Scrapbookers, no matter their style or format, share some of the same challenges. We all want to find more ease and this episode offers a map.
I’m chatting with Natalie Strand, a long-time scrapbooker who found her people in the Simple Scrapper community and experienced, in her words, “game-changing” results. Our conversation shares personal responses to some of the most common questions memory keepers have and invites you to leave a comment sharing your own!
- How do I subscribe to this podcast?
- How do you balance taking pictures and staying in the moment?
- How can I take better pictures with my phone?
- How do you get pictures off your phone?
- What’s the best way to start a crafting habit when you’ve got a full, busy life?
- Do you use a habit tracker and how does that support your scrapbooking?
- I feel so behind and don’t know where to start. What should I do first?
- How do you store page ideas – and remember to use them?
- How do you jumpstart your creativity when you feel like you’ve lost your mojo?
- I haven’t scrapbooked in a long time, how can I get back into it?
- Do you ever feel like you’re “stuck in a rut” and doing the same type of layout all the time?
- How do you create something original / unique?
- How can I get SPARK magazine?
- How is Simple Scrapper different from other subscriptions?
- Pocket Casts app
- Dropbox camera uploads
- Jennifer’s Lightroom workflow
- IG highlight of productivity system
- Become a Simple Scrapper member
- Natalie on Instagram
- Natalie’s blog
Natalie Strand 0:00
I really think that scheduling the time has been a game changer for me. And for a while I didn't really know how to schedule that time, especially last year with the kids home and everything was different last year, you couldn't predict from day to day, it was terrible. But now that I feel like things have gotten a little steadier, the quiet co working on Monday mornings has been, it has been life changing for me. And I know that sounds really dramatic, but just being able to show up at a particular time and say, this is what I'm doing during this time. And it's not always it's not always that I'm scrapbooking, but often I'm doing something that will lead to scrapbooking if I'm not physically sitting there with paper in my hands. And being able to put the blinders on and say for the next 52 minutes, this is what I'm doing.
Jennifer Wilson 0:55
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 144. In this episode, I'm joined by Natalie Strand to chat about some of the common challenges scrapbookers face and the way she has cultivated more ease in her hobby, including becoming a Simple Scrapper, member.
Jennifer Wilson 1:26
Hey, Natalie, welcome to the podcast.
Natalie Strand 1:29
Hi, Jennifer, thanks.
Jennifer Wilson 1:31
So glad to talk to you. You are one of our newer members. And you've just been kind of one of the star students is what I had mentioned to you. So I wanted to have you on for a special Q&A episode. But can you kick things off by sharing a little bit about yourself?
Natalie Strand 1:46
Sure. Well, thank you for such a warm welcome. My name is Natalie Strand. I live in a suburb of Baltimore. I live here with my husband of 15 years and we have two children, my daughter's in fourth grade. And my son is in second grade. And I've been scrapbooking, I kind of like to say my whole life because I've always been, done some kind of memory keeping. But the first, I guess you would call it archival album that I ever made, was after I took a trip to China in 2002. And I didn't actually finish that album at that time. I finished it just a couple years ago. But then I got really into scrapbooking when I was in graduate school. And that's when I really started documenting my life and sort of more of the everyday and also the more the exciting moments of my everyday life and the big moments. So...
Jennifer Wilson 2:43
We actually had a small world moment recently, where we discovered that you went to graduate school in the town where I live now. We actually overlapped living here for a number of years just didn't know it. So...
Natalie Strand 2:52
That's right. That's right. Yeah, we went, I that's where I met my husband at the University of Illinois. So...
Jennifer Wilson 2:58
Super cool. Yeah. So what's exciting you right now in the hobby?
Natalie Strand 3:03
Well, it's kind of a funny answer. I've been thinking about this. And I think it's actually that I have time. So my children just went, started going back to school in person at their local elementary school. And they were home with me from Spring 2020 on. I homeschool them last year. So I had very little time to myself, and very little, very quiet time. And so them going back to school was like this fresh start for me, where all of a sudden, I could have more control over my own time. Now I don't have complete control, obviously. But it has given me this extra push of, I don't know, it's almost like a compulsion to really use my time well, so that I'm making the most of it. And that has really helped me to focus on scrapbooking. And I'm very excited about it right now. So I'm going back to projects that I've had in progress and adding to them, I'm making new layouts. And I'm just really excited about right now because of that.
Jennifer Wilson 4:06
That's so awesome. And it's definitely like showing in your work, not just in, you know, the amazing things that you create, but also just just your productivity, like, you know, it's it's very visible, that you're just very jazzed about scrapbooking right now. And I think anytime we can find this fresh start, sometimes it's a bigger one with it that actually does impact our time. But there's other new leaves that we turn over throughout the year. And when we can find that and hold on to it and leverage that to create new routines and structures for yourself so that you can get more of what you want out of life is a great opportunity to take advantage.
Natalie Strand 4:43
Yes, that's exactly how I'm feeling. Like I can set up these new standards for myself of how I, how I use my time and how I can really not take it for granted.
Jennifer Wilson 4:55
Yeah, and one thing that has struck me and we'll talk a little bit about this in one of the questions we have below. But just about how noticing how I feel like, no, it's never fun to like to get up early and to do some of the less fun tasks in the morning. But I feel so much better when I do those things, especially towards the end of the day, when Emily comes home, we're starting to get back into family life. I'm like, I feel solid that I've taken care of all these other things before that happened.
