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Sneak Peek: What to Expect in 2017

You can’t deny there is special energy about the new year.

As much as I encourage scrapbookers to renew their creative commitments once each season, the closing of one year and the welcoming of another is a significant transition. As a business owner, it’s my opportunity to listen closely for what changes and additions are most needed within our creative community.

It’s exciting, for you and for me, to double-down on what’s working and introduce new options to usher in another twelve months of creative fun. All month long we’ve been gearing up for a sneak peek of our 2017 education program at Simple Scrapper. This will be our 9th year as an online community and 7th year providing a membership experience.

At the link below you can find an 8-minute video highlighting what email subscribers as well as paid members can expect from us in the new year. Plus, there’s a PDF that summarizes all the details!

2017 Preview Party Video

Watch the 2017 Preview video and download the PDF summary.

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Around Here – Looking Back + Looking at the Year Ahead

The end of 2015 was a whirlwind of life/work goodness, but I missed posting my final Around Here recap. To close out that series, I’d like to invite you to take a look back and a look ahead with me.

My One Little Word for 2016 is trust, so I also thought it would be fun to connect some of my initial thoughts on that word with this update. I hope what results here is an illustration of my strides toward a more purposeful life that feels balanced, creative, and whole.

What’s your word for the year? When you’re done reading this post, I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know.


Around here I’m trusting the power of routine.

I’ve invested a lot of time into creating and using systems that help me plan my weeks, months, and years. I’m not perfect (nor a perfectionist), but it is something I put consistent effort into.

I have some ambitious personal goals for 2016, but I know that it’s the sum of 366 days that really matters. The actions I take each and every 24-hour period are what my year will become.

I’ve had some success in creating a morning routine, but fostering multiple daily habits is not an area that I’ve mastered. 2016 will be the year that I give it a shot.

By crafting a more solid foundation that includes getting up at the same time, drinking more water, and reading, I believe I’ll stay more focused, make better decisions, and feel happier. #simplicity

Bottom Line: I’m using the Strides app to track the daily habits that support my goals, my paper planner for weekly planning, and Asana for long-term project management.

Around here I’m trusting the structures I’ve built.

The close of one year and the opening of another always has me considering what big changes might be needed. As is likely the case for you, my scrapbooking is not immune to consideration.

And while I mentally try on new formats or styles, I ask myself “would this be easier?” I’m always looking for the path that simultaneously both satisfying and simple.

For 2016 I kept coming back to bringing more digital techniques into my process, but I never felt ready to commit to digital layouts or a minimalist photo book. I like to play with supplies too much.

What I was able to do, however, was reconcile this craving while making a plan to stay the course. I’ve really enjoyed working in the annual context, but thinking about my stories thematically. I’ve felt content doing Project Life in my own unique way, while accepting that layouts are my bread and butter.

The addition of more digital techniques is only a win-win, creating a dual sense of newness and ease while letting me do what I do best.

Bottom Line: I’m continuing to explore using the Library of Memories categories to create divisions within an annual scrapbook album that includes pocket pages and layouts. I will include some printed digital layouts that I create with Lightroom.

Around here I’m trusting that false starts are an important part of the process.

Last year, as part of a sincere desire to grow, I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. Instead of doing more of the same, I wanted to shop around for something different.

As it turns out, I don’t like shopping (figuratively or literally).

First I cancelled my kit club subscriptions, because my backlog was out of control. It was the right decision at the time, but for me it turned out to not be a permanent one.

By the end of the year I felt frustrated that my 12×12 paper stash had dwindled so much, yet I could never seem to pull the trigger on an order. I would always fill up my cart and take things out one by one.

For me, the real benefit of a kit is that I can trust that something I like (or mostly like) will promptly arrive at my door without me having to wrestle with my own demons of indecision. It’s paid for and I can get to work without mental anguish.

This personal challenge also led to my inability to continue with the unKit Club. It was a grand idea, but perhaps too grand for me.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a business owner is to substantially leverage what you’re best at and delegate the rest. My zone of excellence is writing and teaching. I love scrapbooking and I’d like to think I’m not half-bad at it, but my business does not rest solely on my ability to make pages.

The mission of Simple Scrapper is to guide you to a more purposeful hobby that fills you up and fits your life. It’s about ideas, strategies, and processes that make memory keeping doable. Part of that is a deep sense of “we’re in this together” as a community.

Shopping will always be a part of our hobby. However, the most effective role I can play is not in tell you what to buy, but in helping you identify what shopping should look like for you.

Bottom Line: I’m subscribing to a scrapbook kit again and once I post my unKit #1 layouts, that project will end.

Around here I’m trusting that less really is more.

Part of embracing what I’m best at involves investing more (time and heart) in each thing I produce. To compensate for this shift, I must intentionally do a fewer number of things.

Internally this looks like more delegation and from where you sit, this looks like a smaller number of blog posts each week. However, each one will be more thoughtful and specifically-crafted to help you take the next step.

This era of content abundance means that you have plenty else to read. What I most hope is that each new free piece of content has a higher value and that you have more time to actually implement what you learn in your own scrapbooking.

Bottom Line: You can expect one blog post per week on average, generally on Tuesdays. Sometimes there will be more. I’ll likely post on the theme of “Around Here” on my personal Instagram account.

Around here I’m trusting what I’ve learned.

2016 marks a big shift in focus for the business.

