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

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.*

The Month of Love

Ahhhh, February–the month of love! Every year this short month rolls around with its pink hearts and chocolate candies so that we can celebrate the ones we love. This month at Simple Scrapper, we are celebrating love of all kinds. The Story Starters from the Premium Membership contain prompts to help you document all the people and things that you love. And, as always, there are great Sketch Templates (also from the Premium Membership) to assist you in creating your page.

When scrapbooking about love, make sure to include those less obvious things–your lovable pets, places you love to visit, your favorite restaurants, even an app! Instagram is an app that has been popular for a while now, but it never appealed to me. However, just recently I started using Instagram and now I love it! I used a Story Starter that prompted me to write about a love that surprised me. This Sketch Template was perfect for showcasing a few of my favorite Instagram pictures.


The second story starter I chose prompted me to write about when I knew it was love. I enjoyed making this layout so much–documenting those very early days in my relationship with my husband. Even though this story is about a past event, I used a recent photo of my husband–mainly because I really like the picture! But I also wanted to contrast those early feelings of first love with the love that has grown between the two of us over the years, which is reflected in the photo I used.


So in this month of love, explore all the things around you that hold dear. Your stories can be as fun as documenting why you cannot live without your favorite coffee or as deep as retelling the story of your very first love. And check out all the love at Simple Scrapper!

My December Story

This year I took the class Your December Story at Get It Scrapped. This class was different from any class I have ever taken. Here is a short description of the class: This December, like Dorothy dropped into Oz or Alice tumbled into Wonderland, you will receive a call to adventure. You will move from the ordinary world into a one of magic and tests as the holiday season arrives. The class revolved around me becoming the hero of my own Christmas adventure story. I loved the literature references to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and Wendy in Peter Pan. Each week brought a new challenge to document a chapter in my December story.

Week One: The Call to Adventure
The first week’s challenge was to document those early signs that show me that the holiday season is arriving. In my first layout, I scrapped about how I can tell that the holiday season is coming because the weather gets colder and we usually have a fire, and that I pull out all of my old holiday magazines and books.


Week Two: Mentors
The second week’s challenge was to think about my holiday mentors—those people who influenced how I celebrate the holidays today. My mom was the most influential person in my holiday life, so I scrapped photos of two Christmas trees from my childhood with a photo of our tree this year. I documented how special it is that I have many of those same decorations on my tree that my family used when I was a child.


Week Three: The Magical World
The third week’s challenge was all about how I celebrate—all of those little things that come along only once a year. For this challenge I scrapped a recipe that I make every year, one that my mom was famous for and made during the holidays.


Week Four: Magical Objects and Tests
The fourth week’s challenge was to document those things that make every holiday different. This week I told a story I had always wanted to document. I grew up in North Carolina so each year we had a Fraser fir from the mountains as our tree. When my husband and I were living in California, we went to buy a tree and couldn’t find a Fraser fir anywhere! Finally, in the very back of one lot, we found one lonely Fraser fir. Of course we bought it!


Week Five: The Reward
The fifth week’s challenge was to reflect on and record how my holiday story turned out. My page for this week was just a short reflection on the peace and serenity that I always feel on Christmas Day.


Week Six: The Road Back
The last week’s challenge was difficult for me in that I never want to give up Christmas. I am always hesitant to return to the real world after the holidays are over. So I documented photos I took at various events we attended at church this year. One of my goals every year is to focus less on the material aspects of Christmas and remember why we celebrate this holiday.


I really enjoyed documenting my holiday in this way. Although I do a Christmas mini-album each year, I don’t always journal in such a reflective way as this class prompted me to do. And because of the journaling I did in this class, I was able to make several goals for things I want to do next year.

Project Life in 2013

This past year marks the second year I have completed a Project Life album. It seems like just yesterday that I was placing the first photos in my album!

pl_1I chose the Amber Edition of Project Life this year.

pl_2As I have been doing Project Life, I have been more careful to save ephemera to include in my album. I hope my kids will get a kick out of seeing receipts and tags from when they were young!

pl_3I take a lot of photos during the week, but there are some days on which I don’t pick up my camera at all. So I don’t have a photo from every day of the week. Some days–like when we go to the pool with friends–get more than one photo.

pl_4During this week, my family and I went to a family reunion. It was the first time I had seen many of my relatives in a very long time. I used photos from that day only on this spread.

pl_5In August I discovered Studio Calico’s Project Life monthly kit. I was instantly hooked! I loved getting fun embellishments to use in my album.

pl_6I don’t really plan my spreads beforehand. I print out the photos that I like, place them in the pockets, then fill in when necessary. I always (well, almost always) leave at least one pocket for journaling. There have been a few weeks that I had too many photos and I ran out of space! In those cases I have added extra pocket pages or placed my journaling on the outside of the pockets.

pl_7This spread is one of my favorites. I had several photos from Thanksgiving Day. I converted them all to black & white and used just a touch of color on the spread.

pl_8The End! I enjoy doing a Project Life album along with my traditional scrapbook layouts. This year, my goals are to plan my pages a little more and have more fun with embellishments. Now I just have to wait for the UPS man to bring my new album for the year!