SYW165 – Practical Scrapping and Organizing

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Are you looking for a way to stay organized and caught up in scrapbooking? Meagan Johnson, also known as The Practical Scrapper, offers an array of tips and solutions in this episode. You’ll learn her trick for keeping track of digital files, a mind-blowing new option for the Project Life app, and the big reason she is able to stay on track.

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Meagan Johnson 0:00

I have thrived in the past four or five years because of it. Staying current, staying caught up, being connected. It's all kind of a circle for me. And I enjoy that.

Jennifer Wilson 0:11

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 165.

Jennifer Wilson 0:30

In this episode, I'm joined by Meagan Johnson to chat about scrapbooking with the Project Life app, organizing digital files and finding your own practical path in this hobby. Hey, Meagan, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

Meagan Johnson 0:43

Thank you for having me. I am so excited to be here. I feel honored and flattered. So thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 0:49

Yes, I am so thrilled to get to talk to you. And can you start a little bit by sharing something about yourself?

Meagan Johnson 0:55

Yeah. Let's see. I live in Minnesota. I love it here. I love the weather. People think it's crazy. But and it's been negative 15 real field temp for about two weeks now. But I'm Minnesota born and bred, and it is one of my favorite places on the earth. I think it's beautiful. I have four kids. Actually, each of my kids were all born in different states, as we moved around and established my husband's career, and I supported him in that. So that's kind of a fun little tidbit about us. We have a little token from everywhere we've lived. My oldest, my oldest is 20. And then I've got a 17 year old and almost 12 year old boy. And then my little Francis, who I think is what made me quote unquote famous because she was so cute. Anyway, she, she's four. So she's getting older. Yeah, so I'm at home the majority of the time, I do have that my little shop that I like to upkeep and make kits for. That just started like about a year and a half ago. And that's been really a fun diversion during all this COVID craziness for me. So that's a little bit about me.

Jennifer Wilson 2:15

Well, and I'm a little bit jealous of your Minnesota weather because I love snow. And here in central Illinois, we get like a couple of good snows a year, but it's just kind of weak and pathetic.

Meagan Johnson 2:26

Ya know, I we were in Chicago for about 10 years. And it was it just didn't have the same feel. You know, it was still winter, but it just it felt different. Yeah, I get it. Yep. Just being this further up north makes that much of a difference.

Jennifer Wilson 2:43

Yeah, I grew up in southwest Michigan. And so we had tons of lake effect snow every year. Yeah, like this was just it's not the same, but I still love where I live.

Meagan Johnson 2:53

Oh, good. I'm glad. You know, Illinois has its own beauty and charm to 100%.

Jennifer Wilson 2:59

Oh, for sure. So what's exciting you right now in scrapbooking?

Meagan Johnson 3:03

Well, I don't want to like be selfish and and be like super advertising of my of my little site. But I am really excited about this new kit that I made this year, I made a 2022 like foundational kit. And then each month I plan on making coordinating kits that match it. So it's kind of like if you're familiar with Project Life lingo. It's like project 52 meets project 12. Which Kelly and I did something similar last year, Kelly SilI think you've had her just recently actually.

Jennifer Wilson 3:40

Yeah, yeah, we did.

Meagan Johnson 3:41

Yeah. And and, and we did something similar. Last year, we didn't do monthly we did more like seasonally. But I loved the mashup of the two, I've never been one to commit to one. Like one kit for the whole year of my scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking. I know a lot of people especially that use a Project Life app love that for the simplicity, that just seems so boring to me. And really, like I just want something new to play with. And so having this system of like a foundational kit that gives you a really good like layer of fun to play with from the beginning that coordinates with everything that I make the rest of the year. I'm like super excited about it. And, and I've gotten a lot of good feedback about that. So I again, I didn't want this to be like plug for my store at all, but that it actually is like something I'm kind of a selfish kitmaker And I make this stuff I want. Like, it just happens to be what other people like to which is a bonus. You know?

Jennifer Wilson 4:41

No, and I love that because I think I am like you in that I want something fresh to play with every month, like I like the variety. And I would have gotten bored when I've tried to use the same thing throughout a whole year. But you still want to have some sort of kind of design continuity to it. And so I really like how you've approached this. So I think that's really exciting, too.

Meagan Johnson 5:03

Yeah, yeah, I'm really and it's I've gotten such good feedback not only in my store, like from sales, but also just from people really. Looking forward to it. I think it's something that is needed. And again, Kelly, Kelly and I last year, I collaborated with kind of on her brainchild, and it just kind of really showed me, oh, wow, this can be done. And it's, it can be really cool. And it's a lot of work. But it's, it's gonna be really fun. That said, I still love stuff from other designers too. And so I'm just kind of a mix and match. Whatever goes, whatever I feel like using at the time person, as much as I tried to have that consistent style.

Jennifer Wilson 5:46

So I totally get that. Yeah, yeah.

Meagan Johnson 5:50

I just, it's too creative of a process. For me, this is my creative outlet. And so it just, that's how I live. But I did just get for Christmas, I got a Cricut Explore Air. And yeah, so I'm excited about that. And I just ordered, finally, a like a Mac computer, I never can remember the names of anything, but it has the M1 chip in it. So I can use the Project Life app on my computer. Which is kind of exciting for me. It's a little glitchy right now I'm hoping that the Project Life app, kind of team catches on and they are they're able to kind of do some stuff on their back end so that is runs a little better. But I'm really excited about those two things. I do still like physical scrapbooking. So having the Explore Air is gonna be really fun to play with.

