the weekend report, part 2

so … great weekend, but before I share more details, I want to talk to scrapbookers for just a minute. Obviously, most of you who read this blog are scrapbookers, but I really want to grab your attention because what I'm going to say is especially important …


It really matters. I'm going to assume that you are like me and that you know that having a creative outlet is essential to self-care and helps you own an energetic and positive outlook on life. There are of course, many mediums that can provide a creative outlet — but, there are very few that connect people and families the way scrapbooking does. This truth was brought home for me this weekend in Missoula. Tracy Corneil was a happily married, vibrant, busy mother of two adorable boys and partner/owner of a great little scrapbook store. And then one day last April she did not wake up. We hear these kinds of stories. I have had hundreds of people share these kinds of stories with me, but when I looked at the scrapbook that Connor (Tracy's oldest) created for his mother, after her death, I was absolutely struck and had to engage every faculty to maintain composure.

This beautiful boy remembers the stories Tracy told him of her childhood — stories of the garden she flooded to make into an ice-rink in the winter; stories of penny candy and the mailbox in front of her house that was made of a big chain. He has scrapbooks that show him what was most important to his mom–physical evidence that HE was at the very top of the list. He included in his album heartfelt feelings for his mother and heart-wrenching lessons that he is learning through the grieving process. He included a small torn piece of a check with Tracy signature — anything that she created, signed, touched is now a treasure. Because Tracy scrapbooked, this family is not left without comfort in this horrible tragedy. Scrapbooks are healing these children and providing them with an outlet for their frustration and grief.

Scrapbooking Matters.


Because Tracy scrapbooked, her best friend and business partner was given a small 6×6 friendship album on her birthday in 2006. This is a priceless memoir for Gina and her daughter Tabatha and they forge on with their scrapbook store and business in Tracy's absense — and do you know what Gina loves most about this little treasure? Tracy's handwriting — she didn't worry about whether it was good enough or whether it made the album look less "professional" — she just wrote her feelings for Gina and members of their two families and took the time to express her love and gratitude for a true friend –  priceless.


If I was able to leave one message this weekend with those wonderful ladies, this is it:

Let go. Stop making this so hard. Stop worrying about whether you are doing it right or whether you are good enough or whether you have the right stuff you need or whether you can keep up or whatEVER. If your pictures and stuff aren't organized, do something about it. Stop procrastinating and JUST START telling your stories. Long stories, short stories, stories from this past summer and stories from when you were little. Stop leaving blanks on your pages where you will go back and add journaling. STOP that right now. Start using your own imperfect handwriting and stop thinking it will ruin your page.
My goodness girls there is so much good that happens in and through this amazing hobby. Let's just decided to let go and let it happen

Ok, getting down off my soapbox now.


Thank YOU to Gina and Tabatha and Jaime (not pictured) and Carrie (not pictured) for telling me where she bought her adorable black/white polka dot sweater — so I could go buy it. And thank YOU to ALL of the beautiful women who came from far and near to participate and show their love and support.

I have never had a good picture taken with Lisa B and so I really wanted to try … unfortunately, my camer was NOT on auto (this is a relatively new thing for me) so when I handed my camera over …

I got this, about 12 times.

So … if any of you cute ladies got a better shot of Lisa and me. Feel free to email me!

Lisa delivered a perfect lecture about using your camera to "go deep" and find and tell the stories that will matter to you. She also gave us all permission to embrace imperfect photos that are meaningful to us — photos that might not look great, but elicit an emotional response in us as the viewer. She shared this fabulous Kit that features four canvases to display individual events or a whole year's summary. It is SO COOL. She also brought everyone one of my A Penny for Your Thoughts Kit too. Since my kit is a bit hard to do without a fair amount of preparation, we all made this layout …

If you have the penny kit, do this for me …

1. collect six pictures from 2008 that represent the growth and change in your family and life
2. trim them to 3 1/2 " tall by 4" wide and use them to fill the bottom portion of a 12×12 layout.
3. create a shallow pocket to hold four fact cards and a penny slip for right NOW, today.
4. Add a few pocket change and word strip stickers …


and put the completed layout in your Things We Do or annual album with a note that ten additional years are documented in a really cool penny tin that is displayed ______________ (fill in the blank)

Ok, got it?
Think about all this and decide what you need to do to more fully embrace your craft and let go of all the crazy things that are holding you back!


