January Story Starter Challenge

by | Storytelling Ideas | 28 comments

Over the years I’ve experimented with many forms of challenges and community sharing here at Simple Scrapper. After running the series of Community Show & Tell events for quite a while, I’ve decided to shake things up again for 2015.

I knew I wanted to again offer a monthly challenge with prizes, but it was equally important to make this an opportunity to document a meaningful memory. Then, someone on my team mentioned that many readers may not realize that I’ve been releasing new Story Starter™ storytelling prompts to members every month for the past four years.

The Story Starters are specific story directions for a layout that can be used again and again to uncover the memories that mean the most to you. I release twelve each month surrounding a specific theme. The themes for this year are:

  • January – New Beginnings
  • February – What Kind of Day Has It Been
  • March – You’ve Got Mail
  • April – In Good Faith
  • May – Leisure Time
  • June – Just the Ticket
  • July – Soundtrack of Life
  • August – Our Shared Stories
  • September – What I’m Reading
  • October – Inside of You
  • November – On the Table
  • December – Love, Me

To celebrate each month’s theme and get your brain brewing with new story ideas, I’m pleased to introduce the monthly Story Starter™ Challenge. Each month you will be invited to create a layout on this month’s theme and submit it for a chance to win a 3-month membership pass at Simple Scrapper.

January's Story Starter™ Challenge

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: New Beginnings

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 Melanie Ritchie tells the story of a number of changes happening all at once.

This layout from Delanie Wood tells the story of the promises she and her husband made to each other on their wedding day.

This layout from Laurie Danielle a new family tradition of baking together every week.

Now it’s your turn! Upload your layout by 1/30/15.

Congratulations to our January Story Starter Challenge winner – Beth Holmes! We will contact you soon with instructions!

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Deanna Ridgway

    Wow, I must be really inspired today! I already have a plan written out for a page for this! I do need some technical help at this point though. Jennifer I know somewhere in here you have a template for me to be able to print two 3×4 photos on one 4×6 photo. Where would I find that again? I looked quick but didn’t see it. Also, is there a trick for using the template? If I need a photo processing program to do it, it would be PSE12 (unless there is a way to use the template with just Windows….). I have PSE13 but have not loaded it yet. If it’s easier in PSE13 than PSE12 I could take the time to do that first, just let me know. Thanks!

  2. Deanna Ridgway

    Thanks Jennifer!

  3. Darlene Ragon

    Thanks Jennifer, this sounds interesting and doable. I like the ‘Story Discovery’ worksheet too.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Yay! “Doable” is my motto here.

  4. Sara Belgrove

    Hi Jennifer. I love the Story Discovery worksheet. I can see myself using it over and over with all of the Story Starters each month. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Fabulous. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Honoré

    Love this new challenge and jump-starter! May be just what I need to get a handle on where to begin. Quick Q: what time zone is the 11:59 pm deadline?
    Thanks and Cheers~

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I think your time zone is fine. The winner will be selected the next day.

  6. Elina Hellsten

    Am I the first one? I made this while having my breakfast this morning. 🙂 It’s a digi layout of our wedding. The title means “Us”, not “Me” as in English…

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Yes, you’re the first! So exciting. Beautiful page.

  7. Susan Mealiea

    This is a page I made about my sister’s baby shower. For her the beginning of a new phase in her life and for us the beginning of a new family dynamic.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Love how you covered several layers of story with this page. Nicely done Sue!

  8. Emily Adams

    I made a page about my new beginning – signing up for Yoga Teacher Training this year!

  9. Renate Olsen

    LOts of inspiration here!! 🙂

  10. Catherine

    This will probably be the first layout in a pet album..

  11. Trish.allard

    Here’s my entry..a weekly gathering of my family is a new beginning for us. It’s been so much fun and has been building strong relationships.

