Putting Pen to Paper

One of the wellsprings of inspiration you’ll find here at Plant Your Story is a project in storytelling called Papyrus.  It’s all about Putting Pen to Paper and I hope you’ll find it both inspiring and encouraging in your own scrapbooking and storytelling.

You can find Papyrus products in my store as well as inspiration in the Anthology; each release includes a set of page design templates accompanied by a a series of story driven journaling prompts and a spot of content in printable .pdf format.  These printable .pdf pages will contain a sprinkling of story starters, a dash of encouragement with a side of creative inspiration designed to meet you right where you are, as you are, whether you love to write or not with the hope of nudging you to put pen to paper.

My personal philosophy for scrapbooking, storytelling, memory keeping, documenting, capturing, goodness…even *living* can essentially be boiled down to these 6 words:

everyone has a story worth telling.

The longer, spill my heart version of that can be found here: Planting Roots in the Story wherein I share in true Wordy McGee style my heart for documenting our stories.  And that big fat ooey gooey heart is that storytelling and scrapbooking, for me,  is about documenting and recording, it’s about remembering.  It’s about saying “I was here”, it’s about taking stock in life, it’s about celebrating the every day, it’s about finding your voice and getting to know yourself better, it’s about writing love letters to those we care about, it’s about keeping a family history, writing biographies and an autobiography, and it’s about building a legacy. It’s about things that matter. Not to the world. Not to Tom, Dick or Harry or Lady Gaga. Not to anyone else but those who matter to me, to YOU. The ones we love, the ones we hope to teach and to learn from, the ones we share ourselves and our lives with. We are recording our stories. And in the process, we are *writing* our own.

And that’s what Papyrus and Putting Pen to Paper is all about.

The process of “putting pen to paper” comes easily for some..the words just flow like water. There is a comfort there. Others are less comfortable in their journaling skin. But the “how” is the same for everybody and it’s really simple. As with anything else in life, the growth and the fulfillment lives in: practice. So our motto is: “just press record”, “just start”. Today is the best time. And the comfort and the ease lives in: being authentic. Just be YOU. Doubts and hesitations live in comparisons. It doesn’t matter how much or how “well” anyone else journals their story. This is YOUR story. You are the author. And you’re the *only one* who can tell it.

So please do.

Grow With Love: One Year Later

July of 2010 marked the beginning of something special.

One year ago, Crystal and I introduced our storytelling concept Grow With Love.  It was fresh, it was a little challenging, and we were a little terrified but hugely excited about it.  Grow With Love was and remains our vision for our personal storytelling and it also reflected our philosophy and heart for encouraging others in their own storytelling.  We hoped to create story-and-prompt driven projects that would challenge and encourage scrapbookers and storytellers to document their personal stories in a more meaningful way.  And more importantly, in a way that would have a tangible impact on their lives beyond the page.  In the year since we first put ourselves and this heartsong “out there” we have been so amazed and inspired by the beautiful pages and stories we have seen shared.  And it was Grow With Love that gave me the personal nudge of confidence to really surrender to my love of Story and develop Plant Your Story.

So reflecting on this adventure, one year later, has me feeling a little nostalgic and ooey and gooey.

And Crystal and I both agree that our first project, Grow With Love: Marriage, holds a special place in our hearts (and in our albums)…and not just because it was our “first” but because of the impact it had on both of us personally.  To this day, the pages that I created during the GWL: Marriage process remain some of my most favorite because they are full of my heart and they document the most important relationship in my life.  It was transformative.  It was empowering.  It was challenging.  But it was worth it.  So so worth it.


So today, in honor of our One Year Grow With Love “anniversary”, Crystal and I would like to offer three Plant Your Story readers with the chance to take part in this storytelling journey as well.

Grow With Love: Marriage was inspired by deep reflection of our own loves and relationships.  It is a series of templates and journaling prompts that we hope will inspire you to share your own stories and create beautiful pages from the heart that you will love.   Includes twenty layered templates and twenty printable thoughtful journaling prompts that we hope will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, reflect on your relationships and loves, and love a little more deeply and truly.  And as you scrap, at your own pace, you can review the process and get inspiration and encouragement that was posted here on the blog.

To enter this giveaway, simply comment here by next Friday 5 August at midnight (PST) for your chance to win Grow With Love: Marriage Edition.  To increase your chances of winning, you can tweet (or retweet with a visible link) or blog or share news of this contest — be sure to share a separate comment with the link to your tweet or post.

