digital scrapbookers, so today I wanted to share a video tutorial showing two things memory keepers can do in the hybrid tradition: add them to photos and design custom 3 x 4 pocket page style cards.


I know it's hard to take your eyes off the first photo, what with me rocking the 1980s goth do, but if you are curious and want to learn more about digital stamps, watch this video. I made it for you.

Six Simple Steps for Using Digital Stamps Two Ways from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.


Questions? Comments? I'm all ears. And, digital stamps.


May 13, 2014

Do you recycle?


I'm working on Aidan's graduation boards. 

(I'm sorry… just a minute… okay, yes… I can breathe again…)

Going through all of these old photos is making me just a titch more sentimental than usual (which means the level is ridiculously off the charts.)

The other day I was bringing groceries in, glanced two doors down into the backyard where Aidan spent her first three years at my neighbor's day care.

That backyard hasn't changed much. The big oak tree has a few less branches but the set up is exactly the same as it was 18 years ago when my baby girl first sat in a red swing on a blisteringly hot summer day. I instantly remembered a photo I'd taken of her and yep, it was time to make a page.


(click on the image to see a larger version)

The story was in my head. With some help from my scanner, my iPhone and my 4 x 6 photo printer, the photos were quickly in hand. I just needed a quick design and a few embellishments to get it down on paper.

I recycled the same design that I posted yesterday. One 6 x 4 photo with one smaller shot, a few embellishments and voila, a finished page that shares a slightly sentimental story.

On white cardstock, of course.

I like recycling designs. I don't like reinventing every time I make a page. Aidan will not evaluate her albums years from now and think, "Weird… this page design looks JUST like that one. What was she thinking?"

Do you recycle your favorite designs?



May 12, 2014

Scrapbook layouts: introducing Hybrid Helpers for Hybrid People


I made two layouts on National Scrapbook Day. (Okay, I started two layouts on National Scrapbook Day.)

I finished them up last week and created a new series of digital templates designed for people who say, "Hey, I have a computer but I also like to make more traditional pages." You know who you are: you are Hybrid People.

No, I'm not talking about alien/human hybrid people like in that movie Species. I'm talking about computers plus scrapbook supplies equaling awesomeness.

I'm Hybrid People. Pretty much have been since the start. I use my computer to help me make layouts.

My computer helped me to make these two: (click on the images to see them larger)



The idea behind Hybrid Helpers is to give you a base upon which to build a page. The photo sizes are all standard. You can start each page with any stack of 4 x 6 photos and simply add them directly onto the page or trim them to fit. (The trim sizes will all be standard, too. The layout above? All 3 x 3 in size.)

Hybrid Helpers are all going to be 8.5 x 11. Why? Because most people can print them at home on their ink jet printers. If you're a 12 x 12 scrapbooker with a large format printer, you can simply change the canvas size of the template and you're good to go. No need to size any of the elements up because white space can be a really beautiful thing on a scrapbook page.

You simply add your journaling, change the color of the elements, turn off the photo layers and print onto your choice of cardstock. Then you add your photos and any additional elements you'd like. Done and done.

The page featuring Aidan (dressed as the lead singer of Dexy's Midnight Runners) includes just a few assorted pieces from the Camelot Studio Calico kit (patterned paper, banner and rub-ons).


The page featuring Cole has zero embellishments. Just four 3 x 3 photos added at the end.

Each Hybrid Helper template will come with a detailed instruction sheet, geared towards users of Photoshop Elements.


I use free fonts on all of my templates. The titles on the Hybrid Helpers will be created using free fonts but will be rasterized (turned into pixels) to preserve the design intent. However, I'll include links to download those, too, if you want to make your own custom titles.

Creating hybrid layouts has always been the sweet spot for me as a scrapbooker. It lets me have control over titles and journaling and still add a few tangible elements to complete the design.

This series will feature simple, do-able, elegant designs. This shit doesn't have to be complicated, people. 

Hybrid people.

p.s. If you want to learn more about the hybrid scrapbooking process, check out my videos on Vimeo. This one is a great place to start.


May 08, 2014

Project Life, Weeks Sixteen + Seventeen


I'm in  a serious single page Project Life zone right now. There are two reasons: 1) It's easier, and 2) It's less hard.

I know.

Part of me thinks, "Showing my Project Life pages is a little boring." Why? Because they are so stripped down of late. But I hope that they convey the true simple beauty of this approach to memory keeping. Photos and words. A summary. A recap. An overview.

I don't have to break any new crafting ground to save my stories. That appeals to me. Greatly.

May I present Week 16:



And Week 17:



I'm just so happy to be able to do this project and to keep up with it. Truly. 

Do you know how much I wish I had documented everyday life with simplicity and regularity, say, 10 years ago or more?

