August 20, 2015

Process Video + Scraptastic Kit

Nancy Damiano // The Paper Orchard. Process Video

KIT | Scraptastic July Kit 

STORY |  I made this layout to document a seasonal tradition. At the start of every summer,  I make my  entire family ride the flying swings. Some go more willingly than others. I don’t have to force the kids, it’s the adults that give me lip.


Our first trip to the boardwalk and this ride mark the beginning of the season. This time I was able to capture that tradition with a flying  iPhone shot. Luckily I didn’t lose the phone and captured this great picture of my shoes over the boards. The colors in the photos + the candy colors in the kit went together like PB&J.

VIDEO | Take a look at the video to see how the design process came together:

I was able to highlight my favorite part of the kit – those big, colorful dots. Keeping the design on the clean and linear side compliments the photo + the ‘stuff’.  And that’s where I’m happiest creating.

August 17, 2015

Process Video + Simple Stories

As summer starts to come to a close, I find myself looking through vacation photos and feeling nostalgic. Last year our entire family got together and rented a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland. 8 adults, 3 kids and 2 babies under two in one house. Can you say cray cray? This was my husband's idea of relaxation so I just drank coffee and went with it.

I used the 4x6 SN@P! binder album in a bright, sunny yellow. It's filled with page protectors in 3x4, 4x4, 4x6 (divided) sizes, blank ledger pages and chipboard yellow dividers. 

Take a look at the video to see how it all came together (and please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more inspiration!):

Here's a closeup of some of the details. I used a 4x6 transparence from the Summer Vibes Collection Pack to create a divider. 

These pages came together really quickly. I limited the supplies to chose from and went for a cleaner, but still layered look. The pops of color and fun icon in the line keep it from looking to plain.

Here's to celebrating summer, big family vacations,  and mini albums!

August 7, 2015

My Mind's Eye On Trend + Favorite Eats


COLLECTION | My Mind’s Eye On Trend
STORY BEHIND THE PAGE | I was going through my California trip photos when I came upon this imperfectly perfect shot. I had just enjoyed my favorite meal of the trip, Pollo Fundido at Casa Guadalajara in Old Town, San Diego. This dark photo brought me right back to that time and place. Sitting on the quaint patio with its twinkling lights, fountain and mariachi band playing in the background. Sometimes it those technically not great photos that capture the best, simple memories.
DESIGN |  The On Trend collection by My Mind’s Eye is all about generic stripes and dots with splashes of mint, pink and orange. I chose it because the pale colors set off the very dark photo. It has just the right amount of pop and festive (in the colors and polka dots) to set the stage.
I kept this design very simple with just two major areas of layering. The first is the background made up of vertical strips of patterned paper layered on a horizontal stripe background. Next, a bed of layers to make the photo pop were created with a polka dot transparency, chipboard frame and tag.

SUPPLIES | My Mind's Eye On Trend | Avery Elle Inks | Epson Wide-Formant Printer

August 5, 2015

Scraptastic Kit + Amy Tangerine

Every month as soon as I get my kit, I pick out my favorite things and make it a goal to use them. The first thing I set aside this was the sticker sheet from Amy Tangerine’s Rise and Shine collection. I am not so great with the watercolors so I'm glad that Amy is.

the stuff | scraptastic kit club May kit + Amy Tangerine Rise & Shine


the story | The photo is one I took on vacation last year of my son, niece and nephew. When I wrote the journaling I was looking at the picture and thinking that they are so alike in some ways and yet so different. Is it a personality thing or gender? 

Here’s a closeup of my favorite sticker. I used it almost like a photo corner in the bottom right of the design. It frames out the journaling and creates a diagonal line from the photo.

Cutting up patterned papers and layering them with flair and frames from the kit  draw attention to the photo. It's a pretty bed of layers for the focal point. 

I like all of the elements in this kit. It's not a combination I would naturally gravitate towards and that's exactly why I like kits. They let me stretch creatively (in a good way).

July 27, 2015

Maggie Holmes Confetti + Disneyland

Nancy Damiano | Maggie Holmes Confetti scrapbook page

COLLECTION | Maggie Holmes Confetti + Crate Paper Craft Market

STORY | This family selfie was taken right at the start of our first day at Disneyland. I wanted to remember this perfectly happy moment. Because anyone who has traveled with three kids under 8, knows these moments are fleeting and rare. I wanted to capture that feeling of being excited to get our vacation started – but still stay true to the reality of families and vacations.
DESIGN |  Confetti and Craft Market are a match made in scrapbook heaven. They both have a nice soft feel and neutral patterns that are great for any story you want to tell.
I started the design with a base of patterned paper. I loved this paper so much, I wanted to use it all! I chose my favorite patterns and layered them in a cluster right in the center. To give the photo a little lift, I placed a chipboard frame just underneath. Adding some chipboard to the edges of the frame adds a punch of color and shape to the space.
I love how the bright pink LOVE title stands out from the softer feel of the background. It adds just the right amount of pop to the center of the design.
The final touches include a little diagonal smattering of flair and wood pieces that ground the journaling space.

