SYW171 – Crafting a Reading Record

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Like so many of our listeners, Jamie Leija is an avid reader as well as a scrapbooker. In 2020 she started experimenting with crafting her first Reading Record, an album dedicated to listening and celebrating her progress throughout the year. Though this wasn’t her first bookish scrapbook project, Jamie says the simplicity of this particular approach made it fun and finishable.

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Jamie Leija 0:00

It's very plug and play that made it super easy for me to keep up with throughout the year. And it's cute. I just think it's and I just want to keep adding to it.

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 171. In this episode, I'm joined by Jamie Leija to chat about her reading record project, an annual mini album that captures her reading life book by book, you'll hear how this project complements both good reads and other bookish scrapbook projects, as well as bonus tips and using data to make better decisions.

Jennifer Wilson 0:45

Hey, Jamie, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way. How are you doing today?

Jamie Leija 0:49

Hey, Jennifer, I'm doing good. Excited to be here with you.

Jennifer Wilson 0:52

Yes, me too. I think this is gonna be a fun conversation. Can you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience?

Jamie Leija 0:58

Sure. So my name is Jamie Leija. But I go online by both Jamie Makes and Misc Paper. Those are both of my Instagram handles. And I am part of the Everyday Explorers Co Design Team. I always get design team, creative team mixed up in my head. That's why pause. And then I'm also now part of Kelly Bangs' Design Squad.

Jennifer Wilson 1:25

Ooh, fun. Fun. Yeah, I've loved keeping up with all of your adventures since you were on our creative team way, way back in the day. It seems like everything was now so long ago.

Jamie Leija 1:34

Yes, yes. Especially with COVID during the middle there.

Jennifer Wilson 1:39

For sure. Now, you just told me that you moved this year from Houston to San Antonio.

Jamie Leija 1:46

That's right. So we have been here six weeks, I think we moved kind of mid February. And we're back in my hometown of San Antonio. And I mentioned that we're just two blocks away from my mom, which is kind of awesome. But also I'm getting really spoiled because like she'll make food and send it our way, which is really fun.

Jennifer Wilson 2:12

Absolutely. So awesome. So what's exciting you right now in a scrapbooking, I imagine like with the move, maybe you've had a little bit of like a pause and or reset.

Jamie Leija 2:24

Yes. So when I moved, we moved and then I kind of immediately went on a scrapbooking retreat. With Croppy Destinations and Retrofit Mama, it was the like, it's over at the Lone Star glamping Inn. Which is this fun, like indoor trailer park basically, with fun, fun trailers and tee pees and all this stuff. So I knew when I moved that I needed to keep some stuff out, like I couldn't pack my entire, you know, all of my tools and things like that. So when we moved, I packed 95, 98% of my stuff and then just kept like some essentials set aside. I had like one tub, and I put, you know, the paper trimmers, the scissors, the adhesives, all the basics that we would need. That I would need to, you know, create a few things at this retreat, because I knew I wasn't going to have everything unpacked at that point. And so I kept out some of my like Everyday Explorer stuff, since I'm on that team, I knew that I was going to be needing to create there. And so that was kind of an eye opening experience paring down everything and really thinking about like, Okay, what absolutely do I need. And then now as we've settled into the house, I have started to unpack and again, it's a I'm very blessed to have like a designated room in our house to work in. And it is reassessing and thinking about okay, what do I need close to me? What do I, what can I put in a closet, what needs to be right here in a drawer, and those kinds of things. So that's been really fun and exciting for me, just to kind of literally unpack everything. And as I'm pulling them things out of boxes, trying to determine where stuff is gonna go and where I need it to go in order to be useful for me.

Jennifer Wilson 4:12

I'm curious if you had any, like aha moments realizations about how your hobby has evolved? Or how you have evolved as you go through all of your stuff and try to reset here.

