PRT 021 – The Sum of Our Stories

The terms, “story,” or “story-telling” have become hot buzzwords — and not just in scrapbooking. There is a newer, looser, broader definition of “story” right now. A photo can be a “story.” A thought can be a “story.”

Story is our subject in this week’s Paperclipping Roundtable!

You can use this audio player to listen to the show:

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this video.

If you want, you can also right click this link to save the show to your computer manually.

The Panel

Picks of the Week

(Affiliate links wherever possible.)


This show is sponsored by Big Picture Scrapbooking. Click here for the promo code to save 10% on any class at BPS!

Did you know that when you subscribe in iTunes (which is free), you’re helping support Paperclipping Roundtable? It’s true. iTunes measures every subscription, so it’s like casting a “vote” for the show. It helps us move up the ranks and helps us grow the audience.

iTunes is free. Subscribing is free, so why not use it to download the show? Subscribe in iTunes (iTunes link) right now so your computer will automatically download each new episode as they become available. (If you don’t know how to do that, you can watch a video here that shows you how.)

  • Pingback: Three Tips for the Summer | Paperclipping()

  • Great episode. I love Jessica Sprague, she's the best teacher I have ever had. She gave me the love of everything digital – which is huge.

    This episode was really up my alley, as an avid story teller. The story also dictates my design, color and accent choices. The story is all consuming for me.

    I also relate to your Dutch listener. My grandmother has Alzheimer too and I am always mad at myself for never bothering to write down the stories she told me while we went through the yellowing photos in her drawer. I also wrote about it in my blog in a very emotionally charged post: “Write like your next word will be your last”:

  • fantastic episode as always. I'm super stoked for the all digital show that is coming soon. YAY!!!!!

  • Amy

    I love listening to PRT, and because of you I've come to love BPS too – thanks for the promotional code and discount.
    I was so excited to hear that you're adding a Digital Roundtable. You're doing great things in the world of scrapbooking – I don't believe this hobby (some may call it an obsession or addiction) is going by the wayside either.
    Thank you for all the work your team puts into these valuable podcasts and websites!

  • Kim Benstead

    Another awesome round from the table.. You all rock! I am a full blown digi scrapping grandma ( yep you can teach us old dogs those tricks), have never paper scrapped ( as you can guess I have lots of catching up to do :+) and just love how real you all keep this show. I can't tell you how many times I have found myself feeling relieved or shaking my head in agreement as I listen to you all talk about the many emotional bi-products of scrapping. I love how you all manage to include all of us “memory keepers” with all our styles and approaches in mind with each episode..I am one of those who sees the big picture where memory keeping is envolved, can love and appreicate any style and just love gathering ideas form any style or type of scrapping and you all inspire ..Oh and your product picks segment is awesome.. I just received my Crumpler camera strap recommended by Cathy Z in one of your episodes and am so in love..Bravo Roundtable.. Keep up the great shows!

  • Pingback: Paperclipping Roundtable #21: The Sum Of Our Stories()

  • Hi again from Germany! I am currently listening to episode #21 and I was surprised to hear that many of you make your pages and come up with the journaling later. I am the complete opposite. If I am just in the mood to create or if I have an event that I want to get scrapped right away, I throw together some digital albums, or just make quick pages without much thought. My story pages, on the other hand, now those are the ones on which I spend days . My best pages (I think) are the ones that have the most journaling because I am not just trying to get pictures on paper, I am trying to bring my children (or the person reading it) into the feelings of the moment. I work hardest on the design of these pages and will spend days or weeks looking for just the right embellishments because I feel the need to give the story the most beautiful background possible. If I don't have a story to tell, then I don't spend much time worrying about the look of it, or I just use digital templates. I started scrapbooking when my father died in 2005, he was my best friend, and my children were far too young to ever remember him. But now, because of my stories and my scrapbook pages, my girls know Grandpa, they know his jokes and his stories, they know how much he loved my mother and how much he loved them, these stories about our family are the inspiration that bring my most beautiful pages.

  • CarolineDavis

    (as in, I'm pausing PRT to address something)(which is something I find myself starting to do 27 times in every episode, and then realizing I'll never get through the show if I don't just shut up and listen.)

    So Izzy, you were just talking about filming the documentary on Wednesdays and not even knowing exactly what the story is, and wondering if that happens if that happens with scrapbooking. A: YES. I think my favorite pages aren't about birthdays and holidays and the “forced” times (those times when we feel obligated to take pictures and remember the day's merriment), they're the times I'm taking pictures because all my kids are clean at the same time (sad but true), or even just because I felt like taking pictures.