Jennifer Wilson 6:40

Yeah, and I'm always so fascinated by the kind of crossing between worlds that scrapbookers do because I started as 100% digital, and then I just, I missed the creative outlet of touching things. And now I'm mostly paper, but I still kind of swing back and forth. And this year, I'm doing a lot of hybrid. And yeah, it's always fun to hear somebody who really is known as a digital scrapbook or on our Project Life app scrapbooker say I just got a Cricut and I'm so excited.

Meagan Johnson 7:06

Oh, no, I actually and I think if this leads into, you know a little bit about my history, I started as a digital, as a physical scrapbooker in 2002. And it is at my heart, it is what I love. It really is. And I think what happened is in about 2013, I had my third son, and I was just getting buried in photos I was getting really far behind. We were going to make a move up here to Minnesota. And I had a brief moment of like getting rid of all my stuff and going all digital. But then that's when the Project Life app came out. And so that really helped me stay current and caught up and not feel so overwhelmed. But then also I kept all my physical stuff so I can go back and finish what I needed. And then also play, like I love making six by eight albums now and traveler's notebooks and, and I like printing and doing hybrid too. And so it just to be in both worlds is really fun. It's really fun. I can get inspiration from anywhere. And I love that about that.

Jennifer Wilson 8:14

Yes, yes, yes. So before we dive more into, you know, your history and your story, I'm curious if there's a particular part of your life that you haven't documented yet. We call this your story keeping sorry, you memory keeping Bucket List. A story that you really feel is important to capture. But you just haven't done it yet.

Meagan Johnson 8:32

Yeah, you know, I I have my oldest son. He was he was quite a handful to raise when he was young. I had him young, and I don't really ever regret that. We were married young. And he, I kind of grew up with him. He he was diagnosed with dyslexia, he has ADHD, he has high anxiety. Nothing's big enough to make him like, you know, even on the spectrum or anything, but he had all of his little idiosyncrasies made him really fun to raise, let's say that. And he had explosive disorder, just you know, all these little things that just, it was a journey with him. And I really had to humble myself at certain points in my mothering and what I thought it was going to be to be a mother. And what I thought that was going to look like. What I thought my little boy would look like, you know, like I had to really learn so much just right out of the gate being a mom with him and I learned so much about myself in raising him. I too have ADHD and I got diagnosed shortly after he did. I have sensory integration disorder, you know? And so, I would love to tell that story because me and my son really have a special close connection and I I think that story would be really fun to tell it's, like via pictures. And we just really enjoy each other. And we kind of feel like we were sent here to like, suss this all out together. And I really want to tell that story. And he keeps telling me he's like, I'll help you write it that, you know. So I think that's a story, it definitely would be worth telling for posterity sake. So that...

Jennifer Wilson 10:21

Oh, for sure.

Meagan Johnson 10:21

Yeah, that's kind of something on my list

Jennifer Wilson 10:24

That feels really important. And also the the opportunity to include his voice, and it just makes it even more meaningful.

Meagan Johnson 10:29

Yeah. And I think that just what I learned from a young age, as a mom just really impacted me personally, and my trajectory on life. And so I'm not one to really, like, have, think that scrapbooking is all about my posterity and what they should learn from me and our experience. I kind of am a selfish scrapbooker, I call it. I do what I want, you know, I don't do this for anyone but me, because, you know, I'm sure people will enjoy it in the future. But I don't like to put that type of pressure on anyone else. But that's the one story that I feel like I could tell that might have an impact in the future.

Jennifer Wilson 11:12

Well and I think the more that I create volumes of scrapbook pages.

Meagan Johnson 11:19


Jennifer Wilson 11:19

The more I feel more like mindful of, okay, these are the ones that I'm really creating just for me, and then maybe these other ones, this subset, this is the things that I would you know, grab in a fire or want to make sure that were passed down.

Meagan Johnson 11:33

Exactly. My husband actually talks about, he's like, Hey, I love everything you do. And he does. And he's, he loves to look at the albums. When they come he loves to look through all my photos. He's like, could we maybe do like, like, every five years, you make an overview book of the last five years where you just kind of sweeten and condense all the stories. He's like, this is just too much to ask our kids to like, hold on to and pass down. He's like, but a decade book, you know, a book that covers the whole decade? That'd be great. He's like, that would be something that would be worth us, you know, really thinking would be for posterity sake, if that makes sense.

Jennifer Wilson 12:20

Oh, for sure. And I yeah, I love kind of trying to wrap my brain around what those boundaries would be and how, yeah, what's, what's what would make it both meaningful and fun slash not impossible to do? You know?

Meagan Johnson 12:31

Exactly. No, I totally agree. And so I've thought about that. I'm like, Okay, well, that's we've been married 20 years. So that's like, four, four books. And I'm like, I could probably do that, you know, in a very simplistic way. Now with the advent of phones, and that we have picture capabilities all the time, I'm telling you, those first five years would probably be like, a quarter of a book compared to what we have now. You know?

Jennifer Wilson 12:57

Yeah, for sure, for sure. So diving back a little bit more into your history. So you mentioned that you were at the point in which you discover the Product Life app after it came out, you were kind of already on the digital train ready to let go of paper or kind of how did that shift come for you.