If you have already scrapped Grow With Love: Marriage Edition, you can still win something special!  Simply share one of your pages on the Plant Your Story FB page  (For a “how to” see this link) and comment here for your chance to win $20 to shop my store!

Lots of luck!  And thank you for one year of growing with love!  ♥

{grow with love: letters} Day Eighteen

Hope everyone has had a beautiful week!  I’m filling in for Crystal who is up-to-her-eyeballs in vacation preparations…can’t think of a better thing to be busy with really and I know she’s super excited to be getting away for a spell…to the beach!

So here we are with the second prompt for May, which is Day 18 of our letter writing adventure.  This month we are honoring family and celebrating legacy and history with our prompts and pages.

Here’s a peek at today’s prompt:

You may take a peek at this prompt and feel, like me, that you need to take a pause and a deep breath.  One way or another, this is a kind of nudge to write and reflect about something emotional.  And that can be challenging or convicting or a little scary or overwhelming or even empowering.  It’s prompts like these that encourage us to tell the WHOLE story.  Even the emotional or difficult chapters…because these do shape us so.  And many times, reflecting on the goodbyes and the legacies (good or bad) can help close a door or facilitate the letting go or even reaffirm a person’s importance in our lives.

We hope that you feel inspired in this way today.  And we hope you will find some inspiration in these pages by the Storytellers.  They are so heartfelt and emotive and so beautiful.




Grow With Love is a story-centric scrapbooking and journaling project.  We hope it will inspire you to document your stories in a meaningful way that helps you live life more meaningfully too.  Please remember anyone is welcome to join in and follow along at any time.  You can access the complete Grow With Love archive and hop in to any past Grow With Love project or follow along with the Letters project which will be highlighted here every Wednesday.

Grow With Love Archive

To Photo or Not To Photo?

I confess.  For a very (very) long time in my scrapbooking, I put off tackling the *cue scary music* Photo-Less Page.  I love photos.  I have tons of them.  I like to scrap them.  For some reason I was intimidated by scrapping a page that dared to have no photos.  How do these really fit in to my story anyway, right?  Wrong.  Wrong-o.  When I finally kept a scrapping resolution to myself and scrapped my first photo-less page I found it to be….creatively empowering.

My photo-less pages have become some of my most favorite pages.  They have been, at times, really challenging to scrap but always ALWAYS…really {full} of emotion and story.  I love the emphasis I can place on mood and tone and words when I scrap without a photo.  I love how I can visually tell a story in ways that are different from capturing it with photos.  I love that my boundaries for telling my story have expanded because I start to think outside my box a little bit and venture in to scrapping the little details that haven’t been caught on camera.  They have facilitated telling my *own* story more vs. just focusing on the stories of my children and family.

And so now I have myself thinking “what took me so long?”.  Because really photo-less pages have the potential to be a storyteller’s dream.   And since it probably goes without saying that I (a.k.a. Wordy McGee) love journaling and I pretty much think that journaling is the Cat’s Meow, this has become THE huge appeal for me in a photo-less scrapbook page.  Because a photo-less page has the potential to be a journaling-FULL page *contented sigh*.  But even if journaling is not your forte or gives you hives, photo-less scrapbooking can be a valuable tool in documenting your days.

And so today I would like to shine the light on some ways photo-less scrapping can enhance the telling of your story.  And why photo-less pages deserve a place in your scrapbooking and albums.

Here are 5 Reasons to Scrap Photo-less a.k.a. 5 Reasons why Photo-Less Scrapping is Made of Awesome:

1.  Photo-less pages put the focus on storytelling. I suppose you’re thinking “DUH”.  But here’s what I mean:  photo-less pages encourage you — simply by virtue of the space on the page waiting to be filled with your story — to take your journaling to the next level.

When you allow a photo-less page to become a journaling-centric page the focal point is the story.  Your words.  Your voice.  Your Story.  And when there is no photo to act as your focal point, it often compels you to share more details and more of your thoughts and feelings; it allows the narrative to grow beyond the images.  It often compels you to let your journaling become something MORE than the Who, What, When and Where.  There is potential for more of the Why.  And that is journaling and storytelling at a different level.

