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May Story Starter Challenge

For the past four years I've been releasing new storytelling prompts to members every month. This year, we're celebrating each month's theme with a Story Starter™ Challenge. You're invited to create a layout and submit it for a chance to win a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass.


How to Participate + Win

Step 1 (optional) - Download this free story discover tool to brainstorm story ideas and make a plan for your layout.

Step 2 - Create a new layout, pocket page spread, or mini album related to this month's theme: Leisure Time

Step 3 - Submit a photo of your completed work in the comments below by 11:59pm on the 30th of this month.

This post will be updated on the 1st of next month announcing the winner of a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass. The winner will also be contacted directly with instructions on starting her membership.

Three Ideas from the Creative Team

Each of these layouts from our creative team uses a sketch or layered template from the membership along with one of this month's twelve new Story Starters.

You can get instant access to a library of more than 400 Story Starter™ prompts when you become a member at Simple Scrapper.

This layout from Kelly Sroka tells the story of one of her family's favorite things to do together - play a game!


This layout from Lisa Corbin-Polak tells the story of the different ways she spends her free time.


This layout from Melanie Ritchie tells the story of how some music transports her back in time to when she was passionate about music.


Now it's your turn! Upload your layout by 5/30/15.


Why Your Photo Library is a Mess (and How to End the Chaos)

Life is always moving forward, our cameras capturing moments and memories nearly every day. One of the most challenging parts of being a memory keeper is managing the unending influx of photos.

While you can never really be caught up, you can feel more in control of your digital memories. This peace of mind begins with understanding why your photo library is a mess.

Why Your Photos are in Chaos

In this post you'll find some of the most common reasons that your photo library is making you feel overwhelmed - and how you can finally gain control of your photographs.

You Take Too Many Photos

In this day and age our cameras are always nearby (mostly in our phones) and we have the ability to take a near-unlimited number of images. Gone are the days of worrying that you'll use up a roll of film too quickly.

This has resulted in an explosion in the quantity of photos we take each year and that many more photos to manage.

The easiest way to feel less overwhelmed by your photos is to be more mindful of how many you take. This has the double benefit of helping you step out from behind the camera and feel more connected by the moment.

You Don't Know How to Get Photos from A to B

Technology changes so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up. Coupled with a fear of messing up and losing priceless images, the logistics of photo management can be intimidating.

I get it. I really do.

I also know you can do this. You're a smart gal. You can learn the basics of working with photos on phones, tables, and computers.

You Don't Delete Any Photos

When digital storage is so abundant and inexpensive, deleting photos can be difficult to rationalize. But the more files you have, the more you need to manage and organize.

To save your sanity (especially if you take a lot of photos), I believe deleting is important. Deleting photos doesn't have to be painful, though, and can be quite freeing.

I like to focus on removing any mistake shots first, followed by culling the duplicates. So often we take 6-10 of essentially the same scenario, hoping for a great shot. You can then choose 1-3 that are the best and get rid of the rest.

You're Not Consistent About Organization

It can be difficult to find enough time to make memories, let alone spend creative time by yourself. This means photo management often gets pushed to the back burner.

These sporadic attempts at organization can result in a library that feels chaotic and out of control. Fortunately, the introduction of consistency in the form of habits and routines may be all that you need beyond an initial spruce-up.

To make organization a priority, it helps to see your images as an important springboard to preserving and enjoying your memories, through scrapbooking or other means. When you elevate foundational photo practices to "must do", consistent action and attention becomes easier.

You Have Photos in Too Many Places

It used to be that a family had one camera and later, one computer. The technological explosion of the past decade has not only facilitated more photos being taken, but created more homes - temporary and permanent - for our images.

Thus it's not surprising that most people have digital photos on multiple devices at any one time - and along with that, a sense of overwhelm about the entire collection.

The good news is that centralizing your digital images to one single home (and ensuring there is a back up copy) has never been easier.

Photo Crush

During Photo Crush I'll help you identify that "home" for your images and address your top photo management challenges. In just 7 days you'll make great strides and create a plan to continue organizing.