Natalie Strand 5:25
Jennifer Wilson 5:27
All right. So what is on your memory keeping Bucket List? So this is a little bit of a deeper, richer story, something that feels important for you to document.
Natalie Strand 5:35
Yeah, this is a hard one for me, because I have so many stories I want to tell. But as I was thinking about it, I thought of the getting ready portion of my wedding. But I realized I have a lot written down for that already. And what I don't have written down is anything about my honeymoon. And I have, I have a small set of pictures. It was digital cameras were not super memory heavy, like you couldn't put a lot of pictures on a memory card. And we didn't have very many. So I don't have very many pictures. And I deliberately, deliberately made a choice not to keep a journal on our honeymoon, because I wanted to just enjoy it. And I regret that now. Because I would love to know more about the food we ate and the names of the places we saw. I mean, I could look it up, but it's not quite the same. So I want to get those stories down before I really lose all the memories of them. And just get that out into the, into a physical format, rather than trying to hold on to it in my head because I feel like it's this plate I have spinning way in the background all the time, because I didn't tell this story yet.
Jennifer Wilson 6:48
Hmm. Yeah, I think that's what a good a wonderful way to describe that clue that this is a Bucket List story, you like it, keep holding it in there because you want to do it. And either you have to make it or you have to write it down somewhere so that you don't forget and start, you know, putting some words and thoughts together about the story that you want to tell behind it.
Natalie Strand 7:08
Jennifer Wilson 7:08
So literally while you were talking, I opened up my Trello app, and I added a honeymoon to my storytelling list cuz I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I have never told that story. And it's kind of like, it's kind of a weird story. Because we had our honeymoon, like four months after we got married that week between Christmas and New Year's. And there was like an argument that was part of it. And like it's, you know, it's a big story, but I've never told it. So thank you for that inspiration.
Natalie Strand 7:33
Jennifer Wilson 7:35
I can't wait to see what you create. Yeah. All right. So this is a Q&A episode. And it's a mix of kind of questions that come from so many of the questions that we receive, like, I just sat and think what are the things that I'm answering all the time, or our team is answering or questions that get discussed inside of our community? And then I also did ask some of our members like what specific questions that you have. And I use those to kind of add in and add some nuance to some of these questions. But we really have, like, it runs the whole gamut of all the phases of memory keeping. And I think this is going to be a really good one. And I in particular wanted to have a guest, who would have her own perspective to offer because yeah, I could sit here and answer these questions. But I have only my way, and you have your way. And hopefully, our listeners have their ways as well, and can you know, chime in in the comments and all that. And I think it's the more that we raise these questions and start the dialogue of how we do it now, and how we've done it in the past, and how we've seen others do these things. The more that we can cultivate this personalization of our hobby. But the first thing I want to do is actually just share like a housekeeping answer. And that is how do I subscribe to the podcast. So if you are someone who goes to the website every single week and listens there on the website, that's awesome. You can continue to do that, if it's working well for you. But I do know that it doesn't always like save your spot if you pause it and all that. And so I do want to recommend subscribing to Scrapbook Your Way in a podcast app if you can. So on, there's going to be an app on your phone is typically just called podcasts. And it's called Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. If you have an Android phone, I actually use an app called Pocket Casts. So there's many like third party apps as well. And so all you have to do is search in that app for Scrapbook Your Way and then you press the subscribe button so that you can be the, you know the first to know when the episode goes live. And you can also keep track of which episodes you've listened to and where you are in each episode. So what app do you use to listen to the podcast?
Natalie Strand 9:49
I just use the Apple Podcast app. I have subscribed in there and I've also added it to the there's a like it's not just play next. I should have looked this up, I'm sorry.
Jennifer Wilson 10:02
Oh, it's okay.
Natalie Strand 10:03
It's sort of like a, it's like a playlist that you can make of your favorite podcasts. And so I've added it to that. So that when I'm listening like in the car, and I can't select the next podcast I want to listen to it just goes to the next episode of that list.
Jennifer Wilson 10:18
Oh, perfect. That's great. Yeah, I love all the different features in these apps. And they're all just a little bit different and handle it differently. But they make it so easy to follow, you know, all the podcasts that you want to listen to, and just queue things up easily without having to remember websites and all that. All right, so the first question that we're going to discuss is kind of multi part and really talk, start with photos. Because I think photos, taking photos, managing our photos, editing, our photos, these often sometimes are one of the bigger barriers to having a great experience. You know, we can talk about like time and habits and all that. But when it comes to the nitty gritty of what we're doing, photos often come up as like the hurdle. So I'm curious, actually, how do you balance taking pictures and staying in the moment of, you know, whatever's happening in your life?
Natalie Strand 11:15
I think that most people who know me know that I take a lot of pictures, I actually find that taking pictures helps me to enjoy what I'm doing more. I know that that's sort of a controversial opinion. But I find myself in a lot of situations worrying that I'm going to forget. And so I can take photos, and that kind of relieves my mind that I can enjoy it. And the photo will spark that memory when I look at it later. So I take a lot of photos, and I make it a really big point to share them when I'm with other people. And I'm taking their pictures, that I really want to make sure that they get copies of those too. Because to me, I like to say photos are my love language, I like to if somebody takes a picture of me, I want to have a copy of it. So I want to share it with them. So I take a ton of pictures I kind of am. I kind of designate myself like the unofficial photographer of events.
