How to become a better storyteller in your scrapbook albums


Let’s take a walk down memory lane

  • What was the first scrapbook album you worked on?
  • How did you feel putting it together?
  • When you look back at that album what emotions does it stir for you?
  • Have you shared that album with others?
  • What was their reaction?

It’s interesting that when I’ve asked these questions of other scrapbookers no-one has ever answered with,

“Page 3 had the cutest piece of paper on it!” or

“The way I shaped and layered the border embellishments on page 16 was just awesome!!” or

“I am sooooo pleased I spent 2 hours deciding on the shade of blue to use on page 27 – It’s perfect”

Instead, album makers talked about remembering and connecting with the experiences. The memories were the most important part of the album. That’s not to say the creative journey isn’t a valuable one.  I LOVE trying new creative techniques on my own album pages, it keeps me interested and motivated to work on my albums but I know that bit is only for me – and possibly my scrappy friends.  I know the value placed on my albums by others is in the stories told and the memories captured in the photos.  Would you agree?

Are you a great storyteller?

Blending photos and words to capture the essence of the stories that mean the most to you can be a challenge. 

  • Do you think others reading your albums will have a good understanding of the stories you are sharing?
  • How do you feel about story telling in your albums?
  • What messages are you trying to convey when you choose photos and write about them?
  • What is holding you back from writing more or writing on a deeper level?

In my experience, most scrapbookers find journalling the most difficult part of the process – you can’t think of the words to use, you’re not sure where to write, how much to write.  For most of us, it’s an afterthought – the photos have priority and then there is no room to tell a long story.   Often, the design of the page takes so long; you are weary by the time you get to the writing. The story becomes the traditional Where, What, When, Why sort.  There’s no reflection; no linking the experience to family traditions or to past experiences; it’s a list of facts, not a story. 

In most case, the meaningful story comes out only when you are standing beside the reader and telling him or her about the experience.  What happens if you are not there?

Future Project

Let’s think about an album project you would like to complete.  Imagine a perfect world, one where you have time to devote to a special album, you have awesome storytelling skills and can write a meaningful and heartfelt story for every page, your design elements are on point and everyone just LOVES looking at your album over and over.  What would that album be?

What is holding you back from starting that album?

  • Need to organise resources
  • Need to find the time
  • Need help to write the stories

How long do you think it will be until everything is organised and planned, ready for you to start?  For most of us, we’ve had projects on this list for years and we are no closer to getting started.

Start now

  • What if I told you, you can begin it right now? With no perfect plan.  With missing information. Without choosing the paper pack.
  • What if you became an ‘anti-chronolgist’?  Working with photos that are not in date order!
  • What if I told you to start with a story and find the photos to go with it?
  • Would you be willing to try?

Chances are, you’ve already begun without knowing it.

Close To My Heart offer a 4 step programme to help you see that you are not ‘behind’ in your album making; that you have exactly enough time to tell the stories you love the most and that the way we’ve been organising photos and making albums in the past is only one way of many. 

The program is called Story by Stacy.  It includes kits for 4 projects.  Each kit teaches you a different journalling technique and way to display your photos.  The first 3 kits are small albums; the last one shows how to apply what you’ve learnt to a 12” x 12” format.

Story by Stacy – 4 parts to the series. 

  • First up is Story Starter.  This 4” x 4” album kit and it’s workbook helps you delve into your attic of memories.  Open boxes of stories you may have forgotten and find ways to tell those stories with photos and words.  You will learn a simple process to write a short story for each of 9 photos relating to one person, place or thing. 
Story Starter Albums are the perfect place to record sweet memories of a person, place or thing that means a lot to you. Order yours at
  • The second kit is called Short Story.  This 6” x 6” album project helps you build on your intuition and storytelling skills to share your memories through the process of visual storytelling.  You will take 30-40 photos relating to one person, place or event, arrange them so they capture the reader’s interest and finish off with a story written at the end.
Short Story albums allow you to include LOTS of photos and tell a summary story at the end. Order yours at
  • Stories I Love is the third kit. It is all about the photos that mean the most to you.  The workbook helps you explore the memories behind the photos and write a detailed story to capture the elements of that moment.  You follow a very simple pattern to display single photos on the left hand page and a story on the right of a 6” x 8” album
A Stories I Love album is the place for you most loved photos and their stories. Order yours at
  • The fourth kit is called Storyteller and looks at producing an extended story.  This is like a chapter in a bigger album, building on what you have learnt in Story Starter, Short Story and Stories I Love.  You may like to take it a step further where what you have experienced is compared a contrasted to another person, place or time. 
The Storyteller How To Book shows you haw to adapte the skills you've learnt in Story Starter, Short Story and Stories I love for a larger project. Order yours at

The first 3 kits help you create different styles of memory books.  You can keep these as discreet projects or meld them into your larger project. 

What do you think?  Is this something you’d like to try?

You have two ways to work on these projects:

  1. Visit my website and order your Story by Stacy kits for home delivery anywhere within Australia.  Simply follow the workbooks included in each kit to learn the 4 different storytelling models.  If you need help, private message via my Facebook page
  2. Attend a face to face class.  I am teaching each of the four projects.  If you live in Perth, Western Australia, I’d love you to join the fun.  Simply head over to my Facebook Page and send me a private message. 

If you’d like to be kept up to date on all the events I offer, sign up for my newsletter here

Happy Scrapping,


S1907 Bear Hugs CTMH Stamp of the Month Australasian Blog Hop

Hop along to enjoy creative ideas using the latest Close To My Heart products.

