I’ve lost the LOVE.

EDITED (May 27th) Thank you so much for your comments and tweets.
It feels so good to know that things I write occasionally “ring true.”

I wanted to let you know that I received an email from Elizabeth Dillow, reminding me that she wrote a really GREAT article for Simple Scrapbooks magazine in the May/June 2008 issue. It’s titled, Go With The Flow and it’s on page 55. (Thanks E!)

I also wanted to remind you that I created a podcast on Creative Growth that also speaks to the various stages we move through as creatives. Both of these resources with lend additional insight into this post!

[original post] Today I wanted to address an email I received on May 1st, National Scrapbooking Day.

Dear Stacy,

I am in need of some advice from someone I most respect in the scrapbooking industry!  I have not scrapbooked in close to 6 months.  And today on National Scrapbooking Day, I figured I would dive back into it!  However, I am realizing that my my former love for this seems to missing! So now I questioning myself, do I throw in the towel and quit?  I want to document my family, but I just feel really lost about the process right now.  Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks for your time,

Ahh … my friend.

The first thing you need to know is you are normal. Scrapbooking (or any hobby/passion that holds meaning for you) is a lifelong process of falling into and out of love. I really believe that. If it didn’t matter so much to us, we wouldn’t create such crazy expectations and develop feelings of obligation that can so easily beset the joy and personal expression we signed up for.

Creativity is a rhythmic process. It is the valleys that provide a contrast against which peaks can be realized and appreciated. Embrace the rhythmic quality of creativity–the sooner you give yourself permission to feel disengaged (or at least less enthralled) the sooner you’ll find yourself on the mend. It’s when we expect ourselves to be “in love” all the time that we get into trouble. The challenge of course is that life marches on, pictures accumulate, children grow and everyday life changes at an alarming rate. We struggle endlessly with the sense that we are missing opportunities.

It’s really, truly OK.

You are living and scrapbooking in an environment of excess. You cannot possibly take advantage of every opportunity. In her book, The Happiness Project , Gretchen Rubin discovers and articulates something I believe we all inherently know, but try to resist. She says:

“I can do ANYTHING I want, but I can’t do EVERYTHING I want.”

I think this has wonderful application in scrapbooking. You can scrapbook anything that you feel inspired to scrapbook and if and when you do, you will have done a very good thing. You cannot however scrapbooking everything you want to scrapbook. You just can’t. You can scrapbook your most important memories and you can learn to spend time with your pictures on a regular basis — which I believe is the secret to sustaining your passion and your productivity.

Here, then is my 10-day, 3-step plan for a speedy recovering from what ails you and anyone else who feels they have “lost the LOVE”

1. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to spend 15 minutes scrolling through pictures on your computer. Don’t purge them, edit them, tag them or anything — just scroll through them and enjoy them. Let your heart relive special moments, funny expressions, important relationships and everything else that we capture with our cameras.

2. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to sort and sift through your stash of scrapbooking product. Start with your pattern paper. Find 3 or 4 sheets that you absolutely adore. Then visit your collection of letter stickers, ribbon, rub-ons — whatever. Everyday for 10 days, you are to select something you’d like to play with. Grab a serving tray and a small bowl or basket and collect it all here.

3. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to sit down (this is important) and look through a scrapbook you have created. You can do this alone or with a family member of friend. It would be extra cool to do this right before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning. Sit down and review a portion of the goodness you’ve captured in the course of your scrapbooking journey.

That’s it. No actual scrapbooking involved.
I sincerely believe that if you will do these 3 things everyday for 10 days, you will know what to do next.

The only other thing you need to do is lower your expectations. And this is something I struggle with every single day of my life.
Lower your expectations. This is the secret to a happy marriage, a clean house, a productive day and joy in scrapbooking (among other things.)

Every single time you choose to bring along your camera, or write something down that you don’t want to forget, or even stop to fully engage with the present moment, you are exercising your scrapbooking muscles. Oh, and one more thing … remember that you are a remarkable women to even have the desire to document life.

That desire is a gift.
Be grateful for it and share it with anyone who will listen and learn.


  1. Stacy, your insight is amazing! You are truly a gift to the scrapbooking world!

  2. I love this. So true. Relaxing to scrapbook whatever I’m inspired to do just now has been very liberating. I haven’t yet scrapbooked many “BIG” events, but yesterday scrapbooked a page of my brother sleeping with my baby girl. I just needed to tell that story that day and some other day I’ll have another story, maybe even the BIG ones, but for now I am content.

  3. {vicki} says:

    Thanks for telling me that I can’t scrap everything I want. I needed to hear that today.

