PRT087 – Questions, Lists, and Prompts

How can you use questions and prompts to generate ideas? Today’s episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable might give you endless inspiration. Come listen!

You can use this audio player to listen to the show:

This text will be replaced

If you want, you can also right click this link to save the show to your computer manually.

The Panel


Big Picture Classes: Click here to see special offers from Big Picture Classes! Click here to see the classes now! The coupon code EXPOSURE4PRT is good for 10% off Exposure with Katrina Kennedy through October 26, 2011.

Picks of the Week

Check out True Scrap

Click Here to learn more about True Scrap now.

(Affiliate links wherever possible.)

How to subscribe…

Did you know that when you subscribe in iTunes (which is free), you’re helping support Paperclipping Roundtable? It’s true. iTunes measures every subscription, so it’s like casting a “vote” for the show. It helps us move up the ranks and helps us grow the audience.

iTunes is free. Subscribing is free, so why not use it to download the show? Subscribe in iTunes (iTunes link) right now so your computer will automatically download each new episode as they become available.

Or you can always manually subscribe to the Paperclipping Roundtable RSS Feed.

  • murdie

    Yea! Came on to listen to an older episode while doing some work and found much to my surprise a brand new show on a Tuesday! :)  Thanks. This was a great topic, I will be listening again with paper and pencil so that I can take notes. I thought of a book that my daughter gave me a few years ago for Christmas called “The Big Book of If” it is written by Evelyn McFarlane & James Saywell. It contains hundreds of interesting questions, we have always just had someone in the family choose one and we answer it but I think it would be great to just take a couple of questions and have everyone fill in their answers on a sheet of paper to use on a page or for a mini-book.

  • Briel Schmitz

    Great conversation today. I wanted to comment about the idea of a 5-year journal.  During the conversation it sounded like something big, when in reality it is very manageable.  I started a 5-year journal a little over a year ago.  The book is about 2 inches thick and small (4×6).  I’ve easily taken it everywhere I’ve traveled over the past year.  Basically there is room to write one or two sentences each day (I think that the one you talked about gives a prompt for each day, which would be cool too, but mine is blank).  The best part is year 2-3-4-5.  You write and then get to read what you were doing a year ago!  To have five years captured in one small book is totally awesome.  I highly recommend it.  My husband is even writing in one, and he loves it too!

    I thought that it was worth commented on this.  Love all of the content!

    Don’t know if a link will work, but here is a link to one on amazon:

  • Love hearing your insight and experience with this! Thank you for sharing!

  • Talk about a walk down memory lane. I totally remember slam books and MASH… *tee*hee*

    I agree that questions, lists and prompts help us to remember things. A little bit of prodding :)

  • Yes!  I had to pause to write a comment.  Slam books were huge in my childhood.  There was a sign-in page in the front where you created a ‘secret’ symbol, then on each page you wrote your symbol and then your answer.  Good memories!  Ok, back to listening….

  • Cool! I don’t remember that detail!

  • I’m still listening to this, but I had to comment on the SLAM books and the MASH talk– it’s so interesting to hear you talk about doing this during your childhood in the 70’s– because as a 90’s/2000 child, we did both the SLAM books and MASH– it’s so interesting how those trends come back around!!  It would be interesting to talk to my mom and see if she had some of these experiences with MASH and SLAM books– maybe a scrapbook page comparing our experiences is in my future! It might also be interesting (if I had a kid) to do a comparison– what trends do YOU remember, and what trends are your children experiencing right now that are similar or completely different? 
    I’m loving this episode– it’s generating so many new ideas for me! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    But you guys failed to mention the most important function of Slam books: trying to figure out the “cute guy”‘s symbol of the in your class and who he currently liked!  Also, if anyone mentioned that they liked you :-)

  • Anya

    Awesome show! One of my favorites! So many great ideas, I don’t know where to start. Listened to it twice already! Just wanted to say – THANK YOU! And also…  I just received my order from 2peas (that doesn’t happen very often) and my box had 6 paper pads in 6×6 size… all because of you ladies! Yes, I do LOVE them! Thanks for the great show and all the great resorces and fovorites you share! Oh, Noel, my box also had some items you covered during CHA. We do appreciate your videos a lot too!