Not all pages have to be missives or full of heart-gushing, weighty thoughts.  Journaling centric pages can easily be lighthearted and fun or tongue-in-cheek and silly.  But I would contend that when the journaling is the focus, as it often is in photo-less pages, there is a different kind of voice shining through that really contributes to the authenticity of the whole story.  Because the truth is, there is so much we *think* and want others to know but we don’t *say* it.  Journaling-centric photo-less pages give us the freedom to explore all of that.

All of these pages could easily have been pages scrapped with photographs.  In choosing to focus on my words which are, in large part, words written for and to my husband, they became MORE meaningful to me and I was encouraged to really express myself in a deeper and richer way.  And they were scrapped in more of a “for all time” kind of context becoming something classic and lasting and transcendent of a specific moment in time captured in camera.

2. Photo-less pages help you tell YOUR story. One of the reasons I haven’t scrapped All About Me pages as much as I want to is because I don’t have many usable photos to scrap.  Photos of me are scarce because I’m always behind the camera (note to self: make future post about why it’s important to get out from behind the camera).  And the photographs of my childhood are certainly fewer and farther between.  But lack of photos is no excuse for excluding myself from my own story.  Enter, Photo-less Scrapping.

Scrapping sans photos allows you to scrap about yourself (and you’re doing that right?) without the limitation of a photo to tell your story.  You can scrap light-hearted pages, listy pages, moment-in-time pages; you can scrap biography and history pages; you can scrap emotional and cathartic pages.  You can scrap all the little details of your story and nothing needs be left behind because you don’t have a photo for that memory or moment.

3. Photo-less scrapping really lends itself well to conveying mood and tone through the use of color. We make use of color all the time in our scrapbooking and photography but when when you scrap color without photos it becomes a focal point in and of itself and guides the story in a fresh way.

By being deliberate in your color choice and letting it be a dominant feature of your page design, a beautiful emotiveness can emerge.  There is something that is striking — in an emotional way — about color.  And when color is the “star” of a design, there are endless options for scrapping stories without photos.

Color can be used to subtly convey emotion.  I decided to go photo-less when scrapping my “One Little Word” of 2010.  I wanted this page to serve as a graphic reminder to myself of the word I had chosen to frame my year.  “Wellness” for me carried with it a certain kind of peacefulness and calm and balance and so I chose a soft palette of blues to convey this mood.  And every time I looked at this page I was struck with just that feeling.

In this page I used the darkness and the deepness of black to convey emotion of this day and memory I was scrapping.  The weight of the fear and the dread and worry of the story is almost tangible simply through the power of color.

There is a lot of power and a lot of room for creativity when letting color become a focal point in your photo-less scrapping.

4. Photo-less scrapping affords the opportunity to get “theme-y”. When you take photos out of the design, or if you simply don’t have photos to scrap for a particular page you want to scrap, you have room to really explore different “themes” in scrapping.  Which means you can also really have fun scrapping theme specific products you may have LOVED but not been sure how to incorporate into your page.

I have had enormous fun scrapping some amazing AMAZING products that were either: theme-centric in a way that didn’t seem to “fit” any of my photos naturally or were so unique and so full of whimsy that I found myself struggling to use them in a cohesive way for my photo-founded page.  When I ventured outside of my scrapbooking comfort zone a little bit I found there was tremendous freedom in using these products for my pages.

And I found photo-less really encouraged me to create pages with a strong theme and coordinating lots of fabulous products from within my scrapping stash.

5. Photo-less pages  let you play with journaling design. One area some scrappers have expressed challenges with is where to place the journaling on their page.  One of my most favorite remedies for this obstacle is something I call “journaling design” . That is to say, the incorporation of journaling into page design so that it becomes an aspect of your design in and of itself.  And photo-less pages really give you the chance to explore journaling design.

When you have a page that does not include photos, you are free to experiment with different orientations and methods for your journaling. And this, in turn, makes it SO much easier to find placement for your journaling in your photo-full scrapbooking pages too.  You can play with journaling in blocks, journaling in lists, journaling in scatters, journaling on papers and paint, journaling on journal tabs and journalers.

And making good use of journalers and journal tabs, papers and frames is one of my most favorite ways to scrap and journal a photo-less page.