    LOVE THE PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Thank you so much for the great advice. So much of what you said can apply to everything in life, not just parenting. It’s so freeing to release ourselves from the guilt we have as mothers, over stressed scrappers, etc …. and just enjoy what we have around us. Thank you. You made my day better with your words.

  5. Angela W says:

    Thanks so much for posting this, Stacy! I needed it, as I think we all do at times!

  6. I love this post – ’cause I think the problem is SO true and a thing that everybody stuggles with in every aspect of their life, and your advice is just spot on.

  7. Karen C. says:

    So absolutely true! Thanks so much for saying this and giving guidance to us when we encounter those times where we loose our love for scrapbooking!

  8. That photo is TOO hilarious!

    Thank you for posting this letter and your response. It’s so nice to see I’m not the only one…even though I know in my heart I’m not alone it to be true, it’s nice to see it again. And you know what I think is the COOLEST about you, Stacy? You totally addressed this issue/question with a straightforward and heartful answer, when it would be SO easy to plug your LOM classes and book. YOU, Stacy, are the gift to creativity!

    Thank you!

  9. Great post! I would add at the end to sign up for a BPS workshop! Taking workshops several times a year keeps me inspired and moving forward.

  10. I started scrapbooking in 2002, and 8 years later, I haven’t finished a single book (although I’ve started about 6 different albums)! I am in love with the idea of scrapbooking, and have invested in supplies heavily (several thousand dollars worth!), but I can’t find the time or the organizational skills to complete a project.

    Here’s my solution, and it may help others: I’m going to try putting together an album with a combination of drop-in 12 x 12 pages, and pages that hold 4 x 6 photos. That way, I can create a beautiful 12 x 12 page, about snow skiing for example, on one side, using all my wonderful scrapbooking supplies, and add 6 of my best photos from that trip on the other side of the layout. I may choose to leave one of the 4 x 6 slots free for journaling. I am excited that this project may actually be completed! One big revelation for me is that, ultimately, my scrapbooks will go to my son. I want to create albums that he will enjoy now and as an adult…there’s no need to get too frilly or fancy with this!

  11. Ashleigh says:

    Thank you so much for sharing a way to get out of the scrapbooking doldrums. I think I’ve been doing the same steps you’ve shared when my mojo is on vacation but now I don’t have to feel so guilty about it.

  12. Thank you so much! I’m still scrapping – and I still love it, but your message still hits home! thank you!

  13. You are so wise and wonderful.

  14. What wonderful words of wisdom! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  15. what beautiful advice.

    i love hearing someone express “lower your expectations” in the way we should all be doing it!

  16. This message was REALLY timely. I’ve printed it off and will include reading it at least once a day for the next 10 days. Thank you.

  17. Marilyn says:

    Thanks….I needed this!

  18. I love this message. I love the way you present your ideas to us. When I read this blog entry, I could just hear you saying it. I think I like what you say so much because it really feels like you are speaking from personal experience. And it almost always is something I need to hear. Thank you!

  19. Oh Stacy, so wise for someone so young!

  20. Wow…I’ve been paralyzed lately. All or nothing thinking when I think about scrapbooking. Thanks for breaking it down in small, MANAGEABLE steps.

  21. you are awesome. thank you for sharing your many gifts.

  22. Christy says:

    I so love this advice. I’m going to jot it down in my sketchbook for the next time I need a little bit of umpf to get me going again. <3

  23. Brilliant observations and insight. Thank you, as always.

  24. Monika Wright says:

    The only other thing you need to do is lower your expectations. And this is something I struggle with every single day of my life.
    Lower your expectations. This is the secret to a happy marriage, a clean house, a productive day and joy in scrapbooking (among other things.)

    …those words speak to my soul. If I could only, would only lower my expectations, my life and the life of those I love would be so much better. When I try to do just that it feels like I am cheating on myself. I make a promise to myself today that I will do this one little thing. And it will bring bigger things into my life, I am sure. Wish me luck, please.

  25. Brenda DellaVecchia says:

    I love this response. I’m going to print it and post it on the wall of my room.

  26. Your philosophy is one of the reasons I was drawn to ‘Simple Scrapbooks’ right from the start. A busy working mom of 5 could only survive with this kind of thinking and it worked. I will also print out your advice in this column and hang it in my craft room. Thanks.

  27. Thank you, Stacy! I believe that God leads us to the people who will say things that we need to hear. A year and a half ago, our family lost our home to a house fire. My scrapbooks were destroyed. I had just started scrapbooking about two years before. I still “love” the concept of scrapbooking; I still take a whole bunch of pictures and try to capture the moments in our lives, but I am “blocked” in some ways. I have not yet scrapped the fire, my reactions, and our recovery. I know it’s a story that I need to tell. Your message that this whole process of creating things comes in waves, like the tide, is something I need to hear. It’s hard for me to give myself permission to let the tide flow as it wills. I know that one day (soon, perhaps) I will begin scrapbooking, recovering the stories that I told once and continue to tell new ones.

