Archives for May 2011

Happiness blog hop

Welcome! This post is one stop along the trail on a Happiness Blog Hop, where we’re discussing scrapbooking as it relates to happiness. Links to the other participants are at the bottom of this post.

To enter the giveaway from Scrapworthy Lives (the host of this blog hop), be sure to comment below and tell me what makes you happy. You can earn one entry per blog. This means that if you visit everyone’s blog and comment on each, you will have 14 entries. All entries must be posted by Friday, June 3, at midnight Central Standard Time (Chicago, IL, USA). Stephanie will ship the prize anywhere in the world. The winner will be announced on Sunday, June 5, on Scrapworthy Lives.

When I was five and my brother was four, we had the most wonderful opportunity. Because my mother’s friends knew what a great teacher she was (and still is), they asked her to take their children and teach them at our home for their kindergarten year. There were eight of us who gathered in our basement to learn together for a half day three days per week. I loved it.

One of my many strong memories of this year is the morning ritual we followed. Each day after getting to our assigned seats and settling in we stood, turned toward the U.S. flag displayed in the corner, placed our right hands over our hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we turned to face a fabric poster that Mom had hanging from a thumb tack on the left wall. It was made of a light-weight burlap and had pastel smiley faces tumbling down the sides, framing this poem:

“Begin the day with friendliness,
Keep friendly all day long.

Keep in your soul a friendly thought,
In your heart a friendly song.

Have in your mind a word of cheer,
For all who come your way,

And they will greet you too, in turn,
And wish you a happy day!”

But we didn’t recite that poem; we sang it. Mom tells the story that one day as she was reading through the poem a tune just poured out of her to go with the words. So eight four- and five-year-olds and Mrs. Daquila raised their voices in unison to sing this happy little poem to that happy little tune. What a fantastic way to start the school day!

All these years later I can sing that little song, and I instantly feel happier. When I talked to my brother on the phone yesterday I started singing the song to him out of the blue, and he joined in with me. Good memories and good feelings go hand-in-hand. We scrapbookers already know that, don’t we?

But another lesson that I’ve learned from thinking back on that story is the power anchors have in our emotional lives. I’m referring to anchors as stimuli in our environment that our brains associate with and then use to trigger a specific emotional response in us. You know, like when the smell of onions and garlic sautéing takes you back to the Thanksgiving mornings of your childhood, when your grandmother would get up early to start making stuffing for the turkey. The emotional response to that smell is likely to make you feel pretty good (even if Grandma was a wretched cook)!

Why does a particular blanket make a child feel more secure in an unfamiliar situation? Because his brain connects for him the times his father brought him that blanket and then told him a story before tucking him in. Just having the blanket can make him feel that way.

Scrapbooking is a happy part of my life. I love to read about scrapbook trends, look at others’ creative work online, talk about scrapping, plan my next layout in my head and shop for supplies. And I really look forward to my scrap time! But I recently realized that when the time arrived to go into my craft room and create, I had some negative anchors associated with it. I would go into my little room and feel my energy drop. I’d start to feel overwhelmed and angry at myself for wasting this precious time. Not really productive emotions, right?

Then one day I walked into our office to find Matt watching a video of a little boy playing the ukulele and singing Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours.” I watched it over his shoulder and said, “That song just makes me smile.”

That’s when it hit me. I could create a list of songs that have that effect on me, put them on my iPod and play them when I’m ready to start scrapping (and whenever I feel down, for that matter). And you know, it worked!

So, let’s sum up what I’ve learned here:

  1. Make time to do things that make me happier, such as taking photos, recording family stories and using pretty paper to pull it all together.
  2. Find triggers that help improve my energy level and feel happier when I need it.
  3. A happy little song can make a big difference.
  4. Begin the day with friendliness.


Remember to comment and tell me what makes you happy to be entered in the blog hop giveaway.


Pie for Breakfast


Scrapworthy Lives
1200 Some Miles
Take a Picture and Remember This
Scrap Your Life
My Life in Photos & Words
This Kalil Life
Fun Mama
Scrapping Mojo
XNomad’s Blog
The Constant Scrapper
Pie for Breakfast
Scraps & Sass
Abstracts Mixed with Extracts

Resources covering the relationship between music and mood:

Study shows high levels of versatility in scrapbook sketches

I want to let you in on a little secret. I am not only a scrapbook artist but also a scrapbook scientist.

When I don my lab coat (in a flattering shade of aqua and sporting The Constant Scrapper logo), it’s time to put some aspect of our beloved craft under the microscope. I want to understand either what makes a layout really work, what slight adjustments to the formula make the most difference or what makes this hobby so enjoyable. Please join me on this voyage of discovery. :-)

First I thought it would be fun (ahem) scientifically relevant to test the effect that different product choices have on multiple layouts using the same sketch. Following scientific method, I will hypothesize, test and analyze three scrapbook layouts based on the same sketch and report the results here.

1. Define the question

It has been stated many times in the scrapbooking literature (add references here ;-)) that sketches add versatility and endless possibility to our crafting process. Yet, during interviews with scrappers who don’t use sketches in their design process I found that the most common objection was that their layouts would look too similar to other layouts completed based on the same sketch. This points to our main question for this experiment:

Do the products used on various layouts that all follow the same sketch introduce enough difference for each design to be seen by the community as unique?

