Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 17, 2012

Siblings | Traditional Scrapbook Layout

I started the day yesterday with a tweet and a facebook post that said, “I’ve got a layout in my head that I want to make happen today.”

Of course, the one I was imagining was not exactly what I ended up with but it was a good experiment and experience.

In my mind I envisioned a background full of handwriting. I ended up with half a page of embossed handwriting paired with journaling inter-mixed between the lines.

Here’s a look at the completed page:

And here’s a look at the process:

Using a Martha Stewart fine-tip glue pen, I hand-wrote some words onto cardstock. The trick here was that the glue is invisible so I couldn’t see where my words were placed on the cardstock. I knew that I wanted to emboss on top of those words so I poured on a bit of Zing powder before doing a few more lines of handwriting.

I wrote on about half the page and then used a heat gun to set. This was my first time using a glue pen + embossing powder + heat gun and the results were okay. The embossed portion didn’t end up as smooth as I’d hoped. I think I need to use a “real” embossing pen next time instead of a glue pen.

I also ended up burning the background cardstock a bit. There were a couple areas that turned brown from too much heat.

That said I decided to just go with it.

I knew I wanted to work with these colors and embellishments so I decided to rub ink on top of the embossed handwriting (once it was dry).

I used some chalk ink from this set. I started with the brown and then decided I’d rather have the blue.

And then I painted over the top with gesso (essentially white paint).

On the bottom half of the page I added a piece of polka dot pattern paper (unknown source) and painted gesso on top of it too.

Next I grabbed my other supplies.

I cut a couple words out with the Silhouette and ended up using one along the bottom. It was one that I just hand-drew and it’s not currently part of a set of word art but I do have a set about siblings available here. I was having trouble getting the Silhouette to cut through the cardstock – wondering if maybe I need a new blade? My settings were the same as I’ve been using recently when it was cutting just fine. How often do you need a new blade?

For this layout I wanted to use two Instagram shots of Simon and Anna on a rope swing at a local indoor play place.

You can see the texture of the embossed handwriting a bit better in this image.

Intermixed between the lines of embossed handwriting I wrote my journaling using a .01 Precision Pen from American Crafts.

The combination of tags and arrows includes: Heidi Swapp Disco Arrows, Oromlu Go Negative Tags stamped with my Ordinary Days stamps using gold chalk ink, a pattern label tab from American Crafts, a yellow tag from the new Martha Stewart collection at Staples, and a playing card from this month’s Studio Calico kit.

I also added a bit of zig-zag stitching connecting the background cardstock and the polka dot pattern paper.

Along the bottom I stapled the “siblings” word art I cut with the Silhouette on top of the photos. I just ended up stapling it with a Tiny Attacher on both ends.

To finish it off I inked the outside edge of the page with gold chalk ink.

This is one of those pages that’s got really nice texture when viewed in person and I’m not sure it translates all that well online. Totally worth playing around with and I’m definitely going to seek out an actual embossing pen.

JOURNALING | The two of you. Amazing. In a place right now that’s all about finding your own place and discovering yourself (kinda the place where I find myself too). The three of us are establishing new routines and new ways of being together. We are loving each other in the middle of growing and changing and learning new stuff. Exactly the way it should be. I love that you have each other and that you give kisses and hugs and look out for each other. That’s a big piece of being in a family.


Click on the images to link to the products.


  • 1.
    Brooke said…

    I love the playing that you did. It sure takes an element of courage, that I don’t have!

    Just a heads up too I’ve had issues accessing your site today. Not sure if it’s from my end or not, but yours is the only site I’ve had the issue with.

