About Lain

Take a helping of Rachael Ray, a sprinkle of Martha Stewart, and a dash of Ellen DeGeneres, shake well until blended, and what do you get? Lain Ehmann, scrapbook lover!

Lain is a fast-talking, fast-scrapping human dynamo with three kids, tons of ideas, and more books than she could ever read in this lifetime. The author of several books on scrapbooking, including “Snippets: Mostly True Tales from the Lighter Side of Scrapbooking” and “20 Simple Secrets of Happy Scrapbookers” (co-authored with Stacy Julian), Lain loves sharing her philosophy of guilt-free, simple scrapbooking.

Lain blogs at Layout A Day, and hosts a membership site, ScrapHappy. Three times a year, she hosts a monthlong scrapbooking challenge, Layout a Day (LOAD). Through her challenges, classes, blogs, books, articles, podcasts and videos, Lain helps women make their scrapbooking fun, fast, and fabulous.

Background: A graduate of Stanford University and Syracuse University, Lain spent the first years of her work life in government, working for Massachusetts governor William Weld and the city government of Milpitas, Calif. After having enough of politics, Lain began a stint in high-tech public relations, which quickly morphed into a career as a journalist, as she soon tired of corporate politics (see a theme??). To date, she has written over 5000 articles for publications as diverse as Runner’s World, the Boston Globe, and Selling Power Magazine. Until the publication folded in 2009, Lain had her dream job as a contributing editor for Simple Scrapbooks Magazine, the best scrapbooking magazine ever.

Personal: A native Californian, Lain now lives with her family (husband John, son Benjamin, and daughters Kinsey and Callie) in Lexington, Mass. Although a die-hard West Coaster, she adores New England (at least 8 months of the year!). She loves reading, writing, cooking, working out, and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle.

For workshops, speaking, in-person classes, or questions about where to find great Japanese food in airports around the country, contact Lain at lain@layoutaday.com.

  • Anonymous

    I am currently working my way through your podcast episodes and am listening to “ScrapHappy with Lain Ehmann” from October 13, 2010 right now. I think you should highlight this episode on your about page because it provides a great overview of you. Anyway, just thought I’d share this idea with you. Have a great day!

  • Anonymous

    Great idea! Thank you!!!

  • http://www.postitartcreators.com/ Andreas Kopp

    Hi Lain,

    how is this working here. I thought your are posting a scrapbook layout a day? I am also getting into the a similar field of scrap booking and find it really interested to see what ou already have build up in terms of your membership site and your challenge. 

  • Chris

    I just made a purchase and cannot download the e-book.

  • Shaun Goodsell

    Hey Lain!
    I heard you on the smart passive income podcast on my walk this morning. I was so impressed with not only your message but with the heart that was shining through. I am impressed with what you have done. You said in the podcast if anybody needed some help you would be willing to lend an ear and maybe have some ideas. I sure could use some clarity from someone that has come as far as you. If you are open I would be thrilled to have 15 mins and would love to hear how I might support you as well.

  • Norma Emery

    Hi Lain, I watched the 6-6 and 12-12 layouts and wanted to buy some classes you advertised with discount buy 2 get one free. thought I had the right code but it wont take it. Can you send me the code or is it too late? I have the date and Lisa last name , but it just won’t go thru. thanks.

  • Bev

    Hi! I have just purchased TS4Denison “One and Done” … it’s great, BUT I watched the whole way through with the tutorial stopping, the little white circle going around and then the tutorial carrying on for a few seconds, then stopping again. I’ve got a headache to say the least. What can I do??? Please help. Hope I sent this to the correct place.


  • Rick

    I love your site and I was wondering if you would be kind enough in
    helping me promote my new website by posting a review to your
    Scrapbooking Blog and also to your subscriber email list as well.
    Please link to: http://www.lasting-expressions.com
    You have my permission to use any graphics/text from my website that
    you may need.

  • John Austin

    Hello Lain,

    I’d love to get your contact info so we can converse. I’m writing because of your incredibly ignorant blog post: The High Cost of Music. It needs serious editing or removal from the site as it paints a completely wrong picture of music teachers, presents a one-sided argument with inaccurate facts, and actually speaks to the ignorance and problems of values that many parents (and people in general) have.

