About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z is for ZONES #AtoZChallenge

Hello and welcome to our last post of the A to Z Blog Challenge!

Me - Twenty-nine days ago:

Me - Yesterday:

Just kidding. Sort of. It’s been a wild ride. Lol.

I got all sentimental yesterday because it is bittersweet when you reach the end of any endeavor, and this one has been a good time.

So – without further ado, I give you our final letter – Z is for ZONES.

When I drafted the outline for this sprint, I initially thought the topic of Zones was too anticlimactic, but I soon changed my view. Zones are really a culmination of all the previous letter techniques, which makes it a perfect Z with which to end my scrapbooking theme.

Zones are important because they are the areas of the scrapbook page. I like to think of this as a grid on the 12x12 (or any size) paper.

The readers’ eye travels across these areas, and are drawn to a pattern based on the sequence and focal points of the photos.

There are many zone patterns:




Meander (Snake)

The Spiral. This example is from a digital scrapbook.

I love how digital allows for you to blow up a single photo to the fill the full 12x12 page. It makes it where the eye can start in the center of the page and radiate outward.

And to finish with the letter of the day –


“Snap in Z-formation!”
(I've always wanted to do that. Lol.)

Zones allow you to direct and shape the patterns of your scrapbook pages.

And so ends my scrapbooking edition of the A to Z Blog Challenge. It’s been a pleasure to post and talk scrapbooking shop with you.

If you have a chance, I encourage you to browse back through the blogs and letters of my fellow AtoZers. From movies, to yoga, to art, and poetry, there’s so many wonderful themes represented this year. You can find them by scrolling through the comment links at the bottom of my posts, or by searching the keyword “A to Z Blog Challenge 2017” online.

To all who have taken the time to read my blog, I thank you so much for your support.

For more posts on life, writing, and scrapbooking, please stop back by in the future, I’ll be here in the Bloggerverse at The Comparative Narrative.

See you soon!

-         Shelley  J

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW #AtoZChallenge

Hi scrapbook enthusiasts and fellow creators! Today is the AtoZ eve – the second to last letter in the A to Z Blog Challenge – Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW.

Year in review is a perfect end-of-challenge letter for me. As I mentioned in our last post, all of my albums contain the same layout:

-         The first few pages are the “Buh-Bye” page. (I start work on this page as the year it pertains to is progressing.)

-         Second page is my “Resolutions” – a list of goals I look forward to accomplishing in the New Year.

-                     The rest of the books goes through the chronological events of the year. I like this style better than the “one page per month” layout because it allows for flexibility with my life moments. Exp: Springtime is more eventful one year, the holidays the busiest time the year following.

In an old post I shared a tradition that I have with my books. At the end of the year, a little after Christmas, as I’m finishing up the album, I go back and look at my resolutions and compare them to the timeline of the pages.

It’s always a mixed bag as to which goals got done – 1/3rd on the list, 1/3rd saved for another time, and 1/3rd an unexpected gift from the Universe. J

I love how the Buh-Bye page acts like a “In this Year” card. They remind me of the trends at the time – some cool, some tacky, and some iconic. I got a kick out of revisiting them for this blog – I looked at the Buh-Bye photo in yesterday’s post and thought, “Ah, Gladiator sandals – can we bring those back?” Lol.

I hope that someday my own progeny can flip through my books and get a sense of how it felt to live in that time. (In 2006, not 216 BC. Lol.) 

And albums don’t have to be annual. I love how the theme and topic of a scrapbook are completely up to you.

Albums can be about any subject or theme that is important to you:

-         Major Events (Wedding, Honeymoon, Baby Books)

-         Sports

-         Travel (Journals, Trips to specific destinations)

-         Spiritual (Religion, Journeys of Faith)

-         Health Experiences (The words, pictures, and moments that paved the path to healing.)


Any time you go back through these scrapbooks, you are re-experiencing the most important times in your life.

In truth, each of my albums are a year in review in themselves, but my annual ritual gives me a sense of closure. When I compare the Resolutions to my pages, and relive the moments, I can move on to the next year with a full and grateful heart.

The art of scrapbooking gives me so much and I’m so happy that I got the opportunity to share that experience with you.

I know that we have one letter left, but I hope the tips and techniques I’ve posted have been helpful. I thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback and encouragement you have given me through this blog challenge.

In the great chasm of the internet, I have connected with wonderful and like-minded creative people. J

Well, tomorrow is the Z-end. I can't believe it. I have one final letter in store, so please stop back by - Z is for ZONES. 

