Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

March 29, 2010

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.


  • 1.
    Amanda said…

    This was the best so far. Thanks Liz!

  • 2.
    Briana N. said…

    I loved that article in Martha- so cool to see Lizzy’s take on it! I was thinking about doing this in my own house- she definitely makes it look “do-able!”

  • 3.
    taniawillis said…

    SO fabulous liz! love every single thing about scrapbooking on the wall. that teal “&” is THE perfect accent to bring it all together.

  • 4.
    Molly Irwin said…

    Adorable! I especially like the carosel + tickets. The fair has become a big part of our kid’s summer memories so this really resonates with me. Thanks, Elizabeth!

  • 5.
    Elaine Allen said…

    Liz -
    This wall display of memories is just beautiful! I just love the way everything goes together. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Elaine Allen

  • 6.
    emily davies said…

    wow! SO creative! I love the crayons with the child’s artwork. Very inspiring thankyou!
    Emily :o )

  • 7.
    Julie Campbell said…

    Oooh! I LOVE, love, LOVE this!!! It’s completely adorable and so inspiring! Great ideas!!!

  • 8.
    Alayna said…

    This one gave me an “a-ha” moment. I have a photo of my daughter as a tiny baby, (under 5 pounds) with a pacifier in her mounth, taking up half her face. I saved that little preemie sized paci, knowing that somehow someday I wanted to be able to look at that photo and the size of that binky and remember just how tiny she was. And this idea…perfect!
    I also have a sunglasses wearing 3 year old – he doesn’t go anywhere without a pair. So fun to do one of these for him!

  • 9.
    sue said…

    Wow! Amazing wall of memories! Thanks for sharing.

  • 10.
    Collin said…

    I love that wall, even if the cuckoo clock drives me insane :)

  • 11.
    Leslie said…

    THIS was AMAZING:)

  • 12.
    Peaceliving said…

    I saw that issue and article, but wasn’t drawn to the idea at all…until I see these ones that you have created. They are much more my style and I can actually see myself doing this now.

  • 13.
    Holly Thatcher said…

    Can you ask Elizabeth if all the frames were from IKEA? I saw this idea in MS Living too and the frames that were used there were $25 each which I can’t afford.

  • 14.
    chris said…

    A fantastic idea! I especially love the one with the artwork and crayons and the storybook one.

  • 15.
    Jo said…

    What a fabulous post Elizabeth, so inspiring. I have a framed A to Z (12×12 pp)from K & Co Rough and Tumble line in large Ikea frames like those Elizabeth has used in each of my boys rooms. Along the top of the frame I’ve balanced their initials and little toys, but I really like the idea of putting those keepsakes inside frames with corresponding photos. I especially love the Elizabeth’s ‘Carousel’ frame with the tickets – very cute.

  • 16.
    joni possin said…

    I love what you did with your shadow boxes and the whole wall arrangement. I also saw the show and had to run out and buy that issue of Living magazine. I made several and they are posted on my blog Right after I made the box about Gabby Cat… she died. So glad I had made it when I did.
    I found Martha brand shadow boxes at Tuesday Morning for 3.99 each. I bought them all!!
    Thanks for your tutorial!!

  • 17.
    annette abrahamson said…

    how inspiring!!!!! that is a GREAT idea :) thanks for sharing.

  • 18.
    janice said…

    I am in LOVE with this idea!!!

  • 19.
    kelly purkey said…

    loved this in martha and adore liz’s take on it! so sweet and perfectly her :)

  • 20.
    Camille smith said…

    I love it!!!!!!
    I love Elizabeth Kartchner I follow her blog she always is so inspiring!!

  • 21.
    Lorna said…

    I love this. I knew I was keeping that blank space on my craft wall for a reason.
    My head is already full of ideas to put on it.

  • 22.
    amy tangerine said…

    SO in love with this.
    you rock!!

  • 23.
    Susan said…

    This is Awesome. I can’t wait to get started on my own memory wall!

  • 24.
    Barb M. said…

    Thanks for the inspiration. I just saw a fun funky clipboard and now I know what I am going to do with it! Thanks for A great post!

  • 25.
    Gloria said…

    WOW, what an amazing way to preserve and share memories!! Thanks Liz for all the inspiration, you rock;)

  • 26.
    Kristy said…

    Great modern take on shadow boxes! Love them… so pretty

  • 27.
    Lynn said…

    Liz you’re so inspiring! I love what you did with the Ikea frames! You’ve the most excellent idea of keeping memories!

  • 28.
    Sascha Schmidt said…

    ok, i need a new house! this is so a cool idea! i love this.
    greetings from austria, sasc ha

  • 29.
    Sue Taylor said…

    This just totally rocks, thank you so much for the inspiration! I knew there was a reason I was waiting to cover my newly painted wall in my newly organised scrap room (and I already have 3 IKEA shadow boxes lurking around, yay!)

  • 30.
    marta said…

    lovely lovely. have been craving making these since i read that issue of MS myself. thanks for the renewed excitement. thanks for the fun post.

  • 31.
    Kirsten H said…

    Apparently I need to run out to Ikea right now and get me some frames. Love the post – thanks for guest writing today

  • 32.
    Annika said…

    I love the idea! That is absolutely beautiful!!!

  • 33.
    heidi y said…

    Love this room! Great job on your scrap-wall! You made it so fun. I can’t wait to try a couple shadowboxes myself. Can I ask where you got your cute chandelier?

  • 34.

    So cute! I am going to have to try this somewhere in the house.

  • 35.
    Jennifer said…

    LOVE all your framed photos, artwork… I will definitly think twice before throwing out the kids toys etc. Love how you framed the little sunglasses!! Too CUTE!!

  • 36.
    ciacchina said…

    grazie! la trovo una bellissima idea!

  • 37.
    LM said…

    Oh, those pix are too wonderful for words. I am redecorating my house right now and I may be able to incorporate some of these ideas. Thanks, Lizzy!

  • 38.
    Lisa Haas said…

    This is absolutely FANTASTIC! I love this whole idea and could imagine this working for adults as well as the children. A great way to display all those special places one has visited on vacation! Such a great inspiration! Thanks!

  • 39.
    ~M~ said…

    What a faaaaaaaabulous idea!

  • 40.
    Melanie said…

    What a lovely wall. Such great memories.

  • 41.
    Helen Tilbury said…

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

  • 42.
    tchrtiff said…

    Love it!

  • 43.
    Kristen said…

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

  • 44.
    hooligansmom said…

    Great, great, great ideas…thanks for posting..makin’ me think, think, think…

  • 45.
    Terri said…

    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!

  • 46.
    kay drenth said…

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

  • 47.
    Jeannette A said…

    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!

  • 48.
    Amy said…

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

  • 49.
    dawn said…

    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:)

  • 50.
    dawn said…

    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!

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