SYW119 – The Optimistic Scrapbooker

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

May 31, 2021

Month after month I hear how much you love these broad-reaching conversations with Kim, my teaching assistant. This is another one of those fun, casual discussions about life and creativity. We dig into our personal experiences and our work at Simple Scrapper. Between our recent Refresh retreat and the upcoming session of Before Your Story, the Storytelling journey has kept us busy!

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Jennifer Wilson 0:00

There's so much to learn from just following along, and then seeing what you can then take away from that back to your own hobby. 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 119.

Jennifer Wilson 0:28

In this episode, I'm joined by Kim Edson to reflect on the past month and explore what's new for June. This is our monthly peek behind the scenes at Simple Scrapper. Hey Kim, how's it going?

Kim Edsen 0:40

It's going well and yourself?

Jennifer Wilson 0:44

I'm pretty swell this week, I am continuing my coffee and crafting every day. You know, coffee is something that I always start the day with. And pairing that with just a little bit of dabbling, watching a video, making something, playing with my photos. It's just a really kind of calming and restorative start to the day. And so that was the school almost being out. I'm just feeling pretty pretty pumped about life. Nice. What about you?

Kim Edsen 1:13

Well, so I have become one of those Go Clean Co people. So do you know about this? They're all over?

Jennifer Wilson 1:23

No.

Kim Edsen 1:24

Oh my goodness. Okay. So have you seen the online information about laundry stripping?

Jennifer Wilson 1:33

Like where you put your, your dirty workout wear in a tub and it turns the tub gray?

Kim Edsen 1:38

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 1:39

I've seen that.

Kim Edsen 1:39

So yeah, so this company I think that's where I kind of originally came across it was probably on some of the social medias I do not know. But so last fall I did that. I think I started with some of my husband's t shirts. And then I did like workout clothes and then just went on my merry way. I thought it worked fine. You use is a concoction of powdered Tide. Some sort of like Arm and Hammer like washing soda. It's not baking soda and like Borax. No, I don't remember. Anyways, so I did that.

Jennifer Wilson 2:10

I mean, I put when I have really gross stuff, I always put a bunch of 20 Mule Team Borax in my water. So...

Kim Edsen 2:17

So anyways, going on their merry way. Well, they are all over Instagram, it's just like ways to clean things are cleaning, deep cleaning specifically is what they do. So my understanding is this company is, I believe they're out of Canada. And they are a cleaning company, but they only do deep cleans. So they're not like your weekly maintenance company, they come in when you're moving in or out or you're having a baby shower at your house and you want everything super clean. So they come in. So Cathy Zielske had been sharing something about getting into them and I have been wanting to kind of, I'm a little late to the party, like get into the deep spring cleaning. And so finally, over the weekend, I'm going to do this, I already had, like a lot of the things that they recommend anyways to use for your cleaning. And I think I spent five hours on Monday cleaning one bathroom, but it is sparkling.

Jennifer Wilson 3:16

Wow.

Kim Edsen 3:17

It is I just never I don't think it's ever been cleaner, including the day we moved in. So, but it's kind of it's addictive, like now if like, I want to polish and scrub and organize everything. So my plan is I'm doing bathrooms this week. And then, so I used to always do, used to, so deep cleaning, the whole idea of spring clean was really appealing to me. But years ago, I would start and then I would lose steam or get busy. And then I would never remember like which windows I had washed and which windows I hadn't or light fixtures or whatever. So I would always burn out. And it was just frustrating. So years ago, I figured out I could focus on one room a month is kind of my goal, give or take. And that's the room I'll pick one and I go in and do all the baseboards and light fixtures, windows, all those things that I don't do on a regular basis. So that's kind of been my routine for years now. And then this winter, I knew like January, February, March, right was gonna be really busy. I let myself off the hook. I'm not gonna expect myself to do this. And then April came and I still didn't do it. And so now I'm off and running to the races and it feels good. And my bathrooms are very clean and organized. So...

Jennifer Wilson 4:39

I'm super, super impressed. But yeah, now I need to know more. I would say my biggest sticking point in terms of like, I don't know how to clean this is window sills. So like, there's so many little parts and nooks and crannies and it's just I seem like I can never get them clean.

Kim Edsen 5:00

Well, they have, we'll put the link in the show notes and send it to you. But they have all sorts of this Go Clean Co company, they have stories on their Instagram account. So I think I am not, like, all in, like they have they have like a mop recommendation and they're very into bleach and you know, there's some things I'm just I've not gotten there. And I don't know if I will I have a mop I like, I'm good. But for the window sills and things they vacuum first. So with like attachment, and then they clean. It seems like 90% of things with a mixture of just a teaspoon full of powdered Tide with like a gallon of warm water. And if you want it to be sanitized, then they add bleach to it.

Jennifer Wilson 5:45

Sure, but I probably need to do like the vacuum and then maybe I can of spray air and then like a toothbrush. It just seems like probably I need to put a little bit more detail working.

Kim Edsen 5:57

Well, I will say that is more effort than I put into mine. Like I yeah, and even at that time when I was watching it, I was like, Yeah, no, I vacuumed. I swept it out. I'm good with it. But yes, it is kind of addicting. Just watch their stories. And it's so satisfying. You know, I love it before and after. So they'll show something just disgusting or grimy or gross. Like, what was it this week? Oh, like a shower rod. It was like starting to rust, and they had to help polish it up. And so very satisfying. It is. Like I said, it's kind of one that once the ball gets rolling, it's very addictive, and it's satisfying. And I have a plan. So now I'm kind of back into my monthly routine. So May is my bathrooms. I went and so my kids, I told them about this, they're so excited. That over the summer, so June, I want to do like the living room area, because they'll be around to go through movies and video games and the game closet and the craft supplies. And their the books that don't live in the rooms that are just out in the living room area. And then in July, it's bedrooms, because again, they'll be around. And historically, I'm the mom that makes my kids like climb up on a ladder and clean their fans and do all the things but also just their clothes.

Jennifer Wilson 7:18

Good for you.

