Over the last few weeks the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped many of our lives. A lot of us are working from home, our children are dismissed from school, shops and stores we customarily frequent are either closed or understocked, and even a lot of outdoor venues, such as parks and playgrounds, are also off limits. As a society, we have had to pull ourselves together and come up with creative ways to continue doing the things that need to get done and to live life.
At Close To My Heart, we are committed to helping the storyteller in you share and preserve all of your new and unique experiences. Late last month, we created and released the Let’s Stay Home stamp set, which reflects these strange and unparalleled times.
In the video below, you will see how some of our Home Office friends used the Let’s Stay Home stamp set to create engaging scrapbook pages reflecting how the lives of their families have been impacted by our current events.
As this “alone together” journey continues, we’ve designed two Let’s Stay Home coordinating SVG images that you can download FREE for use with your favorite design software. (An SVG image is resolution independent and infinitely scalable, meaning it will look clear and crisp at any size.) Click on the images below and save them for your own personal use.
Seamlessly cut these timely titles out of cardstock to use on a scrapbook page, as shown below, along with the Let’s Stay Home stamp set.
These titles, when paired with vinyl, also make great album covers, providing a beautiful place to collect all of the memories you are making right now.
Keep documenting how life has changed for you and yours. Collect news stories, memes, photos, and, most importantly, collect your own personal experiences and stories. We wish you all love, joy, happiness, and health, today and every day. ❤️
Since today is St. Patrick’s Day 🍀I want to remind us all—Irish or not—how very LUCKY we are to be able to document and preserve stories.
Our daily lives have been turned upside down in so many ways right now and we’re all growing accustomed to that uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. One of the very best things we can do is actually turn to our love of documenting to both capture what’s happening around us for the future and to remember and revive happy moments from our past. Both of these actions have been proven to be sources of strength and calm in times of crisis.
The kind of storytelling that is most helpful is the kind that illustrates connections to our past and reminds us how much doesn’t change. This storytelling is easier than you might suspect—especially with the concept of extended and connected stories available in the Storyteller how-to book.
Extended stories use layers of Memory Protectors™ and lots of photos mixed in with spots of journaling that share both the expected and the unexpected details. When those details point to another person, place or related thing then a connection is created.
Here, let me show you …
When I was working in my studio on this extended story for Addie’s birthday, she came into the room, looked at the 5″ x7″ photo on the first page and said, “My teeth! They were so big.” I replied, “Guess what? I, too, had big teeth when I was your age!” And right then I got an idea. Why not find a photo of me at age 9 and add it to this layout? This, my friends, is a connection. Addie is no longer just a cute girl celebrating a birthday, she is a cute girl who feels connected to her mother because her mother also passed through the big teeth phase of childhood.
Connections also pull details from photos that the casual observer might miss. Using the photo of Addie and her friends, just before they jumped into the pool, I was able to discern that girls between the ages of 8 and 10 clearly prefer to wear their goggles when jumping (and being photographed!). This example may be a bit silly, but there will always be “little known fact” details about life, culture, location, or any activity available to you that can be highlighted in your journaling and that will draw simple, but interesting connections from your story.
One of the primary reasons I love this approach to storytelling is ALL of these fun pockets. I get to include more photos and capture a more comprehensive representation of (in this case) a birthday party!
Look, here, at the second 4″ x 3″ pocket from the top. Another connection! When you share bits of your own memories from the past, as you document events in the present, you will always improve your story and your storytelling skills. Of course, the Story FYI stamps are designed to help you add these “did you know” details.
So, let’s review. An extended story is simply one that uses layers of memory protectors to include more photos and more story. A connected story is an extended story that includes journaled details from another person, place or time. These connections enrich your story and make it more fun for you and your audience.
Watch this full story experience with Addie and keep on telling those stories. They matter and the perspective you gain as a storyteller will bless you with a wonderful sense of confidence and calm, even when life gets crazy!
Story Tip: I love the personality of handwritten journaling, but sometimes it makes more sense to use your computer. You can include both styles in an extended story! Whenever you hear yourself say, “I don’t know what to write!” Make a list. Your brain is exceptionally good at listing out details—there’s not much “writing” involved, and you can list things in random order. A list of 9 things for a 9th birthday is totally doable!
