SYW114 – Scrapbook Decades in One Album

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How can you tell a story that spans 20, 30, 40, or more years? It’s actually easier than scrapbooking a single year.

In this episode I’m catching up with my teaching assistant Kim Edsen on all things crafty (and not-so-crafty) as well as diving deep into telling stories of the growing up years. We discuss the album I’m starting about my husband as well as Kim’s experience creating her own album as a previous student of mine.

You’ll learn the three essential components that make documenting so many years both feasible and fun!

Links Mentioned

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Kim Edsen 0:01

I felt like there were a lot of emotions that I would experience kind of like reliving some of those years and those moments, but I think in the end, I came away with just like this overall feeling of gratitude for the life that I have had and like the people in my life that have contributed to my well being and my progress all those things.

Jennifer Wilson 0:22

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 114. In this episode, I'm joined by Kim Edsen for our monthly casual catch up along with a preview of what you can expect during our storytelling journey.

Jennifer Wilson 0:48

Hey, Kim, how are you doing?

Kim Edsen 0:49

I am doing fabulous today because my husband has returned to work, to the office. Which it has been lovely to have him home for the past 13 months and three days, it really has. But I'm very excited to vacuum whenever I want and use the treadmill whenever I want and like not have to worry about meetings and video chats and all those things. So it should not be a big deal. But I kind of feel like it's like Gretchen Rubin always talks about the blank slate and I feel like this is my blank slate like he's back at work. The girls are in school. Like we've got this.

Jennifer Wilson 1:27

I am having a lot of jealous feelings, right now. I am looking forward to that happening probably in August.

Kim Edsen 1:34

Well, here's the thing is I had not been alone in my house for like, okay, so a couple weeks ago, the girls have now gotten their learner's permit. So I think we had like a Your Way Workshop. And maybe I did like a Zoom crop. So Dan was taking, took them out when I was doing those to practice driving. But other than that, I have not been alone in my house. I don't think for like, right, like, since the girls were home like last spring break. So...

Jennifer Wilson 2:02


Kim Edsen 2:02

It is very, I enjoy that. It's peaceful and calm. And so yeah, this introvert is very excited. So I do, I love my family. And like I said it was, it's been fabulous to have him to pop up for lunch or things like that. But I'm ready to like turn the page. So...

Jennifer Wilson 2:22

For sure I keep kind of throwing it in there. Like you know, you can like go to the office like a couple days a week. Do you, know if he can go in if he has a reason to but he doesn't always have a reason. And I'm like, we can help you come up with good reasons why you need to be in the office.

Kim Edsen 2:39


Jennifer Wilson 2:41

It's good. And it'll be hard. It'll be different when they're gone again, because we've gotten used to these routines and the ways in which we support each other being all at home.

Kim Edsen 2:52

Well, okay, so a couple interesting things with that is one, Dan isn't even returning to the same office they built. They were in the process of building a new building like to be finished last November. So...

Jennifer Wilson 3:04

I remember you saying that, yeah.

Kim Edsen 3:06

Day to like pack up his office. So he's going back to like a completely, I mean, a completely new office. I mean, it's a different location and everything. So I was like, what time do you have to like leave the house? Do you even know because, I don't know. But then also the fact that I feel like I have often kind of when I wanted to make changes or kind of I don't really make commitments to like. I will say like, the past few weeks my, like I broke my meditation chain, I haven't been running, like I've just kind of like things have just gone out the wayside. And I think part of it is I've always really counted on or really took advantage of those like blinks, like moments. Like and the girls going back to school or like school's out for the summer. It's always school but I don't know that we really so much had that because in the fall they were home like part time but he was still here and then when they went back to school full time. Like when he was still here and then I was like vaccinating people so I was around so I just was never able to establish any sort of just routine, it was just like controlled chaos right? There was always like all these moving parts to keep track of and who was giving kids to and fro and now track has started. So we have like that. And so I am just like I feel like this is I've been waiting for this moment for a while. So it feels good.

Jennifer Wilson 4:32

Do you think that your habits fell off the past few weeks because you knew this was coming and you were kind of getting in your last little bit of excuses and laziness kind of leading up to that because you knew you'd have this blank slate.

Kim Edsen 4:45

I don't necessarily know, is that because part of it is so I was still doing some in store vaccinations. So we are done with the long term care facilities and then there was a lot of understandably like uncertainty as far as like what my role would be going forward with the vaccinations, as far as like in the store and like offsite corporation type things. Because I did not want to sign on with like a permanent either, like part time or full time position. And so some of it depended on their staffing needs. And also like the vaccine availability, because they transitioned from their allotment, whether it was from like state or federal, or I don't even really know how that all worked. So I kept thinking, like, oh, I'm wrapping that up, I'm done with that, I'm done with that. But then there'd be more shifts available. And then they just kept. And it's not like I was working a ton, right. It would just be like a four hour shift here and there. And, but again, it just was more of that mental management of trying to like, track all this. So I think so I have total, I've stepped away from that, like my original intent was to help with the long term care facilities. And I met that obligation. So I've like, wrapped that up. So I think that loose end is gone. And then also, Dan has been on a really big project the last few weeks. So like, end of March to like literally last Tuesday where he was working, like 15 hour days, like, so I think that was harder, because you know, he was really busy and stressed. And so then that just like left more, I'm just kind of like one of those people that takes on was like the empathetic side of things. So I think that kind of played into things too. So I think there were multiple reasons, rather than more so than like, I'll just put it off and start next week, I think it was just a lot more of that. And then we had, um, my uncle passed away. And so we had to travel for the funeral. So it was just, I think, a lot of variabilities coming into play all at one time.

Jennifer Wilson 6:46

Well I think I kind of as an outsider here observing, you kind of tested those boundaries of what is what is full, and what is overfull in my life right now. And when we go into that overfull state, something else has ended up being sacrificed. And oftentimes, it's the things that we you know, those foundational things, we need most to thrive. But because it doesn't feel like there's enough time or bandwidth to even to get to those things. And you know, I think ideally, we're all need to be in this, you're not even quite full, but slightly under full, you know. So that we have opportunities to say yes, when something does come up. That's that's kind of what I've observed over this past year. And especially now, you know, we have sports seasons are ramping up and everything, everybody's doing things in safe ways. But, you know, our schedule is a lot more full than it was any time in the past year. And we're you know, going through our own family negotiations of Okay, what is what is the right balance?