Meagan Johnson 13:14

I just was overwhelmed. I was just so behind. And again, having the phone in my back pocket and being able to take pictures all the time. Really, really and having all these stories I wanted to attach with the pictures, you know, of my of my kids, and they're so fun, and we're doing so many fun things. I really just felt overwhelmed. And so my friend, my really good friend Liberty, she was really into into digital scrapbooking. I had dabbled in it. I did not like it. I'm like you I want to touch. I want to feel, I like the shopping aspect of scrapbooking. I like to hoard things.

Jennifer Wilson 13:54

I didn't know there's a pretty big shopping culture in digital too.

Meagan Johnson 13:57

There is, no it is true. It's just a little bit different. You know, when you see how much you're going to spend, as opposed to I just like, I miss Archivers. You know, like, I miss like going. We're in the Mall of America, and we would go to the, their kind of their base store. And it was so fun. But anyway, um, yeah, and also facing a move and knowing how hard it is to move your craft room. You know, it's like the bulk of our move. Every time we've moved is like my scrapbooks are so heavy, and all my supplies and papers heavy. So that kind of weighed into it, too. And then and so I guess at that point where I was like, I could just do all Project Life app. I was like, You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to stay current with the Project Life app. I'm going to hang on to my scrapbooking stuff because I love it. And I am just going to keep trying to catch up with my physical stuff. Not even really catch up anymore because I'm you know, it's not even. I don't like that term catch up, you know, because I feel like it's just such a process. It's so fun. I don't feel like we should ever feel pressure to catch up because you'll never really be caught up in what is JennaScraps, Jennifer Fortner always says just being caught up is boring. So I love that quote. It's one of my favorites. So that's kind of where I started shifting. So I started doing current with a Project Life app, and I do some catch ups. And kind of like, now I do highlight things with my physical scrapbooking.

Jennifer Wilson 15:26

Well, I think over the years, I've gotten to that same place. And I hear that from so many others where we do have that craving to, to stay current, and to have something that captures the right now. It could be very small to two giant volumes of physical Project Life. I mean, it could be a lot of different things. But I think that we all want that balance of the current and I just want to make something or I want to fill in gaps from the past. Tell bigger stories. So I feel like we all kind of crave that similar type of balance.

Meagan Johnson 16:04

Yeah, exactly. And I think current is more fun. I love love journaling. The journaling that I can do current is just so much more rich. And I'm not much of a journaler. I don't need, I don't need volumes of written prose to like, tell my story. But just just remembering something funny that one of the kids said that week or I will go back and I'll journal three years ago, and that's kind of lost. And so I guess like, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think for me, if I took that photo, and I'm not one to scrapbook, every photo I take. But if I if we went on this trip, or did this event, I want it somewhere, not just on my phone. And so even if the journaling is a little fluff so I can get where we were, you know person, place, thing, you know who, what, where. I'm fine with that. But I do love being current because it's more fun. It just is it's more fun to be current and and I feel bad for people who feel like they can't work on today, because they're so bogged down with yesterday. I'm like no, just do something current and then do something to get caught up and then do something current and you can do both. It's not, it's you know, in it, it it does make it more fun.

Jennifer Wilson 17:16

Oh, I totally agree. I had my husband proofread my I did a photo book for all of last year. And I hadn't proofread it. He's like, you realize this sounds like it's your diary, right. And I'm like, Yes, I guess but it's because I wrote it every single week in the moment. It wasn't just reflecting on, you know, Emily, who went to horse camp or, you know, volleyball, it was like, you know, these are my feelings about what's going on and the ups and downs of life and you know, the pandemic and all that. So it's, it's they're both valuable, but they are very different.

Meagan Johnson 17:47

Yeah. Oh, definitely. And, and that's where it gets to be like, how much of this do I need for posterity? Like, do they need a weekly report of what my family did? Maybe not. But it's for me, it really is like, it is my coping mechanism. It is my creative outlet. It is my it is my joy. On some days when things just feel kind of glum. We had a couple of really tough years with our family and, and our older boys and I, it was my outlet. It was my escape and the community that we have created via Instagram, Facebook groups, you know, you've got your Simple Scrapper community. I mean, that is like a very real thing for me is having that community be there to support me in my journey and it's kind of funny because people will proofread my journaling. I'm like, Oh, don't read my book. You don't need to read it. But it is, it is important to me and, and I and I, I kind of like have thrived in the past four or five years because of because of it staying current staying caught up being connected. It's it's all kind of a circle for me. And I enjoy that.

Jennifer Wilson 18:56

Yes, yes. I love it so much. Now I am sure that one of the things you're passionate about is is your business and designing and creating and you said you're a little bit selfish. You're creating things that you want to use.

Meagan Johnson 19:07

Yes, yes. 100%

Jennifer Wilson 19:08

Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of choosing The Practical Scrapper as your brand name and kind of what your mission is in this in this business?