    Firstly, very few freelance music teachers make over $50,000 (and many make far less), not even close to your estimate of $120,000 a year. To get to that level you need to work more like 60-80 hours a week (how many teacher do you think have 70 students?) which almost never happens as kids are constantly sick or parents or flaky or any number of things that can go wrong (a key point here is that you never know what you’re going to make but it’s usually less than you expect.

    When you pay a teacher $60 an hour (which is actually a good rate if you’ve got a good teacher)- You may forget that this is before taxes, and as a teacher you are actually running a small business and the taxes are quite high. I hope you are not suggesting that musicians should commit tax fraud by not paying their taxes. This is not including health insurance, 401k, or anything else that is included in all hourly wages you listed from other professions. After all of that you you often end up with less than minimum wage as an hourly take home or what most teachers do- forgo insurance and retirement to be able to pay rent and eat.

    Music teacher’s, especially for beginners, also tend to supply all of the materials out of their own pocket such a sheet music and probably spend time outside the lesson editing and preparing those materials. The instrument they bring with them to demonstrate on if they are a string or wind player, probably costs as much as a car.

    Beyond all of the misconceptions you have about our pay- you seem to have little value for music as an important part of life. The skills you acquire learning an instrument teach you valuable problem solving/critical thinking skills, as well listening/communication skills. Can you put a price on skills that last a lifetime? What about the mental and physical well-being that comes from playing and being involved with making music, what’s the value of that? $20/hour? Read “This is your brain on music” if you have any doubt about what I’ve just written.

    Please consider revising your blog post. I know that these are hard times for everyone, but why attack underpaid musicians that are trying to bring some joy and wisdom into children’s lives? Maybe instead of complaining you can come up with a bartering system with your music teacher. I live on the red line myself, and I would be happy to work something out with you.

  • Paul

    Did you write this article on piano teachers? http://parentingsquad.com/the-high-cost-of-music Because you have no clue what a piano teacher really makes. If it was as simple as you state, why are there rarely a millionaire piano teacher out there? Most piano teachers net around $50k to $60k a year and that’s before taxes. These are the established teachers who have spend years building a studio. And since they are self-employed, they have to pay both employer and employee. If you would like me to explain everything to you, and break down the entire cost of it, I can. You compare piano teachers to someone who is hired for a job. A physicist gets to keep their entire pay amount (and only pay employee taxes). A piano teacher realistically only gets paid for 30 hours at most of work a week and spends the rest of the time on improvement to themselves as teacher as well as running administrative stuff and dealing with problematic clients. On top of that, they get to pay for rent, equipment maintenance, insurance, advertisements so on and so forth. The real amount of money a piano makes even when you pay $60/hour is really $30/hour and they get to pay both employer and employee portion of taxes. So please do some real research and talk to a piano teacher about the cost before posting a post about how in sane it is for piano teachers to charge $60/hour. A University may be paying a physicist $40/hr. But if you were to hire one on your own, you it would cost you more cause you have to pay for all the overheads that comes with hiring a physicist.

  • Conner E.

    Well, I must say I am impressed. For an obviously non-musical person, you have some guts to talk about piano teachers in your article. Just who do you think you are? In all seriousness, do you think you can compare your government work and your work in “scrap-booking” (what the hell is that anyway? Some washed up middle-aged woman’s form of entertainment? Sounds like kindergarten if you ask me…) can really compare to the years of discipline and hard work it takes to be well-rounded pianist and teacher? Have you ever taught before? Have you ever spent years with children, not your own, regardless of talent or pay to make sure they have a fulfilled experience in an actual profession? (Scrap booking doesn’t count since you are just sitting there cutting up paper like a two year old) DO you know what it’s like to spend hours and hours practicing to perfect a skill that you will eventually perform in front of hundreds or people? DO you know what its like to work your ass off in classes and then stand in front of the entire school to play a program that you begged your professors to allow because you swore it would be a good idea? Have you ever competed in front of thousands of audience members at festivals? Have you ever stood in front of a judge and received an award with all of the other kids glowering at you because they should have won instead? Have you ever poured your heart into a perfected skill and then it off at venues such as Carnegie Hall? Have you ever been so happy to teach someone this thing that you spent your whole life learning and perfecting? I guess not. Because if you have ever done anything as monumental as change a person’s life by sharing the gift of music, you would have never written such an idiotic and misinformed article as “The High Cost of Music”. What are you? A fucking idiot? I hope you get angry reading these posts and comment. Anyone who writes an article like that deserves to be told what a retard they are. It has nothing to do with “I’m a musician and you’re not” Just think: who the hell ever said, “I want to grow up to be a famous scrap booker just like Lain” Sure thing lady…. Keep dreaming. While my son is winning awards and competitions, your daughters will be sitting in their rooms with you telling them what to read and what look at, cutting at pieces of paper just like mommy. The unfortunate thing is that you are inevitably going to pass along your ignorance to your daughters. Wouldn’t that be funny if musicians came along and swept your young girls off their feet and they spent their marriages in poverty because their husbands make little and nothing because women LIKE YOU are too cheap to spend money on music lessons. And for the record: You should spend the money on getting your hair done. You need it.