  12. Beth Holmes

    Here’s my submission for this month’s story starter theme New Beginnings. I start a new job tomorrow and made this page today. I was looking at photos and saw this one I took on my regular lunchtime walk at my old job, which made me wonder about what I’d see on walks at my new job. A new job, a new beginning, new walks.

  13. Audrey Volt

    My layout is in Pocket pages for the first layout in my 2015 album. It was New Year’s Day, skiing at our favorite place. I wrote about what I love most about the new year.

  14. Audrey Volt

    My journaling reads: What I love about the new year is another winter of cross country skiing. I love being outside, skiing, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the company of the people with me.

  15. Darlene Ragon

    Here is my layout using one of the monthly templates for inspiration and Story Starter #4 “Reflect on your feelings about a new relationship”. Thanks for the prompt or it might have been a long time before I recorded the story of how glad I am to have this new friend. Sorry for so much journaling, but to me, that is what scrapbooking is really about. 🙂 TFL

    • Jennifer Wilson

      It is what scrapbooking is all about. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story with us!

  16. Darlene Ragon

    Just in case someone wants to read the journaling:

    Betty Kimbrel and I have lived in the same town for thirty-eight years; we live less than two miles from each other; our paths have crossed at least three times that we know of in the past but we have just become friends in the last four years. To our amazement as we have come to know each other, our lives have many threads in common. I was acquainted with many people at the Hospital where I worked, had many needlework friends and associated with many people in my religious life but only one or two people that I considered ‘close friends’. Since I became a widow, an empty nester and retired I realized how much I needed to cultivate more close relationships and participate more in the activities I enjoy. After our local scrapbook shop closed there was no opportunity for weekly crops or annual retreats and I sorely missed the camaraderie with fellow scrappers. A scrapbook shop in Carrollton, Georgia, over 50 miles from where I lived, sponsored frequent scrapbooking weekends which I began to attend and enjoyed very much. One of the shop employees overheard a friend and me bemoaning the fact that there was no one in our small town to scrapbook with and how much we missed regular opportunities for scrapbooking with friends. The employee replied that she knew of several ladies in Griffin that met and she would be glad to pass our names along to them for consideration. A few shy phone calls back and forth and I began to meet with this new group of scrapbookers monthly. Of all the ladies I met there I was most impressed with the enthusiasm for preserving family memories and talents of a Mother-Daughter pair; Betty and Sarah Kimbrel. I took every opportunity to sit near them, listen to their chatter, admire and mimic their impressive skills as scrapbookers. When this group of scrapbookers disbanded due to the loss of the facility we were scrapping at, I was very sad as I dreaded the loss of companionship in my craft. Out of the blue, it seemed to me, I received a phone call from Betty inviting me to her home to scrapbook; that is the moment when we discovered just how close our homes were to one another! We began meeting frequently at her home to scrapbook and lunch with other like-minded friends. We formed a book club, took turns cooking special meals for the group to share on book club and scrapbook days, gossiped and released our frustration with the challenges of daily life while we worked on quilting or other needlework projects. Four years have quickly passed and now I consider Betty one of my dearest friends. We were amazed how much we had in common and how many events in our lives have paralleled one another. How fortunate I feel to have found such a fine woman to have as a new friend! Layout and Journaling created January 2015

  17. Kelly Smith

    Here is my submission for this “new beginning” challenge.

    I’ve been working on my grandson #2’s album this past month and of course there is nothing like the beginning of a new family. I was privileged to be his first visitor – he was born 2 weeks early! I was supposed to be flying out to help them set up, but instead I was there to help welcome into the world and our growing family. 🙂

    I hope this is OK.

    • Kelly Smith

      I know it seems super simple, but these pocket pages are a REAL challenge to me! LOL

      • Jennifer Wilson

        We’re all about simple Kelly, thanks for participating!

  18. Audrey V

    That is wonderful journaling and a really cute page. You are lucky to have a good friend that shares your hobbies!

  19. Amy Melniczenko

    What lovely pages!


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