SYW140 – My Way with Melissa Vining

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We invited Melissa Vining to be one our featured artists because of her style, which she describes as “fresh and clean with a twist.” But you will also love her passion for documenting important moments while also leaning on this hobby for creative therapy. This is a lovely conversation celebrating crafting and what matters most.

Links Mentioned

Melissa Vining 0:00

Definitely I just remember that one other thing that motivates me is my children pull the album's out and look at them. Or they'll say things like the older ones go, what was I like when I was Ava or Brielle's age? And I'll go here, let me show you. And it's the words on the page as well, like, a lot of their memories when they're little, of course, they don't remember but I've documented them. So that touches my heart when I see them look at their albums. But it's because yes, I create for me, but I also create for them, but let's be honest, I'm creating for me, it's a creative outlet. It's me documenting their stories, but the fact that they love it means even more to me.

Jennifer Wilson 0:39

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 140. In this episode, I'm interviewing Melissa Vining for the MyWay series. My Way is all about celebrating the unique ways Memory Keepers get things done. We're excited to have Melissa as the November featured artist at Simple Scrapper. Before we jump in, I have a super important reminder, the 2022 Planning Party starts next week on Monday, November 15. It's free to participate but you do need to register to get email updates, all the information, and be eligible for our prize drawing. So before you listen to this episode, press pause and head over to to RSVP.

Jennifer Wilson 1:37

All right now my conversation with Melissa. Hey, Melissa, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

Melissa Vining 1:42

Hi, Jennifer, thank you so much for having me.

Jennifer Wilson 1:45

Yes, I'm looking forward to getting to know you a little bit better. But can you kick things off by sharing, you know a few of the basics about yourself?

Melissa Vining 1:53

Sure. So I'm from New Zealand. I was originally from the North Island of New Zealand. And when I was 17, I moved to the South Island to go to university. And I've never moved back to the North Island, I've just stayed here. I was living in Queenstown up up until July. So a lot of my work is showing pictures of Queenstown. And then we just had a big change in our life. And we moved to a little town called Balclutha, which is in South Otago. So we've moved from the adventure capital of the world, to a small town of about 4000 people. And at the moment, we're living in the country. So it's been a huge change. I'm married. We had our wedding anniversary this week. We were married for 18 years. So that's

Jennifer Wilson 2:43

Wow, Congrats.

Melissa Vining 2:44

Thank you. It's hard to believe. But we have four children. We have one boy, he's 14. And we have three girls. And they are 12, 7, and the 4 year old is going to be 5 in November. And so every day at the moment, she wakes up and asks if it's her birthday.

Jennifer Wilson 3:02

I bet, yes.

Melissa Vining 3:04

We're in an interesting situation here in our country with Auckland is still in lockdown. We've just had a Delta variant come through. We were put in lockdown for three weeks. And even though we didn't have any COVID on our island, we still had to be in lockdown. So I as a last time we were locked down, I thought, Oh, I'm going to get lots of scrapbooking done. In reality four children stuck at home, you don't. But I'd actually lost my scrappy mojo and I did refind it in lockdown. And because we have a group of us who get together, there's one in Australia, she used to live over here. And there's a group of us in the lower South Island that get together once a month in person. But when there's any kind of lockdown, we get together online, so that's certainly helped. But yeah, that's probably a bit about me. I've had a huge career change. I had been in business for 13 years as a town planning consultant. But we are Christians and God called us over to go closer to pastor a church here. So that's a big change of my life.

Jennifer Wilson 4:12

Oh, for sure.

Melissa Vining 4:13

Yeah, it's exciting but we're basically moved to a town where we don't know many people and yeah, had to, had to meet new people and the kids are in new schools. And after five weeks here we're put in this lockdown so it's been challenging, but good.

Jennifer Wilson 4:30

I'm curious if the, if the the life transition has sparked any, even if not it's always creative interest, but even like memory keeping journaling interest in you to try to get back into it.

