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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. dorothy May 27, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    I am really intrigued by this concept. Anything to make it easier to get layouts done, tell the story, without sacrificing style. I’d love to try this… Maybe even as a supplement to those occasions and events (like vacations) where you have too many photos to scrap them all traditionally. Do a fully-artistic, traditional two page spread and then supplement with these for the extra photos you can’t bear to leave out.

  2. Laura #1943 May 27, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    I find myself “letting go” and concentrating more on getting it done ! These ez pages with the ‘slide the photo in’ are NICE to intermix with craftier pages when you have a creative crisis !! I’ve seen them before….but it is always nice to see them in a different light ! Thanks !! Have a great day !

  3. Jennifer Earley May 27, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Thanks for all of the information on this new kit! I love the distressed look on my LOs and have been trying to do more of it recently. From the pics you posted of the supplies, they look like something I could really use :) Not sure how I feel about the divided page protectors, but it’s something I would try. Thanks for your honesty in your review~
    Jennifer

  4. Summer Mobley May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    I have really enjoyed experimenting with divided protectors, so this kit looks like it was made with me in mind! It looks very versatile and I would really love to have it!!

  5. Darla Davison May 27, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Loved the look of the kit! Never used divided protectors, but would def try them! When you were talking about black/white photos, I thought of my daughters seior pix and wondering if they would work with them?? Thanks for the insight! Def something I would buy!

  6. Linda Adkins May 27, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    I too have trouble scrapping with these types of pages, but will occ. use them injunction with a traditional page. I like have all items working together, but still add my own touch as you did with the flower and buttons. I am a lumpy scrapper at heart.

    Linda A

  7. Nancy Dehart May 27, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    I have been using the divided pages for a while now. I even have some from a previous company that I am still using occasionally. I love the way they add variety to my albums and that I can get many more pics in the same space. I also love the fact that it is very quick to complete those pages.

  8. Miki Barr May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    I’ve been using divided page protectors for years – each page has 3 horizontal pockets and 2 vertical pockets. Love them! It’s nice to see someone has finally created a product that caters to my style of scrapping! Yay!

  9. Jann May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    This company might have done it right, finally. Too many times the groupings go off course or all of the paper looks the same. This seems to have the different images on the same general them right there with the accessories you can mix and match (not use on a single page) or use on your own, as well as a M S Punch (wooza) and the flowers. I cannot wait to see other packages from them

    Jann

  10. Marlene Jackson May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I love this kit! I have several packages of the divided page protectors and l really enjoy scrapbooking this way – fast and easy!

  11. Sue May 27, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I really like the idea of this kit and I’ve been thinking about getting it for some time. I even emailed the Memoryworks consultant closest to me but she never got back to me. I think this format is perfect for the Picture of the Day or 365 type of scrapbooks out there because it makes it easy to slip in a picture, jazz it up, and make it stand out from your oridinary photo album.

  12. Lorelai K May 27, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Thanks for the ideas. I’m always willing to try something new and sometimes need a shove in the right direction!

  13. Cindy d May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I always love the chance to try something that’s outside my comfort zone- that’s how I grow as a scrapper. Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Cassie W May 27, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    I have been looking for a kit like this to document a picture a day while my husband is deployed. He will leave in a few months for this third tour and creating an album of a picture a day to document things here would be great. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. EJ May 27, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    I’ve not done a kit like this before and would love to have the opportunity to see if I like them. Love this blog.

  16. tammy k May 27, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Why haven’t I seen the divided pages before? Perhaps I had, and didn’t think to use them – but now I can see myself using them often. So many times I have photos for an album I don’t want to scrap, but end up putting in an envelope in the back, these pages would be perfect for those!

  17. Christy Lohrmann May 27, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I’ve always wanted to try the divided page scrapbooks. They look like it would be a fun way to put an album together. And I love all the colors in this kit.

  18. Shelley W. May 27, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    I love the ease of divided page protectors and this kit goes a looong way!

  19. Lacey May 27, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Thanks for reviewing the Simple Stories line! I’m a MemoryWorks consultant and have LOVED working with this kit. It’s fun to work with the divided pages. I love seeing other points of views on the kit as well and people using to fit their own scrapbook style. Your layouts turned out wonderfully! Thanks!!!

    (please don’t enter me for a chance to win…)

  20. Mary Lavery May 27, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    I would love to try the divided page protectors and see how it comes together since i rarely have the time to do full 12×12 pages anymore. Thanks for the review!

  21. Melinda Brooks May 27, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    We are looking for kits like these to sell in teh store. But, I am the type of person that has to “touch and feel” everything before we order it for the store. I would love to check it out.

  22. Melinda Brooks May 27, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    Just did a little research… and realized this is a direct Sales company. So, I cant have it in teh store, but I would still love to win it… thanks for the oppurtunity.

  23. Antoinette Naude May 27, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I enjoyed reading May’s review. It is thorough and not biased. I’ve liked the kit ever since it was launched, but having to ship it internationally made me hesitate. I think the idea of using the page protectors is good for someone like me who doesn’t scrap 12×12 much but still want something more customised. Lovely!

