Happy Friday and welcome to day five of Keep It Simple Scrapbooking Week (KISS Week). Today we are welcoming Pam Baldwin and Krystal Idunate, both Ali Edwards Design Inc creative team members, as they share their favorite tips to help document their stories. And since this week is all about getting back to basics, we've decided to put our entire basics collection on sale! From now till March 31, get 15% off the basics collection using the code BACKTOBASICS15. Enjoy!
Pam Baldwin // Make Your Own Story Menu
Hey friends, I’m delighted to welcome you back to KISS week! Whether you’re just getting started with scrapbooking, returning to the craft, or continuing your memory keeping journey, I’m so happy that you found your way here! My plan for today is to share my top 4 story starters. I also thought maybe I’d share a bit about my scrapbooking “origin story”, how I fell in love with documenting the stories of our lives. Turns out, that is a much longer story than we have time for in this space today! But I’ve included it in one of my projects below if you’re curious to hear about that.
Story starters! Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started, not knowing what to write about, what kind of story to tell, or how to tell it. Often when people are starting out in scrapbooking, they want to make pages about the big life events like birthdays and holidays and celebrations. Those are great stories to tell, but my FAVOURITES are the stories of everyday life. Those are the stories that most authentically capture who we are. And when I am intentionally looking for these stories, when I’m paying attention, I almost always find gratitude.
So what do I do? How do I look for and tell everyday stories? One of the tips I picked up from Ali over the years is this concept of having a story menu. It’s literally like looking at a menu in a restaurant and deciding what food you want to order, but instead of food, you create a menu for yourself with story and design ideas. When you’re feeling the desire to do some story telling, but you don’t know what to write about, you pull out your menu and pick something off the list. Here are my top 4 favourites on the menu. They are not new, but they are tried and true and, guaranteed to spark a story every-time!
1. Make a list. It can be a list about truly anything! 3, 5 or 10 things about life right now, memories of a specific time or event, wishes for the future, things you saw/heard or things that made you smile on your drive to work, or at the grocery store, or while you were getting ready for bed. Literally ANYTHING. The fun thing about this way of documenting is that it doesn’t take a lot of time, and you can put as much or as little thought as you want into it. Some days you might feel like digging deep. Other days, you might not feel like you have the energy to write more than a word or two. That’s totally okay! I often find that when I start listing things, getting them out of my head and down on paper, it has a snowball effect. More ideas fill up the space and sometimes they take on a life of their own.
In the October Stories by the Month Digital kit for 2020, there was a journaling card that said “10 things in the tenth month”, which was the spark for this layout. I looked through my October photos, picked 10 favourites, and wrote something about each of them. There are so many different takes on this very simple act of making a list. If you’re on Instagram, definitely check out the #Thursday3 project by @rukristin. Every Thursday, she does a post to encourage people to share 3 facts about themselves “right now” along with a photo. I love hearing other people’s stories!
2. Top 3 favourite prompts. (Kasha talked so beautifully about prompt based scrapbooking earlier this week! Definitely go check out that post if you haven’t already!) “I want to remember”, “Around here”, “_____________ looks like this”. Honestly, I could use these everyday and have a different story to tell every time. Pick one, complete the sentence, add a bit more detail (optional), and repeat it over and over again.
3. The “-ing” words. Choose a handful of words that end in -ing, eg. Listening, reading, watching, eating, feeling, etc. Then use them as your jumping off point to capture some of those little details of everyday life right now!
Here’s an example of how I used this strategy to share some stories about my family last January. This is a fun one to repeat through the year, especially when you use the same words. It’s like capturing a little snapshot of life in that moment and a cool way to see how even when it feels like things are the same, they really do change over time.
4. Write a letter. Sometimes when I don’t know how to get the words out, I try reframing my story in the form of a letter. I imagine I’m speaking or writing to a specific person, and somehow the words begin to flow out more naturally. And what makes it even more interesting, is that your letter doesn’t have to be to a person at all! You could write a letter to a day of the week, or a month of the year, or an object in your home, etc. What you end up with is a great little bit of writing that includes a beautiful blend of facts and feelings, working together to tell a more complete story. (Include both Facts and Feelings in your writing. This is definitely something I’ve learned from Ali too!)
