SYW102 – My Way with Ashley Rodgers

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Ashley Rodgers has a distinctive creative style and I knew we had to have her as a Featured Artist. In this episode you’ll get to know Ashley on a more personal level and learn what influences her creative choices. We chat about her clever supply storage approach, her botanical inspirations, and her journey as a scrapbooker.

Ashley Rodgers 0:00

I give myself permission not to create anything and trust that inspiration will come. I don't feel like creating every day, so I think it's okay to give yourself that break from time to time.

Jennifer Wilson 0:14

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 102. In this episode, I'm interviewing Ashley Rogers for the My Way series. My Way is all about celebrating the unique ways memory keepers get things done. We're excited to have Ashley as the February featured artist at Simple Scrapper.

Jennifer Wilson 0:46

Hey Ashley, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way. I am so looking forward to our conversation today.

Ashley Rodgers 0:52

Hi, Jennifer, thank you for having me.

Jennifer Wilson 0:54

Can you share a little bit about yourself so that our listeners can get to know Ashley Rodgers?

Ashley Rodgers 1:01

Sure. I am 30 and I live in Suffolk, Virginia. I was actually born in Germany. My dad was in the military. And we moved to the United States when I was just a baby. And we've lived all over Virginia pretty much. And I've always loved arts and crafts. And I enjoy it enjoy pretty much everything from sewing to art journaling in memory keeping.

Jennifer Wilson 1:30

I hear that a lot from our guests. We're all kind of creative, dabblers. And then there was this, you know, scrapbooking thing that was able to capture the ongoing, you know, ups and downs of our life with our craftiness and it's just, you know, something we always fall in love with.

Ashley Rodgers 1:46

Yes, yes.

Jennifer Wilson 1:48

So on the podcast, we always love to share, what are one or two things that are exciting you right now and memory keeping it could be anything at all?

Ashley Rodgers 1:57

Well, right now, I'm really excited about Ali Edwards' One Little Word workshop.

Jennifer Wilson 2:04

So good.

Ashley Rodgers 2:05

Yes, I've, I've gone through all of January so far. And this is my sixth year choosing a word and my third year actually participating in the class. And I just love that she's invited some guest instructors so we can learn about their process and how they approached the project in their own way.

Jennifer Wilson 2:26

Yes, it's been, I think it's gonna be so interesting to hear their problems and hear their kind of unique twists on One Little Word and just to have a little bit more creative breath to the to the workshop. So this is the only the second time that I've taken the workshop, but I've chosen a word for many years, like almost 10. I think I'm curious how your, I don't know, your process or how you lean on your word has changed in the time that you've chosen one?

Ashley Rodgers 3:00

Well, I usually probably in December, I would say a word usually comes to me, or I figure out what word is going to be my word for the year. And I I go through the prompts in January to figure out what I want my year to look like and how I just want to embrace my word and let it guide me through the year. And I usually I usually follow the prompts pretty closely throughout the year.

Jennifer Wilson 3:43

Well, I really love that perspective of kind of thinking about your, your intention for yourself for the year, and then use it letting the word kind of expand that or deepen that or help you continue to connect to that vision as a touch point. I think that's one of the really the powerful things of of the One Little Word process.

Ashley Rodgers 4:06


Jennifer Wilson 4:08

All right. So I would say that the thing that's exciting me right now, you know, this is, this is just kind of random. We have done our spark magazine for so many years. And this is our 85th issue. And for the first time, I ordered a print copy of it just just so that I could see what it would look like. And I even pulled our members to see Are you interested in print copies? And the vast majority said no, but I'm just lately. I know, but I'm like it's so beautiful.

Ashley Rodgers 4:40

Yeah, it really is. I would love a printed copy. It's so gorgeous.

Jennifer Wilson 4:46

Yeah. And so, go ahead.

Ashley Rodgers 4:48

Sorry. There's so much inspiration. It's really like jam packed with so many different tips and so much inspiration.

Jennifer Wilson 4:58

Well and you know the kind of the way it logistically that you became one of our feature artists is because we were, we were looking for more kind of stylistic inspiration, like when we go to someone's Instagram and see like, they have this like, beautiful, consistent style. And you can see their personality and their kind of creative voice through their work. And you use so many like botanical elements both, not only just in the products that you choose, but you are taking photos of flowers and plants as well. And so we, you know, created our number challenge around this idea of scrapbooking with botanical elements and around your particular style. So it's just, yeah, I'm so I'm excited about our new double issues. And you know, the possibility of maybe offering these printed versions, like on demand on a smaller scale, but it's just, I love our magazine, and it just feels like we're blossoming into a new era, if you will, I guess.