  • Paul

    Also if you are going to quote the US Department of Labor, you should know that their number for music teacher is $57,240 a year. http://www.bls.gov/oes/2008/may/oes251121.htm
    Check your facts before writing an ignorant article on an entire industry of good and hardworking people.

  • Elise B

    I’m glad to see other musicians have written to you about your blog post from a few years ago on parentingsquad.com. Here is my response:

    This letter is in response to your article on parentingsquad.com entitled “The High Cost of Music.” I know this article is a few years old but sadly the assumptions and misconceptions found within it are still commonplace. I’d like to raise a few points and clarify a few things:

    1. You mention that you are a writer, and you seem to be living rather comfortably, so you assume that every other writer is in the same financial situation as you are. (By the way, do you mean to tell me that you make enough money solely from writing online articles to support your entire family? If you do, then brava, that’s impressive. If this is not the case, and if you depend at least in part on your spouse’s income to survive, then you really have no business debunking this “myth” of the starving artist.) This is a rather large assumption to make,
    and claiming that the “starving writer” stereotype is a myth is woefully ignorant. Writers, with the exception of the very few (Stephen King and J. K. Rowling come to mind), do not make fortunes with their craft. Usually they make very little, and if they make enough simply to survive on the most meager means solely by writing, that is considered lucky. And did you assume that all musicians are living in cozy converted barns in New England as well? That assumption was also wildly presumptuous. Musicians make very little money, with similar exceptions (James Levine, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma are not struggling financially). We do what we do because we love it and feel it is important, not because we expect a six-figure salary – I’m laughing right now at the thought of it. $120,000 a year would be lovely, but no musician in their right mind would expect to make that much unless they were at the level of the aforementioned artists.

    2. If you think music is so critical for your child’s development (as you stated in a later article, here: http://parentingsquad.com/best-of-parenting-round-up-kids-and-music-edition), then perhaps you could sacrifice your “high-rent bi-monthly hair cut [sic]” for your child’s musical education.
    But let’s now get into your wildly inaccurate estimation of a music teacher’s annual salary.

    3. You are correct, $60 an hour does equal out to be $120,000 a year, but only if one assumes that the teacher is teaching lessons for 40 hours a week. This is most definitely not usually the case; most teachers are extremely lucky to have 25 hours a week of lessons. Freelance music teachers are often juggling multiple jobs (generally a mix of full-time and part-time) in order to just scrape by. This is especially true of young teachers, who are perhaps recent graduate students, loaded with thousands (we’re talking at least $50,000, and that’s low) of dollars of student debt, and a degree or two (or more) in music. Just a side note here, have you noticed the state of the economy lately? Even for people with degrees in other areas besides the arts, it’s pretty terrible. Try making more than $20,000 a year with music degrees (all while making crippling student loan payments every month). Trust me, it’s extremely difficult. Also, examine for a moment just how much it costs to get a music degree. At a music conservatory, tuition often lands at about $30,000 a year (and that’s on the low end, and does not include the cost of books, music, and other fees). As if that weren’t bad enough, consider the fact that students must often take out additional loans for living expenses, since most music conservatories are located in metropolitan (read: expensive) areas. The cost of attending music school is staggering. Add to that the cost of instrument upkeep, transportation to and from your child’s lessons, teaching materials, taxes, insurance (yes, we almost always have to buy our own), space rental for recitals, and preparation time (this list could go on and on), and $60 ends up not looking like all that much. But then again, you need to have that expensive bi-monthly haircut, so you should probably just ignore your child’s pleas for music lessons. (I feel like I should add the disclaimer that yes, we do understand that music is not generally a lucrative career, and we know this when we choose to go to school for it. All we ask is for our craft and our careers to not be blatantly disrespected and mocked by those who don’t know what they’re talking about.)

