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Frugality in Scrapbooking

The subject seems to be taboo.  No one likes to talk about it.  I am here to shine a light on this dark subject. 


Scrapbooking is expensive!

There, I said it.

 How do you pursue your new hobby without breaking the bank?  There are ways.

I happen to be extremely fortunate in that I live in a city where there are a number of stores for me to shop for supplies.  I have a JoAnn’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and a local scrapbook store called K & Krafts (I have no affiliation with any of these retailers).  When I began to pursue my passion, I was diligent about watching the sales.  I signed up online to receive extra coupons from each store.  Most importantly, I think, I shopped with specific projects in mind.  I still shop this way. 

I knew the first thing I wanted to scrapbook was a trip to Disney we took several years ago.  We are huge Disney fans and have gone a number of times.  So, when things went on sale, I began to accumulate supplies.  When brads were on sale, I would pick up a pack containing a variety of colors.  I did the same with ribbon, flowers and stickers.  I was patient.  There were very few items I bought at full price.  I realize that a lot of you will not have the local shopping options I did.  I am happy to say there are a lot of websites out there with very reasonable prices and a great selection.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Again, I have no affiliation with any of these companies.  I just like them.  Of course you will have to pay shipping, which can get costly.  My suggestion is to do a google search for discounted or free shipping codes, combine shopping/shipping with a friend, sign up for the company’s newsletter so you will be alerted to sales and discounted shipping.

What are some other ways to cut costs?  My best advice here is be thoughtful.  Think about what you are buying and what you are doing.  Can I use this particular tool/supply in more than one way or is it a “one-hit wonder?”  For example, you may fall hopelessly in love with a paper punch in the shape of a skeleton.  Look at him dancing there!  How cute is that?  You think, “I could use him on my Halloween layout from last year.”  Yup, you can.  Now you see that the punch is $12.00 (punches are expensive).  Here’s where the thoughtfulness comes in.  Ask yourself, “How many layouts will I use him on?  In order to get my money’s worth, I would need to use him on EVERY Halloween layout.  Do I really want all my layouts to look the same?  Yes, he is adorable, but would my money be better spent purchasing a $3.00 pack of skeleton stickers at 40% off?”  Conversely, think about a balloon punch.  You could use this punch for birthday layouts.  Cool!  However, you can use it for New Years, Fourth of July, anniversaries, circus layouts, carnival and fair layouts, pretty much any celebration.  You can punch solid color paper or printed paper for a different look.  Now the $12.00 investment seems more reasonable.

Learn to think outside the box.  Look for scrapbook embellishments in the hardware store, the drug store, the dollar store, the thrift store.  It doesn’t have to be labeled “scrapbook supply” to use it. 

Be thoughtful in the way you cut your paper.  I mentioned this in yesterday’s post.  I always try to figure out how to leave myself with the largest piece I can.  If I can come out with any width x 12 inches, I can use that piece as a border on another page.  My general rule of thumb is if my smallest punch or rubber stamp will fit the scrap, I keep it.  I will trim it down so I don’t have all kinds of swiss-cheese-looking scrap paper and save it.  I’ll show you how I organize my scraps later. 

I’m going to talk about a huge investment I made almost immediately after igniting my passion.  I invested in a Cricut machine.  You can check them out at  I purchased the Expression.  No affiliation here whatsoever.  WHY would I make such a huge investment right off the bat?  Because it made sense to me.  At the time I made my purchase, there was a software program which would allow you to cut any font out with your Cricut.  I have a thing about fonts – I NEED the proper font for the page.  I thought about having to purchase a zillion different alphabet stickers and shuddered.  I thought about printing titles using my computer, having to cut them out by hand, and shuddered.  I knew that just for the letters alone, I would more than get my money back.  I also had a daughter in high school at the time making presentation boards, book reports and cheerleading signs who could get a lot of use out of the machine.  Not only could it cut the alphabets, but the Cricut also has several Disney cartridges.  My head danced and swam with all of the stickers and embellishments I wouldn’t have to purchase by using the Cricut.  A machine like this is definitely a large investment and one that should be weighed and considered.  For me, it just made sense.

