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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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Layouts, Running, Scrapbooking

I survived!

I did it! I survived Sun Mountain! I had hoped to get my blog post about it up by now, but it’s taking me forever to wade through all the photos from our long weekend. (Spoiler: IT WAS SO GOOD.)

I do have a very important story to tell with the Story Kit this month, about the bravest person I know, but it’s one of those pages that’s just going to be really hard to make, emotionally, (and I don’t know if she will want me to share it), so for now, here’s a story about me, being a little bit brave in my own sort of much less important way.

Sun Mountain 25K

(That little flexing bicep badge is everything. And I know my fellow scrapbookers will appreciate how excited I was when I saw how amazing the race bib was.)

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Scrapbook Therapy

Not gonna lie – as much as I love my kid, 2.5 isn’t my favorite age. There’s a lot of Jekyll and Hyde-ness going on. On Sunday, I ended up googling the phrase “Exorcist tantrums” (and, much to my relief, found that many many parents before me had put those two words together). So I’m doing my best to focus on and treasure the Jekyll moments, because Jekyll is the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful little being there ever was.

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Now that Ali Edwards finally released her 6×8 Story Books, all my random little 6×8 pages finally have homes! And something about that size makes scrapbooking less intimidating than if I were to make a bigger layout. I bought one album for me/the family, one for Lily, and one for Nora. This page will go in my own album, not hers, because she doesn’t really need to see it until a time where she might have a toddler herself.

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I like that my album is going to be full of little thoughts I have that I probably wouldn’t have bothered to make a full 8.5×11 page about. Having kids is wonderful and fulfilling and fun, but sometimes it’s very hard work, and this album is turning out to be pretty therapeutic to me during those times. I thought I would use Ali’s May release kit to make a sappy page about Mother’s Day, but since Mother’s Day just happened to fall during my most challenging week yet as a parent, it felt right to focus on how I cope with that instead.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Through the lens I see life

I’ve struggled to get back into the groove of scrapbooking after Lils was born, but this month as I was making my pages for Ali Edwards’ April releases, I think things finally clicked back into place and I felt inspired again.

Participating in a simplified version of Week in the Life was part of it – every time I start focusing more on our everyday life, I get really excited about being able to look back on these pictures and notes in the future. Another reason, and this will probably sound dumb, is that I had a really vivid nightmare in which I was told I only had a couple of days left to live. Of course I woke up all sweaty and sad and couldn’t for the life of me fall back asleep. I spent the rest of the night thinking about what I want my girls to know if that were ever to happen. First and foremost how much I love them, but also what my feelings are about certain life situations that they might end up in some day. I’ve always just scrapbooked with my future self in mind, because there’s no guarantee that anyone else will be interested in looking through these albums, but if something does happen and I’m not around to talk, my girls will have a chance to sort of peek inside my brain and see how I handled things like depression, infertility, and the ups and downs and stress and joy that come with raising little kids.

Lens

Ali’s Story Kit theme this month is Lens, and it’s one I think I’ll be using for a long time, both for literal interpretations of what I’ve seen through my camera lens (because I have a never-ending backlog of gorgeous hiking adventures I want to document) and for pages like this one, about how I choose to look at life (complete with real-life giant bags under my eyes and unkempt mom hair).

As for Week in the Life, I was just too tired last week to participate fully (because apparently I choose to spend my nights envisioning depressing scenarios instead of sleeping), but I did make a mini version that I adore. It was supposed to be one photo and one story per day, but then I ended up with too many photos I loved and had to change it to two photos and one or two stories a day. Much less time-consuming than a full-on WITL, but I ended up with a really good overview of our everyday life right now along with my thoughts and some cute quotes and stories from Nora.

Week in the Life Tuesday

Week in the Life Wednesday

It’s coming together really quickly since it’s just a matter of adding the date boxes and a transparent white box onto my photos and printing the journaling I had written each day, but since I decided to double my stories, I still have to go through my notes and finish those last bits of journaling before I can share the whole thing.

Easter

Of course scrapbooking shouldn’t be all heavy thoughts, after all, this is a hobby I do for fun, so since part of the April release was Easter-themed, I went all in with a good old-fashioned event page. Because sometimes you’ve just gotta share how cute your kid looked in her dress. Or while devouring a giant chocolate bunny.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Bond (James Bond)

This month’s Story Kit theme is Bond, which meant I obviously had to scrapbook about JK and Nora – in my completely non-biased opinon, they are the cutest daddy/daughter combo around, and their bond has grown even stronger this past year. JK helped me out so much with childcare when I was sick and down in the dumps during pregnancy, and now that he’s on his epic parental leave from work, he’s pretty much in charge of all things Nora while I nurse and nurse and nurse and do the little baby things.

J-K + Nora (Ali Edwards Bond Story Kit)

Now I have a whole list of other relationships I want to scrapbook with this too – Nora and Wellie! Wellie and Basil! And, of course, Nora and Lily. Aaaw.