Jamie Leija 4:26

Yes, so that has definitely played a factor in my recent scrapbooking because I have been really trying to find, I guess formulas is like the what I keep thinking about in my head. Is just things that it's going to try to formulate things so that it's simpler for me. And in that sense, it's paring things down and really focusing on photos and words. And then I mean using like stamps as embellishment. And, and kind of keeping it really streamlined. And so one of the things is exciting me. And one of the epiphanies I had is, I've started this little, it's, I'm calling it just like a small stories notebook. And for the month of January, I picked just a handful of photos that I knew that I wanted to tell stories about. And, you know, like I said, these are small stories. So it's kind of taking the place for Project Life for me, which is not something that I've ever really done traditionally, or consistently at any point in my scrapbooking life. But I've always wanted to incorporate you know, smaller stories or figure out a place that I can put smaller stories, because I do love these little details of life that you know, I'm not going to make an entire, you know, 12 by 12, layout, even in a 8.5 layout, even a six by eight layout about. But something, a place, a designated home for all those small stories. And so, as I was pulling the photos, I repeated how I was printing the journaling. And in on the page itself, it is literally just the journaling, and the photo, and maybe a little bit of stamping and maybe die cut. And it's just completely pared down. And you know, that was a result of having lots of my stuff put away. And really just wanting to be able to scrap those stories quickly, and not be mared down in the design side of things. Because if I'm going to go through the whole design process of putting together a layout, you know, that does take a little bit more time, effort and energy. And for the smaller stories, I think I'm okay with just kind of having something a little bit more streamlined. And so, all of the month of January, all of those pages look pretty similar, I did play around a little bit and did a few different designs. But for the most part, it's just, it's just those, the journaling and the photo, and then something really simple for embellishment. And so that is absolutely something that came about as a result of having all my stuff packed in boxes for several weeks.

Jennifer Wilson 7:03

I love this idea. And I love how it highlights that we don't have to create in the same way for every single thing. You know, you can have different vehicles for your storytelling that really fit your overall objectives and your time availability and just how much you want to put into it to feel satisfied. And that's going to vary depending on the stories and the products that you're using for it.

Jamie Leija 7:29

Oh, absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 7:31

Now I'm curious what is the foundation you're using for this small stories notebook.

Jamie Leija 7:36

So I'm using an Archer & Olive traveler's notebook sized notebook. So it's roughly like four by eight and some change. I have loved this traveler's notebook from Archer & Olive for forever. I've seen it but I never wanted to buy it because I had no idea what I would use it for. And so when I finally came up with this idea, I was like, Yes, I can purchase, I can purchase that traveler's notebook that I've been loving for forever. And so it's a big, it's a big notebook, it's got a lot of pages in it. If you're familiar with Archer & Olive, all of the paper is amazing. It takes paint really well. There's no bleed through when there's any kind of stamping on it. So I'm loving using that as a foundation.

Jennifer Wilson 8:20

I am glad I'm not the only one that has certain paper items kind of flagged for future ideas that I have an excuse to buy them.

Jamie Leija 8:29


Jennifer Wilson 8:31

So kind of shifting gears to the bigger stories, maybe ones that you would create a full 12 by 12 layout or beyond. And we like to call these Bucket List Stories. So stories that feel like we really need to tell them at some point in our lives. So what's one story on your scrapbooking Bucket List?

Jamie Leija 8:49

Okay, so this is a very personal story to me, especially right now. One that I have on my Bucket List is the story of my dad's life. And so he passed away just over seven months ago, we lost him very unexpectedly. And he was still quite young. But you know, I've done so much scrapbooking about our, um, you know, the activities and events and the different things that we did together. But he was an extraordinary man, and he did so much in his life. And he accomplished so much. And so like literally the biggest Bucket List project, page. It may be a little bit more than just a single page is, you know, telling the story of his life and not trying to get like overwhelmingly comprehensive and like attempting to create as many pages about him as I have created my life about myself. Which is, you know, dozens of albums. But just having something that definitively tells kind of an overview of the start and unfortunately also the end of his life and just the things that he accomplished in between

Jennifer Wilson 9:59

Oh, I love that it's obviously such a treasure and something that I'm wondering if you're gonna, do you feel like this, it's difficult and too soon to get started on, or you feeling an urge to get started on this?

