How to scrap when life’s not picture-perfect


I’m pretty sure everyone of you can relate when I say that my life isn’t always “picture-perfect”. Sometimes things can turn downright lousy when we go through some of the tough stuff that comes with being human. Deaths, divorce, disagreements, and disappointments happen. Sickness and struggles are part of our existence. Not everything is all smiles and happy memories. So what’s a scrapper to do? There are several tips and approaches I’ve found helpful over the years. and when I asked Steph about her tricks, she had some great advice!

Steph says:

We all have things in life that make it hard. Sometimes, those hard things can be bigger than others.  The times when the yucky stuff is really overwhelming, it can be hard to scrap. Here are a few of the things that I have found work for me:

  1. Let it go –  I cut myself some slack and am okay with not doing much. This is what I did during my husband’s kidney transplant in 2006
  2. Photo365 – I started using Photo365 last November and have had some pretty crazy and stressful life events since then. There have been times when I’ve just focused on my one photo a day and called it good. I know it will give me a unique perspective on this time in my life that I might not get during any other way.
  3. Since studies show that focusing on happy memories increases happiness, I will often scrap something from a happier time and it does usually pick me up a bit.
  4. Batch process some photos or get some layouts ready to scrap using Katie’s power scrapping method or Anna’s script. Then, when my mojo comes back, I have layouts ready for some creativity.
  5. Journal via a blog, emails, or any other method that is comfortable to you. This is something that can be very therapeutic as well as giving perspective later on. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how well we “come out the other side” of hard events and journaling can be a helpful reminder of just how strong we are.

During hard times, sometimes just surviving is about all I can do (I definitely felt that way during my husband’s transplant), but I know that I will never regret documenting some of the details of these times. Going through that event has definitely helped me try harder to document some of the challenges, in one way or another, as I am going through them. Like I said when I was a guest on the Paperclipping Roundtable, the good times and the bad times are like the yin and the yang of who I am; each just a portion of me.


I couldn’t have put it better myself! There are many ways to get through the hard times and still be an active memory keeper. It’s also OK to take a break if you need it! One of my favorite ways to find the motivation to scrap when life is less than stellar is to take a stroll through the galleries and look for inspiration. Here are some wonderful layouts that others have created about their own personal trials or difficult life events. (All images are linked for credits)

Journaling about difficult feelings from a divorce

Having cancer changed her outlook on life


Surviving a difficult childhood


Not having children of her own


Lost her unborn child to a brain tumor


Here’s one of my own layouts that documents a difficult time for me as a mother as I learned to help my son with autism.


For me, it was therapeutic to journal about these feelings and it helped me to realize that these experiences are an important and even wonderful part of our story as a family.

I’ll admit that I prefer to scrap about the happy times, but I don’t want to gloss over our struggles in our albums because I want to remember that I’ve grown as a person because of them. It’s important legacy to leave for the people I love – they should know that life can and did go on, even when it wasn’t “picture-perfect”.

katie big

P.S. The title graphic was made with Jady Day Studios’ SillyBoBilly kit, Howser font, and the no symbol circle from Wikimedia Commons.