WHEW! {Before Your Story}

In late February I began a workshop at Big Picture Classes called Before Your Story, taught by Jennifer Wilson at Simple Scrapper. The class was designed to walk you through creating an album about your early years. I was so excited to take this class because I had a whole stack of photographs from my childhood just waiting to be scrapped. Knowing that I would never be able to scrap all of these pictures individually, I quickly signed up for the class.


And now, several weeks later with my album completed, all I can say is, “WHEW!” This project turned out to be much more involved that I thought. I spent days selecting, scanning and printing photos, creating layouts, and writing journaling cards. I slowly worked through each section of the album, putting on the final touches just yesterday. The one thing that helped me the most in finished this album is the wonderful set of worksheets and planning pages that Jennifer provided during class. With the assistance of these worksheets, I was able to envision what the final product would be and reach my goal!   I learned many things while finishing this album:

  1. I wish that I had purchased supplies specifically for this project. My album has an eclectic feel, which does not bother me too much since the embellishments are minimal. However, I think that I could have finished the album much faster if I was not attempting to adapt products that I already had to this project.
  2. I should have narrowed down my photos much more in the beginning than waiting until I was completing each section. A little more advanced planning would have made this process quicker.
  3. I needed to have a basket to store all of my supplies in while I was not working on the album. Everything stayed out on my dining room table for too long!
  4. I was so surprised at the number of little stories that I recalled while working through the main sections of the album. I kept track of these and collected them in the last section of my album with the title “ETC.” This section was a departure from the album structure given in class, but it really fits my project.


I still have many older photographs that I know I will never be able to scrap individually. One group is my husband’s childhood photos, one group is photos from my dad’s side of the family, and the last group is from my mom’s side of the family. I have been reluctant to take on making scrapbooks of these pictures, but now that I have done it once, I am confident I can put these three albums together also!

March Madness {Inspired}

This month I used my kit to make two layouts for a class I am taking at Big Picture Classes, Inspired Scrapbooking. March’s theme was family stories. Stacy Julian shared a layout she did about the things she remembered being in her grandmother’s purse. And while that specific topic is a page that I want to do in the future (my grandmother always had Juicy Fruit gum),
I decided this month to document what I had in my own purse.

In My Purse
This page was fun to do and I’d like to do it again in maybe a year or two and see what has (or has not) changed.

I also did a layout about an older family story. My cousins, my sister, and I were very close growing up. We loved to play together, but we each had strong personalities that sometimes led to squabbles. The picture that I scrapped is a photo of the four of us at the beach together. This photo so represents our relationship and personalities! Because I wanted the focus of this page to be mainly on the photo, I used simple patterned paper and minimal embellishments.


I have almost used up all of the supplies in my March Madness kit. I will be posted the rest of the layouts soon!

RIGHT NOW {April at Simple Scrapper}

April at Simple Scrapper is all about Right Now. Sometimes I can become so focused on the past or the future that I forget to enjoy what is happening at this very moment. The Story Starters this month challenged me to celebrate the present and make to most of right now. And the April Sketch Templates helped me create great layouts for my stories.

A few weeks ago I bought two new pairs of skinny jeans from The Gap. As I was trying them on, I chuckled to myself  about how popular skinny jeans were when I was in high school. My friends and I often used safety pins to make our own skinny jeans. Now here I am wearing them again! This story came about from one of April’s Story Starters that prompted me to compare something I am into right now with a past time period. I used one of April’s Sketch Templates to make this page. Even though the sketch was originally for one photo, I easily replaced one of the patterned paper blocks with another photo to accommodate my story.


One of the things that I am deeply involved in right now is homeschooling. I have three children ages 15, 13, and 11, so much of our time is spent reading, writing, and studying. Homeschooling definitely takes a lot of time and energy, but I feel fortunate that I am able to do so. Another one of the Story Starters this month prompted me to reflect on something that I’m doing right now to shape the future. I immediately thought of how through homeschooling I am able to shape the future of my children. After finding three photos fitting my theme, I used another Sketch Template from April to document this story. This sketch was designed for three smaller photos so it I was easily able to complete my page.


What are the things in your life right now that you would like to document?

