Journaling: In your own words | Stephanie Howell

Why is journaling on your layouts important to you? I want my girls to have a unique piece of me after I’m gone. This is why I hand write my journaling. I want them to know the feelings, fears, thoughts i had. What was hard about being a mother. Amazing about being a mother. Why and how I fell in love with their daddy. What I love about each of them. These things will be invaluable one day.
Do you try to include all the details in your journaling? I always include the date (month and year). Beyond that, I make sure to talk about the emotions, thoughts, and/or feelings that the photos evoke in me. I don’t write down every single thing that was happening in that photo. I don’t write “event” type journaling.
How do you decide how much or little of the story to tell? This sounds silly, but I write from my heart. Very stream-of-consciousness type journaling. I look at the photo or photos on my layout, and then write what I’m feeling, what I want my family to know. I never pre-plan my journaling or practice it. I just write until I feel like I need to stop. Sometimes this means paragraphs of journaling, sometimes just a sentence.
Does every layout you create contain journaling? Absolutely. I completely value those who do layouts to be artistic, but that isn’t me. I do layouts to share photos and words.
Any tips or techniques you’d like to share with us? Be authentic. Don’t be scared to tell a funny, even irreverent story. Write like you speak. Imagine you are telling the story to a loved one…how would you phrase it? Don’t force yourself to write a big, long, journaling block if the photo(s) doesn’t need it. Write what you feel.
Supply List: cardstock: we R Memory Keepers; patterned paper: sassafras; punches ; EK Success (star), Martha Stewart (butterfly); journaling cards: below layout, above layout Elle’s Studio; stamps: Elle’s Studio; butterflies and stars: punched from elle’s studio packaging; ink: colorbox; pen: american crafts; doilies: martha stewart; jewels: prima

Growing up with a ridiculously artistic mother, Stephanie tried and abandoned many crafts in frustration before she finally stumbled onto scrapbooking and fell in love. She made a few scrapbooks (in the loosest sense of the term) when she was in college, but truly became obsessed when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Scrapbooking is her therapy and has gotten her through six of her husband’s overseas deployments.

Stephanie has been published in Creating Keepsakes, Simple Scrapbooks, Scrapbook and Cards Today, Scrapbooks Etc., Memory Makers and Scrapbook Trends magazines. She designs for Studio Calico and Jenni Bowlin Studio and has guest designed for a multitude of wonderful companies.

Stephanie lives in Georgia and is married to Jimmy, who is a Major in the army. She is also a stay-at-home mom to Harper Elizabeth, who is four, and Sadie Caroline, who is two. In the fall, the Howell family will welcome identical twin girs.

In her spare time, she loves antiquing, reading, and watching reality tv (her dirty little secret). She dreams of learning to sew, embroider, knit, quilt, and cook (well). But most of all, she loves just being together as a family, and she relishes those moments…as they are few and far between.

You can find Stephanie at her blog.


  1. Ficou muito bonito! é notável a diferença entre os cartões, aqui no Brasil usamos outras formas para criar cartões. Parabéns pelo seu trabalho!

  2. love your insights my dear – and that page is everything a layout should be 🙂

  3. I’m glad I came across this blog because in one week you’ve already featured two of my favorite ‘scrappers’ and I’m sure I will come across more that I love!

  4. Denise says

    What a gorgeous layout! I love her journaling!

  5. Amy Heller says

    Love Stephanie’s style – always full of journaling!

  6. Jenni says

    i love stephanie’s layouts and thoughts on journaling!!! She always leaves her heart on the pages, which is such a gift to her family. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  7. Dawn says

    Love her braveness to write what she thinks and feels, that is my type scrapper.

  8. sophie says

    thank you !! thank you ELLE for these classes! Stephany is my favorite scrapper!! i am so pleased you featured her ! everyday i wait for your new class with impatience!! it is very inspiring. I am going on holidays on sunday , so i will have to catch up when i come back!!!

  9. Jen says

    I recently started following Stephanie’s blog, and I love her very real style. Today, I started reading this journaling series, and went back and read every post. What a great class, with so many different approaches and perspectives on journaling – some wonderful new tips and some reminders. Thanks for the hard work!

  10. when I think of journalling I think of Steph, she really has it down to an art!
    beautiful layout 🙂

  11. Melanie says

    Love Stephanie’s work! This is a gorgeous layout. So impressed with your honest journaling–thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  12. I just love the way Stephanie scraps, even her handwriting is cool! What a great layout and journaling!

  13. Linda says

    Oh wow Stephanie is one amazing lady and i am in awe of all her scrapping goodness.

  14. I love Stephanie! Her journaling style is amazing and I try all the time to journal the way I speak, just like she does.

  15. Cathy H. says

    Thanks for your inspiration!! Your layout is beautiful and inspiring!

  16. NanaBeth says

    Twin girls-no more spare time. This is how I would like to scrap-I think you really captured what is most important. Good luck and God bless in the future. Thank you for such wonderful inspiration.

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