Jamie Leija 10:14

Yes, I was thinking about that as I was pondering my Bucket List. And I think that there are things that I can tell stories about now that I'm comfortable with, because, you know, I love talking about him with people and I love especially when we're hearing new stories from friends and family that we've never heard before. And so I definitely think that there is that sensitivity where there some things I'm absolutely ready to share about him. And then there are some things that I'm I'm like, it does feel very soon. But I do have a resource that I'm turning to for this, and it is a class from Stacy Julian. And I don't know, if you, you've seen her Scrapbook People class that she's put out, I think it ran live in February, but everything is available, like as recording now. And it's, it's her like extended story concept, but focusing on people specifically. So I bought the class and I'm slowly going through some of the content to very slowly, like, watch the intro video slowly. To then start thinking about how I'm going to format that, and you know what that's going to look like, and I was super excited to see that class come up. Even though I've missed the live portion doesn't matter to me. Like I think it'll be an amazing resource, especially for this concept, which is essentially like an extended story of his life and incorporating themes. I mean, she's a master at doing that kind of thing. And so I'm super excited to tackle that. And I think that's part of the reason why I'm like, okay, yes, I can't do some of this right now. Despite, you know, my grief and my heavy heart at times, but it I think it'll, it'll be helpful as well, because I love thinking about him and remembering him as well.

Jennifer Wilson 12:07

I love that we can have not just accountability supports, but structure that takes some of the thinking out of it. Because sometimes when we have feelings about something, particularly, you know, really strong, important feelings, the thinking can feel even harder. But when somebody else is maybe encouraging you and making some, you know, advanced decisions or giving you a structured or boundaries to work within, I think it can make it feel a little easier.

Jamie Leija 12:37

Absolutely. Because like you're trying to scrapbook about someone's life that's all encompassing and very, can be incredibly overwhelming. So at least having this little this framework of hers that she utilizes, is I think going to help get me to the point that I I mean, just just in a starting point, you know, just having a starting point, I think is fantastic.

Jennifer Wilson 13:02

Well, I can't wait to see what you create. And I hope this is a, you know, a cathartic and healing experience as you work on it.

Jamie Leija 13:09

Yeah, thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 13:11

So one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show is because you created this project, and I think it was in 2020. Right?

Jamie Leija 13:20

Um, 2021 is, well, yeah, yeah. 2020, 2021.

Jennifer Wilson 13:25

Okay, so yeah, during basically, in the middle of the pandemic, you created this project, to document your reading life. And I've actually had you on my list of okay, this is going to be a topic of a podcast episode for quite a while now. And I'm like, Okay, now is the time. We're in our Storytelling Journey at Simple Scrapper. And I guess I'd like to kind of kick off the transition here by just hearing a little bit about your favorite kinds of stories to tell. We've already talked a little bit about the small stories and of course, the bigger stories, but how do you think about story when you're approaching your, your documenting and your memory keeping?

Jamie Leija 14:02

Yeah, so story is very important to me, I love telling stories, even if they're, you know, just the light everyday stuff. And obviously, I'm gonna be tackling some of the more difficult things. But for me story, I guess, is the second part of the process. And I guess at times, it can even be third too. Because for me, sincerely, like scrapbooking, a lot is a design outlet for me. I love the design aspect of it. But if I'm going to be designing something, I do want it to be meaningful to me in some way. And you know, we do know that story does not necessarily mean pages and pages of text, but can be a few lines as well. And so if there are times when I will start with a story, and I think that as I'm approaching this Bucket List Project about my dad, that's definitely going to take a story first approach. And then I'll go out and find the photos and things like that. But just in general story is obviously a very important part. And I'm repeating myself now. So maybe it will need to be edited. But um, I think just in general, I love telling everyday kinds of stories. I love telling relationship stories. And I love, I love travel stories is another thing as well, that I that I like to dabble in. And then yeah, this whole reading journey has been fun to incorporate story as well.

