10 Questions with Ali Edwards
It all started when my friend called me asking for a butterfly punch. In fact, she had already been to the local stores searching. Why was my not-a-frequent-scrapbooker friend looking for a butterfly punch? "Well, there is this blog post by a lady named Ali Edwards. Ever heard of her?" she asked. Um, yeah. Ali Edwards has taken the scrapbooking industry to a new level. Curious, I found her blog to see what was so amazing about a butterfly punch. Ali's blog featured a home décor item made with scrapbook supplies. The more I read of Ali's blog, the more her name climbed the charts of my most "admirable scrapbookers'" list.
She writes articles for Creating Keepsakes Magazine, has published three books, teaches scrapbook classes nationally, is an inspirational speaker (read her blog), wife to a legislator, and mom to a darling little boy named Simon. This girl is the Beyonce of scrapbooking. More than a triple threat, Ali is a multi-faceted diamond! I was just a little excited about interviewing her.
- How did it all start? What is the timeline from your first submission to today?
I started scrapbooking in the fall of 2002 as a way to organize all the things that had started piling up after the birth of my son Simon. My first published page was in Creating Keepsakes in May 2003 (Becky Higgins sketch column) and I was one of the winners of the Hall of Fame contest that year as well. My first book came out in 2004, I began my blog in late 2004, and my column debuted in January 2006 (you can find an archive of some of those earlier entries here:. It has been a very wonderful, crazy journey.
- What are your current jobs, responsibilities, and/or positions in the scrapbooking industry?
Currently I am the Lifestyle Editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine. I write and create projects for a monthly column called Studio A. I teach workshops at Creating Keepsakes events. From home I write a blog and an occasional newsletter and come up with all sorts of various projects to keep myself busy.
- What is the best part of it all?
Doing what I love. Working from home. Focusing on my family.
- A Designers Eye for Scrapbooking (basics of design) and A Designers Eye for Patterned Papers were almost like a semester of scrapbooking how-to classes rolled into one book, per subject. Your book Life Artist even taught a philosophy that has changed the way scrapbookers think. Anymore foundational how-to books on the horizon?
My next book is coming out in August and it is a book about creating practical and inspiring minibooks called SHARING YOUR STORY: RECORDING LIFE'S DETAILS WITH MINI BOOKS. I had a great group of inspiring artists working with me and a few projects that came from a minibook call. It's a very fun book.
- What is the main concept of Life Artist, your most recent book release?
The main concept is this: capturing life through words and photos and doing something creative with that documentation. For me it also extends beyond scrapbooking - I want to live my life in a creative manner. I believe that our own personal "art" can be the way in which we choose to live our lives.
- What was your goal for the scrapbooker in this book: inspiration, freedom, education?
Life Artist is a collection of my thoughts on scrapbooking. It is the book I have always wanted to write. It is more focused on my philosophy of capturing life in a creative manner: embracing imperfection, going with the flow, not making it more complicated than it needs to be, and celebrating the everyday. They are all things I try to live by as well as mantras I use while creating.
What I really wanted to create with that book was something that I would want to read. I wanted it to be a nice balance between words and images, between philosophy and projects. When someone picks up that book I want them to have the opportunity to really reflect on what scrapbooking means to them in their life. I want the reader to get excited about documenting their stories and stop worrying about trying to make everything perfect.
- Walk us through a typical layout/project. Do you have a theme and order pictures to support it or do you start with the photos?
In general I am most focused on the stories. Sometimes the stories are inspired by a photo and other times I go looking for photos to support the story I want to tell. Most of the time I print photos from home due to the flexibility in choosing size as I am generating ideas for the layout. I keep lists of concepts and themes and stories I want to document and refer to that often when it is time to get to work.
- Your blog is not just about scrapbooking, it's about organizing your life too. What's your "thing" right now?
My biggest thing right now is managing the excess stuff - this covers all areas of my life. Just the other day I was cleaning out under my bathroom sink and I had four different bottles of lotion down there. Why in the world do I need four bottles? I am definitely one of those people that gets all excited about organizing everything, actually goes through the process of organizing it, and then the entire cycle begins again (especially the accumulation of stuff). I am working on not letting/not bringing as much excess stuff in our house and trying to focus more on what is really important (time with family, reading, playing, making stuff).
- A career, a husband, a child and a hobby? How do you keep up with it all? Do you schedule time(s) for things?
It's a constant work in progress with lots of dreams about balance. When Chris is not in session (Oregon Legislature) we both work from home - this gives us quite a bit of flexibility. I try to do most of my work during the hours that Simon is in school and leave the late afternoon/evening for family time. It's not unusual for both Chris and me to do computer work after Simon goes to bed.
- Favorite tips? Out of all your books, all your classes, all your knowledge, what is your "tried-and-true" tip that will never go out-of-style?
Buy a square punch. I love my Marvy Giga punch and use it all the time. It is such a great way to capture and use a variety of different photos or patterns or "daily stuff" on a layout. My square punch is definitely one of my most used tools.
Want a personalized album, created by Ali? She has designed a photobook for http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=puoJ7FavRps&offerid=91218.10000028&type=3&subid. All you have to do is add your own photos and journaling. Ali even gives you step-by-step instructions of how to make the most of your own Everyday Life Photobook. I think this album would be a great start to taking memory recording to another level, by celebrating more than events, but life itself.