-         SNG

Friday, April 28, 2017

X is for XEROX & HOME PRINTING #AtoZChallenge

Hi again and welcome to my blog. For the month of April I will be posting everyday as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge, my theme: Scrapbooking.

Today’s letter is a different type of scrapbooking technique – X is for XEROX and HOME PRINTING.

Xerox and home printing is the utilization of a printer to add images and quotes to your scrapbook pages.

On the surface this may seem like kind of a technical way to scrapbook, but I find it most useful.

I’ll be going into more detail with this with tomorrow’s letter (Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW), but the first page in each of my books is called the “Buh-Bye” page, and it’s where I chronicle the previous year's major pop-culture and worldly events.

I started doing this early in my scrapbooking hobby because I found dedicating one page to media trends easier than sprinkling them in-between my life events.

Modern-Day Example: A page that's half Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino and half my friend’s wedding.
Yeah – I don’t think my friend will appreciate me adding neon sprinkles to her moment.

So, to keep the sequence (and the blood sugar) in check, I keep the outside world restricted to its own designated area.

This leads to the creative conundrum – How do you compact a year’s worth of happenings into a few 12x12 pages?

Annnnd this is where Xerox and home printing saves the day. I can scale down and control the size of the images and text to fit the space I have available.

To start, home printing requires the same equipment seen in the N is for NEGATIVES and PHOTO STORAGE post. There a lot of scanner/printer combination machines that you can buy for $80.00, and printer-only options for around $30.00.

Once installed, I typically copy and paste an image or news story to a blank Word document.
I used the birth of April the giraffe’s long awaited male calf for this example.

Once I have the desired layout in the height and width I need, I simply print, clip, and tape onto the page.

And TA-DA. A baby giraffe (with Unicorn Frap representation underneath J ).
Ink refill cartridges can be a bit pricey, but that is the only real con. Other than those miscellaneous costs, adding images using home printing is fast and easy.
That crosses another letter off our list, and then there was TWO! Please leave a comment if you’d like, I’d love to hear what you think about the post, theme, or an invite to check out my fellow AtoZers blogs.
This weekend wraps up our blog challenge, so I hope to see you back here tomorrow – Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW.

-         SNG

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

W is for WATERCOLOR #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome the home stretch of my A to Z blog challenge!

My theme for the month of April is scrapbooking, and today’s letter offers more “project within a project” fun – W is for WATERCOLOR.

Watercolor is a creative way to create your own card stock. To start, the best paper is the thicker grade kind that is made specifically for watercolor.

I found a few brands that offer watercolor paper in 12x12 size for the same cost as traditional paper.

The next equipment you’ll need is watercolor paints. There are many varieties to choose from but I found that the basic, inexpensive, kid-grade paints work pretty well.


You can experiment with color combinations and blending to create a mélange of backgrounds.

I find watercolor to be a relaxing and forgiving art. There are few “mistakes” that you make that can’t be smoothed out, and the water base allows for easy clean up.

If you want to go fancy with your watercolors, there are more professional formulations available that give vibrant, smooth application, as well as offer more designer colors like gold and pearl. 

And just like regular scrapbooking paper, the dried watercolor sheets can be cut for other uses.

Here I use die cuts to make a sun and rainbow from my watercolor art.

Watercolors are a flexible and fun way to add flair to any scrapbook.

Well, our W post was short and sweet, which means we are down to our final THREE letters!  We’re X-Ying it to the Z-end, folks. It’s been a journey. J

As always, please check out my fellow AtoZers posts – I’ve seen some amazing themes out there, so if you're ready for more posts please search the keyword “A to Z Blog Challenge 2017”.

And please stop back by tomorrow for the modern tool that scrapbookers use – X is for Xerox and Home Printing.

-         SNG

V is for VELLUM #AtoZChallenge

Hi and Happy Wednesday!  It’s the final week of the A to Z Blog Challenge and my theme this month is scrapbooking.

You know that we are rounding the end of the alphabet when we hit today’s letter – V is for VELLUM.

Vellum is parchment made from calf skin, as opposed to that from other animals. It is used primarily for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. (I'm not sure if there is such a thing as "faux vellum" for those of us who are pro-animal rights.)

In scrapbooking, vellum creates a soft opaque overlay to images and paper, which gives a gossamer veil kind of look.
My first example is one that you saw in the R is for RIBBON post.

The top area of the 12x12 page is pink and cream patterned, and then the ribbon transitions the paper into a muted vellum.