Probably the best money-saving tip I can give you is to talk to people.  Attend crops.  Scrap with a friend.  If you are considering a new tool, talk to other scrappers to see how they like it.  Very, very often at crops people will bring tools and supplies you may not have.  I have never met a scrapper who was not willing to let me test drive one of their tools or borrow a stamp set.  It’s a great way to “try before you buy.”  The best thing, though, is meeting people who share your passion and in some cases, forming life-long, lasting friendships.

I hope I have given you some insight, hope and inspiration here.  Yes, this hobby can get quite expensive, but if you plan ahead, remember to be thoughtful and make purchases with a purpose, you don’t have to melt your credit card or deflate your bank account.

Until we meet again.

Mama Donna


A Language All Its Own

Each type of activity has its own vocabulary, terminology, lingo if you will.  Scrapbooking is no exception.  I’m going to attempt to define a few of the most common terms so you can feel more “in the know” when discussing your new hobby.

Crop – This term actually has two meanings.  1) To trim your photos; and 2) A gathering of scrapbook enthusiasts at a central location to work on a project.  When you hear someone say, “I’m going to crop this weekend” it generally doesn’t mean they are going to spend all weekend trimming photos one after another (although this may take place to a certain degree).  What they are talking about is that they are going to a location with other scrappers (sometimes in a church basement, sometimes in your local scrapbook store, sometimes at a meeting room) to spend some quality time away from home, chores, family, to scrapbook.  Sometimes everyone will be working on the same project (more of a class-type setting), but most often each person brings the scrapbook project they are currently working on and tries to make some headway on it.  A crop is a WONDERFUL thing.  It is a chance to meet and get to know other scrappers, learn new techniques, try new tools and products and gain a TON of inspiration by observing other styles.

Retreat – This is basically a two or more day crop, often in a splendiferous location (think resort).  Lots of times it’s a “Scrapbook Sleep-Away Camp” where you gather together, eat, laugh and scrap for a couple days.  It is GOOD for the soul.

Layout – Your layout is your scrapbook page.  It can be a single page like this:

Or a double page like this:

Whether you choose a single page or double page, is totally up to you.  I do a lot of double-page layouts because I take a lot of photos and I don’t like cramming too many on one page.  Let your photos speak to you.  Listen to their words.  Audition them on your page(s).

Title – Is just what it means.  It sums up the thought(s) or feeling(s) you are trying to convey on your layout.  Most scrappers I know use titles, but they are not necessary.  Remember, there is no right or wrong here.

Embellishment – This is the generic term used to describe any decoration you put on your scrapbook layout.  It can be a ticket stub, a map, a sticker, flowers, ribbons, eyelets, brads, stamped images, journaling, glitter, bling…. etc.  The possibilities are endless.  For clarification purposes, journaling is words (either handwritten or computer printed) you add to your page to describe what is going on, or feelings or general information about the event depicted in your layout.  I am not a big journaler.  I need to get better at it.  What I am is a big user of bling.  Bling is generally used to indicate sparkly jewels or pearls one adds to their layout to give it a little pop.  It can also mean glitter.  I use bling on nearly every layout (including boy layouts) because I like the interest it adds.  It can draw your eye around the page.

Album – The book you use to hold and display your finished layouts.  We will discuss different types of albums later.

Page Protector – A plastic sleeve you can slide your finished layout in to keep it clean and fingerprint free.  The page protectors go inside the album.

Cricut – (pronounced “cricket” – just like the bug) – A Cricut is an electric machine that will cut out letters and shapes.  The machine comes in several sizes.  I will be posting more about this kind of machine later, but wanted to throw the term out there so you had some idea what it is.  Here is what one looks like:

With that, you should be on your way to sounding like a seasoned scrapbooker (at least you won’t be in the dark when you hear some of these terms bandied about). 