There are many other reasons why I think photo-less pages can be Made of Awesome including…they give room to play with and let title work take center stage, they make for AWESOME list pages and they let you explore the amazingness that is Art Journaling, but most of all I think photo-less scrapping really lets your creativity soar and it can result in some of your most fun to create and most fulfilling pages.

So next time you find yourself unsure how to scrap a story that you have in mind, or the next time you feel like you’re in a “rut” creatively or you need a boost in your journaling,  I encourage you to dive in and tackle (and fall in love with) photo-less scrapping.

{grow with love: letters} Day Seventeen

Happy Wednesday!  And Happy May!!  (By the way, how is it May already?!)

If you’re just finding us here’s a smidge of backstory: “Grow With Love: Letters Edition” is a collaboration of templates and journaling prompts presented by Crystal Livesay and Sara Gleason and rooted in and inspired by letter writing as featured in the Artisan Notebook throughout 2011.  We will really explore the beauty of letter writing in our scrapbooking through letters to loved ones, letters to ourselves, letters as words into the cosmos.  Letters that help us set our hearts to paper, help us to get introspective, challenge us to bring words and thoughts to action in our days and letters that guide us to share the fun, the little moments, the every day.   So far we have penned letters that reflect upon setting direction and setting compasses, loves and relationships, gifts and beginnings.

With Mother’s Day and Memorial Day here in the States, we were inspired to honor family this month with our prompts.  And so the {may} letters will have us putting pen to paper writing letters honoring those we’ve loved, those we’ve lost, celebrating legacies and pondering our own.

We hope you will enjoy continuing in this scrapbooking and storytelling journey with us!  Please remember anyone is welcome to join in and follow along at any time.  You can access the complete Grow With Love archive and hop in to the Letters project which will be highlighted here every Wednesday.  The schedule for May is as follows, with all posts found right here on the Plant Your Story blog:

Week One: Wednesday 4 May – join Sara for Day Seventeen
Week Two: Wednesday 11 May – join Crystal with Day Eighteen
Week Three: Wednesday 18 May – join Sara with Day Nineteen
Week Four: Wednesday 25 May – join Crystal for Day Twenty

And I’m so let’s dive in to the prompt for today, Day Seventeen:

This is a timely page for Mother’s Day which is celebrated here in the US this Sunday.  Let yourself ponder your mother and how she has shaped you (good or bad).  Reflect and write a letter that reflects this relationship and its dynamic.

Here’s a page from me that shines the light on my mom, who I am blessed to say has been an amazing light and influence in my life.

And here’s a spot of inspiration from the Storytellers:




A page like this is not only a wonderful addition to your own albums and your story, but it could make a really lovely present for your mom too!  We hope you feel inspired by this prompt and we would love to see your pages!  Feel free to share them here in the comments or in the Plant Your Story gallery!


Grow With Love is a story-centric scrapbooking and journaling project.  We hope it will inspire you to document your stories in a meaningful way that helps you live life more meaningfully too.  Please remember anyone is welcome to join in and follow along at any time.  You can access the complete Grow With Love archive and hop in to any past Grow With Love project or follow along with the Letters project which will be highlighted here every Wednesday.

Grow With Love Archive

{grow with love: letters} Day Sixteen

Hello Everyone! Crystal here bringing you day 16 of the letters. I am pretty ill but I was determined not to leave Sara hanging on today’s post, so I apologize in advance for any typos…or sentences that make no sense! Today’s prompt was a bit different for Sara and I. We are always looking for different ways to inspire you in your storytelling. Let’s take a look at what we had for today and then chitter chatter a bit more about it!

I quite like this quote, don’t you?? So much comes to my mind when I think about it and so much can be scrapped with that as your inspiration. Sometimes an ending is very sad. It’s hard to move on from some things and ever see good things come from it. Sometimes you feel as if nothing good could ever come from something. However, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and a lot of the time you have a lot of control over what is to be gained from a situation. If you sit around and sulk over your broken heart then you will never be able to heal or find someone to help you put it back together. Maybe a period came in your life where you felt so hopeless and full of despair? Where did you go from that point?? What good were you able to spring forth from those ashes? Maybe you are still at an end. Your new beginning hasn’t come yet. Where do you hope to go from here? We have a couple super amazing pages from the girls to share with you too!

by Lex

by Nicole

Totally amazing and inspiring!! I hope that you are moved by this prompt! Don’t forget to snag the May Letters because they will be starting here on May 4th!

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