Kim Edsen 7:18

Oh, well, at some point, I figured that when they leave, they need to know how to do this. And I always tell them when it comes to cleaning the rooms what I could do it, but you're not necessarily going to like what I choose to keep and what I choose to get rid of. So if you have opinions on this, that's kind of my way to encourage them to join in. And then so anyways, I have a plan, we'll see if I follow through on it. But right now I'm feeling really enthusiastic. So...

Jennifer Wilson 7:48

I really like this idea of having like one space per month. Or maybe you're doing less intensive cleaning one space per week, but really choosing your focus so that you're not feeling like you have to do all the things. And knowing that it's okay that you will have time later to get to the other spaces. But right now you're focusing on one thing, anytime, anytime we can create boundaries for ourselves, we talk about that all the time here, it's helpful for focus and follow through.

Kim Edsen 8:15

Well, and I am a person that needs boundaries, because I will go all out until I burn myself out. And then I just don't do anything. So it's good for me to have that case around. Okay, I'm doing this room. And I actually years ago, and now I have a Trello board and I just rotate it. So it's kind of whatever room I did last or goes to the bottom of my list, because with Trello, right, you can just move your little cards around. And then I put a little note like May 2021. So like next up on the list in theory is whatever I did next last time, though, this year, like I said, I'm switching on a little bit just because I want the accessibility of my children to be involved. But I set it up. So over the course of a year, assuming I kind of stick with it, I will have gone through like my entire house. And I usually leave in like in December. Oftentimes, I don't do anything because we get busy with the holidays. And usually there's like a month in the summer where we're busy with like travel or activities. And so something doesn't get done that month, or I just don't feel like it. So I usually have a little bit of wiggle room but over the course of a year. And it's the things like going through my bathroom vanity. Where it's was getting very frustrating and annoying because things were accumulating and just in disarray. And so if you kind of put your hands on some of those things, like once a year, like the craft supplies or and depending on how active you guys are in different things maybe more often. But I find that that's a good period of time for me to keep things so they're just not chaotic, but I don't feel like I'm just constantly organizing. And I will say having done this over the course of years at this point. It gets so much easier because now I've already gotten rid of a lot of the oh, what Dana White will call like the does, right? Like, why do I have this broken thing? Like a lot of that's already gone for me. So it's a matter of, okay, let's throw out the expired medication. And I don't know why I have all these samples. If I haven't used them in a year, I should probably just get rid of them sort of things. But it does, as far as like the sorting organizing, it does get easier.

Jennifer Wilson 10:27

Oh, for sure. If you really look at it as an iterative process, and what what layer of clutter can you remove now and know that next time, you'll be able to then go in a little bit deeper, particularly if you've kind of in tandem are developing better habits that prevent the clutter in the future? Because I've definitely found that that I'm preventing a lot of clutter, but I still haven't gone through a lot of my older clutter. And so that sometimes can be intimidating. But when I do the next time I revisit it, I was like, oh, this isn't nearly as bad as I thought it was gonna be because I already handled it once, you know, six months ago or last year?

Kim Edsen 11:02

Yes. Very much so.

Jennifer Wilson 11:04

Speaking of boundaries, though, I also wanted to mention, mention that I started this thing called Monday Quiet Coworking. And so we have lots of open crop times inside the membership. And I host a lot of events throughout the month. But I wasn't hosting anything on a weekly basis. And so I tried last week, just as an experiment to see can we do like, two hours timed where we have 52 minutes of focus and eight minutes of chatting. And we're all just putting our heads down and getting things done first thing on Monday morning, and it was so so amazing. And we had like maybe 10 or 11 to show up and lots of comments, same folks would like to do it again. So starting, you know, when this episode goes out, it will be have been last week. But we're doing this every single Monday for two hours 9am to 11am Central. We're getting stuff done and starting the week on an awesome, awesome note. So I'm really excited about that.

Kim Edsen 11:08

I like the sprint approach too.

Jennifer Wilson 12:05

Yeah, I mean, I love our crops too were we're chatty, and we're sometimes doing a little stuff and sometimes just chatting. But you know, Monday mornings are for getting things done. And I think just having that container to say, okay, we're not talking, we are quiet, we have a timer up on the screen. And you can really get a lot done in two hours when you put your head down and you eliminate all the distractions.

Kim Edsen 12:27

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 12:28

Whether you're working on your crafty stuff, or you're doing work work, then you know, it's it's time set aside for you.

Kim Edsen 12:34

Well, I mean, what I like about that sprint concept, it's like, okay, here's an eight minute window to go throw out the laundry or switch out, you know, empty the dishwasher or get a drink or it gets you to come back. That's the other thing. I struggle with transition. So maybe I work for a while and then I take a break. And then pretty soon my eight minute break would turn into you know, 45 minutes or something because I would get online and get distracted or so I think it...

Jennifer Wilson 12:57

Oh yeah.

Kim Edsen 12:57

Because it creates that accountability, but the structure is also there. So...

Jennifer Wilson 13:02

How many times I'm like, oh, I'm just gonna watch an episode of Shark Tank while I eat lunch? Well, that's an hour episode. And my lunch takes what five minutes to eat? So there's a lot of things like that that often get out of hand.

Kim Edsen 13:16

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 13:17

All right, let's transition to scrapbooking. What's exciting you right now in our hobby?

Kim Edsen 13:23

Well, I would say Refresh. But we'll go into some detail with that later. I will say the probably the most impactful one at this moment is I would say backup, backup backup backup. So last weekend, for whatever reason. I was actually in the middle of a Zoom crop with a few members and my computer shut down and it came up with a black screen that told me I did not have a hard drive anymore. And I do not know what happened. I do not know why. Thankfully, I have an HP computer and they had some very helpful troubleshooting. I just put in whatever the error message that came up. And there was like a multi step process like start with this start with this. And I want to say like the first three things like it was going from bad to worse. And then finally I was able to do like a Windows reset. And it took so we went and watched a Lord of the Rings movie that was like three and a half hours. So it took probably about three and a half, four hours for it to like process through everything. I still had all my files, I have to go back in still an add, I've added some programs back so programs and apps that I've added. But all of my like photos and documents, everything was still there. So I actually did not have to access my backup systems because I was able to restore the computer from that. But knowing that I had them backed up saved me from a complete melt down.