This was fun to create + a real story I want to remember.

July 23, 2015


COLLECTION | Crate Paper Kiss Kiss
STORY |  This layout started with a favorite picture. A selfie of my husband and I from this past summer. It was a gray, misty morning on the beach and the photo has this dreamy quality to it. That got me to thinking about our impending anniversary and the path that led us to here and now. It’s been good, but this has been no fairytale. I like real stories and real life, so that’s what I journaled about. Some warts, some great things and the sentiment that I would still do it all over again with him.
DESIGN |  I began the layout with the color chip sheet of patterned paper from the 6×6 paper pad. The color gradient and simplicity of the design make it a favorite. From there, I layered a die cut journaling card, some chipboard, stickers and tags to create the center of the layout.

I framed out the photo by using two square chipboard frames in pink and gray. This keeps my photo front and center despite all the layers and embellishments surrounding it. The story is important here so I went with a bold, large title smack in the center. I like how these Thickers are a neutral, white and gray woodgrain and keep the bottom of the layout mostly white.
I’ve been playing with very soft colors lately which is a big change for me. I love the ethereal look of white pages and soft colors. It’s a phase.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my usual bold palettes on the next round of layouts, but for now I’m enjoying it!

July 22, 2015

Elle's Studio Cienna + Paint


COLLECTION | Elle’s Studio Cienna

STORY | Documenting my son’s personality at age nine. Some of his strengths and improvements and things that drive me crazy.:)
DESIGN |  I started with the idea of arranging elements by color. There are two dominant colors in the Cienna collection that I love – buttercup yellow and mint. I added the splash of pink down the center to emphasize the title.
To create the painted ombre effect in the center I used the Jillibean Happy Hues paint in Precocious Pink and then a simple line of mango Gelato paint that I blended into the acrylic paint. This painted base makes the large white title pop.
The yellow and mint sides are filled with bits and pieces from the Cienna collection, exclusives from past kits (cork, acrylic and flair) and 4 rectangles of patterned paper.
Separating elements by color is a fun way to include an eclectic mix of supplies on a page and frame a favorite photo!

July 20, 2015

Watercolors + Kits

HelloRain collection | Scraptastic Darlene Kit - April 2015

story | I used the Darlene Kit and Add-on to create this page about a vacation moment. It rained every single day while we were in Florida and I remember taking this picture during the daily monsoon. 

design | I hand-cut the raindrops and the used watercolors to add a nice soft look to the shapes. Using watercolor paper was really important because the shapes remained sturdy even after adding water and paint. After letting them dry for a free hours, I strung them to make rows of colorful rain. Adding a large flower and some text added a pop of color and texture to the strands. 

HelloRaindetail The Darlene kit has a beautiful range of colors in coral, mint and gold. Colors and a feel that I would probably never put together on my own. That's what I love about kits, they push me to stretch creatively!

July 19, 2015

Maggie Holmes Open Book + Gossamer Blue


COLLECTION | Maggie Holmes Open Book + Gossamer Blue
STORY | Documenting a silly little picture. My niece had the big camera and was trying to take a picture of us. She kept telling me that I was way too short for my husband and that I should try to stretch a little. This cracked us up. And the shot she got was one where my husband was trying to come down to my level. It's oh so silly and very us.
DESIGN |  I started with the idea of arranging elements in a grid. I started with the 4x4 photo and built around it. Using die cuts from the Open Book collection and layers of patterned paper gave me a simple but interesting frame around the photo.

My favorite detail is this glittery title sticker from Crate Paper. I love the fancy font and little bit of whimsy that it adds to the page.

This is one of those ordinary (but funny) memories from our California that I want to remember.

July 18, 2015

Maggie Holmes Kiss Kiss & My Stella


COLLECTION | Crate Paper Kiss Kiss

STORY | This is a favorite photo of my youngest niece, Stella.  From her little pinky in the air to the beautiful long lashes, this image is the epitome of dainty baby girl. It’s exactly who she is today at 2-1/2. I journaled about her personality and how much I looked forward to watching her grow up.
DESIGN |  Kiss Kiss by Crate Paper is all about soft colors and patterns. It was perfect for this photo + story. The base of the layout is a pretty watercolor pattern that starts out strong at the top and gradually fades to white. Following that design, I kept all the color and pattern at the top of the design and the neutral black and white photo at the bottom. This created a natural line between the embellished fun part of the design and the main story/photo parts.
Stelladetail1 I I love adding meaningful little details to my pages. Here, I took advantage of Stella looking down and out of the photo, by adding a rub-on that states “it’s the little things” in her line of view. Adding a chipboard arrow, date stamp and enamel dots keeps the detail from getting totally lost on the page.

Details, Kiss Kiss + Stella Bella are close to my heart! xo

July 15, 2015

Choose Happy Nico

So my life recently changed like life tends to do. Nothing good or bad stays the same. It's something that resounds with me. And life keeps showing me so.

We started in the ER for a suspected stomach flu. He couldn't keep anything down. But it was this weird shallow breathing thing that he was doing that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand. It was subtle, but there was something about it that set off the Mom radar. I knew there was something wrong.

