Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 5, 2010

Scrapbooking Stuff That Comes Home In His Backpack

Simon's backpack is a treasure chest.

At least once a week I find something pretty darn special inside that blue REI backpack he's had since kindergarten: handwriting samples (plentiful), drawings (few & far between), notes from teachers/aides, and sometimes wonderful little written or drawn sentiments that give a glimpse into his thoughts right now.

When I go through his backpack I
immediately decide to either keep or recycle the contents (and do it right then). Some days I
keep nothing and other days I feel like I have hit the jackpot in terms
of papers that can be used to tell his stories.

Last April I wrote a post called Organizing All The Stuff That Kids Bring Home From School (there were a ton of great ideas and suggestions in the comments of that post – definitely worth a read). In that post I talk about wanting to get to a certain place where as I go through the papers I immediately either add them to an album (just slipped into a page protector) or add them to a "to-make-something" pile on my desk. I'm still not quite there but I am getting closer. I have a to-make spot set-up (using a 12×12 Cropper Hopper Page Planner envelope to store the papers, artwork, etc I know I want to use) and I am making pages using those bits of life.

One of those bits of school life to make its way home on the bus last fall was the school-photo-option sheet you see in the layout today. I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate it into a layout at some point. I love that it has all those images (some of which are totally random), his name, etc. I knew that I wanted to pair it with different photo (something more "real life") and when I took this one of him working on his homework the other day it all clicked.

Here's a closer look:

On the right side the journaling was added directly to the photo in Photoshop and printed
here at home. You can do this same thing and have it printed at a

I did cut off the top of one of his returned worksheets and just used the portion with his name for the top of this layout. Don't be afraid to cut things up (most likely there is more where that came from) and on the flip side, don't be afraid to leave things whole just like I did on the first page.


Cosmo Cricket "The Boyfriend Homework Paper"
METAL #2 : Tim Holtz "Numerals"
CHIPBOARD "s" : American Crafts "Mustard Typo"
FABRIC BRAD : Sassafras Lass "Vintage Gems Brads"
RULER STICKER : October Afternoon "Report Card 12×12 Sticker Shapes"

Sponsor Giveaways coming early tomorrow morning. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  • 1.
    Monika T said…

    Hi Ali,
    This layout is so classic and timeless. You always continue to inspire us with all you do.
    Thank you!

  • 2.
    Suzette Mahoney said…

    so cute, Ali. Your blog is always first on my blog stops…always inspiring!

  • 3.
    Alida Post said…

    Loving these 2010 layouts as I do all your work.

  • 4.
    Amy said…

    Loving that you are sharing your layouts still. I, too, have lots of papers from schoolwork. I made the kindergarten album that you shared a while back and love the simplicity of it.
    Thanks so much!

  • 5.
    Jen said…

    Ali, you are such an inspiration…thank you for this layout. I have so many school treasures building up and I really didn’t know what to do with them…this is the perfect jumping off project.
    On another note – I love how shiny your table is in all the photos!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • 6.
    tania said…

    this post came at the perfect time! i have the whole day off and piles upon piles of school papers to tend to. i’m clearly interested in clicking over to re-read your organizing school papers post. i looooooooove how you’ve used the cutoff strip of just his name. so awesome.

  • 7.
    tara pakosta said…

    school papers are so dear to me. I especially LOVE how our school does a “writing notebook” and they do journal writing and stories in it for a grade. 2nd grade was the BEST because they got to write whatever they wanted! 3rd grade is not as fun because they just write about the books they are reading, but it’s still cute. I just LOVE seeing into their world! I found these cool thinner 8.5×11 bins at target with a snap on lid that I am using for each grade. so by the time they graduate they will have probably at least 8-12 depending on how many years I save stuff! Those bins work out perfectly because they aren’t too big or thick! I love how you incorporate your stuff into pages though! makes me want to pull it all out and give it a try! you are such an inspiration! tara

  • 8.
    Jacky S said…

    Just love these layouts.

  • 9.
    Tappin' Tamara said…

    Love the LO! You mention the backpack but another one of my favorite things is little boy’s pockets! When I do laundry I always find the strangest collection of things in my son’s pants!

