Top Tips for Martha Stewart

I woke up early this morning and did a little radio spot on the Martha Stewart Morning Living show.
The producer called me yesterday and asked me to send over my recommendations for basic tools and a list of my top tips for getting started. I thought this might be something fun to share here on the good ‘ole blog. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, this will feel like a review, but then its good (every so often) to revisit your core philosophies about things — even things like scrapbooking.

In case you don’t know, there is a “Stacy Julian” Basic Tool Kit at Learn more by clicking on the link.

For me, getting started scrapbooking is NOT as important as sticking with it and avoiding what seems to be unavoidable guilt. Here then are my top ten tips for starting scrapbooking and sustaining a healthy attitude about telling your stories.

Scrapbooking is simply telling a story with pictures and words. Storytelling is as old as humanity. There are no rules for telling stories—no right or wrong way to do it. Don’t forget this!

Anytime you pair a photo with a memory, you are scrapbooking. This means scrapbooks come in all shapes and sizes and all kinds of formats, from traditional paste and paper scrapbooks to beautifully designed digital family histories, to personal blogs—it all counts!

Don’t start at the beginning. You do not have to start at the beginning of your life or anyone else’s for that matter. Start with a great memory or story and find some pictures to illustrate it and move on to the next story you want to tell.

Don’t work in date order. Trying to tell stories in chronological order can be overwhelming and it turns out chronology really isn’t that interesting after all, so don’t force yourself to arrange photos and words in chronological order – especially if it is stressing you out!

Don’t worry about the lifetime of pictures. Seriously. I know you have pictures in drawers and bins and under your bed, not to mention the 10,000 images on your computer. Get over it. Decide that you can’t do something with all of your pictures, but you can do something with some of your pictures. This is an exciting notion and one that will help you live a more present and happy life.

Do scrapbook yourself. Scrapbooking isn’t just for brides and new moms. You do not have to have children to scrapbook and if you have children, you are not obligated to make them scrapbooks – in fact, the only story you’re truly qualified to tell is your own story. If you do have children, what they will most want from you is your story, told with pictures and lots of your perspective.

Do scrapbook people. The people we love and the relationships we enjoy are what life is all about.  Take and use pictures of people. Write about who they are, how they are unique and why you love them. Scrapbooking personalities and relationships with great attention to detail is the most gratifying kind of storytelling there is.

Do carry a notebook. Tuck a small notebook in your purse and place a few others around your home (in your nightstand, your kitchen junk drawer, etc..) When something triggers a memory, or someone says something funny, capture it. Use these notes to inspire individual scrapbook pages or projects.

Do create a Photos I Love book. Gather 10 to 15 of your MOST favorite pictures that span your lifetime. Sit down at your computer and write a short paragraph or two about each one, add some color and some decorative touches (optional) and put everything together in a smallish album. As you work, notice the creative energy swelling up inside of you and pay attention to your desire to share this book with anyone important in your life.

Do spend time with your pictures. The most important thing you can do to inspire and motivate the storyteller in you is to enjoy the pictures you have. Pull out a box of old photos and set them on the coffee table. Set up two or three digital photo frames and load them with recent digital images. The more you surround yourself with happy memories and the evidence of the good things in life, the more you will want to celebrate both. We make time to do things that feel exciting—get excited about your pictures!

Naturally, I plugged Big Picture Classes at the end of my interview and I mentioned my Start Here with Stacy class.
If you or someone you know is just getting started or needs a refresher or simply a perspective shift, this class is perfect.

Have a great and productive day!


  1. Nice little list, thanks for sharing! I am putting it away to pull out and read every so often when I am feeling uninspired or bogged down.

  2. This was a review for me–but ALWAYS good to be reminded of some of the things on the list (aka scrapbook yourself!). Just wanted to comment on Undu. Don’t know how I missed this the first time I saw your beginner’s kit, but there aren’t enough capital letters and exclamation points in the world to say how magical and necessary this product is. Just used it again last night. I will also mention that I was (early on) miserly with this product. Just POUR it on people. It does not ruin whatever you’re working on and whatever mistake you are lifting up will be ready to apply in the correct location in seconds. Love it love it love it Why in the world is Stacy Julian the only person singing it’s praises? (or are you and I the only ones that make mistakes?) Rant is over :)

  3. Stacy, thank you so much for sharing all of your inspiration with us. I, too, will keep this post! It is a great refresher….oh, and thanks for the concepts you taught. ‘Love them!!