Until next time,

Mama Donna

And Awaaayyyy We Go!

The moment has finally arrived.  We are going to create your first scrapbook page.  Aren’t you EXCITED?  I am!

While thinking about this post, I decided that I would play right along with you, using only the basic supplies we discussed previously.  Here they are:

In addition to our basic tools, I have two 12 x 12 sheets of paper, one package of 3-D stickers, one sheet of flat stickers and one sheet of alphabet stickers along with the three photos I want to use in this layout.  I figured I had better be able to go back to just the basics and create a great layout if I was going to ask you to do the same.  On my honor, I used only the items you see in the above photo.  That giant pink thing?  That’s my ATG tape runner.  The one I photographed previously was just a different type of tape runner.  The ATG is the one I currently use, so I’m not trying to sneak anything past you.

This first step will undoubtedly be difficult for some of you, easier for others.  We are going to trim down our photos.  I am starting with standard 4 x 6-inch photographs, but there is too much extra “blank, uninteresting stuff” in them, so I am going to trim them down.

There is less “boring stuff” at the top of the photo, so I am going to trim it in a place that looks most pleasing to MY eye. 

When I trim the bottom off the photo, I try to trim at a “standard” measurement – in this case, the photo is going to be 3.25 inches tall.  I try and trim at the quarter inch mark because it makes it easier for me to figure out what size to cut the mat for the photo (and I HATE to do math).  When I am done, all three of my photos are 3.25 inches x 6 inches.  While we are talking about trimming, you will notice I have the blade of the trimmer at the bottom of the photo.  I almost always trim from the bottom up.  Why?  Well, when you line your paper or photo up with the guide along the top of the trimmer, you know it is straight and even.  Whenever I cut from top to bottom, I almost always get too excited and trim too fast and then my photo or paper slips away from the guide and I wind up cutting it crooked.  If I trim from the bottom up, it forces the paper/photo to remain firmly pressed against the guides and I wind up with a perfect 90-degree corner instead of a wonky mess.

Let’s talk about matting photos for a second.  To mat, or not to mat, that is the question.  I prefer to mat my photos almost all of the time.  I know a lot of scrappers who almost never mat their photos.  It is a matter of personal preference and style.  As you develop your own style, you will know rather quickly whether or not you like your photos matted. 

Your photo mat can be any size you wish.  You can have as many mats as you wish (i.e. you can double, triple or “fourple” mat your photos).  My style most often is to single mat with a quarter-inch border.  This means that with my 3.25 x 6-inch photos, I want to cut my matting paper 3.75 x 6.5 inches.  This leaves .25 inches all the way around the photo.

Here we are cutting our 12 x 12 mat paper down to size.  Before I begin cutting, I try to figure out how to best utilize my 12 x 12 paper.  Let’s face it, the paper can get expensive.  I try to cut it so that I wind up with the least waste and the largest leftover pieces I can.  I know that I have three photos and that each mat needs to be 3.75 x 6.5.  If I make my initial cut into the paper at 6.5 inches, have one piece measuring 6.5 x 12 and one piece measuring 5.5 x 12.  I can now take the 6.5 x 12 piece and get all three mats cut from it – 3.75 + 3.75 + 3.75 = 11.25 inches.  I will only have one tiny piece left over and will still have the whole 5.5 x 12-inch piece.  I can use the large piece later on another layout. 

Here I am using my tape runner to apply adhesive to the back of my photos.  I find it easier to apply adhesive to the smaller of whatever pieces I am working on and adhere the small to the large.

Adhering the photo to the mat.  I did this for each of my photos.  Now I am going to “audition” their placement on my background paper.

Should I place them this way?

Or this way?

Or this?

Hmmmmm….. Well let’s think about this.  I KNOW what and where I want my title to be.  Let’s start there.  Let me grab my letter stickers.

