Scrap It Real – Simple Scrapbooks


Redefining Scrapbooking for Every Woman

Simple Scrapbooks Get Results

Quick question for you: How many scrapbook layouts have you created this month?

Two? Ten? None? As it stands, the number one answer I get when I ask this question is "Who has time?" Sad, but true. So many women are bombarded with the realities of running a business, household, and life that we struggle to find time to slow down long enough to pull out our fabulous supplies and get some scrappin’ done. Even when we do get motivated enough to pull out our supplies, sometimes scrapper’s block, comparison, and feeling overwhelmed prevent us from making much, if any, progress.

For this week, I’d like to invite you to take a look at one simple scrapbook solution that I found. It’s just one solution, there are many other options, but find one that works for you and fits your style…and get those pages done! Always remember that it’s not the stickers, the die cuts, the paint, the chalk or the paper that our families will cherish in years to come…it’s the time, energy, and personal attention that we gave to capturing and preserving precious lives of loved ones. Keep your focus and find your simple strategy.

Frontpage My solution for the backlog of photos that were taken before I began scrapbooking is to use a "cheater" album like the Creative Memories PicFolio. (I’m not a CM consultant nor do I sell their products, this is simply the album I found to work for me. There are others on the market for you to consider as well.) This album may look like a traditional photo album at first glance, but here’s what I like about it:

1. Gorgeous matte-leather black cover that is smooth to the touch and carries a lifetime guarantee.
2. Neutral interior that works with any project.
3. Flexibility to add photos, journaling, titles and accents in different size sleeves.
4. Color and patterned paper in a variety of families that coordinate with the album.
5. Completed albums in less time and for less money.

The end results are pages that highlight your photos, have splashes of color and plenty of room for journaling, titles and embellishments. You can add as much detail as you want so the options are really unlimited.

When I first brought my blank album to the local scrapbook store for crop night, I was met with mild enthusiasm. Secretly, (I was told later) the scrappers thought it was just another photo album and not a scrapbook at all. Oh the horror of it! They were a little more interested by the end of the night when they saw that I took 2 years worth of photos from when my daughter was a toddler and had them in the album along with a little color and patterned paper. I didn’t have to crop or cut my photos because they were all 4 x 6 or smaller and fit in the album perfectly.


Two weeks later, when I returned for crop night to the same store with the same scrappers, I spent time adding titles, journaling boxes, and embellishments. By the end of the night, my completed album had converted the hesitant ones into believers. No one likes feeling guilty about not preserving and treasuring our photos, but finding the time to do a full-fledged album with little ones at home or a full-time job (or both) can feel overwhelming and unrealistic. That’s why I gave myself (and you) permission to use a “cheater” album. Your cheating may be like mine or it may be preserving your photos in digital photo books or traditional albums. We’ll talk more about those options later. Please remember we’re not talking about designer pages to be published in a magazine. We’re talking about completed pages and albums that our families (and ourselves) can sit down and enjoy!

The key to remember is that there definitely is a place for simple scrapbooks in our lives and on our shelves. We’re not in competition, nor are we going to count how many albums you have complete at the end of your days. Scrapbooking, memory making, and preserving a legacy are for you and future generations. Allow it to be as unique as your personality and don’t get stuck in a rut.

For me, simple scrapbooks work with my older photographs that I just want to get in albums. I’ll save the more artistic pages for current photos and my son’s baby album. It’s a practical solution to a real problem: photo backlog.

If you’d like to start a simple scrapbook, here’s what you need:

  • “Cheater” Album (CM PicFolio, Scrapworks Bay Box)
  • Patterned Paper (acid free): use a matching color palette for your entire album to make life easier. You can find paper packs at any local craft and hobby store or online at
  • Paper Trimmer or Scissors
  • Adhesive (scrapbook safe): find at your local craft store. I use UHU adhesives because I love their quality. Glue rollers or tape runners are ideal.
  • Photos: choose the best photos to include in your albums. Leave the rest in storage. It’s about remembering the moment, not every out of focus or dark shot you took. If you need to get them printed, do it now. Upload them to a site like Kodak Gallery or take a CD into your local Long’s, Costco, or Walmart.
  • Embellishments: once you get your photos in with patterned paper, then take your album and see where you can add titles, journaling, and embellishments. Whether it’s a beach ball or some palm trees, keep it simple. Add just enough and then move on to the next page or album.