Meagan Johnson 19:17

Well, um, I chose The Practical Scrapper, I think I started my account on Instagram. It was my account name for Instagram like ages ago, I mean just I think 2016 when Instagram kind of basically first started. AAd all we had for inspiration online, you know, when we were looking at Pinterest all the time, all these things are just coming online. We're so excited to have, be connected on this kind of global community of people. And all I remember seeing at the time was one picture on this ornately gorgeous page that is just these people are so talented who are putting out these these scrapbook pages that are so beautiful. And I'm like, Okay, well, I have 15 pages to fit on a spread, like how, where is my inspiration, you know. And so when I started The Practical Scrapper, I'm like, I knew some of them were practical friends, like, I need, I need some practicality here. And that's kind of where it started. So now I've kind of come full circle. And I do make those digital scrapbook pages that is one picture. And I love to play with all the elements and stuff. But the origins of that was, let's get down to business, I gotta get stuff done. I want to stay current, I love my pictures, I love my stories. I love my family. I need it to be practical, so I can get it done. And that's where like, the Project Life app just really equals freedom for me. You know, is like, I can be creative, I can have fun with this app, I, I can pull the, pull the the, the finished collage out. And put it into like I use the Studio app, which is by GoDaddy, which I was kind of sad that it was taken over by GoDaddy because I was like, wow, that's just such a like horrible association for me. But anyway.

Jennifer Wilson 21:12

GoDaddy has bought a lot of things that we like, so...

Meagan Johnson 21:15

Yes, that's kind of like, well, in the origins of GoDaddy is, you know, and so I just associated them with things that don't make it as fun. But anyway, the the, it just it really did mean that I could be practical, have some fun, but get it done. Right. And so that's where my name came from. I've dabbled with changing it. And I you know, it just it just hasn't come to fruition yet. That's just kind of what I'm known as. It's not my favorite thing now. And that's okay. You know, I'm just, I'll just stick with it.

Jennifer Wilson 21:53

I understand that completely. So, having a similar brand name.

Meagan Johnson 21:58

Yeah, yeah. Right. Like, you're kind of like, well, this is what I've known as now. You know? And if I change it, what does that mean? You know, and again, I didn't start my store until April of 2020 is when I opened my store, like right when the pandemic hit. And so, I mean, that was such a late in the game thing for everything. Like, by the time I started my store, like I didn't build up my Instagram account. Like on purpose, it just happened. And then I started my store and it just, uh, now I feel like it's kind of ran away with me, you know, the name necessarily, not necessarily like what's happened in the past 18 years or 18 months, but the name especially, you know.

Jennifer Wilson 22:42

Well, I think we think about that kind of stuff way more than anybody else does.

Meagan Johnson 22:46

Oh, 100% Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 22:49

So I'm curious a little bit more about the Project Life app. I've I don't know if I've ever actually completed anything with it. I certainly made things. And I've demonstrated things and printed a few pages, but I've never like done a whole thing. So I'm curious, like, you know, in addition to lots of photos, and you know, that ability to get lots of photos, what else do you love about it?

Meagan Johnson 23:09

Um, let me think there, there's a lot. I love the simplicity. And there's just nothing else out there. I mean, you even look at Photoshop, right? So everyone uses a lot. Well, I shouldn't say everyone, a lot of people use Photoshop to create digital scrapbooking pages. Photoshop wasn't meant, it's not a scrapbooking software, right. And there are scrapbooking software's out there that we can use, I feel like the Project Life app is for scrapbooking, like Becky Higgins, in the inception of it knew exactly what she wanted to do. She made it simple, she made it easy. And it is. There's nothing that can compete with it unless you're a digital scrapbooker you know, and so I feel like I I just I love the simplicity of it. That's that's basically it and I can finish a page and in 15 minutes if I'm organized, you know, and and I can't do that anywhere else and maybe someday and sometimes I'll pull out a picture or two and I'll physical scrapbook that picture because I loved it, but I just I want my pictures to be on the forefront. And the app does that for me. You know, I want them to be the thing that shines and that's why, yeah, I think that's why I love the app. So I get that it's not as flexible and people don't have the the autonomy that they would love, you know from physical scrapbooking or digital scrapbooking in in Photoshop or the like, but there's just something about the freedom of ease. That is it like actually unlocks create, creativity for me, because I have some constraints. And sometimes constraints are important, you know, so yeah, I think that's what I love about it and, and you know, if you never ever want to dabble in it, that's fine. I I would never think that anyone should do something they don't want to do. But when it comes to making like a simple travel album, or you know, or even using it to, like when I'm traveling, I dump a daily journal kind of journaling at the end of the night into the Project Life app. And then I know, you know, I've got my journaling in there for when I'm ready to, to, you know, put it with a picture. So there's just something about the ease, and that it's in my hand, and I can sit and wait for my kids to get out of school, I can, you know, it's just all of that combined just makes it so wonderful for me.

Jennifer Wilson 25:39

Well and I can see the your next step of being able to do it on the computer will allow you to kind of get the rough draft on the road on your phone, but then do the polish with your mouse. Where you can feel like you maybe have a tiny bit more control or just big picture lay of the land as well.

Meagan Johnson 25:56

Yeah, yeah, definitely. That is something that you miss I about, you know, working on your phone, it is small, it is very small. And I've gotten the biggest phone I can and I do have the biggest iPad that I have. I'm actually really good at night of laying in bed. And I like hold it right up close to my face, like so my husband doesn't see the light. And I'm like scrapbooking with it in bed. And that's what I love about it. Like, you don't know how many scrapbook pages. I'm like, I call myself like a lazy scrapbooker I don't want to sit at my computer at my desk. I I just I don't want to, I want to have my feet up on an ottoman. I want to be watching it. I mean, I know you can do the laptop. But I don't know, there's just something about having it with me all the time. That is really, really helpful for me for me. And maybe not the best funnest thing for like my husband, he's like, What do you I'm like, I am scrapbooking. I'm not just scrolling. Facebook, I'm actually doing some am keeping our memories, you know, like, so. So I think sometimes he wishes it wasn't so handy, but But I it's how I've been able to stay current and kind of stop the overwhelm. So...