I want my title to be “bathing beauties” running across the top and down the side of my page.  Uh oh!  I can’t use my nifty tool for getting my titles on straight – it would be against the rules.  What to do?  I know!  I am going to peel the letters off the sticker sheet and arrange them along the edge of it like this:

I am being very careful not to allow the letters to stick onto the packaging underneath the lettering sheet.  I get them all straight, pick up the sticker sheet, and place it where I want it on my page:

That looks about right.


 I’m using my finger to stick the letters down onto the paper. 

Gently tip the sticker sheet towards your title to release the letters at the bottom.

Carefully slide the sticker sheet out from underneath your title.  Notice I have left the bottom of the letter “g” sticking up. 

That’s so I can slide my first photo underneath and let the “g” sit on top.  I am following the same procedure for the lettering going down the side of the page as described above.

I’m sure you’re wondering why there is no “t” or “i” in the photo.  I wanted those two letters to be centered in amongst the other “wider” letters.  I placed them on the sticker sheet for spacing purposes and then removed them prior to adhering the title to the page.  I went back afterwards and placed them just where I wanted.

This is the result.

You can see in the photo I have overlapped my photos on the page.  I had a very hard time doing that when I began.  I thought it might be “wrong.”  Guess what?


There are no scrapbook police who will breaking down your door in the middle of the night demanding to see your layouts to determine whether or not they are done “right.”  Nobody’s gonna haul you off to the scrapbook pokey.  The definition of right in scrapping is “if it’s right for you, it’s right.  Period.”  Hee hee hee!  I just made that up!  But seriously, there is no right or wrong way to do things here.  It is solely what appeals to you. 

That said, let’s wrap this project up.  I chose stickers from the two packages I had that “worked” best for me and the story I wanted to tell.  I used the word “sand” from the flat sheet along with the 3-D starfish, sand pail and beach ball.  There was also a popsicle in the 3-D pack that I did not use.  The Sesame Street song “One of these things is not like the others….” was running through my head.  To me, the starfish communicated the beach as did the sand pail and the fact that my bathing beauties were playing in the sand by writing their names.  I used the beach ball because, well because I liked the splash of color it added.  

 Here’s the finished layout.

WE DID IT!  We worked together step by step and completed your first layout!  How do you feel?  Excited?  Proud? 

I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.  You faced a creative challenge head on and came out a winner!  I would love to hear from you how you feel the process went.  Did you like it?  Will you try it again?  Are you hooked beyond all hope?

Thanks for scrapping along with me today.  I had a great time.  Until we meet again,

Mama Donna

Scrappus Interruptus

So you know how you make a list?  Have every intention of completing it from start to finish?  Then….. bah bah baaahhhhhh…. life gets in the way?  That’s what happened last week.  Let me share.

Monday – Computer Guy leaves for his home office in Milwaukee for the week.  He’s not scheduled to get home until Friday evening.  I have the whole week to create and photograph our first scrapbook project.  Did I say photograph?  Yup, I did.  Well you see, Computer Guy had a surprise for me up his sleeve.  Last weekend he took me out and purchased a new digital SLR camera for me.  Lots of new stuff for me to learn and fiddle around with.

Tuesday – After spending Monday cleaning house and playing with my new toy, I decided I had better cut out the dress I intended to sew and wear to a wedding on Saturday.  Spent the early afternoon pinning, cutting and ironing.  Migraine hit – the rest of the day spent on the sofa.

Wednesday – Needed to actually SEW the dress.  Had carefully measured (twice – yup, I’m one of those people).  Sewed and sewed and sewed.  Installed the most beautiful looking zipper in my life.  Aaaaahhhhh, perfection!  Got to the point where I could try it on before sewing the last two seams.  Pulled it over my head.  ARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!  It doesn’t FIT!  Too freakin small (even though it’s the size of a circus tent).  Spent the rest of the day crying and moping.  Decided to take frustration out on the lawn and spent a couple hours “angry mowing.”  When I get angry, I tend to do physical things like angry floor scrubbing, angry vacuuming, angry window washing.  I have discovered; however, angry dish washing and angry dusting tend to lead to angry broken stuff, so I try and avoid those activities.

