Scrapbooking Q & A : MiniBooks, Sharing Your Story, Supplies

Thanks for all the questions yesterday. I went through them and organized them into general categories as you will see below. I will post more later answers today and tomorrow.


I've been anxiously awaiting an update on your new book, "Sharing Your Story." So my questions... when will it be coming out? Are there any updates on when the preorders will be shipping?
Posted by: Sharyn

Sharing Your Story began shipping this week (I am signing the ones for Cocoa Daisy customers this evening) and should be on your doorstep soon!

Just curious on how you go about in making mini-albums. I find I'm struggling in unifying the album... Posted by: Caryl Hope

I am a big advocate for keeping things as simple as possible and following a design formula throughout the album. For me this means that I don't reinvent the wheel from page one to page two. I set up a design and I stick with it - the photos will be different, the accents may change a bit, but the basic structural design will remain the same (photos go here, journaling goes here, accent goes here). Check out a past newsletter I wrote about creating minibooks here or pick up a copy of my new book about minibooks.

Do you have any "baby" scrapbook ideas/minibooks/etc. in mind yet? I'm 33 weeks pregnant and need fresh baby ideas!
Posted by: Erin

I haven't gotten there yet. I am trying to focus on how I want to document the pregnancy first. Right now I am just jotting down thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.

I'd like to know what you do with all the albums and mini books you make? There's just only so much room in the house and I'm finding that my albums are everywhere. I almost feel like stopping until I figure out what to do with what I've got. And if you do put them away for a while, how do you best store them?
Posted by: Kim P

I gather and store my minibooks into one main basket in my dining room (or sometimes my living room). All my minibooks don't fit into that one basket so I rotate them in and out depending on season, etc. The ones that are not in the basket are in a closet in my office. I don't do anything special to store them. Many of them travel with me when I teach.

On mini book pages do you put mod podge over the top to seal them / protect them from all the flipping? It seems my edges like to lift up?
Posted by: Kristie

I have added mod podge to the exterior of a couple minibooks but not all of them (just depends on what is on the outside). I don't think I have put mod podge on any of the interior pages. One of the things I do to preserve my edges is use a tape runner right around the outside edge of the album (or on the photos or papers that are covering the album). I find that by going right along the edge most of mine have stayed sealed pretty well (even after lots of hands touching them at classes + events).

Did you ever finish the minibooks you had made to take with you to Disney World? We are leaving in 26 days and I'm excited about collecting bits and pieces along the way. I'd love to see yours.
Posted by: Kerry

I actually ended up creating an 8.5x11 album for that trip. The minibook was great for writing down some thoughts during the trip but I am really happy with how the larger album turned out. There were just too many photos and words that I wanted to include. It is definitely a favorite around here. You can see the album in Life Artist.

I wanted to ask about how your sbs hold up with Simon handling them. I have a 1 year old and am apprehensive about allowing him to hold them, but at the same time I want him to see himself in his books.
Posted by: Sher Gonzales

Simon has had access to all my books, products, etc since he was very little. I found that by allowing him (with supervision) to look at my supplies, touch things, etc. it never really became something he was super interested in grabbing, touching, or destroying (the way off limits things seem to become). He is interested in looking at the books from time to time - especially the Disney album.

A major part of my personal joy in this entire process is having Simon (or Chris or my family) look through the books (both big + small). The fingerprints, etc. mean that someone is enjoying the stories and the photos.

When I make a small album and use cardstock or paper the covers curl over time. Do you always use very thick stuff for covers? Is this what I am missing? Would love to know.
Posted by: Leonie

My guess is that it is not the paper you are using but your adhesive. I use patterned paper for my covers from time to time (very thin). The main thing for me is to make sure that I use a tape runner right around the edges since that is the area that has the potential to pull up the most.

How do you keep the pages in your mini-albums protected?
Posted by: Mary

Some minibooks include page protectors but most of the ones I do are on chipboard, acrylic or photos glued back to back (that become pages themselves). They are not protected. My goal with these books is that they are available for people to pick them up, look through them, get fingerprints on them, etc. - ENJOY THEM - without fear of messing them up. Many of mine are a bit tattered from traveling with me and I am completely ok with that.

I love making mini-albums, especially for trips, but often print too many photos and have a hard time completing the album. I have 3 uncompleted. This has happened particularly for weeklong trips. Weekend trip albums I've had no problem completing. When you are planning a mini-album, do you have an estimated number of photos you use in a mini-album to make it manageable?
Posted by: Sara

I don't have an estimated number of photos for any particular minibook. One of the things I have found that happens for weeklong trips is a lot of duplicate photos - the same view, similar shots of people, etc. When I am putting a minibook together I usually look for photos that will tell the specific story I am telling - that doesn't always include every photo I took over the course of the trip.