  1. rebecca k. says:

    I do not think this was a soapbox moment at all. I want to thank you for sharing this story. While I know these things happen all the time, my heart aches for this family and for her wonderful, sweet kids. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the pressures of daily life and forget the most important things, that we are here together now. I am off to scrapbook something that means something to me now and to sue my handwriting to leave a lasting memory for my children. Thanks for inspiring me–again!

  2. Incredible. Thank you.

  3. I too don’t believe it was a soapbox moment, I lost my dad when he was 54, and at the time I wasn’t a scrapbooker or any semblance to one…now that I am I regret not capturing the moments with him while I had the chance …..since you first told about Tracy, her family has been in my thoughts and prayers…thanks for the update and reminder why we need to scrapbook!

  4. Stacy – don’t ever get off your soapbox! That is a big part of who you are and what keeps the rest of us returning to your blog, week after week, to see what new life lesson you are about to impart. Now I need to go pull some “almost complete” pages I’ve done and finally get down to the task of journaling on them. Cheri

  5. What a wonderful post. A great reminder of why we scrapbook. And I want to know where she got the adorable black & white polka dot sweater, too! :)

  6. Nice blog funny to see my self on someone elses blog well check my blog out sometime and leave a comment. And by the way thanks for comeing it was so cool of you and lisa.
    thanks Connor Corneil

  7. Thank you for this.
    I’ll go find some photos for the penny layout right now – and I’ll even use my never seen, barely ledgible handwriting. Because of course you’re right.

  8. Love when you climb on that soapbox. So true just write the stories and put them with a picture that’s all that matters. Not fancy paper and matching embellishments. Your memories, for your loved ones.

  9. No. Not a soapbox. Powerful words. Thank you. What a heartbreaking and uplifting story.

  10. Thanks for sharing that story. I hate my handwriting but one day my daughter will appreciate having it even if I don’t like it.
    Thank you.

  11. Thank you for sharing Tracy’s story. It gave me the chills and reminded me that my handwriting is important. I try to have some of it on each page I do. One, it’s so much faster than computer work, two, the page is DONE and can be placed in the scrapbook, rather than placed on a pile to finish later (whenever that may or may not be) and three, handwriting reveals me, plain and simple!

  12. Daurene Turpin says:

    Loved it all. Now where did she get the sweater at? I WANT one.

  13. You know, this message just reinforced what I felt this weekend. I had the opportunity to spend a weekend scrapbooking with friends at a great retreat. It was the first time in a very long time that I truly relaxed and enjoyed myself. I was working on school albums for my boys and I made some photo album scrapbooks. Everyone commented on them and I said I learned it from YOU! :-) Your LOM changed my perspective and made it possible for me to enjoy this hobby once again. Thanks for reinforcing my new perspective with this timely lesson. You are absolutely right- what we do MATTERS.

  14. Thanks for saying what needs to be said to so many of us scrapbookers. I feel a sense of freedom after I read your words, permission if you will, to be imperfect in scrapping as in life. I can say I tried to do my best and this is what you get. Take it, enjoy it, and remember the life that is mine.

  15. Thank you for that lovely post. I certainly love my granny’s handwritten recipes. I have to remind myself that my handwriting is just as significant to my children. Get up on your soapbox anytime – you have a thankful audience! :)

  16. Wow. That says it all. And you’re right. And I get it. Thanks.

  17. What a great thing you did this weekend for that family. I lived in Missoula for 2 years and often visited Tracy and Gina’s scrapbook store. Every year when I go back to visit I always stop in and was so sad to hear about Tracy’s passing on my last visit. I agree that we need to take the time while we have it to create memories for ourselves and the ones we might leave behind someday. In the end it’s not about perfection but about the story and the memories we have to share.

  18. I love the sweater too…where DID you get it???

  19. That was so beautifully said. I needed to hear it. How many times have I not done or not finished a layout because I thought my handwriting would ‘ruin it.’ I think all the artistic work we constantly see makes us embarrassed when our layouts don’t look ‘as beautiful.’ But we need to be reminded that it’s not about creating frameable pieces of art, it’s about leaving behind our stories and telling our children how much they are loved. Thank you for reminding me.

  20. carrie heaphy says:

    Did you get my pictures from this weekend??? Sorry I was the one who probably took that pic of you and Lisa-but we will try and find you a better one!!
    Thank you again for coming-it was awesome and you are the best!