Thursday –  Still mad about the dress and now I am “broken” from all the angry mowing (see Wednesday).  Fibromyalgia has flared up bad and am having trouble holding a pencil.  Migraine hits around noon.  Lay down in my bed to watch an episode of “Hoarders.”  I am so disturbed by the episode I get up and clean out my sock drawer and my t-shirt drawers.  Creativity has flown out the window.

Friday – Today I have a ton to accomplish.  Fibro has calmed down a bit and head is at a manageable level.  Start on to-do list.  Don’t get very far before I’m wrecked again.  Spend most of the afternoon reading The Pioneer Woman blog (which is fabulous and hilarious, by the way).  Computer Guy is scheduled to arrive at 4:30 – just in time to swing by Nearly Son-In-Law’s birthday celebration and then attend a wedding rehearsal dinner.  Computer Guy’s plane is late and so are we.

Saturday – We are scheduled to attend the wedding of a dear friend’s daughter at 3:00.  Trying to get ready, but head and body not cooperating, so need to take a lot of breaks.  We make it to the wedding on time, and it was BEAUTIFUL.  Reception afterward where we had a delicious meal and lots of laughs.  Computer Guy and I get to dance to “Brown-Eyed Girl.”  Computer Guy calls this “my song” because I am his brown-eyed girl.  Anywhere he is in the country, when he hears it playing, he calls and sings it to me.  I LOVE Computer Guy!

Which brings me to today, Sunday.  Need to spend some time up in my studio cleaning up the disasterous mess from my unfinished dress and find some open space in which to create our first project.  Also need to gather my photos and supplies.  I promise I’ll be posting our project this week.  Until then, no more angry mowing for this scrapper!

Mama Donna

I Have Ten Bazillion Photos – How Do I Choose? Help!!!!

We all have one or more lurking in our basement or closet…..


Relax, we’re not going to tackle this job today!

What we are going to do is to choose some photos for our first scrapbook page ever.  I just heard a giant roar from all of your “Hermans” out there.  Ok, everyone, tell him to hush and go sit in the corner.  Maybe give him a cookie to keep him quiet.

Now that you have your basic tools and are ready to begin, you find you are lacking one thing – photos.  How do you choose?  Let Mama Donna offer some advice.

For your first project I would suggest that you do not start with heirloom family photos.  Nor would I suggest starting with the 8,000 photos you took on your trip to Disney World.  Let’s begin small, manageable, non-Herman-like. 

Today we are going to think about digital photos.  You know, all those pics you have on your computer hard drive or still in your digital camera?  Why?  Because you can print as many of them as you need.  I want your first scrapbooking experience to be fun, worry-free and joyful.  If you are panicked you are going to ruin a priceless family photo, there will be “no joy in Mudville.”  If you make a mistake or your page doesn’t turn out the way you want, you can just print another copy(ies) of your photos and try again.  You won’t be out a ton of money and grandma’s wedding photo will still be intact.

How are you going to choose from the ten bazillion digital photos you have?  Start by browsing through them.  See those great shots of your camping weekend last year?  How about the day your baby lost their first tooth?  Remember the day the whole family had a bbq and played volleyball?  Yesterday your flower garden was in full bloom and you took some great shots?  How about that time Rover turned from white to green when he rolled in the freshly cut grass?  You are looking for one single, manageable event.  Doesn’t have to be a milestone or something life-changing, just something with meaning for you.

Let’s pretend you want to showcase Rover’s day.  What story do you want to tell?  Do you have a shot of him chasing the mower, then rolling in the grass, then one of him standing looking all sheepish and green?  Maybe you just have the one of him where he is green.  The point is, whatever you have you can work with.  Print out Rover’s picture(s).  Most of the time you’ll want to work with standard-size prints (4 x 6), but feel free to print whatever size works for you.