Melissa Vining 4:43

Yeah, so well, I mean, I have to be honest, I have, this has been a huge change for us and it's definitely affected my flow. I mean, I had to, first of all, I had to pick up my scrap room and that was almost embarrassing the amount of boxes of albums I had and the amount of stuff I had. By the way, you know, we're all the same aren't we? We love our supplies and we love our product and our tools and things. But so I had to come over in the house that we rent, are renting has a second lounge, and my husband said that could be my scrap room, which is awesome. And then of course, there's the process of unpacking, knowing that we're probably eventually going to buy a house. So I don't want to unpack everything. But then I want to have the things that I use available to me, which is a lot of things. So it took a bit of time to unpack and set it up. One thing I did do was I took photos of the entire process. We we knew we were coming over in about probably April. So we knew and so we'd come over to visit and see what it was like and I purposefully took photos. And even off the moving process. People helped us move at the other end, and they helped us move in here. So I took photos and I will definitely document them. Whether I do a traveler's notebook, or mini album, maybe not 12 by 12 layouts, I'm not really sure. But it definitely has. I mean, my favorite thing to document is our family is our family's everyday life. And so that's a huge part of everyday life is moving town, so I've got it all ready to go.

Jennifer Wilson 6:17

Yes, yes, you do. Well, I wish you I don't know just so much love and grace for this transition and your familiy's, you know, new adventure in a smaller town.

Melissa Vining 6:28

Yeah, one thing actually at church is, uh, so excited to see they have a hub called Let's Get Crafty. It's a group of whoever wants to come along. And so I the first time I took my scrapbooking along, and no one else does it. So I'm quite, they're very interested in it. Some of them had seen my work on Instagram. But also it's really awesome to sit there with other bunch of creative ladies and, and see what other people make.

Jennifer Wilson 6:56

Yes, yes. So on that note, in terms of things that are interesting and exciting you too, right now, what is one thing inside of our hobby that's really lighting you up? It can be really anything, a product, an app, a class, even a person or an idea?

Melissa Vining 7:10

Well, one thing I guess, that does excite me and I've only just started using this product is Vicki Boutin's color study. Now, I know that's not new to a lot of you, but because of shipping and COVID and things that took about four months to get to me. I had to order it from four different places. And I just created my first layout with it. It's actually on my Instagram. It's my latest layout. I was the designer for the day, or one of the designers for Scraptember with Laura Alberts combine our end to the Scrappy Sisters, which is Jess and Katie, and it was combined with Christie's Beautiful Life. Christie is lovely. And she does 30 Days of Sketches. And so I used it, I was up for that day and the theme was rainbow and you had a sketch so because it was Scraptember and scrapped the sketch combined. And I finally dug into that collection. And I'll be honest, I had it sitting there, I was almost intimidated to use it, because I just love it so much. And I love color. And I made that layout, and we just got so inspired by what an amazing collection it is. So excited to make more with it.

Jennifer Wilson 8:20

Yeah, this is a beautiful page. I will include the link directly to the show notes for this episode. So I love what you did with the rainbow background.

Melissa Vining 8:28

Thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 8:28

It's yeah, it's lovely. What is one story that you really feel like you haven't told yet, but feels important that you do.

Melissa Vining 8:36

Nearly two years ago, my brother in law passed away from terminal cancer and he was diagnosed a year before that. And he had, I mean, it was terrible. Of course, it's terrible, but he had no symptoms. And he basically got food poisoning and went to the hospital, didn't take his wife with him. And they thought he had a blood clot that which was traveling to his lungs and they did an MRI, they said to him, you've got secondary cancer. And so so basically going to have to do a full MRI, he was only 37 at diagnosis. And so he did the small MRI, his wife came in and I said you've got colon cancer spread to your liver. It's it was in like four or five parts of his body and there's nothing they could do, except give him treatment to extend his life. So this was you know, absolutely devastating for our family. We had imagined our family and his family with our kids growing up together doing things together with him there and he he's an amazing person because rather than just focus on himself and try and spend as much time as he had with his kids, he started petitioning the government. And with his wife they put a petition to the New Zealand government to start a cancer care agency and it got the most signatures of any cancer petition ever. It's a he went from being unknown to this well known person who was battling cancer. As well as that, he had a Bucket List himself, and he had things on there that were for himself, but also for other people. As part of that, like he wanted to make the most of that last year of his life. And so they were things we went to like, he was a rugby player, which is like our country's national sport. And he had this rugby game in his hometown, and 4000 people went, and so I started documenting it, and we would go to these dinners to raise money. He was raising money for the local high school for the kids, it was athletes there, but it just got so big. And it was, it was incredible. And the media picked up on it. And rugby players from the All Blacks, which is New Zealand's national team, they came to things. And so basically became a public figure, and him and, with him and his wife, and she continues his work today. And so I knew I wanted to document these photos. But it was really hard. And losing him was really hard. He was like a brother to me. He's like the brother I never had. And so I have these photos. I think I've made about three pages, but I bought a special album for it. And so Bucket List album, or a Bucket List item for me to document is definitely his journey, but through my eyes, is his family. And the first layout I made, I think it was for Cocoa Vanilla Studio I used Legendary and I used a cut file by Paige Evans. And it was a photo of, of Blair with our youngest, so she was still a toddler then. And I just remember feeling very emotional as I made that page. And it was the first time I was able to document it. So I'm just, I'm just gonna work away at it when I feel like I can do it. But it's also, I pulled it out the other day because I was unpacking everything and putting things away here. And Ava came in and saw that page and said, I miss uncle Blair, that's me as a baby with Uncle Blair and I thought, that's why we do it. If I don't document that, my kids probably wouldn't have, the older ones would, but the younger two wouldn't remember that journey that we went on with him. Although it was devastating, they were really special moments in there. And that's what I want to document.