Jennifer Wilson 12:12
Well, I love that point that you feel more part of the moment by taking the pictures and I can certainly think of so many instances where I've maybe kind of checked out of the moment, because I'm just like, okay, when are we gonna go home or whatever. But if I'm taking pictures, it gives me more of a purpose and more of a connection to what's happening and the people that are there. And and I love that you also kind of take some pride and you know, being the one always taking pictures. And I think there's, there's like that's that's a beautiful role to have in in your family memories.
Natalie Strand 12:45
Yeah, I like to think that people appreciate the group photos, even though they kind of grown when I try and take them. But I kind of feel like if I just keep doing it, and I don't always remember. But if I'm the person who's always asking that it'll become more of an expected thing. And then we'll all get those photos that we'd love later.
Jennifer Wilson 13:05
Yes. So I kind of always like around the holiday season, I just kind of put the tripod out somewhere as like a clue like this is going to happen at some point. So prepare yourself,
Natalie Strand 13:17
That is such a great idea.
Jennifer Wilson 13:20
So it's less of a surprise when I make everyone like go outside or or do whatever. So...
Natalie Strand 13:26
I have to try that one.
Jennifer Wilson 13:28
I will have to say also that I've intentionally over the years tried to take fewer photos of the same thing. It doesn't mean that I'm like not like always taking photos. But I'm like okay, I got, I got the shot. I don't need to like take six or seven or eight or nine different versions of the same thing to make sure I got the right one or the best one. So I think I've let go of some of the perfectionism with it in certain circumstances.
Natalie Strand 13:58
Yeah, I haven't gotten to that.
Jennifer Wilson 14:01
That's okay. I mean that we're all at different phases and have different, you know, priorities. So. All right, so one of the questions that I get a lot is, How can I take better pictures with my phone? So do you have any particular tips?
Natalie Strand 14:17
You know, I think it's, it's just practice and see what your camera can do in a not stressful situation. The one thing that I always do, which is very basic, and probably lots of people have said this, but always wipe off your camera, the little lens before you start taking pictures. Because it's really annoying to see that sort of haze over it and it just that's such an easy thing to make it better. And then just I would say just take a lot of pictures and see what works and see what doesn't and then keep doing those things that work.
Jennifer Wilson 14:53
Well and if I had to add one tip, you know, we talk a lot about light when we talk about photos but I think our cameras are so smart now, they often are compensating for whatever weird lighting that you have. And so I think that's less, obviously, the better, you're gonna get better pictures a better light, but it's less of an issue. And to me it's more about stability, like resting your camera on something like locking your elbows to your hips. Not like you're making sure you're not getting a blurry shot, because you're just kind of like throwing your finger at your phone.
Natalie Strand 15:26
Right. Yeah. Oh, for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 15:28
So I think when it when I see others who are disappointed in their photos, that's, that's definitely one thing that they can do. But between those two tips, especially wiping off the lens, those two tips alone, I think can get you dramatically better pictures.
Natalie Strand 15:41
Yeah, actually, for Christmas, my husband got me a little clamp for my phone that can screw into my tripod shoe and also into a tiny little desktop sized tripod. And I've been having fun playing with that too, because then it actually came with a little remote shutter clicker. And so that has helped too, because now I remember, oh, I can put this in a clamp. And then it really will be a steady shot rather than me trying to handhold it, especially for low light settings. I have an old phone, so mine doesn't compensate quite as well these days.
Jennifer Wilson 16:19
Well and it also reminds me that the you know, I have a Samsung Note. And I haven't checked the news recently, but it sounds like they're kind of getting rid of that line. But they're still going to sell the little pencils separately. And the really the only reason I have that is because the little pencil is a remote shutter. Because I wanted a way to like take a picture without having to tap my phone. But, of course, there's lots of like third party accessories for that too, which is really nice.
Natalie Strand 16:46
Jennifer Wilson 16:48
All right. Let's talk a little bit about oh, okay, actually, one more question here. And, and I think this is good, because you have an Apple phone, I have an Android. How do you get pictures off of your phone? What strategy do you use?
Natalie Strand 17:01
So I use the camera uploads feature of Dropbox for mine.
Jennifer Wilson 17:05
Natalie Strand 17:05
And I, I do this, I would say at least daily, in most situations where I come home, I put my phone on the charger and I start camera uploads and it uploads it to my Dropbox. And then I pull them into a folder on my computer where I can, from there, I bring them into Lightroom to manage them. But I found that that's what it's easy. And it has worked for me for a really long time. And I've set it up with my husband so that he has a folder that syncs with my Dropbox, so that he can put his photos in that folder, and then I get them from him as well. So it's it's not maybe the most elegant setup, but it's what I'm used to. And so it has become a pretty good habit.
