Using Visual Symbolism in Scrapbooking

Hi everybody! Last month, with our INDEPENDENCE theme, we explored the tension between holding on and letting go – balancing being independent or merging,  protecting our children or letting them fly, relying on our comfort zone or striking out.

This month, we continue on the path toward self-awareness and understanding with our new kit, GROWTH, exploring themes of maturation, progress and self-improvement. Do you tend to your inner garden, or do you allow your spirit to wither? Cultivation of your goals, growing up and growing old, and your emotional evolution are our focus.

The GROWTH kit includes Prima’s lush Madeline collection, Webster’s Pages elegant Country Estate, and lightens up with American Crafts’ Hello Sunshine and Hambly’s gorgeous woodgrain on gold leaf. Soft blues, navy and delicate greens balance floral grace for a most versatile kit with uber-useable b-sides for those of you who aren’t feeling quite so girly.

Our mission at Scrapbooking from the Inside Out is to empower women and girls to express themselves authentically and honestly using our craft. One of the things we do best at SFTIO to foster that expression is use, teach and encourage the use of what we call ‘Visual Journaling’ – using visual symbols (including shape and texture) to represent and reinforce your page’s theme.

Vine and floral images demonstrate growth: movement, change and progress. Dragonflies are symbolic in many cultures of change and change in perspective. Butterflies are a central symbol of maturation, as we watch them raptly as they outgrow their cocoons and expand their wings. Raindrops make an appearance in patterned paper, because all growth, on the earth and on life, requires rain to fall. Flocked rub-ons create the sensation of new growth, or a mossy, fertile environment, woodgrain alphas suggest the firm foundation, as in a tree, required to allow buds to bloom, and long borders allow for charting, graphing and timelines to be drawn.

Can you find the Visual Journaling that makes these DT layouts so meaningful?

Design Team Coordinator Melissa Elsner recalls the growth she experienced living with friends who helped her to be more authentic…she grew her wings. Small butterflies get larger on her page, and the photo is framed and stitched all around as if to show her safe, supportive ‘surroundings’ in the house with her friends by her side. The paper strip with the waves shows me the ups and downs normal in every friendship, and she turned her ‘raindrop’ paper upside down – as if being there helped her rise above the past.


Pamela Palmarini uses masculine and feminine patterns together to show us the relationship with her husband. She links elements, disparate pieces – circles, leaves from different kit elements, to give us a view of her growing understanding of what it takes to keep her marriage strong and growing. Their time away together is perfectly reflected in this monochromatic layout – with shades of green that take me on a journey from new love to the rich and deep connection we can cultivate over time.

Mette Kallander uses a framing technique, along with a soft, lush flocked vine and solid tree images to reveal the safe, comforting and warm embrace of her family, the soil that is her solid ground, allowing her to reach for her dreams and have a place to land and be authentic. The edges of her LO? Roughed up, like life can be outside,,,but inside, cozy, clustered, even using spray ink to link her elements as one.

Jamie Long’s layout is such a great example of how math and scrapbooking can mix! A graph is a great way to demonstrate how two things, not just numbers, but beings, are connected. As a dog lover, I can completely relate to the idea that more time with our beloved pets = more happiness. The fun pop-art flowers, the wavy border and the cute emoticons tell a great story that made me smile.

Laura Croft, having just experienced a loss, used this LO to express the universal pain of hurt and regret. The raindrops become tears, some popped up for impact; the woodgrain title elucidates the solidity of loss, and the gently undulating vine the ups and down we all experience – which she acknowledges in her journaling, and wills herself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Every month we create a kit that uses the freshest supplies along with all the symbolism you’ll need to help you tell your real story. Our industry-exclusive FREE Inspiration Page each month provides you with a multimedia support system – including deep journaling prompts, a music playlist, quotes, photos and evocative challenges to make your tender heart and creative mind and hands flow.

We’ve also got an amazing, deep and real community of women just like you who want to share what truly matters most. And with our kits, there are no sneaky add-ons to buy – just the perfect amount of stylish new paper, beautiful and meaningful embellishments and crazy-good variety!

What’s your favorite symbol of GROWTH – one I’ve listed here, or another one of your own? Leave a comment here and tell me, and you’ll be entered to win the GROWTH kit. And do come join us online and grab your GROWTH kit and our free inspiration now…we would love to welcome you and join you on your journey. Come on by and Explore Your Inner World! We’ve just sneaked our September kit – BALANCE, available September 1st at our website.

Want to really dig deep? Registration is open for our premiere boutique in-person weekend retreat: CRAFT: Creating Reflective Art for Transformation, on the sand in Santa Monica, CA, November 11-13, sponsored by Creating Keepsakes, American Crafts, Prima, and more! Instructors include CK Dream team members Linda Barber and Stacy Cohen. Click here to read all about it.

Rachel Kaufman

P.S. Don’t forget Free Font Friday! Download the CK Love Note font for free!

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44 Responses to Using Visual Symbolism in Scrapbooking

  1. tape says:

    Vines! I love how they grow upwards, and the stylised retro images of them I’ve been seeing lately are just fabulous!

  2. Nancy Jones says:

    Trees are my favorite symbols of growth and renewal.

  3. Jamie Greene says:

    Learning would have to be my word! You learn from the good and bad and take those lessons into the future with you:)

  4. {vicki} says:

    I use rulers alot on my sone “growing” pages

  5. Teresa Roberts says:

    Trees always make me think of growth. How the buds turn to leaves, the bark that becomes more rugged as the tree grows and the rings that symbolize how many years the tree has grown.

  6. Jenny McGee says:

    I think of trees for growth. But, you had mentioned dragonflies, I like that. Dragonflies to me are the masculine version of butterflies for a page. Thanks for a chance to win a great kit.