Jennifer Wilson 12:35

Wow, what a what an important significant story not only for your family, but just because of the impact that he had as well. And for you to have that just sounds really special. So thank you for sharing with us.

Melissa Vining 12:48

Thank you. And I think I better look at, because there's a lot of media coverage of it too. And I'll probably put some of that or links to that in the album too. Just so that way our children's children can look back on it too.

Jennifer Wilson 13:01

Yes, for sure. All right, so shifting gears more towards your own process today. We're going to start by going back a little bit. How did you get started scrapbooking?

Melissa Vining 13:13

So my sister in law, Blair's wife, she's, her name is Melissa as well. So it gets a bit confusing in our family. But she had been to, I think it was a Creative Memories party. And she got really into it and so did her mum. And she had had her baby, Lily who's just turned 15. So back when Lily was a baby, and she made this brag book. And she gave one to my to our mother in law. So my husband's mum, and my mother in law, and I both really loved it. I thought, Wow, that's amazing. And actually, I don't know why I just did this. But I taken a photo of Sam. So Sam is six months younger than Lily. And when he was born, I don't know why would I just took a photo of him on the 29th of every month. So he was born on the 29th of March. And I took a photo on the 29th of every month so that I could see him growing. So I had all these photos. And I was so inspired by her that I just went to our local, it's called The Warehouse, it's like a kind of like a department store. There's a craft section, and I bought this pack of baby scrapbooking products. I didn't know about the online world of scrapbooking I just bought it home and started making layouts. And I think I just called like one month, two months, three months. Some I didn't even journal on. Like for me now, I'm such a journaler the the words behind the photo are always more important than the photo. And I just did that and I made it and I've kept it and I think yeah, looking back at it now, now, it's not not it's nothing like how I create now. But it's where I started and to me that's really important. I know that some people will re-scrap pages they don't like or that are not their style, but I definitely have it like a memorial stone to where I started with all of this. So that's where I started. And then when I had my, when I was pregnant with my next child, Azaria, I was very sick. And I couldn't scrapbook for the entire pregnancy. But I took a few photos throughout that I knew that I'll just get back into it after that.

Jennifer Wilson 15:26

So I'm curious, I'm assuming that kind of the style, the look and feel of your pages and how you sit down to that blank canvas has changed since you began? Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Melissa Vining 15:38

So in the summer of 2012, I must of typed scrapbooking into Google. And up came Two Peas in a Bucket. And it changed everything for me, I discovered who Shimelle was. And I discovered that there was this online world of creative people just like me. So I've been like a lone ranger up here. I also, I mean, I think at that point, I've met a friend, a mutual friend who introduced me to someone who's now one of my closest friends. And as it happened, she lived to, like one minute away from where I lived, which was unbelievable. And she was really into scrapbooking. So hanging out with her and discovering Two Peas in a Bucket really influenced me. And I discovered all these amazing creative people that use different techniques, like mixed media and sewing on the pages. And so I think it's like all of us, we look at other people's work, and we get inspired. But I think the more you do something, this is what I find, the more I want to do it. And I guess your style evolves just by doing it. And I definitely think like our online community on Instagram, and YouTube definitely influences what we create. So we might see something that someone else does, and not do a scrap lift of it, but maybe try a technique. So all those free classes on Two Peas in a Bucket, I just watched everything. I, it was my favorite part of my day, because there'd be a new video up every day, would be to go on there and learn a technique. And that's definitely, definitely changed the way that I created. And I love that people like Shimelle place emphasis on the story. So I added the journaling in. And yeah, now I think I just create what I feel like now, whether it's influenced by something I see or an idea that I have.