Jennifer Wilson 17:50
Yeah, I mean, that's really the most important thing is to find something that you know how to do and can you can use again and again. And you always remember, this is how I do it. So I actually use the Lightroom app to automatically send photos through the cloud. And I'll include a link in the show notes to a tutorial I have about doing this. But I wanted to particularly answer a question because I got this on our recent Zoom event that we did. And if you think about your phone charger, that you have plugged into the wall, like maybe it's by your bed or in your office or wherever, almost all of these these days, the USB comes out of that little box, right. And so it's like a two part charger, there's a little the electric phone, you know, the AC adapter and then the cord? Well that USB cord can go directly into your computer. So then you can transfer photos from your phone to your computer. Now obviously like the software at all that's going to totally vary depending on what phone you have, and what kind of computer you have. And there's tutorials out there on the web for that. But I wanted to bring that up because there were many on this call who didn't know that was a thing. And so I'm assuming there's at least one person out here listening, who will have a little light bulb moment and have maybe an easier time now getting their pictures off their phone.
Natalie Strand 19:10
Yeah, and one other thing I thought because that that's really nice for like, longer video clips or things that are a lot of photos so that it's a more direct connection because Dropbox can be slow. And we've realized, my husband has a much more advanced phone than I do at this point. That will change soon, hopefully. But when he has a lot of videos to share with me, we use AirDrop and since I have an Apple computer, I can choose whether he Airdrops it to my phone or to my laptop. And that's a nice quick and easy way to do it as well, especially if it's somebody else's phone that you're trying to coordinate with.
Jennifer Wilson 19:49
That's really nice. Well and even you mentioned Dropbox box, things like that. Those can be simpler ways to get photos from others if they're not quite sure how to to do it on the computer or you can use the apps on your phone to do that, which is nice. All right, so transitioning here to a little bit about crafty habits. And so it sounds like you're really getting into the habit. I know I see you almost every week at our quiet co working on Monday morning. And so I'm curious, what do you think is the best way to start a crafting habit when you've got a full busy life.
Natalie Strand 20:25
So it's taken me a while to get to this point where I could say that I have a habit. It used to be that I was just whenever I had time or the inclination, I would try and do it. But I really think that scheduling the time has been a game changer for me. And for a while I didn't really know how to schedule that time, especially last year with the kids home and everything was different last year, you couldn't predict from day to day, it was terrible. But now that I feel like things have gotten a little steadier, the quiet co working on Monday mornings has been it has been life changing for me. And I know that sounds really dramatic, but just being able to show up at a particular time. And say, this is what I'm doing during this time. And it's not always, it's not always that I'm scrapbooking, but often I'm doing something that will lead to scrapbooking, if I'm not physically sitting there with paper in my hands. And being able to put the blinders on and say for the next 52 minutes, this is what I'm doing. I know I have the dishes to do, I know I have the vacuuming, whatever. But right now, I'm going to scrapbook and that gets you excited for that time to say this is set aside. And then also it kind of gives you that, that satisfaction of knowing later on, I already got my scrapbooking time in. Or in the case of you know, an evening crop or an afternoon crop knowing that that time is set aside out ahead of you so that you can maybe work on the tasks that aren't scrapbooking or your hobby beforehand, so that you're kind of leading up to that.
Jennifer Wilson 22:08
Yes, you know, so it was this past Monday morning, we talked a little bit at the beginning about how like, having this on the calendar had forced many of us to like start to get organized. So you know, you're ready for for 9am. Or I guess it's 10am for you. Yeah. And you know, I had been to the grocery store and Jen had already been at Target and like, we're like we're on it because we know we want to show up for this time and get things going.
Natalie Strand 22:33
That's right. It's almost made me more productive outside of that time. Because I want to be productive during that time.
Jennifer Wilson 22:39
Yeah, for sure. Well and sometimes I like, I always have a goal for here's the things that I want to work on. And for me, it's a combination of like home stuff and work and scrapbooking. And knowing that I want it like that's gonna be like, like special focus time. I know that there's things I need to get done like the Friday before or even, you know, the day before so that I can really make the most of that.
Natalie Strand 23:06
That's right. It's almost like, I know, I haven't been to a like an actual crop in a really long time where you are going to a place and you've to bring the stuff with you. But I remember that feeling of I want to make the crop worth it. And so it kind of feels like that on a much smaller scale. I want to make this time worth it. So what can I do to get ready for it ahead of time?
Jennifer Wilson 23:28
Yes, 100%. And, you know, I guess kind of like a backing up of like, what's the smallest scale of this? Because I, you know, we've been having crops on our calendar at Simple Scrapper for a number of years now. But even back when we had a Facebook group, we did like, you know, we did crops in the comments, not even on Zoom, and you know, of course, Zoom just like changed everything for the community. But just like just the act of showing up and committing to showing up is so powerful. And it's just, it's not like, okay, I'm gonna do this every day, just choosing one time a week has a huge snowball effect. And all of a sudden, I know for me, I started to crave that time. And then I'm like, okay, where else can I fit this in? And it's just been kind of stacking one little thing on top of the next and then you start to really feel like you do have a habit.
Natalie Strand 24:24
Yeah. And I think another thing that I like about this quiet co working time, and also some of the other crops that we have in the community, is often at the beginning whoever is hosting will say, so what are you working on? And they'll go around and people who want to answer will get to, and that is like another level of accountability where I say, Well, I'm working on this layout. And so then maybe by the end, I can say, here's the layout I made or here's all the progress that I made on this layout, and so it keeps you on task rather than going off and checking your email or looking at social media, because you have that, that feeling of I want to show people what I've accomplished during this time.