Jennifer Wilson 14:46

Panicking. Yeah, I bet!

Kim Edsen 14:47

I'm like, this is a huge pain in the butt. But I know I have an external hard drive on site that I actually just did ran and then I have Cloud Storage. So between the two of those, I'm covered. So even if I can't get this back up and running, and I have to get a new computer, I have all my things. So while it was very frustrating, and I felt it was, you know, a challenge, I was managed to stay calm and not completely freak out. So, that's just my PSA. I know you had Dawn Farias on earlier, like a few weeks back, and she was talking about backing up. But

Jennifer Wilson 15:24

Yes, yes.

Kim Edsen 15:25

That is exciting to me. It is definitely peace of mind.

Jennifer Wilson 15:32

Yeah, one like, peace of mind isn't always super sexy. I mean, life insurance isn't sexy, either. But this is photo insurance. That's what backup is. And these are protecting your memories should something crazy happen. So you never know, I was giving a presentation the other day and I gave the example of that between my stepson and my husband, they have fallen in the lake when fishing so many times. And they have they have lost some phones. But we've dried a lot of phones and bags of rice, and we've called on the insurance on the phones, and you just never know what's gonna happen. So you got to make sure that your photos are protected.

Kim Edsen 16:08

Yes, and I don't, and the crazy thing is, I don't necessarily, I don't know what happened. I don't know why it just all of a sudden did what it did. So I need is on my list to do a little more digging at some point is this harddrive failing, I was able to get it back. So do I need to make a contingency plan now? But...

Jennifer Wilson 16:28

Yeah.

Kim Edsen 16:29

So at least I have that on my radar. It's not completely off the map. But I do also, like I said, have that peace of mind. So that was a big one.

Jennifer Wilson 16:41

Yeah, but it does make you a little nervous. So...

Kim Edsen 16:43

It does. Yes. Well, that was like, every time I open my computer, oh it's still up, that's excellent. I've also been better about shutting it down at night, I would be the person that would leave up like a bazillion tabs because I'm going to come back to that right? It's probably...

Jennifer Wilson 16:58

Oh, I definitely do that. And I'd get blue screen of death once in a while. Probably because of that. So, you were having a question.

Kim Edsen 17:06

I was gonna ask, Do you have something that's a little, like, more exciting. I mean, mine's a lesson learned. That's always good, but maybe something that's a little more upbeat?

Jennifer Wilson 17:17

Yeah, no, I'm just like super jazzed about all things scrapbooking right now I just uploaded a video that's a March and April update. I've been doing these kind of creative update videos sharing my process and my progress throughout the year. And I'm sharing every single layout that I've made in that video. And I'm having fun doing it. And I didn't do one for March. And so I just did a compilation. But in that video, I was just like, oh my gosh, like I'm just feeling so energized about this entire industry, my hobby, helping others just feeling so excited right now. And I think there's there's two things one really recent, which was last week, which was Week In The Life, and I carried my big camera around all week, and I took some amazing photos, I learned more about my camera since this is a newer one. And it just reminded me how much I love photography. And you know, I haven't been taking as many photos we've been, you know, home for the past 430 some odd days. And you know, there's, there's only so many things you could take or so you think. And so last week definitely challenged me to try to see things from new angles, and really see the beauty and a lot of the everyday that we have in our life. So that was that was super fun. Also...

Kim Edsen 18:28

So you're talking about seeing things with a new angle. So I've been through that to where I was did Project Life for years. And then I think I was overwhelmed by photos. And then so I kind of get out of the habit. My kids are getting older, and they don't necessarily want me taking their photos, or they're just not changing. And I don't know. So I'm out of the habit. And I've talked about this in the membership with some of the members and they had some suggestions. But as far as you had said, like seeing the every day in new light, how was it just being more present and being observing about it? Or did you use a daily lens like around here? Or how did you go about that process?

Jennifer Wilson 19:16

I think it was it was a combination of just being present and noticing. Oh, it's been it's been an hour and I haven't taken a photo yet. So let's go grab my camera and see what I can see. But in terms of like finding a news perspective, I take that very literally so I was you know putting the camera on the ground or setting it, I have tissue boxes all over the house, and they were the great props throughout the whole week of where I set my camera to take a self timer shot. And you know, poking through doors and some of my favorites were going like over our upstairs like railing down the stairway and so there's one of like a print on the wall. So I actually had a print That was another Ali Edwards print from a long time ago. And then one, there was a really beautiful illustrated word art for Week In The Life of this Elton John song that's really important to my life and my relationship with my husband. And so as soon as I saw that, I printed it out, and I put it in a stuck in that frame. And I added, you know, added something new to that frame. And so I got a shot of that, looking down the stairway, because the first thing you see when you go down, and then I also have another shot of Emily kind of poking her head around the railing. So it was a lot of like, literal change in perspective that helped me value, you know, the pile of clean laundry on the floor. And, you know, just those little little things and just looking at them from a new perspective with that, you know, a sense of gratitude of, you know, I have a washer and dryer that works, and I can clean my laundry and just up to me to put it away. And I have, you know, I took tons of more coffee shots. And of course, that's a big part of my every morning. And yeah, it was just, it was just a fun reconnection, I think.

Kim Edsen 21:03

Cool.

Jennifer Wilson 21:06

And then the other thing, which was, this kind of happened last month, right after we last talked. And then I participated in a Crop and Create Delivered event. And this is hosted by Scrapbook and Cards Today magazine, and they, you sign up, they send you this giant box of so many amazing supplies, you know, full collections. And then you take these classes, and they tell you what to make. And you're using up the whole collection for these projects. And it was just so inspiring to to be the student because I'm not often in that position right now, because I'm often doing the teaching, and to just follow along and learn new techniques. And I would say the most fun discovery for me and I feel like you're gonna roll your eyes at me is that I didn't realize how amazing Carta Bella products were. Because I'd never I don't think I'd ever touched them before realize it's this beautifully textured cardstock. And I'm like, oh my gosh, why is not all pattern paper like Carta Bella pattern paper, because I love it. And so I immediately went out and bought two more collection kits. And yeah, it was just it opened my eyes to a lot of different things. And I had so much fun with it.