Giveaway: Would you like the opportunity to win a free Celebrate Today Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, Memory Protectors™ Combo Pack, and a My Acrylix® Story FYI stamp set? Make sure you are subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below sharing what you love most about extended and connected stories. This Friday, March 20th, is World Storytelling Day. At noon (MST) on Friday, five lucky winners will be chosen and later notified via email. Let’s all tell our stories, especially those that we are currently living. Best of luck friends! <3
Our most interesting and compelling stories often involve some kind of connection, where what we have experienced is compared and contrasted with another person, place, or time. This type of story is what our storytelling and memory keeping friend, Stacy Julian, calls a Connected Story.
When a grandmother’s love of theater manifests in her grandson’s ability to light up the stage or a young girl’s delight in animals stems from her grandpa’s life work as a veterinarian, you have the makings of a connected story.
Connected Stories don’t have to be about significant generational influence or interests steeped in tradition. The best stories stem from your own experience and celebrate simple things, like the love of watermelon, hiking, jigsaw puzzles or violin music. When we back up and look at the past through the lens of one particular thing, it will reveal unique aspects of our lives, things we certainly want to document in our scrapbooks!
Learn more about the Connected Story process from Stacy Julian herself as she shares one of her personal favorites, below:
When you’re scrapbooking, how often do you find yourself running out of room because you have more photos and words than easily fit in one or two 12″ × 12″ pages? In short, you have more story to tell!
Stacy scrapbooked her watermelon Connected Story in a stack of multiple styles and sizes of Memory Protectors™. The result invites us on a journey where details unfold as we turn each page of the story.
The idea is to design a multi-layer layout, starting with a 12″ × 12″ base, that coordinates visually so that you can document a bigger experience or theme. This takes a little bit of planning, but the great thing is that no two layouts of this sort have to be arranged the same. The number of layers and styles of protectors will depend on the story you have to tell.
For additional storytelling tools and examples of this kind, make sure to check out our Story by Stacy™ how-to book, Storyteller.
Remember, the most compelling stories come from your own experience of ordinary life—from the things with which you already have an emotional connection. When you recount something that’s happened to you, you’ll recall not just the events but also the feelings associated with them. Those feelings and sensory details color your stories and bring them to life so they can be experienced again and again—retold by the people you love and the people who will someday want to know you.
We’re pulling out all the stops this National Scrapbooking Month with a visit from one of our all-time favorite story tellers! Stacy Julian is here today to share with us the newest addition to the Story by Stacy™ line, Storyteller. Click on the video below to learn about this impressive guidebook from none other than Stacy herself! Pay extra close attention and you might just find that she is offering a little more than just two new story telling techniques! 😉
Thanks for stopping by Stacy! <3
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL TO FIND OUT IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE LUCKY WINNERS!
Do you ever look at all your photos and wonder where to even begin? Do you go chronologically, starting at the beginning? Do you try to scrapbook the most recent ones? Do you stick to special events? It can be hard to choose, and that’s why we are loving the newest Story by Stacy™ workshop kit, Stories I Love. Stories I Love encourages all of us to focus on the photos and stories we treasure the most. Using just one photo and story at a time, the workbook included in the kit walks you through how to write a personal story exploring all of the layers behind that single photo. With this kit, you’ll have nine photos and stories documented in one special place.
Choosing just nine of your most favorite photos for a Stories I Love album might still seem like a daunting task. You definitely don’t have to choose your top nine all at once. You can give yourself time to consider which photos you want to include, but we also have another approach to share with you today. You can use this approach with Stories I Love or apply it to any memory keeping project. Here’s the secret… choose a theme to help you get started. Instead of looking at all your thousands of photos (we’re confident you have that many), help yourself narrow it down by sticking to one theme or subject. Having a few parameters will make it easier to get started.
We asked three of the artists from our art studio to consider a Stories I Love album theme that they’d like to use to document stories and photos that are meaningful to them. You can use their ideas below to try this on your own! Remember, these themes are great for a Stories I Love album or you can use them in any size format. Even a 12″ x 12″ themed album can help you narrow your focus and get your memories in a scrapbook.
#1 Travel Adventures
In this type of album, you can gather the stories and photos you love the most from places you’ve been, or you can choose your favorite photos from just one trip. For her travel album, our artist used the pages and stickers included in the Stories I Love workshop kit to document a treasured moment from a study abroad adventure in Italy. The layouts in her album include special photos from other places that she’s traveled, near or far, and the stories that go with them.
You can see how she’s used the process outlined in the workbook to draft and even edit her story. This is part of what makes each Story by Stacy™ kit so usable. It takes you through the steps of both writing and creating. It’s ok if your workbook gets messy. It’s there to give you the space you need to draft and adjust the story before you write it on your album page.
