Scrapbook Designs // Designs that are Truly You!

Not Real?

I found this layout photo as I was looking through my photo manager in a small album of scrapbook pages I’ve never made public. I made this page in 2008 but have never shared it online until today.

Why not?

I made it for the Memory Makers Magazine Masters contest. They required that we send one actual layout, in addition to photos of other layouts. Those of us who didn’t win the contest never got that layout back. There would be too many submissions to return so they threw them away. We knew it ahead of time when we chose to enter the contest. I didn’t win, so I don’t have the real paper version, which means I’ve never been able to use it in a Paperclipping tutorial. That’s why the layout has been in hiding all this time until I found this digital photo last week.

I’m glad I have a picture of my page. Three years later I still love it. The product combination is unexpected. The color palette is not very common. Both of those characteristics are me. The only thing that is atypical of me is that line that cuts the page in half. I never do that — I always place my lines off-center.

But I even love the centered line on this page. It allowed for a full half-sun halo around Trinity’s head. It draws the eye right to her sweet little face. And it acts as the solid anchor piece to all of the other elements, which either lie at slight angles, move in arcs, or jut out from the side. I love this page.

I also love the details, which again, are all very me…
Not Real Closeup 2

  • My technique of cutting away just a part of an image and placing a foam-dot adhesive underneath so that it grows out of the background, as you see with the large flower that overlaps the photo — Paperclipping Members can learn this technique in Paperclipping tutorial 145 – Two Stamping Techniques.
  • Layering a blue-green flower underneath the cutout of the flower in the circular piece of paper so that it peeks through.
  • Clocks that symbolize age and time and how we learn about the world through experience as time passes along (see the story in the journaling below).

Not Real Closeup 1

  • Detailed images I cut from patterned paper. I love detailed cuttings like these. I also love to make them glossy like I did with the flowers above. Members can also watch Paperclipping 52 for another embellishment technique episode on making firm but flexible, glossy 3D embellishments from patterned paper scraps and rub-on’s — Create Your Own Embellishments.
  • One of the things that makes me happiest is to mix patterned papers you would never expect to go together, especially when they come from my scraps. I love it while I’m doing it, and I love to see it on an old layout that I find, even three years later, like this one. That little glimpse of those layered scraps in the picture above makes me swoon. If you’re a Paperclipping Member, you can review the principles for mixing patterns by watching Paperclipping 59 – Mixing Patterned Paper.

Not Real Closeup 3

  • Of course, there is metal, which I softened by layering a romantic paper flower underneath. I used this flower duo to “pin” the photo down. It’s an anchoring technique. I also anchored the photo with the title, as well as with the purple line at the center of the page (see top photo). These are just three of the anchoring techniques I shared in the design-heavy tutorial, Paperclipping 5 – Anchoring Elements to the Page.

Journaling reads:

Trinity — You thought there were swimming pools on the tops of those 70’s-80’s vans with the ladders going up the back. Why else would a ladder be there?

Well guess what? I used to believe Jesus lived in the moon, sat at a desk, and wrote with a feather pen!

I’ve never figured where I got my Jesus-belief. But I did discover the source of your pool-van fantasy. I was reading the Richard Scarry “Gold Bug” book and found a drawing of one of these vans with a pool on top.

How were you supposed to know it’s not real?

Have You Looked Back at Old Layouts Recently?

This was just a chance discovery for me — finding this layout picture after all this time. It’s awesome to see the specific things I still love doing three years later.

If you’ve been scrapbooking for a while, try looking back at layouts you made three years ago. Three years is close enough that products and techniques are still pretty fresh, but also old enough for lots of growth to have happened since. What things do you find that you still love to do now as much as you did back then? What well-loved techniques have you forgotten about?

If you’re not yet a Paperclipping Member and you’re curious about the techniques and design tutorials I mentioned for this layout, you can click here to learn about the 164 videos you’ll get immediately when you sign up, plus two more every single month!

  • Karen Bierdeman

    Hi, Noell–

    First off, beautiful picture of Trinity (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad picture of her)! Second, I find this post so interesting. You are such a thinker, and so intentional in your design. I remember these traits came up in your audio interview with Lain Ehmann, and I really see them coming through in this post. Your pages, to me, gleefully exclaim, “I gotta be me–I intend to express myself meaningfully!” And you do….Very inspiring…Just out of curiosity, do you read any print magazines or idea books? Or do you draw your information from elsewhere? For some reason I get the sense that you’re not big into mags…

  • Love! I hope that as my style evolves and I find what is really me, that I can look back at layouts years from now and still be happy with them.