If I have way too many photos and a bunch of stories to match - such as was the case in our Disney World trip - I will do a larger album. Let the story guide you in determining what format is going to be best for your project.

How, when you do custom mini-albums are you able to align the three hole punches exactly? Is there a special tool to do this?
Posted by: telisj

Usually what I do is create a template and then punch holes to match (lay the template on top of all the other pages and punch the holes).



Do you use the common (not scrapbook specific brand) staples for your LOs? I see that you use quite a lot on ribbons etc. Won't they rust over time?
Posted by: Alicia

I just use staples from an office supply store. I am not too worried about the rust - if it comes, it comes. I use a variety of materials from time to time that are not acid-free and I am ok with that - I am after the combination of story-telling and creative process.

Words+photos related question: how are you able to find that one perfect embellishment to emphasis your words or message you are trying to convey on your layouts?
Posted by: Jami Mayes

In general I choose very generic accents - nothing too theme-based - mainly products that have to do with memory (remember, life, etc) and time (clocks, etc). Sometimes it is one little decorative brad and other times it is more. I try to keep it simple.

Being that you are a scrapbooking 'celebrity' I am sure tons of different companies send you freebies to try. Do you ever go to scrapbook stores to shop, you know for yourself...your stash??? If you do, do you walk thru the whole store and then pick out stuff or go know exactly what you are buying? If not, don't you miss it?
Posted by: Allie

I love to walk through scrapbook stores, aisle by aisle, because I always find something I have never seen before. Going to scrapbook stores (when I am traveling to teach) and doing a bit of shopping is always one of my favorite parts of the trip. Sometimes I find a ton of stuff and other times just a couple things. Every store carries something different. I also order online for the things I use most often.

I was wondering if you had any tips on how to fix a 3 ring album when the rings don't close tightly. I purchased some 3 ring albums from Target (mid-price range) and now the rings open slightly and when I turn the pages they fall out! I like the flexiblity so I can add pages and new ideas but I am so frustrated.
Posted by: Laura

I don't have any suggestions for this Laura - maybe someone will leave a comment in the comment section with an idea. That would really frustrate me too!

Have you ever used the Silhouette electronic paper cutter? Did you like it - would you recommend it?
Posted by: Joelle

I have one here and it is on my list of things to try out. I have a Mac so there is some additional software I need to get off their website. I have seen really cool things done with it and am excited to play around with it.

Silly and simple question, but where do you find all your various cool simple stamps? You must have sources that I don't know about!
Posted by: Kristina

I have been collecting them for years now - many have been picked up at stores around the country while I was traveling and teaching. I am a big fan of basic geometric shapes so anytime I see one that includes a nice collection of squares or circles I usually grab it.

Do you have a favorite journaling stamp set that you would recommend?
Posted by: Jeannine

There are so many great ones out there. Here's a couple that I really like and have used in the past: Fontwerks School Lines, Autumn Leaves For The Record, Technique Tuesday Ledger Journal

What do you prefer? Scrapbook Kits - such as monthly kit club- or buying products "a la carte"?
Posted by: Michelle B

Probably buying products "a la carte." Over the years I have really gotten to know myself and the products I tend to use most. I do get Jenni Bowlin's kits each month and always enjoy incorporating bits from her kits into my other projects. I think kits are a great way for people to get a cool variety of stuff that you may not normally choose but then come to love.

Do you have any type of manual or electronic diecut machine? i.e. Cuttlebug, Revolution, Cricuit, etc. I know you have some favorite punches, but am curious! I have a CB and am seriosly considering the Slice from MM.
Posted by: Beth D

I have a Silhouette and a Revolution. I have not tried out the Silhouette yet but the Revolution has come in handy. Again, as with most things, the dies I have are the simple geometric shapes such as circles and squares.

What is your opinion about using metal (i.e. brads) on scrapbook pages? Too much acid??
Posted by: Michelle

I think metal is great. I have lots of pages with metal accents from Making Memories (still love those decorative brads) and I am having fun with Tim's new metal products. I use metal-rimmed tags from the office supply store all the time.


Q & A posts :

MiniBooks/Sharing Your Story/Supplies

Design/Inspiration/Finding Your Style

Events/Teaching/Internet/Creating Keepsakes/Misc.