Kim Edsen 7:54

Yeah, and I think you nailed it on the head with the bandwidth because at some point, I would have some time, but I just didn't have I guess, like the mental umph there to do it. Or I would go in, I would swing wildly. Like when we're there like I would spend like if we were home for like a weekend, I would just want to like scrap up. And then like the next time when I'd have a free time, then it was just like, well, I need to like get the house back in order. Like I would just, it was kind of like all or nothing, thinking, almost.

Jennifer Wilson 8:22

Well, that's kind of more out of character for you. Right? Because you prefer the you know, little bits consistently, rather than an all or nothing.

Kim Edsen 8:32

Yes. And I do kind of have to fight against that. Like if I do feel like I've swung too far one way or the other. Like there's always that temptation to like go all in kind of get to like that blank slate, but then I know, right? Like, if I spend like an entire day cleaning my house, well then in like, whatever two weeks time, like that's all gonna come due again. So I'm better off to like just pace things out. And yeah, but like with a schedule that you just never do. Like I would sit down the beginning week and kind of see what the week was gonna lay out. And then that was always changing and evolving. And I think we've talked about how uncertainty is not always our most favorite thing in the world. And I try not to be super rigid, I try to be flexible, but I think like the longer it goes on, the more it wears on me. So like I said, life's good. The chickens are good. The cats are good. The kids are good, like husband's good. Like, like, I've got this I mean it's snowed this morning, but...

Jennifer Wilson 9:30

yeah, we had snow too, it's so mind blowing.

Kim Edsen 9:33

Yeah. Though, I know. A few years ago when the girls were in elementary school, they had a snow day. It was like May 2nd there's a giant snowstorm so we're not out of the woods yet, but I know it's not gonna last.

Jennifer Wilson 9:49

So for me, I guess I don't have as much of a dramatic update, but it is kind of exciting that I finally put photos in the frames that are hanging above my bed. So if you're not familiar with this story, we moved into this house in November of 2014. And, you know, even before we move, and we knew we were moving here, I had bought the big 12 by 12 frames from IKEA. So they're not actually 12 by 12. They're like 20 by 20, with a 12 by 12 slot or something like that, or maybe they're 18 by 18. But they're large. And I knew it was gonna fit a 12 by 12 scrapbook page, or a 12 by 12 photo, and they sat in the corner of the bedroom for many years to like, I don't know what 2018, 2019. And then I finally hung them above the bed with nothing in them, because I'm like, I figured if I just get them up there, I'll finally feel the need to fill them. Well, it took going through many sessions of Stash Bash, and this, this recent one, to say, okay, this is ridiculous, I need to just print some photos, and I can change them later if I don't like them. And so it literally took me five minutes to print the photos, and another 10 minutes to put them in the frame to hang up. And I had this whole mental thing like, oh, it's just gonna be this so cumbersome to take them off the wall. And I have them hung with the each corner has a command strip, the, you know, the heaviest ones, and then there's one nail in the middle, kind of as a backup, because you don't want frames falling on your head in the middle the night, that would probably not work out so well. So the command strips really are what's doing the holding, and then the nails the backup. And so but it's not hard to, you know, pull it off the wall, it's Velcro. So, and then they don't, there's no wire on the back. It's just the little tabs. And so it didn't take any time at all. And printing the photos was no big deal. Because I you know, I have the large format printer. And then I also realized, because I had framed, I have three more of these frames downstairs, I had cut out my 12 by 12 photos each time. But that makes zero sense. Because the entire piece of paper that I print on fits in the frame. So I don't need to like crop them down and then try to you know, tape them in there. So their level, I can literally have it's like 13 by 19 photo paper, I can print my photo and then just slap the whole thing. And so I just, I feel really good. And I've been making my bed every day. And it just I feel like a grown up, I guess.

Kim Edsen 12:27

Okay, so my question is, was it difficult to select the images that you printed, I think that would be the obstacle for me, I would put it off because I wouldn't have to decide. And granted, like you said, you could always change them out. But...

Jennifer Wilson 12:41

So that was one of the reasons why because I kept, I was trying to figure out the perfect series of photos, and then edit them the same way. And so what happened was over the winter, there was one day in which I think it was a day, it was a Sunday and Emily had riding lessons and Steve had just snowed, it was so beautiful, just like one of those like really wintry days with just the right light. And Steve loves to take photos too. And so he took Emily around, he was taking pictures of like neighbor's trees and go, you know, driving, you know, kind of out of the way. And he took a picture of Emily, by our friends lake. And then another picture of her riding horses that same day. And so it was all kind of same day, similar light, very easy to edit. And I'm like, Okay, I'm just gonna use three photos from the same day. And that made it easier, because I didn't really have to make decisions other than narrowing down probably 20 photos to three.

Kim Edsen 13:38


Jennifer Wilson 13:39

Yeah, and I think, you know, series like that, where it's the same day the same setting, it makes it so much easier to then kind of get over those humps because you're not trying to see, okay, did these photos from, you know, three different years actually go together? Because they probably don't. And you need to find a way through the editing or your choices to make them go better together on the wall like that. So and maybe I'm just perfectionist about it.

Kim Edsen 14:08

No one at some point, right? You want to? You're looking for a certain outcome. And yeah, I mean, what's that saying? Like, any job worth doing is worth doing right? Or? I don't know. But I can see definitely how you talked about that, you know, you feel like an adult and you're making your bed. It's though sometimes those small little tweaks have such a big impact, like they have a bigger impact than you would think they would give in their scope. And they just and it was just a mental lift. Probably like it puts a little bounce in your step.