It’s that easy. You can find a solution that fits you and have a complete album two weeks from now. No more guilt, no more talking about doing something, take some action. When you do, leave a note in the comments so we can all celebrate with you!


  1. says

    What a great idea, Tawsra. I’m one of those “scrapping dropouts.” I have a great album of my daughter’s first 2 years, as well as 3 years in that time of our life, and half of our vacations in a third album. I think for me it worked at that time in my life, and it was social (my CM consultant lived down the street and had monthly crops).

    I’m all about the simplicity now, but I LOVE this idea. I hadn’t even seen these albums before.

  2. says

    Thanks so much for the tips!!! I am currently trying to organize 2 years worth of photos so I can get back into scrapbooking. I miss it and am going to try to set aside weekly to scrap again. That CM book looks like it will be a lifesaver.

  3. says

    I was a consultant for 2 years, and I NEVER saw more enthusiasm than when the PicFolio line came out. Seriously. People went nuts. Now, they also have a cream and a red version. I’m no longer a consultant, but knowing what I know about those albums, I have to back your recommendation based on my own experience of seeing my customers preserve 160 photos in about 3 hours. Crazy.

    Thanks for the other tips as well! As a former consultant, I feel like I have a lot to learn about other sources, since CM is what got me into it in the first place.

  4. says

    LOL ~ guess this is my route as I have 26 years (my oldest’s life) of photos to place into albums, and then there’s my 12, almost 10 & 9 yos entire lives. *gasp* I know, somebody just shoot me now. :(

    On a happier note, I do frame and display my best photos. :)

  5. Sherry says

    OH, what a wonderful post this is! I am in the “overwhelmed” category, which keeps me from getting a lot of layouts done in a timely manner. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. This album looks like a great idea; I will have to check one out from my CM consultant.
    One trick that does work for me is to scrap a section, event, or theme at a time; then go back at a later time and do the embellishing (as you suggested). For me, it helps ensure that the page is all about the photo, not the fancy extras.
    Thanks for the scrapping post; keep em coming!

  6. says

    Oh, thank you so much for this post! I have been married for 8 years, and I have SO MANY PICTURES from the end of college until now that I have piled inside their photo envelopes in an end table. Not to mention the digital photos on the computer that haven’t been printed.

    Now to just commit a little time a day to it!

  7. says

    I love this idea. I have boxes of pics and it’s hard to know where to start. I have tried to keep up with all 3 of my kids pics but when you have three kids under the age of 4, alone time for scrapping is hard to come by.

  8. Susan says

    If I can ever make time to scrapbook, I’ll definitely have to go this route. Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. Laura says

    The CM ‘cheater’ album definitely helped with our vacation pics from 2 years ago. I am a shutterbug and had over 500 pics from our trip and felt overwhelmed with how to scrap them. Given, that I usually get about 40 pages a year done (when I get to go away for a crop weekend or two) it would take about 2 years of scrapping time just to do this vacation. HOWEVER, I must be the slowest scrapper alive because it took me just the one day to pick out the photos that would go in the album, put them in an order that made sense and temporarily place them in but I had to spend another day or so just cropping the pix (already 4 x 6) so that there would be room for a boarders, matts and/or accents. I’ve actually “finished” only about 6 pages of the album with titles and embellishments but at least all the pictures are in a book ready to be embellished when time permits and can be paged through-beats having them in a photo box for the next couple of years!

    I did discover another way to scrap much faster…It’s a set of books from Close to My Heart called ‘Cherish’ and ‘Imagine’ (I am not a CTMH consultant). The great things about these books is (1)There is an index in the front of each book which allows you to find a layout to match the numbers of photos you have and (2)The books give the exact measurements you need for the pitures as well as the decorative paper and cardstock. Just thought I’d pass this along.


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