Technique: Answering Question / Journaling Prompts

What’s your name? What’s your dog’s name? Did you make the changes I requested? Did you have a good day at work? Can you repeat that? Why is water dripping from the ceiling? Why do the dishes need to be put away again? How much longer? What’s for dinner? Why don’t cats have puppies? Why is water wet?

Every day we answer a lot of questions. I remember once reading that the average four year old asks about 425 questions a day! While the number of questions drops as kids age, if you counted how many questions you answer each day, you might be surprised at the number (including those “ask the ceiling” questions such as “where are my keys” and “why me?”).

So, why not answer some questions in your scrapbook pages?

For a personal focus:

  • I currently cannot live without …
  • My favourite color
  • What are you grateful for?
  • How many photos did you take today? (Include a photo or two!)
  • What books are you currently reading?
  • What’s your comfort food?

If you don’t want to have an All About Me focus:

  • This Room (with a photo of a room and what it contains)
  • Local Attractions (what makes your town unique or fun?)
  • Now and Then (focus on how things in your town/house have changed over time)
  • Signs of the Season (what marks the beginning of a season?)

For a family history focus:

  • What family legend are you trying to prove/disprove?
  • What did your parents do for entertainment when they were teenagers?
  • What’s a holiday memory you have?
  • What were some jobs your grandfather/grandmother had?

You could also challenge yourself to answer some questions with five or fewer words on a page, such as I did in this page:

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Don’t forget to ask others questions and include those on your pages. Great questions to ask include asking kids questions on the first/last day of school, for birthdays, or about a holiday. Questions for parents include reminiscing about childhood, raising kids, or family history. Ask your partner questions about their childhood – favourite holiday (and why), how their childhood differed from yours, and questions about their parents.

Have fun answering questions on your scrapbook pages – some of the answers might surprise you!


There are a number of online resources for finding questions to answer and ideas to get others to answer questions in your pages. Pinterest has a number of boards devoted to this topic. You might also find some topics from looking for writing prompts, not specifically for scrapbookers. Have fun exploring this technique for answering questions in your pages.

Allison Kimball – 52 Stories:…-giveaway.html
Note: family history questions but also some personal focus questions on a wide range of topics

Ali Edwards: 13 Everyday Life Journaling Prompts:…naling-prompts

Daydreaming on Paper: Random Inspiration:

Journaling Prompts:

Tami Taylor: Keep a 5 Year Journal (Daily Prompts) – note: Don’t let the title of this blog entry sound intimidating; there is a large resource of prompts and questions to get your journaling started.

Debbie Hodge: Make a Scrapbook Page Based Upon a Journaling Prompt (…naling-prompt/)

Questions page: kit – Month in Review: April by Wisteria Moments

Technique: Favourites/Top 5

This topic can be regarded as a combination of two recent topics – Project Life (18 JUL) and Currently (19 JUL). This is a way to scrapbook favorites or, if you don’t have just one favourite, a top five (or top ten).

As a bonus, this topic can be done quite simply – list the items in the topic, include a photo and call it done … a rather quick scrapbook page about yourself, someone you love, or a pet!

Some ideas:


  • top places you’d like to visit
  • your favourite places visited
  • favourite places to visit in your town
  • favourite family fun places


  • foods you are loving
  • always favourite foods
  • favourite holiday foods/meals
  • least favourite foods
  • recipes you want to try
  • comfort foods


  • top electronics you cannot live without
  • favourite apps
  • favourite people to text

Leisure Activities

  • top 10 songs
  • top 10 movies
  • current favourite songs
  • top 5 TV shows
  • favourite walking/running paths
  • favourite way to spend down-time
  • favourite books/magazines
  • top 5 blogs
  • favourite crafting activities
  • favorite ways to spend time with the family
  • favorite flowers in the garden

Pages About Others

  • Top 10 at age 10
  • Top 10 things about [Person] at 6 Months
  • Top 10 Things about being a Teen
  • Top 10 Places [person] Wants to Visit

Debbie Hodge’s site, Get It Scrapped, has a few articles about this topic:

10 Scrapbook Page Ideas Inspired by “Top 10” Lists by Tami Taylor ( gives examples of David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.

Scrapbooking Ideas for Recording a Top 10 Round-Up of Current Culture by Debbie Hodge (…rrent-culture/) gives a wrap-up of 2013 regarding social media and popular culture.

It’s always fun to do a “top 10” list and a few years later update it. You may find that you’ll always love a comfort food, but you may wonder why you spent all that time watching that TV show.

