Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Story to Tell: Katie from Gadanke

Hi! I'm Katie, the designer behind Gadanke. A couple of years ago, NPR's StoryCorp was in town. It was also my grandma's 90th birthday. The two of us decided to hop into the recording studio to capture some pieces of her story. I had all sorts of prompts to help her with her story telling. (I was always the listener, the one who asked question after question.) The only problem? My grandma couldn't remember. Too much time had passed. Later, my dad turned to me and said, "Katie, I need you to write down your story." I knew he wished he had his mom's stories. So I started writing. I started wondering about all of the other women who have stories deep inside of them, and I started thinking about how my tendency to just listen and ask could help put those stories onto paper. Gadanke was born with fabulous writing prompts and recycled papers. I feel so lucky to be living my dream.
My grandma told me that she didn’t have a story worth telling.

My jaw dropped. I thought her story was fabulous. So one day I started asking her little questions about her life. As if a piece of her heart opened to the world, my grandma had story after story to share. I think she was shocked to discover these pieces that were still in her. They were pieces that made her who she is today at 94 years old.
Do you have a story?

I suspect you do. Your daily life is filled with little bits. Sometimes we don’t even realize how these moments in our lives shape us until we’re prompted.

If I handed you a blank page and said, “Now write your life story,” do you think you could do it? It’s a pretty overwhelming task. It’s also why blank journals can often become records of all our sadness and frustration.

Interviewing my grandma forever changed my life. Listening to her stories, I started wondering about all of the other women who have stories deep inside of them. I created an online journal and writing prompt shop, Gadanke.

It's always so fun to connect here with Ashley at The Creative Place. She knows the power of celebrating our stories, doesn't she?!
When you have a passion or a dream, write about it. Write about plans. Write lists of loves. And above all, write about you.

If you start thinking, "Well gosh, who cares about my story?", think of your mom and grandmas and all the women who came before you. Their stories matter to you; your story should, too.
You have a story that is so very worth hearing.

Ashley, thank you so very much for having me.

About Katie and her shop: I'm American; my husband is German. We split our time between a 480 square foot apartment in Berlin, Germany and - get this - a house made out of hundreds of recycled tires in Montana, USA.

My journals have always documented our adventure. But we just couldn't keep it all to ourselves. (The love of fun journals, I mean. NOT the jetlag.)

As a trained writer, my goal at Gadanke is simple:I want to help you create the type of journals and memory books you'll treasure. We all have stories, and I promise. Your story is worth celebrating. So my goal is to help make your writing process more enjoyable and meaningful. That way you can really dive into the zest of life.

I'm incredibly lucky to have experienced life in Europe and the United States. It's opened my mind to so many values and perspectives on life. It's also given me the great opportunity to select beautiful journal materials. My products feature beautiful Italian patterned papers, American library cards, pockets, little sentiments, and 100% recycled German paper. I'm convinced you'll love them!

Want your own fabulous journal?! Use coupon code GETCREATIVE at checkout to receive 10% off of your purchase. Hurry! Offer expires March 17 at 5:00pm MST.


  1. This post really resonates with me, because two Christmases ago, my sister bought my grandpa a book on how to write your own autobiography. Our whole family realized that he has so many great stories to share about his college days and putting his boots in the oven to warm them up, his time in the navy when he was always seasick, and his life around the town where he and most of my other family members all still live before it was 'up and coming.' They aren't stories that would come up in normal conversation, so now when he thinks of them, he writes them down. He has told us that going through his history has made him remember a lot of times that he thought he had forgotten. He hasn't shared it with us yet, but I like to think of it as a great gift he'll be giving his family for years to come.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Katie!

  2. Ashely, you're the greatest. I love reflecting here. Thank you so much for having me. :)

  3. Your post (and blog) are truly awesome, Katie! Thanks for doing this! It's almost normal for us to write down OUR thoughts and day-to-day life, but it's something weird for our grandparents/parents. I realized that, when my greatgrandmother passed away and not just her but all her stories, ideas and dreams were gone...
    That's why I bought journaling books for both my grandparents where they can remember THEIR history! It's almost breathtaking to see them remember their childhood (I'm German, so you'll know during what time their childhood was...) and also a whole new way for them to feel about their past!

    Thanks for sharing your story, Katie! And of course, thank you, Ashley, for your wonderful blog!

  4. Thank you - this is what I need!