Since late summer I’ve been sharing select photos on Instagram as I told 30 years of my own story in one album (#beforeyourstory). This also represented a behind-the-scenes look as I developed a new workshop for Big Picture Classes.

Before Your Story workshop with Jennifer Wilson at Big Picture Classes. Begins February 27, 2014.

Last year I had the honor of teaching The Art + Science of Scrapbooking with Stacy Julian and now I’m back for a new solo workshop with Before Your Story. Class begins February 27, 2014.

Before Your Story offers a simple approach to autobiographical scrapbooking, from birth to adulthood. In one 12×12 album that combines pocket pages and layouts (or your own customized configuration), you’ll tell dozens of stories from your younger years in just six weeks.

Before Your Story workshop with Jennifer Wilson at Big Picture Classes. Begins February 27, 2014.

The following video sums up my motivation for taking the time to create this album. While it does cover more than three decades of my life, the approach I share in the workshop keeps it simple and fun.

I’ve already received many questions about the workshop format and content, so I’ve prepared this Q&A below. Feel free to ask further questions in the comments as I’m happy to help!

Frequent Questions

What time period does the album cover?
Many scrapbookers discover this hobby when they get married or have their first child – and immediately feel behind. My album covers my birth to my daughter’s, but yours can span the time period that makes the most sense to you. Consider what span of years will help you feel most satisfied.

Are there prompts to jog my memory?
Yes! In the workshop I provide many worksheets to guide your thinking and planning within a unique storytelling structure. During the first week of class I share 60 story starter questions to support your brainstorming and include many examples of my own journaling during each week of the class.

I have hundreds of photos print, do I need to scan them all?
Not at all. This workshop is not focused on scanning and archiving, though it may perk your interest in taking that on later. Once you complete the pre-classroom handout, I recommend rapidly browsing your photo prints with sticky notes in hand. Flag the images that stand out in your mind most and only scan those.

I don’t have many photos from my childhood. Can I complete the album?
Yes, definitely! This has been the #1 question I’ve received; so if this is your concern, you’re not alone. In our class discussions I’ll be sharing many ways to make it work, including focusing on the journaling and approaches for selecting surrogate images. Don’t let lack of photos deter your enrollment if telling these stories is important to you.

Can I participate if I do/don’t ____________?
Can I work from my stash? What if I’m a digital scrapbooker? Do I have to use pocket pages? The second most common set of questions surrounds your uniqueness as a scrapbooker. Everyone has different tastes, budgets, and interests. The core of this workshop is a highly-flexible approach for telling multiple decades of stories in one album easily. In the first week of class I share a video with many variations on my format and I’m excited to help each student customize my storytelling approach to their own format preferences.

What is the pace of the workshop?
Like many of you, I have trouble keeping up with workshops after the first week or two. I have kept this in mind and created a workshop that is more intensive in the first two weeks, when your enthusiasm is highest. Then you have a generous four more weeks with me to complete the album. I’ll also be sharing weekly audio messages to help you stay engaged.

How do I register?
Simply go to and you’ll be directed to the registration page at Big Picture Classes. Class begins February 27, 2014 and there is currently an introductory price available.