Jennifer Wilson 15:29

So, okay, so you started this project? And I'm curious how you got to this place of desiring I need a home for these particular types of stories for my reading life. Did you document you know, the books you read and other pop culture items in your memory keeping before this project?

Jamie Leija 15:49

Yes, so I did do that. Um, but it was always kind of like sparingly. And here and there, I actually have a few like book focused albums that I have going on. So in addition to what I call, like my reading record, which is when I am documenting the books that I've read in a given year, I also have a project that I call my book loving life. And it's just a bunch of book related stories. So like, I went to this really beautiful bookstore in London, on my honeymoon a few years ago. And so I've documented photos from there, from having visited there in that album. I have, you know, one time my mom and I don't know maybe they're also travel related. My mom's in Chicago, and we went and bought a book at a bookstore each and then we went and got like fancy tea at this place. And we just sat at the fancy tea place like reading our books. And that was like, part of our, yeah, it was part of our like experience in our trip that that year. And so they're just like, kind of very random. Or like I was super into, I still am super into Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, like book club and all of that stuff. And she also had these memes. So I printed out a bunch of memes and put them down on a page. Um, so there's that album that I I work on pretty loosely, it's not like something I add to very regularly. And then I also have another book related project that is about my book Bucket List. And so several years ago, I decided that I wanted to, like read all of Jane Austen, all of the Bronte sisters and then all of Elizabeth Gaskell. And then as I'm reading the books, I am taking a photo of the book, like the physical book that I read, and then writing a little bit about the book, writing a little bit about my feelings towards the book, or like the circumstances are around my reading this book, you know, that whole thing. So those are the two book related projects that I've had for many, many years and work on like I said, every once in a while. But I have always loved book covers. And for me as a design person, book covers are like one of my favorite things to look at. And so any excuse I have to be able to incorporate like book covers, and especially tiny book covers, and I'm all about. And so this project may have been come about just as a result of wanting to print a tiny book covers. But yeah, and so I have in the past stopped and started trying to figure out a way to like document it in a sustainable way. And I never, I could never figure out how to make it work. Like sometimes I would have like a traveler's notebook page, sometimes I would have like a full 12 by 12 pocket page with like all the three by four inserts, and I liked all of those options, but they somehow didn't seem very sustainable to me. And so I decided to create this project, which is very printable based. So it's reprinting like the same printable over and over again, and just dropping photos of the book covers in and then writing like a paragraph about the book. And it's something that I can do in a batch, you know, I can do several books all at one time, or I could do a book at a time. It just felt much more sustainable for me because it was like there wasn't a lot of design related to it, which is kind of another theme and having spoken about my small stories notebook earlier. It's it's a formula of repeating, you know, one three by four card that has the book cover, the photo of the book cover, and then one three by four card that has you know my little thoughts and feelings about the book and then a place for me to like color in some stars to give it my star rating. And I can stamp the date on there to say I finish this book on whatever date and it's very plug and play. So that made it super easy for me to kind of keep up with throughout the year and it's cute. I just think It's I think also part of it is cute, and I just want to keep adding to it.

Jennifer Wilson 20:04

Well, we'll definitely include links to your Instagram in the show notes for this episode, so everyone can see examples of the pages. This idea of plug and play and the streamline seems very in line with how you've been creating in general and just trying to make things easier for yourself. So you can get probably more done and just feel that more of that satisfaction.

Jamie Leija 20:30

Yes, absolutely. And I think also to like feeling in previous years of like, missing out and telling some stories, just because it's like, I don't feel like making a whole lot about this. And then, you know, this, those memories, or stories are kind of gone. And I mean, I could potentially go back and try to do something now. But it's, that's so unlikely, right? So I think it's just an also another way to make it simple enough for me to keep up with and not be so worried about all of the design part of it. And then I will hav,e I'm not necessarily that I'm looking for a very complete record, but like a more complete record of my life and my time and the fun things that I've experienced.

