Guest Post : Storytelling Frames by Elizabeth Kartchner


In a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living there was an article about a little girl's birthday party where they displayed a wall of "scrapboxes." Right then, I tore out the pages and was ecstatic to start celebrating my daughter's memories in a frame. Yeah, I know it is reminiscent of shadow boxes and can be considered quite cheesey, but hey, who doesn't like cheese? ;) Honestly though it is a fun and creative way to document and showcase pieces of my daughter's lives.

Think of it as your own storytelling wall. What story do you want to tell? What stories do you want your children to remember each day?


First, choose a wall to decorate. Because of the content of the frames I settled on a wall in my daughter's play room. I'm so glad I did because my oldest daughter was completely elated when she walked in and saw all these wonderful memories. Her eyes got so big as she recalled horse back riding for the first time, one of her drawings, so I know she will enjoy seeing the pictures everyday.

Next, gather decor pieces including frames, photos and some mementos.
The white frames are from Ikea with about 1 3/4 depth which gives a great space to fill with keepsakes. Here are a few ideas I used in my frames.


Pair a favorite toy with a favorite memory. Think of a photo/story/toy that illustrates something your child loves at the moment. Or if your child has grown think of something they loved and possibly shaped who they've become.
For my daughter it is animals. She loves animals and one of her happiest moments was riding a pony for the first time. Her smile says it all. I included several horse figurines that she loved to play with but has grown tired of. Of course once she saw them in the frame they looked so fun again. Thankfully, I was prepared with others she could play with.



This is often my favorite keepsake to showcase in our home. I don't think we realize how much it means to our kids when they see that your hung their school work on the fridge or display it in your studio. I included crayons for added color and playful touch.



One of my favorite memories is having tea parties with my daughter. I included actual teacups glued inside the frame. I took out the glass because they wouldn't fit with it but was still happy with the result. I printed the photo in black and white so it wouldn't compete too much with the other colors. Lastly, I added a couple of rub ons from my line craft line, Dear Lizzy.



Since my daughter's famous rain boots couldn't quite fit in the frame, I though of the next best thing... her sunglasses. She adores wearing her shades, so much that when I was making this frame she wandered off with them despite the fact that they don't fit her anymore. I will replace it with the originals once I find the treasure hunt she's put me on. You could also include clothing, swimsuits, newborn outfits, hats or even shoes.



I love that children create an attachment to their favorite books and want to read them over and over. Not only do they remember the story but all the fun times you spend together reading. I included a strip of photos of my daughter reading with the date and title of book, "Pinkalicious." You can tell this book was loved and it was okay to frame this one since it has been replaced with a new one.



In my studio I have a cloth box from KOLO where I store nostalgia and pieces of our adventures. In this frame I included a photo from a carousel ride, tickets I saved, & embellished with a flower by Prima. The options are endless for items in this category including: clothing tags, movie tickets, menus, postcards and love notes.



Along with the frames I added decor pieces and vintage keepsakes from my childhood including Disneyland records my Mom saved all these years and a vintage camera from my Grandpa.

Other decor items include a clipboard with favorite quote that I can switch out easily, some old photobooth pictures of my little brother, a retro record album, an old cuckoo clock, some Instax photos, a silhouette, "&" from Anthropologie, and finally some music note fabric.

Usually I spend my time preserving memories and telling fond stories with my scrapbook pages, but creating this wall-sized scrapbook page will definitely be one of my favorite "layouts." :)

ABOUT LIZ : Elizabeth Kartchner first started scrapbooking at 5th grade camp and has loved it ever since. She was happily surprised to win Creating Keepsakes magazine's Scrapbooker of the Year in 2007. This evolved into writing a monthly column for CK called Dear Lizzy. Late 2009 she released an inspiring book, "52 more Scrapbooking Challenges."
Dear Lizzy recently took on a new adventure as a product designer in collaboration with American Crafts. Her Spring line released January 2010 with crochet flowers, fabric paper, ruffle ribbon and charm. She also is the co-founder of an event called Spark, a gathering of creative women. The most important part of her life is her family. She has two little girls and a hilarious husband who supports her every step of the way. Check out her blog, Dear Lizzy, for eye candy and crafting fun.

65 thoughts

  1. Helen Tilbury

    2010-03-29 11:37:31 -0400

    Elizabeth you are an inspiration to us all. Glad you are no longer under the weather ;-D

  2. tchrtiff

    2010-03-29 12:25:41 -0400

    Love it!