  • Thanks, Karen! There’s a funny story about this picture — I took it in our
    bathroom! (Our UGLY bathroom, by the way). She was sitting on the floor and
    I just snapped the shot spontaneously. She looked so totally adorable that
    we decided to blow it up and put it on our wall. We turned it into a B&W and
    then blurred away the background shower doors. :)

    That song, “I gotta be me,” is what I think of as the token song that
    describes me! In high school I even saved a Far Side where there’s a penguin
    jumping above a crowd of other same-looking penguins and he was singing that

    You’re right, I do draw my inspiration from inside of myself. I sometimes
    browse through Izzy’s Wired Magazines because I love the use of type. But I
    don’t subscribe to any mags or use idea books to get layout ideas (although
    Izzy just subscribed me to Martha Stewart’s mag for Valentines Day. Once
    that comes I’m sure it will indirectly inspire some of my cleaner
    graphic-looking layouts + my type and titles on photos).

    When I look at others’ layouts and projects it’s more to see what others are
    doing, see how they express themselves and tell their stories, and to just
    enjoy all the visual delights. What I love most about seeing other people’s
    layouts is when I find one that tells a really good story. I like it when
    they make me feel like I’ve connected with them or their story on a more
    human level than just seeing cute products or techniques.

  • That’s an awesome goal. Best wishes for you! :)

  • Karen Bierdeman

    Interesting. I’ve been finding that I am no longer drawn to buy a ton of scrapbooking supplies or magazines and idea books. I was so “addicted” them, mostly because of a lack of confidence in my design skills. The thing was, my designing muscle wasn’t getting stronger by copying others layouts. Maybe for others it did, but for me, it just kept me mired in self-doubt. After reading up on design and then being willing to play with its principles (and art journaling has been very freeing for this), I can now look at others’ work and appreciate how they’ve approached their page. I just bring a different energy to viewing them (less needy, more interested in them!). I figured out that I can’t pre-plan my pages–and that’s okay. Part of what makes this whole thing fun for me is seeing where I end up at the end of my page! I am pretty process-oriented… :) So it’s interesting to me to see how I’ve changed in regards to idea books and mags. I used to be the queen of collecting and using them. Now, I enjoy my online content, but run it through my own filter…

  • This is a beautiful layout! I love the picture of Trinity. But I have to say it…I love the journaling the best. Besides the fact that I grew up reading that Richard Scary’s “Gold Bug” Book (Aka. Cars and Trucks and Things that Go) ..I also have a copy of that book for my baby girl. And you know, we all have crazy ideas as kids. I thought every time you bought a new house, you added to your total bathroom count. My parents were in their first house and had 1 bathroom, while my grandparents were in their 3rd house, and had 3 bathrooms. Kids, go figure.

    I have looked at my older layouts. I love seeing how my style has evolved to actually have some design style bits in there, as well as more story. I’ve only been doing this for 4 years, but I’ve learned so much. Now I’m trying to show my friends “wait there’s more you can do with that layout than have 4 pictures spread out on the page with little captions saying what each picture is from!”

  • Karen Bierdeman


    It’s fun to see how our style evolves, isn’t it?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Noell, this layout is so PRETTY. I know you love to focus on story, more so than making things pretty, but this layout truly has it all – story, pretty, and a drop dead beautiful face to top it off! TFS.
    I look at back my layouts I’ve scanned and saved all the time. I’ve come a long way baby – there are ones I want to re-do but there are ones I love and would do the same again.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Karen, I’ve just recently started Art Journaling, and I’m just wondering where you get your inspiration from for Art Journaling. I’ve been mostly checking out YouTube, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot there.


  • Karen

    Hi, Allison–
    I am a huge fan of Dina Wakley’s work. She teaches art journaling classes online and they are fabulous. I used to watch SuziBlu’s videos on YouTube–I think they;re still there. Another favorite is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Both Dina and Julie scrapbook in a way that really resonates with me–and their pages have a sort of artsy, art journaling style. Somerset Studio puts out a rather beautiful looking art journaling magazine that I’ve seen (but never bought) at Barnes and Noble. Dina Wakley has been featured in it recently. Hope this helps!

  • I am fascinated by the idea that your lack of confidence is what was driving
    your need for tons of supplies, mag’s, and idea books! Not to say that
    that’s the reason for everybody — and I know that’s not what you meant,
    either. But I wonder if that is the case for some. It’s very interesting —
    something I’ve never heard before.

