Layouts, Scrapbooking

Story Camp

I first met Ali Edwards in 2007, in Las Vegas of all places. She was a contributing editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine (and also generally a scrapbook superstar) and I was a huge fan of hers and a finalist in the magazine’s Scrapbooker of the Year contest. (This was the year Liz Kartchner, of Dear Lizzy fame, won!) I don’t remember many details – I committed scrapbook sin and neglected to journal about that whole experience real-time – but I’m 100% certain I spent the whole trip all starstruck and silly, meeting these idols of mine, like HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE.

Memory Trends Conference 2007

Over the next year or so, I was lucky enough to be part of the creative team for the magazine and got to take some in-person classes with Ali when she came up to CKC Seattle to teach. But then hiking started taking over my life, and I was scrapbooking less and less…and then I wasn’t scrapbooking at all. (Luckily I kept up this blog, so my stories had a home during my rogue years.) I went through some short periods of making pages here and there, but for the most part, my photos and supplies remained untouched for a very long time…until 2015, when I was home with a beautiful baby and had time to spare during naps. I decided to look up Ali’s blog for inspiration, and saw that she was hosting something called Week in the Life. It was the perfect way for me to jump back into scrapbooking and document our new as a family of three. I bought the kit, documented my week, put together the album, and was hooked again, cranking out pages left and right. Then I discovered that Ali makes something called Story Kits, too – a monthly subscription where one word is the jumping off point for a whole world of inspiration. In addition to physical products, you get educational content from Ali – a main presentation exploring that month’s word and using it as a prompt for page ideas, plus several layout process videos where she gives you ideas for how to use the products and get those stories down on paper. So I bought a subscription and then I was really hooked.

I was lucky enough to end up on Ali’s Creative Team in 2016 and again in 2017, and one of the perks was an invitation to come to her inaugural Story Camp, a two-day workshop in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. *hallelujah emoji*

Ali Edwards Story Camp Ali Edwards Story Camp

As much as a weekend alone sounds kind of heavenly – I have yet to spend a night away from the kids (except for one night away from Nora in the hospital after I had given birth to Lily, but I’m just going to say that doesn’t count), which is kind of pathetic – I didn’t want to go without Lily and have to deal with pumping all weekend. So we made a family trip out of it. JK and the girls explored the markets and playgrounds of Eugene (Nora recommends the one at Skinner Butte) while I spent the weekend soaking up so much inspiration that reached far beyond the pages of a scrapbook, about storytelling and imperfection and self-worth and perspective. It. Was. So. Good. I love love love Ali’s online workshops, but I had forgotten just how powerful something like this can be in person.

Ali Edwards Story Camp Ali Edwards Story Camp
(The girls stopped by to say hi to the Story Campers and to eat and feed me delicious Yumm Bowls)

Some highlights:

– At one point, Ali described the albums about her son as “a celebration of Simon”. That is such a freeing way to look at it! Instead of feeling like I need to document every single thing that happens in my girls’ lives, I want to celebrate them and capture their personalities. (Now that we have cell phone cameras, we take hundreds of photos of the girls every week and there’s just no way to document everything anyway.)

– There was a lot of discussion about how we tend to think of certain things as too precious to scrapbook. We save stories, photos, and even products (hello BasicGrey patterned paper from 2007), waiting for that elusive perfect time to do it. That time does not exist, so just get it done.

– For some reason, flipping through Ali’s albums in person was really impactful. I loved seeing all those pages of various sizes all together like that, some simple, some all fancy and artsy and creative…just so many stories living happily together, waiting to be looked at and read and cherished.

Ali Edwards Story Camp Ali Edwards Story Camp

– I realize how insane this must sound to non-scrapbookers, so another highlight was obviously getting to spend a weekend in a room full of people who understand why getting to look through ALI EDWARDS’ ALBUMS is a huge deal.

– Saturday night cropping & cocktails!

– Meeting new, like-minded, awesome, interesting, people (other adults! what even is this), including many of my fellow Creative Team members.