You are probably reliving the day of Rover’s transformation by now.  That’s a good thing.  What were you thinking?  “Houston we have a problem!  Look at my Martian mutt!  Typical Rover.”  Guess what?!? You have just thought of a title for your page!  Who knew?  You haven’t even touched a piece of paper yet and you’re already thinking like a scrapper!

Now, armed with your photo(s), you are going to make a trek to buy some paper.  Your trek can be in the car or on the web, doesn’t matter.  Why are you taking your photos with you?  Because you can “audition” them on the paper in the store.  You can hold them up against the paper and see if that paper “works” for you.  Maybe you find a piece of cardstock (that’s the heavier, single-colored paper) the exact same shade as the grass or the same shade as the non-Martian Rover.  Oh look!  There is a piece of paper with grass printed right on it!  Hmmmmm… if I put the grass paper right behind the photo and then put that on top of the cardstock that is the color of Rover – it looks GREAT!

I can heaaaarrrr youuuuu!  You’re thinking, “Oh big deal. I have two pieces of paper.  Boooorrrinnngggg!”  Yup, I agree, it is.  That’s why you are now rounding the corner of the paper aisle into an aisle full of ….. STICKERS!  Who ever thought there could be so many stickers!?  Breathe here.  As you make your way down the aisle, you notice the stickers are arranged mostly by theme.  Hey!  There’s the section with pet stuff in it and it’s right next to the section with outdoor stuff!  Here’s a package with a tree, and a lawnmower!  Here’s a package with a silly looking dog!  Now you’re in the groove.  Don’t go too crazy here.  Choose one or two packages containing stickers that help tell your story. 

You’re on your way out of the aisle when you stop dead in your tracks.  There is approximately a mile-and-a-half of alphabet stickers.  Remember that clever title you thought of?  Alphabet stickers are a great way to spell it out.  Look at your photos, paper and stickers.  There is going to be an alphabet in a font style and color to go with your theme.  Before you grab one, check to be sure it has enough of the letters you will need to spell your title.  If it’s Martian Dog – you just need to be sure the package has 2 letter “A”‘s in it as all the other letters in the title are used only once.  Your title can be in all caps, all lower case, or a mixture of both – it is up to you.

Congratulations!  You have just chosen the supplies to create your first layout.  I am so proud of you!  You should be proud too!

Next time we are going to create your first layout EVER!  Can’t wait!

Until then,

Mama Donna



Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…..

A very good place to start

When you read you begin with A-B-C…

When you scrap you begin with a few things which are key…..


When I began my scrapping adventure, I found myself standing in the aisle of the craft store thinking, “Good Grief!  There’s so much stuff!  Where do I start?  What do I NEED?”  I was terrified of buying a bunch of useless stuff.  I was afraid of making a huge financial investment only to discover I didn’t like to scrap (I guess I didn’t have to worry about that one!).  Fear not my friends.  Mama Donna is here to help you get on your way and to help begin to make friends with your Herman.

Following is a list of what I consider to be the bare minimum in terms of tools you will need to get you started:

  • A paper trimmer
  • A pair of micro-tip scissors
  • A tweezer
  • A tape runner
  • An archival pen
  • Paper and/or cardstock

Extra items you may wish to have but are not absolutely critical:

  • A Xyron sticker maker
  • 3-D foam squares/dots
  • A bone folder

Ok, now that you have your shopping list, you may wonder what the heck it is you are buying.  Let’s go through the items one by one and I’ll explain them and tell you my personal favorites.