Jennifer Wilson 17:39

Well, I think also the online community influenced the pace of change, obviously, with new products, new trends. And, you know, I think we can see that through all parts of society that just, you know, styles evolve and things. What's popular evolved so much more quickly, because of the very, very fast spread of information. And I think that's just, you know, allowed creativity to flourish as well. As well as for us to experiment with with new styles, new techniques. So how would you describe your style today, like if someone has never seen your Instagram, they had to picture the type of pages that you make.

Melissa Vining 18:18

So I've always described it. Once I started working on design teams, I always asked that question, how do you describe it? And I always said, like fresh. I used to say clean, simple, with extra added interest, but now it's evolved from that. So probably, probably fresh with experimental aspect to it. It's, it's hard to describe your own style isn't it?

Jennifer Wilson 18:42

It is. Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Vining 18:42

There are things that I love, like I love stitching, I love hand stitching. So both machine and hand stitching. I love splattering, and I love cut files, but I wouldn't call myself, I play with mixed media, and I, I would not call myself an expert and that. There are definitely people that are absolutely amazing at it, but I try not to go overboard with it. Lately, I've been using Vicki Boutin pre made mixed media pages from her first collection. Because I bought them and I wanted to use them but they've been working. So you know the works done for you, but you can add on top of it. So I'd say my style as evolving. It's definitely me like it's, I don't think it's like anybody else. One thing I said to myself years ago with design teams because it's you know, you apply for these teams and hundreds of people apply and the chance of getting on is, in my opinion, quite slim. But I always said to myself, I will never change my style. I will just be me. And if people want to have me on their team, that's because they like my style. And I've held to that, so yeah, I think that's difficult to explain but probably clean and fresh with extra added interest.

Jennifer Wilson 19:37

Yes, for sure. I would say a certain degree of colorful, layered.

Melissa Vining 20:14


Jennifer Wilson 20:15

But with still, like you still have a lot of white space. It's very intentional as well, you're not filling up every single inch of the page.

Melissa Vining 20:24

Yeah, yeah I used to...

Jennifer Wilson 20:27

Go ahead.

Melissa Vining 20:27

I am, so used to kind of find that like, not real clean and simple, because I do find it hard. Like I used to joke with myself. I'm over embellishing again, like, But I, it's like intuitive. I just know, for me when to stop adding things when too much, when more becomes too much. For me, I've always let the photo shine, I think that's really important. I know, for other people, it's about adding more things. The photo must be the most important thing on the page to me, and everything else enhances that. So it's about, and to quote Paige Evans, it's about drawing the eye in. That's something I try to do. But I also want to have fun because it's such a creative, fun process.

Jennifer Wilson 21:17

Yes. And so on that note, how do you stay motivated to keep creating? What makes it fun for you?

Melissa Vining 21:28

We often talk about wanting to catch up with you our documenting. And I have, I mean, I have four kids. And I am telling my own stories as well and our family stories. And I know that if I were to put that pressure on myself, that I have to catch up and get each year down, I will never ever catch up. And so I used to feel this pressure to catch up. And I don't scrape chronologically either, I just scrap what I'm motivated by. It could be the photo, it could be the product, it could be the assignment that I'm doing for a design team project, it could be a cut file that I want to use. So what motivates me is that this must be fun. If it's not fun, then I'm not really interested in doing it. Because before I was being, before I was pastoring. And pastoring is a very full on job, it's, it never goes away, really, you're always on call for your people. But I had a very full on business. And so this became my creative outlet when I wasn't doing my work or spending time with my kids. And my husband was in a band and had a lot of gigs at night. So this was one hobby, or interest that I could do in my own home. I didn't have to do it with anybody else. And so it's become my guess, creative escape. And I want to make sure I'm having fun. So I can't even remember what your question was, how do I?