  21. I needed to hear that story, it has me crying right at this moment. I have a 19 month old daughter and a 7 month old daughter and many days I feel so over whelmed I don’t take the time I need to unwind. It is dirty diapers, pink clothes and a sink full of dishes all day long. I am going to try to spend as much time as possible working on my scrapbooks just in case the worst should ever happen, I want my babies to know how much I love them and that they are my world.

  22. i can’t ‘amen’ enough to what you have written stacy! what a tragedy for this precious family but what an amazing legacy Tracey has left behind for her loved ones. you hit the nail on the head about just getting it down. period.
    i have shared it on my blog tonight too :)
    lusi x

  23. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with Tracy’s family. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me because I have been thinking just that – does scrapbooking really matter? Thanks for reminding me it does!

  24. I thank you for what you said. Obviously this young woman already knew the importance of scrapbooking her life and memories and has left her family with all of those memories to help them through this difficult time. I needed a kick to keep moving through all these pictures and memories. Thanks.

  25. My handwriting has been holding me back, and the fact that I am still fairly new to scrapbooking still. But..I totally agree that in case something ever happened to me, I would want my thoughts and stories down for my family to have. Thanks for this!

  26. Jeanne Ann says:

    One thing I have done since I started this hobby is to use my own handwriting. Not because I think it is all that great, but more because I do not really like using the computer for that. It is more personal, and my girls are always telling me that they love my handwriting so it makes me feel good to use it on every layout and project I do.
    Although I am still in the process of letting go enough to just scrapbook without worries I do know that what I have done so far my family appreciates and treasures. I do it all for them.

  27. Thank you for sharing Tracy’s story – instant remibder of what is important in this life.
    Thanks you for the cardstock from the contest – I received it yesterday and I was so excited. Opening packages filled with new paper….yum!!!

  28. Your post brough tears to my eyes. I try to remember so many thoughts and feelings in my journaling but it doesn’t always come out the way I want. I’ve always been a handwriting person–I’m already on the computer enough so I hate to computer journal. Thanks for bringing the story and relaying that I don’t have to chronological scrapbook! It’s a blessing to be excited about what I just took photos of this week!

  29. My heart goes out to those two little boys. What a tragedy. I am so glad I found scrapbooking. I still love it after eight years and am so proud to show my two boys what I’ve put together every time I’ve completed something.
    Thanks for sharing their story with us:)
    StacyS. (Alberta, Canada)

  30. What a great story…thanks so much for sharing.
    And welcome to the world of geocaching! We’ve been caching for a few years now and love getting outside as a family. Not to mention the photo ops and the scrap pages to follow. :)

  31. dear god I need a tissue!

  32. What a wonderful, heartbreaking story. Thank you for putting to words why and how we should be scrapping. I’m inspired to do more journaling, so my family’s stories will be told.

  33. Thanks for sharing that story…I am “one of those” that feels dorky when I try to journal my thoughts and feelings, but I am forcing myself to do it anyway for the reasons you talked about. I want my family to know (and be able to read it somewhere) exactly how I feel, what is important to me, funny things they’ve done, life lessons, etc. I do realize how important it is; I am challenging myself to go beyond my comfort zone! Thanks, Stacy!

  34. Thank you for sharing. I need to let go and do more “imperfect” LO’s! Thank you!

  35. Laurie Takens says:

    I sooooo agree Stacy. I’ve made a ton of mini books lately – journaling in my handwriting in each one. I believe the more you do this, the easier it gets. Sometimes I’m not crazy about how my handwriting looks but when my family looks at all the books I’ve made – they’re so impressed! And they might hear another story about Mom that they might never have heard otherwise. Ladies – we don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow! Start journaling TODAY in your books so your family will be able to have something special just from you!!! I know my family really appreciates it and I know yours will too.

  36. Oh Stacy, this post is why I so adore you! Thank you for a good hearty dose of inspiration today. You’re the best :) Katie

  37. Lindsay Palamaruk says:

    Thank you for this post. I really needed to hear this today! xoxo

  38. Thank you for the reminder. It really does matter. My mama died when I was 9. I have hundreds of unlabeled pictures that long for a story to be told. It brings me great sadness. It reminds me to get those pictures in the scrapbook.