Jennifer Wilson 14:42

Oh 100% and so every time I go in there all day, I'm like, Look, my beds all made. And then at night, it's so like delightful to like, get into the made bed, and I find myself going to bed earlier. So like there's a total ripple effect from just hanging photos on the wall.

Kim Edsen 14:59

Yes, and I never when I was young, I was kind of notorious for having a messy room. And I didn't have strong opinions on making a bed or not making the bed. But I read or heard or saw somewhere where they talked about making your bed has such a big impact, because it's such a large piece of like real estate, like for your room, right? For most rooms, I suppose takes up a large portion of the room. So if you can take a few minutes to make that tidy, it just makes the whole room feel tidy, whether you have like laundry in the corner or stack of library books or whatever that small difference has a large impact.

Jennifer Wilson 15:39

Well and it makes it more likely that when I get you know, I finished some laundry that I actually complete the cycle and put it all away. Like if the beds made I keep other things more tidy, because it it's more obvious when something else comes in. It's not tidy, I guess.

Kim Edsen 15:54

Yeah. So it's like that ripple effect for sure.

Jennifer Wilson 15:56

All right. Maybe we should talk about scrapbooking a little bit.

Kim Edsen 16:00

So yes, let's!

Jennifer Wilson 16:02

All right, so what is exciting you right now?

Kim Edsen 16:05

So I will admit I was wrong. I...

Jennifer Wilson 16:09


Kim Edsen 16:09

I know. It, ask my husband, it never happens. Just kidding. I'm, so Story 52 was a lot of chatter, when that began at the beggining of the year within our membership. And, you know, we have some people that, you know, big fans of Stacy and I've taken classes with Stacy Julian before and she's been on your podcast, and she's delightful. But the concept of this class is that you get almost like this deck of cards, and you deal yourself a hand. And it kind of guides what you make for your layout. So if you're doing like the original intent of the class, it kind of guides like topic and like, like how you present your journaling. And so things like that. And I thought it looked super fun. And I like Stacy, and we had a lot of buzz in the membership about it. And so a lot of people doing it, like I do not need more restrictions on things in my life, like I just want my scrapbooking to just be whatever I want. But then I started seeing all these layouts that people were sharing that were prompted by this class. And I was like, man, these are just amazing. And she'd run some sales. And so I picked it up. And I have had so much fun making the layouts for this class like. And I think because I was trying to say like, I think originally I thought it would be really restrictive. But obviously like you make the rules, you can just make it whatever you want. So but I think it is challenged me to think of different ways to present my story, as opposed to just my random journaling block that I would always default to. Because some of it would be like, say it with an interview or say with a conversation or say it with a list. So it is force, forcing, it is prompting me to think of more interesting ways to present the story. And so I'm rather than finding it frustrating, I'm finding it to be a fun challenge. And I think at any given point, if it does get too frustrating, then, you know, I won't use that particular prompt that week, I'll just either substitute it or, you know, make a layout for whatever. But I have really enjoyed it. It's been lots of fun.

Jennifer Wilson 18:16

I love that everyone who I talked to is enjoying it, I have not taken it myself, because I didn't want to commit to something else right now. But I certainly would consider in the future. I love kind of thinking of stories in different ways. And I know that Stacy's, of her kind of story focused prompts over the years are always just so clever and clever combinations of things. And I feel that the story 52 approach is just an extension of that.

Kim Edsen 18:42

Yes, there's lots of enthusiasm, and just good support. And lots of I'm a member of the Facebook group as well. And so just lots of excitement about it. And so that's contagious, I think.

Jennifer Wilson 18:54

Very cool. All right.

Kim Edsen 18:56

What is in your scrappy world?

Jennifer Wilson 18:58

Yeah, I've been experimenting which I feel like this is the year of experiments I'm trying to like, and I definitely want better morning routines that support, you know, the life I want to have. At the end of last year in January, I was working a lot on evening routines and sleep routines. Because if you know if you're not getting good sleep, the 100, the rest is out the window. And I've got that mostly mostly dialed in. I have kind of a toolbox. But I've been working and dabbling in what I want to do in the morning, and what's the best way to start my day that really supports having a great day. And you know, I tried doing the daily pages in the morning and I really liked that with no structure and then I tried it with structure and totally failed at that. I've tried, I've tried some other things. But what's been working recently is just the simple commitment of I get up hopefully at an earlier time than a later time. I get to go make my coffee and I get to come up and sit at my desk and do something with my craft supplies. And it's not, it's not too structured, but I have been focused on this. I feel like maybe I'm contradicting myself, we'll see. I resubscribed to the Story Kits and the Story Stamp after quite a hiatus because I always enjoyed the products, I just didn't find that I was using them as as fast as I wanted to, because I wasn't doing as many card focused projects. But after Krystal was on the podcast, Krystal Idunate, and hearing about her planning approach, I decided to try it with one Story Kit that I still had that had been unopened. And this was the Adventure Story Kit, I believe I had to kind of purchase it in a sale to use for a Disney album. And then I ended up making a photo book for that trip. And so I sat down, and I ended up coming up with nine different stories to use up the entire kit. And I'm like, oh my gosh, this is so satisfying. It took me two mornings to do it. I watched Ali's, you know, her teaching video, half of it one morning, half the next morning, and you know, listening to all of her story ideas. And, you know, I made, I used old Project Life cards to just write notes for myself on what the story was. Draw a little kind of doodle of kind of the construction that I was thinking of. And it's just so amazingly satisfying, the pages are easy to put together. So what I'm doing is, I'm doing six by eight. And I'm doing basically story spreads. And I think my problem before is that I was thinking of pocket pages as this Project Life idea where the page is kind of a bunch of things together, or you have Photo Story pairs that you're trying to then kind of put into this harmonious thing. And that's how I've approached more of December Daily in pockets. I've never sat down and basically just use pockets as a, a format for a quote unquote, layout. And that's the difference here is that I'm taking this, you know, six by eight Canvas, which ends up being 12 by eight because it's two pages, I'm looking at a spread and thinking okay, what can I make here? So some pages have pockets, some are full page, and it's so delightful and simple. And I get to use the fun products, and I'm just loving it. So and I have coffee, and that makes everything better.