Jennifer Wilson 22:47

How do you stay motivated, like and connected to it?

Melissa Vining 22:50

So by actually, by doing it all the time. I find if I take a big break, like I've just taken a week off. So I know I need to get back into it. So the more I create, the more I want to create. And yeah, so I'll be working on one thing, and I think, Oh, I could use this product that's left here to do something else. So I think for me, it's continually doing it. It's looking at Instagram and liking and commenting on the people I connect with, on their projects, watching other people's videos and encouraging them and talking about it. I have a couple of chat groups where we talk about what we're creating. I just really think it's the only hobby because I've always been creative, but it's the only hobby that has stayed with me for this amount of time. And I don't really ever intend on giving it up.

Jennifer Wilson 23:43

Yes, I think there's something that's that's really important about that, that the more we stay touching it in some way where we stay connected, there's that momentum feeds on itself. But then the more that we step away, sometimes it's gets it makes it even harder to get back into it.

Melissa Vining 24:00

Definitely. I just remember that one other thing that motivates me as my children pull the album's out and look at them. Or they'll say things like the older ones go, what was I like when I was Ava or Brielle's age and I'll go here, let me show you. And it's the words on the page as well. Like, a lot of their memories when they're little, of course they don't remember but I've documented them. So that touches my heart when I see them look at their albums. But it's because yes, I create for me, but I also create for them. But let's be honest, I'm creating for me, it's a creative outlet. It's me documenting their stories, but the fact that they love it means even more to me.

Jennifer Wilson 24:39

Yes, yes. 100%. So kind of a slightly different topic here. Right now we're in our Planning, Creative journey at Simple Scrapper. Do you keep track of the projects you're working on or the pages that you want to make?

Melissa Vining 24:53

I wish I had a system to do that. Because I was like, basically, we moved here and I had this box, big box of layouts that I hadn't put away yet. And so I was trying to tidy up the space that I'm in. And I thought I'm going to put these layouts away. And so I pulled out all my albums. And I was putting the layouts away. And because I don't scrap chronologically, I had to go through, and I use D ring albums for that reason, so I could move things around. And as I was going through, I have to make decisions about when an album is done and when it's not. So I noticed that there are gaps. And I know from the photos I've taken over the years, the stories I haven't documented. So I do write down certain pages that I need to go back through the years of photos and make. But no, I wish, I wish I had a better system than that.

Jennifer Wilson 25:46

Totally fair, totally fair. So we touched a little bit on what's exciting you right now. You mentioned Vicki Boutin Color Study. And I'm curious what other things are you loving in scrapbooking right now? Maybe let's start with kind of formats and sizes do you create exclusively in 12 by 12? Or do you dabble in any other sizes?

Melissa Vining 26:04

So 12 by 12 was like my absolute love I and 2019 I decided this is getting out of hand I've just I am documenting far too many 12 by 12s. I've got to to do something about this. So I thought right for 2019 I'm gonna make traveler's notebooks for each of my kids. I made them myself and I love making them myself rather than buying them. And I started doing that I was trying to scrap like the stories that don't need a big 12 by 12 page. They're still important, but they're not. I'm not really an event scrapbooker I'm everyday life scrapbooker, but. Ones that might just look better in a traveler's notebook for me is to try and cut down on the amount of albums I have. To be honest, I haven't even finished those albums, I need to go back and finish them. I just kept making 12 by 12s. So and then I made traveler's notebooks for Cocoa Vanilla, I made them for 2020 for the kids. And to be honest, I haven't even, haven't even created in them at all. Still going back and making 12 by 12s. So this year, I decided I need to do something about this. Because I mean, I imagined myself in the future having grandkids and scrapbooking them as the grandma as well. More 12 or 12 albums. So I was on the Hip Kit design team and getting all of the kits. And a I had a Project Life kit has the most beautiful exclusive cards. And so I decided, right, I'm going to do Project Life this year. And I'm doing it on a monthly basis. And I'm using those cards. And so I started and I'm using a Close to My Heart album, six by eight. And what I'm doing in there is making like full page layouts as well as pocket pages. And I'm a bit behind at the moment. I'm in the process of filming April because I told my followers on YouTube that I would film all my spreads. And it was a bit different for me. But that's my process to try and branch away from just having to document everything in a full 12 by 12. I also make mini albums, I haven't for a while though. And I have done I would call it a four, I think you'd call it 11.5. 11.5 by...

