Big News About Your Favorite Memory Keepers

One of my proudest accomplishments to date has been creating the Everyday Storyteller idea books. Volume 1 and Volume 2 are jam-packed with practical ideas real scrapbookers actually use.

These books include far more than pretty project pictures. They offer time-tested tricks for the entire scrapbooking process from some of your favorite scrapbookers.

Do you recognize any of these 65 names?

Cheryl Ashcraft Tangie Baxter
Anna Aspnes Kerri Bradford
Katie Clemons Lexi Bridges
Elise Blaha Cripe Joscelyne Cutchens
Paula Gilarde Catherine Davis
Sara Gleason Patty Debowski
Michelle Hernandez Lisa Dickinson
Debbie Hodge Karla Dudley
Katrina Kennedy Lain Ehmann
Amy Kingsford Leah Farquharson
Cindy Liebel Karen Grunberg
Crystal Livesay Jenni Hufford
Angie Lucas Donna Jannuzzi
Robyn Meierotto Mandy Koeppen
CD Muckosky Riikka Kovasin
Nancy Nally Kami Leonard
Christine Newman Amy Mallory
Ashli Oliver Amy Martin
Amanda Padgett Ann-Marie Morris
Renee Pearson Celine Navarro
Elle Price Kelly Purkey
Heather Prins Krista Sahlin
Traci Reed Amanda Robinson
Lauren Reid Linda Sattgast
Amber Ries Cindy Schneider
Kristin Rutten Wendy Smedley
Betsy Sammarco Elisha Snow
Jenn Smith-Sloane Amy Sorensen
Jessica Sprague Jill Sprott
Melissa Stinson Laura Vegas
Amy Tan Allison Waken
Tiffany Tillman Crystal Wilkerson
Jennifer Wilson Jennifer Wilson

If you don’t have these books in your resource library, you’re going to want to get ready for our biggest sale of the year over National Scrapbook Day weekend. Beginning on Friday, May 2nd you can get eBook or print book bundles for 40% off!

Everyday Storyteller NSD Sale

Prices definitely won’t be this low again in 2014! I’ll be sharing a few more reasons why you should consider these essential reading in the coming days, but for now I have one suggestion.

Make sure your name is on the VIP list so you’re one of the first to know when the sale begins.


OLW 2014 | Reflections on Personal Sabbatical

One week ago I returned home from six days away from my husband and daughter, the longest we’ve ever been apart. I missed them dearly, but I have no guilt or regrets.

In this post I want to share some of my thoughts and feelings on taking a personal sabbatical, including the surprises I experienced.

Why I took a vacation without my family and what I learned from the experience.

I shut down my computer and turned on the TV. I had reached my goal of finishing enough work before leaving so that I could travel without my laptop—and had one whole hour to spare before heading to the airport. I watched an episode of Property Brothers, but found myself fidgety.

I didn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t working, cleaning, or caring for my family. As I sat in the airport waiting to board, still fidgety, I realized this was the reassurance I was looking for. I needed this personal sabbatical; I needed time to check out from the day-to-day and re-learn how to be still.

I needed space to remember who I am and what I am doing.

I will be the first to admit that I am very fortunate. I have work that I enjoy to fill my days and pay the bills. I have a supportive, hard-working husband. We’re able to send my daughter to a daycare that allows her to thrive and me to be an even-better mom.

I also work too many hours and worry too much. I don’t get enough exercise or enough sleep. I’m tired—and whether your work is in the home or outside of it, I bet you understand what I mean. Sometimes you just wish there was a pause button, so that you can have a chance to catch up.

An Act of Radical Self-Care

I was reluctant to admit that I needed any kind of intentional effort on self-care. I knew the facts, but working from home gives me a lot of time alone. I felt like asking for any more would be indulgent.

I had planned to visit my best friend this spring, but to also take along my daughter. But when my friend shared the good news that she had accepted a new job and would be moving, the better answer became clear.

I would visit her solo, helping to pack and enjoy her last bit of time in beautiful San Diego. Boxes full of expensive dishes would be no place for an always-on toddler and I had a great reason to accept this time for myself.

The tickets were purchased and I crafted the previously-mentioned plan of attack that would allow me to disconnect for six whole days.

At first I did feel guilty, but every more-seasoned mom I spoke with said that I shouldn’t. The more I sat with the idea and the closer the time came, the more confident I felt in the decision. 

A Little Goes a Long Way

That fidgety feeling lasted for most of the first day. Then I quickly melted into a new groove of sleeping in and not having to be anywhere at a specific time. I read a lot when my friend was working and went with the flow when she wasn’t. (Confession: I even caught a few episodes of Kim & Kourtney Take New York.)

To be honest, I expected my phone to suck me in every day as I tried to craft complicated emails with two thumbs. I expected to read business books on my Kindle (which I did) and be struck with so many ideas that I’d have to ask for a pad of paper.

None of that happened. To my own surprise, I simple enjoyed myself and appreciated the space I was holding for each moment.