FRESH Vision – One Little Word for March

Last year I did a vision board for one of the assignments in Ali Edward’s One Little Word class. It was the first time I had ever really delved into what a vision board was all about. So after reading a little about them and seeing a few other people’s vision boards, I grabbed a stack of magazines and went to work. My vision board from last year looked like this:


And while I did deliberately choose all of these pictures, the board as a whole did little to inspire me throughout the year. I wasn’t sure why I did not feel inspired until I heard business coach Sue Painter speak about vision boards on Lain Ehmann’s Simple Scrapbooking podcast. She stated that a vision board can help to focus you on the goals and dreams that you want to achieve. By putting photos of the things that you really want in your life in front of you, you keep these ideas in your head and make decisions based on the items on your vision board.

As I look back at my vision board from 2013, I can see only a few photos and ideas that I knew I wanted to achieve that year. I also had many pictures of things that I just liked. I feel that this board was a mishmash of nice pictures that were not really meaningful to me. This board had little relation to the goals I had for my word in my life.

This year I decided to do my vision board differently, keeping in mind the ideas I got from the podcast. I chose just three photos that I felt truly represented my word FRESH. I changed the photos to black-and-white and added just a little purple (the predominant color in my album this year). This vision board speaks to me in a way that my board last year did not.


Last year my vision board ended up hidden behind a door in my office. This year my vision board will be in a place where I can see it every day!

March {Kit} Madness — First Round

The first layout I made from my March Madness kit began with a collection of older photos that I just rescued from an old magnetic album. The pictures are from a trip my husband and I took to Milwaukee (his hometown) and Madison, Wisconsin (his college town) shortly after we were married (many years ago). The Social Studies patterned paper from the Milk Money collection by October Afternoon was perfect for these photos! I matted my photos then covered up most of the map, leaving the US in a corner.


I used a star from the Milk Money Pop Drops by October Afternoon to show where we traveled. I then added an arrow from Freckled Fawn to make the star standout. I then added two other arrows to make a visual triangle and to reinforce the theme of the page—how we traveled up from North Carolina.

I tucked one of the Milk Money memory cards along the side of the lower photo and added a Studio Calico gem on the clock. The travel ticket next to the red arrow is actually from a collection of travel cards from Becky Higgins that I purchased for another project. I also used red glitter Thickers from my stash.

After printing and adhering my journaling strips, I added the final touch on the page—three enamel dots from the Milk Money Pop Drops.

I usually do not use such bold graphic patterned paper for my background, but I found that the map really worked well with these photos. The photos are not cropped too much because I wanted to keep most of the background in each one. Therefore, I was able to cover much of the map, keeping visible the parts of the paper that I liked.

There are several colors on the page, but because red, orange and yellow are analogous colors, they work well together and contrast with the blues in the paper and photos.

So now go be creative—pull out a piece of patterned paper with a large graphic and see what you can do with it!

March {Kit} Madness

It is that time of year—March Madness! Since I live in the ACC area, college basketball is everywhere. And as much as Iove tournament season, I love March {Kit} Madness even more.

Recently I have been challenging my scrapbooking self by purchasing a collection of products then using that kit for my layouts during the month. I have found that when I limit myself to just a certain number of products, I can complete more layouts because I am not constantly hunting for supplies that go together. Also, since I use these products all month, I tend to use almost every scrap and embellishment. (Then I do not feel so guilty when I buy more!)

This month I went a little bit crazy (no doubt due to March Madness!) and bought a few more products than I usually do. So I have quite the challenge to use up what I have purchased! However, I just received an order of about four months of photographs—I have plenty of pictures to keep me busy.


Here is my supply list:
Bite Sized Bits from Cold Avocado Soup by Jillibean Soup 12×12 patterned paper
Pinch of Presents from Christmas Cheer Chowder by Jillibean Soup 12×12 patterned paper
Crush from Love Notes by Crate Paper 12×12 patterned paper
Beau Book from Love Notes by Crate Paper 12×12 patterned paper
Corn Maze from Apple Cider by October Afternoon 12×12 patterned paper
Social Studies from Milk Money by October Afternoon 12×12 patterned paper
Let It Snow Stripe from Let it Snow by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Keeping Cool from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Winter Whimsy from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Cozy Cardinals from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Conversion Table from Homemade With Love by Cara Bella patterned paper
We’re Expecting by Bella Boulevard adhesive chipboard
Goodness Thickers printed chipboard letter stickers by American Crafts
Lindsay Thickers glitter letter stickers by American Crafts
You Are My Happy file folders by Teresa Collins
Milk Money memory cards by October Afternoon
Love Notes adhesive badges by Crate Paper
Sprinkles Lilac Assortment enamel dots by Doodlebug Design
Sprinkles Limeade Assortment enamel dots by Doodlebug Design
Milk Money Pop Drops enamel stickers by October Afternoon
Gems adhesive dots by Studio Calico
Wood Veneer sun die-cut wood pieces by Studio Calico
Arrow Paper Clips by Freckled Fawn
Pine acrylic stamps by American Crafts