Kim Edsen 22:18

I love Carta Bella's paper. So I hear you there. And the layouts I've seen, you shared yours and some of the members that participated and cheered theirs in the group, and they were really beautiful.

Jennifer Wilson 22:29

Thanks. Yeah. And it was like it was fun to try design approaches that I don't normally do to just literally follow along. You know there were some minor tweaks in there based on the story I was telling. But to just really allow someone else to see what you can then take away from it. So often we are, you know, maybe even a little rebellious saying, well, this is how I do, I'm going to do my own thing. But there's so much to learn from just following along, and then seeing what you can then take away from that back to your own hobby and tweaking your approach and trying new things. And so I definitely got inspired by for a lot of different projects, maybe even future classes here at Simple Scrapper from this experience and having a whole new perspective on how you can scrapbook. And with that, you know, I made all these 12 by 12 pages, and I'm like, well shoot, I'm gonna start making 12 by 12 again, as well. It's just fun.

Kim Edsen 23:26

Well, there you go.

Jennifer Wilson 23:29

Yeah, I really felt like I was only gonna do 8.5 by 11. And then 6 by 8 came in. And then now I'm just like, well, I just gonna buy all the album sizes and just have fun making pages. Because that's that's what I enjoy. And really just trying to find that balance between doing this hobby for me and doing it for the memory keeping legacy aspect. And I feel like my little spot on that timeline, we always talk about this little continuum between being very legacy focused and being very creative outlet focus. And I feel like my, my dot on that timeline has shifted a little bit.

Kim Edsen 24:10

Well, and that's the thing. I mean, you have options, right? So that is one nice thing about the hobby, and as it shifts one way or the other, you can always adapt and go forward. Just because you do it one way doesn't mean you're married to that forever. So...

Jennifer Wilson 24:22

Yeah, the most important thing is that you just keep going and find ways to keep it exciting and interesting. Because if it's not, it means you're probably trying to force yourself into doing something because you've always done it that way. And if you've listened to any, any other episodes of Scrapbook Your Way you know we're always trying to help you think about what is your way in this particular season of life, not your way forever. Because there's going to be things that change in your life. You're going to have ups and downs and time and energy and there's going to be new fun products to try and play with.

Kim Edsen 24:57

And that's a big insight to have, is just kind of pay attention to that. And if you are feeling, like you said, frustrated, or just in a rut, that maybe it's time to evaluate some of that.

Jennifer Wilson 25:10

Yes. 100%. Okay, let's shift gears to Bucket List Stories. Do you have a new story? And is it related to like, grandparents, pets or food?

Kim Edsen 25:21

It is not. I know, I threw that gauntlet down, and then I don't think I followed it. Well, maybe when...

Jennifer Wilson 25:29

I love it. It's so fun. Yeah, it's I mean, it is it is a clue to maybe what some of our initial reactions are, and maybe some of that first layer of Bucket List Stories. And then as you get those told, then we go to the deeper layer, and it gets a little bit harder, I think, okay, how can I look at this in a different way?

Kim Edsen 25:46

Yes. Okay. So my story, this is a relatively new one, I feel, I feel like I just, I always use this as an opportunity to kind of flesh these stories out, like, what, where do I want to go with this. So it is the idea of being an optimistic gardener. Because so it would seem that my blueberry bushes have died back to the ground yet again. And I think this is the second time at this house, we've tried to plant blueberries. And we did it once when I was a child. And that was a failure. And I know you can grow blueberries here, because I've been to like a berry patch, where there's acres and acres of blueberries that we pick. And I just just want like two shrubs that both berries. So I'm intending to do some reading. And maybe I need a different variety. And I know, they like acidic soil. And when I first planted them, I had done a good job of amending the soil, but I did not maintain that. So there's things I can do. So anyways, going forward. So I was talking to my kids about it. And my daughter was kind of along the lines of why would you try again, like it has not worked twice, like just give it up woman. And it occurred to me that if you are into like gardening and landscaping, you're either a pretty optimistic person, or you just enjoy disappointment, because there is a lot of disappointment. And so I would rather go with the optimistic approach than the glutton for punishment option. And I feel like that could be like a title like optimistic versus disappointment, like which one is it? Because we have had a lot of, I don't want to say failures, because we've we've learned from them. But we've had a lot of like plants and trees and shrubs that have not gone as intended when you so happily bring them home from the nursery. And just just keep trucking forward, because there's always the possibility right. So my husband, we kind of go in spurts he get tends to get more frustrated, kind of like why do we even try, they just die. But then I point out all the things that are growing well that have done well through the years, then you just keep chugging forward. So it's kind of that whole concept of try, try again. And just I think it definitely says a lot about my personality in general, not just related to gardening, I think I tend to be pretty optimistic person. So this is kind of a lens of approaching that story, just from a different way I guess.

Jennifer Wilson 28:18

I've, so I've learned this year I've not been much of a gardener. And I can't remember the last time I tried to start something from seed. But I don't remember if we talked about this on last month's episode. Emily received some Japanese cucumber seeds as a part of a Girl Scout project and we started the seeds and they were growing vigorously. And everyone said, okay, it's time to plant them outside. And we don't have an in ground bed yet. So we did the research, we got containers of an appropriate size and we're going to use tomato cages for the computer, for the computer, for the cucumbers. And we transplanted outside and all but one has died. And you know, it's just that disappointment is very, very real. And we think it's it could be a combination of you know, it didn't, it didn't like this particular chemistry of the of the potting soil we bought even though it said it was veggie friendly. But also we did have a storm like a couple days later and we think just the stems were just a little too tender. And you know, some sort of their vascular system was damaged in the storm. And so that could have been part of it too. But Steve bought some just regular cucumber or some sort of, you know, random burpee hybrid and he plopped those in and we do have like eight and a little tiny seedlings coming up. So our hope is renewed for a cucumber project and maybe we'll have something by the end of the summer.