  • Anya

    Awesome show! One of my favorites! So many great ideas, I don’t know where to start. Listened to it twice already! Just wanted to say – THANK YOU! And also…  I just received my order from 2peas (that doesn’t happen very often) and my box had 6 paper pads in 6×6 size… all because of you ladies! Yes, I do LOVE them! Thanks for the great show and all the great resorces and fovorites you share! Oh, Noel, my box also had some items you covered during CHA. We do appreciate your videos a lot too!

  • Anya

    Awesome show! One of my favorites! So many great ideas, I don’t know where to start. Listened to it twice already! Just wanted to say – THANK YOU! And also…  I just received my order from 2peas (that doesn’t happen very often) and my box had 6 paper pads in 6×6 size… all because of you ladies! Yes, I do LOVE them! Thanks for the great show and all the great resorces and fovorites you share! Oh, Noel, my box also had some items you covered during CHA. We do appreciate your videos a lot too!

  • Yay!!

  • You guys have more distinct memories of Slam books. I’m a little jealous. :)

  • No way! I had no idea kids were doing those things I’m those decades! My kids haven’t run into it yet.
    I always think about note passing. Writing, reading, passing, and saving notes was a daily part of my school experience. Kids text now. I asked my kids if they’re familiar with passing notes and they’re clueless!

  • Note passing was one of my favorite parts of school– I can’t imagine texting instead! My best friend and I have BOXES of old notes that we kept– we just went through them a couple of months ago and they are HILARIOUS. 

    We also had composition notebooks that we passed back and forth and filled with notes, doodles, and “quizzes.” they are amazing to look back on– it gets me so excited to look back on the SMASH books that everyone is into now. 

    I actually did a post when I discovered one of these books from high school a couple weeks ago:

    I could talk all day about filling composition notebooks with these kinds of lists and goodies. I LOVED this show!! 

  • Love it! It reminds me of my own version I’d been doing before the Smash books came out. I was calling it my Scrap Journal, and then started thinking of it as my Everything Journal b/c it turned out to be such a combination of stuff. It’s jut an old hard-bound novel that the library didn’t want anymore and I’d write in the blank areas or cover up the text with a scrap of paper or napkin from a cafe and write on that. I doodle in it and put all kinds of stuff in it too.

    While I love scrapbooking and making the “perfect” page, these “smash” books have a lot more life!

  • My Dad has a 10-year journal. He is a farmer and he uses it to look back at when he did what on the farm the previous years, and to write down out of the ordenary things. It only has 3 lines for each day, a place to write the days temperature, a tiny sun, cloud and rain image and you cross out the ones that are worng and wind speed. It is a lot of fun reading it! And I dream of having a 10-year 365 album. Imagine how great it would be to look back to!

  • Sue Sweeney

    I have a question unrelated to journaling but related to mini-books. At the end of the month my partner and I are taking a 3 day trip to celebrate our 11 year anniversary and I wanted to make a mini book about it. I have read in some places that people take some supplies with them and work on the book during the vacation, while other take a small journal and just write down memories as needed to scrap later. Which is the best approach? I will also have my iPhone/iPad with me as well if there are some apps you would suggest. Since this is A) our very first vacation type thing in our entire relationship (no joke, me having been a student, i graduate from law school this year, for 9 our of our 11 years has really put a damper on traveling) and B) my first mini book, I have no clue the best way to approach this so I record as many memories and ephemera as possible. I know we will be busy because I will be dragging him to antique stores in search of vintage paper and he will be dragging me to cemeteries. Yep, this is how nerds romance it up!!

    And I just got my first 6×6 paper pack. I love it! I am using it for my new obsession with cards and for the impending mini book. 

    Thanks for the advice!

  • I also loved this topic and the walk down memory lane. We never did smash books but we did MASH over and over and over again.

    My great idea for getting kids who don’t want to answer questions to answer questions is using a service like You set up questions on the computer and the kids go through and answer. You can do multiple choice or open ended questions. Then the answers are sent to you and saved in your account online. You can set up as many ten question quizzes as you want for free. If you want more than ten questions on one quiz, then you pay. It worked very well with my boys who were 10 & 12 at the time and love anything computer. 