Jennifer Wilson 21:13

Now, I'm wondering how like, how you view this experience versus just having a well loved and documented Goodreads account.

Jamie Leija 21:27

So I have not been on Goodreads until this year. And so maybe it was my attempt at a Goodreads, I think. But it also is incorporating, you know, my love of playing with paper.

Jennifer Wilson 21:41

Yeah, yeah.

Jamie Leija 21:41

Putting things into pockets. And I think it is, because I've thought about that a little bit this year, as I've kind of got back into Goodreads. And am actually incorporating Goodreads a little bit more into my process because I can write the review of my of the book at any given point. And then if I just copy and paste some of the text, I can add it to the three by four cards that way, and so it's a little bit easier. But yeah, I think as I've as I've gotten back into Goodreads, it is the case that it's like, well, why should I continue with this project? And I think it's because I love, I love playing with paper. I love having that opportunity document. I love playing with those tiny book covers.

Jennifer Wilson 22:23


Jamie Leija 22:23

And maybe it is. I like the physicality of it. I like having something that I can look at really quick. I can pick up off the shelf and flip through and look back on. And remember, and I don't think you necessarily get that experience like scrolling through a website. I mean, a website like Goodreads, I should say, Yes, it's nice. But I think I just liked that tactile element to holding something in my hands. And then also just kind of flipping through it and being excited to look back on it as well.

Jennifer Wilson 22:57

I think you need like a 10 year project to just decorate a wall in your office with tiny book covers. Keeping adding them over time, as you read.

Jamie Leija 23:08

That would be amazing. Yes. Designate one spot for the tiny book covers.

Jennifer Wilson 23:12

Yeah, yeah. So telling us a little bit more, can you what size of the pages? What kind of album is it in? What, you know, someone had to imagine what this looks like? How did you put it together, besides, you know, having kind of the repeat design elements?

Jamie Leija 23:29

Yes. So I am using a four by eight Life Crafted album from Citrus Twist. And primarily I'm using the configuration that is two three by four cards, one on top of the other. So the whole page protector's like a three by eight size. And I think part of the reason why I, why this came about when it did was because that was available as a resource, right? Like I can do a smaller album that just has, you know, two, three by four cards as a single page protector, and it'll look tiny and cute and not have to be like a huge 12 by 12 something. Or even a big eight and a half by 11 something. I think the size of it really contributed to, I think having the projects assessable, the products accessible to me, helped prompt the project in a way. But so it's primarily three by eight page protectors and then there's a few four by eight in there, like the title pages on a four by eight. I have like a little calendar that I stamp every time I finish a book, and that's a four by eight size. And then at the end of every month, I do like a recap of the books that I read over that given month and even though it's a repeat of, you know the books that are already in there, it was an opportunity to print even smaller, tiny book covers. And so I have them all consolidated onto one four by eight page and I use the same card It's the same two cards to document each, each book that I read. So one is, like I said, a card that really just contains the book cover, the cover of the book. And then the other card is the where I do the journaling. And so that's just the two cards there. And there's a few different designs that are repeated. But it's the same thing over and over and over again. And I like the continuity of having you know, the entire album being just these few, like, basically two different designs, I think it it's a lot of white on the page. So there's, it's, it's a white card that or at least I have printed it to be on white cardstock. And then I put the photo of the book cover. And I think because the covers are so beautiful and bright, and oftentimes very colorful, and it does all of the color work for you. You don't need to like add a bunch of stuff on top of it, because I love just being able to focus on the beautiful book covers. And I think having all that whitespace really, it makes it pop more even. So it makes it pop more.

Jennifer Wilson 26:14

Oh, I love this idea. And I love because I can definitely see that products often will inform like the structure of my album. And it's so fun to like, make a plan and repeat elements and just kind of know, there's going to be like that cohesiveness and consistency. And it just to me, it just makes the project that much more satisfying as it gets filled up.

