SYW174 – My Way with Ronelia Motroni

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Ronelia Motroni started scrapbooking when her daughter was born, but she continues today to explore her creativity and tell more of her own stories. In this episode we’ll peek into the passions and processes that make Ronelia’s hobby work. Our conversation was simply delightful, especially as we identified a few preferences and quirks that we share.

The “My Way” conversations highlight our Featured Artists, whose work inspires the sketches, templates, and challenges inside of the Simple Scrapper membership.

Links Mentioned

Ronelia Motroni 0:00

And then I started to realize that it was almost a guilty realization that I could start writing stories about myself and I could start writing about things that are important to me. And it doesn't have to be because I necessarily want to remember the 50 years time, it could just be that I wanted to write the story and have beautiful products to play with at the same time.

Jennifer Wilson 0:23

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 174. In this episode, I'm interviewing Ronelia Motroni for the MyWay series, my way is all about celebrating the unique ways Memory Keepers get things done. We're excited to have Ronelia as the June featured artist at Simple Scrapper.

Jennifer Wilson 0:54

Hey, welcome to the podcast.

Ronelia Motroni 0:57

Hi, how's it going?

Jennifer Wilson 1:00

I am so excited to talk to you today Ronelia and I would love if you kicked it off a little bit and shared a little bit about yourself.

Ronelia Motroni 1:08

Well, thank you very much for having me. I'm really excited. Um, so my name is Ronelia. I am from Perth in Australia. And it is, I think, considered to be the most isolated city in the world because it's very far from any other city in Australia, and then across all the oceans. But yeah, it's a it's a lovely city. I was born in South Africa. And we moved to Australia when I was 10 years old. And so even though I was born in South Africa, I consider myself an Aussie. And I love where I live. I live in a house with my husband and my very confident four year old daughter, and our little doggie. And our dog's called Alfie. And yeah, that's pretty much the basics of my life.

Jennifer Wilson 1:59

Confident little daughters are awesome. So...

Ronelia Motroni 2:03

Oh, yeah. On our first day of school, she was asked, she was I walked up in the teachers, like, she's very confident. And I was like, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 2:16

I'm sure it will serve her well. And I'm sure she's also going to continue to be the star of your scrapbooks. So...

Ronelia Motroni 2:22

Oh, yes, definitely.

Jennifer Wilson 2:25

So what's exciting you right now in scrapbooking and memory keeping?

Ronelia Motroni 2:28

Right now I'm really drawn to large, full page, full page photos, and digital journaling on these large photos. And I am enjoying taking more of a minimalist approach. With really striking layouts, where you use the products that you have in a very clever way to really promote the photo. That's really what I'm loving at the moment and all of my favorite creators on Instagram. I always love the for the layouts that have the big photos in the Yeah, I just I love that. I'm moving away from very cluttered layouts, I find. Whereas I used to do a lot of them. But for now it's all it's becoming all about the minimalist, which I'm not normally minimalist. So it's a bit strange for me.

Jennifer Wilson 3:20

Sure. And now I'm curious, how do you get those larger photos printed? Do you print at home? Do you do mail order?

Ronelia Motroni 3:27

Yeah, I print at home. So I don't have a 12 by 12 printer, but I can print up to A4 size, which is just a little bit smaller than 9 by 12. So what I would often do is if I print an A4 size photo, I would usually put it on a border of like a patterned paper. So a 9 by 12 border. So to get to the proper 9 by 12 size, but any size smaller than A4 I can do so 8.5 x 11 I printed home as well. I've never actually ordered those photos to come in. But that's something that I have been considering. It's just very expensive to get it done here in Australia because...

Jennifer Wilson 4:10

Yes, I'm sure.

Ronelia Motroni 4:11

Yeah. But yeah, so I haven't done that yet. Let's see I do all of my photo printing at home.

Jennifer Wilson 4:18

Very cool. And I love that you've found a workaround to make it 9 by 12. And I'm sure it just becomes part of the design of the page too, in a way that use some of that pattern paper even though you are being more minimalist.

Ronelia Motroni 4:29

Yeah, exactly. To add that bit of color and fun into it.

Jennifer Wilson 4:33

Yes, yes. Now kind of the the the the bookend to this is a little bit of storytelling. So we love to ask our guests about what is one story or memory on your Bucket List. And so this is something that could be really big, it could be really small, but it feels really important to tell and you haven't told it yet.