Ashley Rodgers 6:00

So, yes, that's great. I love that.

Jennifer Wilson 6:03

So shifting gears here, we always talk about our memory keeping Bucket Lists. So these are stories, they could be, you know, big and difficult, or they can be small, yet really, really meaningful. It's just that story that you really feel like you need to tell, you know, as part of your memory keeping library. So what is one story on your memory keeping Bucket List?

Ashley Rodgers 6:26

I was thinking about this. And there's a lot of stories I would like to tell. But the one project that's really at the forefront of my mind right now is it's sort of a December Daily style project. Where I would highlight our past family traditions for Christmas. I just felt like I feel like this past December, I was feeling very nostalgic and missing. Those days of like traveling to see my family and gathering together. Yes. So I just think it would be nice to have an album full of those childhood memories, and stories.

Jennifer Wilson 7:06

I love that idea. That's that's kind of how I approached my let's see what so last year was 2020, the year before that was 2018. I did like 25 stories and about half were from that year. And then the other half were kind of stories of traditions, or what I remember from the past. And I actually really tried to also incorporate my husband's viewpoint into that too, because sometimes, you know, our, our partners and significant others and loved ones can get left out of the story a little bit. But I love bringing in those stories from the past, because those are sometimes some of the most interesting ones.

Ashley Rodgers 7:42

Yes, I think so too.

Jennifer Wilson 7:44

So for that project, do you think would you do you have like a supply vision for that of how you want to put it together? Or is this kind of just later on the horizon?

Ashley Rodgers 7:54

I don't really have any supplies gathered for it. But and I also don't really have any photos. So I think it would be just a lot of writing about what I remember and what I loved about our traditions back then.

Jennifer Wilson 8:15

That sounds beautiful. I think that'd be it could be a really special project.

Ashley Rodgers 8:20


Jennifer Wilson 8:21

Alright, so this is one of our My Way episodes where we get to know our guests a little bit deeper. And we do this with all of our featured artists. So can you kind of take us back and let us know how you started scrapbooking.

Ashley Rodgers 8:36

Well, I always try to go back and remember when I first came across, scrapbooks and memory keeping, and I distinctly remember watching the Carol Duvall show on HGTV when I was younger.

Jennifer Wilson 8:51

Oh yeah.

Ashley Rodgers 8:52

And it was like one of my favorite shows. So I actually made my very first scrapbook in 2004. So I was probably 14 then and it was about my chip with my dad and I we went to Florida and I just remember being super excited about it. Because it was basically my first flight since being a baby in flying from Germany to the states. So I got this 12 by 12 scrapbook and it came with all the coordinating papers and stickers. And I really enjoyed putting the album together. And I made a couple more albums after that and then didn't really scrapbook for a while until 2017 when I discovered Ali Edwards pocket page style and the December Daily project.

Jennifer Wilson 9:48

Oh that's so interesting because I really kind of fell, I was kind of dabbling in a little bit of digital back in 2008. But I really kind of fell hard into scrapbooking with December Daily as well, because I just kept seeing all these posts all over and like, what is the object? And like they're doing all these things. There's so many fun little, little supplies. And yeah, and that was pre pocket pages too. So I definitely have seen the evolution of more mini book style two pocket pages. And then now I think there's, there's also kind of a shift more towards full page mini book type albums again. So it's just so fascinating. But it's, it's just so interesting to see how that project has roped so many scrapbookers into the hobby,

Ashley Rodgers 10:34

Right? Yes, I came across it. And I basically like binge watched all the YouTube videos, people were sharing and posting. And there's so many different ways people approach the project. And I just really got a lot of inspiration from it.

Jennifer Wilson 10:56

So let's think now to 2017 when you really kind of came to this hobby in a more modern way, with your contemporary stories, how has your hobby evolved in the past? You know, four years or so?

Ashley Rodgers 11:12

I would say,I would say it's much it's become much more of maybe I would say a gratitude practice for me. And an act of self care. I feel like when I pay attention to my surroundings and pause to take a photo and sit down to tell these stories, I'm much more appreciative of life and the people around me.