Jamie Leija 26:37

Oh, absolutely. I love that, too.

Jennifer Wilson 26:40

So is this an ongoing project? Is your first album completed? How are you working on this? Are you still working on it?

Jamie Leija 26:49

Yes. So for 2021 I read enough books to need two Life Crafted albums. So there's like a 2021 volume one and a 2021. Volume Two. And that is completed in its totality, which is like an amazing feat of, of its own the fact that like I found something that I thought worked, and I managed to do it the entire year is like amazing to me. But I think part of it is because I can batch it. And I don't have to do it every day. And if I get behind, it's really easy to catch up. So I think because it's so simple that has helped me to continue to do this project. And then yes, I have started my 22 album as well. And so that's on ongoing and I'm caught up through kind of mid March. And so next time I need to do a bit of printing, I might throw like a book cover or something onto the photo canvas and print that out and just keep on going.

Jennifer Wilson 27:51

Sounds awesome. What did you learn? Like if you can step back from this, what did you learn from doing this project about your reading life, about your creative life, about yourself? How, you know, what are your takeaways from it.

Jamie Leija 28:07

So my reading life, I have definitely learned things from it, both on the reading life in the scrapbooking life side of things, the scrapbooking stuff, I think we've kind of talked about, like having that streamlined process. And then finding design that kind of works. And then using that as a formula just to continue and repeat over and over again. But on the reading life side of things. And I know that the Simple Scrapper is are big readers as well. I I was noticing that I was reading. I wasn't as intentional with my reading, I guess I was just kind of reading whatever I felt like reading at the time, and not really paying attention to the types of stories and the types of genres or anything like that. And I mean, that's basically for me to say that, I found that I was not reading as much diversity. And that's something that I really have wanted to incorporate into my reading life, especially over the past couple of years. And so I'm definitely reading a more diverse group of authors, and then also just more diverse stories as a result. And so keeping track of you know, making sure that I'm reading books from people of color, that I'm reading books, from people with disabilities, and just different walks of life so that I'm not reading kind of the same things. The same, like, very small portion of the world's population is stories over and over again, and just focusing on reading a wider breadth of individuals and people from different countries and, you know, different walks of life. Because I love reading about things that are completely different from the life that I currently lead. And I just think that that was really important to the project showed me that I wasn't reading maybe as much diversity and therefore I have made attempts to read more diversely as a result.

Jennifer Wilson 30:05

I thank you so much for bringing this up. Because I think it's such a simple step to take to broaden your understanding your empathy of, you know, the world at large around us. Sometimes those steps can feel hard or challenging or uncertain or unsteady. And I think that choosing intentionally to bring diversity into your books elections is a simple step forward.

Jamie Leija 30:33

Absolutely. And I think you can develop so much empathy for individuals who may not look like you, who may not, you know, even value some of the same things that you value, at least that puts you into their mindset for a little bit of time, and perhaps opens your eyes to different challenges that you may have never even considered.

Jennifer Wilson 30:54

Yes, yes, for sure. So you mentioned you just got back into Goodreads for 2022. How does this kind of fit into your overall flow of documenting your reading life?

Jamie Leija 31:08

So I have, I'm having a lot of fun, like marking my books as read, of course. And I'm making sure to keep making sure to like edit the date, so that it does actually properly reflect like when I started and when I finished, because I'm a data nerd that way. But also I have, I'm adding just the like a little bit of review, and I say review, but sometimes it's just my general feelings about the book. And then also like the circumstances around why this book ended up, why I ended up reading this book when I did. It's, it's so it's not necessarily like, I give this five stars because. But like, oh, this has been my library queue for forever. And then I saw this person on a show and I thought, oh, I should get into this book. And you know, that's why I'm reading it now. So I'm adding the review section. And that's been incredibly helpful, because one of the stops, stopgaps that I had, last year was a hand wrote all of the little reviews that I did, and sometimes I get behind, and I'd have like 20 books that I need to hand write a review for. So now what I'm doing is just kind of copying and pasting stuff from Goodreads into the little printables that I've done, and printing them out that way. And it's super quick now.

