Happiness Starts Here

The Boardwalk Inn is one of my happy places. To be honest, I didn’t originally even want to stay there. It was my husband’s choice. When we arrived, it was nothing short of magical. The room itself didn’t inspire a sense of awe. It was comfortable and spacious. The decor just isn’t me. However, the view was incredible. I love how colorful the buildings look on the boardwalk. Watching the Friendship boats arrive and depart was incredible. When they left, it looked like a well choreographed dance.

For this layout, I decided to choose my papers based upon the color of the buildings. I wanted to use the brick red, yellow, and aqua blue that you see in the horizontal photo. Originally, I was going to cut the papers into vertical strips. In fact, I did cut some strips… and I couldn’t make it work. It looked terrible. Finally, I gave up and decided to use the larger pieces of paper that I cut the strips from.

As usual, I struggled with the photos being different orientations. In order to help fill the space, I chose the “Happiness Starts Here” cut-apart for my title. The page looks better with three 4×6 elements. (Okay, I am also trying REALLY hard to use the cut-aparts. Otherwise they will sit in my stash for an eternity.) When I placed all 3 pieces on the yellow cardstock, it left a gap. As it so happens, I knew I wanted to use that “February” wood veneer on this page as well. It fit well in that space. My only issue is that it is a bit curved, so looks a little cattywampus.

Though the brick red paper has a small print, it still has too much going on to be pleasing to my eye. In order to balance it out, my other papers and embellishments are pretty plain. I decided to use the star theme that was part of the title block to use throughout the rest of the page. You will see that the border sticker mirrors the pattern from the cut-apart. I added in chipboard stars, along with one wood veneer star. Why the wood veneer? I didn’t want “February” to be the only wood piece on the layout. I’m not sure I’m in love with the mix of wood and color on this page. However, I don’t think it looks terrible either. The other part that gives me pause is that turquoise twine. It looks out of place to me. That color is represented in the photos, but not anywhere else on the page. You know me… once the layout is done… it’s done. I’m not changing it.

Disney tip: If you are a light sleeper, don’t get a water view room at the Boardwalk Inn. The Boardwalk itself is a bustling place. Additionally, the boats coming in and out create some ambient noise as well. My husband and I had no trouble sleeping at all, but I am pretty sure we could sleep through a marching band playing their fight song in our room.

If you want to see how noisy rooms are based upon a rating scale, check out Touring Plans. They provide this information as well as distance from the lobby and bus stops. I don’t have any affiliation with the company, but they were super valuable while I was planning my trip.

Flawed Photos

I am a scrapbooker without an eye for photography. There, I said it. My photos have no composition. They aren’t edited. They often aren’t even clear because of my shaky hands. I strongly believe that its okay to scrap flawed photos. They are there to help bring back the memories… not win any contests.

When we went to Universal Studios, it was difficult to get photos without a ton of other people in them. I know. It’s shocking that a theme park may be full of people. (Pre-pandemic) And when your photos are taken while you are on the move… well, they aren’t works of art.

So when I went to scrap our photos from the Hogwart’s Express, they were less than fabulous. I really wasn’t quite sure what I should do with them. Finally, I realized there was only one choice. It was time to do something radical. I had to… cut up my photos. I generally scrap 4×6 photos with maybe a 4×4 thrown in. Each of the photos below started out as 4 x 6. I decided to pare them down to narrow the focus and eliminate as many people as possible. Yes, there are still people in the photos. Even so, the elements of the train station are front and center.

This is one of those times that I purchased a collection to go with my photos. I knew immediately that I wanted to use that owl paper to go with Hedwig. Then I wasn’t sure what to use with it. Finally, I decided that a bit of reddish/brown cardstock was the answer. I like how it matched Harry’s suitcase. It was also a good match with some of the embellishments I wanted to use.