Jennifer Wilson 28:33

Yeah, the closest is letter size for us.

Melissa Vining 28:35

Yeah. So I do make them as well. But I just didn't realize that I love 12 by 12. And yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 28:45

That's totally awesome. You are who you are. And I think we can embrace that. And recognize, okay, I did this little experiment. I keep going back to this other thing. This is really my sweet spot. And that's where you're going to find the most creative flow. You should celebrate that and just yeah...

Melissa Vining 29:01

Thank you. I did December Daily in a four by four last year, Close to My Heart album, and I absolutely loved it. So that was an example of me making a smaller album. I also in our first lockdown. So last year, I was biking around this lake, a mountain bike and I was about biking around this lake that was close to a house called Lake Hayes. It's stunning. And I would take a photo over it. I was biking. So I'm also making a four by four of those photos. And it was autumn. So I'm using lots of autumn products for that. But that's a project that's like an unfinished project that I really need to get on and finish. So I do enjoy a smaller format too.

Jennifer Wilson 29:46

Yeah. In terms of your process when you're facing that blank canvas looks like you use a lot of white cardstock as many of our guests too when you're facing that blank page. How do you start? Are you usually starting with a photo, is it a particular story? Or is it a product that's inspiring you?

Melissa Vining 30:05

So if it's a design team project, sometimes you'll get given an assignment, like, use this cut file with mixed media, or use these products. So that if it's there, then that's the products that inspire me. So I, I kind of sounds crazy. But the paper, I feel the paper talks to me. Like the paper is my favorite product, always has been, always will be. So I might look at a piece of paper and think I can fussy cut that or this would look really good if I cut that paper down and used it in this way. Or that would look really good if I stitched around those elements, hand stitched, so definitely the product. But then I might have a photo, like I'm working on a beach album using Cocoa Vanilla Studio Sunkissed. We went on a beach holiday, the beginning of this year, and I decided I was going to just use that collection to document the holiday. And I'm going to share at the end of it, I'll share a walkthrough of the album. But on that instance, not all of the photos from the holiday are actually at the beach. So it's definitely a combination of the photo and the product. So that's a collection that's really bright, which is definitely my style. So I have a layout that's coming up, it's coming up tomorrow. Obviously by the time this goes live, it'll already be up. But I am, in that instance wanted to scrapbook my son because I have three girls and I love girly things in it kind of takes over as well.

Jennifer Wilson 31:41

I bet, yeah.

Melissa Vining 31:43

But and this one, I went for a cut file by Paige Evans, that was quite generic, you could use it for boys or girls. And I think it was the cut file that inspired that layer, knowing that I had to use that product. So it's a bit of both really.

Jennifer Wilson 32:01

That totally makes sense. You talked a little bit about some of the products that you love. But is there anything we haven't mentioned yet that you're really gravitating towards? In terms of maybe like colors or patterns or other types of things?

Melissa Vining 32:15

Um, it's not, it's not really I guess it's not really a product, but I love working with kits, whether it be curated kit, or kit that I put together myself. That's not really answering your question, though, I think.

Jennifer Wilson 32:31

Yeah. I feel like you're thinking you're not answering the questions appropriately. But you totally are. And it's, that's yes, you I love using kits too, because I want somebody else to make the decisions for me or my past self having already made the decisions, you know.

Melissa Vining 32:48

Yeah. But one product I love that I know people struggle with and I've been trying to encourage people in this product is clear stickers. We've had them in a Hip Kit that where they look like paint strokes, but the slightly translucent. Other companies will put them out. They might be like a black outline of a flower or translucent stickers. A lot of people say they're so hard to use these, how do you use them. So I like to use them. Like if you don't want to do mixed media, you can use them to be all mixed media, you can add them under clusters, like you want to build on top of them, you can put them on white cardstock cut them out and make them your own ephemera. So I get really excited when I see companies still making them. They're a little bit like rub ons I guess, except you don't have to worry about them you know how rub ons when you keep them too long, they don't work anymore. But they just keep so that's definitely a product that I find inspiring especially because I know that people struggle with using them. I will always love ephemera. Ephemera just there's so much you can do with it. You can feature it you can layer it, you can have it sort of poking out from underneath something. Cut files is the other one definitely.