Welcome to the Stamp of the Month Australasian Blog Hop.  This is a circular hop.  If you arrived from Maz’s Blog you are in the right place. Simply read through this post and click on the link to the next blog at the end of it.  Keep reading and ‘hopping’ until you find yourself back where you started from.  Each blog will showcase a project featuring the Bear Hugs (S1907) stamp set which is July’s Stamp of the Month.

Themes to go with “Bear Hugs”

S1907 Bear Hugs stamp set available July 2019 only. Order yours at
  • Babies
  • A Mother’s Love
  • Cuddly Toys
  • Animals and their young
  • Miss You
  • Sending Hugs

Project 1: Mama Bear & the Love of her Toys Scrapbook Layout

Tell your story using Bear Hugs (S1907) – July’s 2019's Stamp of the Month from Close To My Heart. Perfect for scrapbookers and card makers. Order yours from during July 2019

My first project today is copied straight from the Story Starter chapter in our newest How To Book, Storyteller.  The bear and cub image in this stamp set reminded me of how much my daughter loved (still does love) hugging a soft toy.  I went back through some old photos and found a couple of her with early favourites.  Then I remembered a couple of bunnies who had retired hurt, were still in our garage.  I got them out and took a photo.  I will add more images and stories to this layout later to create what Stacy Julian calls a ‘Connected Story’

Using the Bear Hugs stamp set on this layout

Tell your story using Bear Hugs (S1907) – July’s 2019's Stamp of the Month from Close To My Heart. Perfect for scrapbookers and card makers. Order yours from during July 2019
  • Stamp the bear in Charcoal ink.  Colour the cub with pink Shimmer Brush.  Fussy cut and mount with foam tape. 
  • Add small hearts in Charcoal ink, near bear image.
  • Use both flower images and Sweet Leaf ink to create the borders on pink paper.
  • Stamp butterflies onto black base page using Daisy White pigment ink
  • Create title using “Mama Bear” stamp and a mixture of alphabet stamps – Solid & Outline Classroom Alphabet, Stitched Alphabet and Modern Typewriter Alphabet.

Tell your story

Become a better storyteller in your scrapbook albums by following the lessons in CTMH Storyteller How To Book by Stacy Julian. Order yours from

Following Stacy Julian’s tips in the Storyteller book, you can write more meaningful and fuller stories to go with your photos.  In the past a layout such as this would have had one brief comment added to it about my daughter’s love of her toys.  Now, it is becoming a rich treasure chest of very individualised memories shared.

Project 2: Sending you a bear hug card

A lovely friend is recovery from major surgery – a Bear Hug was needed so I made this card for her.

I used Sweet Girl papers and the Share the Joy Thin cuts and stamps along with the Stamp of the Month.

Tell your story using Bear Hugs (S1907) – July’s 2019's Stamp of the Month from Close To My Heart.  Perfect for scrapbookers and card makers. Order yours from during July 2019
  • Cover the front of your card with a subtle print paper
  • Cut the Multi Circle Window using the Thin Cut from this month’s Share the Joy Special promotion to make the raised panel. Sponge edges with Sapphire ink for contrast.
  • Stamp the hearts BEFORE gluing the panel in place.
  • Add foam tape to the back of the circle window panel. Left over pieces from shaker card kits are perfect.
  • Once the panel is in place remember to add foam inside the circles that will be covered by the bear and the banner.
  • Cut the Banner Thin cut that comes in the Share the Joy bundle and stamp with “Sending you a”
  • Stamp inside the card to complete the sentence.
  • Stamp and fussy cut the Mama Bear. Colour the cub with clear shimmer brush. Glue to front of card, sliding banner underneath the bear image.
  • Add white pearls at intersections of stitched lines between the circles.
  • Pieces of thin twine wrapped around the fold of the card and tied together, complete it. I had no pink twine so coloured grey twine with a Shin Han marker.

Order your Stamp of the Month & Share the Joy Bundle

Bear Hugs (S1907) is only available during July 2019.  Full retail price is $29.50 but you can have this gorgeous set for just $8.25 when accompanied by an $82.50 order.

Share the Joy thin cuts and co-ordinating stamps are available until July 31. Order yours early just in case they sell out 🙂 Place your order with your Close To My Heart Consultant.

Did you like these projects? Which one can you see yourself creating? I’d love you to leave a comment for me before you click on the underlined link and move on to Danielle’s Blog , Scrappy Chicks, to see the lovely project she has designed for you.

A list of the products used for these projects follows.  All items are available to purchase from your Close To My Heart Consultant. If you don’t have a consultant, this link will take you to my website.

Happy Scrappin’


Products used in the Scrapbook Layout

S1907 Bear Hugs Stamp Set

E1043 Solid Classroom Alphabet

E1042 Outline Classroom Alphabet

C1738 Stitched Alphabet

B1638 Modern Typewriter Alphabet

Z4241 Decorative Borders Thin Cut (Scallop)

Z4305 Fancy Tags Thin Cuts (Scallop Circle)

X6028 Black Cardstock

X6027 Daisy White Cardstock

X9005 Mix In Paper Pack

Z2831 Charcoal Ink

Z2863 Daisy White Pigment Ink

Z2853 Sweet Leaf Ink

Z2844 Pixie Ink

9043 Make It From Your Hear Vol 3 (Pattern 2)

Z4079 Story by Stacy Storyteller (Story Starter)

Z1979 Mary Uchida LePen Journalling Pen

Products used in the Sending Bear Hugs Card

S1907 Bear Hugs Stamp Set

X254 White Cards & Envelopes

CC61912 Share the Joy Thin Cuts

X7246B Sweet Girl Paper Pack

Z4221 Mink Twine

Z4255 Light Orange Shin Han Marker

Z3370 White Pearls

Z2831 Charcoal Ink

Z2858 Sapphire Ink