I recently had the opportunity to take a sneak peek at one of Katie the Scrapbook Lady's recent projects - An Amazing Month of Memories, a series of downloadable classes available at A Cherry on Top. I've followed Katie's work for several years now, enjoying and learning from her many ideas on journaling and organization, and this offering did not disappoint.
The Amazing Month of Memories (AMM) series, offers monthly journaling and scrapbooking ideas by unique holidays, such as Nothing Day, Black History Month, Shakespeare's Birthday, and Humor Month. You can get the material in single-month segments, or buy all 12 months together at a discounted rate. The segments are available as downloadable PDF ebooks, about 30 pages each.
Each ebook starts with some information about the class series, and some insight into why Katie started compiling the information. She explains that "scrapbookers everywhere have plenty of beautiful designs to work with, but are looking for the ideas and prompts to make their creations truly meaningful." I couldn't agree more. So often I look at layouts and projects I see online, and can't help but feel a little sad at the lack of content, the lack of meaning and personal significance. So often the stories are missing. The prompts and ideas in Katie's AMM series help steer scrapbookers to include meaningful thoughts and journaling in their projects.
She emphasizes that the material is intended to help scrapbookers "find new ways to celebrate and record every day." I like that every day is some sort of holiday, some reason to be celebrated. It would be easy to look through the ideas in these ebooks, and plan ahead for fun activities and outings, enjoyed alone, with friends, or with family. Kids will particularly appreciate any reason to celebrate!
After the introduction, each month's ebook continues with the monthly themes -- whatever special occasion is celebrated the entire month. For example, January is Get Organized Month. Each special occasion is defined, and paired with a weblink for extra background info.
After naming each holiday/occasion, Katie breaks each one down into several easily digestible ideas. These "journal-able" topics could be questions or journaling prompts, design tips, font suggestions, historical background, or web resources. No real thinking required here -- read the questions or ideas, respond, and you've got your journaling. Katie also provides suggestions for suitable photos, to help build your layout. I've always preferred this process for building a layout -- choose a topic first, draft the journaling, THEN choose the photos. Katie's material walks you through exactly that process. I also liked "experiencing" Katie's thought process in breaking down each holiday into digestible journaling topics -- seeing how she came to each topic or prompt makes it easy to look at other holidays or themes, and come up with your own prompts. And of course, I loved that many of the prompts are very well suited for Book of Me projects.
She closes each class/monthly segment with a one-page printable calendar that you can keep by your scrapping area to remind you of potential journaling and layout topics.
Katie has marketed the series as a class -- and essentially it is. There's certainly enough content -- with prompts, activities, tips, and web resources, she has gone above and beyond as far as information is concerned. Plenty, but not too much - it's not overwhelming.
Unlike other online classes, this material is presented in full -- a work-at-your-own-pace workshop, without a facilitator, nor a forum or online gallery for student interaction. The material is entirely self-paced and guided. The reader picks and chooses what prompts and activities to do, when, and in what order. For some, the amount of choices for topics might be overwhelming, without a "do this, then do this" sort of structure, but I think it works. The lack of deadlines, coupled with the freeform choices allows the content to be worked in as needed and as inspired. I didn't find it overwhelming, but rather quite do-able. Scrappers interested in a more structured class might want to set up a timeline for themselves, using the content provided, or to seek out others who have purchased the same month's content, so they can follow it together and draw inspiration from each other's related projects.
Definitely two thumbs up for this series - you'll have more journaling and layout ideas than you'll ever be able to get to, and each can inspire more ideas for future projects. Katie has done her homework with all the research and resource material - all that's left is for you to pick it up, be inspired, and go scrap something! With Katie's Amazing Month of Memories, there's definitely cause to celebrate!