Jennifer Wilson 25:11
Yeah, like just just by naming what it is you're going to do is so powerful.
Natalie Strand 25:17
Jennifer Wilson 25:19
So like maybe going a little bit more granular and talking about just the daily small habits we have. And I want to bring this up about maybe how you're, you're tracking it or, or, or implementing those in your life, because I think it's most of mine, there are a couple that are related tangentially to scrapbooking. But it's more about feeling in control so that when that desire in time does overlap, I can say, hey, I can scrapbook right now. Because I feel like you know, I'm, I've got my game face on in my life, I guess.
Natalie Strand 25:56
Jennifer Wilson 25:58
So do you use any kind of like habit tracker or apps or keeping track of what you're doing on a daily basis?
Natalie Strand 26:05
So I'm a paper girl, through and through. So I have a planner that actually I designed myself and my husband helped me program it into Excel, so I can print it every year. And so I keep a very strategized to do list, I guess. So I have a weekly list of things I want to do. And then I keep a daily to do list based on that weekly to do list. But I also do you use a habit tracker, I have a small size, I cropped it down and printed it out smaller, so it fits in my planner, the yearly daily tracker from Elise Blaha Cripe. It's just, it's just bubbles that you fill in. So I have one of those for exercising and one of those for creative things. And because I am always making things more complicated for myself, I actually color code them. So I have different colors of pen that I fill in the bubbles for, in the case of my hobbies, the different hobbies that I do, because I love scrapbooking, but I also love sewing. And so I just kind of want to see throughout the year, where am I doing those things. And then I have a color even for photo management and blog post writing, because it's not maybe as glamorous as sewing a dress or making a scrapbook page. But it is definitely a very necessary part of the creative process. So I kind of wanted to note to myself that this is also part of memory keeping is managing the photos. And that's okay, and so I fill it in green when I've spent most of my time that day doing photo stuff.
Jennifer Wilson 27:47
I'm, my brain is like wow, I, I'm very super impressed. I think there's a personality difference. And I love that idea. But I could never implement it. But I'm very, I have a lot of admiration for it. And I like, I want to, I want to see it like to you like if say for example, you scrapbook and sew in the same day do color and half the bubble one color, and half the other color?
Natalie Strand 28:08
Jennifer Wilson 28:09
I love it. I love it. I love it.
Natalie Strand 28:11
I'm such a nerd. But it and I, I will I say this, but it's not like at the end of every day, I fill in my bubble sometimes a week later, I'll just go back through my planner and see what I put on my to do list for that day. And what I checked off, and I'll fill it in, because it's it's more about the momentum rather than actually having this documented. And sometimes I need the momentum. And so I'll look at my tracker to see oh, I've been doing this and I can keep doing it. But sometimes the momentum isn't lacking. And so I don't need to be filling it in because I'm just going.
Jennifer Wilson 28:48
Natalie Strand 28:48
And then I'll fill it in later.
Jennifer Wilson 28:50
Oh, I love this. I love how you've kind of figure out what is the role of the habit tracker and my like motivation cycle. And also you adapted it to your, like preferences that you love the physical act of it, and you're gonna go color coded, and we're gonna, you're gonna make it uniquely you. And mine is an app on my phone. And I actually have this little widget on my home screen. And it's like reminding me to do like, some of the basic things like make your bed, take your medicine, you know, start the laundry, because those are the things that really make me feel like, you know, I'm, I'm adulting you know, and then I'm adulting I feel like okay, I can I can relax and it makes me more productive when I feel that way. But they're very different strategies, but they're both supporting us and being you know, stronger scrapbookers and women.
Natalie Strand 29:47
Right. Yeah, yeah, for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 29:50
I will include a link in the show notes for this episode to an Instagram highlight that I created. Because the other morning I was like I was up early and on fire and I'm like I'm gonna share share this, you know, the widgets on my home screen and how I use those and how I use Trello, and my planner and what those different functions are. And so I will include a link to that highlight. So you can walk through it. And I'm happy to, like, answer any questions and in DMs, if you have any, because I, you know, like you totally nerd out. All right, so transitioning now to more about the creativity side of scrapbooking. And starting with this idea of someone feels behind and they don't know how, or where to start again, what's the first thing that you would suggest they do? Because you mentioned that you kind of went through a period of like, really low motivation for your hobby.
Natalie Strand 30:48
Yeah, yeah, the past few years have been really kind of challenging for me, because I had a lot of other obligations. And then of course, 2020, just sapped all the creativity out of me. And so I feel like I was coming back to it after being, it wasn't completely gone from my life, but it definitely was not as present in my life as I wanted it to be. And I think what helped me to get back in was to do something that I was really excited about. It didn't matter how important or not the project was, but just to do something.
Jennifer Wilson 31:22
Natalie Strand 31:22
And so I, I had a couple album projects in process, and I just flipped through them. And I found a page that I was excited about making, and I just started making it. And that that again, and again, kind of built up the momentum to oh, well, I finished this side of the pocket page. Let me just do the next side right now. Because I just have the supplies out. And that's great. And then oh, now I see a sketch in on some blog somewhere. And that would work perfectly with this other thing I saw on that album. So I move on to that. And so just not worrying about what you have to do. But what you want to do, I think is a really great way to get back into the habit. Because then once you're got that momentum, then you are excited, maybe again, to do the thing that you feel a little more obligated to do like a more important story or something.