For this layout, I wanted to stay within the collection for embellishments. If I don’t use them with my Harry Potter photos, then they aren’t likely to ever get used. My first choice was the “Riding the Train” die cut. It was really a perfect description for what was about to happen. I also chose the Hedwig and train stickers to coordinate with the photos. I added in the “Welcome To The Magic” die cut next to the train sticker because the layout just needed something there. The only other embellishment are some small brass looking dots. I thought they matched well with the theme without making the layout too busy looking.

Though this isn’t my favorite layout, I think it works well. The choice to trim down my photos was a good one. It’s far better than the 3 crowded shots that I started with when I began the page.

Universal tip: Be prepared for a crowded Harry Potter land no matter the circumstances. Early morning… crowded. Off season… crowded. And if the photos I’ve seen from others during the pandemic are correct… crowded even when trying to socially distance. Bring your patience and plan on quite a bit of time to explore.


Sometimes layouts just make a song play in your head. In this case, it was The Beatles that wound their way into my brain. Though my photos of ships are relatively new, they bring me back to my childhood.

Every year we went to the beach for vacation and to see family. At one point an old ship had met its demise in the sand. Leaning precariously, we explored the abandoned beast. My mom was seriously upset with my dad for taking me through the bones of the ship. It was the 70’s, safety was not what it is today. Luckily, I survived the adventure and made some incredible memories.

My best friends and I returned to a nearby beach on our last trip together. What should appear but this ship, that looked very much like the ship from my childhood. As the memories came flooding back, I knew I had to document that time with these new photos.

I knew immediately that I wanted to use a paper that reminded me of waves. After sorting through my stash, I found a perfect aqua tone-on-tone piece. I cut it down a bit and used a slightly lighter background paper. I know it doesn’t show up well in the photo, but it adds a little interest. From there I decided on that dark orange paper to go with the ship. Though the ship in the photo is more red, the ship in my memories had rusted.

I struggled with embellishing this page. I knew I wanted to journal for once. I chose the “Ongoing Story” card because I feel like that’s what this page represents. It had plenty of room for me to write down my thoughts. That left me with quite a bit of space to fill. I decided the card by itself was too plain, so I added the frame to go around it. (Let’s be honest, I really want to get my frames used.) Then I pulled the flag banner to match the nautical theme. The cluster to the lower right was a mixture of old bits and bobs that I have had forever. I’m not sure that I love it… but that’s okay.

My favorite part, bringing us back to the beginning, is the title. I loved that “yesterday” foam Thicker. It was too long to go straight across. Instead, I chose to curve it, which goes well with all of the other curvy shapes in the layout. I really like how it looks. I also love that I hear the Beatles every time I see it.

Mine! Mine!

As we explored Epcot on our arrival night, we came across this animatronic scene. I remember looking at my husband and grinning like a 5 year old. You see, this is my absolute favorite part of Finding Nemo. Listening to the seagulls shout, “Mine! Mine!” just filled me with glee. So, of course it needed to be recorded in my scrapbooks.

I began this layout with a pinned layout. Oh, Pinterest, how I love you! The original layout was on Scrapbook.com and can be found here. I absolutely loved the playfulness of the original. I really did like how she outlined her papers with a black pen. I thought about it, but I wasn’t sure I would like it. The last thing I wanted to do was have to start over!

As soon as I began looking for papers, I knew I was going to use that orange piece. I liked that paper so much that I bought two of them years ago. And then… I never used them. It seemed perfect for this page because the orange seemed appropriate for a Finding Nemo reference. The design looks like starfish, so also fit a water theme. I decided to use the backside of it as well, which is where the turquoise chevron comes from. Then I picked green to match the color of the plants. Those I pulled from my scraps.

I did make a few changes to the original design, but they are minor. The photo sits up higher on the page. The banners are wider than in the original. I also switched around the angle of the paper in the lower right corner. Honestly, now I wish I had left it the way the original design had it. It’s just too blocky. Oh well.

Embellishments were pretty easy to choose this time! I knew immediately that I was going to use some old starfish die cuts. They are from the Fancy Pants Beach Babe collection that came out in 2011. Yeah, they’ve been in my stash for almost a decade. I added a few cute little enamel stars that I just got from Doodlebug. They are so cute! There’s a bit of ribbon and a wave sticker in the bottom cluster to finish it off. That’s it!

