Category Archives: Scrapbook Layouts

Beginning Tiffany’s Album

My daughter, Tiffany, has requested a scrapbook album for a particular set of photos she has.  Tiffany is the one with the major tattoo sessions going on with her arm.

She is an embalmer and a Funeral Director at a well established funeral home in Denver.  She earned her “chops” doing the grunt work first.  For quite a few years her Dad (Joe) would tease her about being a “Body Snatcher” since she had the unenviable task of going into people’s homes, arriving at nursing homes, wending the labyrinths of hospitals to pick up the departed and take them to their last worldly stopping place where they would be tended to or surrounded by family and friends.

In her travels she would drive mostly around Colorado and Kansas with her charges.  Either picking them up for their final return to Colorado or taking them from Colorado and home to Kansas.  She has taken photos of the various funeral homes she has been to and her photo album will eventually hold the memories of that time in her life.

Tiffany is not a “Girly Girl” and the reason for the album has its own set of problems.  Her color scheme is Halloween since she loves these colors and I’m trying to stay away from the overtly “Halloween”ey type of graphics to show respect for Tiffany and her profession.

I have been asking her all the questions I would ask my own self…size of album pages, style, colors,  and how many photos to be placed on a page.  Since she is not familiar with this craft it has been a long process but we are getting to the point where I have a pretty good idea of what to do.  I’ve put together two pages for her approval and here they are.

The paper is Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) and the Street Lace pack.  These papers, according to the blurb on their site, is “a little bit Goth inspired”.  The papers have large images, and most of them are what I would term “heat embossed” with the glossy raised patterns.  The colors are strong but not over powering.  I found this set at Whole Lotta Scrap near where I live with the aid of Leslie, the store’s owner.

Well, this weekend I am going to be closeted away in my room with a huge order I’ve placed with Stampin’ Up! and I’m going to figure out a way that I can have “my cake and eat it too”.  I so love the bright colors and the graphics of Tim Holtz, Graphic 45, DCWV, to name a few.  I’m putting the “Pity Party” decorations away that have been up way too long.

I had such a good time creating Tiffany’s two pages and playing with the paper, it is time to get a grip and “Get over myself”.  Get my “mojo” back and my mind back into really loving what I do.  The paperwork is nearly done, another couple days and that monster will be put to sleep – FINALLY.

After this, my posts will be on my other blog which features Stampin’ Up! products and YouTube videos will be posted once again.  Woo Hoo!!!


How Do You Make a Photo Mat?

Photo matting on a 12 x 12 layout

Are you new to scrapbooking?  Have a million questions running through your mind?

I was in your shoes several years ago.  I had a ton of questions also.  From the books I read it was clear that photos had to have a background.  What was unclear was “Why?”.  What was the big deal?

Another question was how big the mat should be.  How do you determine the size of the mat behind the photo?

Looking through the books I saw some photos that had more than one colored mat behind them.  So how many background mats do I need?

The whole color selection process will be for a different post.  I don’t want to raise more questions in your mind.  We’ll just work with the photo matting right now.  Let’s just take this one step at a time.

What I am going to tell you applies to one photo or 10.  Makes no difference to the amount of photos on a scrapbook layout.  The principles are the same.

Love Sparkles Designer Series Paper

Why do I need a background mat? It is very likely you have chosen a piece of patterned paper to use for your layout.  And it is also likely that the paper you have chosen has a fairly busy print.   As you look at the papers in the photo here, pay attention to where  your eye goes.  You will find that your eye jumps from one image to another.  Doesn’t settle on any one area.  There is a lot to see and your eye will try to look at all of the images it sees.  All of the images are the same but they are broken up into groups for the pattern.

Take the paper you  have chosen and place it in front of you.  Look at the paper and see what your eye does.  Pay attention to the way your eye shifts from one pattern to the next.

I am sure there is a clinical explanation for what is going on with your eyes.  Chances are good the clinical words will be long and unpronounceable.  So I’m not even going to attempt going there.