Kim Edsen 29:39

I hope so too. It can be really disheartening. I personally have not had much luck with starting seeds inside and then transplanting them outside. So I generally start seeing directly in the soil or buy transplants for things. My dad will start things and my husband's Aunt. She has just an enormous garden. She goes to farmers markets and things just insane amounts of produce, and she starts a lot of things. And I, but they have other grow lights, and I don't have those things. And I know it's not that expensive to get started and maybe someday down the future, I will do that because there are some flower varieties that I know have a long growing season. So I would need to start them inside to kind of get their full advantage versus outside, like yes. And so I have not taken that leap. But yes, that that's challenging. So I hear ya.

Jennifer Wilson 30:35

It was just really sad because they were so vigorous like you could practically see them growing, they were growing so fast indoors or like, all these are like vigorous and hearty they're gonna be so they're gonna love it outside. And then, you know, no, but it's okay, we learned from it, we're gonna keep trying. Eventually, we will have, be able to put together an in ground thing probably at the point in which we're ready to get rid of Emily's little playset outside. She's got this whole giant swing set. And she's just in her probably last one or two summers of using it. And so when it's time to take that down, probably sell it to someone, then will have a nice bare patch of ground that would make a great vegetable garden. So everything underneath that is now dead, right?

Kim Edsen 31:22

Yes. Our girls a few years back, it was the same situation where is kind of like I'm ready to move this thing on to a new home. And then we had a really big windstorm and it took a few tumbles and it did not get sold. It was wood. So some of it got burned. And then yeah, swings and things went to my husband's cousin's little guy, I said, Would you like these things for a swing set, because we have no use for them. But I hear you. So that's smart. And see, you're optimistic you're trying again. So...

Jennifer Wilson 31:54

Yeah, we're gonna keep trying, we're gonna, we're gonna experiment with containers in the next couple of years. And then eventually, you know, try to do more, we're still working on our overall landscaping though. We did our front like two years ago. And then last summer, we did the side. And everything we planted last year seems to have lived.

Kim Edsen 32:11

Nice.

Jennifer Wilson 32:11

Is coming back this year, which is amazing. And I give my husband all the credit, because he recognized that our soil is like super clay. And so he did all the amendments, he brought in bags, sand, he did everything exactly how you should to make everything happy. And we're going to end up doing that on the other side of the house, which is our super shady side, and then try to find some shade plants for that. So we got, we're going we're just really taking our time for sure.

Kim Edsen 32:36

Oh, no. And you have to because if you take on too much, you just get overwhelmed. So we have totally done just section by section around our house. And so we put in, so would have been late summer 2019 had a patio poured at the base of our deck and there's a fire pit built in. And so, right you just keep adding projects. So last summer, we did all the landscaping around that. And it was we had a drought, and then we had that Derecho thing and we were very concerned. But everything has come back and it looks great. So it is that is like the satisfying part. It's like the cleaning. Right? It's to see that progress has been made. And it's just so exciting. So yeah, so we had, right, we're working on the deck. And so there's always a project and I do agree, it is smart to do it just section by section because also you learn as you go, because if you find like, well, this technique or approach didn't work. Well, by the time you get around the house, you'll have figured out so no sense in doing everything one way and then to find out it was a failure.

Jennifer Wilson 32:52

Half your plants are gonna die.

Kim Edsen 33:45

Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 33:46

No, it's very, very true, because we definitely tried some things and we're like, oh, that didn't work. And so was it the soil was that the amount of sun and to really just keep thinking about it. But we've definitely done it in small phases and learned along the way. So...

Kim Edsen 33:59

Good.

Jennifer Wilson 34:00

Switching gears to my Bucket List stories here.

Kim Edsen 34:03

I was gonna say...

Jennifer Wilson 34:03

Yeah. This is more of a concept than a specific story. But I have an example. So I've been thinking about doing these different types of things, compilation projects, where you're telling a specific story across multiple years. And the most specific way I've been experimenting with this is that I'm working on this four by six December Daily album that covers three years because I was looking at all my albums and realizing I have this very specific three year gap in the project. And I was asking myself, do I really want to try to do three projects? And the answer was no, probably not. So and, or is that even feasible and realistic to think that I'm going to eventually go back and do a 2014 and 2015 and 2016. So instead I am putting all of those in one small album of having very using like batching and really have fun with that working on it a little bit of the time. But in terms of the stories, the approach that I'm using has been so fun and so easy. So December Daily, you know, you, I've typically done it like, what are the top 25 stories of the month where day 25 is about Christmas Day, but the rest of the days are just like, whatever I want to talk about. But in this one I am taking each day very literally going into my Lightroom catalog and looking at what happened on December 16, over each of these three years. And then from that, I'm seeing if there's any trends, and then picking one or two photos to share. And then I could share a little bit more on the journaling if I want. But it's so interesting. And so it's so amazing to just have that constraint of a single day. Because there were some days where I had literally one photo, and a couple where it was like, you know, maybe 10 I think the most I ever had across those three days was like 15 photos. And so how often are we sitting down and trying to look at that small number of photos where it's totally not overwhelming. So it's just been so fun. And I can see doing something like that, where you pick a day, like maybe I even pick, you know, a birthday or something and trying to do a compilation project over multiple years, like even Emily turns 10 this year, let's go do something over all her birthdays. And so I also just did the same thing for Halloween, I did every single Halloween so far. On one, two page spread. And all I had to do was open up Lightroom and go look at October 31 for each of the past nine years. And it's just something that's kind of it's one of those "duh" moments, but it's really, really rewarding.

Kim Edsen 36:54

Well, from the December Daily aspect, how you had said, typically you would just look at 25 top stories. I think that is great, because it gives you a lot of leeway. But sometimes when those boundaries are really wide open like that, it can feel overwhelming, because you can tell any stories for the 25 stories, because then you have to decide. So this gives you those rails to say okay, this is the story from this date. Which stories like what one of these three stories? Is it going to be as opposed to all the possibilities?

