by Amy Kingsford

Check out home decor and fashion images and you’ll find owls, deer, squirrels and other “critters.” Embellishments and papers with these motifs are available, too. Clara Lafrance says that these nature inspired motifs are nostalgic, harkening back to designs of the 1970s.

A little bit about critters

These motifs are generally associated with nature, new life, serenity and friendship.  Here’s more specific associations with some critters seen in scrapbooking and papercrafting products:

  • Owls-wisdom, mystery, protection
  • Deer-grace, fertility, humility
  • Rabbits-luck, rebirth, creativity
  • Foxes-cunning, quickness, adaptablity
  • Mice-determination, modesty, awareness
  • Squirrels & Chipmunkspreparation, playfulness, balance
  • Porcupineprotection, intuition, vitality
  • Dogs-loyalty, obedience, protection
  • Turtles-patience, stability, longevity

***Animal symbolism from

Using “critters” on your scrapbook pages

Set the Scene For Your Photos

Audrey Tan used owls along with leaves and trees to create a fall scene for a photo of her son skateboarding.  Audrey says, “I love owls and like using them as I would any other embellishment on a page.”

Remember by Audrey Tan | Supplies: Julianna Kniepp Designs & Studio Basic: Hello Fall; Font: KG Legacy Of Virtue

Marie-Pierre Capistran created a sweet scene for special photos of her daughter and a favorite teacher, complete with a tree, grass, turtle and cute fawn.  Marie-Pierre says, “I wanted to focus on the relationship between my daughter and her teacher instead of focusing on the event itself (the hot air balloon festival). That’s why I decided cute little critters and hearts would set the scene for the story of their bond.”

Mrs. Thompson & the hot air balloon festival by Marie-Pierre Capistran | Supplies: Cardstock: Bazzill; Patterned paper: Imaginisce Berrylicious; Washi tape: Bella Blvd.; Stamps: SU!; Punch: Fiskars; Cork tree and critters: Magenta style.

Terry Billman says “My son loves spending time at the ranch during deer season.”  In order to capture the essence of this season Terry  applied a watercolor treatment to her background photo and blended it with deer brushwork in the lower left-hand corner.  This sets the perfect scene for the extracted focal photo of her son on a 4 wheeler, while the photo corners, deer cutouts and bold title all add to the masculinity of the page.

Rambo by Terry Billman | Supplies: Anna Aspnes: Fotoblendz Clipping Mask 4; Katie Pertiet:Letterbox Traveler, Safari Clusters;
Maplebrook Studios: Just Linens No. 27, Just Linens No. 28;
Patti Knox: Corner Its, Stitched Leather Alpha No. 1; Art WHSE:
Born to Hunt Brush.

Debbie Hodge added a detailed stamped illustration of a fox on a scrap of paper layered into “Splitting Wood” as a nod to the woodland setting of the photos.

Splitting Wood by Debbie Hodge | Supplies: Sunshine ATC, Green with Envy ATC, Brown Sugar ATC, by Tangie Baxter; Summer Camp, Key to My Heart, Retro Mod, Fleetwood by Sahlin Studio; Tied Fasteners, Artistry de Blanco Elements by Katie Pertiet; Woodland Animals Brushes by Anna Aspnes; Sweet Nothings Alpha by Lisa Sisneros Bohemian Typewriter, Brannboll fonts

Set a whimscal, playful tone

Kayleigh Wiles echoed the tone in her playful photos by adding a whimsical bunny accent to this page about her daughter’s blossoming personality.

Where Is She? by Kayleigh Wiles | Supplies: DesignerDigitals: Studio Double-D Girly Clusters No. 01; Tabbed Dates, Chronicles: Butterflies Brushes and Stamps No. 01, From My Bookshelf Blendables No. 01, Assorted Messy Stitches: White, Twisted Stitches No. 02, White and Grey Tab Alphabet, Messy Stamped Alphabet No. 02 & Numbers and Extras Brushes and Stamps, Stitching Holes Brushes and Stamps, File Labels: Love, Hinge Pack, Seek Word Art Brushes and Stamps No. 02, Lovely Damask Paper Pack, Little Hearts Element Pack, Little Hearts Add On Paper Pack and Rounded Corner Clipping Masks Brushes by Katie Pertiet; Rosa Paper Pack and Just Linens Paper Pack No. 20 by Maplebrook Studios

Jana Morton embellished her title with a cute epoxy mouse to add a touch of whimsy to photos of a special story time shared by her children.  This choice was inspired by the book that kids were reading in the photo–“If You Take a Mouse to School.”