Jennifer Wilson 32:16
Yes, yes, yes. I think just thinking very small. And for me, it's like this idea of like, just touch your stuff.
Natalie Strand 32:25
Jennifer Wilson 32:26
That's kind of funny. But like, literally, like so much. My brain wants to go and like, plan it out and figure out okay, what where am I? What do I need to do? And what are what are my priorities. But no, if you're really like haven't done anything in a while, like sit down, like physically touch your supplies, look through them, see what you have. That's new, see what you have, it's like maybe you forgot you had and just literally start touching it. And if you're digital, then you do this on your computer, you start opening files and looking at kits that maybe you've never worked with, or, or products that you bought a long time ago and see if you still like them. And it's that act of like, connecting with the part that makes the scrapbooking that always brings the excitement back for me. And then something like eventually comes tumbling out. And then I can finally regroup and say okay, now what is it? What is it that I'm really doing here? And where am I going?
Natalie Strand 33:18
Jennifer Wilson 33:19
But if you think you're going to like figure it all out before you start, you're never going to start.
Natalie Strand 33:25
Right. I love that idea of of going through your stuff, whether it's your digital catalog of papers, or your physical stash of stuff, because I know that I work better when I know what I have. So I it feels really clumsy if I just get out a piece of paper and a photo and I'm thinking, okay, how can I put this together? But if I have a familiarity with my things, then it feels more natural to say, oh, yeah, I have the washi tape over there. And I have my embellishments here. And wouldn't it be fun if I tried to put those things together? And just, you've kind of feel more comfortable in your space if you haven't been there for awhile?
Jennifer Wilson 34:06
Yeah, like it's just almost like, we talk a lot about shopping our stash but like literally that could be a fun way to start, is like get a little basket and go around your space and like pick out some fun things and then sit there and touch them and figure out okay, what can I put on this page. And then all of a sudden, you're like printing a photo or ordering photos or digging out some photos that you already had, and you're doing something fun. I think the creative like just that creative connection to the supplies, which is what differentiates us from being not scrapbookers, I think is sometimes the trigger. So we've talked a lot about like, different page ideas. And I mentioned that I like opened up my Trello app because that's where I store my page ideas. Where do you keep track of the stories that you want to tell?
Natalie Strand 34:53
Well, there's that's the thing I'm working on right now, actually.
Jennifer Wilson 35:00
That's totally fair.
Natalie Strand 35:00
Yeah, I think right now, I have a couple bigger album projects that I'm working on. And the way I work on a project like that is I actually sit down and I plan out. Basically, the whole album and I decide where which photos are going to go where whether something is going to be a layout or a pocket page. And so then I create a big photo order, and I put them in the album. And then when I'm trying to get something to work on, I'll just flip through the album. And so the albums actually are where I store my stories and those cases. Otherwise, I think I also store my ideas in my photo catalog. So I use Lightroom. I, I love Lightroom. I have over, I'm just looking now, I have over 104,000 photos in my Lightroom catalog.
Jennifer Wilson 35:56
Natalie Strand 35:57
And so and I have a really a system that really works for me in terms of managing them. And so I go through and I mark favorites. And those are often what I want to scrapbook. So say I want to, I feel like doing a Christmas page, I can go and I can look, I can find the, you know, the December photos. I can find the ones that I've marked purple, because that means they're my favorite. And I I'm very rigorous about storing my story or my caption in the caption field in Lightroom. And so often, that will become my journaling. So I think that's probably the main way I store stories that aren't a part of the bigger album projects that I'm doing.
Jennifer Wilson 36:43
And we've talked a little bit about this in various like scenarios, you're very kind of, as you said, like you're very album focused. Like, okay, this is what I'm working on, and where, like you're very home oriented, like, this is where these things are gonna live. And that sounds like part of what you're still trying to figure out is once you figure once you finish these current projects, what's next? Yeah, how does? Yeah, how does it all fit together? What is the next album, or different albums? How does that what does that really look like? And where are you going? And that's, you know, it's okay to be in that place of marination. And uncertainty.
Natalie Strand 37:15
Yeah, so I have lots of I have a file box full of memorabilia from things that don't fit in these albums. I have notebooks where I've handwritten things, I often email myself stories. So it's a it's kind of a mess. I gotta say, how I store my stories. But I, I generally can find it after a few attempts. If I think of this as the story I want to tell next. I actually, you know, I even though it's all over the place, I have those places to look.
Jennifer Wilson 37:45
For sure. Yeah, yeah. So have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut or kind of creating the same thing again and again? And how do you get yourself out of that? And I guess I have a really visceral initial reaction here. And to me is like, if you're creating the same type of layout again, and again, I think that means you found your style.
Natalie Strand 38:06
Jennifer Wilson 38:07
And so to me, that's a good thing. And so what's your, what's your reaction to that?