Jennifer Wilson 37:29

Yes, yes. I think that some of my other albums have been very focused on like, here's our traditions, and this is what's important to us. Whereas this one was almost like a true December Daily slash Project Life approach of what is our life like during December. And so I definitely notice some themes that my husband has a conference that he goes to mid December every year. And so in each year, he was gone for several days. And Emily and I are out, you know, eating sushi or whatever it is that we do when Dad's not home. And so that was certainly a story. But I was able to notice some of those trends as well by seeing how do we compare each year? And you know, what are the types of things that we do?

Kim Edsen 38:15

And I've seen snippets when you share your coffee and crafting posts on Instagram and it...

Jennifer Wilson 38:19

Yes, yes.

Kim Edsen 38:20

And it's coming together beautifully! It looks so pretty.

Jennifer Wilson 38:20

I found that I had two pretty much full kits, and then a few other random supplies. And so I kind of took everything that wasn't already earmarked for another project and just sat down and I said, okay, what can I make from this? And I kind of came up with the overall structure because I wanted to have a lot of repetition, and then kind of backed into okay, then I found the story approach. And it's all coming together. I still have I don't know, I'm probably halfway done or so. But yeah, it feels very doable. And also it feels very bite size and I'm liking bite sized things right now that I can just sit down and I could do one page and I know exactly what I need to do for that page. There's no question. It's just, it's more perfunctory is a bad word. It has connotations, but that's what it is.

Kim Edsen 38:56

Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 39:16

Yeah. I have to execute on the plan. And when you don't have to think that's amazing. Cause it's what we do the rest of our lives.

Kim Edsen 39:24

Yeah, especially if you're sitting down first thing in the morning and your coffee is not fully been consumed yet. And it sounds like fun doing it. So rinse and repeat, right?

Jennifer Wilson 39:34

Yes, yes. Yeah. And, you know, it's it's a nice little warm up of my brain as well. It's like okay, now I'm gonna open Photoshop. And okay, type something Jennifer. And then by the time you're done, your brain starts firing and the coffee kicks in. And by then I'm ready to jump into the workday but it's been a really a a gentle but semi active way to, to really get things going for the day, so yeah, and it's all worked out well.

Kim Edsen 40:04

Then come December when you're pulling out your albums, boom, done. It won't be hanging over yet every month anymore because I feel like right every year, there's always the oh, all the people, I want to start an album, but I haven't finished this album, what should I do? Do I want to go back? Do I not want to? There's not a lot of angst out there. Sometimes.

Jennifer Wilson 40:24

There is there is. And I have a couple more recent albums. And I actually had a lot of encouragement in the community to work on those first, but I just it because they were recent, I felt like they would, wouldn't be as hard. This felt like a fun challenge. Like how can you go back when you really don't remember as much because this is a number of years back now. And the whole process of thinking about these, I'm really going to be looking really critically at how do I want to approach this going forward, not just this year, but in the next decade or so. Is a December Daily album going to be part of my process or not? And so I don't have an answer to that yet. But it's something that I'm really thinking hard on because of all the different ways that I'm scrapbooking, and what am i enjoying? And, you know, do I want to dive, continue to try trying and finishing? Or do I want to maybe do something a little bit different? So more to come on that?

Kim Edsen 41:24

I hear ya.

Jennifer Wilson 41:26

All right, let's kind of wrap start wrapping up here by talking about storytelling. So we are here in the middle of our Storytelling Journey. Each journey is this two month period where we're focusing on a theme in the first month, we have a Refresh Retreat. And then the second month, we have some sort of like class or a special event that's more focused on something. So our event that's coming up is we have a six week session of Before Your Story that starts on June 3. But before we kind of get into that, again, I'd love to look back at our Refresh Retreat. And so I'm curious Kim, which activity was the most fun for you?

Kim Edsen 42:03

Okay, so I have two things I want to talk about. So the most fun for me was activity three, which was simply a list layout. And I enjoyed it because again, it kind of comes back to that whole story two, Story 52 approach where it prompted me to think about a different way to present the story I was telling. And so the layout that I did was, so last year, just as the pandemic was descending on us, my kids had spring break, and my husband, he works in accounting, and it's just he's not a public accountant, but it's for a private firm. Anyways, this is his busy time of year. So January, February, March, he works just a ton of hours, like we will never go away for spring break unless it's the girls and I. And sometimes we'll just go visit family. But usually we're just around the house. So I tried to think of fun things we could do throughout the week. So I had planned this whole Harry Potter movie marathon and had themed snacks that went with each movie. So I think the fifth movies one with Umbridge, and she's so into pink. So we had like pink lemonade, so some of them and then some It was like jellybeans or lemon drops. They were not super complicated concepts, but and also very high on the sugar content. But it was very fun. And I knew I wanted to do a layout about that because I thought it was a blast. And my you know, kids are always up for candy. So I just had a lot of fun bringing that layout together. So that was the most fun. But the one that I was most surprised about was the fourth activity where it was kind of along the lines, I think of Krystal Idunate. How do you say her last, Idunate? I cannot say her last name. Where she takes the Story Kit. Or you could take any collection or line or ever and then come up with story concepts around that. So approaching it from digital supplies, I thought was interesting, because I'm sure there are differences. But from strictly digital designers, it seems like themes are very heavy. So it's like a garden theme or a summer theme or an Easter theme or there's the very tend to be very specific. And usually a lot of times those some of those kits aren't as large as you'd get from like a full American Crafts paper collection. So I could get a kit and tell three summer stories. But that didn't seem very true to the intent of the project. So I ended up getting a travel story and came up with a list of four different. One was a travel story and then the other three were just stories that I felt like I could tell with the kit. Because I think Ali had talked about this way back when the idea of she finds a lot of times travel kits, or travel supplies can be very useful for writing stories. And I found that to be the case as well. Because if it's just like, ready, set, go, or this is an adventure, like those are themes, I can apply to different stories. But the thing that was most surprising to me about it, though, is when I went and I made my first layout. Oftentimes, I enjoy I get the design chosen, I know I have my journaling down, right, like very specifically what the story is, I have my photos. But the part that takes me the longest is choosing the supplies. So finding ones that compliment or I mean, if I start with a kit, I'm like always switching out papers. So since I had started with the product, I found that that layout actually came together much quicker for me, just based on how I approached that process, like product first than the story. So I would definitely be interested in following that again. On occasion, I'm gonna, like always evolve and change and do different things, but especially with, so what was the source? I did, I was like, a little like, overnight, we can get away to like visit our parents or like one of the stories I want to tell is, so my dad has had both knees replaced. And so I had gone and hung out with my mom while he was going through surgery because it was COVID. And so we couldn't be we didn't even see him. So I have a picture of her like standing outside, like the recovery center, like talking to him through a window. Right? Because that was how medical procedures happened in September of 2020. Right?