    4. I’m wondering why you assume that piano teachers are “out-of-work musicians.” Let’s ignore for now the fact that you somehow think that because someone is a music teacher they are not really doing what they want to do, and focus on how little you actually understand about the life of a musician. First of all, we generally do freelance work, which means we go from gig to gig. Once a gig is over, we are again “jobless” and need to find another performing opportunity or other means of employment. If we’re lucky, our gigs line up nicely and we are left with few or no gaps of unemployment in our schedule, but this is often not the case. Even if we are engaged in back-to-back gigs, rehearsals and performances do not last all day long. Often we will only be called for half a day, so we have time to teach lessons or do other freelancing work. Therefore, your assumption that music teachers are “out-of-work musicians” is quite incorrect. Even high-level performers, like singers at the Metropolitan Opera or pianists who frequently appear at Carnegie Hall, have private students. And why are you so flabbergasted that a teacher charges more per hour than a performer? Are you implying that teaching is only something failed, less talented musicians do? And do you think it takes less skill to teach than it does to perform? Both teaching and performing require highly specialized skills and knowledge. By the way, in the classical world (at least in the NYC area), a pianist generally charges $40 an hour to play for a voice lesson or coaching,
    and to play for a recital, he will generally charge at the very least $200. Singers who perform solo music at weddings and funerals charge about $150-$200. Still think $60 is too much for your child’s piano lessons?

    5. Teaching piano may not be as physically demanding as getting “two bison to mate in a timely and productive manner,” but it certainly is more intellectually demanding, and requires much more specialized skill and education. If you’d rather choose animal breeding over music teaching, that’s fine, but please don’t speak about our profession in such a degrading and derisive manner. Or, if you wish to speak that way, don’t then turn around and post articles about the importance and benefits of music.

    6. The fact that you suspect that your child is not a musical prodigy does not affect the worth of a music lesson. Teachers must put time and effort into preparing and teaching a lesson, regardless of the student’s abilities. In fact, teachers often have to put MORE effort into teaching a student to whom musical skill does not come easily. (By the way, tone-deafness will not affect your child’s ability to play the piano.) And while we’re on this subject, it’s a bit cynical of you to assume that your child will not succeed at piano lessons, or that she will quickly lose interest. Tell me, do you think she’ll have a better chance at becoming a professional ice hockey player, or making millions knitting? Why must you scoff at music as something she’ll never have any real use for? Do most kids who play on their little league team make it to the MLB? Just because
    you doubt your child will stick with something forever and become the next Mozart or Derek Jeter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother exposing them to it at all. I took karate for several years as a child and teenager, and while I didn’t make it my life’s work or open my own dojo, I learned invaluable lessons in discipline, focus, respect, and self-defense from it. Music has the power to enrich our lives in so many ways, even on an amateur level. It teaches us how to multitask, to be a team player, and to organize our time and our thoughts. It enhances our analytic skills, our ability to express emotion, allows for creative thinking, and on and on. If your child expresses an interest in learning about music, she would highly benefit from it. You’ve even written about how important music is to your child’s (and I might add, anyone’s) life. But I suppose it’s not important enough to spend $60 on.

    7. You’re not necessarily right about any sidewalk musician being able to teach your daughter how to “identify her notes and bang a few chords.” (And by the way, if you think that’s all that goes on in a music lesson, you are woefully ignorant, but I think we’ve already established that fact.) Many musicians have a gifted ear and are able to simply figure out how to play the guitar or sing based on intuition. This does not mean they have a firm understanding of music theory or performance practice, and it definitely does not mean they are equipped to teach your child. You know how people get degrees in education? That’s because the act of teaching is a skill all its own. Your remark about asking sidewalk musicians to teach your daughter for $20 and a hot meal is just offensive in every way, both to true music teachers and to the sidewalk musicians (not all sidewalk musicians are homeless).

