Tag Archives: Journaling

Writing for Better Story-Telling

During this week’s Paperclipping Roundtable on better writing I promised to share a layout in order to illustrate the writing tips we shared (I captioned it below).

This is an older page. It’s not perfect, amazing, brilliant writing, but it tells a good story. And it’s not just a story about what happened at an event, but it illustrates Aiden as a toddler, and me as a protective mother of a three-year-old.

Little Rascal
Journaling directed to Aiden reads:

During one of Blake’s baseball practices an older boy, about 7 years old, challenged you to a race. You agreed and off you went.

Of course, we couldn’t expect your little legs to keep up with him and he hit the finish line with the declaration, “I won!” long before you did.

Here I was, your protective mother, irritated that this 7-year-old boy was gloating about beating you, my three-year-old.

But then you reached the finish-line, still at a full pace and with a huge smile on your face. You began yelling, “I won! I won! I won! I won!”


The boy tried his best to convince you (and the rest of us!) that he beat you. But he couldn’t overcome your boisterous “I won!” celebrations. He was frustrated.

And I have never stopped smiling about it.

Some things to look for in the journaling…

  1. I unfolded the story, beginning with the dilemma/conflict (2nd paragraph) instead of a summation, in order to create enough suspense to draw you in.
  2. I varied the length and structure of the sentences. Compare each one to see how they are all different.
  3. I wrote with active verbs instead of passive ones.
  4. I drew a clear and specific picture of the action with my words.
  5. I shared a very human story to which we can all relate as fellow humans.

I believe we all have great stories to tell. We just don’t always know how to tell them in a way that draws others in. Next time you write a story for one of your layouts, write it on scratch paper first, and then look at each of the tips above to see how you do.

Don’t worry if your first attempt doesn’t impress you. That’s why we revise. Writing is a practice.

Shine On,

Paperclipping 257 – Use a Top Ten List for Your Scrapbook Page

top_ten 3

Do you have a journaling problem?

Is it hard for you to find and/or tell the story?

Here’s a fun and easy way to share a lot of good details about your life without having to think or try very hard at all…

Whip out a Top Ten list.

Don’t think hard about it.

Each item doesn’t have to truly be your top ten favorite things in all the world.

The idea is to jot down ten things that you’re enjoying right now.

You can do this again and again. A few years from now you’ll have lots of, “Oh yeah!” moments as you remember little everyday details that ended up being a phase that came and went.

  • Are you into wearing peach lately?
  • Are you obsessed with the Into the Woods soundtrack?
  • Are you in love with the new Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore?
  • Are you prepping for a big Super Bowl party this weekend?

Those might be your current top ten.

In another month or two you’ll have a whole new list of things you’re enjoying.

A year or two from now you’ll be surprised by how much this little list says about you and your family.
top_ten 7
Want some fun layout ideas? I put together two pages — one with a top ten list I made a few weeks ago, and another with a list I made way back in 2006!

I put both layouts together on video in the newest Paperclipping episode.

Click here if you want to know how to get this video.

Paperclipping Members will find the tutorial in the Member’s Area and on iTunes.

Shine On,


Lavish Design or Meaningful Journaling? …Six Multi-Page Scrapbook Layouts that have Both

My Baby Blanket Story (closeup)
Who do you follow? The little devil on your left shoulder tempting you to put all your time on pretty products and a beautiful scrapbook page? Or the guardian angel on your right, whispering for you to focus on the story?

I used to slap that little devil off of me and follow my guardian angel, but not anymore…

Continue reading Lavish Design or Meaningful Journaling? …Six Multi-Page Scrapbook Layouts that have Both

Scrapbooking 12×12 and 6×12 Two Page Layouts – Paperclipping 214

paperclipping 214

Can’t have “pretty” and “trendy” pages if you have a fair amount of journaling?

Can’t tell a good story if you want to use lots of fun product and layering?

I was getting tired of always sacrificing form for function to fit my writing. We like to have it all, don’t we? And we can…

Click here to see more…

The Weight of Your Journaling – Paperclipping 179


I know you’ve experienced this…

You have a great page going. Then you add the journaling. And now you don’t like the page.

You probably assume your handwriting is the problem, right?

Sure, the handwriting may be part of it. But there is another cause that is just as common. In fact, if you fix this other problem, then your handwriting probably won’t affect your page, even if it is, ummm…

Okay, I’ll just say it…even if your handwriting is ugly.