In my opinion, it is because your brain doesn’t have a place to “rest” while looking at the patterned papers.  Your brain tells you the print is the same all over the paper but for some reason your eyes bounce from one part of the print to another.

Now put a photo or two on the printed paper.  Just lay them on the paper.  Don’t get fussy and make sure the photos are straight or equal distance from each other or in the exact center if you are using only one photo.  Just put the photo(s) on the printed paper.

What are your eyes doing now?  They are moving around more.  Going to the prints on the paper then to the photo(s) then back again.  After a while you will lose interest in the photos that have brought you such joy and you will just give up on this whole process in frustration.  There is no place for your eye to focus and linger.  No place for it to rest and take in the precious photo.

So the answer to the question “Why do I need a background mat” is to give your eye a place to stop.

Love Sparkles Solid Papers

To give your eye a place to stop you need to have a solid piece of paper surrounding your photo.  This is the photo mat.

Take one of your photos and put it  in the top corner of a solid piece of paper.  Adjust the photo so there is a bit of paper exposed around the top and left edge of your photo.  Now place this entire sheet of paper in the middle of your printed paper.

What happens now?  What is going on with your eyes now?

The hopping from one print to another has stopped and you are drawn to the photo and the solid paper behind it.  You see the patterned paper on the periphery but you are no longer focused there.  You are drawn to the solid paper and the photo.  This is what you want to happen.

As you look at the solid paper and your photo, you might feel the color is not right for what ever reason.  Don’t despair or quit just yet.  Select another piece of paper and lay your photo on it in the same manner as you have just done and “audition” it.  That is what this process is called.  “Auditioning” your paper.  This is the “try out” stage of  your process.  You will find a paper that does not jar your senses as you do this.  When you find that paper then you are ready to move on to the next question.

How do you determine the mat size behind the photo? Generally speaking you will need 1/4 inch all around your photo.  I’m no math whiz so I’m going to keep this simple.  If your photo is 4 x 6 you will cut a piece of the solid paper 4-1/2 x 6-1/2.  Centering the photo after you have cut your piece will give the 1/4 inch border around all sides of your photo.  No matter what size your photo is extend the measurement 1/2 inch on the left to right and top to bottom measurements of your photo.

When I first began scrapbooking I thought this to be a waste of paper.  The majority of the paper will be hidden behind the photo.  This is a good thing, I’ve found.  Your photo is supported and it is not going to bend or become malformed when you adhere it down.  Adhesives will be another topic all together.

Cropping your photos is another topic also that I will cover later.  Right now just measure the photos you want for your layout.  I measure from the top left to the top right of the photo to get the left to right measurements.  Then I measure from the top left to the bottom left to get the top to bottom measurements.  I’m right handed so I do it this way.  Write down each of your measurements and add 1/2 inch.  As I indicated above a 4×6 photo will have a mat of 4-1/2 by 6-1/2.  A 2×3 photo will be 2-1/2 x 3-1/2.  A 5×7 photo will be 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 and so on.

Now that you have this down well, I’m going to toss a wrench in the works.

If you have multiple photos and you find that having a 1/4 inch border around all the photos is too much to fit on the page properly, don’t give up and stuff this project in a box somewhere.

You can decide to make a two page layout, if you have enough paper to do this.  Or you can adjust the mat size behind your photos to have a 1/8 inch border.  Again, keep this simple.  For a 4×6 photo your measurement for the mat will be 4-1/4 x 6-1/4.  This will give you the 1/8 inch border around your photo when it is centered on your mat piece.  As in the example above, a 2×3 photo will have a mat of 2-1/4 x 3-1/4, a 5×7 will be 5-1/4 x 7-1/4.

Now on to the next question.

How many background mats do I need? This question hung me up more than once.  I saw layouts in books where all of the photos had two to three mats behind them.  Not one photo stood out from all the rest because they all were treated the same.