Technique: All About Me (AAM) Pages

Some people love creating All About Me (AAM) pages. Others really dislike creating them. No matter which side you’re on, an AAM page is something every scrapbooker should do as it preserves YOUR story.

What is an AAM page?

“I’m 46. I am a Virgo. I live in Kent. I like long walks along the beach at sunset. I like to laugh.”

While it reads like an online dating profile, this could be the beginning of a “list of facts” AAM page. Your page could be random facts about yourself or an examination about something you love, like, or dislike. So often scrapbookers focus on others (pets, family, children), but an AAM page puts the focus on you. And while it’s nice to have a picture of yourself on your AAM page, it’s not necessary – especially if the focus is on something you love, not specifically you.

Why do an AAM page?

Autumn Craig, from Love My Scrapbooking Ideas ( explained why she was starting a year long All About Me album project: “I lost my mother as a teenager and there is so much I wish I knew about who she was, what she aspired to be and what happened to her college sweetheart she had so many pictures of. Hopefully this album will help answer these questions for my daughter and give me a chance to reflect on my own life as well.”

Other reasons to create AAM pages

  • people constantly change – twenty years ago you might have listened to Top 40 on the radio, but today the closest you get to Top 40 is when you hear music leaking from your child’s headphones from her phone; your job, hobbies, and clothing styles have most likely changed also in the past twenty years.
  • people sometimes stay the same – When an acquaintance died a few years ago, my family helped sort and pack belongings. While I knew that our acquaintance was an avid photographer, I didn’t know that he had been taking photos since the 1940s. I also didn’t know that our acquaintance kept lists, dating back to the 1970s, of yearly chores – when the garage was cleaned out was noted along with putting up a new clothing line. While things change, sometimes noting what hasn’t changed over time is also good to remember.
  • technology changes – who would’ve thought about a phone that fits in your pocket (it sounds like something out of Star Trek) that is more than a phone (camera, web access, interactive maps) and how dependent as a society we’ve become on them. Do you have a microwave, food processor, or Kitchenaid mixer in your kitchen? Did you grow up with these labour saving tools?
  • leisure activities changes – as a teen you might’ve read “The Fountainhead” constantly, but now you’ve read more “Clifford the Big Red Dog” than you care to admit; a 2000’s date night could’ve been dinner and a movie and in 2017, it’s dinner and Netflix after the kids have gone to bed.
  • preserving the “right now” – a few years ago I listed some books and TV shows I was currently enjoying. My child came across that page and asked me, “Mum, have you even picked up that book series since then? And do you still watch those shows?” I had to honestly answer, “The book series I read four times. As for the TV shows, Amazon Prime removed two of them so I haven’t watched them since.” I should probably do another version of that page, just to show how things have changed.

How to do an AAM page

There are so many ways to do AAM pages:

  • Answer a series of questions
  • Make a list of favorites
  • Make a list of general currents
  • Pick a subject and write about your like/dislike of it
  • List “Top 10” currents or favorites
  • Make a list of a typical day in your life
  • Think outside the usual “tell me about yourself” questions – focus on things that make you YOU

Example of an AAM page

For this page, I took questions I answered a number of years ago and updated the answers. For the curious, these questions are based upon a template Cathy Zielske made a number of years ago (see Ali Edward’s version of the template here).

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(kit: Serenity by Wisteria Moments)

Where to find ideas for AAM pages

Do a search for “All About Me Scrapbooking” using your favourite search engine and be prepared for a lot of hits. A number of websites include questions, topics, and images of completed pages. Enjoy learning about others as you get ideas for your own pages.

Some suggested sites

30 “All About Me” Scrapbook Topics (…rapbook-topics

Debbie Hodge: Tips for Writing About Yourself for Scrapbook Pages:…rapbook-pages/

Better Homes and Gardens: All About Me Layouts:…ut-me-layouts/

Technique: Storytelling

“Once upon a time ….”

That’s the beginning to many fairy tales – but that doesn’t mean that your scrapbook stories need to start that way.

How does one “do” storytelling?

There are a number of ways to do this technique and it’s a lot easier than you might think. Basically, tell someone what is happening in a photo. You can start by answering the 5W1H questions (covered last week) and then expand.

Here’s an example:

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This is a photo of some California poppies. They were growing in Aunt Jane’s side yard during the summer of 2015. I had to take a photo because they were so lovely.

That’s a great beginning – it covers the basics. It’s factual, you know what is going on. It’s a bit bland, but a stranger looking at the photo knows more information about the photo than just looking at it.

Why “do” storytelling?