#2 Family Traditions
Another approach is to focus on family traditions. With this Stories I Love layout, our artist has highlighted a photo she loves of her family at Easter, and her story explores some of her favorite family traditions during Easter time. This artist kept her pages simple, letting the story and the black and white photo remain the most important parts of the layout, with stickers and just a few added silver glitter gems. You could use a Stories I Love album for photos about family holiday traditions or even things your family likes to do together. Do you go camping every summer? Do you have special family events that happen at Christmas time? Odds are that for these moments you also have photos of them that are particularly meaningful to you. Use this type of themed album to gather them all in one place.
A different way you can theme your album is by focusing on a particular relationship. It could be with a parent, sibling, friend, or child. The photos in the album could highlight fun moments together or things you especially love about that person. For this album, our artist decided to work with photos just of her granddaughters. In her layout, she described one of her favorite things she does with her granddaughters and the special moments she gets to share with them. You can see how she’s added some other paper and embellishments to her pages. They don’t distract from the story and photo but do give her layout a different look.
It’s exciting to see how these stories and photos from our artists can come together to create a uniquely themed album for their memories. Just in case you need a few more ideas, here’s a handful of others you can try.
Baby album: Haven’t had time to finish your child’s baby album? That’s ok! Choose nine favorite baby photos and use the Stories I Love approach to tell those stories. This is an easy way to create a baby book that includes the best moments and stories in your own words.
Childhood album: Choose a few stories and photos from your own childhood. You may not have time to go back and scrapbook every photo, but this way you can gather the stories and photos that you love the most in one place. You’ll be able to write your favorite stories from your growing up years and share them with your family. This is something you could also do with your own kids. Have them choose their favorite photos and help them write the story behind one photo at a time. Not only is this a fun project to do together, but you’ll have a story told from their “kid” perspective.
Graduation album: Graduation season will be here soon. A Stories I Love album can be a great way to celebrate your graduate. Share a handful of stories and photos about that person over time. You can highlight moments from their life, big events, or simply what you love about the person they are becoming. This type of album is great to give as a gift to commemorate their special moment. You could do the same type of album for someone that’s retiring or reaching a milestone birthday or anniversary.
Pet album: Many of us have a furry friend in our lives. Use a themed album to gather photos of your pets and the stories that go with them. This could be an album you leave in process. Add some stories and photos in a Stories I Love album and then leave a few pages empty. This way you have space to include a few more the next time your pet does something new, silly, or even naughty that you want to remember with a story and photo. 🙂
The most important thing you can do is tell the stories and share the photos that you love. Those are stories that only you can tell, and starting with a theme can help you get rid of distractions or even scrapbook guilt (the guilt that memory keepers sometimes feel when they don’t have time to scrapbook EVERY SINGLE PHOTO). Give yourself permission to start with the ones that are the most important to you. That’s exactly what a Stories I Love album is for. We hope you’re inspired today to give the themed album approach a try, and we’d love to hear what theme you plan to use. Share them with us in the comments below!
It’s been a week since Valentine’s Day. Some of us celebrated with chocolates, flowers, dinners out, or even a sweet new color wheel ( 😉 ). Now what? There’s still some February leftover. Well, just because it’s no longer Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate what everyday life has to offer—that is why we are sharing instructions as a free download to create an Everyday Life™ sized album that does just that!
Download your free Heart Happy Everyday Life™ album instructions, here.
Pretty much all of us are equipped to take photos wherever we go, of whatever we want, and whenever we feel like it. As a result, so many of life’s special moments end up stored in a “cloud” somewhere, rarely visited or seen again. Raise your hand if you’ve taken an indefinite number of photos of your cute children, grandchildren, fur babies, or even your food. What do you do with all of these photos? Are they still sitting in your phone? As one of our Consultants so eloquently put it, “don’t let your kids grow up as JPEGs!”
Our message to you today is simple: review the photos that you’ve taken and print them off! Don’t have a place to put them? Use the layouts in this Everyday Life™ album to get started and store your photos along with any stories that go with them.
Photos evoke emotions, capture moods, and remind us of things we long to hold on to. By putting our photos in an album, not only do you get to revisit these feelings, but then we get to share them with others and even allow them to have their own emotional responses. What does that mean? Simply put, it’s important to create albums for your family members and friends to look through. People love seeing pictures of themselves! (You know it’s true!) Children, especially. Create a place for the people you love to look at photos that you love, of whatever you love, through beautiful album pages that share your everyday journey.