Disney tip: Take time to enjoy the details around the parks. If you run from ride to ride (like I used to!), you miss the incredible work that goes into the theming. Maybe it’s because I’m older and not in such a huge hurry, but I really enjoy examining the extra touches that make Disney special.

Using 6×6 Paper

I have quite the collection of 6×6 paper pads.  In theory, I purchased them for card making.  In reality, they sit on a shelf mocking me because I rarely make cards.  At this point, I’ve put a buying freeze on all 6×6 pads until the space I have dedicated can fit more.  Spoiler alert:  That will take a year at least.

Luckily there is an expert in creating layouts using 6×6 pads.  Allison Davis has made some magnificent sketches that are designed to be used with 6×6 papers.  Though the sketch I used was created for a 2 page layout, I adjusted by using only one side of the sketch.  That meant I needed to change up the placement of the title and embellishments as well.

Velociraptor Encounter

My first step was choosing the papers I wanted to use.  As I examined the photos, I knew that I wanted to stick to blues and greens.  It really was a no brainer.  The photos have green backgrounds, while the people all have on blue.  (No, I didn’t plan our outfits.  I really don’t plan that well!)  When I reached for my 6×6 pads, I couldn’t find the papers I wanted in just one stack.  So I wound up using a couple of collections.

The design is a really simple one.  It’s a grid that’s just pushed to the side.  All of my other grid layouts are centered, so I liked this little twist on an old favorite.  Please note that even after buying a T-square ruler, I still didn’t get my blocks placed perfectly.  Sigh… someday I will get it right.

In the spirit of using supplies that are old and have been largely unloved, I started by sorting through my bits and bobs on my desk.  I keep a couple of containers of items that either never got put away or were the last few pieces from a pack.  Everything except for the enamel dots came from my containers of orphan items.  It felt so good to give these items a home.  And honestly, I love how they look!

One of my favorite parts of this layout, other than the photos, is the title work.  Originally, I was going to place the title on the white cardstock at the left side of the layout.  It seemed logical since there is more room over there.  I am so glad that I reconsidered and placed it around the corner.  For once my title looks like part of the design, rather than an afterthought!

Hopefully I can create a few more layouts that include 6×6 papers.  I will definitely be reaching for more Allison Davis sketches to help me reach my goals.


Scrapping the Sad Times

We don’t often scrapbook sad events.  For one, we aren’t likely to photograph those events.  It’s celebrations, vacations, and time spent with family that we record in pictures.  When bad things happen, we don’t reach for a camera.  Time is spent dealing with the situation.  Those are also events that we just don’t want to remember and relive.

This is one of the rare times that I did stop and take a couple of pictures.  Our girl kitty was sick, and we were at home waiting on some test results.  I could tell by how dull her eyes were that something was very wrong.  She rested on me all morning, which was also unusual.  You can see by the look on my face that I just knew this may be the last time I would be able to hold her… and it was.  She went into the vet that same day, and passed a few days later.

It wasn’t easy to sit down and put this page together.  In fact, the photos sat there for over 2 years before I was ready to touch them.  Not only did they bring back the memories, but I wanted to make sure that I created something that was a proper tribute to her.  The last thing I wanted to do was create a page that was less than worthy of my favorite little princess.

Our Girl

My first step for this layout was picking out the papers.  I probably sifted through an 8 inch stack of paper before I found one that I wanted to use.  I chose that floral paper that runs horizontally across the page.  I thought it was very pretty, just like my girl.  Then I pulled the black tone on tone floral from my scraps.  It felt right for a sad page.  With those two patterns, I decided to pull cardstock for the rest.  The page would become too busy with additional patterns.  I wanted the focus to stay on the photos.  I simply chose the red and blue cardstock to match the multi-color flowers, then picked a white cardstock background.