  • 10.
    Denise Laborde said…

    The cutting up tip (Simon’s name in his own handwriting above the photo)is a great one! I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you.

  • 11.
    Leora said…

    This is so cool! Thanks for sharing!

  • 12.
    Leslie said…

    Will have to go back and look at that post. I have a pile of stuff that needs to be sorted. HOw lucky you are to start organized. I just kept things from each year, oldest being in 8th grade now. Because it isn’t really organized I haven’t really used much of it.
    And oh my! Is Simon really in second grade already?!! Time sure flies!

  • 13.
    Dana N said…

    We have huge piles of my daughters school work. I guess it’s time to sort through them and get scrapping (while I still remember the little stories). Any ideas on how to scrapbook each year? Would you ever consider making some digital templates for the store? I would buy them for sure! Enjoy your weekend!

  • 14.
    stephanie c said…

    thanks for the great ideas – and for validating that it’s okay to recycle stuff immediately if you don’t think it’s a treasure!

  • 15.
    Mary Rogers said…

    you are so darn creative ali!
    this is just fabulous and what a treasure for simon.

  • 16.
    Holly S said…

    I love how you incorportate Simon’s handwritten name on this layout! Love it!
    BTW, I adore the photo on today’s post at simple mom! (thanks to you for finding this blog for me-love it!)

  • 17.
    nic said…

    I think I love that you are not working for CK anymore – I come away from your blog with so much inspiration and joy – I love seeing your work!

  • 18.
    Linn said…

    Ali, you’ve totally inspired me in this area. Ever since I first saw you include a school worksheet in your album I’ve been saving little everyday pieces of artwork from my preschooler (you know, all that random art that doesn’t have a home) and put them right into my albums in page protectors. If it weren’t for you, it would have all been lost or hidden away in a box we’d never look at. Thank you for the great idea!

  • 19.
    Panamomma said…

    Great idea Ali. Super page as always. I have been scanning the things that I know we want to keep. I do still have lots of the little pages, most of my work is digital due to space constraints, so scanning is a necessity.

  • 20.
    Lynette said…

    This is just beautiful.

  • 21.
    Karen G said…

    I am literally drowing in what my kidlet brings home from school (and what the other produces at home, since she’s too young for school yet, but truly is a budding artist!)…..okay, so I’m not drowing, but my scrap desk is!! I’ll definitely have to go back and read your ‘organizing’ it post!! Really like the text on the large photo….I’ll have to try that! :>

  • 22.
    Jonnelle said…

    I have Alex’s proof sheet – I was going to cut it up and use all of the little pictures, but I like this better. Thanks for the idea!!

  • 23.
    Annette said…

    love it!!! what concentration on his face…..

  • 24.
    Emily said…

    Thanks for sharing these ideas. Simple, cute, cool.

  • 25.
    Deb J said…

    Such great ideas. YOu always have something new to inspire me and help me scrap outside of the box.

  • 26.
    Afusomax said…

    Before my littles started school I created an album for them K-12. Each layout is one year. They are all the same — a photo from the first day, photo from the last day, the school photo and a pocket for all those things that I don’t ever want to forget. (Like his essay on what he did this weekend. “I went to the beach with my dad and my little brothers. My mom stayed home and scrapped with Miss Laura and Miss Sarah”).
    With 3 kiddos it is an easy & organized way for me to keep track of their school careers.

  • 27.
    Michele H. said…

    One of my goals this year is to get a hold of the amount of stuff that comes home from school. I have a cute box for each of my girls and just toss things in there for future projects. This is the push that I needed!
    And love that Simon is using the same backpack from K. My Nyna (2nd grade too)still uses the orange pottery barn backpack from K. I think next year will be a different story. She’s starting to ask for a messenger bag:)

  • 28.
    Jenny W said…

    Love this layout. Thanks for the reminders and ideas about incorporating everyday stuff :)

  • 29.
    Suzette Mahoney said…

    Hi Ali. Linked you in my blog today. :)

  • 30. said…

    Hi Ali,
    Love the homework shot – what lens are you using?