One thing I enjoy about today’s scrapbooking products is their versatility. Some of the papers I chose for this kit come from Christmas collections. However, because they are not so obviously holiday-themed or have beautiful reverse sides, I can use them in a variety of ways. For example the Cozy Cardinals paper from Echo Park has one side with small cardinals sitting on tree branches in the snow—pretty clearly a holiday theme. (Although I could use this side with the photos of the cardinal in the snowstorm I took a couple of weeks ago!)


But the reverse side is a nice muted print of white and grey birch trees on a pale green background, which will work for a number of different photos.

It looks like tomorrow is going to be another snow day for me, so I am looking forward to having some scrappy time with my March Madness kit.

Back in My Day–March @ Simple Scrapper

Recently I was given a large box of photographs from my dad’s side of the family. There are pictures of my great-grandparents, my grandparents, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins (of which there are a great number), my parents, and my sister and me as we were growing up. There are tiny 2×2 black & white photos from the 1920s, Polaroids from the 1970s, 8×10 family photos, pictures from film taken during the early 1990s, as well as a number of other types of photographs. It is truly amazing to have such a collection of pictures!

For a while, I was not sure what to do with all of these photos. I felt some need to organize, catalog, and document them all, possibly assembling a large album that could be shared with my extended family. However, every time I thought about undertaking such a project, I became overwhelmed. I expressed my misgivings with my sister one day and she gave me some great advice—she said that the photos belonged to me now and I should use them in a way that made me happy. Such great advice (even if she is not a scrapbooker)! I immediately began sorting through the photos and letting the stories come to me.

Since then I have scrapped many of those pictures. I make digital copies of the ones I want to preserve, then (I know this will sound blasphemous to many scrapbookers out there!) I use the original photos RIGHT ON MY PAGE. I know I should use copies, but I just love the look and feel of the original photos on the layout. One of my favorite ways to use these older photos is to scrap a photo of me at a certain age and then pair it with a photo of my children at that same age.

This month at Simple Scrapper, the theme is Back in My Day. I immediately went to my collection of old photos and began looking for one that spoke to me. After a short search, I found a Polaroid of my and my sister when we were about five and seven in our front yard beside a tall snowman. We had recently had a huge snowstorm here, so I had plenty of pictures of my kids playing in the snow. I paired these photos with one of March’s Sketch Templates, and my layout came together quickly.


The second layout I created for March began with a Story Starter about a change happening in my lifetime. I immediately thought of a recent photo of me and my sister with our children. Whenever we all get together, I am always so surprised by how much they have all grown up. On this page I document how our kids used to like to play with toys and now they prefer texting and going to the mall. Quite a change!


If you are inspired by these pages and would love to scrap more about your past, take a look at Jennifer Wilson’s current class at Big Picture Classes, Before Your Story. “In this 6-week workshop with Jennifer Wilson of simplescrapper.com, you’ll have all the guidance you need to tell your growing-up story in one gorgeous 12″ x 12″ pocket album. Her class combines the ease of slipping photos and journaling cards into photo sleeves with the brilliance of Stacy Julian’s ‘Library of Memories’ scrapbooking categories.” But hurry, registration ends March 5!


At the beginning of the year, I had great plans for my One Little Word, FRESH. I had planned to eat healthier foods, declutter my house, exercise regularly again, and be outdoors more. I documented all of these ideas in my first assignment for One Little Word.



However, due to cold wintry weather and a few health issues, my plans went right out the window. Many days I did not feel like cooking, much less planning healthy homemade meals. We started a home improvement project which is causing more clutter than less. I did not have the desire to exercise and I was stuck in the house while during the snow, rain, and extremely cold temperatures.