    Here is a link to my quiz: in case you want to check it out. You can even answer the questions if you want! But I’ll get to see your answers and you won’t! : )

  • I listened to this episode during my walk this morning and kept trying to chime in (out loud!) because when it comes to prompts & questionnaires for scrapbooking, you are totally speaking my language! As always, I came home with a ton of new ideas that I’m anxious to put into play … and I loved the reminiscing about the slam books, Mash books, etc., though I must confess I had never heard of either of those specifically. I am definitely curious now… and have lots of new resources to Google for journaling prompts, speaking of which… thanks so much for the pick Lain!! I am currently in the final stages of getting the 2012 Memory Logbook line ready to share and I’ve had about 30 fabulous digi and paper scrappers putting in lots of time and talent over the past month or so to help make it better than ever! Watch for lots of cool stuff (and the re-opening of our store!) toward the end of this month…

    Thanks for the great show… looking forward to hearing what comes next!! :)

  • Grace Edwards

    Hi Noell, Izzy and Nancy,

    I have listened to the Paperclipping
    Roundtable (I am a member) for ages now, but have yet to comment. I loved the
    discussion this week about questions, lists and prompts. As an avid fan of
    lists, this really caught my attention. I loved all the resources for list and
    journal prompt ideas and will be checking those

    I wanted to draw your attention (in
    case you didn’t already know about it) to something my nephew did for my husband
    and me a couple of Christmases ago. He was in 6th grade at the time
    and, for Christmas, he gave us each and “I AM” poem. He wrote both of these
    based on his perceptions and thoughts about each of us. At the time, I was
    overwhelmed by his insight and truly treasure the gift. Today, after listening
    to the podcast, I think this would be a neat tool to use when scrapbooking about
    the people we love. I have included the template he used and a snippet of the
    one he wrote on me.

    I Am Poem

    am (two special characteristics) I wonder (something you are actually
    curious about)I hear (an imaginary sound)I see (an imaginary sight)I
    want (an actual desire)I am (the first line of the poem

    pretend (something you pretend to do)I feel (a feeling about something
    imaginary)I touch (an imaginary touch)I worry (something that really
    bothers you)I cry (something that makes you very sad)I am (the first
    line of the poem repeated)I understand (something you know is true)I
    say (something you believe in)I dream (something you actually dream
    about)I try (something you make an effort to do) I hope (something you
    actually hope for)I am (the first line of the poem

    Snippet of my poem written by my
    6th grade nephew. Keep in mind, this is a 6th grade boy’s

    am Grace Edwards, the lover of many dogs
    I wonder why dogs act the way they
    I hear dogs bark in my head
    I see dogs playing tug of war
    I want a
    gift certificate to Joann’s
    I am Grace Edwards, the lover of many

    guys do such a wonderful job and I look forward every week to what you have to
    say next.  

    EdwardsObviously someone who really likes dogs ;-)

  • This is interesting! I’m wondering if your dad’s journal has all ten years of each day on one page, like the 5-year journal we mentioned on the show, so you can see the same day for all five years. Meaning, the Oct. 13th page has all five years on the same page, so you can see what you wrote every single year for that day all at once.

    It would be super cool to do your 10-year 365 project that way — all ten years of each day all together in one page. Cool!

  • Hey, Sue! Congratulations on your 11 years and your first trip!

    There’s no best way to do it IMO, but since this is your first trip together, I would suggest assembling the book when you get home. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be spending time working on the book during the trip when it’s your first time together.

    An app I’ve used to document my trip is called Momento. You can record stuff for each day and attach your phone photos. You can export your text. You can’t export the photos from the app, though. I just attach the photos so that I remember what photo goes with my journaling. Then you just download your photos from your phone the normal way.

    If you want to try bringing that book along (maybe you’ll work on it while at the cemetery lol!) you should check out the self-paced online class that Ali Edwards has for travel books you take with you. She has a simple approach. You should be able to find it on her site at
    Have fun!

  • What a great idea! My kids would love that! TFS!

  • Awesome! Nice to hear the udpate on 2012!

  • My elementary school had our kids do this and it was one of my favorite projects. The structure does lend to a profound tone to each piece — it’s really cool! It’s a lot like a sketch for poetry.

