DIY Mini Scrapbook Album – Vacay

Aruba mini album

I was inspired to try making my own mini scrapbook album from scratch after watching Heidi Swapp’s tutorial class on It’s a free class & she uses boxed cards to make the base of the album.

I had a few photos printed from my last vacation to Aruba and decided to use those for the album. They are press prints from Persnickety Prints that I had hanging on my Christmas tree last year. The press prints are so nice and sturdy, just love them. I also highly recommend the pearl finish when you have an image that you want to shimmer.

I had this Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine paper pad that I’ve been using for years now. I think it was a freebie from the Stamp & Scrapbook Expo, so it was a big stack with multiple pages of each design. I decided to try to kill it off with this album.

I chose a few papers and cut them down so that the album would be a 6×8 size. I adhered some pages together and used my sewing machine to sew pockets in a few pages (3). Heidi Swapp gives this idea/tip in her 2nd video in the class series. I like the idea of mixing the pages, some with pocket tags, some without.

I cut some chipboard to 6×8 and adhered it all together with Tombo permanent adhesive. For the cover I chose a paper that was 9 inches long so there would be overhang onto the back of the album to cover the spine. The journal card pages worked perfect for that.

Once the base of the album was complete, I loosely outlined where I wanted the photos then proceeded to complete & embellish each page. In total it probably took about 6-7 hours to complete the whole thing. Probably the quickest I’ve ever completed a project like this. Using the one paper pack as a base and sticking to a theme probably helped me focus more and get it done.

Aruba mini album

I used a lot of stash supplies, that “escape” sticker is from 7 Gypsies. Lots of Simple Stories embellishments from their mini “snap” packs and some other beach/paradise collection like “Here We Go”.

Aruba mini album

I love tags, and finally picked up a tag die-cut set at Stamp & Scrapbook Expo last year. It is from Hero Arts, the Infinity Tag set.

Aruba mini album

These papers worked out well because of the way they are color blocked for divided page protectors, it sort of blocks off different parts of the page layouts and also provides embellishment without having to add too much extra.

Aruba mini album

The “pure magic” is from Me & My Big Ideas, the other stickers and washi are Simple Stories Here We Go collection.

Aruba mini album

This fruity paper is from a 6×6 pad – American Crafts Dear Lizzy Happy Place. It was perfect for a visit to the smoothie bowl shack.

Aruba mini album

When I decided to start this album I had no printer ink, so couldn’t print additional photos that way. I did use my Lifeprint mini printer to print out mini photos of the food and snacks from the trip. The strip of paper under “good eats” is inked with Ranger Distress Inks. Again the pattern paper was already designed, so I didn’t have to add anything to it.

Aruba mini album

Aruba mini album

Sunglasses paper from 6×6 pad – American Crafts Dear Lizzy Happy Place. I also started by using the kraft photo corners, then just decided to continue that throughout the album for cohesiveness. The press prints are such a nice quality and I didn’t want to adhere them down.

Aruba mini album

This layout probably took the longest because I was trying to block off the left page to add some small stories. I have a Lifeprint hyperphoto that will take the place of the regular photo on the top part about these swans, fish and a swimming iguana. (Their servers were down at the time ūüė¶ )

The bottom was a visit to a favorite night spot, Bugaloe, with live music & the best grouper ceviche – yum!

For the right side, I added a different paper from Simple Stories Summer Vibes collection. I cut parts off to make the words make sense for the theme.

Aruba mini album

I wanted to include some journaling in the album, some was recorded in Day One app and other in an Instagram post. I put the journaling (which I write a word or two about the different things that happen, places visited or inside joke type stories) on the viewable page. Then I add my more personal take to the pocket tag.

For the page I wanted to put the journaling right on that busy page, so I used the negative from the tag die-cut to ink a space that journaling printed on vellum would show up. I used Ranger Oxide Inks to get a nice layer of ink to cover up the images on the paper. At first I just printed the font in black, but then decided I would like it reversed better. I use apps on my phone to create this journaling and print directly to my Canon printer using their printer app. (Letterglow app, PicStitch app, and Canon Print – learn more about that here) I continued that inking on the right side of the page to outline the photo a bit more.

Aruba mini album

Used my typewriter for this journaling on the tag.

Aruba mini album

This album was fun and surprisingly easy to come together. I’m glad I have a completed project for something I wasn’t even sure I was going to scrap the photos for to begin with.

I highly recommend checking out Heidi’s class and trying a mini album of your own.


A visit to the Chicago History Museum


I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Chicago History Museum. As a scrapbooker/memory keeper/documentarian/ancestry enthusiast, I appreciate a good story, but even moreso an authentic one. This museum does a good job of offering several different facets of stories, versatile in genre and era.

It is not a huge museum, so it’s easy to see in a couple hours, but you can definitely take it slow and spend the day here. Not to mention there is a great cafe inside.


The main attraction for my visit was to see the Vivian Maier Exhibit, an American street photographer, who was relatively “undiscovered” until after her death. I highly recommend the documentary Finding Vivian Maier. So much of her life and photo taking was relatable and still left¬†so many questions. Regardless, her eye for light & contrast, leading lines and human emotion in still shots was remarkable.

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
I think she invented the bathroom selfie

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document

vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Sun glare bokeh
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Leading lines
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
vivian maier, photographer, photography, street photography, black and white, b&w, museum, chicago history, document
Human emotion in still shot

The exhibit was well done, and it’s only 18 rolls of film. A drop in the bucket of her thousands of photos taken. I walked through about 3 times. I was inspired to just get out and shoot. And document. One thing I learned from the documentary about Vivian, was she kept tons of receipts, tickets, and other paper memorabilia. As a paper lover, you can imagine my interest in these artifacts. Would love to see an exhibit featuring these items.