As part of my internal conversations about content, I spent a lot of time thinking more broadly about how get to off the hamster wheel of more. More for the sake of more doesn’t do you any service.

So instead of being in constant development of new projects for new courses, I want to perfect a retreat-like, transformative virtual experience. And instead of hoping you’ll stick with it over six weeks, I want you to see results in just seven days.

The Refresh workshop series combines everything I’ve learned from you in the past seven years to offer a journey you can lean on to find your footing and keep your head in the clouds. It brings together a rotating suite of trusted and newly-developed exercises to help you intentionally plan, simply organize, and create with ease.

And as a Simple Scrapper member, you’ll not only enjoy Refresh four times a year but also receive support in between each session.

Bottom Line: A new session of the Refresh workshop will be held each quarter so that you can consistently feel focused, organized, and motivated. The January session is open for registration.

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2016 Simple Scrapper Team

Running the business of Simple Scrapper is not something I can do alone. The members of my leadership and creative teams each play a key role in delivering free educational content, useful membership materials, and engaging workshops to our community.

In November I announced a call for additional creative team members. Our creative team works with the sketches, layered templates, and storytelling prompts from the Simple Scrapper membership to create examples for each month’s issue of Spark magazine. (January’s issue is an ad-free 78 pages!)

Today I’m thrilled to announce the addition of Cathy Caines, Lisa Hausmann, Nicole LeBlanc, Crystal Livesay, Kathryn Quintana, and Ann Tamimi to our team. Here’s the entire roster:


Leadership Team

Jen Conlon
Amy Melniczenko
Melanie Ritchie
Neisha Sykes

Creative Team

Cathy Caines*
Lisa Corbin-Polak
Alexa Gill
Arielle H. Gordon
Lisa Hausmann*
Sandy Henderson
Jennifer Johnson
Kimberly Kalil
Jennifer Larson
Nicole LeBlanc*
Jamie Leija
Crystal Livesay*
Amy Melniczenko
Kathryn Quintana*
Melanie Ritchie
Jan Sowder
Kelly Sroka
Sara Case Strickland
Christy Strickler
Ann Tamimi*
Allie Trumpower
Delanie Wood

* new addition

I’ve also redesigned our team page and added a gallery for each team member. View the team member profiles and galleries.

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New for 2016: The Simple Scrapper Book Club + January’s Selection

When I published Does Anyone Still Read? in November, I never expected to receive so many comments in the affirmative. My hypothesis was more than correct.

On the whole, readers of the Simple Scrapper blog are readers in general. Fluff and eye candy are nice treats, but you like to go deeper.

I love knowing this about you. So as I pondered what I might add to the community in 2016, the logical next step was clear: a book club.

(I’ll pause here for you to squeal in delight.)

Alright, so how will we do this?

The Simple Scrapper Book Club

Each month we’ll read a non-fiction selection and have a conversation connecting the ideas to scrapbooking.

The Book Club conversation will take place in the form of a live chat that will replace our monthly Simplicity Hour. A transcript will be posted for those who aren’t able to attend.

Because the chosen books will be non-fiction, there really aren’t any spoilers. That means you are welcomed and encouraged to attend whether or not you finished (or even started) the book.

The intent is to share ideas at the intersection of intentional living and scrapbooking. Our fundamental question will be:

What can we take away that would add more joy or ease to memory keeping?

I’ve created a special page for the Book Club, where you’ll find the books selected so far and scheduled chat dates.

Book Club Selection for January 2016

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Why I Chose This:
This book seemed like the perfect place to begin for two reasons:

1.) I know that many of you have already read The Gifts of Imperfection (not to mention Brené’s other books) and some have even taken a e-course on it through Oprah’s Lifeclass. Because this round has a shorter lead time, I wanted to provide an easy entry.

2.) I am genuinely fascinated by the idea of owning your story and how that manifests in both our inward and outward lives. I also believe that wholehearted living aligns with the core mission of Simple Scrapper and practicing the guideposts can enrich our scrapbooking hobby as well as the rest of our lives.

Note: I recommend checking your local library for our book club selections. However, if you do choose to purchase a book using the links above a very small percentage returns to Simple Scrapper.

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Annual Memberships are Open

Seven years ago this month I launched Simple Scrapper.

I sought to explore what memory keeping looks like in this busy, technology-rich era and ask how we can fit in more soul-filling creativity via simplicity. I don’t have a traditional view, however.

To me “simple” is far more than a description of style; it’s a pathway to discovering more joy and ease in the process of scrapbooking—and in our lives.

In my writing and teaching, I help women set themselves up for creative success with planning, organization, and other practical approaches to this craft. That’s my brand of simple.

My flagship offering is a membership community that provides tools and support for truly purposeful scrapbooking. From fool-proof sketches and story prompts to inspiring classes and events, my best work goes into the membership.

While that’s my story, this one is really about yours.

When you’re part of a generous group of like minds, the frustrations you feel as a family documentarian fade away. With this, priorities become clear, creative action becomes easier, and memory keeping projects finally become completed.

You can become a member at any time, but each year in late November I open up a limited number of discounted annual memberships. These are available until 11:59pm CST on November 30, unless they sell out first.

If you enjoy developing your scrapbooking skills, but have felt a deeper need for a more thoughtful experience and genuine community, the membership is for you.


Click here to learn more about this once-a-year opportunity.

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