I also kept the design very clean and simple.  The floral paper with the photos on top are the main focus.  All of the embellishment is tight to the photos.  It’s not perfect.  The three areas of embellishment should be more spread out.  It never looks quite right when you form a right triangle.  (Again, I am a math teacher… sorry.)  That being said, I do really like the clusters.  I made sure that each included a die-cut flower as well as some small metallic dots.  Each cluster also has some form of a gold heart and a die-cut made out of kraft paper.

Though it was a struggle emotionally to get these photos scrapped, I am glad I did it.  Our girl kitty was part of our lives for a decade.  She deserves to be remembered, even when the circumstances were so sad.

When a Plan Doesn’t Come Together

I had a plan for this page… I really did.  It all started with a challenge to create a star border for your photos.  Then I was going to combine it with another challenge that required some stitching.  In order for this plan to work, I needed to cut out a multitude of stars… which I did.  However, I didn’t really have a range of sizes that I needed to create the border I pictured in my mind.  Still, I persisted… and failed.  I just could not get a border to look right at all!  *Sigh*  So after an hour or so of just moving stars around, I gave up and started again

This time I went for a far more plain (and not at all what I had in mind) design.  I wound up choosing just a few stars and putting them across the layout diagonally.  I also fussy cut a few clouds to place on top.  In order to balance it out down below, I added a tag so that I could add a bit of journaling.  The title was done using a wonder Freckled Fawn alphabet.  It’s really my favorite part of this disaster of a layout!

Bad Hair

Just a heads up if you ever decide to hand stitch on stars, make sure you choose smaller stitches than I did.  I was making longer stitches in order to save a little time.  That strategy also backfired.  You see, a star has indents.  When you run the stitch across the back, the floss wants to go across those indents and show.  It took quite a bit of manipulation on my part to keep those backside stitches from showing.  Never again!

In the end, I suppose the layout does a pretty good job of mirroring my mess of hair in the photo.  It too started with a plan (or brush), and quickly spiraled out of control.

Scrapping With Supplies I Didn’t Buy

No, no, I didn’t steal them!  I happen to have some wonderful friends and family that give me a few supplies.  If you are an avid scrapbooker, you know the kinds of papers that you tend to gravitate towards.  The problem (okay, it’s so not a problem) with supplies you are given, is that they may not be your style.  If they aren’t your style, then it is likely that you will have trouble using them.

Sometimes, those papers that you generally wouldn’t reach for turn out to be exactly what you need.  In this case, I had some photos from Animal Kingdom’s Jambo House to scrap.  All of the brown and tan in the photos just didn’t scream aqua and pink to me.  I have a LOT of aqua and pink papers.  However, I was gifted a safari themed paper pad a while back that was absolutely perfect!  If you look closely at the prints, not only is there the spotted giraffe paper, but the tan/yellow paper is covered in giraffes!  The striped paper was also in that collection.  All I needed to add were 2 colors of green cardstock… one for the background, and one to mat the photos.


Since there were 6 photos, I needed to make a two page layout.  These are definitely not in my wheelhouse.  I did what I always do when I have no clue where to start… I went to Pinterest.  I found a sketch online that used the same number of photos and were the correct orientation.  Obviously I spend too much time on Pinterest!  The one I chose only included 2 paper strips that ended in banners.  Though I liked the banners, I knew I wanted that cute giraffe chipboard piece right where they were supposed to be.

Once I got my papers and photos placed, it was time to figure out how to embellish the page.  The sketch called for 2 wide banners up in the upper right hand corner.  I adjusted that to use the 3 papers from below.  I placed some chipboard pieces to decorate them, then added in brads on either side.  (Whenever I get a chance to use brads, I do.  I purchased quite a few when I began scrapbooking, but they are difficult for me to use.  Let’s be real… anything that once placed, can’t easily be moved, is not a good product for me.)  I knew I wanted to use that giraffe on the lower left.  It doesn’t match the feel of the papers, but I don’t care!  It was just too cute to leave off of the page.

