Monday, July 27, 2015

Maggie Holmes Confetti + Disneyland


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.

Thursday, 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!

Wednesday, 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!

Monday, 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!

Sunday, 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.

Saturday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

Thursday, 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!

Monday, 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.

Saturday, 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!

Friday, 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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Scrapbooking Kit Roundup

I have been such a bad, bad blogger. I like blogging, I really do - because I like to talk and it’s kind of like having a conversation with yourself. That doesn’t sound crazy at all.  I started instagramming earlier this year and that’s where I post almost every day. But I miss the time capsule that the blog creates,  so here I am again.

Where to start though? How about at the beginning – this is what I was up to in January:

When it’s cold and dreary and snowy, this is where you can find me. I miss the light and the living.  The only thing that keeps me from falling into a funk is making things. I spent so much time at my desk this winter. In January, I worked with the Scraptastic This Must be the Place kit to create these pages:

I love going back in time to when Nico was a baby and telling a story. I keep journals so the story is from 2005 although the making occurred in 2015. If I close my eyes, I can remember exactly what he smelled like at this age – heaven. That I miss, the sleep deprivation I wrote about, not so much.

Scrapbooking sunny days makes the dark days better right? I remember pulling this photo out and wanting to tell the story of California and all the shopping I did before our trip. A whole new wardrobe of dresses and accessories for my niece and her love of all things sparkly and aqua. I had a really hard time with this design. I wanted to highlight the softness of the ombre pink and floral papers and at the same time give it a bit of ‘edge’. I tried to do that with the triangle up in the left corner. I’m not sure if it really works though. It’s one of those pages I look at and go hmmm??

This photo just makes me laugh. Screaming, mouth wide open – yep, that’s me on a ride. I love that my husband captured this. Here I wanted to use the frame stamp and highlight bits of cardstock in shades of yellow and aqua. It doesn’t really tie into the screaming theme, I just wanted to try the technique. I took this apart several times, searching for the balance between not enough and too much. I wanted to highlight the stamping, but not at the cost of the photo. Keeping the title white on white and using a bold black and white print at the top, gives it an interesting yet minimal look. I loved the way this one turned out in the end (even if it took me days to work out).
The versatility is what I love most about the Scraptastic Kits. When I can take one box of supplies and create three very different pages (soft, feminine and graphic) – I know I have a winner.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Designed 01 | Connections

Pebbles We Go Together, American Crafts Alpha, Amy Tangerine Thickers.

These photos are a series of shots that we took at one of our new favorite places – Smashburger! A French fry was thrown, a kid in a neighboring booth stopped to stare at us and then it just descended into a typical Damiano silly fest. I couldn't stop laughing at the kid's expression. My son (the true product of a scrapbooker Mom) just kept snapping away. So while I started to tell the story of how Smashburger came to town and how much we love it, the photos show who we are. I merged the stories so you get the 'facts' + the personality.

design tips |
  • Photos that are badly lit (like these) are made so much better by converting to black and white.
  • The 2-inch black American Crafts alphabet was perfect for a bold statement - any alpha this size is going to scream for attention.  The placement just under the photos draws the eye as if to say "look here first." Which is exactly what I want!
  • Add random text and shape stamping in a bold color (red here) to a block of journaling text. Notice that adding a tiny bit of red in this area creates a visual triangle (from the red date stamp at the bottom, to the red card, and then the red stamping in the journaling).
  • Black and white photos can often handle the weight of a very bold design. Notice how the pictures are still front and center even though there is so much going on here!
  • It's all about connections. The scripty "the" word and puffy heart connect the cheeseburger/fries card to the title visually. The finishing touches of black paint splatters, enamel dots, date stamp and wood veneer connect the script and blocky parts of the title. Notice that from the wood arrows and flair all the way down to the last of the black splatters create a diagonal line of embellishments - that's not random! Connecting the parts is important for creating designs that work.
I hope you enjoyed my attempt at explaining the whys and hows of what I do. Telling the story through words and photos and design is what I love. So I'm going to stick to what I know and make it a goal to continue this series.  I think that taking the process apart and explaining it will help me grow and push the design envelope (which only has straight lines naturally right?). ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Disneyland Carsland Opener

STORY | This will be the first page of my Disneyland album this year. It's the reason we went after all. The kids picked California because they wanted to visit Carsland. It's one of the handful of photos that we have of our group and is perfect for telling this story.

DESIGN | I kept this design pretty straightforward and simple. I started with the bold polka dot print to ground the large, bold photo. I placed the photo right where the pattern meets the white card stock. This is a major focal point and it's where your eye goes immediately! 

The target card in a pretty, contrasting teal color repeats the circle shape and balances out the photo. The large white star fades into the background and adds some shape and texture to the white area. The bold black and white word bubble stickers point right to the journaling - so the story doesn't get lost.

KIT | Counting Stars Kit by Scraptastic (February 2015)

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Disney Class + Magic Memory Keepers Podcast

Blogging and chatting today about some of my favorite subjects - Disney and Scrapbooking! I sat down with Tracie Claiborne of Magic Memory Keepers and we talked about how to document trips to the Happiest Place on Earth. I hope that you'll listen and let me know what you think!

To listen to the podcast click here or look for it on your iTunes app.

What seems like a lifetime ago, I taught a Scrapbooking Family Vacation class at the now closed Two Peas in a Bucket. One of my favorite lessons in that class was a chapter dedicated to Disney scrapbooking. Unfortunately, the video is no longer available but everything I created with ideas and notes is included in a PDF that you can download here Happy Disney scrapping!

As I was preparing for the interview and this post, I came across some of my favorite Disney pages. I thought I'd share those here as well:

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