Rad | Traditional Scrapbook Layout


Last week Chris and I attended Simon's IEP / 3-year eligibility meeting at his middle school.

For those of you that don't know an IEP is an Individualized Education Program mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Essentially, "the IEP describes how the student learns, how the student best demonstrates that learning and what teachers and service providers will do to help the student learn more effectively. Developing an IEP requires assessing students in all areas related to the known disabilities, simultaneously considering ability to access the general curriculum, considering how the disability affects the student’s learning, forming goals and objectives that correspond to the needs of the student, and choosing a placement in the least restrictive environment possible for the student."

I've written about these meetings before, most specifically a post titled Looking Around The Table.

One of the differences for Simon this year was that he attended a portion of the meeting. As he gets older he will move into the roll of actually conducting these meetings and giving input into the sort of services he needs as an integral part of the team.

While he was at the table we (all nine of us adults present: including Chris and I, two teaching assistants, a general education teacher, his main special education teacher, the school's occupational therapist, the hearing & speech therapist, and a person from the school district) all went around and listed his strengths.

As each person shared I wrote them down in my trusty Moleskine notebook. It's how I listen and process but I also wanted to be able to remember what they said.

It was cool to have him at the table and hear from his teachers and helpers what we all think is awesome about him. And he did a lot of smiling. He's growing up and I'm so proud of him.

After we spent time on strengths he was ready to be dismissed for some screen time and we continued on with the meeting. Because this was also an eligibility meeting we had to confirm that yes, indeed, he does still have autism and does continue to need modifications and accommodations to help him be successful in a traditional education environment.

It always feel a little surreal at that point.

And then we got back to the business of talking about how things were going, what our concerns were, etc. It was a good, productive almost 2-hour meeting.

When I went to work on a layout the next day I had the following things in mind:

  1. I wanted to do a layout about Simon. I don't worry too much about equality when I'm working on layouts but I'm conscious of doing a bunch in a row for Anna and then wanting to capture something about Simon.

  2. I wanted to use the Studio Calico Scrapbook Kit (Office Hours).

  3. I wanted to cut a photo into a tag shape. I loved this page from pamlee81 where she cut a photo in the shape of a tag.

  4. I wanted to use dark cardstock. As you likely know I'm a fan of white cardstock backgrounds, but I was ready to mix it up.

  5. I wanted to play with some spray ink + the RAD die-cut from the kit.

I didn't originally intend to include those strengths from the meeting as my main journaling but as I started on the page and thought more about what I wanted to say I remembered that I had written out that list and voila - it was a great story to add to this layout and made it that much more meaningful.

Here's a look at what I ended up with:


Super simple. Four tag-shapes + couple extra little embellishments + meaningful journaling.

The gold heart below the "S" looks almost red but it's really gold (there was some reflection from my coat when I was photographing the page).


I began this page by printing out a photo of Simon on 4x6 photo paper. I had measured the tag and cropped the image in Photoshop to 5 inches wide x 3 inches tall to be sure it would be the correct size when I trimmed it to the size of the tag. I then used the tag as a template to cut out my photo and the other pattern papers.


For the "rad" tag I used the rad die cut that was include with the kit and spritzed Heidi Swapp's Gold Lame Color Shine on top. This navy blue sheet of cardstock comes as a 12x12 sheet in the kit - I cut it down to 8.5x11 and used the excess to cut out the tag.


The journaling is a little hard to read with the photo - it's more readable on the page in "real life" because the stripes are a soft gold.

JOURNALING | friendly & cares about people // hardworker // likes to get right answers // likes reading // really good at memorization // respectful in the speech room // positive guy // interested & curious // not afraid to ask questions // good at introductions (particularly related to when a substitute teacher is in the class - you are one of the first to welcome them and introduce yourself // good sense of humor & funny // well-liked. 2/27/2014 | your strengths as listed by your teachers at your IEP meeting

Font is Remington Noiseless.

To print the journaling onto pattern paper I first measured the tag and then created a text box in Photoshop. I typed up the words, did a practice print onto regular paper and then adhered the pattern tag directly onto the area where I printed on practice paper and ran it through the printer again to get the words on the tag.


Each of the tags was adhered using foam squares which are great for lifting items up off the page a bit.


Love those gold hearts.


Click on the images to link to the products.

As I was working on this layout it kept reminding me of one I created back in 2007 for my book Life Artist (which is available as a downloadable PDF here):


Looking for that layout lead both Katie and I down the deep rabbit-hole of layouts I've created since I first started in 2002. We were looking through archives on my computer and looking through the physical albums. There are so many.

Man I love scrapbooking.


Looking for more layout creation inspiration including a lot of video overviews that walk you through my own personal process? Check out my 12-week workshop coming in April to Big Picture Classes: Hello Story (if you took this workshop last summer the content is exactly the same).

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27 thoughts

  1. Jo-Anne

    2014-03-03 08:02:20 -0500

    Ahhh Ali you must be SO PROUD of your boy!!!!

    I had tears welling up in my eyes as i read this post. Just an amazing kid:-))


  2. michelle t

    2014-03-03 08:36:07 -0500

    I love the tags idea and the photo in that shape. Very neat. It's a sweet layout. Also the gold chipboard heart and the initial s. I admire your clean style and creativity. Touching. Thank you. Michelle t

  3. Jenny A

    2014-03-03 08:41:50 -0500

    We just had my son's IEP for his transition to high school (autism as well). It is the best feeling in the world being in a room full of educators who all want what we want - for Vince to have academic success. His academic success looks very different than other kids but I love that it is individualized for just Vince. That's awesome that Simon is doing so well. And I love how you documented all the positive things that was said about Simon and turned it into a layout. I would love to dig into my old IPEs of Vince and do the same thing.

