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Archive | May 26, 2010

Review: Simple Stories by MemoryWorks

MemoryWorks is a rapidly growing direct sales scrapbook company that I first learned of a few weeks ago. They sell many top brands. I was impressed by the lines they sell – many of the trendiest items on the market today are in their catalog. Simple Stories is new for them, a product line designed by MemoryWorks with the intent to simplify scrapbooking and take it back to its roots. The debut kit “Life Documented” is now available.

I was intrigued by the premise of this kit the moment I opened the box. I have noticed a rise in the trend of using page protectors that are divided into various sizes, not to mention a movement toward encouraging scrapbookers to do their own (guilt free!) crafting. I think that is a great thing. I can simply stick photos from a vacation into 4×6 divided sleeves and add them into my album – less work, faster results! This isn’t a new idea, because these kinds of page protectors have been around a long time. However, it’s great to see it rising in popularity again, and I like that MemoryWorks is focusing a product line on simple, fast to put together scrapbooking.

They sell the bundle of 10 page protectors shown above for $5.50, as well as a variety of other page protector options. The Life Documented kit of supplies is priced at $16.99, and includes a variety of 4×6 journaling cards, as well as larger pieces and strips to go in the various sized dividers. It also contains patterned paper, a sheet of stickers, and six photo overlays. Note that all of the pieces (with exception of stickers and overlays) are provided as part of 12×12 sheets and you will need to cut them apart. This is actually nice – you can further customize or decide what and how you’re going to use the products.

The price seems fair market value for what you get, but not a value price point in my mind. The paper is a good thick quality, and the patterns are really pretty. Now, for me the patterns and styles do not match up with my idea of ‘quick and easy scrapping’. They are bold, some I would consider complicated to work with, and with all the pink accents and flourishes it’s a touch more feminine than I’d like in a ‘life documented’ kit (even as a mom of two girls). Ultimately, this isn’t a problem for me. I do really like the product and (as I would any kit) I knew I would find ways to utilize it in my own way.

I did have one issue with the stickers not being sticky and falling off my projects, but I’m told that this was due to the product I received being an advanced sample. [Editor's note: I played with the stickers from a second kit that I have and the adhesive seemed fine in that kit.]

It’s a really fun kit – especially if you’re into the grungy and distressed look. It includes an idea sheet and on the MemoryWorks blog there are also free digital (PDF file) downloads that compliment this kit.  I tried several times, but was not inspired to create using the divided protectors. I will be keeping this product in mind when I do try my hand again at that style of scrapbooking. I think I just don’t have the right photos to pair with the product in the divided protectors without converting images to black and white. Since I don’t use black & white photos usually, I’ll instead be sharing traditional layouts made from the kit. (Do be sure to watch for a future article with divided page protectors though!)

Here is the first layout I created with the kit. I added in some Basic Grey brads as well as a Prima Flower and three buttons to complete a “fast & easy” page. I put my focus into “get the story told, do it quickly” as the product line is intended to be used. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the product all comes together.

Next I tried something a bit different. I pulled out some cardstock of my own and scrapbooked a candid shot of my daughters.

(additional supplies used: Prism cardstock; Prima flower; Martha Stewart Punch; unknown thread and buttons)

I would strongly recommend this kit to anyone that enjoys the distressed look and likes to work with coordinated kits of supplies. As someone who doesn’t often use whole sheets of patterned paper I appreciated all the bits and pieces I could pull off and utilize. I will be watching for future product from this line, as I’m both impressed with the designs and loving the inspiration behind it.

If you’re looking for product that you can use with divided page protectors, this would be a big winner for that as well. In fact, MemoryWorks has provided Scrapbook Update with a kit (and set of the page protectors as pictured in this article) to give away to one lucky reader.

How to Enter:

All you have to do to be one of the lucky winners is leave a comment on this entry before Midnight U.S. eastern time on Monday, May 31st. Make sure you include your email address in the line reserved for it on the comment form (for your own protection, don’t put it in the text of the comment, where it will be visible to the public – just in the line labeled “email” in the form where only Scrapbook Update staff can see it). We will need it to notify you if you are a winner. Winners will be drawn by random drawing from all eligible entries. One entry per person.

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