Kim Edsen 22:39

Yeah, that does sound really fun.

Jennifer Wilson 22:43

So yeah, I'm just I kind of wasn't expecting this, I guess. And now I feel like I, I have something that's, that's simple and easy. And is gets me to tell more stories, which that's the whole point. And sometimes I'll come across oh well this is something that's bigger, and I don't want to do six by eight. So I'm gonna set this aside for eight and a half by 11. And a longer story, but just kind of staying in the zone of playing with my stuff, using up my stuff and telling stories is, you know, that's where I want to be hanging out.

Kim Edsen 23:20

Okay, so I have a couple thoughts or questions. So one, since you have the Story Kit and a Story Stamp, do you also get the digital products?

Jennifer Wilson 23:28

Yes. So that comes with it. So the, when you subscribe to both, you get the digital and the class.

Kim Edsen 23:35


Jennifer Wilson 23:36

So it's, it's, it's, it's almost a deal, because you could purchase the class and the digital separately. But that's the same price is getting the stamp, and I'd rather just have the stamp.

Kim Edsen 23:47

Well, then I wonder too, you know, because you have the option then because you talked about a few do some is larger, if you want to do more hybrid, then you also have those products to use, like I'm thinking for like the stamps for like title work or something like that you could easily translate that into something that's hybrid or digital.

Jennifer Wilson 24:03

Correct. And so I would say the one thing that's kind of I'm encouraging myself and working through some things, I'm doing handwritten journaling, again for these, because I personally find it a little too fussy to print journaling on three by four cards, just like it's not it's not fun for me. And so while I have the digital products, I certainly could do that. I'm just trying to you know, I use my ruler to draw my lines and just trying to embrace the imperfection of my handwriting. And I think it's, it's important that I do that and I do want to make sure that because I am doing so many other hybrid layouts, I want to have something that has my handwriting and an overtime as well.

Kim Edsen 24:51

Okay, well then that gives you that balance, but also you had done six by eight for the past few years. So I would imagine that was also a nice tend to go back to that, because you're comfortable that you enjoyed that you probably still had plenty of page protectors.

Jennifer Wilson 25:06

Well, that was kind of the deciding factor. I was also thinking about 9 by 12. And then I realized I had basically whole albums worth of page protectors in the six by eight size. I mean, probably 100 at least. And you know, all the various configurations three by eight as well. And like, it doesn't make sense for me to kind of start investing in a whole new size for kind of ongoing crafting, because I do enjoy that six by eight so much. Y

Kim Edsen 25:34

Yeah, cool. And I think I had another question, but I don't remember what it was, but if it comes back I'll let you know.

Jennifer Wilson 25:41

No big deal. So yeah, that's what's exciting me right now. I'm coffee and crafting. And it's, yeah, I'm happy with it. And I'm gonna continue kind of working in that vein. For as long as it you know, it works.

Kim Edsen 25:58

Well, sounds like a lovely way to start the day. I think this got discussed a little bit in the group, or maybe was at a Zoom crop. When we read the Lazy Genius Way, she'd had a recent podcast episode where she talked about morning routines. And her like one of her main facets was the idea of rather than trying to, like I always think of a morning routine is like, okay, how much can I pack in to like, start my day and get this over with and you know, and her whole concept was what makes you feel like most like you. So for you, drinking coffee and puttering with some craft supplies is pretty awesome. I've been doing a lot more reading in the morning, because I feel like that is my, you know, I've been, I've loved reading my whole life. And I think, right like, that's like my first love as far as like hobbies go, I always come back to that. So I like the idea of it's very well, when you I mean, you're making progress, and you're having fun, but it's also speaks a lot to like you yourself, your personality and the things that you enjoy.

Jennifer Wilson 27:01

Yeah, as much as I've tried over the years, I'm not a spring out of bed, and let's do some exercise or active things. Like I'm more likely to do that later in the day, because I just I don't ramp up quickly. And this is something that feels quiet and slow and does not require my body to move too much. But does still feel nurturing. And there's enough kind of openness to it, because I could just sit here and like, watch it, watch one of the many videos that I have in my library. And I'm not talking about my own videos, but things that I paid for.

Kim Edsen 27:40

Like class videos.

Jennifer Wilson 27:43

Yeah, and, you know, I don't have to make something but I just want to like spend time immersing myself in it. So that, because this is my job, I can still retain that personal connection to it. And kind of having that context to start my day really helps me bring more of myself into the business into my social media posts. Rather than starting the day with it being business, and then I think that there's that a veneer to that comes across as if I don't have anything interesting to share about my own hobby, it makes it harder to really be authentic in social media and my emails and things like that. Does that make sense?

Kim Edsen 28:27

Yes, I always makes me think like, when the girls were babies, it was the whole idea of like sleep begets sleep. So if they're like well rested, and they're getting naps, like they're gonna sleep better, because they're not like so strung out. But I still feel like the same thing with creativity. Like, the more time you get to spend creating it, just kind of, there's a momentum there, and then you feel more creative, and it just builds. So there's also that concept of just consuming versus creating, I think as well comes into play. I think in general, it's more fulfilling, at least to me to be in the process of creating something versus just taking something in and not that there isn't a time and place for that. But we feel like if you're excited, honestly about what you're doing that it's going to come through from your business side point for sure.

Jennifer Wilson 29:16

Yes, 100%. And we've talked to over the years about how when you have something kind of marinating or on the way you're more likely to continue doing it and so if I'm just doing this for like 20, 25 minutes in the morning, you know, I can't I can finish some things but I can't always finish everything and so it means I have something to immediately sit down with later. And sometimes it happens later the same day because I'm so excited about it. I just want to finish it or it's there for the next morning to continue working on so there's more of a kind of a continuity with with the scale because it fits so easily on my desk as well. So, you know we've had so many conversations in the membership recent from others who have been getting Story Kit for so long, maybe since even the very beginning, and they're not using them as much as they would like. And I really think this perspective on thinking about how you can use them to create what amounts to a layout or even putting them on a layout. Kind of it really puts that story focus in view versus thinking of it in a you know, quote, unquote, Project Life sense.