Storytelling engages the reader a bit more than reporting. With storytelling journaling, you pretend that you are telling someone what is going on. The journaling is a lot more personal and engaging. There are generally three ways to do storytelling:

  • Tell someone the story
  • Tell the subject the story
  • Have the person tell you the story

Tell someone the story

If someone were looking over your shoulder (or you were looking over theirs) and they came across the photo you wish to scrap and asked you “what’s this” how would you respond? Probably you’d give more information than just the basics – especially if they asked additional questions. You can also add in a “story behind the story of the photo:”

Here’s an example:

This photo of the poppies growing in Aunt Jane’s side yard was actually a challenge to take. Poppies don’t spread out a lot but rather grow in bunches and they’re close to the ground, making them difficult to photograph. Kai suggested picking a few and photographing them inside the house, but Aunt Jane said she read that picking the state flower is illegal – if caught, you can get you thrown into jail. Wow, need to research that little factoid online, eh? (Summer 2015)

Tell the subject the story

This means literally writing directly to the subject in the photo, like you were speaking directly to them. Tell your subject your hopes and/or wishes for them – or tell them a memory they might have forgotten. Using “you” or “I” in your writing is very effective.

Here’s an example:

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How do I love you? Let me count the ways … Dusty, you are one of the most loyal dogs we’ve ever had. You also have the patience of a saint (how many dogs would allow a toddler to pull ears, paws, tail, and fur with just a resigned sigh?). You are protective without being aggressive about it (and with so many dogs in this area, that is appreciated). You’re friendly without being overly excited about it (thank goodness as not many people enjoy having a dog jump on them). You’re a water lover, but also rather enjoy being rubbed down afterward without a complaint. You love lying in the sun but will get up – full of energy – when you hear us come home from work. We love having you in our lives!

Have the person tell the story

This may sound a bit odd, but it’s another effective story telling technique. You could ask the subject to dictate the story behind the photo. You could also interview the person and write down the answers. Of course, if the subject is not a person it’s a bit difficult but you could imagine the subject telling you a story.

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This is a photo I found in Grandmum’s photo collection. She cannot identify this couple and there aren’t any notes on the photo. Who are these people? What story might they have to tell? We think this is a wedding photo – so this couple is starting their new lives together. What will their lives bring them? What adventures will they have? What stories will they have to pass to their children? What historical events will they be eyewitness to? So much promise – and untold stories – in this photo. I wish they could tell me!

Poppies: Pixabay
Dog: Dan Gold from Upsplash
Couple: Pixabay

Technique: Freewriting

This is a technique often used by writers to get ideas flowing for stories. There is debate over whether this technique helps, but sometimes free writing can provide a nudge in a direction for journaling. Scrapbookers often don’t select a topic, per se, but instead look at a photo and just write what comes to mind for a certain amount of time.

How to Freewrite

  1. Get a photo you’d like to write about
  2. Set a timer and set it for 5-10 minutes. Make sure that you’ll be uninterrupted for that period of time
  3. Write whatever comes to mind
  4. Continue writing until the time runs out. Do not stop until that point.
    • Do not pay attention to grammar
    • Do not pay attention to spelling or punctuation
    • Ignore incomplete sentences
    • If you cannot think of anything to write, repeat the last written word until something else comes to mind
    • Just jot whatever comes to mind even if it’s not related to the subject/photo
  5. When the time ends, look over what you’ve written and see if there are any ideas you’d like to expand upon for your journaling for the photo.

Here’s the photo I used for this example:

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Here’s my free writing (for 10 minutes):

At the field. Metal bleachers. No coach. Of course. Friday practices are so often canceled last moment. Three kids here – including mine. waiting. waiting. Called coach – no answer. Of course, doesn’t recognize number. obviously. Do I cancel the practice – and if so when? Now 45 mins – suggest kids call their parents to pick them up. Traffic still rather bad in this direction. At an hour past time, two parents arrive to drop kids off. Flag one down. I’m canceling it – no coach and so few kids. Let a kid borrow my phone – thank goodness I brought it. Usually it’s plugged in the charger. Wind has picked up. Another parent decides to call the coach – again no answer. She texts coach. She left with her kid. Another parent took off, kid borrowed my phone to call parent. Parent ignores call – of course, doesn’t recognize number. Kid’s cell is in the car. With the parent. So, five kids at the field – one parent calls me back after listening to message kid left. Hand off phone. Hear kid being asked why wasn’t told about practice canceled when kid dropped off. Parent about fifteen minutes away. Thanks to traffic. traffic. The line to leave here is still really long – and it’s nearly 6:45. Parents started arriving – huzzah. Two pick up their kids and one offers to get another home. One parent decides to stay with the other two kids as the parents are on their way. I collect mine and we head off. Fridays. Not the best day for practices. Especially at this field. Not much else to do here either – as the footie players really want to use the outfield (and infield) when possible. In fact, the kids joined some of the footie players – kicking balls into the nets. Nice for the players to let them do that – as with only one baseball not a lot of throwing can be done among three kids (three way). Even more difficult with five kids. Let footies know no practice. I think one’s about ready to raise my kid into the air to celebrate. Which would’ve been a sight to see. In a month practices will all be at this field, so that’ll be interesting to figure out – but that won’t be my problem. Baseball for this league is over for us then. Metal bleachers. Cold. Especially at this field as only trees are near the dugouts and not providing a lot of protection from the winds sweeping down from the hills. Never forget a sweatshirt or jacket at this field. Always need one. Wish the bleachers had backs. That would be rather nice. Five kids. Luckily these are the nice kids from the team. Huzzah for that.