    From what I can tell from this article, it becomes clear that you value life’s luxuries far more than your child’s musical education. I’m sure you don’t bat an eye at paying $70 for an hour-long massage, or $40 to get a mani-pedi, and over $100 to get a professional haircut at a nice salon, but somehow a $60 music lesson seems to be an outrageous cost to you. If that’s the case, I pity your daughter, whose life may very well have been changed by music, but who will never get to experience that joy because her mother was selfish and wildly misinformed.


    A musician, teacher, and concerned reader

  • Joe A.

    Dear Lain,

    There’s no need for me to rehash all the good points that have been made by John Austin, Elise B. and others here. Unfortunately, your flippant words capture the attitudes of many parents who devalue the professionalism of their children’s private and classroom teachers.

    Ultimately, your statements would not matter had you not blasted them all over the internet on the ParentingSquad site. Your words were cheap, offensive, and wrong. They should be critiqued. Your post has rightfully been removed from the site. However, you have an opportunity to learn some lessons from all this unpleasantness. Rather than running away from or mocking your detractors, take the time to read our statements, acknowledge our points of view, and even respond to them constructively. At the very least, you might develop a more nuanced and respectful understanding of the ways in which different professional people earn their livelihoods.

    While I know next to nothing about the art of scrapbooking, I understand that it encourages creative ways of preserving one’s personal history in an album. In a way, the internet is the ultimate scrapbook where nothing is ever erased and everything is available for all to find. By now you’re well aware that thanks to the resurfacing of your scandalously irresponsible and deeply misinformed blog post, you’ve become the overnight scourge of professional musicians and music teachers. You are the woman who would rather keep her $60 haircut at an expensive salon rather than support her child’s interest in studying piano. At the same time, as a scrapbooker you’re clearly someone who places great value on the preservation of individual moments in time. It would be wise to find a way to turn this particularly ugly episode into something positive, productive, and worth remembering.

    With best wishes,

    A musician and teacher

  • Tim

    YOU are what is wrong with parenting in America today. You only want to make an investment in your child if you know it will pay off. Did you ever think that your child might harvest more from piano lessons than just playing “chopsticks?” You show great journalistic character since you took you blog post down two days after poking at an angry beehive. You clearly are ignorant and have fun getting your hair cut you selfish woman.

  • Fool

    Did you really delete ALL the comments that were pointing out how ridiculous your article about music teachers are? Haha, not exactly a hard-hitting journalist who can take the heat, eh? Maybe you should think of that before posting ignorant articles insulting highly trained professionals.

  • Michelle Obama

    This bitch is fucking retarded.

  • Billy Bob Thorton

    I think this hillbilly needs to train in a school of education and step into classrooms full time before she even gives a piece of advice about music in the classroom. Perhaps she should stick to playing her NY Times crossword puzzle and refrain from blogging dumb shit. That stupid ho.

  • Jessica Rechnick

    You deleted all of the comments that came after your article “The High Cost of Music” SOMEONE KNOWS THEY’RE AN IDIOT!

  • John Austin

    Ignorant coward.

  • John Austin

    Take down the High Cost of Music you ignorant jerk.

  • John Austin

    You are a horrible person.

  • DIANA L.


  • Flo Ferguson

    Tried to download the free Layout book, but was routed to this page when I attempted to enter email. Thanks

  • lainie9

    ##- Please type your reply above this line -##

    [True Scrap] Re: Re: New comment posted on About Lain

    Your scrapbooking superheros have solved your call for help request (728). That means you’re all set to start cutting things up again. If your scissors have stopped working and you’d like more help, reply to this email. ———————————————-

    Mary Stone, Aug 22 19:04

    Hi Flo,

    Thanks for letting us know. The link has been fixed! You can try again. Let me know if there’s any problems.

    Disqus, Aug 20 09:25

  • lainie9

    It should be set now!

  • Glenda

    Hi, I just bought 2 of the truescrap classes, How do I get them?