  • I am fascinated by the idea that your lack of confidence is what was driving
    your need for tons of supplies, mag’s, and idea books! Not to say that
    that’s the reason for everybody — and I know that’s not what you meant,
    either. But I wonder if that is the case for some. It’s very interesting —
    something I’ve never heard before.

  • Isn’t it cool how a common item from childhood or a common thread of our own
    childhood memory can make a story interesting? I love how we feel a
    connection to each other for those reasons.

    Your cute bathroom story reminds me of how humans need to find patterns in
    the things we observe — whether they’re accurate or not, we make them up if
    we have — and that is exactly what you were doing.

  • Thank you! :)

  • Another art journaler you can try that I enjoy is Teesha Moore. Here’s her

    I also get inspiration for my art journaling for artists and art I love.
    Here’s an artist whose workshop I am attending this May —

    Flora Bowley –

    I’ve never heard of Flora doing any art journaling, but her art is most
    similar to the kind of art I want to be creating, so I’m using her as
    inspiration in my own art journaling.

    My biggest source for art journaling, though, is my own feelings and gut
    instincts. Art journaling is really just about learning to express yourself

  • Karen Bierdeman

    LOL, Noell! Glad I am fascinating! :) Really, it was all about not being willing to make mistakes, to see a layout that didn’t use design principles “correctly.” That’s why I was an idea book/magazine junkie. I thought if I studied them and copied them (I didn’t trust myself just to study them and try to apply the principles in a way that honors my own style–I didn’t even know if I HAD a style) I’d be in good shape. Instead, while I did internalize some design principles, the layouts felt empty and flat–my voice wasn’t on the page (except for the journaling–I like that part and feel like I am good at it). I see trusting myself in my scrapbooking and art as a metaphor for being able to do so in my whole life. I still enjoy blogs and videos for scrapbooking, but definitely not in the same way. I let all my subscriptions lapse because I would scan the mags and then think, “So?” This was a necessary step for me to begin trusting myself to express whatever I wanted to express, and in whatever way I wanted–even if it wasn’t magazine-worthy. And since I got my iPad, I find viewing content even easier and more fun, and there is so much of it online that is GREAT (you know I’ve been a fan of Paperclipping for a few years now). I credit art journaling for helping me to tame the inner critic, explore, and play. Otherwise, I probably would’ve quit scrapping. Oh–and Stacy Julian’s influence on me to stay with scrapping is also huge. I love that woman’s brilliance and willingness to think outside the scrapping box!

  • I have the album I made in 1998-99 during my aupair year in the USA, great memories!!
    I learned about scrapbooking around the web, and bought my first goodies in Target LOL
    Those pages are so plain but full of great memories :)

  • BTW, this LO is great! I’ve saved it to my inspiration file, actually, I now have a “Noell Hyman” folder hehehe

  • Cara

    I love this page! That photo is gorgeous! Those cheeks! sweetie…

    Funny enough this made me think of a French nursery rhyme about the moon and a fountain pen. A lot of images associated with it have a clown sitting in a thumbnail moon with a feather pen ;)

    I recently looked at some of my older pages with my kids and I like seeing how my style is still pretty much the same even though my skills keep improving.

  • Stacy is so awesome and she is one that has never let herself get sucked
    into the hype of doing what everyone else is doing!

    I do remember a LONG time ago you commented with some frustration or
    difficulty about not feeling like you knew if you were getting the
    principles right, or something like that. I’ve noticed over time, just by
    your comments, that your confidence has improved and you’ve been able to let
    go! So awesome!

  • Ahhh — that’s nice to hear. Thank you! :)

  • I never knew you were an aupair here and that’s how you started!

  • Since posting this I have been wondering if, like Trinity, I also was
    influenced by a picture in a book. My favorite book was a big giant one of
    nursery rhymes and folk tales and all kinds of stuff and all of the imagery
    was Renaissance era or somewhere around there. I’m sure the clown would have
    had to look more Jesus-ish than clownish, though!

  • I was in Elmhurst, IL, so close to Chicago, from Aug’98-Aug’99. Great year :)

  • Cara

    Yeah, because clowns really don’t trigger images of Jesus…

  • Nope.

  • Jamie Leija

    1. Boo to Memory Makers for not bothering to return your beautiful creations!
    2. Trinity looks so gorgeous here. Look at that curly hair!
    3. The journaling had me giggling. Seriously, how is a little kid to know?!