When February arrived, I was not looking forward to doing the One Little Word assignment. I knew that my word had not been very visible in my life during January and I felt disappointed. However, I knew that if I did not at least attempt the next assignment, I would feel even less connected to my word. So I went online to found out what this month had in store.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a reflection exercise that allowed me to create cute cards for my album as a place to document the journey with my word last month. I crafted the cards and wrote down my feelings of disappointment about my word in January.


The next part of February’s assignment was to create intention cards—specific goals I want to meet and actions I want take in the next eleven months.


As I wrote the January reflection card and the intention cards, I realized that I still have plenty of time to work with my word this year. Also, there were many unplanned events in January that will actually allow me to reach my goals later this year. Even though I did not necessarily eat as FRESH as I wanted, I did have time to read new cookbooks and get ideas on better meals. The house may be a mess right now, but after our project is over, our home will be more FRESH and the decluttering will follow. And because I was indoors much of the past month, I completed several scrapbooking projects and researched FRESH ideas for future pages. As February comes to a close, I am looking forward to next month’s assignment!

The Blizzard of 2014 and Giveaway Winner!

The snow started on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t let up until about 4:00 pm today. In all we received about 8 inches of the white stuff. To my Wisconsin-born husband, that is not a lot. But to my North Carolinian self, it is a blizzard! Luckily, we have been able to stay at home and sit by a nice warm fire. We only had to trudge through the snow to make sure all of our horses were surviving the storm as well.


Congratulations to the winner of the seat in Before Your Story–comment #2, Deanna Ridgeway!

34 Things (and a Giveaway!)

Recently at Simple Scrapper, Jennifer Wilson featured a list of 34 things that she wants her daughter to know about her. She is teaching a class at Big Picture Classes called Before Your Story: A Simple Approach to Autobiographical Scrapbooking from Birth to Adulthood. These stories are part of a special album that she will show you how to put together in this course. At the end of the class you will have a wonderful album full of stories from your childhood through early adulthood.

My list of 34 things was recently featured on the Simple Scrapper blog. I absolutely loved putting together this list—it brought back such wonderful memories! I’ve been a mom for a while now (my children are almost 15, 13, and 11), so at times it is difficult to recall that I really was a teenager once upon a time. It’s also hard to remember things I used to do with my husband before our kids came along. Now with this list I am ready to dive into Before Your Story and put all these memories in one place.

Number two on my list states “I took ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe for over ten years.” I have dozens of pictures of my from dance recitals over the years, so I decided to go ahead and scrap a couple of these photos right now.

I happened to have some pink and grey patterned papers from My Mind’s Eye on my desk. I knew these papers would work well with my photos. I arranged the remaining pieces of paper I had on my desk and added a strip of vellum left over from another project. All of the patterns were fairly neutral and simple so my small photos are allowed to shine. I added only a few strips of busier floral paper, brads, smallish letter stickers, and a date sticker. The journaling strips fit right under my photo perfectly.


And now I have a story to add to my Before Your Story album! If you have similar stories that you would like to document, check out the Before Your Story class at Big Picture Classes.


Before Your Story
A Simple Approach to Autobiographical Scrapbooking, from Birth to Adulthood
2/27/2014 $45.00

About the Class
There are milestone events in life, such as marriage and motherhood, that divide us permanently into a “before” and an “after.” It’s easy to become so immersed in the after—the glorious here and now—that our “befores” rarely appear in our scrapbooks.
In this 6-week workshop with Jennifer Wilson of simplescrapper.com, you’ll have all the guidance you need to tell your growing-up story in one gorgeous 12″ x 12″ pocket album. Her class combines the ease of slipping photos and journaling cards into photo sleeves with the brilliance of Stacy Julian’s “Library of Memories” scrapbooking categories.
Jennifer excels at making big goals reachable and overwhelming projects finish-able, with her step-by-step processes and detailed planning worksheets. You’ll complete a simple, streamlined album that will help your spouse or partner catch up on the years leading up to the moment you met. Or, it’s the perfect answer to that age-old question, “Mom, what were you like when you were my age?”

Learn more and register here.

I also have a seat to give away in the class! Just comment below describing one story you would like to document from your early years. *Giveaway will be open until Wednesday, February  12, at noon Eastern time.*