    I'll finish that thought, but I have to take a minute to talk about my process. It started almost the same way that Noell talked about a couple episodes ago – laying out pictures, doing housework, buzzing by, realizing a color or an embellishment would work great, a quick rearrange, then off to the next load of laundry. Now that I'm a full time worker, the process has had to evolve a bit more, and I find myself going for days between tweaking a color choice or coming up with the perfect embellishment to throw onto the pile for later assembling…

    Okay, so back to my relatively random pictures of clean kids. I may pull out a couple of pictures with the intention of doing a page, but then life with four kids, a dog and full time job intervenes. What starts as a page about a trip to the park (yawn) evolves to two different pages – one about one daughter overcoming a fear, how courageous she is for it, and another about a 15 year old who embodies the idea of “you've got to go along to get along”, which was a favorite mantra of a least favorite physic teacher in high school.

    So, no. I certainly don't know the story when I'm taking the pictures. Or rather, if I allow myself the time to let the story percolate I end up with a far better story than if I just tell the one that immediately floats to the surface. And had I not had the time to think about what I wanted to do with those pictures – usually over several days worth of commutes, the story would have been “we went to the park in Coventry and boy was it fun!” It's funny how my harried life has actually made me a better story teller and scrapbooker. By having to work in chunks in time I end up with the perfect confluence of pictures and story.

    Okay, now to unpause and finish the show… :)

  • taledo

    I just got done listening to episode 21 and totally empathize with the panel member who lost their grandmother recently. My Aunt Marge died April 8, 2009 and our family is still trying to go on with life as she was the oldest sister and glue that kept us together.
    It seems like the reigns have been passed to me with the keeping everything going and while I would love to have her here to ask and counsel I am thankful for the memories and pearls of wisdom that she passed to me through the years.

  • Nikki Contreras

    I have to say that the story does play such a major part in my pages. I'm always so wrapped up in the moment that I seriously get two, maybe three photos of any given event. I HAVE to include the story in order for my words to breathe the life into the photos and awaken or introduce the memory to the viewer.
    I'd also like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to you all for inspiring me to scrapbook. I've had photos/events/memorabilia stacking up for over 3 yrs. Two wks ago during MY first Paperclipping Live, I completed my first layout in 1 1/2 yrs. It felt so amazing! Since then I've created two more layouts. I plug into the PRT via my ipod while I'm at work (ssshhhh…don't tell them, haha) and watch archives while I scrapbook at home. (I'm a member, thanks to your generous NSD opportunity!) I have come across a speed bump while rifling through all my projects. I have multiple potential layouts that are the same. Such as annual school pictures, sports teams, etc. How do I add variety to something that happens so often?

    Thank you so much, again, for sharing your amazing gifts and talents. :o)

  • Another great show! Thank you all so much for the work you put into this every week.

    Izzy- I'm loving the Plastic Bullet app! I've been playing with Hipstamatic (another toy camera app for the iPhone) for a while now, but I love that Plastic Bullet lets me apply the effects after the picture is taken (with Hipstamatic you have to take the photo with the app). I was actually on my iPhone downloading while still listening to you finish the description of the app. :)

  • Deekaye

    Just finished listening to PRT #21. Great as usual! 'Just wanted to let you know what a fabulous idea I think it is to add “another” roundtable…. all about digital. I've never digitally scrapped but the idea is interesting to me. 'Can't wait to learn more. :)

  • Karen Forgang

    Hi Noell, Izzy, and the Roundtable gang!

    I wanted to write and let you know how much I love the Paperclipping Roundtable podcasts. I've been listening since the first episode, and I eagerly look forward to the day the new podcast is posted so I can download it to my iPod and listen as I drive in to work the next day.

    Noell, the comment you made about being so distracted after you got your daughter's epilepsy diagnosis really hit home for me. Our daughter Katie was diagnosed with benign rolandic epilepsy at age 3. We heard an odd gurgling sound on her baby monitor one morning, and when I went to check on her I found her in a full grand mal seizure. I'll never forget how scared my husband and I were driving behind the ambulance that took her to the hospital that day, when we had no idea what was wrong. I'll also never forget how relieved we were when the EMT told us at the hospital (when Katie came out of her seizure)…”she told us she didn't want any shots!” She hated getting shots at the doctor's office, as many kids do, but at that moment my husband and I could laugh a little and know that our girl was OK at that moment.

    We found out she had epilepsy after she underwent tests at Phoenix Children's Hospital. She had another grand mal seizure in 2005, but has had none since – knock on wood. We were told she would likely grow out of this, which sounds like what you were told with your daughter as well. I hope that Trinity is doing well, and that she never has another seizure!

    Remembering this story has inspired me to scrap it…I had been wanting to for a while, but am transitioning from chronological scrapbooking and had not gotten to it yet.

    Thanks for all that you, Izzy, and the panel do to help all of us keep up with the latest in the scrapbooking world!