Jennifer Wilson 32:28

Oh yeah.

Jamie Leija 32:28

And I can. And I can, you know, write those reviews, whenever I feel like it, I can write them like immediately after the book, or I can save up a few and that kind of thing. So it's much more flexible that way. And, again, if I fall fall, if I fall behind, it's much quicker to catch back up. I'm sorry, that someone rang our doorbell.

Jennifer Wilson 32:51

It's okay. Well, and I think sometimes with typing is just so natural and part of our every day. Like just flitting off, just just, you know, a paragraph here and there, or if you are reading on Kindle, like prompt you at the end, okay, what's your rating and your review? So it's just so easy to take that step. And then you're more ready for the scrapbooking portion later.

Jamie Leija 33:15


Jennifer Wilson 33:17

Now, I want to take a little quick like left turn tangent here, cuz you mentioned that you're a data nerd. And this reminded me of something else that you've done. Am I remembering that you created spreadsheets about your purchasing habits?

Jamie Leija 33:31

Yes, I did.

Jennifer Wilson 33:32

Can you just like tell us like a little sneak peek about this, we may have to like I have a whole other show just on this topic. But I'd like to hear more.

Jamie Leija 33:40

Sure. So um, I have a Google sheet that I use to keep track of my scrapbooking life. And so it initially started as a way to keep track of like all of the different pages that I was making, so that I could be sure to share them online. And now it's evolved into like, several worksheets within within the thing. But last year, maybe last, I think, probably 22. And I really kept track of what I was spending my money on. And I wanted to kind of know, like, who, where I was spending my money on, where, where, where I was spending my money. So like the different shops and different things like that. And then also how much I was spending with each of those vendors. And then I also was paying attention to how much and when money was going to like big box stores, like Michaels and Joanne's and Amazon's and then how much was going towards some of the smaller vendors and in that I consider like one of the smaller vendor compared to like Amazon and Target.

Jennifer Wilson 34:46


Jamie Leija 34:48

Because I thought that was another conscious decision that I had, where I wanted to make sure that I was spending my money within the industry and supporting the industry as a whole. And so my goal with that was an 80/20 goal of 80% of my money going towards smaller manufacturers and vendors 20% going toward the Amazons. I mean, because I'm always going to want to find a deal for adhesive, you know, I don't want to be spending a ton of money on adhesives and just like those kinds of things. But I did, I did know that I wanted to spend the majority of my money with smaller vendors. And so that really helped me to kind of see was I doing that? And so I just kind of keep track, you know, I spent X amount of money in this month. Then I was also like breaking it down by month to see how much I was spending per month. Then I was also like, kind of taking note of the number of items. So I would know, like what I was actually using, versus what I was just buying for fun, that kind of thing. And it's evolved much further than that. But yes, so I do keep track of my spending in a spreadsheet. I think I do have video of that on my YouTube channel. It's like a three part series called data nerd, where I'm kind of sharing all of the ways that I keep track of things. And so I'm keeping track of my projects and keeping track of my spending and stuff like that. So you can see how, what it looked like in 2021. I didn't, I removed all of like the dollar amounts, because it didn't feel like anyone needed to really know that much. But at least you kind of have an idea of what what types of things I keep track on. And I love updating this spreadsheet. It's like, I finished a project and I'm like, Woohoo, I think update my spreadsheets. To say that I finished like X amount to two more pages or whatever.

Jennifer Wilson 36:38

I love it, I love it so much, we will definitely include the link to those videos for our listeners to check out because I know when I first saw it, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is genius, and like, you know, sexy in a data nerd way. But it's so fun. And just so illuminating, to better understand yourself, and to then make shifts with that data, because you know, data's knowledge or whatever they say about that. But then you actually start tracking things. You can really be more intentional in how you live.