Jennifer Wilson 11:42

Yes, 100%. I think when we can connect this deep, a deep why a deep reason for for creating that helps us get to our table more often. And yeah, I definitely see it in a very similar way.

Ashley Rodgers 12:00

Yeah, I love just documenting the little things because my life sometimes can feel pretty mundane, the same thing from day to day. So just focusing on the little things just helps keep me grounded,

Jennifer Wilson 12:15

For sure. So we've talked a little bit about your style, but how would you describe it?

Ashley Rodgers 12:22

I would say my style is minimalistic, soft and peaceful.

Jennifer Wilson 12:30

Hmm, yes, that's a good word for it, I love that. And we will include a link to your Instagram and the other links you want in the show notes for this so that others can, you know, take a peek at your style. But do you have any advice for others who are still trying to define their style? Did you kind of do you feel like your scrapbooking has looked similar over the past three or four years? Or has it evolved as you've kind of settled into that style?

Ashley Rodgers 12:56

I feel like it looks fairly similar. But I feel like well, it's kind of evolving now because I'm getting much more into mixed media and incorporating that into my memory keeping projects. But for anyone that's trying to define their style, I would say to look through your collection of scrapbook pages or albums and see what stands out the most which you love the most? Is it mixed media heavy? Or is there lots of journaling? And just lean into those, those things.

Jennifer Wilson 13:39

I love that I think looking through your own work, can really just bring out both the trends that you see. And then maybe the trends of what's absent as well. Like, oh, I have all these, you know, let's say dark jewel tone ritually colored papers, but I don't gravitate towards those because maybe their style is more like yours, where it's very light, feminine, you know, minimalist, as well. So I think we can learn a lot from our own stuff, even before we go and look and see what things we admire out there. Because we can always admire other people's work without it being our own style. For sure.

Ashley Rodgers 14:14

Right, definitely. And if you are just starting out, that would probably be a good starting point, choose maybe three to four scrapbookers that you like that are your favorite, and figure out what you love most about their work and give those things a try.

Jennifer Wilson 14:31

Oh, that's a great piece of advice as well. Awesome. So how do you stay motivated to create? Are you someone that's kind of always feels connected to your hobby or do you have to jump back into it sometimes?

Ashley Rodgers 14:44

I would say there's three things that helped keep me motivated. So one would be I give myself permission not to create anything. And trust that inspiration will come because not every day. I don't Feel like creating every day. So I think it's okay to give yourself that break from time to time. And the second thing would be having multiple projects going at one time. So if I'm not feeling particularly excited about working on one prep project, I'll shift gears and work on something else. And that could just be like a totally different creative activity, like cutting fabric for a sewing project. Or it might be art journaling, or even just organizing my supplies. And the third thing is really watching other people create crafty videos on YouTube or even on Instagram. I feel like there's a lot of inspiration on social media. And that sort of helps me find my groove again.

Jennifer Wilson 15:52

Oh, for sure. You know, I would say that because I say this, I don't always watch a lot of scrapbooking YouTube videos. And I think part of that is I didn't want to feel creatively influenced. But then I realized that I was missing out on an important source of motivation. And that so I've kind of opened myself up to that this year and leaned on that. So I always kind of have a YouTube playlist going to waiting there for me. And yes, sometimes it sends me down rabbit holes, and I end up buying new supplies because it's fun. But but it also kind of keeps me jazzed up in a way that my the other strategies I was using doesn't, doesn't do so yeah, I love it too. So we are in the midst of our habits, creative journey. This is our two month period every you know, every two months at Simple Scrapper. This year, we'll have a journey with a theme. And the theme is designed to be broad enough so that you can take away what you need from it. But I'm curious actually, what is one habit that helps you make scrapbooking easier or more fun.

Ashley Rodgers 17:02

So one habit that I have, I just recently developed this habit and it is leaving all of the album's I'm currently working on out and open. So I have I have three projects that I'm working on right now. And usually I just work on one album at a time. But I feel like when I leave them out and open, it's just a great invitation for me to come back to it and create something. When I get home from work at the end of the day, or just in my spare time on the weekends.

