Thoughts on Story Camp 2017

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Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 2017 Ali Edwards Story Camp in Eugene, OR.  If you had told me even six months ago that I was going to have an opportunity to meet Ali, who has so heavily influenced the way I think about memory keeping, and in turn just thinking about everyday life, I probably would have brushed it off in disbelief.   So, as uber cliche as this is to say, going to this event was honestly a bit of a dream come true for me.StoryCamp1.jpg

Story Camp started on Friday (June 2) evening with a writing workshop.  Writing has always been my biggest challenge when it comes to memory keeping, so I was excited to dive into this portion.  Some prompts proved to be more challenging than others, but I was happy to stick with it.  The whole session felt therapeutic being surrounded by so many supportive friends who understand why this is important.

StoryCamp3.jpgSaturday was a very full day.  After breakfast and a quick walk to grab a chai latte, the day began. We finished up the writing portion of the workshop and then headed into the 4 projects Ali had planned for us.  It was so fun stretching myself with each project.  Each project got me out of my comfort zone in some way, and for that I’m grateful.2017-06-08 09.11.18 1.jpg

(Photo above by Laura Wosnik)

I’m so used to scrapping on my own, so to have the opportunity to walk around and see what others were working on, and to see their excitement about the projects, was so much fun.

In the evening I had dinner with 4 fellow creative team members, Brandi Kinkad, Jess Forster, Laura Wonsik, and Pam Baldwin.  It was seriously the best.  Each of them has inspired me so much, and to have the chance to talk to them (in real life!) was incredible.  Jess also recorded a bit of our conversation to go on her podcast (coming soon!), so you might want to check that out if you’re interested in hearing multiple perspectives on what people got out of the workshop.

StoryCamp4.jpgIf I were to plan my trip all over again I would have given myself 2 extra days- one to explore Portland and another to explore Eugene, but, in the few minutes that I did get to walk around, I tried to make the most of it.  I was super charmed by lovely Eugene.

The whole experience was pretty emotional for me, which definitely came out in a good cry on Sunday morning when I met up with Ali, Katie, and the other creative team member attendees for donuts and conversation . . . and inevitably, to say goodbye.

2017-06-08 09.11.12 1.jpgSo, here I am, one week later, still trying to process everything and how much it meant to me.  I will forever be grateful to Ali and Katie for their generosity, and to each and every person that attended who I got to know and hear their stories.StoryCamp6.jpgIMG_5826.jpg

Spring Reading Recap

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Hi friends,

I’m back today with another reading recap!  I enjoyed some really good books in April and May, so today I thought I’d share.

First Comes Love by Emily Griffin: I’m a big fan of Emily Griffin novels.  She seems to find a really good balance between lightheartedness and emotional.  This story follows two very different sisters, their relationship with each other, the life struggles they are going through, and how they are dealing with a tragic family accident that happened many years before.  The way I’m describing it probably makes it sound more sad than it is.  There’s a nice balance between emotional and funny, lighthearted moments.

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes:  This book would be perfect to take on a trip!  The first half of the book (about 150 pages) is a short story about a young woman who gets stood up by her boyfriend in Paris, but breaks out of her shell and makes the most of her trip!  The last half of the book is made up of several more short stories.  Typically, I’m not into short stories.   I usually feel like just as soon as I start to get into it, it’s over, but this book was pretty enjoyable.

The Widow by Fiona Barton: After a couple of lighthearted books, I went for something darker.  In a nutshell, the story is about a woman whose husband is accused of kidnapping and murdering a little girl.  The story is seen from multiple perspectives: The widow, the detective who follows the case, a reporter, the mom of the kidnapped girl.  The subject matter made me cringe, but I found myself reading on to find out how it all would end.

Startup: A Novel by Doree Shafir:  This was my Book of the Month pick for April.  At first, I found this book really hard to get into.  I started it before I read ‘Paris for One’ and ‘The Widow’ but only got through about 20 pages before putting it down for awhile.  I’m so happy I decided to give this one another try.  In the first few pages the tech lingo really frustrated me, but once I got through those first couple of chapters I found myself hooked on each character’s story and how they are all woven together.

