Skype with Ali Edwards
Hello allie you nicole how's it going it's going well how are you? I'm well good good we're so happy that you're here I was just talking about how you've been so inspirational the people to really tell their own stories to document both the big and the small things in life and I just want to be fun to hear from you about what your philosophy is in memory keeping and how you figure out which moments you want to document it's a very good question it can seem so overwhelming I think to people especially if they're first starting out or just you know as you go through your life how do you how do you decide which stories to tell? I mean, I was thinking about a little bit about it today and I feel like for me like my philosophy is kind of grown and changed over time when I first started it was because I had a baby and so my son simon was eleven months old at the time and I really was thinking I just wanted to make a baby book and was interested in documenting the everyday stuff and that was ...
really the kind of thing that, um where I started you know is is telling these little everyday life sorts of stories and when I go back and look at his baby book it was a lot of ah just pictures of him and the ones, the pages that I liked the most for, the ones that actually included more words. So over the last eleven years, he's twelve, now almost thirteen, a cz I've continued on in this kind of memory keeping journey or adventure, the focus on the words have become more more important to me. Those are the things that I really like to see along with the photos. So in terms of philosophy, I think it's it's the combination of the two that I love but really making sure that the words aaron there has has become more and more important all the time. Exactly, and I think that's kind of what I was alluding to it that one page that I said I totally forgot the story until I went back and saw that lay out. If that picture had just been on there with some pretty product, it would have meant nearly as much as with that with the story there to remind me so I think you're absolutely right. You had posted and shared your daughter anna's baby book on your block, and I just thought that was amazing because of all the little bits of life that you included in it, I wondered if you would be willing to show us a couple of your favorite pages from her book and maybe tell us why you love them so much sure I went, I went back through it. And it's not a my disclaimer is that it's not a it's, not complete, you know, there's not like it's, not a beginning and an end to sort of baby book because that's not really the kind of scrap booker that I am. So I'm a kind of person that tells stories as I'm inspired to tell them, but when she was an infant, I definitely did focus on a few different things, and some of them were just like you were telling they were smaller stories and some of them were bigger ones. So in that album, when I looked back in it a couple days ago, as I was getting ready to talk to you, one of the ones that stuck out to me the most is called anna it's, eleven month old page, and it is ah letter where I wrote a letter to her, it was kind of our letter, basically just documenting some specific things about what was happening. Then I'm looking back down a rope made reference, what I'm talking about, um, where where I really was trying to combine. And this is one of the techniques that I do for journaling is this idea of combining both fax and feeling so I want to have the facts that are like, oh, you're sitting up and you're doing such and such and blah blah, blah but I also want to have the feelings that is really kind of my own story and the things that I like or not I like but you know, the things that are important for me to document for myself how my feeling about this this experience, what do I know? What do I really not want tio forget you know what air those the you know, the softness of the things that you can get that are harder to capture in a photograph I would say so that lay out there definitely it has like I think I had seven different things I do a lot of list journaling, so I tried to get away from having to think in terms of paragraphs because paragraphs for a lot of people can be daunting. So if you're just making a list of like here's a fact about you right now eleven months hears of something about how I feel about it here's another fact here's another feeling and that I found over the years has helped to draw out more words from me as well so that was one of them and and really when I went back and looked at these pages, I had quite a few that still were missing as many of the worse is I was like to see in them so you know, it's always I'm always trying to remind myself of that, but that was one of them another one that I picked out that doesn't have very many words but there's a reason why I like it I would want to share that with you as well and this one's called the story of my life and it's more decorative and has a little quote says the story of my life is so much better because of the two of you love mom and it's a picture of both of my kids together and one of the things that I'm interested in documenting our connections between people so connections, relationships how do people interact? This one of my favorite pictures of the two of them have had great light it's got her looking up away from the camera and simon who's seven years older than her, you know, looking directly at the camera and it's just it's the kind of pick page that I would want to hang up and I think there was a question earlier today I've been listening on on on and off about hanging up layouts in your house this would be the kind of one that I would want to hang out that has a nice kind of combination of design, beautiful photograph and then just some a nice sentiment about life with them I would say and I had one other one that I picked out and this one's called pieces of life and it has this is the story behind it is is that we had to get a passport for anna because she was going we're going on a trip to italy, my whole family and s o we were we took the picture here at home with the white background in I think there's six or seven pictures of her in a row of, you know, trying to get her to look at the camera and she was not very old at this time. And so the idea of a siri's of photos you know, of all these different facial expressions in different little pieces of them that maybe when you first look at the picture