Jamie Leija 37:13

Absolutely, yes, it's awareness. And you. I mean, without the data, I don't have that awareness in this in this way. Because it's, I like to scrapbook. And I really like to scrapbook shop. So without having data, I would have no idea if I was actually, you know, supporting all of the the smaller vendors like I wanted to, and thankfully I have been, which is really cool.

Jennifer Wilson 37:34

Yes, yes. And I think as we're all kind of mindful of where our dollars are going, I think that's becoming increasingly important. I know the other day I was at volleyball tournament, and somebody asked me, this friend asked me Okay, where did you get that for Emily? Like Amazon. Where did you get that? Amazon. And then I'm like, I think Amazon replaced like we used to go to the outlet mall or...

Jamie Leija 37:56


Jennifer Wilson 37:57

And we live in a, a smaller town. And sometimes it's harder to get things like for example, there are no blue volleyball kneepads in our town, the only option I had was to drive to a bigger city and use the gas and, you know, for that or order them. So yeah, so many different choices.

Jamie Leija 38:16

Absolutely. And on that note, I would say that, because this is kind of reading focused, I no longer purchase books on Amazon. And I have made that a priority. Because I do, I do track my book spending as well. Because between scrapbooking and books, those are the two places that my money goes. I really love, which started I think, in 2020. And it supports local independent bookstores, but allows you to, you know, have a resource similar to Amazon that gets you books quickly, and maybe not as quickly as two days, but still pretty quickly and affordably. And I do make an effort to purchase from my local book shops as well. But I am very blessed to live in San Antonio, where we have Nowhere bookshop. It's a author owned bookstore. And so I love, I love getting in there and wandering. It's just it's fantastic.

Jennifer Wilson 39:17

Very cool. So kind of wrapping up here. What advice would you have for someone who wants to start this type of project?

Jamie Leija 39:27

I think my advice would be just to find something sustainable, and it may take some time to get there. But find something that is sustainable in a way that you're still excited to do the project I think is the biggest part of it. Excited not like, ugh I need to, Oh, that's right, I need to go back and I needed to document my books. Like I'm so excited about the way that I figured out to do this and I'm like excited to sit down and print the books and slip into the page protectors and write my little review So pay attention to the fact if it's fun, if it's fun or not, make sure you're having fun.

Jennifer Wilson 40:05

I think sometimes that requires experimentation too and to give yourself permission to try to test something out. Like that's what I said a lot with memory planning. Okay, print out some pages first play with it. See if you like this process before you invest in all the supplies for whatever format that you want to try out.

Jamie Leija 40:25

Absolutely, yeah, this was a simple project for me, because I already had the page protectors. And then I'm, you know, using printables. And I'm sure I even had like a Life Crafted album on hand. So it was like a no cost investment in a way because I already purchased things and shopped my own supplies. So yeah, it made it really quick to start, and then also fun to keep up with.

Jennifer Wilson 40:54

All right, this has been so delightful. Jamie, can you share where we can find you online? You did mention that in the beginning, but feel free to share again and any other URLs you have, anything you have like new or fun coming up later in 2022.

Jamie Leija 41:09

Yeah, so I am on Instagram at MiscPaper, that's m i s c paper. I do still have my JamieMakes account but I don't post there as much as I used to, or like at all. But it's still around. It's still around as a resource. But really MiscPaper. Instagram is where I am posting the majority of my staff. I do have a YouTube channel that is also a MiscPaper. And then I have a small Etsy shop that has the like the book printables that I've created for this project, available on Etsy. It's also under MiscPaper. It's a small Etsy shop, I'm not really, my plan isn't necessarily to like be producing products all the time. But when people ask like, Oh, where did you get this printable or that and it's something I designed, I just like having a place that I can pop into. I can pop into a shop and people are available to, you can grab it if they want to.

Jennifer Wilson 42:06

That's terrific. I will definitely link those up for our listeners.

Jamie Leija 42:11

Thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 42:12

All right, thank you so much. It was so good catching up with you. 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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