Story Time by Jana Morton | Supplies: All Products by Designer Digitals. Katie Pertiet: Play Outside Clusters, Ripped Quotes Family, 2011 Postmarks, Hinge Pack, Berks Lane Kit, Little Layette Kit, Candid Collection, Stacked Vintage Frames No. 04 Value Pack, Curled Journal Spots No. 06,
Slide Reels No. 01, Vintage Journals No. 03, Letter Box Overlays No. 04; Ali Edwards: Word Art

Deborah Wagner used two playful pup elements on this Christmas page to add to the feeling of family fun that reigns in the group photo that includes the family’s two dogs.  Deborah says  “To make it look as if Santa was holding the dog in the upper left corner, I used a mask to hide parts of him, while the other dog element adds to the theme of commotion and chaos in our real life.”

Our Real Life by Deborah Wagner | Supplies: Designer Digitals: Katie Pertiet – Dog Park Kit, Spring Twists No.1, Stapled Photos LT No. 2, Flourished Christmas Paper Pack, Classic Cardstock Polar, Wire Rimmed Alpha No. 2, Paper Strip Words No.1, Tis The Season Stickers No. 1, On the Go Kit, Santa Wrap Photo Frames No.1, Twill Definitions No. 3, Ad Inspiration 9-18-11; Patty Knox – Mad Hatters Christmas, Luv U Sanded Chip Alpha; Maplebrook Studios – Bergen Dusk Paper Pack

Tie into your story

Michelle Houghton used hand-drawn and colored squirrels and acorns on a page that tells the story of her daughter and nephew building houses for the small critters that they see around their home.  Michelle drew these images herself and colored them with Copic markers.  Download these hand-drawn images and get step-by-step Copic coloring instructions.

Mansions for Mice by Michelle Houghton | Supplies: Cardstock – Bazzill Two Scoops, X-Press It Blending Card and Kraft; Buttons – The Paper Studio; Images – Michelle Houghton (available at Get It Scrapped); Letters – American Crafts; Ink – Copics and Sharpie Marker

Amy Kingsford added an embroidered owl to a page about her grandmother not only to reinforce the vintage theme, but also because it reminds her of a special memory of being in her grandmother’s home: her grandmother took down owl pictures when Amy stayed overnight because they scared her.

Grandma K by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Sahlin Studio: Retro Mod Kit, Washi Tape Strips No. 3; Scrapping With Liz: Recyclable Template No. 8; Anna Aspnes: Stitched Straight White No. 2; Ardent Sparrow: Summer

Katie Scott used critter-filled patterned paper on a page featuring her children’s elementary school photos.  Katie says “I used this paper with turtles, snails, and owls because it reminded me of how I’d like to somehow slow down how fast the school years seem to be going.”

Life Today by Katie Scott | Supplies: Supplies: Lily Bee Homemade Paper Line & Martha Stewart Paper; Square punch to create the border effect on the quilted paper at the bottom; machine stitching, sharpie.

Highlight a trait of your subject

Debbie Hodge embellished a page of teens in a fun pose with a fox since it not only plays up the “clever”that she used in her title to describe her subjects but it also fit with the woodsy setting in her photo.

Clever Pose by Debbie Hodge | Supplies: Hello My Name is by Leora Sanford and Paislee Press; Fred the Fox, In Distress Textured 1 by Lynn Grieveson; Are We There Yet by Britt-ish Designs; You are Here by Allison Pennington; Bittersweet by Amy Wolff; A Simple Mix Up Alpha by Lisa Sisneros; Woodgrain Knockouts by Splendid Fiins; Bohemian Typewriter, Cookie fonts.

Adriana Puckett cut this paper-pieced porcupine with her Silhouette and used it to accent her page about her son and his reticence to having his photo taken as of late.  Adriana says “I tried to keep the porcupine cute and cuddly to reinforce that my son is still a lovable kid, but one with some prickliness lately. “

When Did You Get So Prickly? by Adriana Puckett | Supplies: Patterned paper: October Afternoon Campfire line; cardstock: Bazzil Basics; shipping tag; making memories letter stickers (did you get so); porcupine and border design cut files by Silhouette; Font: Hurry Up.

Amy Kingsford added a vintage deer card to her page to add a bit of masculinity to this sweet page about her two boys. It also plays off of the word “Dearest” in her title.

Dearest To Me by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Sahlin Studio: Yarn Embroidered Flowers, Ephemera Stacks, Insta Frames, Worn Collab (with One Little Bird), Fresh Collab (with One Little Bird); Jenn Barette: Natural Beauty, Make Your Own Path; Anna Aspnes: Artsy Layered Template No. 58, Warm Glows No. 3

How do you like to use critters on your scrapbook pages?