would be like this it's not a great picture because she's not looking at the camera she's not doing whatever but it's actually such a great representation of these different little looks that they have, you know, and then combining that with the story about why we were getting a passport and all those kinds of things which you know, she ends up loving travel er and she gets older which I love to travel, so hopefully you like to travel to that it'll be a fun story for her to remember that something specific about her life so definitely and, you know, it also strikes me about that series of photos is that kind of shows how much toddlers move about and it's hard to even get a photo of them, and it just shows that energy of toddlers I love that I like that, you know, I've always been a fan of blurred pictures that used to be that used to come up a lot more than I think it does today when people would ask me questions about photography or different things that I'm doing on guy always said that I like those blurry pictures because they show movement and they show how, you know, crazy and fast things go by too. So it's true, I have another question for you, a lot of moms in my be feeling a little overwhelmed with just the scope of documenting a whole year and baby's life and especially as a working parent, how do you how do you manage that overwhelming feeling? How do you find time? And also what keeps you motivated to complete a project like this? I feel overwhelmed all the way I feel like it's just how we live, you know, for me, because I've been doing this for a long time now I think I have an interesting perspective on on just how valuable I think it's been for me in my own life. When you have a small baby and you're very focused on that and things were changing quickly all the time it's hard teo to take that time but I think it's actually really rewarding and the t do it to spend the time maybe you're when you're feeding your baby and you mentioned something about this earlier, I think when you were talking about the app of, you know, taking that time to just write down a few of the things that you're feeling, you know, greg capturing a few of those things that are very specific memories that you won't remember like you, I promise you you will not remember exactly what it feels like that that moment in time a cz much as we like to think we will for me, it's also remembering that the fifteen minutes is actually you can get a lot done in fifteen minutes and I'm trying to remember remind myself about that now, as I look at my long list of things to do and feel like I'm never going to make it through all of that. But the idea that if you could sit down for fifteen minutes and focus on one thing whether it's just writing out you know how you're feeling about this having a six month old or you're writing out a list of the things that they're into right now those are some of my favorite documentation sorts of things that I've done where it's like this is the book they want to read every time this is the sound that they're making this is you know these very specific details also that you will not remember you know years from now so the fifteen minute thing have really taken advantage of those chunks of time and then maybe when you have longer periods to actually make a scrapbook page or to bring those thoughts together into something that's more cohesive at least you will have taken the time tio chop those things down that makes any sense so so chunking out time is I think really one of my one of my biggest things and then I also I wrote a note to myself to make sure that I you know just me may you know does it mention something about this idea of past perspective that you know thinking about the things that you wish you knew about yourself like what do you wish that you knew when you were a toddler what do you wish that you knew from your first year of life it's probably a combination of the facts but also like how did your mom feel about what she was experiencing at this time in her life I find great value in that process of really using it is an opportunity for reflection as well as documentation so it's hard to find the time but it's so worth it right I love the two things that you said there how you talked about blocking out time even if it's a small bit of time that you could get a lot of little things done and so when you do have a bigger block of time you can then take all of those little things and turn them into a whole layout and then I also liked how you said to think about what you would have liked him known about yourself as a baby because that's a really great starting point when you think about what should I document that's a great place to a great way to just brainstorm some ideas yeah, you know you can play play games on your phone for fifteen minutes or you can try d'oh ox of time is good. Yeah, good, good. Well, I also wanted to ask you about your new web site you have a brand new web site that is really incredible and full of lots of inspiration. You also have a new stamp subscription programs so I'd love for you to tell us a little bit about that. Sure, so I started I started blogging in let's see, two thousand four was when I first initially started my blogged and so over the last ten years of amassed quite a collection of writing about scrapbooking and showing scrapbook layouts and doing all of those sorts of things related tio memory keeping and just recently have like you said launched a new website and really what I'm hoping with this website is to hone in my focus on story so the whole concept of story and storytelling and making sure that when we're doing this sort of the sort of memory keep you know the sort of documentation that we are actually including the words so part of that is are these there's two news subscription programs one that's available right now which are stamps and I've done stamps in the past what I'm hoping with these dances that they're even more intentional so intentional in terms of like leading you to encourage you to tell the story here you know here's the sad stamps I think you guys are working with some of them potentially you know that our prompt based storytelling stamps so instead of a picture of ah a doctor or a flower or something like that most the time they're going to be word based so really encouraging that and that subscription as well as this other subscription that's a story kit includes education so education is one of the most important things that