Not everybody can make their handwriting gorgeous. But everybody can learn to fix that other most common problem that takes a page from fabulous to not-fabulous, and mask the handwriting, too.

I’ve just released a new video tutorial that explains the real problem with journaling. You’ll learn the different ways that you can make your journaling fit with your page, and even make the design better!

I hope you enjoy it!

The video is only for members. If you’re a member, you can go watch it now.

If you’re not a member yet, click here to learn about a membership.

Scrapbook Layout from a Paperclipping Member: The College Send-off


What will it be like when you send your oldest or youngest off to college away from home? What was it like, if you’ve already done it?

Cindy Wick had designed the left side of this page with all these wonderful pictures which give a comprehensive view of the sending off of her daughter. Notice the variety of visuals –from the Motel 6 to the sub sandwiches to the shopping cart full of stuff to the goodbye’s — that will trigger very specific memories for Cindy and her daughter forever.

Once Cindy got all the photos and the fun design on her page, she realized she had a big story to tell with lots of mom-feelings to share, but not enough space. The page sat on her table while she tried to figure out what to do, and then…

A super hero of the day flew in in the form of Paperclipping Episode 173 – A Journaling Design technique!

(I realize the above statement is as un-humble as it gets! I hope you don’t mind a little bit of boasting!).

I am really proud because I read Cindy’s journaling and it’s so moving. What a shame it would have been had she decided to condense it to make it fit, or remove some photos instead!

And of course, the icing on the cake was that by using the tutorial’s idea she was able to have fun and share her own feelings of pride and celebration for her daughter through the visual design and all the wonderful little details.

Turns out you really can have it all!

Doesn’t her design show celebration and growth all at once?

So I wanted to share it with you.

Get Solutions for Your Scrapbooking Dilemmas!

Cindy said some pretty great things about her Paperclipping Memberhsip, too, and I hope it’s okay for me to be a proud mama of my videos and quote some of what she said:

While I’m at it, I should say that I am a member of paperclipping and I really have gotten so much out of my membership. I consider myself a decent page designer, but I still learn new things from Noell all the time! She has a way of introducing things in a new and fresh way ~ it always gets me thinking creatively.

That’s probably because her way of teaching design is to get you to think of design principles as flexible, instead of using more concrete methods…Her videos are SO different, creative, and well thought out, I’ll probably be a fan for life.

(Thanks so much, Cindy!).

Okay, gushing moment over.

If you haven’t read Cindy’s journaling yet, please do! It’s an awesome example of how to share your own wonderful human emotional stories!

To see a larger version, click here to see her blog post, then click on the layout itself.

Want to see what all the hubbub around the Paperclipping videos is about?

(Did I just say hubbub?).

Click here to find out and maybe you’ll get the solutions you need to your scrapbooking dilemmas! >> http://www.paperclipping.com/membership

A Journaling Design Technique – Paperclipping 173

Do you ever have stories that require lots of journaling, but your idea for a page doesn’t leave you enough room?

This happens to me all the time. I’m a journaler. And I love the artistic part of scrapbooking, too.
Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check.

It suddenly occurred to me one day that we can mix the two more easily with one simple solution: Combine a 12×12 page with a 6×12 page, which is what you see above.

  • The 12×12 is for the design idea swimming in my head
  • The 6×12 is for the journaling.

I feel so free now! I no longer have to expand my layout to a full two-page 24×12 inch spreads whenever I have a few pictures, a fun idea, and too much to say!

It all started with this layout…

Swings & Slides

I wanted to compare my childhood swing sets with current ones. I had four photos and the story. Plus I wanted to give an explanation for each photo.

I really didn’t need two 12×12 pages, but a single just wasn’t going to cut it, even with the simple clean design.

Suddenly it became my easy fix, even for more artistic and free layouts…

Two-Way Design

Tap Dance for Money - right side

I decided to design this first as a single page that could stand alone.

And then I designed the journaling portion to work with it. The balance of the design works either way! I get to share it as a single page or a double, depending on the situation. And, in fact, I’ve already shared it both ways for various reasons.

Tap Dance for Money - both pages


All you need are 6×12 page protectors. I use American Crafts.

Journaled Tag Page

Here is a closeup of the front and back of my journaled page for the top layout:

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check. (right)

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check. (back of right)

In this week’s episode for the members I show how to make this journaled tag page, along with my tips for easier journal strips.