  • 2.
    libby gordon said…

    Love how the “experiment” turned out-once again I have “cameo envy.” Between you and Gluestick Girl, I think my scrapbooking budget is in trouble:). I love the journaling-I always enjoy when we can really connect our stories to the pictures in such a meaningful way.
    Have a great day and keep feeling better:)

  • 3.
    Ilona said…

    Great layout! I love all the texture and it comes out pretty good online! I like the idea of writing with the embossing pen – to be honest, I have one and never did something with it and I just got a lot of embossing powder today…. good inspiration to play a little bit with it this weekend!
    And thanks Ali for sharing your story, I love your journaling! Hope you are feeling better so you can enjoy your weekend ;-)

  • 4.
    Susan Ringler said…

    OH Ali! I am so excited to see a non-digital layout—-nothing against digital, it is just that you are so creative and paper and scissors always reinforce that when I see a layout by you! Thanks for getting in the trenches with us! Love the embossing and journaling through it. Just a really neat page period!

  • 5.
    linda said…

    Thanks for sharing your process and I think it looks great! The texture of the embossed writing, with paint over and then journaling… just really interesting mix. I actually have an embossing pen and never thought to do this – will have to try it out!

  • 6.
    madeline St onge said…

    Well I think your experiment turned out great Ali. I love the journaling

  • 7.
    Alida said…

    This came out beautiful. Makes me want to try!

  • 8.
    Ann said…

    Ali, do you double cut with your Cameo? I just got my Cameo the other day and tried it out last night. I couldn’t get a clean cut with my cardstock so I’m going to try double cutting today.

    • ….
      Barbara said…

      I would like to know the answer as well. Just took the plunge today and got me cameo ordered. Need to learn how to use it!

    • ….
      Ann said…

      I actually found the answer to my problem on a forum called “Silhouette Plus” (just Google it and you’ll find it). I increased the blade number from 3 to 4 and decreased the thickness setting from 33 to 32. That did the trick! They have a lot of great advice there, specifically on the Cameo too.

  • 9.
    Amanda M. said…

    I didn’t know if you were still doing any non-PL and/or non-product promotion scrapbooking. Nice to see you are!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Trying to find a balance with it all.

  • 10.
    Michelle L said…

    I bought a Zig embossing pen at Studio Calico a few months ago and that one works really great! I think they still have it available under their stamping section. I recommend that one for sure!

    I got really excited when I read on twitter that you were working on a layout! It came out awesome!! I love the colors and the embossing!

  • 11.
    Lori DeHaai said…

    After having the same problem with the sihouette, I checked two peas. The girls there said to take a pin (or some compressed air) and clean out the blade…tons of little pieces of cut up cardstock was the culprit for me and now I’m back to cutting cleanly!

    • ….
      Kirstie MacGowan said…

      Nice one! Have just cleaned my blade with a pin so fingers crossed it cuts smoothly again!

    • ….
      Heather said…

      Depending on the paper the blade can get fuzz buildup fast! Other thing to check…. If the mat isn’t sticky enough it won’t cut well. You can get restick spray to get it sticky again until you really need a new one. Some cadstocks are a 4 for me and that’s kindof my custom setting.

  • 12.
    Sally said…

    I’ve had my die cut machine for about five years and one of the best tips I’ve found is that you can sharpen your silhouette blade by cutting through aluminum foil. It does help to extend the life of the blade. Just a few lines and circles should do the trick. I’ve also found that some cardstock does need to be double cut too.

  • 13.
    J Allen said…

    I’m not sure how long you’ve had your Silhouette, but the blades last a very long time. Some cardstock needs to go through a double cut.
    Select your image, got the “Edit” menu and select “Copy”. You will then immediately go back to you “Edit” menu and select “Paste”. Doing this will have the Silhouette cut your image twice.
    Hope this helps. Love the lo.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks J – I actually did select double-cut yesterday. Thinking I will try cleaning the blade as mentioned in the comments above.

  • 14.
    Steph said…

    Love this layout…I have been wanting a Cameo for a while now, moreso every time I see you playing with yours! You are such an inspiration for the things it can do. I’ve been wanting one but with 4 little ones it just hasn’t been a need and rather a want. As a favor, I shot a friends small intimate wedding last week and my splurge is going to be a new Cameo!

    Keep the ideas coming!