Jennifer Wilson 46:35

Yeah.

Kim Edsen 46:35

So it's kind of that story. Whereas, yeah, there's a story there, I do want to document it. But it's not such like a story focus. It's a smaller story, I guess. I don't, sometimes if I have a really big like a Bucket List Stories, like I start with, like kind of that part of it. Because I want to make sure I get this pull, big story like pulled together, there's many layers to it. So I kind of will start there, and then kind of build the layout. But for maybe things like just smaller stories that I want to include, but maybe they're not as layered. Definitely starting with the product and making that process easier, I could see that would be very helpful going forward.

Jennifer Wilson 47:20

Yes. And I mean, that activity was really inspired by just ongoing conversation as a follow up to that podcast episode. And just just offering this new lens of looking at your supplies, yes, we we've always been inspired by our supplies. But how do we really lean in to using them, because you're not only then, like, creating an interesting story from it, you're actually using more of your products up. And I know even as a digital scrapbooker probably even feeling kind of creatively energized by using more of the kit than maybe you would have otherwise. And really being able to plan out and knowing you're getting, you're getting your money's worth out of the products that we purchase. And I think just the synergy and the the collective energy from all that has just been super fun for me. And I know for so many of our other members as well.

Kim Edsen 48:10

Well, I think it can help you buy your products with a more discerning eye as well. Because yeah, sometimes it is nice just to buy something, because it's pretty and is cute, and you're excited about it. But to intentionally look at that product thinking, okay, what are your three, four or five stories I would tell from this collection or this kit or whatever. Because then when you get that product, either you purchase it as a download or it comes in the mail, you already have a direction in which you're going to create and I think it just eliminates another barrier to that process. So...

Jennifer Wilson 48:45

I, I saw this come out of another one of our Refresh activities too. So Audrey Medd who's @lawofcraft on Instagram. She shared how she creates her crafting mind maps. And I know we've seen these and I was super curious. But where this led for me was it helped me look at more thematic products in a more exciting and energized way. Whereas I typically am choosing my products for their timelessness and for their kind of everyday usability like can I think of what many ways to use this? This crafty Mind Map approach really offers a way to use more like thematic stickers and dimensional embellishments that maybe are like weird shapes and things you don't use in repetition. But you know, for example, Ali Edwards had a food collection last year or the year before and I was like yes, I love food, I love, and I'm a foodie, but I don't think I would use those supplies. But then when this idea of a crafty Mind Map, I'm like oh, well now I want all of these because I can put these little like food icons all over my page and organize them in this mindmap way. So I definitely think that the more you're thinking about the intersection between product and story, the more that you can just feel excited about telling stories in new ways too and this that was definitely that was my favorite part of Refresh and also a connection back to this, you know, product story pairing conversation.

Kim Edsen 50:17

Well for that one you had done the Halloween layout and like your spider webs and all the little like, trick or treat, or candy, little word art things that turned out super cute. I thought that was interesting. Because, so I for that project did a crafty mind map layout about the different apps that I use to kind of organize and plan my everyday life. And so again, I used yeah, I found based on inspiration from you and from Audrey and from the creative team. I had a light bulb and I had a little, gosh what did it even, like iPhone clipart like just like you said, very specific, like a paperclip like very specific themed products. But I thought it was interesting all the different ways people talked about doing a Crafty Mind Map. Some oh, Amy did it for her Week In The Life, somebody was doing it based on individual family members personalities, people talked about doing it. I think Audrey had done a December one, like there's just a lot of different ways to approach using that concept. And again...

Jennifer Wilson 51:28

One with photos and one without. So yeah,

Kim Edsen 51:31

Yeah, or whether, so I included a journal block on mine, because of course I did. But some people, you don't need to do that. Or Michelle, she did it just as to organize her thoughts like she isn't, I was oh, this is a great table of contents to this album project. And she's like oh, no, I'm not even gonna use this. This was just to give me a starting point. Because now I know she had done like a family wedding. So it was like they gone on this trip. So it was kind of this is these are the trip things I want to talk about these are the wedding specific things is or whatever, I don't remember that third point was but so that she just used it to kind of organize her thoughts in a aesthetically pleasing manner. So there's a lot of different ways you could use that approach.

Jennifer Wilson 52:14

Well and it doesn't even always have to be aesthetically pleasing, it could be just that first step to follow to follow your brain. So often, we think we have to take what's in our brain and then put it in a pretty organized manner. But sometimes we just need to kind of follow it and then organize second. And I think that the lines and the way Audrey does her Crafty Mind Maps allows you to do that. But you don't even have to make it into something that you want to keep either. And a great example of that was last night, I hosted a Create A Timeline Of Your Life live stream. And this was a little bit more linear we going you know, we're going from past to present. But still, I was encouraging all of our participants to not think of this as that you're not, you're not here to use a ruler, or you're not trying to make a final product. You're trying to get, you know all this data about your life that you have in your head down onto paper that you can then process and then you know, type up or save in some other way. Or use as an inspire, inspiration for your album, which is why were talking about it last night. And I think it just there's so much value in that exploration of ideas. And sometimes I think in our digital world, we we forget about that because we can take our ideas and massage them into an email and then it's done or put them in a Google Doc. But sometimes we just need to sit down and like draw some lines, get out of our head and really be able to then process the information that way.

Kim Edsen 53:41

Well, and I believe we've talked about this through some of our book club discussions, but that concept of when you write versus when you type versus how your brain processes things differently. So I think that can be a valuable tool for overcoming any sort of block that you have or overwhelm that you could just need to get it out on paper. It's like a brain dump. But in mind map form.