Photo Crush is a free event designed to help you gain control of your digital photo library. You'll learn how to manage your photos with confidence and ease.  Sign up now to end your photo chaos.


Membership Sale + This Month at Simple Scrapper

You have plenty of ideas and supplies for scrapbooking, so what I offer at Simple Scrapper is different.  I help you enjoy your hobby more, tapping into what you already have and satisfying something you're deeply hungry for: connection.

The membership at Simple Scrapper is not just about content or education (though that's included too); it's about support, community, and forward movement. We're a group of scrapbookers who care about our families, our stories, and each other. We want to make things that matter and have some fun doing it.

In celebration of National Scrapbooking Month, for the first time ever I'm offering a 6-month, non-recurring membership. I'd like to invite you to see what it's like to feel more connected to your hobby and a group of like-minded memory keepers, with no commitment required.

Membership includes:

  • Private Facebook group
  • Twice-monthly chats
  • New motivational tools each month
  • Huge resource library, including classes, eBooks, sketches/templates

Six months of membership is regularly $90. During May you can purchase a 6-month membership for 20% off with a one-time payment and absolutely no obligation to continue.

Become a member today, risk-free. If you find that the membership isn't a good fit, you may request a refund in the first 14 days.

Also this month...

May 7 - Story Starter™ Challenge posted
Create a layout on this month's storytelling theme (sneak peek: Leisure Time) for a chance to win 3 months of membership at Simple Scrapper.

May 11 - Photo Crush begins
Photo Crush is a FREE 7-day challenge to help you create a photo library you love. I know you need this! Register now.

May 21 - Free Sketch & Template posted
Every month in 2015 I'm sharing a free sketch and companion layered template from our membership archives. This is a great way to taste just one of the features of being a member at Simple Scrapper.

May 26 - Simplicity Hour chat at 8:30pm CT
Enjoy your hobby more when you join a group of like-minded memory keepers for an hour of casual conversation fostering connection, inspiration, and forward movement.

I also want to acknowledge this month's contributor to our membership collection of sketches and templates: Shannon Morgan. Shannon is a former creative team member here and creates lovely story-filled pages.

244shannonmorgan_bemylight 245shannonmorgan_letitbeme 246shannonmorgan_bulletproofheart 247shannonmorgan_beyou 248shannonmorgan_frozen

Our team did some amazing page this month with the collection and with our new set of Story Starters. You'll be able to see a taste of their work on Facebook and Instagram as well as every example in the membership.


Around Here | April 2015

On the last day of each month I'm sharing a personal recap that will also be included in my 2015 album.

Around Here | April 2015

See more of my April on Instagram.

Around here she's trying to rescue all the worms (thus proving she's mine).

Around here I worked hard, rested well, and didn't take many photos during April.

Around here I'm finally done transitioning the systems behind Simple Scrapper into Ontraport.

Around here she and I enjoyed our trip to Houston.

Around here we are looking forward to a date day in St. Louis.

Around here I enjoyed being a guest on the Paperclipping Roundtable again.

Around here she always wants to help.

Around here I'm working on being more easy-going. (Hint: It's not always easy for me.)

Around here he is excited that it's fishing season again.

Around here I decluttered and reorganized my clear stamps.

Around here I'm using the 15-20 minutes while he gives her a bath to scrapbook.

Around here we are enjoying making our new yard pretty.

Around here I still need to finish unpacking boxes from our November move.

How did April treat you? I'd love it if you shared one highlight, challenge, or realization in the comments.


April 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 4-photo (or 6-photo), 12x12 layout with a grid of circular photos and lots of space for journaling. There are more than 225 sketches and templates instantly accessible when you become a Simple Scrapper member.

April Free Sketch & Template at Simple Scrapper

See it in action...

Here's an interpretation from Kimberly Kalil that uses a photo as the background:


Here's an interpretation from Jamie Leija, swapping the long journaling for lists:


Here's an interpretation from Allie Trumpower that removes two circles and replaces them with a 3x4 photo:


Here's an interpretation from Jennifer Larson with a twist on the title and embellishment placement:


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!