To give a second example, I pulled out my beloved die cut machine.
I cut a solid vellum heart and open frame, as well as coordinating hearts from velvet and Valentine patterned paper stock.
The velvet on vellum gave a textured look to the misty backdrop.

The vellum frame also created a neat “coming into focus” effect with the pattern on the cardstock.

Both of these embellishments would look great on a 12x12 love themed page.

Vellum cuts outs also work well over photos.

Here the frame makes the subject the center of attention.

Or, a solid vellum shape can act as an accent.

Anyway way you use it, vellum is a cool way to add impact to your scrapbook page.

Okay, guys – we’re counting it down. Only FOUR letters left to go!

If you have the chance, please leave a comment, and check out the awesome V-posts of my fellow AtoZ Blogsters.

And please come back tomorrow for more scrapbooking madness – W is for WATERCOLOR.

See you soon!

-         SNG

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for UPCYCLING #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome to the final week of my A to Z Blog Challenge – Scrapbooking Edition!

This blog sprint has been a challenge in many ways. I’ve been drafting the posts sequentially, but there have been moments where I’ve wanted to cheat and go out of order. That happened last weekend. I was supposed to working on the T is for TEARING post (a technique that is new to me), but I kept working on pages for the following letter.

It is evidence that I’ve been subconsciously looking forward to today’s letter – U is for UPCYCLING.

Upcycling is the reuse of discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Upcycling is great because there are materials and inspiration everywhere you turn.

Multi-media and marketing make pop culture images available at your local grocery store in the form of facial tissue and cereal boxes, which gives you a dual purpose for your money.

I’ve even seen new movies promoted on tea containers.

I used this BEAUTY AND THE BEAST image on my movie page.

I like to save the little spiritual messages that come as tags on my tea (as seen in the P is for PUNCHES post).

These beautiful Nutcracker Suite-esque ballerinas came off of a Godiva chocolate package. I’m looking forward to using them on a Holiday page in the future.

As an avid recycler and tree-hugger, I love saving objects from the trash bin and giving them a new home in my scrapbook pages.

One way I utilized upcycling recently is with a perfume page. I’d mentioned in my K is for KEEPSAKES post how I scrapbook the clippings from magazines for beauty products. Every decade or so I come across new make-up and fragrances.
Recently I’d come across an advertisement for a London based perfume company which offers a line of natural scents, and I made a plan to check them out.

(It’s funny, just when I don’t think I’m not that girly, my Libra-ness kicks in.)

I made a jaunt to mall and sampled the product line. A sales lady helped me peruse, and the marketing for the perfume included little square cards that listed the scent’s name on the front and the fragrance’s notes (the ingredients: i.e. lavender, mint etc.) on the back.

They gave me little paper promos to take home! You know I was tickled pink by this. This company knows how to sell to scrapbookers, to say the least. J

One technique that I hadn’t illustrated but I use frequently is the hinging of paper using packing tape. I do this to adhere dual-sided paper elements and to create pull-to-open areas. Any clear packing tape works, but I particularly like the kind they sell at the post office. It’s inexpensive, thick and durable, and stays clear when adhered.

I cut the tape to the width of the paper square and position it where it’s spaced properly (able to be opened in coordination with the other page pieces). Once in place, I add a clear corner to hold the square closed.

I then included parts of the magazine ad, and the company name from the paper test strip.

In addition to using the squares, I added a green bow that came off a bag of mini-scones from Panera. (Note: Neither the bow nor the pastries went to waste during the drafting of this post.)

After I got all of my elements in place, I added my upcycled bow to the corner.

I’m proud of how the page turned out. I even included a little pearl next the scent I liked best, although the Red Rose layered with Grapefruit (the saleslady’s suggestion) smelled heavenly, too.

Used gift cards and fancy boxes also make great upcycling materials. The cardstock is pretty and perfect for frames and die cuts.

Images from flyers and leftover tissue paper works well, too.

I warned you that I was going to go nuts with this letter, right? Lol. I thank you for hanging with me throughout my exploration of UPCYCLING.

We’ve posted on twenty-one letters so far, which leaves only five left to go. It’s been a challenging-exciting-educational blog sprint, and I can’t thank you enough for going on this journey with me. As always, if you’d like to leave a comment, please do so. I get a little busy mid-week, but I so appreciate you taking the time to comment, and I strive to reply each one.

I’ve met fellow AtoZ bloggers with fun, entertaining themes, so if you are so inclined, please check out their pages, you can find them with the search word “A to Z Blog Challenge.”

And if you are able to stop back by tomorrow I will have another letter waiting for you – V is for VELLUM.

See you soon!

-         SNG