Jennifer Wilson 27:05

We'll be like watching a movie. And he's like, get off your phone. I'm like, I'm working.

Meagan Johnson 27:08

I know. I know.

Jennifer Wilson 27:11

I have an important message that I'm sending.

Meagan Johnson 27:14

Like, this is important. Yeah. And so he's like, hey, you know, and so we tease about it mostly.

Jennifer Wilson 27:19

Yeah, yeah.

Meagan Johnson 27:20

I also I do have, I do have ADHD. And there is something about having a little distraction, that's really important for me to focus. Like, we'll be sitting in church, and I'll be looking at, making a scrapbook page and my husband's like, put your phone away. Like, I just need it to focus, like I can't. So anyway, it is one of those things that kind of justifies my screen time usage, maybe a little bit too much more than it should?

Jennifer Wilson 27:45

Well, I think one more attribute as you were talking about, I think that what makes the Project Life app different is just the attention to ease when it comes to the text. Because there's a lot of photobook apps, a lot of them are really terrible. But what they universally all do terribly is handle text. And that's one thing that the Project Life is that does really well. And of course, you know, there's some glitches with the freeform text and all that. But still, it is still fundamentally there to for you to be able to add not just photos, but text. And that's where I think they really have stood apart because of that.

Meagan Johnson 28:22

Yeah, no, I agree. And being able to now, I think it was like 2019 with the ability to add your own fonts to I mean, that has been a game changer for a lot of people. And the freeform text, just allowing you to have a little bit more freedom. Now I export my pages. And I will instead of using freeform text, I often add my text in the Studio app, because it's just easier than freeform text sometimes. But you know, there's a lot of pages I can make just in the app. And you can get pretty creative with like Dingbat fonts, which, what where did that origin of that name even come from? Like, what is that? Like? What is it Dingbat font? But, but you can get really creative with a lot of stuff out there. And there are some people in our Simply Project Life Group who have pushed the boundaries of the app, and they have made some amazing pages with that freeform text and with with the ability to add your own fonts. But yes, they do do that really well. That is something and I think that's utmost importance to to Becky and her team is us being able to, you know, attach a really good story to our pictures. And you know, because that's, that's a big part of it. For me, especially some people aren't big journalists. And that's fine. You do you, you know, but you know, that is that is kind of a nice part about it.

Jennifer Wilson 29:42

Now, you mentioned that you use the Studio app, could you tell us a little bit about more why you use that in addition to Project Life and if there are any other apps that you regularly use as part of your process?

Meagan Johnson 29:53

Okay, so the Studio app is it's just my bread and butter. I just love it. It is I I have dabbled with Photoshop, I have Affinity Photo, I use Affinity Photo on my iPad to do to play with templates. I'm on a creative team, for a woman that just does templates. And I love her. And I enjoy that process too. But the, I always say over and over that the Studio app is so intuitive. It's like the buttons, you press on them, they do exactly what they say they're gonna do. There's a lot of flexibility when you learn the ins and outs of, you know, I can I can build elements in the Studio app, and there's so much you can do with it. I know Canva is kind of on the scene right now. It's kind of like making more of a noise in the app scrapping world. I've played with Canva, I just I couldn't seem to, it just didn't seem as intuitive to me. The shadowing wasn't, was missing. There was I don't know. So I just, I just love what they've done. And again, the Studio app is not meant for scrapbooking. Photoshop wasn't meant for scrapbooking, but look at us. scrapbookers. We're so ingenuitive, right, like, we can push the boundaries on just about anything and make it work for us. But I do have to say about the Studio app is they've always been really responsive to my suggestions. And they've all they've, I always get a good response back and lots of great troubleshooting help. And I just I enjoy that it's not a subscription, you know, I don't have to pay a monthly fee to be involved. And I the layering cap, capabilities. It's just everything. I have a couple videos on my YouTube channel, where I show people how to scrapbook in the Studio app. And I don't know, it's just on my phone. It's the same as I can get on my computer and the Studio, Studio's on my computer too so it's, it's, it's good and transferable and I just really can't say enough good things about it.

Jennifer Wilson 31:57

Oh, super cool. Well, I will include a link to not only how to access it, but to your YouTube tutorial as well. So this is something that's totally new to me. So I'm curious.

Meagan Johnson 32:08

Oh, yeah, no, I really think if you are a Photoshop user, or any other type of digital, of course, you're really comfortable with what you use all the time, right. And you mentioned using your mouse, I can't imagine using my mouse to design stuff. Like, I love my Apple Pen. But like, I think that I think if you're on the go and you need to get something done, it's a really great, easy way to do it. It kind of has a similar setup as Canva. And that is meant for marketing, right for small businesses, but you can do so much with it.

Jennifer Wilson 32:44

All righty sounds good. Now I really wanted to talk to you, ah, excuse me. So we are in our Organization Creative Journey right now. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on because I suspected that digital organization was one of your strengths just by, you know, saying the things that you share the way you talk about things related to your digital scrapbooking, not just your personal but your business as well. So I'm curious, how do you organize the files that you purchased or you're receiving as a creative team member? Because I'm assuming that might even be a little different than how you organize the files that you create?