Well, a lot. That's how much.

Another thing I love a lot? This family photo.


Life is sweet. For sure.



Project Life™ is a system created by Becky Higgins. To learn more about her core approach to saving your memories, click here.

May 07, 2014

Hello. My name is Cathy Z. And I have a problem.


My name is Cathy Z. and I'm a white cardstock-oholic.

It started out innocently enough. A white photo mat here. A full page white background there. But it has spiraled out of control.


I buy it in bulk from my dealer supplier, Bazzill Basics Orange Peel White. I get no kickback from that link other than the sheer thrill of thinking that one more scrapbooker is about to indulge in the thrill that is Bazzill OP White.

It takes ink like a boss.

It goes with literally everything.

Got a patterned paper you can't quite nail with a particular cardstock color? Hello? Your search is over.

Sometimes, when no one is looking, I press it to my cheek, whispering, "There, there… I'm working on another layout… it's okay…"

Whenever I start a new layout, I never think to myself, "Hmmm… what color would work best with these photos?"

Rather, I think, "What photos would work best with THIS cardstock?"

And the answer is always the same: ALL OF THEM.


Yes. I have other colors. 

But they literally have a fine layer of dust on the top sheet of each shelf.

It's not just that I'm a shoddy housekeeper, people.

On that you can bet.

But here's the best part: when I work with white cardstock I feel more creative and I get to make pages that make me happy.

One of the ways I take crap out of scrapbooking in my life is to work within my happiness wheelhouse. Life is tricky enough. I want my hobby to be less so.

Think about the parts of memory keeping that make you happiest; that make you most confident. What aspects are you happily addicted to?

By all means, do tell.


This post has been sponsored by BOPWA (Bazzill Orange Peel White Anonymous). We understand how much you love our paper. We are here to help. True, we have no links to click at this time. For now, just make a page with white cardstock. We'll be in touch.


May 02, 2014

Ready, set… scrapbook!


National Scrapbook Day is here. And oh mama, is there some stuff going on! 

FIRST: Sign up for the National Scrapbook Day event at Big Picture Classes. It's free. It's easy. And I'll be sharing a video and layout at Noon Eastern time. But it's not just me. Instructors who I adore will be sharing their videos and layouts all day long. That, and we'll be sharing layouts on Instagram all day long, as well. Plus, giveaways and scrapbook joy will ensue. Click here to register and for more information. So there's that.


SECOND: I'll be guest posting tonight at the Scrapbook & Cards Today blog. Super honored to be invited to participate. I'm slated for the 8 p.m. Eastern hour. They too will be having posts throughout the day with giveaways by some of your favorite companies. So there's also that. 


THIRD: Designer Digitals is celebrating NSD by offering 20% off everything in the store. Saving money is never a bad thing. Find my collection by clicking here. So there's also that.


FOURTH: I have a set of National Scrapbok Day cards designed exclusively for you and for your printing pleasure. I'm included the layered PSD files in this package for those of you who like a little more control over your colors. Download them by clicking on the link below. So there's also that. (Oh, and there's also the ones I did earlier in the month, in case you missed them.)

Download CZ_NSD2014


FIFTH: Just enjoy the day if in fact you get a chance to sit down and play with a little paper and glue to celebrate this pretty amazing hobby. 

Scrapbooking is cool. That's not an oxymoron.

Now hang out those NSD stockings by the chimney with care, and enjoy your Saturday.

April 30, 2014

My first scrapbook page


To celebrate the impending National Scrapbook Day, I wanted to share my very first layout. If you've ever taken a class with me, it's highly likely this page has been trotted out as I am wont to do with it. I mean, I've got a scan in a folder and it's pretty much always ready to go. So why not?

Where do I begin?

The year was 2001 and after seeing how people were using their computers to create journaling at Two Peas in a Bucket, I thought: Hey, I can do that, too!

My photos were taken with that Kodak Color-Processed black and white film (anyone? remember that?), and I had them printed at my local Walmart, because Walmart used the Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper (anyone? remember that?).

Notice how I used the patterned paper? In a strip. Down the side.

Notice the creative matting of photos. In deep bluish-purple?

I printed my journaling onto white copy paper using my laser printer. I didn't realize that laser ink would rub right off of cardstock. Learned that one that hard way weeks later.

But this was the one that got me in the door.

I tried a whole heck of a lot of other styles after this and then just ended up coming back to where I started: simple pages with words and photos.

Do you remember your first page? If so, by all means, share the story.


Please consider joining me on National Scrapbook Day at Big Picture Classes for our free, day-long online event. Click here to register.

I'll also have some free printables available to celebrate! Newsletter subscribers will get them a few days before NSD. To sign up for my newsletter, click here.