  • I have been on vacation, and just now getting to last week's episode — almost finished listening, but just had to comment on the part I just listened to — LOVED Ana's comment on how the photos do not have to be perfect to tell the memory — I am not the greatest photographer — I do my best with the point and shoot camera that I have and thank goodness for my digital editing software (I use Creative Memories Memory Manager). I often have “photo envy” when I see layouts in magazines and on blogs, but the simple truth is I have limited funds (a new SLR is not in my immediate future, neither is an updated point and shoot) and I cannot stop the memories from happening — not like you can say, “hold that idea kids until I can get a better camera”. My photos may not be magazine worthy, but they are worthy of my family and capturing our lives. Thank you for saying this — I know many scrap for the love of the hobby (I LOVE the creative aspect) but I think it is important to remember the goal of the hobby or the purpose of the hobby, to capture our memories and not let photo skills or writing skills (as discussed in this episode) be roadblocks for documenting our stories. Thanks for the continued inspiration to press on!

  • Missed two episodes while being on vacation – listened to them, and LOVE them both. Thank you for spending so much time on dicussing my tough part of scrapbooking – journaling, and thank you for all the little advices you gave. Keep up with great job! I

  • Maureen

    I am a regular listener subscribed through ITunes. I could not get this episode to sync up to my Iphone as the last 20 have done. I just figured I would wait and it would be magically fixed. Well I just got through episode 22, and 21, I still can't get. You mentioned the comments were low on 21, maybe it is because others had trouble as I did, and didn't mention it. I would still love to listen to the episode – I won't feel complete unless I have listened to every episode. Any thoughts on what is wrong?


  • Seizures are so scary! Thank you for sharing, Karen. With the exception of
    one incident that MIGHT have been a seizure a year or so ago, she hasn't had
    any confirmed ones for about three years. She's been off med's for 1.5
    years now. So far so good! Much luck to your own daughter in her recovery!
    And YES — I say, skip a few and document that story! :)

  • Karen F

    They sure are! That's so great that Trinity's off medication and doing well…so happy for her and all of you. And thanks for the support in scrapping “out of order!” That's one of the reasons I love listening to the show, I get such great ideas about how to approach my scrapbooking. And if you ever need that “intern” you were joking about in the earlier episodes, let me know. I'm just down the street in Gilbert, AZ and would love to help out if I can :).
    Take care,
    Karen F

  • I wanted to comment on the analogy Jessica made between riding a bike and writing. As someone who trained for a 45 mile bike ride this year and someone who is writing a dissertation, I can say that there is so much truth in what she said. You need to practice to be able to do it well and with less and less effort each time. The ride I did was the most miles I ever put on my bike in a single day, and there is no way I could have done it without training for three months prior. It wasn't just about the distance, though. The training helped with getting comfortable with my gears, knowing how much water I needed to drink, being able to go faster, etc. Training can also help in writing. One of the writing books I read to help with writing my dissertation suggested sitting down and writing (about anything) for 15 minutes each and every day. It isn't that hard to carve out 15 minutes, but it was surprising to me how this task helped me to improve my writing in a fairly short period of time. I was able to identify the things that were weighing on me and needed to be said much more quickly than before I started this habit. It also helped me become more prolific in my writing – by establishing a window for writing each and every day, I realized I had a lot to say! I think the same ideas can be applied to journaling in scrapbooking. If you feel stuck with your journaling, consider writing about anything that comes to mind for 15 straight minutes and see if you can cut and paste any of that into a scrapbook page.

  • Wow, huge congratulations on your cycling! That is so awesome. I'll
    vouch for you on the daily wiring/journaling. The same has worked for
    me too.

  • I just listened to this one last night. (I've been saving up my PRTs for the start of my summer break this week!!) I have a few comments.
    1. I am excited to try Izzy's video-scrapping suggestion. I took a bunch of fun video clips of my kindergarten son at his field day. I can't wait to put them together along with still images and some narration by him (if I can get him to cooperate) into a little video production! What a fun idea that we will all LOVE to look back at later!
    2. I love hearing everyone's different approaches to journaling and storytelling as a whole. I tend to be more of a slice of life/snapshots of time journalist. I tell the bare bones of the story and always do it in my own handwriting. Every once in a while I will have a longer story to tell, and then I use computer journaling to fit it all, but most of the time I try hard to pare my thoughts down to the essential core message that I want to convey. I'm glad to know that I am not alone in this, as I sometimes feel a little guilty that I don't journal extensively on many of my pages!
    3. You guys are doing an AWESOME job! Keep it up!

  • kathy

    I'm still catching up on older episodes not having discovered PRT until about 6 weeks ago. I decided that I had to listen in order so that I get all the jokes!. I love the feel of these shows. I feel like I have made lot so new friends!

    The picks is my favorite part. I love hearing about new items without having to be searching on the internet. I've seen lots of great items and sites but I had to comment on I love it! I'm okay at monochromatic type layouts or mixing two colors but anything more is out of my comfort zone. This site gives you great combination of color that I would never have thought to put together. This is going to help me build better and more interesting layouts.

    Can't wait to get all caught up and actually feel like commenting will be timely Keep up the great work!
    (I also joined Paperclipping. Your videos are great–short and the the point. I especially the ones where you've given pointers in Photoshop.