Meagan Johnson 33:22

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, I have I have two kinds of systems I have for my, you know, for my kits that I create, and then also for digital scrapbooking and how I store those. I am, so I've got, I use, I've been a Dropbox user, Dropbox user since the beginning of time. It's like, it's like the, the I always say it's the cloud, OG, you know, like the original cloud. And and I love the Dropbox app, I think it's it's accessible everywhere. If you're talking about the Project Life app to the Dropbox, there's always a link to the Dropbox app. When you go into like to into your, in your photo roll to find something you can go right to your Dropbox via, via the app. And so I just think it's kind of one of those universal things that really is it's just everywhere. I mean, everywhere you go, there's a link to the Dropbox. Login to your Dropbox here. Get your pictures and so that is something I use as like kind of my foundational backup. I put everything into my Dropbox app, my kits, everything, everything goes in there. As for like a working system, I use the iCloud Drive and my files app on my phone and on my iPad. It's, there again, it's just the folder system is just intuitive. It's easy to change the titles and re, you know as a, as a kit as a kit designer, you've got to name everything. And that can be kind of a pain and it's really easy to just name everything in those apps and rename things and keep them organized. I am so for my, my digital kits, I prefer my labels. So when I import, when I download a kit, I like to give it a theme first, because I'm a theme based scrapbooker. If I'm doing a winter page, I'm going to want to see what kits I have for winter, right? If I'm doing a trip, I want to see what my travel kits are. And so I always give it the theme first. And then I'll put the name of the kit, and then I'll have initials for the designers. And that way when I am, let's say like, I love Dawn By Design, I'm on her creative team, she doesn't produce a lot, but I love her stuff. And if I want to find her stuff, I just type in DBD and all of her kits will come up because it's in the file name. And so having the theme first is what I lead with, because I love that, you know, that's kind of my base. That's my go to and then having having the designer initial in there is is allows me to search by designer too. So that's the system I've kind of come up with. Every once in a while I have to go in and kind of clean things up. But it seems to work really well for me. I know some people like to lead by designer because they want a feel. Like the designer has a certain feel that they love and the page they're working on. They want to pull from that designer because they want that feel. And so it gets I think it just depends on you know, you figuring out where you're going first with looking right. And so that's that's what's worked for me.

Jennifer Wilson 36:35

You're very text and search based in terms of how you're finding things versus more visual.

Meagan Johnson 36:42

Yes, yeah, I am very text in search, I do have, one thing that I have done is like let's say like, right now we're into winter. So I will go into my, into my kits. And I will screenshot or download the the folder preview that the designer creates. I know some people erase those, I don't erase mine, when I download them. I keep them and I download them. And then in my camera roll on my phone, I can quickly scroll through, like, here's all my winter kits, and I can see the picture. So if I want the visual, that helps me with the visual. But most of the time, I pretty much know what I have. I'm kind of picky. When it comes to shopping for my digital stuff. I only like to stick to a few designers. I erase, I delete a lot. I shouldn't because I paid for it right, but I'm kind of like you know if that's gonna bog me down and like way on my creative process, I'm gonna get rid of it. And so I've deleted a lot of kits that I've paid for, which probably is like a no, no. But I figure...

Jennifer Wilson 37:45

Oh, I have too.

Meagan Johnson 37:46

Yeah, okay, good. Because I can sometimes feel guilty about that. But I feel like there's, there's freedom and less like I've told you, like I said before, like I kind of like constraints. Like I've really liked, like now lately, I've only been using what I create, mostly because I remember what I create, like I remember my kits. And so it isn't necessarily because there isn't a better style out there. But it's mostly because I'm like, Oh, I made it. I made a kit for this. So here's my kit. It's all about ease for me. I'm really lazy. It really is about being lazy. Like not.. right?

Jennifer Wilson 38:21

I have always said that I should just be called the lazy scrapper.

Meagan Johnson 38:24


Jennifer Wilson 38:24

That's what I just want it to be easy and simple. Like, to me simple is just getting it done in a way that doesn't require frustration.

Meagan Johnson 38:32

Yes. And that's why sometimes I get frustrated when I'm physical scrapbooking because now I have such a great system for my digital scrapbooking. And then physically I've got an okay system, but it's just so much harder. Like you actually have to like, stand up and maybe walk across to your craft room, like heaven forbid. But, um, you know, and so, yeah, I'm the same, it's it. And I like I like I again, I just like constraints, that sounds so like backwards, but in my creative life. I just I kind of need the boundaries. If I if I have all the options open to me. It's really that's one thing that was hard for me transitioning from physical to digital. I was like, I could change the background color of this. I could do anything just I could layer on this. This this mask I could do. I'm like, That's too much. I'm not gonna get anything done, you know, because it's just there's too much available. And so, I guess Yeah, that's how I am with my digital scrapbooking is I'm just very picky.

Jennifer Wilson 39:35

Yeah, well, and that's it surprises me that people delete the previews. Because to me, I like the constraint of a kit that a designer worked hard on to assemble together, that I can just sit there and use to make a page. And so the previews have always been how I found what I wanted to use. Because I had at that time, when I was doing mostly digital layouts, I would I, I had imported the previews into Lightroom. And just looked at 'em, you know, alongside my photos and say, here's the kit that I'm going to use with these photos and then I go find the files and make it. But to me the previews are super important part of the way I would choose to organize.