You can watch this episode and many, many more videos right now when you sign up for your Paperclipping Membership! Click here to learn more!

What Was Your Last…? Journal Prompts for the Last Day of the World


Turns out today is the last day of the world. So I thought I’d provide you with a list of “Lasts” prompts for a page about yourself. Better hurry if you’re a slow scrapbooker!.

You can also print it up and give it to each of your family members for a fun little mini-book. Or, perhaps you’re having a Last Day of the World party tonight? You can give the list to each of your guests for a fun activity!

(Why didn’t I think of that before?)

What Was Your Last…? Journal Prompts

Along with my own answers.

  1. What was the last song you listened to?
    Unnamable, by Matthew Santos on Rhapsody
  2. Who was the last person you kissed?
    My man, Izzy.
  3. What was the last book you finished?
    Riven Rock, by T. C. Boyle.
  4. Who was the last person you apologized to?
    I’m sure it was Izzy — I probably felt bad for sleeping so much because of these drugs I’m on for my crazy neck problems.
  5. What was the last television show you watched?
    Treme, which was good. But we just finished a season of Survivor, and it was brilliant. I know, it’s embarrassing, but I am completely enamored with Survivor. One of my very favorites!!!
  6. What was the last thing you ate?
    Pizza from Papa John’s with tomatoes, onions, olives, and mushroom. No cheese.
  7. What was the last thing you drank?
    Water. But the last non-water thing I drank was Chai Tea with soy milk. The last adult drink? Wine. Red. Unfortunately, it was a Pinot Noire. Obviously, I wasn’t the one who bought it. But I admit, it was a decent Pinot, so I enjoyed it just fine!
  8. Where was the last restaurant you ate at?
    We had lunch at the Blue Nile today — Ethiopian food. Usually we love it, but today it seemed to be missing the variety of spices we love so much. We had vegan cupcakes afterward at the brand new 98% vegan restaurant next door! We’ll be eating there very soon!
  9. Who was the last friend you spent time with?
    Izzy and I met Mitch for wine at D’Vine on Tuesday night. But he’s a cousin (and the one that bought the Pinot!). Does it count that we had a really good chat with our dance teacher, Jacqueline, since I kinked my neck and couldn’t really dance? She’s becoming a friend and we love her. But if that doesn’t count, we had fun with Chris and Sarah at their daughter’s birthday party last Saturday And I got to spend a little bit of time with my best friend, Tami, and good friend, Rhonda, at Tami’s daughter’s baby shower, also last Saturday.
  10. When was the last time you hugged your mom and dad?
    Since we live across the country, hugs with mom and dad only happen about once a year anymore. It would have been last July 2010 when we said goodbye after our fun trip out there.
  11. What was your last twitter or facebook status update?
    Twitter update: @FrancineClouden Happy birthday!!!
    A funnier Twitter update just before that: @Gela65 Yes. And it’s also a reminder that we have crazies running around.
    Facebook Status Update: We’re currently having more than half our house painted in bright happy colors. So bright, in fact, that it feels like a Dr. Suess house.
  12. Describe the last picture you took.
    at home 4107
    I took a picture of a scrapbook page in progress. But that was for work. My last picture for just for fun — I was taking pics of my oldest in a shirt and tie for a school presentation. We rarely dress up like that, and it was weird and funny seeing our thirteen-year-old looking grown up. The actual last shot I took in the series was after he’d swung his backpack onto his shoulder and turned to walk out the door.
  13. Who was the last person you called?
    Izzy. I was giving him a status report of my doctor visit.
  14. What was the last thoughtful thing you did for somebody?
    Hmmm. Hard to think on this one, as I’ve spent the last three days trying not to fall down from dizzy spells, or drugged up and asleep on my bed. I seem to remember…okay, I can’t remember doing anything thoughtful recently.
  15. What was your last creative act?
    Other than blogging? I spent some good time painting the other night. I’m falling in love.
  16. What was the last thing you did that was brave?
    I went to Berkeley for four days on my own. That doesn’t really require much bravery, but it does get you out of your comfort zone to go car-less to a new city all by yourself. I’ve taken little adventures for creative getaways every year for the past three years and it’s one of my favorite things to do.

Want more prompts and ideas for scrapbooking about yourself?

Check these out…

Scrapbook About Yourself: 47 Journal Prompts
Scrapbooking About Yourself

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