  24. Eileen May 27, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Thanks for the great review! I could do this! It looks so easy.

  25. Valerie Serfozo May 27, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks for the information about the Simple Stories line. I’d love to give it a try.

  26. Vicki May 27, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Thanks for the review May– I have peeked at this kit online more than once and really think it looks great– I had not heard of this direct sale company before and was alittle hesitant to order without seeing the supplies in person.

    I also was not so sure about the divided page protectors but your idea of using the supplies on a full page is a good one!

  27. Vicki J. Wade May 27, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    The kit looks intriguing! I’m going to go check it out. Thanks for the giveaway Memory Works and Scrapbook Update!

  28. Kim Gilroy May 27, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I have been resisting the urge to get this, but seeing what you have done on the layouts has really inspired me to get it.

    As far as MemoryWorks, I’ve been a consultant for a few years now, and I have to say this company is awesome!

  29. leigh ann sondrup May 27, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    these pages have come in handy when you have massive amount of pictures from major events–love the colors–might even cause me to get pictures printed and put into a book???

  30. Erica Hettwer May 27, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Great review! I haven’t yet scrapbooked with divided page protectors yet but really want to!

  31. Jan May 27, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    I like the idea of the divided page protectors as a supplement to 12×12′s or 8.5×11′s. I am not sure I can think it out though. The papers look really cute and I hope they did work out the stickyness of the stickers – that is kind of my pet peeve!

  32. Jena Baker May 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    I would really like to try working with the divided page protectors and I also think this kit could be used to make some great gifts for loved ones.

  33. Donna C May 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I am definitely intrigued!! REally pretty colors and love the embellies! Thanks!

  34. RUTH WEBB May 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    I LOVE SCRAPBOOK UPDATE. I HAVEN’T TRIED DIVIDED PAGE PROCTORS.
    THIS KIT IS A MUST TO TRY. THE DISTRESSED LOOK IS VERY PRETTY.
    HOPE I CAN WIN THIS KIT!

  35. Nancy James May 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Hey May, long time no see!! I loved your review of this kit. I have been wanting one ever since I first saw it a little while ago. I really like this concept and it makes it so much easier to get more scrapping done. Thanks for the chance to win one. Nancy J.

  36. Christine Ousley May 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Their products are gorgeous and work so well for those style of pages. Sometimes you just have to have something quick and this is classy and functional.
    xoxo, Christine

  37. Rosa Neno May 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I just love it! I have so many photos of my husband and I dating that havent gotten scrapped; would love to have this!!
    Have a great Memorial Weekend!

  38. Lynnscraps May 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I am seriously going to check out this kit. I have started using the divided protectors for extra photos and really like it II usually make a “decorated” 12×12 page and place other photos in the protectors.

  39. Coree Westmoreland May 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I actually have used the page protectors for an event scrapbook and loved it. I can’t wait to try the kit with them.

  40. Darcy McNairy May 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Would be fun to try this new process and experiment with the divided pages. Thanks for reviewing this kit!

  41. Lesa May 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Neat kit and I love what you did with it! I’ve been wanting to give the divided page protectors a try so thank you for the nudge. And thank you for the informative, honest review.

  42. Sandy May 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I have also gotten to dig in to this kit and love it! I did the divided page protectors for the first time using this kit – I won’t do it EVERY time I scrapbook, but it definitely worked out great for getting lots of photos scrapped quickly, and still looking nice. I’m on the MemoryWorks team and got an advanced copy, so I dont’ need to be entered in the drawing…but I wanted you to know that I appreciated your review and loved your layouts!

  43. laurensmom22 May 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    I’ve thought about trying the divided page protectors, but haven’t. I think it’s time because, really, I don’t need to decorate everything single thing. That realization has been a long time coming. And I love the kit idea because everything will coordinate which means less time planning and scrapping.

  44. Melinda Wilson May 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    I am using page protectors like this for an Alaska trip but I have never seen a kit with all these items. I would love to win!

  45. tracy May 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    This looks like an interesting kit.

  46. Jingle May 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    This is such an amazing kit!

  47. lucyg May 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I was already checking out these divided page protectors and would love to give them a try. I’m also interested in checking out MemoryWorks now, too … thanks for the review!

  48. Karen Campbell May 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    I have tried the divided pages and they are great when you don’t want every picture on a layout but want them to be seen and included. I have been looking at this kit for awhile but haven’t found a representative to get it from. Thanks for the review.

  49. Melissa Horn May 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    I have seen this kit in action and I just love the style and colors. I can see myself getting a lot more done in less time by using the divided protectors. My plan would be to use the kit as it was intended, to document ordinary life moments month by month.

  50. Diana H May 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    I bought the kit and used it for a Thanksgiving trip. I agree with May though, you can’t really use the kit for random pictures and black and white look a lot better with the distress look. I really liked it for my autumn theme and I had hundreds of pictures so it saved me time.