I've found andi it's one of my passions he was actually helping people go through this process you know how do you write more how do you tell more of the story you know it's more ideas and inspiration for people that are interested in really focusing on that piece of it so that's what's happening there right now, we're in the middle. I'm in the middle of a project called week in the life, which is something that I've done for the last things my ninth time, ninth year doing it where I'm documenting the full week. So what are our routines? What are our daily habits? You know, what's the story of daily life right now? And I think for somebody that has a little baby to be super interesting, I wish that I would have done that at that point in time. So I think I was doing when it must have been when anna was born, you know, they're just different stories and how important I think those basic routines of everyday life are and how they help us when we look through the lens of more writing it down, we actually see all kinds of different different things to celebrate in our lives, so great that's great, we are going to get to use your stamps on our next loud, so I'm really excited to show those off because I found them to be very helpful. I had a great time putting that page together, but I don't know if any of our audience members had some questions for allie. Well, she's with him and kind of in line with the ladies they think about michelle. Is b it's asking ali, do you have any organizing tips? How do you store your supplies, your stamps, except you're very organized at home? Oh, sometimes, e so I think I saw a lot of time over the years changing organizational systems, and I think there's a whole thing about organizing that people can spend all their time organizing rather than actually getting down to the basics of actually telling stories or scrapbook. Ian it's, zahabi organizing is like a hobby in and of itself. I think for me, I like to store like things together, so and I use a lot of vintage boxes, you know, old wood boxes that you would find it that goodwill or secondhand store or antique store, that kind of thing would boxes that will fit the stamps are the cards. I know that there's a lot of people that actually put their stamps in a notebook so you can get, you know, some sort of ah three ring binder notebook that you can put the stamps into sleeves, which makes it a lot easier to be able to see all of them, even besides, you know, he just in them in a box, I think the biggest thing for me is really also trying toe on ly have things that I really know that I want to use and not tony on a lot of time purchasing or acquiring tons and tons of products that then can really slow us down I think having too many things to choose from can detract from the process of just getting the stories told impairing the pictures with the words so well, we've got a question here from elizabeth is asking I'm off ceo you're quite a prodigious blogger you're also being doing journaling has the journaling helps you focus and do you feel that you're now a better writer having taken on that project? Yeah that's a good question I think so I think I think a better writer is I'm not sure about better I think I trust my voice a lot more I also I have a my degree is in american history and literature political science when I have a graphic design agreed to so I did a lot of writing and, you know, going to college and that sort of thing um but this kind of writing is so different than writing a term paper, the kind of writing that you probably learned in school there's a lot more flexibility and it just like I was saying where I use lists a lot for my writing that there's no there's, no rules and how you got these stories told but definitely for me, over time, through the process of doing it, of actually getting these words down, I definitely have kind of come into my own voice of the way that I like to write these stories, and that could be in the form of writing letters or like I said, the list and a lot of times with the lists, I like to have some specific kind of leading prompt, like, I want to remember this, miss miss, and then the next sentence begins with I want to remember this in this in this which kind of takes the guesswork out of it, of trying to figure out how well I bring all of these words together. It's it's a it's an easier way to just follow those steps for me too. Do you find you it's? Easier to write in first person or third person? Or from the aspect of where you want to be? Does that make any sense? Yeah, yeah, I actually do a little bit of both there. There are times when I will write to my kids, so I'm specifically know whether it's in a in a letter for matter of just saying, you know, telling them kind of what they're doing, and then they're sometimes when I when I will, right? In a different tense it kind of just depends on the project I don't it's not a piece of it I think that I worry very much about a lot of the writing that I do is it's kind of self reflective writing so I'm writing about myself and the you know, the choices that I'm making in her it sounds funny we're talking about scrapbooking but it's really a piece of of how I do it so a lot of that would be first person for sure from betty m is joining us do you have a favorite layout or journaling style that you use over and over? Yeah, I really do and and I think that that idea of having a a word or phrase to begin the journaling begin each thought and the journaling process so one of the ones that I dio on my block that I've done over and over again is called around here and it's a and you could do this for a baby as well it's a very grounding exercise I think I'll sit down and I'll be like, ok, what's happening, you know, around here are basically answering that question and so it's like around here you know, my kid's in there this grade in this great and this is where I really do the facts and feeling so here around here here's some facts around here I'm struggling with feeling overwhelmed would be a common thing that I probably put in there most of the time. So really, really using a phrase or word to begin, each thought is a simple thing that I employ regularly. You know, I'm definitely not someone that is afraid of repeating the same thing over and over. No and over again. When I find something that works like that, that actually helps me get those stories told so, yeah, okay, well, it has been so wonderful to have you positive. E appreciate it.