  • Oh, also, have to mention — I love your son’s poem for you. It’s so adorable and I’m fascinated that he put himself in your head like that. It cracks me up that every line is about your love (obsession?) of dogs, except for the one about Joanne’s! ;)

  • Paula G

    Hey guys!  Great podcast as usual.  Noell check out the iMom Pillow Talk Journal at  I’m a foster mom and have used this with my foster kids. It has pretty decorated pages that have journaling prompts on them followed by a coordinating page for a response. The way it works is either you or your child chooses one of the pages and writes a message, then you leave it on their pillow to find.  It even has stickers which the kids (yea and me) love.  It is the perfect way for kids to talk with us about all kind of subjects, I have loved mine.

  • Iceteeeeee

    Blast from the past with Slam Books! We had a page in the front that was numbered and you signed your name, then used that number when you commented on people’s pages. We always used those marbled composition books, too!

  • Right! It’s a much more “accurate” depiction of how our lives are and our day by day memories. Sometimes I think that scrapbooking paints “too pretty” of a picture of our lives and memories. Smash books seem so “real” to me! Not that I don’t like the pretty pictures that scrapbooking provides! :) 

  • Cool, can’t wait to check it out! TFS!

  • Mary S

    Every episode of PTR I learn new things, but you outdid your self with this show! So many great ideas I had to listen twice to take notes and projects that I want to do. Thanks for sharing with us.I also have an idea for a show. I’d like to hear about scrapbooking from a LSS owner’s perspective. How they decide what products to carry etc. I know of one that has been a store owner for at least ten years if you are interested.

  • AnnieB

    Many shows ago…wish I could remember which one…teh panel was talking about deleting bad photos. I rememer Izzy commenting that he didn’t delete them because someday technology would probably find a solution. Well, I read something about that very solution a few weeks ago and then couldn’t find it again. Well, check this link out… 
    It’s an upcoming fix for blurred photos. Izzy you were right, again!

  • Sue Sweeney

    Thanks Noell for the tips! I am going to check out Momento. I have heard you guys mention it a few times but always forget about it as I listen while driving to school, and have no real way to write any notes down. And that class from Ali looks great, thanks for giving me a heads up on that!


  • Katie Scott

    QUESTION  / Actually, this is more of an idea.  I know that you get a percentage of the sales at Big Picture with the Roundtable Link.  So, I haven’t yet used my discount because I haven’t really bought any high priced items at Big Picture and I was thinking I’d save it to get the most value.  Stacy Julian just announced the 4 experts classes on her site, BUT it mentions that you can only sign up for the classes X amount of days before each class starts.  I would be interested in maybe purchasing the entire year as a lump sum payment – so I could use the awesome discount; and I don’t know how much the 4 classes would be all together but I think that generally these expert classes are higher priced than the normal classes. Interested to know what kind of deal you can finagle.

  • Anonymous

    Loved this episode! I never did slam books but I totally did the MASH thing in high school and college (90s). In fact during college, while dating someone else, a MASH game said I’d marry my husband (who was just a friend at the time), have two kids, a house, and we’d be a teacher and a scientist. All happened. So funny! Need to make a page out of that…

    Also, I’m thinking that making a slam book using the “One Minute with…” questions from BPC would be an awesome entry table book. Fun way to get family and friends answers and have it on display for others to read.

    This episode was so full of awesome ideas. I was wishing for a way to pin sound onto my pinterest board so I could get down everything that was said! :)


  • That was an awesome video! Loved hearing the audiences reactions!! TFS!

  • Oooh, pinning sound on your pinterest board — very deep. :)

    Your MASH story is way too awesome!

  • Heyboerfamily

    LOVE the show. Just started getting back into scrapbooking and have been spending my weekends with you catching up on previous shows. Love the variety of people, and LOVE how funny Izzy is. His jokes and comments really add a lot to the show. Keep up the good work! ( By the way, just can’t resist making  a point here….someone said something about homeschoolers not needing lunchboxes. We pack lunch 3 times a week because my kids are involved in so many extra activities. Homeschooling doesn’t mean staying home to learn)

  • Thank you, glad you love the show!