  39. Tess Davis says:

    Stacy, I cannot tell you how hard your insightful words hit me today. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you continue to share your passion and thoughtfulness about this amazing hobby of ours. I can tell you that you are amazing, those little boys are amazing, and I am so amazingly thankful that I found you and your outlook on scrapbooking (and life), and took it to heart. Thank you, Stacy. Tess in Bothell :)

  40. I agree completely with Annie. Stacy-you can get on your soapbox anytime. Your words so deeply touched me, I find it hard to express here. Did you know you have completely changed how I scrapbook? Did you know I talk about you and your philosophies about scrapping every chance I get? Probably not … but I do. You are amazing and what you wrote here is so true. My sister made me a scrapbook for my birthday last month and aside that she told some stories I completely forgot about>its also filled with her handwriting. I noticed that right away and its AWESOME (forgive my 80′s-ness).
    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks Stacy. You touched my life and changed it.

  41. I have sent this posts to so many of my friends — just love it. Advice we all needed!!

  42. Oh Stacy, what a beautiful post. You know, back in the early 90′s, I had a friend who died due to ovarian cancer. She was in her late 20′s and had a 2yo son.
    I had an idea back then, one I sooo regret not implementing. It was before I had any awareness of scrapbooking at all. What I envisioned was a journal that would have been passed around at our workplace, where her friends and co-workers could have jotted down a favorite memory of Tracy. It was a gift I thought we could have given to her young son, so that someday he would have many different glimpses of who his mother was.
    I now realize it would have been a scrapbook of sorts, if just a few photos had been added. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t worried what others might think of my idea. I can see from your touching post, Stacy, that it would have been a most precious gift to her son.

  43. I shared this with a friend that just lost her husband in an accident…I hope she finds it freeing in some ways. I know I do :)
    thanks for always encouraging women to let go!
    SCRAP FREE! That’s my motto :)

  44. Thank you for just the right words. I am giving my sister a book about scrapbooking this Christmas. She struggles with how her pages look, if they’e too simple, etc. She ends up putting her pictures away and creates nothing. Your words (in part) are now inscribed in her book. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience.

  45. Stefani Meyer says:

    Thank you Stacy for sharing. I am sitting here bawling my eyes out. You hit the nail on the head, I HAVE been procrastinating my scrapbooks, in lieu of getting more important things done. I haven’t scrapped in months, I knew I was doing this, but the endless “stuff” never seemed to go away. The point is, in the grand scheme of things Scrapbooking IS the important stuff. I pledge to scrapbook (for starters anyway) 1x per week until the new year (more if I can squeeze it in) I have a million ideas and stories running around in my head, they need to come out, others need to see them. I’m starting with “the gift to myself mini book” – otherwise it will be completely procrastinated away. I want my pages and projects to be a connection point for me and my kids, my husband, my extended family, my friends and possibly strangers. Thanks for the wake up call. That still-small-voice whispered that what you said is what I need to be doing.<3

  46. Thank you so much! Sitting here with tears in my eyes….was just telling my Mom last night that I wanted to start a new project…”if I should be gone tomorrow”…..stories I’d like to share with my son, my nieces & nephews…the important other people in my life. Not a huge “scrapbooking” project per say, but just stories, thoughts, love I’d like to share with folks if, God forbid, something were to happen to me today. And this post of yours – just gave me the extra push to go ahead and start these stories. Thank you so much!

  47. Thanks so much yet again Stacy. You have given my a much needed ‘kick in the pants!’ – I blogged about it today and put in a link to your post. Hope your message spreads far and wide. Thankyou for sharing your words of wisdom and insight. Love Anita. xx

  48. Scrappycath says:

    OMG, I can not thank you enough for this post. You speak right to my heart, mind and soul. I’m in tears. But they are not just sad tears, they are good tears too. Thank you for getting/keeping the focus on the important stuff!

  49. Stacy, thank you. You put into words exactly what I feel and what my own philosophy is and how I use that to create my own scrapbooks. Let it go. Because I can tell you now that at 8 years old my little daughter could care less what my handwriting looks like. And I can tell you that at 38 years old I CHERISH the letter that my grandmother wrote to her family before she died because of her handwriting and I treasure each and every photo that she wrote on the back of because it’s HER handwriting. My daughter doesn’t care if the photo is blurry. She cares about the story BEHIND the photo, what that photo means to her is WHY is was taken in the first place. And I’m so glad that someone like you who has thousands of scrapbookers reading her blog would say it out loud right there for them all to read and hopefully they will take it to heart. You know how we all have those little lists in our heads of things we’d like to do someday before we leave this earth? Well, meeting YOU is on my list, and it was before you wrote this post. You’re a blessing.

  50. So where did you get the B & W polka dot sweater?? I LOVE IT!

  51. Thank you so much for sharing this… I have tears in my eyes from your story…

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