Jennifer Wilson 34:04

For sure. Now how do you stay organized? Do you consider yourself kind of a tidy organized person or a not so much at all?

Melissa Vining 34:13

So funny that because years ago, I was like a chaotic, you know, it's make a layout from what's left on my desk, the previous one. It used to be like that, but I don't know if it's because I've got four kids now and have to be so organized actually can't handle that anymore. So I have a box of bags of kits or collections that I am inspired to work with at the moment or that I have to work with the design team projects. I have this chest It belonged to my grandfather so it's really old. And in there are more collections and kits and products that I'm not working with but I might want to work with and then I have like an archive, a box of past collections that I don't want to get rid of or give to my kids or destash. So I also have, like a lot of us do, I have a shelving unit that some cubes, and I put items that I use a lot. But I don't have to have near me. And then there are some inks, and stamps and stamping inks. Just having a look at it actually. Paper, recent albums, manual dies, that kind of thing. And then like most people have, it's not a Raskog cart, it's a Spotlight equivalent. I have that. And that keeps. I've got a caddy with all my tools that I use all the time, my scissors, my stapler, my glue, a double sided tape, I have my paper trimmer, threads, and a box of photos that I have on the go all the time. My heat gun, my messy mesh. So that's how I do it. I've got to have these things ready to go. So that I have limited time really. I could start really late creating, but that's not good. It's good at the time, but it's not good for me the next morning. So...

Jennifer Wilson 36:13

Yes, yes. As we get older, I can identify with that as well.

Melissa Vining 36:18

That's how that's how I do it. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 36:21

What about your photos? Do you keep them organized on your computer? Or are you just finding a photo in the moment and printing it out to put on your page?

Melissa Vining 36:30

So I wish I had a system for this. And I use my iPhone. And I love that, you know, you can you can just with a tap of a finger, you can see your years, your months, your days, I will swipe right what am I going to create today. I'm going to work on that beach album that I talked about. So I'll just go into the appropriate month, which was January of this year. And I might just make them favorites, the ones who want to work on I have to admit though, I probably need a better system because sometimes that right have I scraped that photo before? And I have to go look on my Instagram, which is basically my gallery, and see if I have or haven't or I'll pull the album out. So I'm terrible. I've got probably, if I have a look at this, far too many photos. I did say someone had said they had 10,000 photos on the phone. Yeah, I've got 10,000 photos on my phone. Not good.

Jennifer Wilson 37:31

I've heard much more than that. So you're not alone.

Melissa Vining 37:34

Sure, but they're not just on my phone. They do get put on my computer as well.

Jennifer Wilson 37:38

Oh, good. Okay, good.

Melissa Vining 37:39


Jennifer Wilson 37:41

So like stepping back here, from your experience in this hobby from the very beginning to where you are now, what do you think is your biggest lesson learned?

Melissa Vining 37:54

Hmm. Do you mean creatively or for documenting memories?

Jennifer Wilson 38:00

Oh, I mean, if you have two different answers, share those. Yeah.

Melissa Vining 38:05

For documenting memories, I am so grateful for this hobby. Like, it's not till you lose somebody like we have. Because my son said to me, I was really upset about losing uncle Blair. And how much he loves them. I pulled a scrapbook out and I said, look, this is when you were two, Uncle Blair took you for a ride on the tractor on the farm. And I don't even think it was me that documented. I think my sister in law took those photos and sent them to me. And it's so precious to have that look back.

Jennifer Wilson 38:38


Melissa Vining 38:39

And so I'm just so grateful that I started. I'm so grateful that I've continued. I'm so grateful that I still have a passion and a desire to do it. Yeah, definitely. In terms of creatively, what was the question again? Sorry.

Jennifer Wilson 38:58

Oh, just like what is your lesson learned? I mean, so...