  • Paper trimmer – this contraption lets you cut your paper or cardstock into exact sizes.  It comes with a ruler printed right on it and will cut perfectly straight lines.  It has a replaceable blade which you can change out when the current one becomes dull.  There are tons of trimmers out there, but I have found my favorite to be the Fiskars brand.  They are easy to find and the replacement blades are easy to find as well as inexpensive.
  • Micro-tip scissors – these are the size of “kiddy scissors,” are very sharp and have very pointy ends.  They are indispensible for cutting around intricate shapes, cutting ribbon, etc.  I have tried several types, and my favorite is the Cutter Bee brand.  They have the sharpest, pointiest ends and work best for me.  They also come with a protective cover for the blades so I don’t stab myself with them.
  • Tweezer – you wouldn’t think so, would you?  Tweezers come in soooo handy when you are dealing with tiny objects and trying to place them on your layout.  They are great for placing stickers, tiny rhinestones, letters, etc.  My favorite tweezer is the Tweezer Bee brand (made by the same company who makes the micro-tip scissors).  These tweezers squeeze to OPEN, have very, very pointy tips that will hold the tiniest embellishments, and can double as a hole puncher when you are trying to make a “pilot hole” to insert brads.
  • Tape runner – a what?  A tape runner is basically a hand-held dispenser with double-sided sticky tape in it.  You put the end of the runner on your paper, pull it towards yourself, and it dispenses a line of “sticky” on your paper.  This is how you glue everything together.  You will find nearly as many kinds of tape runners out there as there are people who use them.  Some of these are refillable, some are not.  Everyone has their own favorite type.  That being said, the one I found worked best for me and that formed the best bond is the one made by Tombow.  In many stores it is marketed under the brand “The Craft Collection.”  A word of caution here – when I began scrapping I used a less expensive “repositionable” tape runner.  I found that over time (a year or so), the bond between the paper gave out and I had an album filled with falling apart photos and embellishments.  I have had to re-glue lots of stuff.  The repositionable stuff says it eventually forms a permanent bond, but I did not find that to be true.  Verrrry frustrating to have to re-do your hard work.  Whatever brand you choose, be sure to buy “permanent” adhesive (it is marked on the packaging).  You will thank yourself later.
  • An archival pen – used for writing on your pages.  Again, there are tons brands out there.  I use a Zig Memory Writer.  It is like a super-fine-tipped Sharpie marker that won’t bleed through your paper.  I have several colors, but use the black one almost exclusively.  Choose what makes sense for you.
  • Paper and/or Cardstock – this is where it gets fun, fun, fun!  There are lots and lots of ways to go here.  I’d like to suggest that for your first project you find a “paper/page kit.”  In these kits, the papers all go together and they usually come with a few stickers and alphabet letters.  By purchasing a kit, you don’t have to worry about matching papers, what goes with what and having to buy lots of embellishments (stickers, bling, etc.).  If you feel adventerous, choose 6-10 individual sheets of printed papers and 6-10 sheets of cardstock that goes with them.  You can also purchase paper pads, packs of assorted cardstock, etc.  It’s all up to you.  On a side note, paper typically comes in 6 inch by 6 inch sheets (most likely sold in a pad), 8 1/2 x 11 sheets (your standard computer paper size) and 12 x 12 sheets.  You will have to make some decisions here.  There are not a lot of 6 x 6 albums available.  Most albums come in 8 x 8, 8 1/2 x 11 and 12 x 12.  There are advantages and disadvantages to all sizes.  Using 8 x 8 or 8 1/2 x 11 you are not able to get as many pictures on a page, so you may have to make more pages; however, there can be less “blank” space left over to fill with journaling, embellishments, etc.  Going with a 12 x 12 size is great if you have a lot of photos or want lots of room for journaling and embellishments.  Also, the vast majority of scrapbook paper is sold in the 12 x 12 size, so there is not a lot of trimming your paper and winding up with a ton of scraps leftover.  I exclusively use 12 x 12 albums for all of my personal scrapbooking.  If I am making an album to give as a gift, I typically make an 8 x 8.  The choice is yours.