Kim Edsen 30:30

Yeah, like, what's the disconnect there? Like they like the kits, they love Ali, like they love the content. But yeah, how to make that jump?

Jennifer Wilson 30:39


Kim Edsen 30:40

My other thought, apparently, I had lots of thoughts on, on like everything. But the morning thing, it kind of brings me back to that whole Story 52 thing about how like, when I do my cards, I don't know if there's ever been a time like maybe I would know what the topic but or like, it usually takes me a couple days to kind of get together idea of like, oh, what story or whatever is going to fit these. Or if I'm working on just a different layout, the idea of like, that something's not right, I will come back to it, you know, later. But in the meantime, like you'd heard about that marinating, it's in the back of my mind. And I feel like when I come back to it, I'm often able to either see what was wrong, or I have a different idea of like, how I can address it. So I like it better. So I think that's part of it, is rather than say, I'm just planning to spend, you know, an afternoon scrapbooking, if I come get something that I was finding, challenging, like so challenging in my crafting hobby, but what isn't working for me, I might be more apt to just push through. But when you're working on like these little bits like this, I think it gives you that pause that time to reflect and to come back at it. So I think maybe that's part of why I'm enjoying his layout so much is because of how they're evolving. So maybe you're also finding this to be the case with your Story Kit.

Jennifer Wilson 31:57

Yeah, I think it's it's a very similar process where you're just allowing, allowing the, the guidance that we have in the industry, whether it's products or classes or tools that you're using to, to really help you to really lean on it. Because it works like that's, that's why we create these things, you know, and you know, we create similar types of things here at Simple Scrapper. We want you to lean on them to then to guide your next steps because it makes it a little bit easier.

Kim Edsen 32:35

Yes. So all right, telling stories. Do you have a Bucket List story?

Jennifer Wilson 32:41

Yes, so this is kind of exciting. And I will link the recording to a live stream I just did, which was recording this. It was yesterday, I and my husband are getting started on his childhood album. And we are documenting his life from birth all the way until when we got married. Just because it feels like you know, he doesn't have really anything scrapbooked prior to that, so it makes sense to choose that as his story parameter. And we're using my Before Your Story album framework. So the reason this class is called Before Your Story is because we have this tagline Before Your Story, meaning your main child Before Your Story, there was mine. So to really capture your story of life before now before your your present adult life. And originally, the whole class was based on my album, that was about me. But we've had so many conversations over the years of people who've used this framework for someone else's album, and they wanted to see an example of me doing it. And I always said I wanted to do my husband. So I said, okay, this is the year we're doing this. And he's he's been doing a lot of scanning here, he has a lot of his stuff scanned. So I knew that was kind of it wouldn't be too challenging. It was very, it felt very doable. So we're diving into that. And in the live stream, I shared all the different products we're doing, we actually are doing 9 by 12 for this album, and I explained kind of why we chose that and why we chose this collection from Simple Stories to be kind of the the design framework for it.

Kim Edsen 34:29

Yeah, I watched the video last night so yeah, it looks fun. And he's helping or I mean, I guess he's gonna do all like the story kind of evolution or like...

Jennifer Wilson 34:42

So he's gonna work through all the worksheets that we have in the class and figure out what stories and choose the photos and write the journaling and I'm just going to help assemble it all. But kind of walking him through the process and kind of you know making it easier. Okay, so here's this photo. Now what are you going to say about that? Give me your three sentences. So imagine we're going to do something like a Word document where I just insert all the photos and have him write three sentences underneath them. And we'll probably end up doing hybrid journaling for his because I can't, I mean, I can see him doing handwriting throughout the whole thing. But I think it would be much easier if we just do hybrid and have it typed.

Kim Edsen 35:24

Well, and that's smart, too. It's one thing, right, there's an ideal, and then there's being realistic. And at the end, in the end, you want a finished album. So you can, you know, make it more challenging, or you could just go with the flow. So along those lines, I think, so I had done the Before Your Story class, back in the day, and I ended mine with, so I did like my birth up until I got engaged. And then Dan and I were married for seven years before we had kids. And I had always thought that that would be a fun way to approach telling like our story, because you, I watched that video that you had done yesterday. And you talked about the idea of yeah, like so this is when I started scrapbooking. And so for, you know, for for him, you know the time before that was not covered. So for me like I've done my Before Your Story album up until we got engaged. And I really started scrapbooking, I guess shortly after the girls were born, but I had kind of gone back and did something. So there is kind of like that, like the lost years that aren't really documented. I have photo albums, but I think it would be fun to put the stories there. Like, I don't have anything about like our wedding or early married years. And and I don't necessarily want to do like a full wedding album. But I think this would be a really comprehensive way to tell all those stories about like, who we were as a couple before our family expanded. And like the things we did and the places we went and the people that were in our lives, and like how that all has evolved. You know, like, because in whatever the girls, like four or five years, like they're gonna be gone again, it'll just be Dan and I again. So I could probably start another album. But I really, my mind likes compartmentalizing to some extent like these, you know, this is like my story. This is our Dand and my story. This is like our family story. So...

Jennifer Wilson 37:21


Kim Edsen 37:23

I've not done Dan's childhood, I think it would be fun to do, I've started to tell more stories that involve him. I would say in recent years, I think part of that too, is just as the girls have gotten older, and you know, my scrapbook game's evolved. I'm enjoying going back and telling some of those stories. And I can always have like here or there. But so I don't think I'm ready to do his full album yet. But I definitely could do like our early years together.

Jennifer Wilson 37:52

Well, we've had a lot of interest as well and doing alternate sizes. So the original album, it was designed for 12 by 12. And you know, I'm doing 9 by 12, as an example here. We're including a similar number of stories in the album, you actually can do a few of you know, because of the configuration of the pages, you either do a little bit fewer or a little bit more. But so I think a 9 by 12, or even a six by eight could be interesting for that, that period of time in your life because it is a shorter period of time. But you can get a lot and it just sounds really fun, I think,

Kim Edsen 38:26

Yeah, well, and I think it would just be fun to go back and revisit those because like I said, I have photos and albums, but a lot. Most of them are not scanned. So it's not like I and I don't usually just sit and look through the photo albums. So I think it would be it'd be quite a trip.