It is my opinion, if you have several photos and one in particular is your absolute favorite then that is the one that will have the added treatment.  That favorite one will be the focal point.

My Grandson's First Birthday

Look, again, at the layout of my grandchildren.  I wanted to make the centerpiece of this layout to be my grandson’s first birthday celebration.  His chocolate smeared face was just way to precious to go unnoticed.  It is the only one that has a different piece of paper behind the photo.  All the rest have the yellow mats, this one had to be just a bit different.

It is my focal point.  The one I want everyone to see first before they move on to the rest of the photos.  It is not singled out so much that you don’t see the rest of my grandchildren who are just as precious to me.  It is just that I want you to see that one first before you go on to the other photos.

The photo you have determined to be your focal point is the one you will do the most to.  It is simple and it is not going to cause you to run screaming from where you sit.

Depending on how many mats you want behind that photo, two or more, the measuring and cutting will be incremental.

For this example lets say you want to have three mats behind a 4×6 photo.  It is best to keep several of the mats at 1/8 inch around.  So the first two mats will be measured and cut in this manner.

  • Mat one – directly behind the photo.  4-1/4 x 6-1/4.  This gives the 1/8 inch surround to the photo.
  • Mat two – will be measured and cut at 4-1/2 x 6-1/2.  This gives the 1/8 inch surround to the layer that will go on top of this (the photo and the first mat).
  • Mat three – will be measured and cut at 5×7.  This gives a 1/4 inch surround to the two mats and the photo.  This final mat will be the “grounding” area of the photo.  It will be the foundation of your focal point.  The other two mats will help to distinguish this photo as being separate from the rest.

There are few hard and fast rules to scrapbooks.  This is an “art form” and as such it is your interpretation of your style and your art sense.  If you like the collage effect then pile your photos on.  Make sure to have a focal point even in a collage.  Give a place for the eyes to rest for a moment before going on to the rest of your piece.

If you are drawn to shabby chic and like the look of papers with inked and torn edges then go for that.  Make sure your focal point is your photo and not a flower or other embellishment.  You don’t want the attention to be taken away from that cherished photo.

If you are drawn to clean lines and straight edges design your page so the focal point  is supported by the rest of your photos and is pleasing to your sense and style.

Learning the process of scrapbooks is a work in progress.  Be kind to yourself as you explore this side of your creativity.  Get a bit out of your comfort zone and try something new.  Have a bit of fun in expressing yourself.

Mini Album In The Works

Paper Bag Mini Album

Nouveau Chic Designer Series Paper - by Stampin' Up!

I am using the Nouveau Chic paper from Stampin’ Up! #115670.  The coordinating solid papers that go with these Designer papers are Basic Black #106532, Basic Gray #108691, Apricot Appeal #107081, and Sage Shadow #107079.

I’ve cut the papers to 6×6 for this mini album.  To fit the pages I’ve had to trim them down to 6 x 5-3/4.  The flaps are 3-3/4 x 5-3/4.  I’ve chosen to cut the solids 3 x 5-3/4 and attach one of the 3/4 strips I cut from the designer papers to extend the flaps to fit.  This adds just a bit of visual fluidity in the pages.

Soft Subtles Classic Stampin' Spots - by Stampin' Up! I’ll be using the Soft Subtles Stampin’ Spots #105553 to ink the pages as I go and for any stamping I decide to do.

First Page of Mini Album

Page 2 of Mini Album

Page 3 of the Mini Album

Page 4 of the Mini Album

Page 5 of the Mini Album

Page 6 of the Mini Album

I’ll be making tags to insert in the bag for photos and journaling.

This Mini Album will be made using 95% Stampin’ Up! products.  Ribbons, papers for more pockets and tags, die cuts, embossed pages, and brads.  The only items that will not be Stampin’ Up! will be flowers I plan on adding.