Our Heart Happy Everyday Life™ album workshop is a great place to get started, and it will truly make your heart happy. If you’d like to make your very own Heart Happy album, we have a few different bundles of product offered at a reduced price to help you get going. Click on the links below to see which best fits your needs:
One of the great things about the contents of this kit are the versatile words, icons, and shapes found throughout its stamp set, patterned papers, and stickers. Last month, we showed you these very same products used to create some really fun Valentine’s Day cards (click here to download those card instructions). Above, we showed you an album to showcase the everyday moments. Now, we want to show you even more!
Take a look at this 12″ x 12″ layout we came up with using the same stamp set and Heart Happy paper packet combined with a few other products:
(Love never looked so tasty! 🙂 )
We hope today’s post inspires you to do something with all of those memories that you are storing up. Print your photos, write your stories, and create something with them to celebrate the way life looks today. Take the time to make your heart happy!
How many of you smile or laugh when you think about what you wore, ate, watched, or read years ago? Some of the most interesting things that we do are the things that make up our ordinary everyday lives. In the moment, these types of things might seem unimportant, but these stories about everyday life are really fun to look at later on. Documenting those types of things is just as enjoyable and interesting as holidays, vacations, or special occasions.
Today we are breaking down one way to document these extraordinary everyday moments. To make this project even easier, we are using the Story by Stacy™ Short Story workshop kit, and looking at life through the lens of just one week. We asked one of our Home Office staff to take on our process so we could have a real life example to share. She started by taking photos throughout a regular week, documenting what life looks like for her, using the prompts below as a guide.
With this type of project, it’s much easier to start out by taking your photos first. Once you have your photos, all that’s left to do is to follow the steps from the Short Story workbook. At the end of the process, you’ll have a complete mini album full of photos and details with a story summary, just like the one you’ll see at the end of this post.
To get you started on this process, use the following photo prompts list as a guide. There are several different types photos you’ll want to take to document what life looks like for you.
#1 Currently… These are thing things I am currently…
#2 Daily Highlights Take one or two photos each day to represent the daily highlights or important moments. This gives you a glimpse of what might happen during a week that makes it unique or unusual.
#3 The Usual “Stuff” You should also document your routines, habits, and home life for yourself and for your family. This is the usual stuff that doesn’t necessarily change from one day to the next, but it will still be fun to look at years later when life looks a little different.
Download this checklist to help you remember what pictures you want and need for your album. Put it up where you can see it to have a quick reminder of the types of things you’re documenting over the week.
Once you have your photos, choose 35-45 to print and use in your album. Then, follow the steps in the Short Story workbook. You’ll begin by reflecting on your photos and jotting down answers to a few questions. This helps you think about the story before creating and gives you a place to start when you write your summary later on.
Before you start creating pages, look through your photos and pick one to set aside for your title page. Then you’re ready for the next step. To make sure you can include all the photos you’ve printed, you can begin to trim the rest into smaller sizes to focus on the most important parts and the details you want to highlight. Once your photos are trimmed down, it’s time to get creative and make your pages! Some projects that focus on a week at time organize the album by day of the week. We chose to follow the Short Story process, and let the entire album illustrate what a week looks like overall, rather than spend time trying to divide it into specific days. This lets you follow the workbook and trust your creative intuition, plus it comes together a little bit faster. You don’t have to spend any time pairing photos from the same day together.
As you’re creating, feel free to make this project your own! Add other elements that reflect the look and feel of your own story (a week in the life of you!). We included some bright colors, Lemon and Raspberry, using the mix-in paper packet and combined them with other patterned paper that already comes in the Short Story workshop kit. We also used the My Favorite Things stamp set. This set has words, phrases, and shapes that are perfect for this type of project.
You can see even things that seem insignificant are important to the storyteller. If you love the smell of freshly laundered clothes, your usual cup of coffee from a local shop, or even making a home cooked meal for your husband, just like our storyteller here does, then it’s part of your story! These are the little things that will make you laugh and smile down the road when you pick up this album and reflect on what your life looked like in 2019.
After you’ve put all your pages together and added patterned paper and embellishments for visual balance, you’re ready to write that story summary for the end of your album. Just follow the instructions in the workbook, and then you’re done!
Whether you choose to document a week in your daily life with Short Story, or any other scrapbooking format, you can use the ideas here to help you get started. We love how quickly and easily it comes together in a Short Story album, but the important thing is, just like Stacy often reminds us, that you do what no one else can do—tell your story!