Natalie Strand 38:12
Yeah, I think I agree with you on that. I, I don't know that I feel like I've ever been stuck in a rut. So compared to just not having the inspiration. But I don't know that I've ever been stuck in a rut. I know that, looking back on my pages, I can definitely tell that there are trends that I have been in the mood to do. Like horizontal arrangements of things, or vertical or like a, you know, but often, if I want to get out of that, I will look on like a video or through a magazine, or blogs and just find something that is different. And try and scraplift that or use a sketch too that is different from what my normal stuff or quote unquote, normal has been. Or something I do when I'm sort of low on inspiration or want to challenge myself is I'll watch. I'll let myself watch a video. I watch videos all the time, but I'll specifically watch a video. And then I'll choose one thing from that video that I want to implement, whether it's the sketch that they use the technique that they used, and just see how I can fit that into my own scrapbooking. And that sometimes gets me out of what I normally do. And into a new look for my pages.
Jennifer Wilson 39:41
Yeah, yeah, no, I love that idea of just like choosing a source of information and start choosing a source of inspiration and saying, I'm going to pick one thing from this like, yes, there's probably lots of things that could inspire you, but I'm just gonna pick one and know that I can always come back later for more. But I'm gonna pick one to inspire this next page so that I can try something a little bit fun and different.
Natalie Strand 40:04
Jennifer Wilson 40:05
And I would say in the same vein to like, if you feel like you're doing the same type of layout again, and again, what if you changed one thing about it. So I'd kind of had gone through a kind of summer slump. And I always do. And I, for some reason, I never can plan adequately enough for that. And so I decided to sit down, I had some products, and I went to pull a background cardstock. And I'm like, You know what, I'm going to go out of my comfort zone. And I'm going to choose craft instead of white. Because you know, I'm all about the white, I couldn't bring myself to choose a color, but so I chose a dark kraft. And, you know, it was enough to be like, Okay, I like this page, it's not totally my style, because it does have this different colored background. But it was enough to kind of get the juices flowing. And now this page is done. And I can go back to where, where my comfort zone is. But it was enough to feel like I'm not, I'm not in a rut. And now I know what I'm doing again, and give you a little boost of confidence that you need. And maybe if you haven't created anything in a while.
Natalie Strand 41:05
Jennifer Wilson 41:08
It's kind of it's a similar question, but a little bit different. Like if you and, you know, I've noticed this with a lot of your pages, because you've had some things in Scrapbook and Cards Today and you make really beautiful pages. How do you go about creating something that you feel is, like original or unique or something that might inspire others like this? This question comes from one of our members. So I'm curious what you think?
Natalie Strand 41:33
You know, I never really, I never really think that my pages are going to inspire other people, because I feel like I'm so inspired by others. So that's a, that's an interesting question to think about. I think that I try not to worry about the audience of the page while I'm making it. For sure, like if I'm making something for a particular call or a particular challenge, I know it's going to be seen. And so I want to make it the best I can, but I can freeze if I think too much about that. And I don't know for sure, you know, that's obviously counterproductive. So I think I just really like to take the sketch or the challenge, or whatever I'm working on and make it my own. So maybe I don't think of it in the same light as the challenge might have been intended. But I kind of say, well, I want to fit this into this part of my story. And so here's how I'm going to reinterpret that challenge, or with a sketch, I pretty much never can follow a sketch straight to the letter. And whether it's my photo sizes, or the number of photos, because I often like to put more photos on than a sketch has. And I think just, it's I think that idea of one thing where yes, I take the inspiration from one thing, and then by the end, you might not be able to recognize where the inspiration came from. I'm not sure if that answers the question. But hopefully it does.
Jennifer Wilson 43:10
I think there's a there's there's nothing of no new ideas out there.
Natalie Strand 43:14
Right. Oh, for sure. Yeah.
Jennifer Wilson 43:15
And I think the vast majority of pages that you see from others who are inspiring to you, they took their source of inspiration from multiple sources and experience over the years. As you mentioned, that idea of just doing the one thing so like maybe, you know, the it's pretty common these days, or more trendy to do like a folded corner technique where you fold a corner over and then you have like another piece of patterned paper poking out. It's really cute. But if you start with that as Okay, I want to incorporate this, and then you're bringing in, you know, your comfort zone for the page composition. Or maybe you bring in a sketch, you start combining all these different sources together, and all of a sudden, you have a brand new original page, it's no less yours, because you use this technique and this, like photo composition sketch. And, you know, it's I don't know.
Natalie Strand 44:10
And I think there's, I think I also needs to remember that my pages are always going to be unique, because it's my picture and my story. And that's, that's the focus for me. I mean, I love putting pretty paper and embellishing and layers and all of that. But the in the end, the whole point of this for me is to have that story associated with those photos. And so nobody else has that story or those photos. So almost by definition, the page is unique. You know, there's levels of how different it is, obviously, but when you start putting your photo on, then it's going to be the colors that you choose to go with that photo and that's not going to be the same as somebody else. And nobody's going to have your story.
Jennifer Wilson 44:54
100% Yeah, I think that this often comes up when we're talking about style. Like you don't feel like you have a style like, well, if you look through a lot of your pages, you're going to notice that you gravitate towards certain colors or certain types of products. And that's how you define your style. Even though you may be you choose some different things once in a while you by you making it by default, it's like it's unique. And it's something that only you could do. Right?
Natalie Strand 45:24
Yeah. And actually going, going back to the stuck in a rut thing, I often will go back and look through my albums. If I'm wondering what to do next, I'll go back and look through my old albums. And sometimes I'm like, impressed with myself. You know, I'm like, Oh, I made that page. That's a really good page. And then I'll take that as inspiration for a page that I'm making now, even though that old page was a couple years ago, and then that kind of reinforces your style, right? Because you're being inspired by yourself. Yeah, a couple years ago, and now you're using it in maybe an updated form now?