Jennifer Wilson 17:37

I love the idea of a creative invitation. Because I definitely feel the same with like if I have a layout in progress. If I leave it out. I can't just let it sit there. I have to finish it. Keep jumping back into it. So having something open is it's a very like it's there's a symbolism there versus having an album close, which then you have to then open it to figure out what's next. Whereas if it's open. Yeah, I love that. That's such a simple thing that you can do.

Ashley Rodgers 18:06


Jennifer Wilson 18:08

All right. So what else are you loving and scrapbooking right now? What formats or sizes do you typically create in?

Ashley Rodgers 18:16

Oh, my favorite size is six by eight. Definitely six by eight. It's not too big and not too small. But I'm actually really excited about four by four albums making a comeback. I saw that Paige Taylor Evans shared recently that four by four albums are coming soon. So I'm excited to to use that size. Again. I ended up using it last year for my project life. And I think it'd be fun to use again, maybe in the summer.

Jennifer Wilson 18:51

Ooh, yes, that would be a really fun summer album. And I was excited to see that We Are Memory Keepers is coming out with another kind of big round of those albums. We were all kind of like, are those going away forever? And yeah, so it'll be cool to see those again.

Ashley Rodgers 19:08

Yes, definitely.

Jennifer Wilson 19:09

So what about your process? How do you get started when you sit down to scrapbook? What are you thinking about a photo that you want to scrapbook a story you want to tell or a product that you want to play with?

Ashley Rodgers 19:22

I usually start with a photo and I draw color inspiration from my photos. So I choose all of my journal cards and embellishments based off of my photo first. And I think the only time I don't start with a photo is when I'm working on a design team project and usually I'm just focused on showcasing the products.

Jennifer Wilson 19:49

Then what products are you loving right now? What design teams are you on?

Ashley Rodgers 19:54

I am on Cocoa Daisy design team right now. And I'm really loving their newest collection called cinnamon blush.

Jennifer Wilson 20:05

Yes. So cute. I love it, too.

Ashley Rodgers 20:07

It's really gorgeous. It has a lot of floral patterns, which I love, of course.

Jennifer Wilson 20:13

Yeah, I'm kind of itching to get I'm kind of using it with the month that goes with. And so I'm just like, I can't wait till February until they could use those products. Are there other products that you're kind of you you've just purchased somewhere else or you're you've been eyeing?

Ashley Rodgers 20:33

Not at the moment. I don't often purchase a lot of products I have a lot in my stash already. So I try to pull from my stash most of the time.

Jennifer Wilson 20:45

Well, that's a good segue. So I'm really curious about how you stay organized. Are there any solutions that you recommend like for your supplies, and if you have a stash of product, and you also have new product coming in? How do you keep that all tidy, so you know what to use.

Ashley Rodgers 21:04

Pretty much has its place. As far as my supplies, I have a rolling drawer unit with all of my scrapbook supplies in it. And then I have a storage bench where I keep all of my albums. And right now, as of last year, I started a system with these four by six photo pocket albums. And I use those for my journaling cards, and then like four by six sticker sheets and die cuts. And I just think that helps it makes it easier to flip through them quickly and see everything at a glance.

Jennifer Wilson 21:43

Can you tell us a little bit more about that? So do you put multiple journaling cards in a in a pocket or like,

Ashley Rodgers 21:50

Yes, they're they're four by six size. So you can fit two, three by four journaling cards in a pocket.

Jennifer Wilson 21:57


Ashley Rodgers 21:58

There's usually there's about 30 pages I would say, and one of those pocket albums. So you can fit quite a few in there.

Jennifer Wilson 22:09

And so you're using that as a way to flip through to be able to see what you have?

Ashley Rodgers 22:14

Yes, because I used to just keep them in a zipper pouch.

Jennifer Wilson 22:19

Mm hmm.

Ashley Rodgers 22:19

One of these different pouches that comes with like Documenter kits. So I started transferring them to the these four by six photo pocket albums to make it easier for me to flip through. And then with with the die cuts, I just cut a scrap piece of cardstock and put a little bit of rolling adhesive tape on the back and stick it down so I can see all of them at a glance too.

Jennifer Wilson 22:50

I love that. I have a kind of a flip through system with these little like mini Ziploc baggies. But it's like basically a whole collection of die cuts. And so I still have to kind of open each one to see what I have. And you know, like yesterday, I was looking for a camera. And I would say that I end up looking for a camera more often. I don't know, like it just is one of my favorite type of embellishments, because we're talking about documenting our lives, right. And I went through all of them. And there are no cameras left. But I'm at the point where I need another system because I can't find if I want something more cinematic. I can't find it. Like I can flip through and see Oh, there's some flowers in a certain color. Or like, you know, a certain you know, mood. But if I'm looking for something specific, I need a different system, I think for that.