Blood glucose levels at 500 and a dangerously low oxygen saturation rate. Diabetes Type 1 and diabetic ketoacedosis they said. The bad type of diabetes, the kind you can't reverse. An emergency transport to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and straight to the Intensive Care Unit we went.

I want to say that it was the most frightening experience of my life. But it wasn't. I did this already. He was born at 28 weeks - a micro preemie. We spent the first three months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. I've had my turn on the chronically ill child carousel. But nothing good or bad stays the same right?

So here we are learning to adjust to a new way a life. I have a 9-year-old with a chronic illness and a body that does not work.  No matter how pretty the picture the diabetes community wants to paint me, he will never know what it is to have a completely healthy body. He is 9 freaking years old. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. The hardest moment was when he asked, about two weeks in, "hold up Mom, you mean I'm still going to have this when I'm an adult?  No no no Mom, I want to take insulin and get better." I wish it worked that way kid.

I've always believed that happiness is a choice. I've raised him on, "Nico, choose happy."  Life hands us all bags of good and beautiful and ugly. How well you carry those bags define you and are the difference between a happy life and one filled with bitterness and discontent. Everybody gets crap. Shake it off, get up and choose happy.

I made this layout two months before Nico got sick. I have it hung up in my scrap room now to remind me. Because there are days that I'm completely overwhelmed and I want to scream and set my damn hair on fire. There is sadness and worry and anger. But big eyes are watching me. He is oh so attuned to my attitude about this. He will be my reflection. And so - I keep getting up and choosing happy.

Because I want him to be happy.

June 18, 2015

Camp Scrap Giveaway

It's almost time for camp around here - Camp Scrap with a tag line that I love "no rules, just happy crafting." That's just my style! May Flaum teaches beautiful, in-depth scrapbook courses that I'm fortunate to be a part of.


I'll be contributing to two classes at Camp Scrap this year. For the details, visit Craft with May. And if you'd like to win a spot, leave a comment on my Instagram account, Facebook or right here on the blog. I will be choosing a winner Friday, June 18th. Good luck and I hope to see you at Camp!

June 15, 2015

Crate Paper Confetti + Winners!

One of my recent favorite. I love this paper from Maggie Holmes' Confetti line. I left it uncovered as part of my embellishing and journaling. Just a few layers tucked here and there and some wood and enamel dots from Pinkfresh. Simple, kind of clean and highlights the photo. Loving this style right now.


And because I took so ridiculously long to announce the winner from the National Scrapbook Day hop, I'm going to pick two winners:

  1. What an awesome box of goodies! I'm happy to hear that you're making videos again! I can't wait to watch them :).

    1. Loved seeing your wonderful craft room and also enjoyed seeing your Mend LO. Ouch...that pained expression says it all.....ugh... Thank you for the chance to win that fabulous haul of a super-generous blog prize!!! Wowza....that is going to make someone VERRRRRRRRRRRRY happy!!
      <3 br="" j="">
      jwoolbright at gmail dot com
Janis and Jessica please email me at with your addresses and I'll get those boxes out to you! Thanks so much for following the blog hop.

May 2, 2015

National Scrapbook Day Blog Hop + Prizes

Welcome to the hop and my blog! A little bit about me and what I’m up to these days:


1. Favorite youtube clip: Inks for Beginner Stampers
2. Listening to: Budapest (George Ezra) and Won't Go Home Without You (Maroon 5)
3. Watching: (more like binging) Reign and Call the Midwife
4. Reading: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
5. I can eat this everyday: Pasta (but I don't)
6. Favorite drink at 4pm: Dunkin' Donuts hot latte. One at 8am and one at 4pm. I literally run on Dunkin. ;)
7. On my Wishlist: A tropical vacation. I need some palms in my life.
8. Enjoying: Learning to paint. And I'm really bad, but I find the process relaxing.
9. Favourite quote right now: Better to be slapped by the truth than kissed by a lie. - russian proverb
10. Smiling about: Blooming cherry tree blossoms. Everything around me is coming back to life!

My favorite project this year is this layout of my son. This photo was taken while my son was recovering from adenoid + tonsil surgery. I remember the exact moment I took this photo. The look on his face tells the story. His recovery was long and painful. All I could think of was 'mend' and this is what came of it:

I’m back to teaching again after a long hiatus. I even recorded two videos for this one! Teaching details and how to work them into your designs at Big Picture Classes.

In celebration of this very crafty day, I’ll be paying it forward. This box of leftovers needs a good home. Leave a comment here and follow on to the very talented  Danielle Flander’s blog to enter. I’ll pick a winner on Monday 5/4. Good luck!

To celebrate the day we have a very generous free file cut from Wilna. You can access it by visiting  Thanks so much for stopping by!

May 1, 2015

Something a little bright and different today. I used the Studio Tekturek line from Scraptastic Store to create this contrasting layout.

A black and white photo set off by pops of very bright colors and a neutral background. A little splash of script black in the title make a bold statement! Black has been my go to color lately for titles. I love the punch they give the design.