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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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162 Responses to Review: Simple Stories by MemoryWorks

  1. Julie May 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Nice review – I love this kit!

  2. Michelle May 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    This kit looks like a lot of fun. I am working with a woman with a visual impaiment and we have been looking at different ways she can scrapbook with her limited vision. We have looked at Becky Higgins and some other ideas. None have really worked for her yet. This might be the answer. Thanks for the review.

  3. Danielle May 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    I have been wanting to try ring album scrapbooking. It seems I could get a lot done in a small amount of time. I take a lot of time designing my pages, this kit looks so easy to get an album done in a few days!

  4. Tiffany H. May 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    What a great review, thanks.

  5. Connie M May 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    would love to try this! Looks very user friendly.

  6. heidi y May 26, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    I’ve been eyeing this kit!! Thanks for the review. Now I would LOVE the whole kit – love the ‘documenting’ concept.

  7. Jenn Sloane May 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    I have been looking at this kit for quite some time and have always wanted to jump on it but money has been tight and all. I am impressed by this and the ability that it gets the memories in a book and ready to share and it helps so many people realize that scrapbooking isn’t as hard as some make it out to be.

  8. Betsy Burnett May 27, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    This kit is great! It’s fun to play with and so easy (and fast to use!)

  9. Beth Robles May 27, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    I love, love, love this kit. A friend of mine first introduced me to it and thought what a great way to create layouts. I would be super excited to have this kit in my hands. Thank you so much.

  10. Sarah Crawford May 27, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    I LOVE the Simple Stories line. It somehow magically “goes” with almost every photo I have used with it – it’s amazing. I’m using the kit to create an album of “month in review” 2-page layouts/spreads… It really helps me get photos in my albums and they look good! It really is “simple” – but doesn’t look that way. Then, when I have time I go back and create more layouts with my favorite photos and incorporate them in. The article didn’t mention it, but you can get a kit from independent MemoryWorks consultants (if you don’t win). You can find one in your area on the main website at http://www.memory-works.com under the “consultant finder” or you can email me at sadiescraps at hotmail.com if you have a question.

  11. Vanessa W May 27, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    Wow! I too love the colors in this kit! Mother of one girl. I’ve never tried this page protector idea. Definitely seems kinda interesting. I’d really like to try it!

  12. Mary Mitchell May 27, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Looks like a great kit. I really like the divided page protectors when I’m working on older pictures. Sometimes there are just random pics that just don’t work together in a traditional layout. The divided pages make it easy to just slip a few in with some patterned paper and journaling for a quick and coordinated photo grouping.

    Thanks for a great review

  13. Renee J. May 27, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    This kit looks like so much fun. I agree with the simple approach; yet it can be so elegant!

    May, thank you for sharing your talent with us. It is so refreshing! Thanks, too, for the chance to win this great kit!!

  14. Scrapbook Obsession May 27, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    I’m a Memory Works consultant, so please opt me out of winning the kit :)

    But I wanted to thank you for the honest and practical review. I’ve been using the Simple Stories “Life Documented” kit, along with the WRMK divided page protectors, to complete my Project 365 this year and it’s been a great fit. I also loved to see what you did, using the kit for 12×12 layouts. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ~Erika

    • Sue May 27, 2010 at 10:00 am #

      Erika – MW says they are bringing out more kits based on this concept. Do you know when the next one will be, and if they will still offer the Life Documented kit along with the new one?

      Thanks!

      Sue

      • Lacey May 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

        Information will be released in the next few months about more kits.

  15. Sandrine May 27, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    I love these vintage colors ^-^

  16. Josiane May 27, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    Thanks for the review. I have bought a few of their kits and have been impressed.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  17. ulrik May 27, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    That sure looks interesting! Thanks for the chance to win a kit!

  18. Scrapper Q May 27, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Thanks for the giveaway. Hope I’m the winner of this nifty kit.

  19. Barbs May 27, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    Thanks for the detailed review. I really would love to use the divided page protectors with my scrapbooking projects.

  20. KateT May 27, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    This kit concept looks very interesting and I would love to try working with it.

    ** Kate **

  21. Brenda Manz May 27, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Thanks for this review. This kit makes my project of scrap booking for my 4 sons a lot less overwhelming and give me hope that I can accomplish this in a more reasonable amount of time for all four sons in my ‘lifetime’ and have a quality product in the process. Thanks so much.