Jennifer Wilson 38:42

When also I think this concept can be taken to different scales. So just thinking about, this doesn't even have to be about a person, it could be about a relationship, you know, a couple, a pair, however you want to do it. And to do it over, you know, decades or multiple decades, I can even see it being kind of like a great 50th wedding anniversary present to do something over that period of time to celebrate your relationship. So I think the framework, it's even though it was designed with kind of one story perspective in mind, it really amounts to an ability to scrapbook. A lot of time, whether that's seven years or 25 years or longer, in a way that actually feels doable. Because once we get beyond, you know, even a year it feels like a lot because often we think of you know, we're putting about a year in one album, but then how do you get 25 years in one album, you have to approach it a little bit differently.

Kim Edsen 39:48

Well, and that is one thing I liked originally about the class well, originally and then also like, you know that stayed with me as I've completed the album. I actually just pulled out my album earlier this week to look through. And I think just of how you have it structured is really interesting to me because I feel like one you can tell like a really comprehensive, kind of get the big picture stories. But then you're also able to put in some of those like little tidbits stories that maybe you wouldn't do a full layout on. But that story still is part of, on this case, part of my story. And I still want to highlight that. But so I think one of the things I like the best about it is that, you know, if it was all layouts, I think that would just be overwhelming. And I wouldn't have gotten it done. And if it was all pockets, I think that would have probably gotten a little tiresome, or some stories need bigger layouts. And that's not to say, you can't easily go back, and add things. But I just think that the structure of it is really flexible. And you can make it work for whatever your story or your products are. Because even in my album that I had done, I think there was one section that I did add, like an extra, like pocket page, right? Because I had more I wanted to add or if there was some stories that I wanted to flesh out, like even now, if there's something more like, oh, well, I have a card on that. But I want to like I have a card in there about, you know, my pets growing up. But I could still go back and add a bigger layout, either in another album, or in this album, there's nothing to stop me from doing it. But at least, you know, there's, there's kind of that holding spot like a bit of that story's been told. And if I want to deep go deeper, I can. But I don't feel that pressure necessarily.

Jennifer Wilson 41:30

Yes, I think that's kind of what I tried to emphasize yesterday in the livestream is just, this gives you that sense of being caught up on a specific time period or a specific story of that time period. That just kind of releases the weight so that you can focus on other things that might be more interesting. And but then when you do have that additional story, it doesn't mean you can't add it. But you don't feel like you have to you don't feel like it's it's just there's so much lack there, you feel a sense of abundance, and you know, a completion, when you create a project like this,

Kim Edsen 42:07

I would agree. And I would also say, to bring up you talked in the video about like the lack of the journaling cards. So originally, when you taught the class, you had a recommendation to get a Project Life kit, for an abundance of journaling cards and whatnot. And I don't for whatever reason, I didn't end up with a Project Life kit, I got the Simple Stories, like they had like a Snap, it was the I AM collection, that I just really liked the products. And I felt like the colors went really well. I like the messaging I thought it was, it was really an excellent collection to use for this type of project. But again, there were some limitations on the journaling cards that were available. At least at that time. I know they've had like, I AM 2 and I AM 3, I think so you could probably round up plenty of journaling cards. But I did end up creating a lot of my own journaling cards with just like embellishments. And a lot of them are very simple. Like, you know, it would be like a, just like a grid card with like a strip of pattern paper or I'm looking at when there's like a like a little embellishment. So they're not fancy, but it's definitely doable. And I feel like you know that with the filler cards. It's not just I know sometimes what I would do Project Life, I would just try to pack in, like all the photos and all the words that I missed some of the pretty stuff. And so I feel like...

Jennifer Wilson 43:31

That's the crafty part of that.

Kim Edsen 43:32

Yes, yes. So this gave me the opportunity to also incorporate some of that element to it as well, which made it very satisfying. Once in the process of making it and two, I really liked the end result as well, because I can feel like oh, there's like a creative element to it as well, rather than just simply like words and photos, which is again, you've talked about that this is why we're scrapbookers like we want to play with the product as well. And I think, you know, this definitely gives you the opportunity to do that without it again becoming overwhelming. Because I mean, I don't know how many pages this album is. But I can't imagine not having it would have taken me forever to make to put all these stories in two layouts. But this gave me a little taste of that. But in the end, I have a finished album.

Jennifer Wilson 44:17

Yes, yes, yes. So I think that's a great transition into kind of the meat of the conversation I want to have today. And I really want to kind of outline how you can scrapbook 25 years or more, 35 years, 45 years, in one album and what I think are these essential elements of it and I think you've kind of hit on almost all of them. But I want to kind of review them in a little bit of a sequence. But first can we kind of step back a little bit and to think about, you know you, when you took this class as a student in fall of 2015. You know you were a customer before you ever worked with me. What kind of drew you to even attempting something like this?

Kim Edsen 45:03

Well, I think I had recently gotten, you know, like a Rubbermaid tote of my childhood memorabilia. And I had gotten some photos from my mom. And I was sorting through it. And I knew I wanted to have part of that story accessible rather than just in storage in my basement. So I think that prompted me to seek out a way to somehow highlight a lot of those stories. And then also, just because I hadn't had, you know, I hadn't been scrapbooking, and I wanted to tell those stories, but I didn't really know about how to go about doing it. So I guess this just offered a solution for all of those things. You talk on the video about your husband's supplies about having a pocket for memorabilia, and I was able, and kind of depends on the product. But a lot of instances I just tucked memorabilia into pockets.