We did things together and with her friends. I was so focused on relaxing that I was able to easily resist the “danger” alerts that my introversion provides in new situations. I actually had fun and enjoyed not being in the driver’s seat—literally and figuratively.

While I soaked up the California sunshine, I did miss my family a lot. Skype calls, video messages, and photo texts made it all easier, but by the end I was ready to be home. I was also ready to bring as much of my easy-going attitude with me as possible.

Rededication after Sabbatical

Almost every time I’ve traveled in recent years, I’ve loved feeling unencumbered by my stuff. We don’t really need that much to survive and even thrive, which is all the more apparent when you’re away from home.

I noticed how happy it made me to have fewer decisions and a focus on living life each day. This experience reminded me that my journey towards space this year is working. I made my word visible with this trip and it left me rededicated to seeing it through.

Creating space in my home had been a stumbling block thus far, but since returning home I’ve cleaned out the bathroom closet, both freezers, and the fridge. One of the kitchen counters has been cleared and laundry has been put away.

Taking a personal sabbatical was not part of my original plan to create space, but I strongly feel my efforts made the stars align for this. I feel lighter, less tired, and more ready for the rest of 2014.


Art + Science Lessons with Stacy and Jennifer (Podcast)

Never forget that your voice counts! Big Picture Classes received so much positive feedback and requests to re-run The Art + Science of Scrapbooking that Stacy Julian and I are teaching it again in May.


This challenge-based class will help you better understand your strengths in scrapbooking and invite you to develop your skills. You’ll leave as a more balanced memory keeper with up to 16 layouts and a personal toolbox of tricks for easier scrapbooking.

At the end of our first session, Stacy and I recorded a conversation reflecting on our own lessons learned from teaching the workshop as well as the break-throughs our students experienced. I’m excited to share this discussion with you! In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • Whether creativity is exclusive to those who are right-brained
  • If scrapbooking style can predict your natural tendencies
  • The scrapbooking philosophy Stacy and I have in common
  • How discovering your like-minded tribe supports your hobby
  • What you need to do to gain new perspective and insight
  • The #1 takeaway the workshop triggered for both of us

Note: This was originally presented as a video. We’re sharing the discussion as an audio to protect the privacy of our students.

The Art + Science of Scrapbooking begins May 15 and for a limited time you can still get $10 off when you register. I hope to see you!

The Art + Science of Scrapbooking at Big Picture Classes

P.S. If you joined us last time, you should have received an email offering a very generous discount on taking the class again!


Simple Tip Saturday with Sara Case Strickland

Simple Tip Saturday series this year, I’m inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Simple Scrapper team member Sara Case Strickland with her simple tip.

Simple Tip Saturday with Sara Case Strickland

What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

I find that the time I have for scrapbooking, like many of us, is short and sporadic, so I need to be able to create quickly, not spend lots of time trying to figure out what supplies to use! Over the years I have discovered that collection packs or club kits are the easiest for me. With collections from specific companies you already know that the theme, dye lot, and overall “look” will blend seamlessly with all the pieces, from paper to stickers to chipboard and much more. The only problem with collection packs is that sometimes I don’t want it all to be that perfect – that’s where kit clubs come in. Someone else has already done all the hard work to coordinate the papers and embellishments from several different lines and companies. When you get a kit you know they will all mix cohesively without being perfectly perfect!

What problem does it solve for you?

Time! I always seem to be short of time (who isn’t?) and when I can just grab a collection or kit knowing everything I need is in there it saves me all kinds of time I would normally spend oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous papers and doodads in my stash. Plus a new kit is exciting so I’m eager to work with it, cutting back on indecision and the normal back and forth that usually happens trying to decide between this shade of cardstock or that one. I just go with the flow and usually the picture just seems to work. Since allowing myself to let go of the perfect colour combinations, I’ve saved countless hours that used to be spent matching paper to pictures and have enjoyed the process that much more.

Why do you think it works so well?

For me, this solution works because many of the choices are already made without trapping me into a cookie cutter LO. Instead of deciding on colours, patterns, embellishments, and extras, then starting in on design choices, I can now just jump right into designing and have fun mixing colours and patterns I may not have picked if left to my own devices. Because of this, I’ve not only discovered new colour combos that I enjoy, but I’m having more fun than ever creating – trying out crazy pattern combinations can be more fun than you think!

How can others get started with it?

It’s easy! If you already have a company you love then simply buy collection packs or themed lines from them. Or you can check out the multitude of kit club companies and find one you like. They all cater to different styles so make sure you spend some time looking at past kits before you buy, especially if it’s a subscription service, so you know you’ll like what you have coming each month. If you’re still not sure about kits and collections, start by shopping your own stash and see how scrapping this way works for you! Grab a sheet of patterned paper, add 4-5 solid pieces of cardstock that coordinate, then mix in a few more patterned papers and matching embellishments – your very own club kit made with colors and styles you already know you love!

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and run.