On YouTube there are hundreds of videos on making paper bag albums with supplies from local craft/hobby stores.  I am making this Mini Album to show these can be made with mostly all Stampin’ Up! products.  Papers, stamps, die cuts, and embellishments.  Once it is completed I’ll be posting a video on YouTube with the finished results.

If you want to follow along with me in the process keep checking this blog for the Stampin’ Up! products I’ll be using.  If you need supplies pop on over to my Stampin’ Up! website to place your order.  Some of the items I’ll be using will be things I got FREE from the Sale-A-Bration catalog.  I’ll post those freebies as I use them.

My Funny Valentines

My Grandchildren

Don’t be mislead by the complexity of this two page layout.  It is so easy and the results are great.  A really good thing about this style of layout is, once all the pieces are attached, you can turn the pages to change the look of the layout pattern to suit your photo needs.  Watch today’s video to see it all come together.

This layout style is suitable for any photos you might have.  Do you need to have a way to showcase floral arrangements, cakes, jewelry, handcrafted items?  This configuration is great for all of these, not just family photos.

Grandchildren.  Celebrating life is what it is all about.

In the hurly burly life as a young mother I had no time to really enjoy my children.  Watch them from a distance and see how they are growing and becoming people.

The most used word in my vocabulary was “No”.  Keeping them out of harms way and safe was my uppermost concern.  Every day was lived in a hyper vigilant mode and distractions were plenty.

Being a first time mom was fraught with so much anxiety.  Wondering if my child was being hurt when I held her, was she cold, was she hot, was she dry or in need of being changed, was she hungry or not, why was she crying.  Her first heat rash I knew I had been a bad mother and exposed her to some horrible disease.  Seeing the tiny red bumps all over her little body was terrifying.  Each red bump testified to my inept skills of motherhood.  The first time I fed her beets and the resultant poo being stained red I was positive my baby was hemorrhaging and would surly die in my arms.

My Granddaughters

Being a grandmother is so much better.  Being the one on the giving end of assurance is so much better than being on the receiving end.   No doubts vs full of doubts.

The Regal Rose and So Saffron of the papers in Love Sparkles Simply Scrappin’ Kit are scrumptious.

The cutting and mounting instructions of this layout are in my video of today.  There are three sheets of 12×12 textured card stock used in this two page layout.  The Regal Rose papers are background and two are used.  The So Saffron is the single piece of 12×12 used for all of the photo mats and journaling spots.  The only scrap you will have after all of these cuts will be one (1) 1×2 piece of card stock.  I cut, from a different piece of patterned paper, a background matte for to of the photos.  One for each page.  This is optional and not added to the cutting directions.

The paper used is from the Love Sparkles Simply Scrappin’ Kit #113918.  The “I (heart) my Grandkids is something I picked up at my local craft/hobby store.  I also used some glitter glue from my stash to make the “i” and the “u” stand out more on bottom of the page on the topmost layout.  Everything else, all the hearts and journaling spots, is from the die cut sticker pages included in the kit.

Along with the kit are two sheets of sticky backed border die cuts.  You can add these borders if you choose to .  Have fun in your creation.

Flip Book

Flip Book with Upsy Daisy Stamp

It seems that there is more and more interest in smaller albums.  There is a military wife that makes small albums for her “Hero’s” families when they come to the hospital near where she lives. Awesome, awesome, thing to do.  Junebugpins I salute you and I thank you for that kindness you do.

So, not knowing much about mini albums, except the words floating around about them I thought I’d check into what exactly a mini album is.

Doing a Google search on mini albums I came across this photographic tutorial by Amy Celona at uStamp4fun.  It looked easy enough.  Looked like something I could tackle for the first time.  I did get lost in the directions and added a page in on my first try.  Still turned out great, if I must say so myself.  This one is not my first one.  This is one following her directions.  There is a lot of content in making this video so I had to lop a bunch of it off for time.  I put a bit of Sticky Strip on the back of the ribbon to hold it in place.  It is hidden behind the Upsy Daisy image which has Dimensionals on the back and is straddling the ribbon.

