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A Peek into Before Your Story

On September 17 I will lead a group of new students and alumni into the workshop that I’m most proud of. During Before Your Story you will see how I documented my growing-up story simply in one scrapbook album and receive all the tools and support you need to tell your own.


What You’ll Create

In Before Your Story you’ll receive instructions to create a 12x12 album that mixes pocket pages with layouts. I’ll also share a myriad of options for customizing the size and format to your own needs and preferences. Past participants have completed digital albums and photo books in addition to the more traditional options I present.

The album will cover your life from birth up until a self-selected milestone in your adult life. I choose the birth of my daughter as this milestone, but this album is ultimately about you and your unique story. The format is flexible enough to include as many or as few years as you desire.

Before Your Story workshop at Simple Scrapper

To make it less intimidating to document multiple decades in a single project, I share a very specific framework to guide photo selection, storytelling, and scrapbooking. My approach combines practical documentation with creative play so that you can have fun and be productive at the same time!

Your Class Experience

You can expect a traditional online workshop experience with Before Your Story, complete with handouts, worksheets, templates, videos, audios, and email messages. Plus there will be a class forum for well-organized discussion and a gallery for sharing your work.

Before Your Story workshop at Simple Scrapper

The content will walk you through the project step-by-step and as your instructor I’ll be easily accessible for questions. We’ll also have frequent live chats so that you can connect more personally with classmates.

Staying engaged in a project over 6 weeks can sometimes feel challenging. The structure of the class takes this into account and I’ve built in prompts and messages to nudge you towards completion.

Why It’s Worth It

At $59 (or less*) you can consider Before Your Story a $10 per week investment in your legacy. The pride you will feel upon completing the album will only be surpassed by the experience of sharing it with those you love most.

Before Your Story workshop at Simple Scrapper

* You can save $20 when you register for the Before Your Story workshop before September 1st.


Favorite Starting Point for Scrapbooking with Emma Wood

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Emma Wood with her simple tip.


What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

One of my biggest “issues” when putting a layout together is actually coming up with a design.  One of the easiest solutions I find for this is to use sketches.  I love them!  Using a sketch doesn’t mean to you have to stick with every element of the sketch exclusively either. Sometimes I start with a sketch and the page I end up with looks completely different, but the sketch was my starting point that got the layout going!

What problem does it solve for you?

Sketches help me to save so much time.  Often time is a big issue with me as I work full-time and although scrapbooking is a great winding down activity at the end of the day for me, I don’t always have those extra hours to finish a page – using a sketch means I might actually finish a layout in one sitting!

Why do you think it works so well?

Using a sketch, although it won’t necessarily be "unique", takes away a little stress for me – and I’m free to interpret it any way I want but having a sketch to start with gives me that starting point!  I don't end up sitting there staring at a blank page for hours trying to come up with a new page design from scratch!

And if you stick with the sketch completely then most of the work is done; you have your page design and its just a matter of finding those “bits” from your stash to fill it out.

How can others get started with it?

Fortunately, sketches are everywhere.  Just search for it on Pinterest and there are thousands that pop up!  Many retailers/kit clubs also run a “Sunday Sketch” competition so they are a great starting point (and sometimes they even offer prizes for playing along which is a double bonus!).

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.


August Free Sketch & Template

Each month our members receive new sketches and companion layered templates, plus a digital magazine featuring these tools in action. This year I'm giving away a sketch and template set from our membership library every month on the blog.

This month's freebie is a 3-photo, 8.5 x 11 layout which allows for a nice balance of photos and journaling. There are more than 225 sketches and templates instantly accessible when you become a Simple Scrapper member.


See it in action...

Here is an interpretation by Kelly Sroka that changes the size of the page to 12x12, flips the sketch and uses an eye-catching title and embellishments to direct the eye right to the journaling!


Here is an interpretation by Aimee Maddern that expands the sketch to 12x12 and minimizes the size of the journaling space in order to add additional embellishments. She also minimizes the size of the photos in order to add additional white space to the layout.


Here is an interpretation by Amy Melniczenko that expands the page to 12x12 and adds additional embellishment to the page in order to reinforce the theme of her page.


If you use this design concept to inspire your own layout, please come back and leave a comment sharing your page. I can't wait to see how you make this your own!


What a Week in the Life Says About You

This week, like thousands of other memory keepers, I'm participating in Week in the Life with Ali Edwards. It's a 7-day personal documentary project to capture everyday life in words and photos. This is my 6th time.

Each year my approach is a little different; but of course, I keep it simple. Most often I've created photo collages. One year I did a photo book. This year I'm using 8"x12" Project Life pages (Design B, cut down).

I love the challenge of seeing our days in detail, noticing all the little stuff that makes up our life. What I love most though is how Week in the Life becomes an intentional effort to document my place in that life.

What a Week in the Life Says About You

With regular scrapbook layouts and Project Life pages, I include a lot of details about my family. Aside from a few selfies and shots of my food, however, I don't record a ton of personal details. Yes, the stories are from my perspective, but a majority are not about me.

I think this is pretty typical of scrapbookers. It can be harder to get yourself in the picture vs. taking another cute shot of your kid. However, from your photo choices to what is captured in them, Week in the Life creates a natural window into what makes you tick.

In just a few days of participation I've noticed that:

  • I wear cardigans near-daily.
  • Coffee and Diet Coke are essential.
  • Work is constant, but good.
  • I enjoy food (a lot).
  • Life is very full.

Week in the Life helps me capture who I am and what I'm all about right nowI love that.

I also love how this project adds to your body of work, your record of life, in a personal and purposeful way. I rarely feel that sense of being behind because of participating in this project—and because of my efforts to intentionally tell my growing-up story as the other bookend.

In 2013 I created an album to document the first 31 years of my life, from my birth to my daughter's. Along the way I captured the process in photos and videos so that I could share it with you.

If you would like to a more complete personal record, I'm excited to announce that my Before Your Story workshop is now open for registration. This 6-week class will help you document your birth-to-adulthood story with ease, complementing the dedication you give to recording today with stories from before.


The class begins September 17 right here at Simple Scrapper. Visit this page for workshop details, plus save $20 by registering before 9/1.


Why It’s Great to Have a Small Workspace with Wendi Robinson

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Wendi Robinson with her simple tip.


What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

I've gone from having a large scrapbook space to having a smaller, modified space. The key to this is that I keep everything that I need to make a layout at arms length, so I'm not wasting time looking for items, or going through tons of items to find what I'm looking for. I bought an old sewing desk at a garage sale for $10.00 and it has lots of drawers that I keep all my favorite items in, so I don't have to get up in the middle of making a page. In addition, I no longer work on my scrapbook pages in the same space as my computer, it's kept in the other room.

What problem does it solve for you?

By keeping my computer out of my scrap area, I keep off of the computer and actually work. By having all my items near me, I can keep working and know what items are stored where and grab them as they are needed. I also keep a tote with all my scrapbook essentials (adhesive, tools, pens, inks, etc) on my desk so I have everything I need within reach.

Why do you think it works so well?

This helps me keep the flow of the page and creativity going, instead of breaking it up and losing my train of thought. I felt like before, when I would get up and walk to go find something, I would take a longer break or I would get sidetracked. I like being able to focus on my layout, start to finish, and keep my creative juices flowing.

How can others get started with it?

Find a great desk or some sort of organizational storage item that has lots of drawers. Label where things are so you can find what you are looking for quickly. Keep your most used items nearest you so that you can find them quickly when you need them. I also recommend keeping new embellishments on top of your desk so that you will see them and remember to add them to your projects.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.