  7. Jingle says:

    Trees. I think because they have a way of symbolizing more than growth, but age and maturity, along with changes in beauty.

  8. SandyP says:

    Such beautiful layouts. When I think of growth, I think of trees. They are always growing strong yet have the amazing ability to stay flexible along with their amazing beauty.

  9. mary ann cline says:

    I like Vines…always growing, reaching, searching.

  10. Flowers are my favorite symbol. Especially bulbs because they always seem to bloom when the rest of the world is still sleeping. They’re so hopeful. Thanks for a chance to win!

  11. Cynthia B. says:

    Budding flowers and trees are my favorite symbols of growth. Some might think of it more as a rebirth, but the plants’ process of moving on, always learning, always changing…to me, it symbolizes how we as people always have to change and move forward with our lives too.
    Very thought-provoking! Love these layouts and these ladies’ takes on Growth.

  12. I liked the vines–I used them in the two hour challenge! Thanks for a chance to win an amazing and very thoughtfully put together kit! :-)

  13. KJ Watson says:

    I use butterflies. For me they are symbolic of growth, change, hope, and joy. I find them appropriate for pages about myself, my marriage, and of course my kids. I love that there are so many butterfly images on the market right now, but I also make a lot of my own.

  14. Julie, momto7 says:

    This is terrible – I can’t think of a good answer. But the kit looks lovely, and I would sure love a chance to win it!

  15. Brenda says:

    Vines and flowers are favorites of mine on scrapbook pages with my daughters and grand-children. For pictures of my husband or myself, I lean towards larger blocks of color to frame and anchor the pages.

  16. Mel H says:

    My favorite symbol of growth has to be puppy paws…you can always tell how much they’re going to go by how much they’re grounded by!

  17. Jayhawk Jen says:

    I like trees as a symbol of growth… growth of a family on a family tree… a gnarled old tree on an ancestry page. Acorns for babies :-) Even personal growth – spreading your branches! :-)

  18. Smitha says:

    I like trees and vines… and lots of flowers too!

  19. I like trees. They start from a tiny seed, endure for a long time, and grow slowly and steadily into a large, majestic tree.

  20. RamonaP says:

    I think my favorite symbol of growth right now is high-water pants. Going back to school, my boys outgrew so many of their favorite pants. They love them so much, they are still wearing them as high-waters.

  21. Melanie C says:

    The first symbol of growth that came to my mind was a ruler. I love to use them and numbers to show how much my older and taller my children are becoming!

  22. Amy S. says:

    Learning experiences seem to be the way I grow the most. This kit is amazing. Thanks for the chance. :)

  23. I’ve done a lot of growing, in many ways, the last couple of years and trees have a special meaning to me. My husband and I have even incorporated trees and leaves into our home decorating. Love Trees!

  24. Jill says:

    I would have to agree with the tree bandwagon here! It is a powerful symbol of strength. The roots keep it grounded and provide a path for nutrients, the trunk gives stability and the branches reach out to new heights. Leaves show new growth and the shedding of the old! I love it.

  25. Ilze says:

    My symbol of growth is tree

  26. BarbaraJean says:

    Absolutely love the bird on the branch. perfect

  27. Trees are my favorite symbol of growth. :)

  28. Chris Cross says:

    Trees represent growth for me!

  29. Wendy Orme says:

    I really like the upside-down rain drops symbolizing rising above the hard times.

  30. Pingback: Article | Using Symbolism in Scrapbook Pages · Scrapbooking |

  31. MousEarz says:

    Most anything in nature is a wonderful symbol of growth & renewal. Flowers arrive in the spring & depart in the fall, yet return again the next year ready to do it all over again. Trees & shrubs are there through it all, with or without their leafy clothing, continuously growing & reaching upwards. Nature is all about growth & renewal.

  32. Tina S says:

    I like the raindrops. They can be symbols of rain as needed for growth or tears as symbols of loss and heartache. Growth and heartache seem to go together so often in life and raindrops represent both for me.

  33. tammy g says:

    I love watching my kiddos plant veggies in the spring and the comments they make as they grow.

  34. Sabrina says:

    I like using growing things in general to symbolize growth, and sometimes rain… but lately i’ve been drawn to tape measures…

  35. Melissa says:

    I love how love grows with time! Great layouts.

  36. Ashley Horton says:

    I think vines and flowers are a great visual representation of Growth.

  37. Carmen says:

    I love the flow of the letters.

  38. I’m into flowers and butterflies and ever since I started scrapbooking it has been the “mark” of my designs. =) Maturation and growth, definitely comes along with each other! Great post! I love the combination of math using graph) and scrapbook in Jamie Long’s LO! :)

  39. Anna Petitt says:

    I love to use ruler ribbon(or tape measure)to show growth on my baby girls LO’s.

  40. Karen P says:

    Trees symbolize growth to me. They are a very visual reminder of the passage of time. We planted trees in our backyard when our kids were very young, and now they tower over the house. Where did the time go?

  41. Pendra says:

    I cannot think of just one symbol as a symbol of growth… but at this moment in my life, I have just very recently lost my Mother to breast cancer. The butterfly was the symbol for hope for edema and the pink ribbon was the symbol for hope for breast cancer, so I guess that right now this moment in time, I would have to say the use of ribbon and butterflies on my pages represent my hope and symbol of my own personal growth.

  42. Stephanie DiSabato says:

    I really like the butterfly as symbolism for growth. I’ve also used flowers–from bud to full blossom.

  43. Scrapbooking can be a great hobby. And it is also a great way to preserve memories and organize them in a way that is fun to look back through later. There are many scrapbook ideas and ways to do it.

    First you need to decide if you want a physical scrapbook or a digital scrapbook. Then decide how you want to lay it out

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