Meagan Johnson 40:13

Yeah, no, I totally agree. I totally agree. And I do love having mine in my photo in my camera roll. So then when I, when I am working on a page, I can like find my my iPad, I pull up my, my, my, my phone, and I can check and see, see what I have available to me. So yeah, no, I really. When it comes to my page, like when I import a page or export a page from the Project Life app, I have a certain system there too. And I store all of those in the Dropbox and my Dropbox, in Dropbox folders. And I do those all by sequential, like order like for, what's the word I'm thinking of, you know, when you order organized by date, thank you, if that's the...

Jennifer Wilson 41:00


Meagan Johnson 41:00

Chronological, thank you. That's the word. Anyway, I. So I think, I think Jenna actually does the same processes as me. And I do, so January is 01, and then the date 22. And then you know, 22, and then I export it with just that. And in the in my folder, everything comes up chronologically, it's so nice. So I know exactly where I am, what I missing what I need, I know where to pick up. And I don't ever have to think twice about, about, oh, I've got to go back and label all of that, you know, I do have to tell you that when I was thinking about talking today, I was like, Oh, I used to be the most like the worst organizer for my pages. But that comes back to bite you, you know, because it really does. And I used to think it really was an like in, like something that impeded me from the creative process. But I've really come to learn that having a good organizational foundation really is a good complement to the creative process like you, you need it. And I used to like kind of get bucky about it for some reason, like my little rebellions in my head. I don't need to organize, I just want to keep creating, I think, I think a long, long time ago, you know, maybe 10,15 years ago, when my kids were little I had such a short time to scrapbook. And so I didn't want to organize, I wanted to create, and I think I just got caught in that rut. But But yeah, then yeah, it comes back to bite you if you're not organized. And I've definitely learned that that is important.

Jennifer Wilson 42:42

Well and I think because you end up printing, forgetting one layout when you go to print them all or forgetting one layout and a whole book that you're bounding. I mean, it's so easy to just to leave something out if you don't take the extra time to kind of keep it corraled.

Meagan Johnson 42:59

Or duplicate. Yep, duplicate pages, like you're, you know, making double of the same thing. And, you know, and then you're like, which one do I choose? They're both so cute. I don't know. But I definitely, for me being organized is also the important part of finishing. Like I am, I'm not a very good finisher, I love the joy of starting a new project. It's so fun. It's like, it's like an addiction, me and my dad, and my dad has kind of a similar creative head as me and but he's a mechanic. And he's like, I just want to start a new project. I just he's like, I get to the middle, I think of something new and I want to go to that. And I have the same issue. And we've both we've both committed to each other to finish the project. Because you, because you do you get too many balls in the air and and things fall apart so quickly. And and it does weigh on your kind of your the back of your mind if you if you aren't a finisher. So I've realized that to be a good finisher, I need to be a good organizer and starter. So it sounds like wah wah, like it kind of takes the joy out of the creative process. But it really is a compliment and not something that you know, is a burden, necessarily.

Jennifer Wilson 44:11

I totally agree. And that's why we're doing a whole series of episodes on organization. So...

Meagan Johnson 44:16

Yeah. And you know, for me, there is no there, I just, I just got in the habit of I finish a page in the Project Life app, I put it in the coordinating folder in the Project Life app. I can export it right to Dropbox on my phone, and I export it to Dropbox, I download it into my camera roll. So there's three different places that might my five photos or my pages are and then I'm done with the page. So you know, so every page has this finishing element to it. You know, sometimes they're not done I will wait and of course until the page is done completely. But you know, there is this like, check I'm done, and my brain just moves on to the next one. But I really can't move on anymore. It's really about just making yourself do it.

Jennifer Wilson 45:01

You know what the more you do it, the more it's a habit and you feel that compulsion to to get it done so...

Meagan Johnson 45:08

Exactly, exactly. And now, that doesn't mean that I'm perfect at like, like, I have to go back into 2021. And I've missed some things, and I didn't get my photos as perfectly organized right in the moment as I should have. And that's okay, you know, that, like, I'm fine with that process of having to find things that I, stories that I still want to tell from the year before. Like, I'm, I'm okay with that about myself, I'm not gonna beat myself up because I missed, you know, and, you know, part of 2020 and 2021 has been hardest, telling your COVID story. I think a lot of people have had struggles with that. I've talked in the Simply Project Life Group, to people about catching up, we're doing this catch up challenge right now. And a lot of people are stuck in these years, because they don't know how to tell their COVID story for their family. And they're kind of overwhelmed by that. So that's another thing that, that, you know, kind of hangs up is, how do you include those current, the current events in your family? Normally, I don't, because they don't affect our family. But this was a big one, you know? And so...

Jennifer Wilson 45:08

Oh, yeah, for sure.

Meagan Johnson 45:12

Yeah. How do we tell that story is, and especially for someone who's not a journaler? How do they tell that story? Through pictures or through, you know, bullet points, without feeling overwhelmed with the volume of information out there? You know, and so that's something I've kind of been working on a little bit as a back project is, how can I help people, you know, tell tell their COVID story for their family for themselves? But not have it be so heavy feeling, you know, like, does it have to be so in depth? And like, so much emotion, you know, does it have to, and can it just be pictures, and so I'm trying to mess around with that a little bit.

Jennifer Wilson 46:55

Well and I can see where a pocket page approach would lend itself to that shorter, more bullet type journaling. And to just be able to get the story told, without feeling any of the intimidation of longer journal length, or even, you know, page design. Like it just it takes some of those obstacles that we experienced scrapbookers in general, out of the equation.