There were two more places that needed some work.  The upper left hand corner needed a title.  The lower right was supposed to be a journaling spot.  I wasn’t quite sure about what to do in either of these spaces.  After looking through some old chipboard, I found that “Noted” piece.  I liked that it was neutral in color and helped fill up the space.  I also decided to use two alpha sets to add a little more interest.  Finally, I added the cute vine.  The lower right was a problem because I didn’t really have anything to journal… at least not enough to fill up the space.  It turns out, the backside of the striped paper was a cut-apart sheet.  I thought that the “safari adventure” was not only the correct size, but a great compliment to the wildlife photos.  I added a coordinating chipboard piece that allowed for my brief journaling, along with a couple of other small embellishments.

Overall, it’s a pretty clean layout.  It won’t win any creativity awards.  However, it’s precisely what I wanted for a page about our tall spotted friends.  I love that I was able to finally use some of those wonderful papers that were given to me.  I think this layout does them justice.


I absolutely adore this photo of my niece.  She is in single digits, and yet, she has a far cooler look than I had as a teenager.  (Why were we in pastel Garanimals at this age?)  The filter on this photo also brings back memories of photos taken in the 70’s.  Mix that with that cute little face, and you get a picture that just has to be scrapped… in style.

For this layout I started with a page I found on Pinterest.  You can find it here, at the “A Cherry on Top” website.  I don’t have any affiliation with them, but they are one of the handful of online scrapbooking sites that I purchase from occasionally.  Debbi did a beautiful job on the original.  It is full of so many fantastic details.  It is amazing!


For this layout, I chose to simplify the original.  What can I say?  I am a simple scrapper.  Since I generally scrap 4 x 6 pictures, I replaced her 2 smaller photos with my single photo.  I also used fewer embellishments.  (Is anyone surprised?) Instead of going around each piece of paper drawing a black outline, I opted for inking the edges.  I omitted some small strips of paper at the bottom left of the layout because I didn’t think it needed anything there.  It isn’t as fancy as Debbi’s, but the design is still fantastic!

One thing that I really enjoyed about this layout is that I was able to use up some old products and scraps.  The star papers along with the berry colored paper are all scraps.  All of the embellishments on this page are several years old.  I completely forgot that I even had those sunglasses.  I just happened upon them as I was searching through my dimensional stickers.  The only thing new on this page is the berry and gold letter stickers.  It just goes to show that you don’t need new products to make amazing pages.

Keeping It Simple

I find that when I am working, sometimes I like to create two similar pages that will be placed into different albums.  No one will ever know that this wedding page shared the same inspiration as a page in the Disney album.  Honestly, I doubt they would even notice if they were in the same album.  Once you change color palettes, it’s just not that obvious.

If you haven’t guessed yet, this layout and my castle layout from the last post were made in the same week.  Where the castle page featured a purple geometric paper, this one focuses on a pink and blue floral.  The other big difference is the placement of the patterned paper.  I moved it over to the edge, rather in the center.  Many of the other elements are similar.  I switched out the silver title and embellishments for gold.  Both pages include flowers and hearts.


I wanted this layout to have a softness to it.  The floral paper with the pink cardstock help create that feeling.  The embellishments were also chosen carefully in order to convey the mood I desired.  Pastel flowers, a doily, and hearts are all romantic… perfect for a wedding.  I also knew that I wanted to use that oversized “love” as the title.  A girl deserves a little bling on her wedding day, right?  That led me to choose a few gold accents as well.

I really wanted the photo to be the focal point of this layout.  Wedging it between the title and the flowers helps give that part of the layout weight.  The photo being black and white also helps draw the eye.  I have to admit, that this photo was less than perfect.  Though the part with my husband and I is wonderful, the right hand side was a bit of a disaster.  People were all over the background, distracting from that magic moment.  I thought about cropping the photo, but then it wouldn’t have the presence I wanted it to have.  Instead, I covered up most of the distraction with the flowers and heart.

This layout came together rather quickly, since I was reinterpreting a design I had just utilized for another page.  Not every page has to be unique.  Ultimately no one will notice that you took a shortcut… unless you want to blog about it!