Manhattan Flower Embossing Folder

I simply love embossing folders to add texture and a bit of ooooh and aaaah to plain paper.

The items used in this 6×6 mini album are all Stampin’ Up! EXCEPT for the page holder thingys at the corners of the Manhattan Flower embossed page, oh and the brads are from my stash.

Bella Bleu Designer Series Paper #113974, Not Quite Navy 12 x 12 card stock #107095, Creamy Caramel 12 x 12 card stock #106536, So Saffron 12 x 12 card stock #107088, Kraft card stock #107070, Whisper White 8-1/2 x 11 card stock #100730.  Inks used to ink the edges are Not Quite Navy #103008, Creamy Caramel #103220, Close to Cocoa #103139, and Summer Sun #100537.  The embossing folder is Manhattan Flower #114517.  The stamped image is Upsy Daisy #111710.  And I used Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint #116806 on the embossed image to add some “bling”.  The ribbon is 3/8″ Basic Gray Taffeta #109064.  Adhesives were Snail #104332, and Stampin’ Dimensionals #104430, I also used Sticky Strip #104294 to hold the book together.

The small Library Pocket is from a stencil I have.  Click on the link below and you will have it downloaded to your computer.  There are 2 images on one page.  A small Library pocket and a large Library pocket.  Library Book Pocket.

To see how this all comes together you can watch my video and follow along.  Thank You Amy Celona.

Modified Waterfall Layout

The first video, in this new format, is a scrapbook page.

The layout I have chosen to do is for multiple pictures.  We all have them.  Special vacation to Disneyland or Disney World, a class reunion, a trip to a theme park, a family reunion, or a birthday celebration.

Anytime we have had the opportunity to take many photos, and done so, it seems those photos sit and we wish we could figure out what to do with them.

Well, get those photos out and lets get them in an album.

Modified Waterfall Layout - Single Page

There are 14 full images cut to 4″ x 4″ in the two large areas.  Then in the four small areas the pictures are cropped to 2-1/2″ x 2-1/4″.  In the two larger areas the photos are cropped to 2-1/4″ x 4-3/4″.

There is a total of 19 photos on one page.

Journaling opportunities are on the tabs and in between the pictures in the waterfall areas.

The big plus is this 12 x 12 layout fits in a regular 12 x 12 album page protector without having to squeeze it in or damage any of the photos.

Modified Waterfall 2 Page Layout

I have these on the wrong sides.  But you get the idea.  Each page has two large areas for the waterfall.  Being opposite each other your pages will close correctly.  The opposing page waterfalls will nest in with the flat areas.

Total number of photos on a 2 page layout are 36.  Can you believe there are that many photos?  And the layout looks so good.

Add bling to your layouts with sparkly items, add chipboard words or phrases, ribbons and stickers.  Get creative and get those photos done.

I had such a good idea when I started this layout.  That good idea turned into a real stinker of a mess.  As an added bonus you can go to my website – Message In A Fold – and see the “good idea” progress to T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

The video in YouTube will be creating the layout as you see it in the photo above.  There are some places in the video where the first attempt is still visible.  By the end of the video that is gone.

Products used in this layout are all Stampin’ Up! products.  Christmas Jingle Simply Scrappin’ kit #115696, Round Tab Punch #108340, Snail Adhesive #104332, Stampin’ Dimensionals #104430, Sticky Strip #104294, and Photo Corners Punch #109042.

All of these items will be used all week long, not just for the layout.  Keep watching daily for the new tutorials in YouTube and Message In A Fold.

To place an order for these items you can go to my Stampin’ Up! website and click on the Shop Now button.  The total, before shipping and tax, will be $69.70.  Place your order AFTER January 5th and you are eligible for FREE STUFF from the Sale-A-Bration catalog.  Any one item from the Sale-A-Bration catalog you will get for FREE.


Get your Modified Waterfall layouts done and send me a picture of your creation.  You will have until January 31, 2010 to get them sent to me.