  • 15.
    Deanna Lynn said…

    Hi Ali-
    I love your page and journaling. I have an organization question for you. I am doing project life this year and haven’t been great on keeping up with my kids (7 and 10) and family scrapbooks for quite a long time. When you create a page like this what scrapbook do you include it in? Are you always creating kids and a family scrapbooks at the same time as Project Life? Do you organize them by year/event?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Deanna – this will go in a 2012, 12×12 scrapbook. Last year I did the least number of actual layouts I’ve done in years (but do have 52 weeks of Project Life stories and photos) so I ended up with one 12×12 album for 2011. I will continue to add to it as I find stories to tell – I don’t scrapbook layouts chronologically so I could end up doing a page from 2010 tomorrow and it will go in a 2010 family album. Last year I also did a Week In The Life album and a December Daily album in addition to Project Life and maybe 20 or so layouts.

  • 16.
    Rebecca said…


  • 17.
    Michell said…

    Hi Ali,
    Fabulous page, loving all the technique and details. I would suggest trying a VersaMark pen, they work great. Also, in my experience I have found some papers a bit harder to cut than others. I set the cameo to double cut and have not had a problem since. Isn’t it absolutely devine!! Gotta go play… have a wonderful weekend.

  • 18.
    Jennifer L. said…

    Very cool. I love that you use so many different types of mediums in ways I would never have thought of, and you are so good about sharing these techniques with us, so we can open up our minds to experiment and try new things, too. Thanks, Ali!

  • 19.
    Bev W. said…

    Amazing!!! Going to have to try this one. Love it!

  • 20.
    Sarah said…

    The cameo looks amazing, they aren’t widely available here in the UK, and the places I’ve found that do sell it, have it for about £250!! Love the layout, I thought you’d used your handwriting stamps with versamark and embossed it at first, but will def. look at embossing pens too.

  • 21.
    Teri Hartman said…

    I love the idea of embossing your journaling. I’ll be stealing that one, thank you very much!

    As always, fantastic. You have such neat ideas.

  • 22.
    Paula G said…

    Wonderful layout, swiping away a tear, feeling your strong love for your sweet kids. Wishing you a wonderful weekend :)

  • 23.
    Danielle said…

    Your layout is fabulous!! Love to see the whole process of creating this page.

  • 24.
    rhonda nickol said…

    Love all the wonderful new techniques I learn from you Ali, thanks for sharing with us and have a wonderful weekend!

  • 25.
    Scrappin Annie said…

    Love the idea of the glue pen – great tip and you page looks wonderful

  • 26.
    aliza said…

    I love seeing your traditional pages. you always manage to add lots of texture, but keep it looking clean at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  • 27.
    Stephanie George said…

    Ali, So happy to see a layout like this that has such tender hearted journaling. My parents went through a separation for a while when I was in college. I was old enough that I could talk to them about what they were feeling and what was going on. And I’ve looked back on those times so often in the past few years. In some ways, I feel like it has strengthened my own marriage, because I realized that life isn’t always easy. I love seeing that you are sharing some of your thoughts and feelings with your kids, even if it’s just at this level. It will be something nice for them to look back at and see how you chose to handle the situation that you are in. They’ll realize that you always chose to keep your head up and look at the positives… a opportunity to grow and find yourself. I commend you for being so open and brave. And thanks as always for sharing with us.

  • 28.
    Dori said…

    Wow! Beautiful layout, sweet journaling, straight from your heart. And I always learn the neatest little tricks from you. Thanks, Ali.

  • 29.
    Cindy said…

    Can’t help but notice that the tags and such all include arrows, pointing “up”. Was that a subconscious thought? That “one little word” is always in the back of our mind. (Mine’s believe) Love the layout. I need to try the embossing powder thing, haven’t attempted that technique yet!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Not subconscious at all :) . Totally done on purpose.

  • 30.
    patty said…

    L*O*V*E this layout! i am so into texture… i will have to try out an embossing pen! awesome job ali!

  • 31.
    Jen said…

    Awesome layout!
    Ditto on the tinfoil trick. I replaced my first blade fairly shortly after getting my Silhouette but since then I have just been cutting tinfoil once I notice my blade getting dull and haven’t had to replace a blade since (over a year). Good luck!