I often start my December Daily albums with a letter to December. It usually starts off with a greeting of welcome (“Hey December, we’re so excited for your arrival!”), a little summary of how everyone’s doing (“The kids are counting down their last few days of school, just 14 more to go. They literally cannot sit still, they’re so excited!”), then I talk about my hopes or intentions for the month ahead (“I’m so looking forward to cozy nights on the couch with a tree full of twinkling lights and my favourite people. You sure do know how to bring the magic, December.”). FYI, Tazhiana Gordon and Brandi Kinkaid are BRILLIANT letter writers!! You should definitely check out Tazhi’s past December Daily albums, where she’s written a story every day in the form of a letter. So much goodness there!!
Get your menu started friends! Add your own “go-to” story starters! And if you’re curious, here’s that “origin story” I was talking about. If you’ve got Marvel/super hero fans in your house, you’ll know what that means. Bascially, the story of how it all started. I suspect there are parts of my story that sound a lot like yours. “Our stories connect us”, and I’m so very thankful to have this opportunity to connect with you!
Krystal Idunate // Create Repeating Journal Cards With Stamps
Happy Friday, friends! Krystal here to share one of my favorite tips for making pocket page scrapbooking super simple… and that is with repeated journaling cards made with STAMPS! Not only does this encourage us to get out those stamp sets and get them inky, but it also helps to reduce the amount of decision making we have to do when putting together a spread. Today, I’m going to show you this tip specifically with Project Life. However, please keep in mind that the same principles can apply across any scrapbooking project.
The idea is simple: pick one or two stamp sentiments, ink them up and add them as a title for your journaling card, place journaling under, and repeat the process 2+ times.
I want to start off today by showing you a handful of past projects I’ve made with this technique in mind. In the past, I worked in a 12x12 pocket page album to create my weekly Project Life spreads. My typical formula was to add one card in every other 3x4 pocket. I love the way it helps to draw the eye across the spread AND helps keeps your layout really cohesive. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.
In this first spread from my 2020 Project Life album, I used the 3x4 stamp set included in the Stories by the Month to create my repeat journaling card – using the sentiment “Remember This”. To help bring more color to my pages, I decided to alternate the ink colors between Ali’s Willamette and Columbia crafter’s ink colors.
I LOVE the way the repeated titles in this spread pull in the colors from the rainbow title card. For this spread, I used the Digital Stories by the Month kit to add the sentiment to the top of a 3x4 journaling card AND changed the color of the text using Photoshop. The awesome thing with a technique like this is that you are not limited to the physical product. If you are a digital scrapbooker, the same process can be used here in the digital form.
Don’t forget about those NON-story/SBTM stamps either! For this spread, I used the Art of Noticing stamp set to create my entire spread. However, what brings this entire spread together is the repeated “Noticed – Right in front of me” sentiment across all those journaling cards.
And last, but certainly not least, are the Story Stamp subscriptions. I LOVE using the sentiments from these stamp sets to create journaling cards that act as story prompts. In the example above, I used the Action Story Stamp to create the repeated card “Plan of Action” that helped to not only tell my stories with the provided prompt… but also helped to move the eye around the photos with the use of the stamped arrows.
Now that you’ve seen how I’ve used this technique in the past, let me know you how quickly and easily this technique can be put into practice. In the video below, I will bring out my older albums to show/explain a little more of these older spreads (plus a few extras that I didn’t include in the photos) AND will take you through the process of putting together a Project Life spread for my 2018 album using the Prompts Stamp from the Storytelling Basics Collection.
I hope that seeing my spread come together + seeing past examples using this same technique will get you excited to try this out in your own memory keeping projects and add another KISS tool to your memory keeping toolbox.
We hope you enjoyed Pam and Krystal's tips. Find more inspiration from them both on instagram! Pam can be found at @pambaldwin and look for Krystal at @krystal_idunate. Make sure to check back tomorrow for some great advice from Elizabeth Heinz and Kim Chaffin!!