The One and Only by Emily Griffin:  As much as I love Emily Griffin novels, this one was sadly not a big hit for me.  Listened to this one as an audiobook as I was painting our downstairs bathroom and driving to and from work.  I’ll admit that it kept me entertained in that regard, but I don’t know if I would have been able to just sit and read it from cover to cover.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: I’m currently on the wait list for “The Woman in Cabin 10” so while I was waiting (I’m still waiting . . .) for that one to come in I decided to listen (its another audiobook) to In a Dark, Dark Wood.  This book is great on many levels.  It’s laugh out loud funny at times, each character is interesting in their own right, and its all set in a who done it type of plot.  So good.

Currently I have ‘Into the Water,’ ‘And We’re Off,’ and ‘Since We Fell’ on my bookshelf.  What are you reading?

Lens Story Kit Layout

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I’m pretty sure I say this with just about every new Ali Edwards Story Kit release, but the new Lens Story Kit  has to be my favorites!  All of the icons and colors have me like, WOAH!  This kit is not only beautiful, but the ‘Lens’ theme is so versatile.  I can definitely see myself writing down some meaningful stories using this kit.SZayas_Lens_Detail1.jpg

This 2-page 6″ x 8″ layout was put together using mainly the digital kit.  In fact, the only piece that isn’t from the digital kit is the top right circle where I used my traditional stamps to stamp out ‘Lens’ in blue ink and ‘See the Good’ and ‘Today’s View’ in grey ink.

All of these photos are from my documentation of Week in the Life, which I captured last week, and I’m thinking I might actually use these as title pages when I start to put my album together.  I like the idea of having a page that provides an overview for the week before jumping into each day.  Plus, now I actually feel a bit ahead of the game having a page in my album done! It’s a win, win!

Elle’s Studio Guest Designer Project

SZayas_Elle'sStudio_Photo1.jpgI’m so excited and humbled that I was asked to be a guest designer for Elle’s Studio this month.  I’ve been a fan of Elle’s kits for so long!  Having the opportunity to play around with the April and Live Laugh Love kits and to share some projects this month was so much fun!  If you’re interested to read more about this project head on over to Elle’s blog.  More projects to come later this month!!

30 Days of Gratitude: Completed Traveler’s Notebook

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Its still so hard to wrap my head around the fact that it’s already December.  It feels like not long ago I was stamping the cover of my Gratitude Traveler’s Notebook getting ready to fill its pages with just some of the things I’m thankful for, and here I am today already sharing the completed notebook! Time flies.

Even though I was already sharing all of the pages of my notebook over on my Instagram throughout the month, I still wanted to do a full flip-through so I could talk about some of the materials I used and the techniques I played around with.

At times this project felt a bit overwhelming (as almost any daily project that is sustained for a good chunk of time tends to be!) but on the whole it really was just a fun activity and great practice for last month.  I look forward to flipping through these pages for many years to come!

P.S. You can find my 2015 Gratitude Mini here. :)

December Daily 2016 | Kits unboxing video)

Hi friends!

Today I’m excited to share an unboxing video of the two December Daily® kits I’ll be using for my album this year. If you’re not familiar with December Daily®, you can find lots of information on what this project is all about on Ali Edwards’ website.

Last year was my first year completing an album and to this day it remains one of my favorite projects I have ever worked on (which is saying a lot!).  I knew at the end of last year that this is one project I’d definitely be tackling again.

Watching unboxing videos is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, so making my own was super fun, though I’ll admit a little nerve-racking being my first video. So many talented ladies out there just make it look so easy. :)

(You can also watch the video on YouTube here.)

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these kits (or seeing what comes in the other kits) you can find more information here.

Also, be sure to check out my fellow Creative Team members‘ Instagram and Blog accounts for more sneaky unboxing videos coming soon :)

If you’d like to see the pages from my 2015 December Daily® album you can find my previous posts here: Cover & Foundation Pages, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Let me know if you have any questions!  If you’re participating this year I can’t wait to see what you make!

XO,

Sarah

Summer Reading List (Layout)

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I’m not quite sure what was more fun- putting this layout together, or selecting which books I wanted to put on my Summer Reading List!

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On my list for this Summer:

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Looking for Alaska by John Green

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Layout Supplies:

Ali Edwards Read Messy Circles

Enamel Dots and Alpha Stickers by Studio Calico