Send a picture of your creations to me at my email address – – and I’ll get them posted on my website.  The first 10 people who submit pictures to me, of their finished Modified Waterfall Layout,  will receive a package of 8-1/2 x 11 Old Olive card stock (value of $7.95) and an Old Olive Stampin’ Pad (value of $5.95).

By sending me pictures of your Modified Waterfall Layout, you grant me permission to publicly display your work to be seen by anyone that visits Message In A Fold.  Include in your email your website or blog URLs, your name, city, and state/province.

I will only ask for mailing information from the 10 winners of the Old Olive giveaway.  You will first be notified, by email, when I receive your photo and where you have placed in the first 10.  I will ask for a special word or phrase to be placed in the subject line of the email I will send to request your personal address.  Easy, easy.

This all begins tomorrow, January 4, 2010.  The Tutorial goes up on YouTube and the Mistake video will be on my website.

Leave me a comment after you have viewed them.  I would appreciate hearing from you.

Changes Are Coming – January 4, 2010

Filming of the projects for the first full week of January of 2010 are under way.

I am so excited by the new focus of Message In A Fold and what is going to be done, and what is happening already.

Stampin’ Up! will be coming out with clear stamp blocks.  That part I am truly excited about.  Not being much of a rubber stamper myself, using the wood block rubber stamps has kept me from really diving into the craft.  I’ve used the wood block rubber stamps made by other companies and just have not gotten excited about using them.

Stampin’ Up!’s stamps will continue to be the deep impression rubber with the foam attached that has been so successful.  The only difference will be the clear mounting blocks and the system they have of getting the stamp to adhere to the clear block.  Pure Genius.  The best part is the new stamp sets will be packaged in containers that are similar to DVD holders.  With limited storage space this is a big plus for me.

Those of you that absolutely love the wood block rubber stamps of Stampin’ Up! don’t have to worry.  You will still be able to purchase them and keep your beloved stamps.  Win Win for all of us.

Sale-A-Bration will begin soon.  This will be my first time of Sale-A-Bration so I’m trying to figure that one out at this time.  What it seems to be to me is added Hostess Benefits.  For an order of $150 you get to choose from the regular Level 1 Hostess items PLUS you get to order some awesome things from the Sale-A-Bration catalog also.  Such a deal, if I am understanding the process correctly.

For Message In A Fold and the exciting news going on here……well I’ll tell you that there is finally focus and some great things happening.  There will be video tutorials posted to the Message In A Fold website each week.  Not just one a week but 5 a week.

Monday – Scrapbook Monday – Layouts, mini albums, lunch bag albums, squash books, and more will be done on Mondays.

Tuesday – Tool Time Tuesday – We have all bought a trimmer, a punch, or some scissors and have them fail.  Or we’ve purchased a punch and used it one time only and now it sits making us feel guilty.  Tool Time Tuesday will be chock full of maintenance tips on our tools plus we’ll put those tools to use in ways to get them back out and used again.

Wednesday – Wet Wednesday – All things wet.  Glues, reinkers, stamp pads, water, and more will be dealt with.  I’m surprising myself by the many uses of all the “wet” stuff.  This should prove to be fun.

Thursday – Thrifty Thursday – We all have scraps that seem to pile up and don’t go away.  There are so many tips and tricks on the internet on what to do with the scraps from storing them to giving them away.  We will be dealing with those scraps and other paper problems on Thursday.

Friday – Friendship Friday – This will be a card and small gift day.  All of us have people in our lives with birthdays, anniversaries, births, weddings, and graduations (to name a few).  Most of the time we don’t have anything suitable when the event arrives or an idea of what to do so we go to the store and find something – anything – that will do.

Everything you will see in the tutorials will be available at my Stampin’ Up! website 24/7 with so easy online ordering.

So be looking for things to begin popping on Monday, January 4, 2010.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what you will be posting when you finish a project you’ve been trying to work on for a long time.