I had to honor her with my own bathroom selfie.
I had to honor her with my own bathroom selfie.

Another draw to the museum for me was the Lincoln exhibit. My interest in his life was recently reignited while recently watching a documentary on the History Channel. Even though we gloss over these people and events in History class, I feel like I am at a place in my life where I can really learn more and appreciate it all that much more too.

Lincoln exhibit

In a political environment such as this, seeing this exhibit and imagining Lincoln’s life’s work & reading his words renewed my perspective a bit. I feel fortunate to have that experience and be empowered by our democracy & electoral system. It is not perfect, by far, but I was reminded that thousands (& thousands) of men & women have died fighting for freedom, & justice, & equality, & the right to vote. I owe my good fortune in life to those people, and I can think of no better way to respect their memory¬†then to participate in the process, to stay informed, to be as engaged as possible, to speak up where I am able & to act.

In Buddhism there is a concept of right living, and that concept kept coming to mind¬†when I read Lincoln’s words. He is not without fault or conflict, (who is?!) but he was a forward thinker in that time.

Some more museum photos:



An actual L train car
An actual L train car
Beer delivery
Beer delivery
Couldn't resist this gem! go Cubs!
Couldn’t resist this gem! go Cubs!
I enjoyed a chai latte & chocolate chip cookie at the cafe, while reflecting on my visit.
I enjoyed a chai latte & chocolate chip cookie at the cafe, while reflecting on my visit.

letterpress cards, paper collector, the papergoddess, gift shop cards, chicago history museum, starshaped press, albertine press

Of course I had to visit the gift shop and found these wonders. Top left: Letterpress postcard by Albertine Press. Bottom left: Letterpress postcard by Starshaped Press in Chicago. Right: Abraham Lincoln card, complete with various sticker quotes. (I plan to make him a little kickstand and use him for various inspirational posts ;))

Paper Shopping in Paris // Stationery Stores

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As I’ve shared in the past, I love the hunt of finding cute stationery stores and paper shopping while traveling. I collect letterpress cards and like to find unique additions. Sometimes I use the¬†cards/paper I collect in the scrapbooking project related to that trip. Or it becomes part of my decor.

Before I travel, I search online to see what stores I may be interested in. Generally stationery stores is a good search topic, also gift stores & book stores. Art supply is also a good search term.

I don’t go out of my way to¬†go¬†to these locations, but try to fit it into my travels. The best is when I stumble on one that I hadn’t known about, which happens more often than not.

This is what I found in Paris, France:

One of my favorite walking areas is along Rue de St-Andre des Arts, which is technically in Saint-Germain neighborhood, but feels a bit more Latin Quarter.

It is pedestrian friendly with several shops, pubs, & creperies to satisfy all interests along the way.

grim art, paris, stationery store, art supply store, leather, journal, journaling, journals, calligraphy, letterpress cards, greeting cards, postcards
Grim’Art Paris


Off of¬†Rue de St-Andre des Arts on Cour due Commerce Saint-Andre, a pedestrian area, is Grim’Art. A tiny, burnt sienna shop with fresh smelling leather. There are several leather notebooks & bags to choose from if that interests you. There was a small selection of cards & paper goods, enough for me to find some treats.

Cards by Daniele Billot Bader, handmade cards, sketch, christmas card, unique artists, creative, stationery stores, stationery shops, greeting cards, paris shopping
Cards by Daniele Billot Bader

I love how this artist, Daniele Billot Bader, uses the letters in their sketches. I picked up the yuletide P & B to use at Christmastime.

handmade cards, bird card, paris shopping, birds, stationery, stationery store,
Penny Lindop Card

In love with Penny Lindop Designs, so many adorable cards with cute little fuzzy animals to choose from. I went with these birds, closely resembling my favorite goldfinches.

Added another Calligraphy pen to my collection. Even though some items can be bought anywhere, I like to buy things I use regularly, so I can be reminded of my trip.

Le Typographe, paris shop, belgian shop, stationery shop, letterpress cards, greeting cards, art supply
Le Typographe

Le Typographe

This modern stationery shop was just up and around the corner from Grim’Art on Rue Mazarine. This is actually a Belgian company, which I did not know but was delighted to find. Most of their cards have single letterpress images, with modern, simple design. There was a selection of notebooks, washi tape, pens & other desk accessories. I opted for a few of the mini cards.

Rifle Paper Co. at L'Ecume Des Pages in Paris, book store, stationery store, paris shopping, art supply,
Rifle Paper Co. at L’Ecume Des Pages in Paris

L’Ecume Des Pages

This was a bookstore we stumbled upon while making our way down to check out the Eiffel Tower at night. Along Blvd Saint Germain, it was open late for a Sunday. A sharp right into the first aisle revealed tons of notebooks, journals, planners and other desk accessories. I noticed a nice collection of Rifle Paper Company notebooks.

notebooks, les parisettes, letterbox, paris stationery, paris shopping, stationery stores

I try to find things locally made if possible. I found a notebook and few other items from Letterbox Paris, a manufacturer & distributor in France. Also Les Parisettes, another company which uses French & Parisian designers for its products.

Some cute Eiffel Tower clips, a multi-size pencil sharpener, metallic pencils from Faber-Castell, & a Kirin Black Pal dream pencil (pictured at the top).

Decoupage book, paris, paris shopping, book store, stationery store, cardmaking
Decoupage book

I love finding this decoupage book. It’s very classical French type illustrations. I plan on cutting some out to make cards, but mostly I will admire it.

Decoupage book, paris, paris shopping, book store, stationery store, cardmaking

I didn’t have time to make it to Skripta, in the Latin Quarter, so I will keep it on the list for next time.

If you are ever in Paris, be sure to check out these spots for some inspiration & unique souvenirs!