You were you, before you were a mom*

As a simple scrapbooker, I've long embraced a non-chronological approach to telling stories. However my perspective shifted when I had my daughter, now 4. Life suddenly felt a lot more chronological as we marked each milestone. I felt a pull to scrapbook her story in detail, but realized my own story was being pushed aside.

In the trailer video below you can see how I responded:

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* While Before Your Story was developed from the perspective of telling your story of life before kids, it is just as appropriate for those with no children.

This six-week journey will show you how easy it is to tell big, complex stories in a single album.

As you explore the story of your life "before", you’ll learn a variety of techniques for simplifying albums using story blueprints and pocket page protectors. This class has been paced over six weeks to give you significant time to plan and work on your album.

You will see how the entire project comes together early on, but each week’s content will guide you through the creative process step-by-step. As you work through each phase of the project, I’ll be there to celebrate your victories and address your challenges.


"Jennifer, thank you. If I had not done this class I would not have unearthed wonderful photos of me and my family from the piles and piles that I have—and I would not have looked at them from a completely different perspective. It has been wonderful following along and seeing all the ideas. Love your ability to make things simple and really appreciate all the time and help you have given and offered all of us. You are a awesome teacher, loved chatting with you and learning from you."


What's Included in the Workshop

Before Your Story will be taught in a brand new classroom area at Simple Scrapper. Your registration includes:


    Feel confidently inspired by insightful handouts and printable worksheets.


    Keep a clear head with guided tours of each section along with bonus tips.


    Stay motivated with twice-weekly encouragement from Jennifer.


    Receive personal coaching along with class camaraderie during office hours.


    Connect with Jennifer and your peers in a well-organized environment.


    View Jennifer’s entire album as well as step-by-step progress from classmates.

"Jennifer, thank you sincerely for all that you did to make this class so special. I will really miss the excitement of regularly opening up the message board, viewing the videos, and reading the handouts. It has been very therapeutic to go back and revisit my earlier days. The comments from other class members also ignited more memories. Thank you one and all, especially those who commented on my photos."


Buy New or Shop Your Stash

What makes this album simple to create is my unique combination of pocket page protectors with a smaller number of traditional scrapbook layouts. The link below offers a visual supply list with shopping links.


Design Your Album the Way You Want

In Before Your Story I’ll walk you through my approach to completing this album, but it’s not the only way to tell your story. You are invited to follow along step-by-step or adapt the ideas to suit your personal style.

Students have used a variety of hybrid and digital techniques to complete this project, in addition to the combination of physical products shown.

"Thank you! I feel good knowing that so much of my story has been recorded. I am excited to take your format and apply it to similar albums for my husband and other members of my family. I loved your left-brained approach to planning the project out and keeping my right brain focused and on task. I am 99% done with my album, which is definitely a first for me!"


Scrapbook Your Birth-to-Adulthood Story

There are milestone events in life, such as marriage and motherhood, that divide us permanently into a “before” and an “after.” It’s easy to become so immersed in the after—the glorious here and now—that our “befores” rarely appear in our scrapbooks. In this self-paced workshop, you’ll have all the guidance you need to tell your growing-up story in one gorgeous 12 x 12 pocket album. And the next time your child struggles to imagine a time when your life didn’t revolve around hers, you can hand her this book and say: “Before your story, there was mine.”

Get this Classwith a Simple Scrapper membership


What time period does the album cover? +

Many scrapbookers discover this hobby when they get married or have their first child – and immediately feel behind. My album covers my birth to my daughter’s, but yours can span the time period that makes the most sense to you. Consider what span of years will help you feel most satisfied.

Are there prompts to jog my memory? +

Yes! In the workshop I provide many worksheets to guide your thinking and planning within a unique storytelling structure. During the first week of class I share 60 story starter questions to support your brainstorming and include many examples of my own journaling during each week of the class.

I have hundreds of photos print, do I need to scan them all? +

Not at all. This workshop is not focused on scanning and archiving, though it may perk your interest in taking that on later. Once you complete the pre-classroom handout, I recommend rapidly browsing your photo prints with sticky notes in hand. Flag the images that stand out in your mind most and only scan those.

I don’t have many photos from my childhood. Can I complete the album? +

Yes, definitely! This has been the #1 question I’ve received; so if this is your concern, you’re not alone. In our class discussions I’ll be sharing many ways to make it work, including focusing on the journaling and approaches for selecting surrogate images. Don’t let lack of photos deter your enrollment if telling these stories is important to you.

Can I participate if I do/don’t ____________? +

Can I work from my stash? What if I’m a digital scrapbooker? Do I have to use pocket pages? The second most common set of questions surrounds your uniqueness as a scrapbooker. Everyone has different tastes, budgets, and interests. The core of this workshop is a highly-flexible approach for telling multiple decades of stories in one album easily. In the first week of class I share a video with many variations on my format and I’m excited to help each student customize my storytelling approach to their own format preferences.

What is the pace of the workshop? +

Like many of you, I have trouble keeping up with workshops after the first week or two. I have kept this in mind and created a workshop that is more intensive in the first two weeks, when your enthusiasm is highest. Then you have a generous four more weeks with me to complete the album. I’ll also be sharing weekly audio messages to help you stay engaged.

"Before Your Story changed each one of our lives. Revisiting my childhood to adulthood gave me so much insight and love for the good things that happened in my family and showed me why my brothers and sisters are so dear and close to me as we enter our last stages of life together."


Jennifer Wilson is the owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. Through her community, Jennifer helps women throw out the "rules" and create perfect-fit plans for crafting with photos.