Hybrid/Digital Scrapbooking/Photoshop

Excess/Feeling Behind/Overwhelmed/Purging/Donating Supplies
Organization + Storage/Work + Life + Finding Time
Scrapbooking Baby/Getting Started + Design Teams/Telling Your Story
Techniques/Photography + Printing

Related Posts

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23 thoughts

  1. Debrajean says…

    Hi Ali, Thanks so much for always sharing so much with all of your fans. I admire you and your work. You are such an inspiration, and I have learned so much from reading your blog and your books. I am anxiously awaiting my signed copy of your new book which I ordered from Cocoa Daisy. I have also purchased your July kit and travel album from them. Congratulations on your pregnancy; I wish you and Chris and Simon all the best. By the way, I really love your DVD from the CK Essential Scrapbook collection. You are awesome; thanks for all your inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Laura M says…

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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  3. Sarah says…

    Thank you for your depth of knowledge and for sharing it with us. Looking forward to more Q&A's to come.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Linn says…

    Wow, thanks for the in depth answers. It's so nice of you to take the time to share it all.

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  5. Pam says…

    Thank you for taking the time to answer questions. I always learn a lot from your answers and the other info on your blog.

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  6. Cheryl says…

    Thanks for doing this. Can you do a favorite products list again?

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. JW says…

    Thanks Ali, I love your thought process, and how you just relax in this whole process. About the stamp question that one of the commenters had, I have found Paper Source to be a great source for some cool stamps! Thanks again Ali!

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  8. Josie says…

    Thank you Ali for all your inspiration! As a graphic designer, you help me escape from my designer thoughts behind and help me just scrap. From one designer to another, you are a scrapbook rockstar!

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  9. Chris says…

    Hi Ali, Can you update the Studio A archives sometime? Its great to have them all in one spot. Chris

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. kelly says…

    Hi Ali,
    Be careful of mod podge...gel medium is a zillion, million times better. Just my two cents :) I use gel medium (usually regular gloss gel medium) on not only my collage ephemera but also my photos... :)

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  11. Erin says…

    Thank you so much, Ali, for taking the time to answer these questions that we all have had at some point! Erin :)

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  12. Alicia says…

    Thank you for taking the time to answer our doubts! I am 32 wks pregnant and I know its definitely not easy to handle so much stuff (scrapbook work, family etc) for the rest of your pregnancy.
    Please do rest, take care and hope to see more of your baby LOs next year!!

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  13. Joelle says…

    Thank you so much for answering my question! This is a wonderful Q&A! :)

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  14. anne leglise says…

    Thanks a lot for this Q&A! I have a wonderful time reading them and discovered many things. You're awesome!

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  15. Caryl Hope says…

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks for the newsletter on the mini-album, learned a lot from that! About the book, I ordered mine from Cocoa Daisy and you might be signing it now... LOL... I'm so excited to get it in the mail soon! Have a great weekend!

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  16. Cheri says…

    I have a response for Laura's question about 3 ring binders... I have had this problem a couple of times and a solution I've found is just pushing in the tabs at the top and bottom of the rings, this will make the rings close completely, keeping your pages in! I hope this works for you too!!!

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  17. kateanon says…

    LOVE these types of posts Ali - thanks for sharing your tips, advice and expertise. Just ordered your new book - didn't know about it until now (I've been behind, but am so glad to see it!)
    Laura - My tip for the three rings - not very technical, but closing the rings and hitting them not too hard with a book, or something heavy can be just enough force to fit them together better. We did it in the 6th grade with binders and math books and it's worked for me ever since!

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  18. Kay Gregory-Clark says…

    Re: 3-ring binders--I have been using the Archiver's brand binders. They have several sizes, & the covers are craft-color so can be customized, with black bindings. I think they have another style as well.

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  19. Deanna says…

    I just wanted to let Michelle know not to worry about acid on her brads. The only concern I would have with metal embellishments is rust, and most scrapbooking embellishments are coated with something and that will probably keep the rust away. Metal is great fun to use on pages!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. rebecca Harper says…

    wow ali, you really spent alot of time on this... just wanted to say thanks... also we will miss you at CPR-San Jose... wanted to see your bright smile...hope all is well

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Robin M says…

    Thanks for all the answers! Wow! I have a question that may have been answered tho -- how do you organize your photos on your Mac? I just got one and my favorite picture organizer is not available for Mac.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Leisha says…

    I loved your album that you did last Christmas. Where do you get the clear papers, I am not even sure what they are called, they are a sure cute and fun way to add shape to any mini album? Thanks for being so inspiring!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. free scrapbooking printouts says…

    Its so great that you took the time to be so specific. My wife just bought a mac, and is hoping to get more into digital stuff, I was out looking around and learned a lot from your post!

    Reply 0 Replies

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