Jennifer Wilson 54:07

Yes, yeah. So one allows you to see connections and themes and to really actually verbalize what's important to you. Because when you give the opportunity to just let things kind of come out, you're like, oh, well, I didn't realize that was such an important significant thing for me. I know that participating in One Little Word and some of the more introspective projects over the years, when I start writing and I'm like, oh, that's what's coming out. You can learn a lot more about yourself from that too. And so I think that that can be a really fun part, particularly if you feel maybe challenged by journaling, and you're not always getting it out. Doing a mind map can help you get the wheels turning and start seeing those connections and then you can form words to support but sometimes we just need these those kind of little activities as fun prompts to get started.

Kim Edsen 55:02

Yes. So definitely you could do the gamut from deep introspective journaling, or, you know, some spider web stickers and make it really cute too. So got options.

Jennifer Wilson 55:12

Yeah.

Kim Edsen 55:13

Options.

Jennifer Wilson 55:15

So I have one final point to talk about. And that is, I keep seeing lots of conversation. And this is this is very much related to using our products to inspire stories. But then also, maybe we've been acquiring a lot of three by four cards over the years, because maybe we did Project Life when we're not doing in the past. Or maybe we purchase a lot of those core kids, or we've been subscribing to various kit clubs, which, which give you three by four cards. And it's just been fun to see so many creative ways to not just use those in pockets, but to use those on layouts. And I was just curious now that you're doing digital all the time, do you still have a stash of these cards yourself?

Kim Edsen 55:57

I do, not a huge stash. I had gone through a few years back. And so I have just a little white Sterilite basket that's in my drawer with some of the very kind of basic, most versatile ones I thought based on color, or they're just simple grid ones. So when my girls were in upper elementary, I was getting out of Project Life. And I had these core kits and all these journal cards. And I ended up do not even know how this started. But I would put lunch notes in their lunchboxes.

Jennifer Wilson 56:34

Ah, I love it.

Kim Edsen 56:34

And so I did this for three years, but I had different things. So it was at some point everyday, but like have a good day, love Mom. Like that would get kind of old probably is like they're not going to read this. So I had themes. So I want to say the first year I did jokes. So we have like this joke book. And so I, we have a typewriter and I sometimes I would handwrite them, but usually what I would do is I would just batch process a bunch and go through like kid jokes, type them up, and then I put a little, then it'd be like, have a great day, love mom or good luck on the test or whatever. And if they had school lunch that day, then they didn't get a little note, but I would just have a stash of them. And sometimes I would do themed ones for holidays like St. Patrick's jokes or whatever. So that was one year one year I did, oh, like fun facts. So I am just, I'm such a nerd for just goofy like Animal Facts. Or who knows. I just like information. So I don't even know like where I think I got a book from the library. I found some things online. So I can't even tell you the facts. But it's like did you know a cow has seven stomachs? I don't know. But it was just very random, interesting things. So I did that. And then the last year, it was inspirational quotes. So as you can imagine, I burned through a lot of Project Life cards in three years of lunchbox notes. So I do have some.

Jennifer Wilson 58:01

That's, that's really awesome. You get like A+ Pinterest Mom points for that. So...

Kim Edsen 58:06

So but the fun thing is, so they kept them, they would tuck them in the front of their lunchbox. And then you know, at the end of the day, they'd have this giant stack. And so recently, just I think over the last few months, my daughter had gone through her room, and she still had them and she was ready to depart with them. And actually kept them I don't know what I think I have done a layout about it. And I included some of them on there. But especially like the fact what the fact they're all fun like the I don't I enjoyed that. So I guess it's just a bit of sharing something that I enjoy with my kids. But it was it was good project. And it used up a lot of Project Life cards. So there you go.

Jennifer Wilson 58:45

Yes, I love that. I love things, so many different clever ways over the years. And in last night's timeline, livestream we also talked about that, you know, if you want to create this Before Your Story album, which we talked a little bit about on our last episode, together. That using your stash of three by four cards, because the project uses between 60 and 80 cards depending on the size of album that you do. And you know, it's just the it's just journaling cards we use, you know, just a small number of filler cards. And so it's really an opportunity to get those used up and out of your stash. So I think there's there's some excitement about some stashbusting from that as well.

Kim Edsen 59:27

Oh, yeah, I could totally see that.

Jennifer Wilson 59:31

All right. Do we have anything else to talk about?

Kim Edsen 59:36

Oh, I just have this tidbit. I was listening to your BFF sticker club episode yesterday and I didn't finish it. But the chitchat about the American Girl doll. I just wanted to share and I might as well just share it with you now. I did not have an American Girl doll. I was all about the Cabbage Patch Kids. So I think I was maybe just a little before that era. But so my girls each have, they each have one. And then Carolyn used her money to buy a second one. But so a few years back, we were at a local state park that had a lake and we were just hanging out on the beach. And this little girl, she was maybe eight, I don't know, had a doll. And I do not know if it was, you know, American Girl Doll brand, or if it was Target, like, version whatever, it does not really matter. But she had this doll, and it was that style of a doll.. And she was like, whipping around by its hair and launching it into the lake. And going over and over again. And my children were aghast. I mean, the horror on their face, just to watch her do this repeatedly. Like we almost had to leave the beach. So listening to the ladies talk about like, we don't treat Kiersten this way. Well, clearly, this was not their child, because I was I just, I should have taken a picture because the looks on my children's faces. Were just shock and horror, like I don't know, at that time period. I mean, they played with their dolls, but they were, you know, took very good care of them. And we're very respectful of them, but they were not tossing them into a lake over and over again. And it just made me chuckle to hear them talk about sharing their childhood toys with their children. So...

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:23

That is so hilarious. I've gotten so many fun comments on that episode as well. So when this goes up, that will have an episode 117 with the BFF Sticker Club. And so with that, thank you, Kim for your time.

Kim Edsen 1:01:37

Thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 1:01:39

Yeah, and so just so everyone knows, Before Your Story does start June 3 that is coming up super soon here when this episode goes live. If you're interested in completing an album, telling your growing up story, or someone else's, I hope you will consider joining us. And of course to everyone, I hope you will remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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