Ali Edwards Story Camp

It has changed the way I approach my scrapbooking now. I’m using PAINTS and STAMPS like some sort of adventurous person. I even hand-wrote my journaling on a page the other day. Who even am I?! And I don’t care if that paint is smudged or my handwriting doesn’t look very cute, because when I was flipping through those albums of Ali’s, the little imperfect bits were part of what gave them so much personality.

Most importantly, I’ve stopped overthinking which stories I’m going to tell. It really just boils down to what do I want to remember.

I want to remember the different ways we work together as a family. (Title from Lens Digital Story Stamp, cut out with my Silhouette machine // Stars made with PAINT! and an old silkscreen // Phrase stickers)

Focus on what's important

I want to remember the little moments that make up our big life and the cute things my kids say and do. (Embellishments from the June Digital Kit // Numbers from an old Story Kit)

Summer stories 2016

I want to remember the adventures we go on and the life lessons I learn while we’re out there. Apparently I also really want to play with my circle punches. (Fun Story Kit // Super cute bears from Shimelle)

Stop thinking  Start doing

TL;DR – thank you Ali, for reeling me back into this wonderful world of memory-keeping, and thank you Katie, for organizing this event. It was perfect.

Ali and Katie are hosting another Story Camp in October and the registration opens tomorrow – the last one sold out in…two minutes, I think it was? So if you want a spot, I recommend hitting refresh like whoa on June 27, 2017, at 10am PST.

Ali Edwards Story Camp

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  • Reply Katie Jones (UK) June 27, 2017 at 12:27 am

    What a beautiful post! I love how this made you feel, and how reading your account of it made me feel. As always, thanks for sharing here! Love it, and so pleased for you (and jealous!) that you had such a wonderful time with the lovely Ali and the rest of the story camp crew

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz June 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you! <3 I love that my fellow paper people can understand how life-changing something like this can be.

  • Reply Colleen VanderLinden June 27, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Thanks for sharing. I love your perspective on keeping scrapbooking real and how I need to stop over thinking and just do it. You are true story teller. ❤️

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz June 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you! It’s so hard to not overthink – right now I’m in *SUPER INSPIRED MODE* which makes it really easy to just sit here and come up with new ideas, but those ideas aren’t going to matter much if I never sit down at my table and actually make something.

  • Reply Misti June 27, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Ah, that was around when I was peak scrapbooking, too! And I tried out at least one CK contest but never got anywhere. I think my scrapbooking style was not whatever was popular back then. I was all about ephemera!

    Annnnd, I have a scrapbook I had started but haven’t finished because, honestly, I don’t know if I’m a scrapbooker anymore. But maybe you have inspired me. Also: Ali Edwards??? Star struck! ;) I used to cut out her specific articles on CK and keep them when I recycled everything else!

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz June 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      It’s toootally fine to not be a scrapbooker anymore…but you have so many photos of that beautiful son of yours…and so many stories about the cute things he does…so even if you just end up ordering a book version of your blog posts about him, that’s going to be such a cool thing to have! And that’s a scrapbook in my eyes. ;)

  • Reply JN June 27, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Wow. I love this post. It was super fun meeting you that first night of camp. I love your second highlight about saving stuff for the perfect time but it doesn’t exist so just get it done. I’ve been telling myself for a while now that done is better than perfect. I love love love these layouts. The text overlay, the paint, the stars, the circles! It’s all so pretty and so inspiring.

  • Reply Ali June 27, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Love you – so glad you were able to come and I’ve long been a fan of you :). Thank you for continuing to share your stories!

  • Reply kelly June 27, 2017 at 7:07 am

    it was such a pleasure to meet you ingunn and get to know you! i am such a fan of your style!

  • Reply Robin September 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Soooo fun to read this:) I’ve been a (quiet) fan of you & your pages for awhile now! Super fun to read about your experience:) I got in and get to go in less than 6 weeks now! OMG!! Love your take aways from Camp & seeing your beautiful layouts!! ❤️

  • Reply Jeanne W April 13, 2018 at 6:08 am

    I’m going to Story Camp next week and just read this. It has made me even more excited! I love your pages!

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