Melissa Vining 39:01

What I've learned. Okay. So, um, okay, over the years, and I've done this too. I've heard people say, Ah, my layouts, my projects are all looking the same. I just just saw boring, it's all the same. Well, I used to feel like that. And then one day I read No, you know what, this is who I am as a creator. This is my style. I'm embracing that. Because that is me and I'm not going to be, try, try and be someone I'm not. I'm not going to go and copy someone like Missy Whidden, who is incredible and such a lovely person. Like, I'm not gonna copy be her because it's already her.

Jennifer Wilson 39:41


Melissa Vining 39:41

I am never. And if I spent hours and hours and hours and hours going to be able to create mixed media like her. Someone else that is incredible, is my friend Sophie who's so scrappy. She has this beautiful style now I can learn from her, like I've learned how to do limited mixed media from her, but I'm not going to be her. So I think comparison is like the biggest, you know, the quote, comparison is a killer of joy because it is comparison either inflates you and makes you think you're better than everybody else which is bad, or it deflects you and makes you think you're useless. And so I've had people say to me, Ah, I'll say to this one person, I'm not gonna say who they are. And it's no one that anybody knows in this industry. But it's someone that's part of my family, they almost don't want to scrapbook because they look at me and they think, Oh, I just can't do it like you. And they say that to me, I can't do it like you. And I say, but you're not meant to do it like you, you need to do it like you. And the way you create is lovely, and it's beautiful, and it's your family's memories. And so, I think, creatively, the biggest lesson is not to compare to other people, it's to be who you are. And like I said before, like, creating should make you happy, you should get joy from it. And if it doesn't, then you need to really look at why you're creating, and almost look back at your albums and remind yourself the joy you got creating. So I know that this industry is very competitive. People can feel discouraged. And I think that all comes from comparing to other people. But really, we've all been given a gift in doing it. There's no right or wrong. One thing I love about Instagram is that everyone is supportive. And everyone has different styles, and we all love on each other's work, particularly the group of women that I'm close to, and I've never met this woman, I've become friends with them through whether it be just following the work and commenting. That's the way to make friends on Instagram, comment on their work. And sometimes, often it's not the same as my style. It's different. But I appreciate all the work and effort and I just love. I love the hobby so much. And I love the community and I just, you know, we can all be each other's cheerleader when it comes to to our own work and each other's work.

Jennifer Wilson 42:09

Yes, 100%. So thank you for these amazing keywords and amazing thoughts. So what a wonderful way to end the episode.

Melissa Vining 42:16

Thank you so much.

Jennifer Wilson 42:17

Melissa, can you share where we can find you online, anything new or fun, you'll have come out?

Melissa Vining 42:21

So you can find me on YouTube. I think it's just Melissa Vining. And on Instagram, it's Melissa_vining_creates. I kept saying on my YouTube that I'm gonna come back and make more videos and then I, I don't. It's just that I'm going through a season of change at the moment and just try to find routine with moving, new job, new schools for kids and everything. And finding time. So my I will definitely get more content on my YouTube. But my Instagram is really the place if you want to see everything I create, it's there. Because often I can only create and save 15 minute increments at a time or work on something in a small space of time. So I don't want to record that because I don't you know, recording, stopping recording stopping all the time. Yeah, those are the two main places. I did have a blog, that I just feel that my Instagram has become my blog as well. So it's the main place you can find me.

Jennifer Wilson 43:28

I would think many people would agree with that as well. Instagram has very much replaced that function of blogging and being able to share even often multiple images and, and longer explanation. We'll include all your links in the show notes for this episode. Melissa this has been so fun, you are our featured artist and we are so grateful to have you, a selection of your pages have inspired new sketches and templates for our members. And we're excited to have you hanging around for this month.

Melissa Vining 43:56

Thank you so much. That's so exciting. I can't wait to see what they create. And thank you, Jennifer, thank you so much. It's so awesome to talk to someone that gets it. Because I find that in my life, my normal life, people don't understand scrapbooking and I just love it. I talk about it forever. Like it's yeah, it's a huge part of my life.

Jennifer Wilson 44:14

Yeah, me too. I always say that. Like I can't make small talk about the weather or the price of gas. But I can talk about scrapbooking until the cows come home.

Melissa Vining 44:24


Jennifer Wilson 44:26

Yes. Well, this has been so delightful. Thank you so much. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

Melissa Vining 44:33


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