Jennifer Wilson 46:02
Yeah, like, sometimes you just thought it was okay in the moment. And you look back, like, wow, that was really good. Yeah, I should do more like that.
Natalie Strand 46:09
Jennifer Wilson 46:12
So we mentioned this idea of like, find, like taking a source of inspiration and taking just one idea of it from it. And I noticed that a lot of our members have that goal with SPARK Magazine, every single issue. So this year, are starting this year, we're releasing bimonthly issues are more than 100 pages. We'd previously done monthly issues for so many years, because this is issue 89, that just came out at the time of this recording. And by the time this episode goes live, issue 90 will be up, which is just kind of amazing. But SPARK is exclusively available to our members. It's something that we're so proud of. It's completely ad free, because it is part of our membership community. And I'm just curious, like Natalie, like what, you know, do you read SPARK? And what's your favorite part of it?
Natalie Strand 47:02
I have looked through it. I haven't been a member of the community very long. So I haven't had a chance to look too much at it. But I love seeing all the layouts in it. I love looking at other people's layouts, and just getting to see what, how they choose to highlight their photos and stories. And seeing again, what's that one way that I could take inspiration from how that person did that pocket page and use it for a pocket page that I'm using. Or even take a pocket page and inspire a layout or the other way around. I really love the photos of the layouts. That's my favorite.
Jennifer Wilson 47:39
Yes, yes. And I love like our creative team is so maybe they have very like a diverse set of styles themself. So I know that like, you know, they'll be members or like I love these particular creative team members, because like their style really resonates with me. And just having the diversity of types of creating, you know, paper or digital, hybrid, pocket pages, versus layouts. It's all inside of there. So. All right, like So we've talked a little bit about the membership. But I'm curious. And one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on is to, to hear in a members words, how is our community different from other subscriptions, or things that you sign up for?
Natalie Strand 48:20
So I signed up for the membership through the Before Your Story class, because I was really interested in the class. And I quickly realized that this was a really good community. It was so welcoming. And I was brand new, I don't really know any of the people in the community from elsewhere. And I feel like I'm getting to know them already. And I think that was the first thing I noticed was people are really engaged with each other. So people are very quick to answer questions that you might post, they cheer you on in the monthly or not monthly, excuse me, the the weekly victories and actions posts, and everybody is just so supportive. They they're just cheerleading you all the way all the way through. And I think that has been a thing that made me want to stick around and just see what's more. And I also like that everybody is working on their own stuff. But everybody's cheering on those projects, even if they're not doing them because we all kind of see the projects out in social media land and everywhere. And we know what is involved. And everybody's common goal is tell more stories. And so the diversity of opinions and focus of what the scrapbooking is about is really exciting because I see people working on projects that I hadn't seen before on social media or interpreting them differently than I'd seen them before. And it just gets me excited about the hobby every time I sign in because people are cheering people on and sharing their work and nobody's It's not a, you have to buy this product to do this thing. Everybody's doing it their own way.
Jennifer Wilson 50:05
Yes, yes. 100%. And, you know, it's interesting that you mentioned that it's just that it feels so welcoming, because I feel like you've been a member for so long now. And it's been like, what? A little over three months?
Natalie Strand 50:16
Yeah, I joined in June.
Jennifer Wilson 50:18
But I feel like you're just so much a part of our community. And that's why I didn't hesitate to say like, Okay, I have to have you on the episode because, you know, you've showed up and, and some of that's your own like, okay, if I'm going to be a part of a community, I have to show up to it. But we've created so many containers through our events, to be able to do that and to quickly develop relationships with fellow members.
Natalie Strand 50:42
Yeah, it's really exciting. I really feel like I found my people because it's, it's a, we talk about scrapbooking, and we love it. And that's our common bond.
Jennifer Wilson 50:52
Yes, yes, yes. Well, that just Yeah, it makes me feel so good. And I'm just I'm so honored to have you as part of our community, as well as all of our members. Like, we've been doing this for so long, and it just gets better and better. When I first kind of conceived of it back in like 2010, 2011, I had no idea what it would become. And I'm just so grateful that I now have this platform of the podcast to be able to share it more widely with our community. So thanks for thanks for sharing Natalie.
Natalie Strand 51:23
Jennifer Wilson 51:24
Yeah, and thanks for answering all these questions with us. I hope some of these were helpful. Can you share where we can find you online?
Natalie Strand 51:32
Absolutely. So I have an Instagram account. It's at Natalie.Strand. And I share all the things that I make there and then I am kind of old school and I still blog. So my blog is Vegetablog.wordpress.com because it started as a gardening blog.
Jennifer Wilson 51:51
Yes, yes I noticed that so cool. And I am have so much admiration for your garment sewing ability because if you don't have that skill.
Natalie Strand 52:02
It's, it's been a lot a lifelong passion for me to sew.
Jennifer Wilson 52:06
Oh, beautiful. Yes. And I love that we all have most of us have not just one creative hobby, but multiple hobbies, things that we love because we like to we like to make things.
Natalie Strand 52:18
Jennifer Wilson 52:18
It's so rewarding. All right Natalie, thank you so much. I know I will see you again in the community soon and to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.
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