  3. Kristen

    2010-03-29 12:36:01 -0400

    What a great idea! Also, would make for a thoughtful gift.

  4. hooligansmom

    2010-03-29 12:36:37 -0400

    Great, great, great ideas...thanks for posting..makin' me think, think, think...

  5. Terri

    2010-03-29 13:05:04 -0400

    Oh, my. I am all over this as a Christmas gift for each of my brothers. We have many mementos from our deceased parents and I can see very specific ones for each brother. They are single and have their own homes with walls to decorate.
    Thank you so much for posting here. I would never have thought of this myself!

  6. kay drenth

    2010-03-29 13:53:39 -0400

    I would have NEVER thought to do this! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  7. Jeannette A

    2010-03-29 13:56:59 -0400

    I LOVe LOVE LOVE THIS!!! As an artist & art teacher~~LOVE the crayons as an added touch!!!~~and I knew that was Pinkalicious! My daughter loves that book so much that we are using it as a theme for her birthday! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Amy

    2010-03-29 14:31:36 -0400

    Wow! I love those ideas for wall decorations. That is such a clever idea!

  9. dawn

    2010-03-29 15:22:56 -0400

    I honestly can't remember where I saw a similar idea, but I made a shadow box a few months ago with my daughter's first tutu and a photo of her during her first dance lesson:)

  10. dawn

    2010-03-29 15:23:50 -0400

    oh, one more I did was a painting my 13 year old made with his watercolor paints and the actual box of watercolor paints with his name written on the clear cover of the Crayola paintbox!

  11. Deb

    2010-03-29 16:40:17 -0400

    I love the idea with the crayons and the picture that is great!

  12. patsy

    2010-03-29 17:29:09 -0400

    Truly a labor of love! It's beautiful! I'm sure the kids love it!

  13. Jessi

    2010-03-30 00:51:47 -0400

    Love those frames and the extra special touches you clever adn not cheesy at all!! I love the crayons and the little teacups...and my son and daughter have the same book read to them every night!! Love, Jess

  14. PJ

    2010-03-30 03:07:41 -0400

    I love these! :) When I have my space,I will definitely do this :D

  15. Nicole Renee

    2010-03-30 03:15:30 -0400


  16. nitasha

    2010-03-30 03:52:55 -0400

    Beyond cute...but I must say I let out a little squeal of my own when I saw the Disneyland records...OmGoodness- brings back so many memories- I use to play those over and over on my little rainbow record player- I wish I would have known to keep some of my childhood treasures because now they are vintage cute! Wow- thanks for the quick trip down memory lane!

  17. Cindy Baker

    2010-03-30 04:21:47 -0400

    I saw the same article in "Martha" and was so inspired to start creating "scrapboxes"...I have bought several shadowbox frames and can't wait to start creating my own scrapboxes! I LOVE this idea!
    Your boxes turned out darling!
    Thanks for even more inspiration...and for the tip about getting the frames at IKEA!

  18. Amy Beaver

    2010-03-30 14:50:22 -0400

    So fabulously amazing!! I ADORE it all!! I am jealous lol!! This is SO absolutely on my top next project list...this is too great to pass up! TFS!

  19. Dunia

    2010-03-30 20:50:01 -0400

    Does anyone know where can I buy those white frames?

  20. Liza Hall

    2010-03-30 22:43:27 -0400

    You have beautiful pictures you should be so proud of what you have achieved
    Could you send me pictures of your work cause I don,t copy or paste unless I ask that I can
    Thank you real name Sadie

  21. ScrapMomOf2

    2010-03-31 03:26:55 -0400

    I am in love with this idea! My girls are teens (well, one is a pre-teen), and this would be fab for them too! Ideas are swirling around in my head! I'm going to turn this into a garage sale hunting mission for frames!! YES! ♥

  22. Michelle Clement

    2010-03-31 07:36:09 -0400

    Wow!! What a stunning project! :) Elizabeth is a genius! It's just gorgeous - all the details are so perfect!

  23. procrastinationmama

    2010-03-31 11:37:46 -0400

    Amazing. So cool to see the 'pinkalicious' book in the box as this is my girly's fav book too.

  24. Hope

    2010-04-02 10:09:05 -0400

    i have loved when i have seen items hung low in a child's room. SO! since the space was a child's playroom with a child's things i personally would have hung all of these items a lower.

  25. Laurie

    2011-02-28 14:11:04 -0500

    Great job! Your wall looks so fresh and fun. I love decorating with empty frames as well. I have 6 DIY decorated walls ideas over on my site.

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