Jennifer Wilson 45:58


Kim Edsen 45:59

So I have like my, my student ID from college and I have there was like my very first job I worked at this, it was like a bed and breakfast. It was also this restaurant was this Victorian, large like Queen Anne Victorian that had been restored and I was like 14 and I was like washing dishes and I was an assistant server and there had been like a write up in the newspaper about it. And so I had that clipping, so I just added that in. So rather than just doing like a pocket at the end, I was able just to slip in the memorabilia in amongst like the pictures and the words and the layouts. So I just really liked how it tied all those different elements together. It wasn't all one thing or all another thing, it kind of, I guess was like a perfect match of all those items.

Jennifer Wilson 46:45

Well I think it, you know, you mentioned these different like little bits of like, significant memorabilia that we often don't really have like a home for. And I've heard from so many of our students that they finally felt like they had a place where they can put that stuff, whether it was you know, as part of the structure of the album in pockets, or even just in a memorabilia folder in the back. But to just have a home for it rather than, you know, just tucked away somewhere in a way that might actually get lost.

Kim Edsen 47:12

Yeah. And then I feel like it kind of comes back to the thing of like why am I keeping this if I'm never going to look at it? And I suppose it's you know, someday I'm going to open up that box and look at it. But this way, I feel like it has context. Right? Like, I there's a story about this being my first job. And then this is where it is, as opposed to if somebody would come across that clippings like, well, this is weird. Why does she have this? So I think that also comes into play where this gives you an opportunity to give that memorabilia context and like I have like a college admission letter so I can talk about that whole process. And so I think it's just, just like with our photos, giving us prompts to tell stories or helping to enhance a story, I think memorabilia can do that as well. And so, like I said I'd gotten that box from my parents, and so that just kind of prompted me to think about, like, how I want to handle this, or how I wanted to handle it. And this was a solution for that, and also gave me the opportunity to, you know, tell my childhood story.

Jennifer Wilson 48:15

I love it, I love it so much. And I think we all have these, like personal desires to tell these stories, and it's so it can even feel a little intimidating, because it is such, this is me, this is my life. But the way we approach it is to all to make it feasible. Like that's the end goal is for you not to to give you a path, not even around but through that sense of you know, this is this is big, it is big, we're not gonna say it's not big, you're gonna have to like go through lots of old photos and make choices. But we give you a way to do that. And I think I would call that kind of we're looking big picture first. And that's kind of my first, I don't know, element here. You know, we don't start with what was your favorite food in fourth grade, we start you know, high level thinking about major milestones and transition points as a way of breaking down this this huge span of time into different segments and then we can get more granular within that. So it just kind of we walk you through it so that you don't have to just face the you know, amorphous pile of everything and we help you kind of craft it in almost a puzzle like fashion.

Kim Edsen 49:35

Well, and I also thought that was had a lot of flexibility in how you approached that. So I ended up doing when I was kind of thinking of stories or components that I wanted to talk about. I broke it down like birth to like kindergarten, elementary years and like middle school, high school and in college, so I kind of did it based on my schooling. Though I seem to remember you did some of yours based on when you would move, right, like you were born...

Jennifer Wilson 50:04

Correct, because I moved when I was nine. And so...

Kim Edsen 50:06

Yeah, so those make natural transition points to kind of. So and that is also nice, because you're not focusing on like, the entire, you know, all these decades, you can start with, okay, I'm looking at my first five years. What were like moments that I would want to address like, okay, I'm looking at age, you know, 5 to 13. What, so it again breaks things down to the more manageable and less overwhelming.

Jennifer Wilson 50:20

Well and also in the end, there's not that many, not many things, how do I say this? There's not that many things that you can include, you have to make choices. So by breaking it down the highest, the important stuff kind of pops out. And before you know it, you really have kind of something that's fully fleshed out and balanced, without having to really get too much into the weeds. Now, some of that might pop out in your journaling. And as you go to select photos, like your, your sense more of that context. But the kind of top down structure that we take helps you flesh it out without ever feeling like you had to go find a way to remember everything, because we can't remember everything. But we can remember just the big things that pop out at us.

Kim Edsen 51:22

And I also think there's an advantage of doing it with the community. Because I know when I took the class, there's a lot of just some discussion or people would share, like challenges or their own ideas. And that would also help kind of prompt like, oh, yeah, like, you know, I went through something similar. And you know that. Because, honestly, I feel like it's kind of like peeling like an onion, right? Like you start with the outer layer. There's like your initial like, oh, yeah, these are stories. And then you kind of have to, I feel like once you start kind of going down that memory lane and like more things come up that you kind of just get deeper and deeper to it until you get to like the core of it. So I think there's definitely like layers to go through. But it was helpful to kind of do your initial and then to also kind of take inspiration from, you know, other class members, as far as like what was working for them, or different things that they were wanting to highlight, because it prompted me to kind of, I guess it just kind of continued the process of identifying those stories for me, it helped a lot.

Jennifer Wilson 52:29

Oh, for sure. One of the things that we have this emphasis on stories before photos, and I think that it's really consistent with everything we talked about at Simple Scrapper and is talked about elsewhere in the industry. Is it if we we think about the story that we want to tell, it becomes less of this, oh, my gosh, I have all of these photos? How do I possibly do something with all of that? Well, that's not the point. You know, Stacy always says, you know, do something with some of your photos. And this is definitely an invitation to do that. Because we're going to help you pick the stories that you want to capture, and then something visual to represent that. So it could be a photo of yours, it could be a photo from the internet. You know, we've had people use take screenshots from like Google Earth. You know, they find their childhood home and take a photo that way because maybe they don't have one, or the the memorabilia examples that you gave that can be the the visual representation of that story. So there's lots of ways to back into it, without having to just start with all the photos and somehow try to whittle that down, that's not feasible. No, we're gonna go cherry pick and try to find the photos that, you know, do the best job of representing the story want to tell. And even sometimes just say, oh, you know, I can't find one. And that's when you use a really nice filler card. And you just have the story and that's okay, too.

Kim Edsen 53:55

Or I did a card about like, I grew up in small town. And, you know, like, we rode our bikes everywhere. It was kind of that whole, like, classic. You know, you go out your parents don't know where you are. I mean, they have a rough idea. And then you're like, come back when it's time to eat your meal, right. So, So I actually have like a bicycle, like a cute little Simple Stories, bicycle embellishment on that card. So yeah, there's definitely different ways to highlight the stories beyond just using photos.