  • 32.
    Wendy said…

    Just going to have to try this – I’ve been wanting a reason to get an embossing pen – thanks, Ali! :)

  • 33.
    Karen Walker said…

    Hi, I didn’t have time to read through all the comments, but recently I read on Nichol Magouirk’s blog that it’s often not the blade on the Silhouette that needs changing, but the cutting mat. Recently I was having the same problem, and changing the mat solved the problem.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Cool – thanks for that tip.

  • 34.
    Anthea said…

    Love how textural this pages is.

  • 35.
    Deanna Lynn said…

    Thanks Ali–your insights are really helpful. I am an avid writer and appreciate your perspective. I never know when a particular story will pop up in my writing. Sometimes I end up not including the story in an album because it does not fit in chronologically. I like your approach of letting the story drive the process!

  • 36.
    TWarner said…

    Love the layout!

    I have never been able to emboss with a Versamarker. It seems like mine is too dry for embossing powder to stick.

    I do, however, LOVE the embossing pen from Ranger. It comes in a two-pack (one black, one clear), and powder sticks really well to the ink.

  • 37.
    Angie said…

    Customer service at told me that they suggested replacing the blade every 6 months.(on the Cameo…convo 2/13/12) Beautiful layout. I love that you kept the scorched areas.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Angie!

  • 38.
    ANGI B said…

    love this so much! silhouette is on my wish list right now. i’d probably run it into the ground.

    • ….
      Karina said…

      I have a Silhouette for sale. I never used before. There are two rolls of vinyl included. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks ! Karina

  • 39.
    Sandy B said…

    Love the handwriting background. Thanks for the inspiration…going to adapt for my Valentine pages.

  • 40.
    Charline said…

    Nice opportunity to try wonderful products

  • 41.
    Dogmatix said…

    What a great technique. I will definately be trying this, it looks fantastic.

  • 42.
    Annette said…

    Love this Ali! Have not seen the embossing your handwriting trick–love it! Love how you included Up in your layout. Just beautiful.

  • 43.
    Julie Ebersole said…

    Cool idea! Just wanted to mention that glue pens will often “bubble” when you try to heat emboss with embossing powder over the top–a good embossing pen will often do a much better job, and no bubbling. :)

    You might also achieve better effects using a “detail” or fine grind embossing powder, as opposed to regular grind. It doesn’t have as high a loft as regular grind, but by the same token, it may have a smoother finish (less bumpy). Another thing to try, if you want a “fine” hand-writing line to emboss, try writing with an ERASABLE ball point pen and applying embossing powder over that. ;)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Julie – great tips!

  • 44.
    Kelsey said…

    I think this is the perfect place for me to.comment and ask you something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. With Baby #2 on the way I’ve quickly felt anxious both about the new edition (naturally) as well as about the fact that I feel i’ve done a lack luster job of documenting my first son’s life so far. I’ve read your tips on scrapbooking the past and it has been extremely helpful both fundamentally and emotionally. I wonder…as a mom (who is also going to school full-time to get my masters in Early Childhood Education) with limited time…do you have any tips on how to do a better job documenting this time around? Also, how do you find balance between your layouts with two children?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Kelsey – I’m working on a response for you :) . I think I will use it for a post later this week.

    • ….
      Kelsey said…

      That sounds great! Thank you in advance! :)

  • 45.
    dawn said…

    Ali, what a sweet layout and journaling. Love the way you combine the two, always comes from the heart. Hoping you do more layouts this year, I love love your layouts. It inspires me to keep scrapping.

    Oh and nice to see that you play with products too, it came out beautiful!!

  • 46.
    Beth said…

    Hi Ali! On my Silhouette SD, I find I replace mine about every 3 months, but that’s with pretty heavy use. When I’ve called Silhouette before, they had me double cut as well. I usually use Bazzill card stock so it is much thicker. I also use the deeper cut setting, like for magnetic paper, as otherwise I can’t get a clean cut line. This makes my mats wear out quicker too. BUT, I love the results so I don’t mind replacing more often.

    Love your layout and journaling! The tag layers are wonderful!

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