    Good point about the homeschooling. That might have been me who said that because we homeschool, too, and we haven’t need packed lunches. :) Sorry!

  • Kathi Roe

    I loved this episode. It gave me some great ideas for jump starting my family’s communication again. Since we have all grown up and had kids of our own, we just don’t talk as much. Email is our preferred method and all of us are in it at least once a day. I decided to start a family communication chain. I have committed to sending everyone a question a day. They will be easy questions like “what is the funniest movie you have ever seen?” etc. I sent my first one last night and it started some great conversations. One reply led to another that fed off of the prior. It was great, and more than that we started talking like real people. It seems like all we do anymore is forward funny jokes. This takes it to an easily manageable level and I love it.

    I think at Christmas time I am going to do the 25 Questions until Christmas. Which will be my email version of an advent calendar. I will ask all Chiristmas related questions.

    In addition, at thanksgiving and Christmas I am going to put together a small ring of recipe cards for each family member. They will have a series of questions on them. This way I can get their stories and in their own writing. If they complete it I will give them a gift card (or something small prize wise). Ultimately bribery works. Lol. I will ask them holiday related things to spur their favorite memories, then it will give me something to scrap. Even the kids will like this. It may be when they are older that they appreciate it, but they are kids so we can make them do it right. :)

    Anyway, thank you all for your great ideas. I am definitely running with this one! I love this show, and I gotta admit Izzy is usually my favorite guest. Lol

  • Lots of great ideas! Congrats on your recent email success and actually acting on your inspiration immediately!

  • Beth

    Wow, what a fantastic episode!  Lots of great thoughts and ideas here.  I totally love the idea of a five-year journal though keeping myself to only a sentence or two will be really tough (I have the same problem as Noell — I start thinking I’ll keep it short-and-sweet and then it ends up a book!  Never did understand how people could have a hard time in school meeting the minimum requirements for essays; that was NEVER an issue for me!) 

    Anyway — thanks for the great episode!

  • I am a little behind on listening to shows.  Loved this one.  I wanted to share what my husband and I did when we were dating that relates to this.  We met through a mutual friend and at the time lived about 2 hours away from each other.  So we started dating “long distance.”  As a way to get to know each other and stay in contact between our weekend dates I started to email him a “random question” for him to answer.  We could only ask questions that we were willing to answer ourselves.  Anyway, we did this via email for several months and when he moved closer for a new job and we were seeing each other more often we started doing it in a notebook that we traded back and forth.  I still have all the emails and the notebook.  He actually asked me to marry him through the Random Question Notebook.  I thought it was such a special and unique way for him to propose.  Thanks for the great shows.

  • Oh my gosh, what a sweet story!!!!

  • Miss Niki

    Hello to the PRT team!
    I have been listening for a long time now and have not missed an episode…just don’t shoot me for being this far behind. (I have a good excuse, we just sold our home of 12 years and moved into a much smaller rental so I’ve been busy!  really!)  I may have commented a time or two but wanted to share with you that this was the most inspiring episode of all time for me!! I jotted many notes of ideas that came to me during the show and more than once, I found myself saying out loud so that one of you would hear me, “Coke or Pepsi?” finally one of you identified it as a resource.  I stumbled onto this little book at my son’s book fair and thought it would be a fabulous way to scrapbook about my teenagers.  It used to be easy to get photos of them and have stories to tell and now that they are older it is considerably more difficult. This list idea will save the day!  Now it will not matter if I have 17 photos of them lounging on their beds or staring at a handheld device…I plan to pair it with a list that may or may not relate to the photo but will reflect the time period. This episode inspired me in this area (teens) as well as made me think about other mini albums I’ve wanted to create but never have such as a childhood memories one (lunchboxes and M.A.S.H.). 

    Just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do and sharing it with the world. You are all awesome!!
    Niki in Nebraska

  • youngmi

    loved this episode. i’m a total list maker and i’ve been meaning to work it into my scrapbooking somehow. after listening to this show, i plan on answering a random question a day and putting it into my PL. thanks for another great episode and for reminding me that i have to dig up my old MASHes, slam books, and sanrio lunchboxes. definitely need to preserve those memories… but only for myself! those are way too embarrassing to share ^_^