  22. Deborah M May 27, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    I like the papers – appear to be versitile enough for use with both boys and girls. Now to find a memory works consultant :) Thanks for the review.

    Deborah

  23. Vicky May 27, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    Unfortunately I live in Canada and have found it impossible to buy anything from this company so to win something would be great. Perhaps though they could look into supplying international customers or at least answering their emails requesting more information……

  24. Pamela Vogrin May 27, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Looks like a fun kit…new is always exciting as is a chance to win a prize…thanks! :-)

  25. Amy K May 27, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Great review, and great kit. Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. Angie Kyle May 27, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Ooooh, love it! Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. Gab McCann May 27, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Thanks for that review – it sounds like a great concept

  28. Kara-All U Need Scrap May 27, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    I love this idea. I have been looking at the trend with these style page protector, but have not tried it! This is a perfect way to do just that. I have been wondering if it is quick and easy.
    I have also thought about using these pg protectors to use for all those “other” photos that I love but didn’t make the cut on a 12×12 layout or mini!
    I feel inspired to try it now! Thanks!

  29. Kathy in MN May 27, 2010 at 7:15 am #

    Excellent review-I’ve looked at this product before, but I hadn’t read how anyone had used it up until now. Thanks!

  30. Donna VW May 27, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    This sounds interesting. I would love to try it.

  31. Holly May 27, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    This looks great! I check in daily to see what wonderful new finds you are reviewing. This is really a super one to learn about! Thanks May for all you do to keep us up to date!

  32. Madzie May 27, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    This is really great. I love the idea of this type of scrapping. Have not seen this kit and I love the papers and the embellies look awesome.

    Thanks for the chance to win!!!
    Madzie

  33. Erin Probst May 27, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Interesting approach. I would definitely like to see more about this company and what they offer.

  34. Sherri Renfro May 27, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Seems like a good price for a kit. Many are twice that amount. I would love a chance to win – thanks for the opportunity! Great review, May.

  35. lady_jane May 27, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    I love the distressed look, so I’m sure I could easily use this kit. Like you, I seldom use whole sheets of patterned paper, so like the idea of the bits and pieces. Love the layouts you put together!!

  36. Debbie P May 27, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    This line looks gorgeous, and I would probably use it the same way you did–without the divided page protectors, though I have to say, it definitely would tempt me to try that for the first time, which I’ve been wanting to do. I would love to win this kit!

  37. Shirley Pando May 27, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    What a wonderful kit! :D

  38. Donna U May 27, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Thank you for the review. Just goes to show how simple and effective a product can be. Like this very much.

  39. Ginny May 27, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Looks like a fun kit. Thanks for the review!

  40. Jennifer S. May 27, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    This kit looks like a great deal of fun. Thanks for the chance to win.

  41. sue frazier May 27, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    i love the papers and the distressed look of the papers. Even with two girls in my 5 kid brood…i found it easy to use the papers…and to my daughter’s delight, there’s pink in it!!

  42. Mary Kay Seckinger May 27, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    What an intriguing idea– thanks for the post!

  43. lenore bremner May 27, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    I woiuld love to try this product! Thanks for the review and the chance to win!

  44. Tammy Davis May 27, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I love this kit! Beautiful colors! I have long wanted to take my old pocket pages and do something like this. Thanks for the chance to win!

  45. Kelly Ann Belton May 27, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    I love the look of this collection, distressed and gorgeous! I am curious to try my hand at the divided page protectors – this looks to be a great way to start.

  46. flowerdisco May 27, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    May…the papers are gorgeous. I have an old stack from them and I love the quality of their papers and this collection is GORGEOUS! My old collection is called OVER THE RAINBOW and I really really love it.

  47. flowerdisco May 27, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    May…the papers are gorgeous. I have an old stack from them and I love the quality of their papers and this collection is GORGEOUS! My old collection is called OVER THE RAINBOW and I really really love it. you layout rocks as always….love your style.

  48. Sylvia May 27, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    This kit looks fabulous to me. I’d love to work with the products.

  49. Robin May 27, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    What a great review. I had never heard of this company or kit. Thanks for the chance to win!

  50. Phyllis Hafley May 27, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    It would be fun to try the new divided page protectors.