  4. Love these 10 points — printing to post in my craft room. Thank you for offering needed encouragement — you rock Stacy J!

  5. Thanks, Stacy! It’s always nice to have extra encouragement and inspiration.

  6. Love it! Great tips. You do so much to take the guilt out of this hobby. Side note: I’ve never used Undu. I’ve heard people talk about it…and I’ve probably even needed it before, but I just work with my mistakes and move on. Maybe I should find some sometime…

  7. What a wonderful summary of your scrapbooking philosophy, Stacy. I’d already adopted most of the items – but it is great to have a reminder. Like “Sue S” below, I’m bookmarking this post for future reference.

  8. Michelle C says:

    What a great reminder! I’ve been in a sort of rut for about a month, berating myself for all the reasons I’m not doing the creative things I so love to do. A reminder that there is no right or wrong way is just what I needed to hear.

  9. Kary in Colorado says:

    This is going in my scrapping notebook! As a LOM alumni from way back in 2006, none of this is new but I love reading it all in one place. Just wonderful–I think I need to go scrap something!

  10. I’ve been wanting to teach a memory keeping class in our local town. A ‘what to do with your photos class’ not a scrapbooking class. I want people to know that words + photos are enough. Blogs and Facebook are a form of scrapbooking. Grab a story and start there. Have fun. Oh I could go on and on, but I’d just be repeating your points.

    Someone commented to me the other day that since my girls are in school full time (hers jsut started this year) that must be why I”m “all caught up with my scrapbooking”
    1) I’m not ahead or behind — I do LOM!!
    2) I choose to make the time to do things with my photos. I work from home but juggle my time to include scrapbooking. If you have to spend on the computer/tv/books even getting your nails done or something like that then you could choose to drop one of those extras to make time for scrapbooking occasionally.

  11. So perfect to share with new scrapbookers and an amazing reminder for me! Thank you Stacy for all you do in keeping this hobby FUN!

  12. Awesome. Great tips.

  13. This is a great post! Must print this out and post it in my space. You keep me on the straight and narrow road of “I am enough, it is enough, scrap inspired!”. Love.

  14. Such a good reminder for all of us who spend too much time beating ourselves up.
    …and absolutely love the untitled video about teaching Big Picture classes that starts out with you and Addie… adorable!

    Thanks for always inspiring!

  15. How fun to be on the Martha Stewart show! Great advice as always Stacy; I used to feel overwhelmed by it all, but now I just want to enjoy the process. Gorgeous LO too; I love that there is so much writing, yet room for a cute photo and cute embellishments!

  16. This just puts it all in perspective – fabulous advice for anyone thinking of starting but also great for those of us who have been scrapping for a while. I love the freedom of scrapping the stories I want to as ell as the photos I love. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I wish I had found all this when I was just getting started! But bless my little heart I got here as fast as I could. :)

  18. So good to revisit this…
    Thank YOU!

  19. It’s always good to review the basics and I thank you for the reminder.

  20. Stacy, these are all great tips to keep in mind all the time. Thanks for the reminder to not allow this great hobby to become overwhelming and stressful.

  21. Nicky from Canada says:

    sounds like a perfect day!!!

  22. THANK YOU STACY!! I totally needed that reminder because I have not created anything with my pictures in a very long time. I sit at my computer reading scrapbooking blogs, getting great ideas. And then I look to my left at the partially started LOM, the started albums or projects and it gets me a bit down. I can’t seem to get truly motivated to make a scrapbook page although the ideas are there. I appreciate this little reminder about the why, who and what to scrapbook and that we will never be ‘caught up’ but we can be happy with what we have accomplished so far!!

  23. Karen Schmidt says:

    Thanks for the motivation.. I’ve been to busy to even print my pics I’ve uploaded to the printing and storage place. I know they are sitting there reminding me to get the printed. Its like a little voice in my head saying you need to print the pics… Things will slow done soon I hope. Just in time for the holiday rush…
    have a great day.

  24. every new scrapbooker should receive a copy of your list. GENIUS!!!

  25. Great perspective!

  26. This is such great advice, particularly not worrying about a lifetime of photos waiting to be scrapped, but just focusing on the enjoyment of your current scrapping project. Thanks!


  1. [...] Top Tips for Healthy Scrapbooking from Stacy Julian [...]

Speak Your Mind


What's New at BPC
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes