Behind the Scenes with Shirley Polk

We got a sneak peek at the work of our June Guest Designer last week with her sweet little freebie download. Today she shares an inside look at her life & designing through a Q&A-style interview.

Read on to learn all about Shirley Polk of Wild Blueberry Ink… and be sure to enter our giveaway contest for a chance to win Shirley’s beautiful new kit “The Ties That Bind” created especially for Log Your Memory!

Shirley Polk

Shirley Polk June Guest Designer

Name: Shirley Woodard Polk
Username: WildBlueberryInk
Location: North Carolina

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Please tell us a little about yourself … your family, your background, pets, hobbies, etc… When I left my job 2 years ago I was the Creative Director for the largest newspaper in the state but I found myself missing something.  That’s when Aubrey Rose came into our lives and I decided to become a SAHM. The 10+ years I spent in corporate America didn’t come close to preparing me for this new job I had decided to take on.

Now I spend my days watching Bubble Guppies and preparing my very independent 2-year-old for preschool.  I have learned to laugh at myself, I have learned patience and I have learned the meaning of unconditional love. I spend my nights balancing my design with a very lonely husband and four even lonelier fur babies.  Thankfully for me, all five of them are very understanding.

Are you a digital, paper or hybrid scrapper/designer? What do you like most about this method? I am 100% digital.  I have always admired paper and hybrid scrappers, but for me personally I love the undo button and I love being able to keep my stash in a nice compact external hard drive.

"Love You Always"

"Love You Always"

"Carry My Heart"

"Carry My Heart"

How long have you been a designer & how did you first get started? I have been designing for a year and I started after winning a spot in The Little Dreamer Apprentice Program.

Is scrapbook product design your full-time job? If not, what else do you do? My full time job is designing – scrapbook, digital collage sheets, web and graphic (I am a freelancer).

What software & platform do you use in your design work? Do you use any other special tools? I am 100% Mac.  I could not live without Illustrator.  I also use Photoshop to save all my items for purpose of selling.  I do own a pen tablet and work everyday at mastering it… for some reason I find it very challenging!

Has your design style changed over time? What has influenced this? YES! When I started to design I wanted to cram everything into a kit because I felt like it needed stuff.  Now I am more careful and choose only the elements that I think will compliment my theme.  I also started as a very literal designer.  Which means if I named the kit “weather” then I seriously designed weather-related items.  Now I do more interpreting and I use my theme as more of a journaling prompt. I only include items in the kit that will hopefully provoke journaling.


"For You" by Shirley Polk/WildBlueberryInk

"For You" by Shirley Polk/WildBlueberryInk

What is your biggest challenge as a scrapbook product designer? Kits.  I tend to scrap a la carte and hardly ever scrap by kit, therefore when I have to design a kit I find it difficult to know when to stop or sometimes where to begin.

What has been the biggest reward or most fulfilling aspect of being a scrapbook product designer? I love looking through the galleries and seeing special moments recorded using my products.  For someone to think my products are worthy enough to showcase their memories is a true compliment. I also find it rewarding to watch my blog readership grows.  Each month I gain more and more readers with many of them emailing me to stay that they have been inspired to scrap because of my stories or products. 

Where do you get your product ideas? Who & what inspires you? My ideas usually come from my scrapbooking.  I will sit down to scrapbook my memories and during the process an idea is formed. I am inspired by everything around me.  I have seriously been folding clothes and been inspired by a pattern in my little girl’s dress.  I have been reading a bedtime story to her and been inspired by a quote from the book.


"Words of Wisdom" by Blue Blueberry Ink

"Words of Wisdom" by Blue Blueberry Ink

How long does it typically take you to design a full kit from concept to delivery? What is your process? If I sit down with an idea in mind, I can usually do a kit in about 5 hours. ( I am pretty slow).  I start with the theme and decided what story I want the kit to tell.  Then I choose my colors, design my papers and finish with my elements. If I have time I always like to scrap one page with the kit just to make sure it flows well.

What has been your most popular product? My Project 365 has been a big hit this year. Also my digital collage sheets are really popular with hybrid scrappers and crafters.

What is your favorite kit and why? My Hope Kit is my favorite product.  I designed it to honor my grandmother who is a breast cancer survivor.


"Hope" Kit by Wild Blueberry Ink

"Hope" Kit by Wild Blueberry Ink

How do you incorporate “real life” scrapbooking into your personal & professional scrapbooking & design work? Usually when I scrapbook a page it’s with the purpose of telling a very specific story.  If you look through my gallery, you will notice I rarely scrap the same photo more than once.   I want my pages to be a timeline of Aubrey’s life, our marriage,  our family – OUR TRUE STORY.

As a result my pages are not always full of rainbows and butterflies.  I have accepted, and honestly fallen in love, with that idea.  I never want to forget the good times or the bad times.  We learn from every experience and I want to look back 10 years from now and say to myself “Yes that was the day I realized. . . . ”

I also want to tell a story for Aubrey to use as a reference in her future life (be it mom, career, adventure).  I want her to see that some days are hard but more days are awesome.  I want her to know that it’s ok to have a bad day.  I want her to know who I really am! My design usually reflects this through the themes or word art I choose.  I find myself creating products that I hope will inspire someone to journal what’s in their heart.

What fills your time when you are NOT scrapbooking Right now I am on a mission to decorate my house.  Maybe it’s all the DIY blogs I read, but I feel every room in my house must now be redone.

What advice do you have for fellow scrapbookers interested in pursuing the scrapbook product design field? Be prepared for long nights and feeling as if it’s not worth it.  This business isn’t going to make you “rich” but if you love designing and meeting people and listening to stories then it will be perfect for you.

Anything else you’d like to add?  Thank you so much for asking me to be part of this awesome community!

And now, the kit Shirley created just for us to go along with our June Challenge Theme “Relationships: Friends, Family, Acquaintances” from the 2011 Memory Logbook.

"The Ties That Bind" Kit by Wild Blueberry Ink

"The Ties That Bind" Kit by Wild Blueberry Ink

This kit will soon be available for purchase from Shirley’s store, but one lucky Log Your Memory blog reader will win the entire kit for FREE in today’s Guest Designer Giveaway. To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing a favorite family memory. One random winner will be drawn from all comments received here on the blog as of noon (Mountain) Thursday, June 16th. Our winner will be announced Friday on the blog. Good luck!




  1. I remember sitting with my Oma reading books. That was such a nice time! I would love to win!!! Thanks for the chance 😮

  2. Tucking my kids in bed each night – even at 16, 14 and 11 they can’t go to sleep until I do our nightly ritual of “Kiss you once, kiss you twice, kiss you twice more and a great big hug.” Thanks for the opportunity.

  3. I remember my girls at ages 8 & 10 getting up at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning and sneaking into the family room to get to the goodies in their stockings. Not much sleep thereafter.

  4. A favorite memory of my family is my daughter saying “You crack me out” instead of “you crack me up” when she was about 4 or 5. Now we always say it that way.

  5. I remember getting all dressed up for Easter as a little girl…I always had a new Easter dress and coat that my mother would sew for me and I also had all the accessories…a hat, little white gloves and a tiny purse just like my mother’s. My brothers would get all dressed up too…and the whole family would go to Easter services. Sometimes in Pennsylvania on Easter we would still have snow and it would be so chilly hunting for Easter eggs!

  6. The names my kids gave things still get used today by us all despite they are 30 to 22yrs old,
    “Self-saucing pudding” will always be “self-serving pudding” a wardrobe will always be a “rebobe”
    and for some reason a guinnea pig will always be a “skinny-gippett” no rhyme or reason the words just arrived and stuck.

  7. My favorite memory is of my oldest niece as she saw her baby sister brought into the nursery at the hospital for the first time. She stared at her in awe for a moment after waiting so long for her to get her (9 months is a long time when your four, I was told) and then she looked up at me and said ” I love that little girl!” She was so thrilled. A year later she still loves “that little girl” and is such a proud and helpful big sister.

  8. One day when one of our girls was about 3, we were listening to Handel’s Messiah. The aria Rejoice Greatly was playing, and she started singing along, but her version was ‘Rejoice Grapely’. It still makes be chuckle, and it is now always referred to as Rejoice Grapely in my family.

  9. Some of my siblings are much older. I will always remember the day that the 3 oldest, who were all adults, came by my parents house and picked me up. I had to be a tween, and they are 18, 16, and 14 years older than I am. The four of spent the day together. We borrowed another sibling’s car (he was out-of-state, so we were sure he wouldn’t mind.) We went to to store and locked ourselves out of the car. We went downtown and window-shopped and strolled around. And then we all went out to lunch. I was thrilled, because it was the first time I was treated as one of them.

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