  • 31.
    Yolanda said…

    Such an attractive layout. yet it feels so natural and real. I love the balance of candid shot with the collage of studio poses. But what I’m most impressed with is the color palette, the shades of orange sprinkled throughout. From the yellow-orange tape measure on the far left, the pale yellow Super Star note, the bright orange of Simon’s shirt on the left, the orange stripes on the right…it all works.

  • 32.
    Carrie P said…

    This came together so well, love it, and what a great way to capture the serious, staged and relaxed side of school.

  • 33.
    Tamara Nicole said…

    Awww what a good way to put a bunch of “things” together and keep them all organized! Lovely:-)

  • 34.
    Jean said…

    Fantastic way to weave in his handwriting and a terrific focal photo. Great story.

  • 35.
    Chelsea said…

    Ali, please do share what you do with things that Simon brings home that are odd sizes. I’ve thought about having them scanned at a local printing store and making them smaller to incorporate into a scrapbook, but I think the handwriting will be too hard to read. I’ve thought about framing it and not even adding to a scrapbook. Do you have any suggestions????

  • 36.
    Deb said…

    I like how you used his name for the top of the page. :)

  • 37.
    Mary A said…

    This is fantastic… I love when you do posts like this! Wondering about the details of the layouts, and how worried you are about acid-free qualities and etc. in the stuff Simon brings home. That is, for the proof sheet, for example — did you just incorporate that directly into your layout, or did you use a scan instead? Same for the yellow note — is that incorporated into the layout directly or by virtue of the magic of digital scrapbooking? It’s hard to tell what’s “real” and what’s part of the blog post. As always, thanks for all the inspiration!

  • 38.
    michelle said…

    LOVE it…more more school stuff—-LOVE it…this is the one area in scrapbooking that I feel overwhelmed and I keep too much—school. Really love this inspiration to toss and also to create. Beautiful!

  • 39.
    Teresa said…

    Great another idea! I always need another way to work with shcool work. I have a ton of it.! Thanks!!!!

  • 40.
    Melissa Mann said…

    love it!

  • 41.
    Ginny said…

    I thought about using that sheet this year w/ my 3rd grader. I thought it was so cute w/ all the different looks. Lifetouch has come a long way in pictures haven’t they? Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 42.
    BJ said…

    Thank You I’m not sure how I got here, but glad I did. I love what I have seen. Thanks again.

  • 43.
    Tanya said…

    This is great!! What a wonderful way treasure the little everyday things most people take for granted!! It’s recycling in a way, really…taking that which you might have thrown away as nothing special & used it to create art!! I love it!!!
    This weekend, I’m participating in the Create it Green Valentine Blog Hop, everyone on the Hop has used recycled items in their projects! I made a card using a scrap of Grungeboard & a coffee sleeve and created my own lettering from a cracker box for my LO title- it’s good fun!!
    Have a great weekend!

  • 44.
    Monique said…

    this is an absoloutely STUNNING way of using that backpack “stuff” .. you inspire me to look at things in a new way..
    thanks for all you do..

  • 45.
    Irma P. said…

    thanks Ali for the great idea about using the photo proof sheet! I’ll be lifting this ;)

  • 46.
    glee said…

    fabulous page, enjoyed hearing you on the podcast the other day (week??? i’ve lost track, too!)

  • 47.
    Cat said…

    thanks for sharing your ideas. even though i don’t have young children and school pages to scrap, your descriptions make it easy for me to use your ideas for other events.

  • 48.
    Nancy said…

    Thanks for the ideas! I don’t get to scrap as often as I’d like, since I’m the mom of 3 and a full-time teacher. Today’s post not only gives me ideas for managing my oldest daughter’s school “stuff”; but the shining star note is an idea I will begin using in my classroom! Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!!!

  • 49.
    jennifer said…

    Thanks for the idea! I haven’t seen that type of option from our photographer, but if I ever do I’ll definitely remember your ideas. Great tip to get rid of school papers RIGHT NOW. They really build up if you don’t.

  • 50.
    Alicia said…

    I LOVE the extra special touch with the top of his paper as the top of this! His handwritten name from a school project is a natural and fabulous embellishment!

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