We all have photos that hold a special place in our hearts. They remind us of something or someone, and they often have detailed, personal stories that go with them. Stories I Love, the newest program from Story by Stacy™, gives you permission to bring your most treasured photos together in one album and teaches you how to write the unique stories that go along with them.
Your favorite photos may not be the ones that are the most pretty. They may not have the best lighting. They could be candid or staged. They could be from a special occasion or from everyday life. What makes them important are the memories they represent and what you feel when you look at them. That’s what Stories I Love is all about. Each Stories I Love workshop kit comes with a 6″ x 8″ album, ten 6″ x 8″ Memory Protectors™, one title page, one closing page, story pages, base pages, and two sticker sheets. The workbook included in the kit walks you through the steps of exploring the story behind one photo, writing that story, and then creating a 6″ x 8″ layout with just that story and photo.
Are you ready to make your own Stories I Love album? Watch the video below to hear directly from Stacy about this new program and to find out how you can win your very own Stories I Love workshop kit!
You have until 11 a.m. (MST) Thursday, January 17, to enter in the giveaway. Winners will be notified by email on Thursday.
The memories behind the photos you cherish are stories only YOU can tell. Recording your thoughts and feelings transforms every layout you make into a treasured keepsake. We can’t wait to see what you create with Stories I Love!
Another year of endless storytelling possibilities is ahead of us, and we’ve asked Stacy Julian, the Stacy behind the new Story by Stacy™ products we’ve shared with you in 2018, to show us how she documents a year in review with a Short Story workshop kit. This is the perfect solution for giving your creativity a reboot AND scrapbooking lots of photos with a story at the end.
Hopefully by now you know how much I love, and depend on, our Short Story kit and concept. This concept and creative process has become a huge solution that allows me to quickly and intuitively scrapbook dozens of photos and almost any aspect of my life—from small everyday moments to big events and all the people, places and travel in between. Today I’m excited to show you how you can use Short Story to document an entire year of highlights in a Year in Review album. If you’re feeling the need to do some scrapbook catch-up, this post is for YOU!
Let’s start with one calendar year of digital images and your Short Story workbook. I chose to work with photos from 2017, since 2018 still has a few more days left 🙂 . As you scroll through photos on your camera roll or computer, use the notes section in Step 1 of the workbook to jot down major events, memorable moments and everyday themes that you remember and would like to see represented in the pictures you print. With these images and notes in mind, reflect on and answer the five questions. We sometimes jump straight to printing photos, but with a highlights project like this, these steps are absolutely essential to moving forward with confidence.
Use the information and details in your workbook with the list below to help you select and print up to 50 photos for your album.
1 personality photo for each person and pet in your home
1-2 group photos of family or friends
1 photo depicting each season of the year (4)
1-2 photos from each holiday you celebrate (7-12)
1-2 photos for each major event and vacation (15-20)
10-12 great everyday life photos
To make this easier, you can download and print this PDF checklist to help you with a Year in Review album. It’s got all of the types of photos listed for you to reference.
Start by selecting your group photos and the personality picture for each person you’ll be including in your story. Once you know that everyone is represented, it will be easier to select the remaining photos.
For events and travel where I struggled to select just one or two photos, I chose to print an extra image as a 2″ square. I also decided to print my selection of 12 everyday life photos as 2″ squares. I printed all other photos 4″ x 6″.
With your printed photos in hand, select one photo to set aside as your title page image. This is Step 2 in the workbook. From here, simply follow the additional steps outlined in the workbook and trust the process. Play some upbeat music and know that in just a few hours you will have an entire year beautifully documented and ready to display and share. Take a look at a few of the pages from my Year in Review album for 2017.
You’ll see elements from the checklist represented in my album—individual family members, vacations, seasons, everyday life, and more! After creating your pages, don’t forget the most important part, YOUR story! Step 8 in the workbook gives you a few instructions for how to write a summary about your topic. In this case, it was an entire year of memories! You can draft your story in the workbook, and then write a final copy with a black journaling pen on the grid paper from the workshop kit.
For this album, I also decided to decorate the cover. Using the Block Alphabet Thin Cuts and Lagoon cardstock, I made this nice, monochromatic title, Year In Review. The “2017” is stamped with the Simply Said stamp set in Lagoon ink. And there you have it—you’ve successfully documented an entire year! Can you believe how easy that is? You could use this process to make a series of year in review-themed albums. I can’t wait to do this again!
Thanks Stacy for sharing a new way to use the Short Story album to get our photos and stories in scrapbooked in fun, creative ways. What year will you pick to document with a Short Story album?