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  • shannanmanton

The Rules Are..There Are No Rules

My elevator-pitch definition of scrapbooking would simply be:

Telling a story with photos and words on a piece of paper.

When I picture a standard scrapbook page, it's:

//one or more photographs

//a title

//some journaling

//some decorative embellishments like stamps or stickers

But there are so many ways to make pages & projects outside of these parameters and sometimes breaking the 'rules' can help you get out of a scrapbooking rut. Trying something different always energises me.

My mantra: you don't have to do it like everyone else.


No matter the story, I can usually find, or take, a photo to go along with it - even if it's from an event where I didn't take photos or from an older story. Sometimes though, it's nice to forgo the photos and just stick with the story. When I'm looking at a scrapbook album as a whole, it's nice to have some photo-free pages to break up the constant stream of images. Photo free pages also work well when you have a lot to say.

When making a layout without photos, the words are usually the focus. Embellishments are also great additions - the perfect excuse to use a whole sheet of that beautiful patterned paper.


Just print a full size photo and write or stick things on top. Photos with a lot of empty space are perfect for some journaling.


I am a fan of making super simple pages. You don't need to have the latest Summer themed kit to make a page about your Summer. You don't need products to be able to tell a story.


There are so many different sizes to scrapbook - 12x12, 8.5x11, 6x8, pocket pages, travelers' notebooks, mini books, mini albums. Changing sizes always re-energises me - I was a huge fan of 6x8 (HERE) and this year I am trying 5x8 so I can print as a book. Just because you are working on a particular size doesn't mean that you have to scrapbook that size forever or that you can't make pages in different sizes. Make a mini book now and then. It's fun.


It's OK to stop a project in the middle if it's no longer bringing you joy. We've all started something with good intentions and gusto only to find that it's no longer working for us and has becomes a chore. Put it aside for another time, call it good and be happy with only half a year, or bin the whole thing and move on to the next thing that excites you.


Digital scrapbooking is real scrapbooking. You don't need a lot of space or supplies beyond a computer or device, some digital products (or not) and an app or software that lets you play around with photos and words. Some of my digital pages take literally minutes to make. It's perfect for scrapbooking on the go or traveling and your digital pages can sit right along side your paper ones.


I like scrapbooking about my kids, but I love scrapbooking about myself. These are the pages that speak to me and bring me the greatest joy. These are the pages I'm uniquely qualified to tell.

I make my fair share of 'obligation pages' (first day of school, merit awards, birthdays, holidays). They have a place in my scrapbooks and in our family story but they are not always my favourite pages.

I would much rather make a page about the things that really excite me (my record player! Game of Thrones is coming back! I cooked an awesome dinner!) or that get me thinking (is this all there is? what does this season of life feel like for me? what habits do I really want to cultivate?). These pages are fun, give meaning to my life and help me sort out my feelings. Which leads me to...


Dig deep. Real deep. What's bothering you? Where do you see yourself heading? What are you grateful for? How are you going to solve that problem? Who do you want to be? Some of my favourite pages involve me diving into an issue and coming out the other side. Get sad, get angry, get messy but get real.

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