And now for the extras:

  • Xyron Sticker Maker – this nifty little device (it is the pink X-shaped thingy in the photo) is awesome.  You feed your bits of paper, letters, small pictures, etc. into the top, give the paper tab on the bottom a pull, and when everything has passed through and you tear off the tab, your pieces are coated with adhesive on the back and turned into a sticker!  This works amazingly well when you have lots of small pieces that are hard to get adhesive on using the tape runner, and it is refillable!
  • 3-D Foam Squares/Dots – applying these little gems to the back of your embellishment will “lift” it up when you apply it to your page.  These are great for adding a little dimension to your embellishments.  Lots of brands of these are available.  I prefer buying the pre-cut squares or circles versus the rolls of 3-D tape.  This is just my personal preference.  It makes me cranky to have to cut lengths off the rolls and it gunks up my scissors.
  • Bone folder – I use this almost exclusively with my sticker maker.  Before I peel off the filmy layer (we’ll go over this later), I trace around each shape with the bone folder.  This helps the excess sticky adhere to the film and not to your sticker.  The bone folder also works great for making super-sharp creases in your paper.

So what’s the bottom line to all these supplies?

Let’s do some quick math:

  • Paper Trimmer – $15 – $20
  • Scissors – $8 – $10
  • Tweezer – $7 – $8
  • Tape Runner – $6 – $8
  • Archival Pen – $2 – $4
  • Paper/Cardstock
  • Xyron Sticker Maker – $10 – $11
  • 3-D Foam Squares – $2
  • Bone Folder – $6 – $8

Total Cost:  $56 – $71 not including your paper. 

To help defray this cost even further, watch for sales in your area.  I am very fortunate to have a Michael’s, JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby in my area, and they regularly offer excellent sales along with 40% off coupons. is a great place to buy the basics online as is  WalMart and Target typically carry a small line of supplies.  There are also tons of great scrapbooking websites out there with very reasonable prices.  Remember that if you decide not to pursue this passion, there are tons of ways to use up what you have purchased and to use the things like the paper trimmer, scissors and tweezer in your household.

Next time I’ll discuss choosing photos for your first project.  It will be easier than you think!

Happy supply shopping!

Mama Donna

The T-Rex in the Room

There is a T-Rex in the room!  Shhhhhh!  Maybe if we don’t move, it won’t see us…. 

Rats!  I moved and now it sees me!

Ok, so let’s make friends with this T-Rex.  I assume his name is “Fear.”  He tells me his name is Herman.  He tells me that even though he may look big and scary, he is really a good guy.  I just need to get to know him.

I believe FEAR is what keeps so many people from enjoying so many things.  If you are anything like I was, it was this FEAR  that kept me from trying scrapbooking.  I was afraid of so many things – what if my paper doesn’t exactly match, what if I make a HUGE investment and then hate it, what if I don’t do it “right,” what will the experienced scrappers think of my feeble attempt, what if I wreck my pictures…?????  The list was nearly endless.  Then I made a friend who encouraged me to face my FEAR and make friends with it.  I did.  Turns out, my fear’s name is Herman.

Now, instead of running from Herman and trying to hide, I gladly face him head-on and welcome him into my studio.  Herman challenges me to go outside of my comfort zone, to think outside the box and to try new things.  Once in a while he still scares the creative bejeebers out of me, but I just tell him to “back off” and stop shouting. 

In the following days and weeks, I intend to introduce you to your Herman.  I will be providing step-by-step directions in how to begin:  what tools you will need (and you won’t have to break your bank account), WHERE to begin and  HOW to begin.  Through my personal trial and error I will share what has worked for me, what hasn’t, and suggest things that may work for you.  I want to share with you how wonderfully exciting this hobby (o.k. obsession) can be and where it can take you.

For now, think about your Herman. 

Get to know him. 

Shake his hand. 

Embrace him. 

Remember that even a scaly dinosaur needs love and acceptance too!

Mama Donna