  28. Jo-Ellen says:

    I was most touched by the quote you posted, You can do anything you want, but not everything you want. I am struggling with that a lot right now, especially when I compare myself to those around me. This quite puts everything in place for me. I need to stop and figure out my priorities and be glad and fulfilled. Do the best I can with what I choose to do.

  29. Stacy Thank you so much for putting this in perspective for me. I do love this amazing hobby that has found me (I truly think that it searched for me and found me). And although I wish I would take better pictures or have a nicer camera or more stuff or a bigger studio, I know deep down inside its really not why I do this. I do it for the simple fact that I love it. That it brings me joy and peace when I am doing it. And that even though I want my son and my family to enjoy it also, I do it just for me. BUT I still have these expectations for myself that are sometimes not fair and I disappoint myself. I feel guilty when I don’t really feel like doing it and when I am not really inspired (and PS when I force myself to do it the outcome I must say is less than stellar) and again I disappoint myself. That’s why this makes so much sense. IT’S OK TO FEEL THIS WAY! It doesn’t mean that I will always feel this way or that I am a sham of scrapbooker because I don’t LOVE this hobby every minute of everyday! Its just a valley in the journey that this hobby takes me through.

    Another lil bit of freedom that Ms Stacy Julian and allowed me to find.

    Thank you so much.

    And to our friend Kristi: I feel you sister! Hang in there!

  30. Damiane Lucas says:

    Thank you, Stacy, for your beautiful words. You have a God-given talent and you’ve touched so many of us with your wonderful encouragement. May God bless you abundantly!

    And by the way, I LOVE THE PHOTO OF ADDIE! Way too cute!

  31. Thank you! I feel that way sometimes with my personal scrapping. I am going to try your plan next week to get me back into my home studio! What perfect timing for this inspiration–the end of school/beginning of summer!

  32. Leslie E says:

    Wow! This is so inspiring. Thanks Stacy for sharing your enthusiasm and and your realistic, humble approach. Like others I am printing this out to keep handy.
    I will begin my 10 day 3-step process this Memorial Weekend!

  33. {CLAP…CLAP…CLAP} Thank you Stacy!

  34. I haven’t done any scrapbooking in a few months now. I’ve started a business, I’m going back to school, and at any time (theoretically!) we could discover that a baby will soon be in our future. Who has time to scrapbook? (Even though I keep telling myself, NOW “is the time to scrapbook *everything* up to this point” while I don’t have kids!!) Thank you for reminding us all of WHY we scrapbook. You’re right on, as usual – it’s not about checking things off a list or meeting a self-imposed deadline – it’s about enjoyment, creativity, and LOVE.

  35. susan sadler says:

    I love your comment about lowering your expectaions . I believe the other upside to lowering expectaions is you can achieve a goal .

  36. Stacy,

    I have so enjoyed your website these past few weeks. I have not taken your Library of Memories Class, but I have benefited already by learning about your philosophy through your ScrapHappy Class on the Big Picture Scrapbooking site.

    I got those old boxes of photos down off the shelf this past Sunday. Every night after the kids are in bed I have sorted.

    I made my ScrapHappy Notebook. The stapling was truly therapeutic! Since I started reading your blog I have joyfully created some layouts. The permission not to be perfect, not to be chronological, but to tell my story have been liberating.

  37. first time here… great article, thank you!

  38. Ruth Ann says:

    Thanks Stacy for all of your ideas and sharing all of your wonderful ideas. I love the color bins, however my room isn’t large enough for that, but, I did do the color idea with all of my ribbons. Went to Staples and got 12 small bins (like the ones for potatoes, etc.), they stack and you can see the ribbon colors. So much better than looking through a mess in a box. Now on to the purging of supplies. I would love to win the white purge of yours, I honestly don’t have much white. Would love to win……
    Thanks again for all you share with us.

  39. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren¡¯t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  40. ari macias says:

    …and ms SJ hits it out of the ballpark again!

  41. Madeline St Onge says:

    Stacey you are amazeing, thank you for posting this. It is a huge help, keeping it short cutted on my desk top so I can find quick when I need it.
    Thank you again

  42. Just want to say “THANK YOU”!!!

  43. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren¡¯t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by stacy julian and Danielle Hunter, sarah carlson. sarah carlson said: RT @stacyjulian: My 10-day, 3-step plan for scrapbook success, when you've "lost the LOVE." http://tinyurl.com/2usj8op [...]

  2. [...] Finding the love again at Stacy Julian [...]

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