Meagan Johnson 47:16

Exactly. Like there are beautiful, like Persnickety Prints did such a great job, encouraging us the whole time through 2020, 2021, to tell the story, and they made all those timelines, and beautiful. People are making beautiful, you know, traveler's notebooks about their COVID stories. And, you know, for someone who can't get into my craft room every day and do those things, that's where the Project Life app is great. They have a six by eight template that you can use. And you can just again, yeah, you can kind of bullet point, bullet point it for yourself. And it doesn't have to be so intense. I've done my kind of my Ali Edwards, December Daily is in my six by eight templates in the Project Life app. And for a couple of years, that was enough. I liked doing it physically. But until my daughter is a little bit older, I think I'm still kind of bound to that more simplistic way because done is better than you know, I will then ideal, right? Done is better than ideal. I guess that's that's a good way to say that.

Jennifer Wilson 48:18

Yep. I love it. Well, this has been fantastic. Can you share maybe a little bit about your personal priorities for your scrapbooking this year, we hinted a little bit about your, the kits that you've designed in terms of that hybrid between project 12 and Project 52. But you know, what other goals do you have?

Meagan Johnson 48:37

Well, my, this is a little bit personal. But my mother in law has been struggling with cancer for four years now. And she just got her another she's barely been in remission, and then she'll get cancer again. She's, it was started as non Hodgkins lymphoma. And now she is, it's her, the prognosis this last time has not been good. And so very quickly came to me that I need to get, get down, I need to sit with her. We need to go through her photos. We need to attach stories to them, even if they don't turn into something tangible yet, just having her voice recorded to tell the stories of she was just the most amazing, talented, loving person and I just I feel compelled to get her voice and her stories told this year. I don't, we don't know what the future holds now. She's done every treatment under the sun that you can do for cancer. So we're a little anxious for her and it's very sad for our family. So that is, that is one of my goals this year. Even if it doesn't turn into a scrapbook quite yet, but just attaching those those stories and she's just has such fond memories of her kids when they were babies, she loves babies. So I just can't wait to hear what she has to say. So, for sure, that's kind of where we're at with that. And then that makes me think about my dad, and you know, he's aging. My mom is a lot younger than him. But you know, and maybe I should be thinking about that too. And it doesn't. And people, you know, that make it overwhelming. I'm like, Look at, we're just gonna grab a bundle of photos. And I want to just record your voice while you're flipping through the photos. And I will do something with it, you know. So that's one of my priorities this year. So I'm hoping to keep my personal, our family album simple this year, so I can focus on those other things.

Jennifer Wilson 50:39

I love how you, you recognize that need for balance when certain priorities come up. That needs to be where your heart is, because your heart is literally with this person right now. And the stories in your life. So yeah, things will ebb and flow over time. And I just will be thinking about your family during this journey.

Meagan Johnson 50:57

Yeah, yeah, I am. I definitely think that that has happened to me quite a bit. And that is why another plug for the Project Life app is like, I, if it all else fails, I can go in there, I can make a whole layout filled with photos, put in a couple of Journaling Cards and call it good. Is it again, done is better than ideal, right? So sometimes I just need it to be done. And that's okay. You know, and so I'm fine with the process, not looking perfect, in the end, not having every page be perfectly embellished, not having every, you know, picture have the poignant message it should have, you know, I'm fine with that. Because I want it done, you know, so, but if I have time to do those other things, that's fun. That's great. I will be happy for that. So...

Jennifer Wilson 51:48

Well and I think we all have to recognize that we can't, if we want to do more, then not everything can have the same attention to detail and creative pizzazz. You know, like by choosing some things that are going to be more practical, as you might say, yeah, that allows us some time and energy and motivation and fun to do the other things that have more to them.

Meagan Johnson 52:13

Yeah, yeah. And I have found that as I as I, especially as I've kind of embraced the like Project 52 kind of storytelling approach. That if I have a really special picture that I love of my daughter, and I find this great kit, you know, I can focus on making that one picture at that one page, just amazing for her and her book. And the page right next to it might just be, you know, a really simple Project Life page that doesn't have any embellishments on it. And I'm fine with that, you know, and so, being able to, again, stay current and caught up is is just as important to my creative process as, as anything else.

Jennifer Wilson 52:59

Meagan, this has been so delightful. I've, yeah, I loved getting to know you a little bit better and seeing all the ways we have things in common. Can you share where we can find you online? Anything new you might have coming up this year?

Meagan Johnson 53:09

Um, not, well, I do, I am working on a Facebook group. I've had some clamoring from some of my, like loyal little customers who've wanted a Facebook group for a while with challenges and stuff. So that is something that I would love to get to get going. But I am @ThePracticalScrapper on Instagram and on Facebook. And then my site store is Sellfy SELLFY. And I will keep adding stuff there. Hopefully everything really coordinates this year for ease and and just to kind of put it on the backburner for me and make it a little bit easier. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 53:49

Yeah, hopefully it goes well for you.

Meagan Johnson 53:51

Yeah. Thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 53:53

Thank you. Yeah. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. Are you ready to start implementing the great ideas you hear on the podcast? The Simple Scrapper membership offers a welcoming space to connect with fellow Memory Keepers, and find that creative accountability you've been craving. Visit simple to learn more and join our community. It's the best it's ever been.

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1 Comment

  1. Heather

    Loved this episode!


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