  4. Ayesha

    2014-03-03 09:09:26 -0500

    Thank you for doing more traditional LOs lately! (And for including HOW you did them; materials, techniques you've used, why you chose to do it that specific way.)
    Eventhough I love your PLspreads a lot, your traditional LOs are truly an inspiration!
    (And you even have me sitting on the fence to try make a traditional LO of my own... I do PL now, but started as a digital scrapbooker, and every aspect of traditional scrapbooking still scares me...)

  5. Dawn F.

    2014-03-03 09:20:09 -0500

    As an educator that has been involved in many IEP meetings over the years, I love it when parents come and get involved. I wish more of my parents would come in to hear the positives about their child. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Nicky H

    2014-03-03 09:57:13 -0500

    What a special gift. Thank you for sharing that story and for inspiring me to write a list for my son.

  7. Michelle

    2014-03-03 10:08:09 -0500

    I have a meeting coming up for our daughter,thinking of homeschooling.I'm having a difficult time with this decision middle school or homeschool.

  8. Beth Quiroz

    2014-03-03 10:17:59 -0500

    I'm a substitute teacher and it thrills me to read that he's so respectful of subs. That is so awesome!!!! :)

  9. Rachel

    2014-03-03 10:42:45 -0500

    Love that they start the IEP meeting with a list of your child's strengths! We have a great team at my son's school, but they usually just jump right into the proposed new goals. Fantastic LO.

  10. Cynthia H

    2014-03-03 10:43:52 -0500

    Love the flashback layout (he looks like Anna there!) and also the gold on navy. I *almost* tried that last night but grabbed the white instead. Going to go for gold tonight :)

  11. Michelle L

    2014-03-03 11:22:24 -0500

    All of his strengths are the makings of an awesome adult! Any parent would be proud to be in a meeting and hear so many positive things! I've never been part of the process of building an IEP but what a blessing to have so many people there to help him be as successful student.

  12. julie

    2014-03-03 12:24:53 -0500

    How wonderful that Simon is included in these meetings and he gets to hear for himself how he is perceived by very important people in his life.

    Gosh I wish all teachers took some time to tell all the students how awesome they are. Heck as adult I would love to hear that too. ;}

  13. Debbie

    2014-03-03 15:27:40 -0500

    Ali, This is beautiful!

  14. Teri H.

    2014-03-03 16:02:44 -0500

    What a great idea for journaling - adding notes of what others say about your kids. Consider it stolen.

  15. Cheryl :)

    2014-03-03 16:10:47 -0500

    This is so amazing Ali. How much Simon (and Anna) have grown and are changing. Being a parent is such a challenge. Thank you for being "real" and sharing this with us.

  16. Brooke

    2014-03-03 18:25:48 -0500

    Such an awesome layout. I'm blown away by Simon's education program. I can not imagine how empowing it must be to sit at a table like that.

  17. Kathleen M Smith

    2014-03-03 18:52:42 -0500

    I've been following your blog since 2007 and still have your book which taught me everything I know about scrapbooking. (Thank you!)

    So glad to hear about Simon's progress. Sounds like he is in the best of hands professionally. I have been in those IEP meetings with my son for EH and it always felt like the teachers were just going through the motions to get the paperwork done. He was not helped at all and it turned out he was misdiagnosed until age 19.

  18. Bonney

    2014-03-03 21:15:27 -0500

    Loved the 2014 tag layout. Cried when I saw the 2007 layout. Not sure why.

  19. Lisa W.

    2014-03-03 22:17:36 -0500

    First off...THANK YOU, you just made my day!!! I have that book "Life Artist" WELLLLLLLLLLLLL I have each and everyone of your books. But that's where it ALL started for me. Was your layout (like above) the older one. Was the simplicity, the extra added touches in your work. AND OH that handwriting, OH how I love your handwriting. That's what drew me in, you had me at hello:)

    And this story truly touched my heart. Although I do not have a special needs child I work with some autism children everyday. My Mom worked with them as her career for many years! So the "IEP" meeting, and his achievments, and strengths really touched my heart. It is so nice to see him blossom as you keep us posted on your blog! This WONDERFUL wonderful blog!

    And I am in love with your "Rad" layout, the first thing I thought immediately is THIS reminds me of some of Ali's older work. And I love it. You just have a "touch" like no other!!!

    Go Simon Go...and thank you for making my day:)

  20. Steffanie

    2014-03-04 00:52:33 -0500

    Thought of you and Simon while reading Born On A Blue Day. Highly recommend it!

  21. Mallory

    2014-03-04 11:22:16 -0500

    Go Simon go! I'm so happy he's "thriving". I've worked with a lot of children on the autism spectrum and Simon seems to be adjusting just fine and I know he will have a great life continuously overcoming any obstacle he may face.

  22. young

    2014-03-04 12:01:23 -0500

    So fun! Love how you cut the photo into a tag. Fun!

  23. Jen

    2014-03-07 19:21:29 -0500

    This is fantastic! It's interesting to read the differences in your IEP process, as compared to ours in Canada. I love that you documented it. I have yet to tell that story as it sometimes still overwhelms me. Thanks for the reminder that memory keeping encompasses everything.

  24. Erin b

    2014-03-09 13:17:48 -0400

    Love that you wrote down his strengths during the meeting. This just gave me an idea to incorporate in my students' end of the year scrapbook. thanks for sharing!

  25. Beatrice

    2014-03-17 02:31:14 -0400

    I love seeing more traditional layouts from you again :) always inspiring me, both you and Laura Kurz.

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