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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Best Story Kit

Egads, I’m so behind on blogging that I have actually scrapbooked about my race before getting around to blogging about it!

I was just going to make a quick 6×8 spread for my autumn album (more photos of that album here on instagram) because the ‘go me’ card from Ali’s Story Kit this month matched the tank top I’m wearing in my official race photo:

Go Me

…and then it turned into a whole series of other layouts. I have another album in the works, one that’s about all the different long weekend vacations/cabin trips we’ve been on since having kids. It’s my first ever 12×12 album, so that I can mix page sizes and pocket pages, and the pages for each trip has some design similarities so you can tell that they go together.

For this trip to Yachats, Oregon, that design theme is stars, the Rockwell font, and teal/aqua. I used those big awesome stars and ‘best moments from this adventure’ card from the Story Kit to create an opening page:

Yachats opening page

…and pieces from the tear-apart booklet on a quick page about my race (I’m going to be totally honest and let you know that I LOVE this photo of myself (thank you, Glenn Tachiyama!), so you’re probably going to see it so much that you’ll get sick of it):

Oregon Coast 30K

…and since I got a page about my 30K, Nora deserved a companion page about her 1K! That’s right, Nora ran her first trail race! That called for another star AND a ribbon. *so proud*

Oregon Coast 1K


September pages

I finally feel like I’m emerging from sleep deprivation-induced crisis mode. A little sleep, a little mountain time, some really good quality family time…I’m getting there. (Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee deserves some credit too.) I even made it back down to my scrap space to make some pages.

Full disclosure: I really wasn’t sure about joining Ali’s creative team again this year since I knew my time would be limited with a new baby. But man, I am so glad I did it. Otherwise I’m not sure I would be scrapbooking now – those assignments that I need to complete each month keep me hooked. I don’t think I’ve ever been as prolific a scrapbooker as I am right now, and it’s all thanks to Ali (especially after Story Camp, where I apparently drank all sorts of Kool-Aid). Beyond getting memories recorded, her products and prompts inspire me to work through the sorts of stories and thoughts that help me get to know myself better, which is incredibly helpful in these upsy-downsy years of babies and toddlers.

Breathe in the change of seasons

I’m always excited to scrapbook autumn stuff because, well, it’s such a beautiful season. But the ‘breathe in the change of seasons’ badge in the September digital kit got me thinking beyond the actual seasons and into where I was last fall before Lily was born. It was such a bittersweet time of looking forward to our new baby but also trying to make the most of our last weeks together as a family of three. We did All the Autumn Things – pumpkins and hiking and baking and puddles and leaves – and got ready for a new season of life. (I made my own patterned paper by using a watercolor brush in Photoshop and then adding the leaf digital stamp from the kit.)

Much needed time out

When the Time Story Kit arrived, I knew how I would use the ‘much needed time out’ circle – it was perfect for our mountain sunset date night when my parents were here. We needed a time out from everyday life, we needed time out in the mountains, it was hella good timing that my parents were here for that particular TNAB destination, and JK and I had a fantastic good time together. This story was made for Time!

Now that I’m slowly but surely coming back to life, I have so much I want to share – birthday! hikes! scrapbook albums! DECEMBER DAILY! So I’ll keep chugging that pumpkin spice coffee and getting outside every day so that I can get these fingers to type a little bit in the evenings.

Layouts, Scrapbooking

All the albums, all the feels

I’ve never been much of a scrapbooker in the summer months before, but the Story Camp stoke is still high and I am just cranking out pages left and right. I made a bunch for our vacation album (doing a walkthrough of that when it’s done), I’m fleshing out Nora’s baby album (doing a walkthrough of that as well), and I am caught up(!) with Lily’s baby album as far as photos and words are concerned, it just needs some prettification. I also started a big album for our cabin trips.

Because I apparently didn’t think those projects were enough, I attempted yet again to start Project Life…and fizzled out after a couple of weeks. I just don’t think it’s for me. I love the idea of it, but when it comes to sitting down and actually doing it, I’ve realized that I prefer to dive deep into a story on a regular scrapbook page rather than collecting a bunch of microstories. I know I would love to look back on those albums later, but it just felt like a chore, and the last thing I need right now is another chore.

But! On the bright side, Project Life made me start focusing more on everyday photography again, and I’ve enjoyed using some of those photos in my regular album. I think I’ll stick with Week in the Life and Day in the Life to capture the nitty-gritty of our everyday life, but photos like these work perfectly with all the thoughts (and all dem feels) I have these days, about life and motherhood and what it all meeeaans and all that jazz.

I noticed that I had a lot of photos of JK performing various dad duties for the girls, so I put some of them together on this page using the Details Story Kit.

Life's little details

…and this photo is from one of the first times Nora got Lily to start laughing uncontrollably. I’ve been having conflicting, bittersweet feelings about the girls not being babies anymore (well, Lily is only nine months but she’s not a sleepy little chest nap newborn), but moments like these make me excited for what’s to come. That ‘endings are beginnings’ title is from Ali Edwards’ August release and it fit perfectly with my thoughts.

Endings are beginnings

Speaking of bittersweet, I was putting away clothes that are too small for the girls (insert weeping emoji here), and there are some that just have too many good memories attached to them for me to give them away. So I’m keeping them safe in a box, but I also found photos of Nora wearing some of those outfits and put together this layout. (Totally unintentional bonus: the colors of the story cards and embellishments from the Details story kit coordinated with the different outfits!)

Nora style

So, TL;DR: I’m having many thoughts and feels and I am thankful for scrapbooking for helping me work through those thoughts and feels.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

My indoor hobby

The Pacific Northwest is supposed to have an epic heatwave this week. By “epic” I mean around 100°F. This may not sound like a lot, but it’s the Pacific Northwest and no one has air conditioning and we’re accustomed to cold drizzle, and if on top of all of this you are almost 100% viking (okay, so there’s a fair bit of neanderthal in there according to 23andMe) and enveloped in a generous layer of insulation, 100 degrees pretty much means you’re going to die.

At least our basement is slightly cooler…and it just happens to be where all my scrapbook stuff lives. So this week I will hopefully be crafting up a storm (as long as the baby deems it a worthy endeavor – she is crawling now so she might not be interested in her little play space down there anymore), working to catch up on two albums – my vacation album:

Italy 2015

(Ali Edwards July 2017 Digital Kit)

…and Lily’s baby album:

Lily's baby album

(Ali Edwards Family Digital Stamp Set)

I spent a bunch of time today typing journaling (memories from vacations of yore + Lily’s monthly updates) and gathering photos. So bring it on, heatwave. I have ice cubes and a really fulfilling indoor hobby to sustain me.

Guest Storyteller for Ali Edwards: Lost & Found Story Kit

In other scrapbook news, I am one of the Guest Storytellers for this month’s Story Kit: Lost & Found! It will go live in the classroom tomorrow, August 1.

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