Looking over the writing, I noticed that it was basically a narrative of the event at the field. I decided that just reporting the facts (which I did in the free writing) wasn’t an interesting page, but putting a conversational slant on it could possibly work. So, with the free writing as an example, and mining for the interesting nuggets of a story, here’s the page I eventually came up with:

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Freewriting may not always work, but if you’re stuck about what to write for a photo it is a useful tool.

Photo: pixabay
Kit: Champions Collab Kit by Pixels and Design designers

Technique: Numbers

So many things in our lives are numerical – how many daily steps taken, miles driven, cost of groceries, percentage of phone battery remaining, missed calls, caloric content – the list is endless.

So, why not record some of those numbers in your life?

Some ideas:

  • Milestones (25th anniversary)
  • Date (birthday)
  • Age (30 things about me at 30)
  • Number of things over a day (steps taken; miles driven)
  • Time to do something (30 minutes from fridge to table)
  • Start/End time (marathon times)
  • Countdown (3-2-1 …)

Be creative as you want about this – did your family move about much as a kid – if so, in how many different places did you live? How many scrapbook pages did you create last year? How many countries have you visited? How many times have you listened to your favourite album? How many concerts have you been to? And don’t forget to include numbers that are important to others in your life!

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Kit used: Month in Review: April by Wisteria Moments

Tips: Using Others’ Words

Last week, we discussed some ways to use others’ words in your journaling (see “Journaling Isn’t Always Necessary” posted 14 JUL). This post gives some tips on where to find others’ words to use on your pages. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but just some suggestions of where to start on a topic.

Famous Quotes

Brainy Quote ( has gathered a number of famous quotes. You can search by author or subject.

Goodreads ( also has a number of quotes – some from literature, some from interviews, and some from movies.

American Film Institute ( has compiled the top 100 quotes from American movies.

Song Lyrics

Lyrics ( has a large collection of songs from numerous artists across a number of styles. You can search by lyrics, artist, or album.

AZLyrics ( has another large selection of songs across a variety of genres and ages.

LyricsFreak ( this site has a number of more obscure genres, however it’s best to only search for the artist or song.

Religious Quotes

Bible Study Tools ( has a list of popular quotes on a range of topics.

Bible Study Tools ( also has different versions of online bibles, so if the quote you want isn’t quite right, you can see if another version in another Bible is closer to what you’d like. (This is an example of Revelation 21:21 from a number of different versions.)

Book of Mormon ( has a full listing of the text for the Book of Mormon. Additionally there’s a search where you can enter a keyword for a particular topic.


Famous Poets and Poems ( lists a number of famous poems by a variety of poets.

Recording Quotes

Kids, co-workers, partners, and parents often say the most interesting things. Write down some of their more humorous comments and use them in your pages as ways to point out their personalities. Don’t forget to include some of your own quotes, too.

Word Art

As mentioned before, many designers include word art in their kits. Don’t feel that you have to use their word art with only their kits – mix it up! Many designers offer both color and black and white versions of their word art, making mixing and matching a lot easier with other kits and color schemes.

Creating Your Own Word Art

Sometimes you find the perfect quote or saying but it doesn’t quite look right. Why not create your own version? There are many free fonts available online and a number of online tutorials and tips for creating word art.

Social Media

Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can access other people’s accounts and see what they are posting/tweeting. While a famous person may never do a “shout out” to you personally, they might make a comment you find interesting enough to copy onto a scrapbook page. Don’t forget about copying bits of blogs onto your pages. Don’t forget to give attribution!

Email and Texts

Often personalities shine through via the written word. Sometimes auto-correct makes for some rather amusing difficult to figure out emails/texts. If someone’s email (or text) means a lot to you, preserve it on a page. Ditto for those amazingly amusing emails and texts.