Jennifer Wilson 54:27

Yes, yes, I think that that's fundamentally what makes this easier and feasible and it just ultimately a doable project. And then finally, I think it's, you know, we've talked a lot about the pocket emphasis, and just the overall like structure of the album. This is a very structured album with a very repetitive design. And I think that kind of the overall focus makes it more of that puzzle you're filling in. We help you set up the whole thing, all the page protectors and then you are filling in blanks the whole time, rather than trying to build something, you know from nothing. So you're starting with something, you're starting with a fully fleshed out album structure. And then you just start putting things in pockets. And I think that is what makes it feel and be a finishable project in the end.

Kim Edsen 55:19

And we always talk about this too, like, if you have a starting point, you can always adapt as needed. But in order to get to that point, you have to start somewhere. So, again, I talk a lot about that flexibility. But I think that that lends itself well, to this as well. Because yeah, you're going through it. Like I had, yeah, like, just like, I could, you can put in a little insert, if it doesn't work with the structure. Like there's, you can always add more, but this gives you a place to start. And I didn't find it, sometimes I would think like, I think about the end of Project Life, it felt more like a chore. And it was like repetitive like to the point where it's like, oh, this again. I think how you had it structured with how you're focused on telling stories about like yourself, about the people in your life, the places you went. So that kind of definitely broke it up, too, and made it seem more manageable that it wasn't, again, like 40 years of everything. It was this little focus. So that kept it more interesting, as opposed to just like something that you would just like monotonously go through.

Jennifer Wilson 56:32

Yeah, we I mean, we can't neglect to include that the Library of Memories categories that, that Stacy Julian created, and in our part of, you know, the Story 52 class that you were mentioning, and so much a part of her whole philosophy are, were certainly an inspiration for how this album is structured. Instead of using those to, to create albums, and to inspire different storytelling directions, they are how we organize the album so that you don't have to worry about gaps. There's no visual appearance of gaps, your, you it's about capturing stories of different areas of your life, and it feels very cohesive, even with, you know, only 16 stories per, per area here. So I think it's, there's something really special about it. And I guess I'm tooting my own horn and saying that, but I'm really proud of the framework that we put together.

Kim Edsen 57:31

No, I, I think that was, like I was excited about it going in, but I think the end result of it, like exceeded my expectations. I will also say we talked about like the feeling of overwhelm, like stories and photos. But also, I think, as I worked through my album, I you know, I mean, like anyone's childhood, there's like ups and downs. And you know, those awkward, like teenage years. And I felt like there were a lot of emotions, I would experience kind of like reliving some of those years and those moments. But I think in the end, I came away with just like this overall feeling of like gratitude for, you know, the life that I have had and like the people. I think mostly that was like the big highlight of like the people that have been in my life that have contributed to my wellbeing and my progress, all those things. So for me, I think that was like the biggest takeaway. It wasn't like, oh, it was nice to just to get these stories stories told in these, you know, a home for this memorabilia, it was this overwhelming, feeling of just like gratitude for it. Because we've talked about like scrapbooking being like a gratitude process. And I definitely felt that with this album.

Jennifer Wilson 58:49

Well, there's been so many conversations we've had over the years, each time we've taught the class of students who they had a lot of challenging stories to, to work through, in documenting their childhood. They didn't, they didn't have anything that was idyllic. But they found so much catharsis from the experience to be able to celebrate both the parts that were good, and be able to highlight those and feel, feel connection to that and the gratitude for the parts that were good. And to be able to kind of honor and respect the parts that were not good and to choose how you wanted that kind of documented and looked back on. So I think there's. Yeah, we've had so many different examples over the years of students who've approached it in very different ways and for very different reasons. And I love that kind of how the community has brought out such thoughtful discussions about how you handle this when you know your childhood has a mixture of positive and negative experiences.

Kim Edsen 59:55

Yeah, or even if you're just telling, you know, we talked about this, different options for telling stories. Like if you're telling the story of a relationship, if there was like hard moments. I think we talked about Ali with the Story Kits. I think, you know, her products and her philosophy has always been really supportive of telling difficult stories. Whether you approach it as like, what lessons have I learned from this or like, just acknowledging that this was hard, and I've come out the other side of this. You know, and I'm strong and like the the value from that, too. So while it is fun to tell, like the happy stories, and I do not tend to want to dwell or tell, like always, like the negative stories, but I think there can be values in in telling all those types of stories. And again, with the structure at some point, like, it could be one pocket to acknowledge like, yeah, this was hard, but you know, it is what it is, it doesn't have to like dominate your whole album, either.

Jennifer Wilson 1:00:50

Correct. And we talk a lot about kind of doing hidden journaling and covering cards. I feel like there's images that you think are important to include kind of from a legacy perspective that you don't want to look at every time you look at the album. So we kind of we deal with all the different nuances of that. And as you said, You made a really important point about just to, to look at yourself today and to realize how strong and capable you are. Because of what your life story is leading up to now everything that happened to us shapes who we are today. And I think that just makes it such a rewarding experience.

Kim Edsen 1:01:32

Getting all choked up, Jennifer.

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:36

So we will include a link to some more information about the class as well as that live stream that I mentioned in the show notes for this episode. And actually, next month, we have another podcast episode, we'll hear from three more students who have completed their albums. They all kind of approach it a little bit differently. And I just hope that today's conversation really offered some new perspective, and kind of this big picture framework on how you can document life stories that span multiple decades in a way that actually is fun and finishable.

Kim Edsen 1:02:11

Yeah, I'm excited to see how everybody gets along.

Jennifer Wilson 1:02:16

Yes. All right. And thank you, Kim, and thank you everyone for listening. I hope you remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. If you like the podcast, you'll love being a member. When you join you'll get access to weekly Zoom crops, bimonthly retreats, and a huge content library. You can head over to to learn more and join our creative community.

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