Ashley Rodgers 23:41

So do you is everything organized? By theme. So all your flowers are together and all your hearts say are together or stars are together?

Jennifer Wilson 23:51

No, but I think I want to I think I want to transition to that right now. It's basically by collection. So if it was, you know, a kit club, little pack, all those are in one pocket, if it was, you know, just an item I purchased. So all the die cuts that coordinate are in one little pouch together.

Ashley Rodgers 24:10

Right. Okay. Yes. That's how I have it right now is with say all my Citrus Twist die cuts, yes, are together. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 24:19

And so I think it's time that I need to come up with a new system so that I if I'm looking for something specific, I can find it and then maybe there's more of the kind of general non semantic things like you know, stars, hearts, flowers, or whatever. Maybe those are by color or something I don't know, I've been kind of just exploring my brain of possibilities to see what where I could go with that. But I like your idea of really having it open and accessible. So you're choosing from the item that you want, rather than having to flip through things in a more cumbersome way. So I really appreciate that idea. About your photos, how do you keep those organized?

Ashley Rodgers 25:03

Now, this is the part where I'm not the most organized person, all of my photos are still on my phone and I just print. As I go pretty much. When they come to a page, I'll print my photos out. And I use I have a Canon Selphy. So that makes it really nice and easy to print photos.

Jennifer Wilson 25:28

That's super handy. No do those prints four by sixes nowadays?

Ashley Rodgers 25:35

Yes, you can print four by six, okay. And you can fit multiple photos on there. So you can fit, you know, two, three by four photos or six, two by two photos. You can print, you know, two by three photos as well.

Jennifer Wilson 25:52

Very cool. So what about your ideas? Like, do you do anything to keep track of the things that you want to scrapbook? Or is it really driven by here's the photo on my phone, I'm gonna print this. And then you just kind of letting your photos kind of guide you if you will?

Ashley Rodgers 26:12

Unless I like the photos guiding me. But as far as my unfinished albums, I'll just write as write a note, I'll put a sticky note in there for me to refer to when I get back to documenting those stories.

Jennifer Wilson 26:30

I love that. I've been trying to, especially as I get a little bit older, to leave more breadcrumbs for myself. I know that I'm not gonna remember even tomorrow or next week, kind of where I was or what I was thinking about it. So I'm trying to just like leave these little hints all over the place so that I can jump back in easier and remember what my intention was or what gaps I knew were there because right now I'm going back to 2018. And I want to try to fill in any final gaps in that six by eight album. And I'm like, I don't know, so I'm going to look at the dates. I'm so glad that I dated the layouts and looking through my photo library. But there was no obvious Oh, this is what's what's left. And I want to do more of that going forward of here's here's a gap that I know that's important to me, I'm gonna make a note somewhere or use a sticky note, put it in Trello or something so that I can remember later.

Ashley Rodgers 27:24

It really helps a lot.

Jennifer Wilson 27:27

So kind of starting to wrap up here. What do you think is your biggest lesson learned from scrapbooking so far?

Ashley Rodgers 27:35

I would say the biggest lesson I've learned is that there's no such thing as being behind mm. I used to worry about finishing an album within a certain time frame and trying to catch up. But I've just learned to let that go and enjoy the process more.

Jennifer Wilson 27:55

I love that so much. So what projects do you think you'll be working on next?

Ashley Rodgers 28:02

I'm currently working on my December Daily project. And I need to finish my 2020 Project Life album and my 2019 Project Life album as well.

Jennifer Wilson 28:22

Very cool. Well, I look forward to seeing those pages on your Instagram as you share them. Can you share what your handle is and any other places we can find you online?

Ashley Rodgers 28:33

Yes, you can find me on Instagram @sweetashleyann. And my website is

Jennifer Wilson 28:42

Awesome. We will include those links for sure. And the episode link for this one is Ashley, it has been so nice to get to know you a little bit better. Thank you for coming on Scrapbook Your Way. Thank you so much. And to our audience, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

Jennifer Wilson 29:06

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