2. Gather information and resources

I have chosen the following sketch and scrapbook products for this test. The sketch is one I drew after seeing a layout I liked in the Scrapbook Trends Quick & Easy special edition a few years ago.


This sketch is from a layout I saw in a Scrapbook Trends magazine.

To further limit the variables in this experiment, I chose to work exclusively (except for just a few bits and bobs) with products from Echo Park (the Little Boy, Walk in the Park, Springtime and For the Record collections):

Echo Park's Little Boy collection Echo Park's Walk in the Park collection
Echo Park's Springtime collection Echo Park's For the Record collection

3. Form hypothesis

I predict that the difference in the products chosen will be sufficient to make each of the layouts look unique and not directly connected to the beginning sketch.

4. Perform experiment and collect data

Excuse me while I go to my craft lab and conduct the design portion of this experiment. I’ll be back with the results!

5. Analyze data

For this first layout about our cat, Oliver, I used mostly products from the Walk in the Park collection because of its bright but not primary color scheme and its sweetly simple patterns. The light in the photo was warm, so I played that up with the brown and gold cardstock I chose to use with the patterned papers. The button and sock monkey embellishments are meant to highlight the laundry theme and the comfort Oliver takes in curling up on a fresh pile of clean towels. I give you sample #1:


This design uses mainly papers from Echo Park's A Walk in the Park collection.

For specimen #2 about all the men in my husband’s family working together to renovate his mother’s house, I selected most of my products from the Little Boy collection because I wanted a bright and playful, obviously boyish feel for the layout. I added some Bazzill and Coredinations cardstock, a paper-pieced house and die-cut frame and clouds.


In this layout I used mostly pieces from the Echo Park Little Boy collection.

For the vintage photo in sample #3 I chose to work with the patterned papers in the sophisticated For the Record collection. I thought the vintage yet slightly modern feel of these papers worked well with this one-time-event photo (my grandparents getting together to meet my new baby brother). The simple embellishments I used were stickers from the collection, a “family tree” die cut from paper from the Walk in the Park collection and polka dot letter stickers from Hobby Lobby. Again, I followed the same sketch as in the other two examples.


This layout uses mainly the For the Record collection by Echo Park.

6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis

The look and feel of these three final projects is measurably different, based on the products chosen for each theme. I submit that even the well-trained eye of a scrapbook artist would not pick up on the fact that these layouts shared a common sketch (and certainly our non-scrappy friends and family won’t notice). My conclusion is that scrapbookers should find sketches that really work for them and then call on them repeatedly to help turn out designs they’ll love. No one will know they came from the same sketch but us. And really, we should feel more clever about that than guilty!

7. Publish results

Done here!

8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

Would you be interested in conducting a similar experiment and sharing your results? I ask only in the interest of furthering our scientific understanding of our hobby, of course. If you do repeat this experiment, please leave a comment so I can read your test results!

Don’t stop me now ’cause I’m having such a good time!

Today sketch #103 has gone up at the Twisted Sketches site. The twist for this one is “stop.”


Twisted Sketch #103

Here’s what I put together based on that sketch (click the image for a larger view):


Sing my title to the tune "Don't stop me now" by Queen

When I thought of the twist for this sketch I immediately heard Queen’s “Don’t stop me now.” It’s one of those songs that always makes me smile. I love the racing pace and fun feeling of it.

So I used that as my title for this layout, which features me and my younger bro, Phil, back in 1992. We’re out front of our home in Willoughby, Ohio, with Spenser (who was just a little over a year old), ready to head out on a bike ride. It’s a simple memory—for I don’t remember our route or how long we rode or what we talked about on the ride—but I love that I can capture evidence of our family home, our precious dog, a healthy hobby and our close sibling relationship all in one shot.

Free Memorial Day-themed Silhouette file

Are you looking forward to our upcoming three-day Memorial Day weekend? This year I really am anticipating it! Matt and I are making plans to do some fun things in and around town…fun, summery things that are really calling to me.

So, because I am obsessing about next weekend’s activities and opportunities for photos (leading to future scrapping), I spent some time this weekend creating a Memorial Day subway art/title file to be cut with your Silhouette machine. You can see below what it will look like once it’s cut: you cut the whole thing in one piece, and then cut the accent piece to make the “Memorial Day” overlay stand out. Two cuts and you’re done with your title.

This is a free Silhouette cutting file that you can download to use on your Memorial Day scrapbook layouts.

Click this link to download the Silhouette cutting file, with my compliments!

I hope you like it. If you download this file will you please leave a comment? And of course, if you use this title on something I would love to see it when you’re done. :-)

Sketches for Scraps: First overalls

Today’s sketch for using scraps or 6×6 paper pads follows a well-established grid structure: nine of any shape. In the sketch (and my example) I’ve used three-inch circles. I filled one of my circles with a photo and the rest with patterned paper. Of course, the beautiful thing about a sketch like this is that you could use more than one photo in the grid.

The really fun part comes in sprinkling little embellishments strategically abound the page to amplify your theme. I hope you enjoy this sketch, and please link up any pages you make using it.


I created this sketch, which you can use with one or more photos.

I followed this sketch to complete a layout of a photo of me in my first pair of overalls. :-)


I used this sketch to do a page about me in my first overalls.