Ronelia Motroni 4:52

Yeah. So one story that I have wanted to tell for a while and I haven't told it yet because I want to be in a right mental space for it is a story about mental health and therapy. So I have been struggling with mental health for a while now. And I have been seeing a psychologist for about a year. And that has just changed my life. And it's made such a big impact, that it's almost, there's almost too much to say about it in a story. But I really do want to tell the story about how therapy has impacted my life and my well being and how I want to I want to also tie it in with how scrapbooking and crafting in itself has helped with my mental health. And this also relates to good, like I said, this is a big story, but it also relates to my experience with wholeness. I've wanted to tell a story about what it means to me to feel whole, for quite some time. Because I think when you struggle with mental health, sometimes there's an a part of you that doesn't feel whole, you don't feel complete. So those two things really go hand in hand to me. And I remember Ali Edwards released a kit. And the title was a Whole Story Kit. And I got it and I put it away immediately because I was terrified of the concept of telling. So I'm yet to tell that story. And I'm here to tell my story about therapy and mental health. But it's definitely on my Bucket List. And definitely at the top of it, I just have to get there.

Jennifer Wilson 6:31

Well, and I think going through this journey, and I've had a similar journey myself that it helps you. I feel like I've had to redefine what wholeness means or look at it from new perspectives. Because if I'm going to feel that way, I'm going to have to change my perspective on it and in and not assume that it's a standard of perfection.

Ronelia Motroni 6:54

Yes, that's very true. I think that's kind of the one of the things that's putting me off is that I feel like it has to be this perfect story. And, yeah, I'm procrastinating because I'm scared that it won't be but I should just do it, I should just set myself a challenge, like today, you're just gonna do it. If not perfect, it doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be the most well written story. It doesn't have to be 100% exactly what you need it to be. But it is just a story that you can tell. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 7:23

Well, and the story is ongoing. And so you will probably tell the story again, with a new perspective and with new learning and understanding of, of what it means to take care of your mental health moving forward. So I think just say all I can do is like, tell the story from where I am right now and know that they'll always be another opportunity to tell it in a new way.

Ronelia Motroni 7:50

Yeah, I love that.

Jennifer Wilson 7:52

I can't wait to see what you do.

Ronelia Motroni 7:54

I'm encouraged. I'm gonna do it.

Jennifer Wilson 7:56

Yeah, yeah, it's so exciting. So this is one of our MyWay episodes, because you're one of our featured artists at Simple Scrapper. We love kind of peeking behind the scenes and getting to know some of the creatives that help inspire the work that we do inside of our membership. Right now we're in our Storytelling Journey. And so I'd kind of just like to give our listeners a teaser about you. And I'm curious, how do you keep track of stories you want to tell?

Ronelia Motroni 8:26

I use an app on my phone, it's called the Day One app, and it's a journaling app. And just because I'm pretty much attached to my phone all the time. So if a story idea comes up, I've got lots of little journals in this app for different types of stories that I want to tell. And I tend to just jot down, sometimes. Sometimes, all I do is jot down like two or three points. Or sometimes when I'm really, really inspired, I just write the story. I have at times just and I use it also just to process a lot of things. And if I feel that, I would like to tell the story properly. I do it in this app. And then I maybe turn that into a layout down the track or maybe not. But pretty much all of my journaling happens within this app. Now I do also do some story ideas and story planning in a notebook on a scrap piece of paper. But that's usually when I am looking at the products sort of in front of me and physically touching them. And I'm sort of thinking what kind of stories I want to tell, then I do some project planning. And I don't like to do that on my phone because I just like the idea of writing down little notes and or concept ideas and layout. So that's kind of when I do more like on paper and then I would put what products I want to use with that piece of paper with my ideas and put that in an envelope. So that's another way to keep track of the stories that I want to tell. But that is when the story is more product driven versus experience driven.

Jennifer Wilson 9:56

Well, and I love that you highlight that that we often come to our stories from different places. And that might end up meaning that we don't necessarily store those ideas or plans in the same place. And that everything, it's all okay. We're all, it's all resulting in a memory documented in the end. And I think we can kind of let go of some of the, again, the perfectionism of having everything in one place, the more ease we're going to find and our hobbies as well.

Ronelia Motroni 10:26

Yeah, and do what works for you. Because I know that us because I, a lot of my job involves me being on my phone and on social media, because I run events and like handmade markets. And so I'm often on social media, I'm often on my phone. So if a story comes up, it's just like a natural extension of me at this point, its probably not the best thing. But it is a thing. So it's just easy for me. But if you work in a planner, you've got the planner with you, write down story ideas in your planner just make, do it in the way that would work for you.

Jennifer Wilson 10:58

Yes, yes, I've been thinking recently I don't, I don't really have a desire to do memory planning as a creative outlet or something that's finished. But I'd like to better use my calendar just to jot down stories that I know I want to include. Just as like, just as a memory jogger, particularly the ones that where maybe I didn't take any photos. But I do want to write about it later. Because those photos will always jog my memory. But the it's those experiences where there was no documentation. Those are the things that I most forget.

Ronelia Motroni 11:29

Yeah, cuz they're the ones that there's really no way in 10 years time that you're going to remember that.

Jennifer Wilson 11:34

Yes, yes.

Ronelia Motroni 11:34

I remember, when my daughter was born, my dad was saying to me, Oh, look, you're gonna forget so much. And that was just tragic to me when I thought about it, because I wanted to remember everything. And so I got into this habit of just writing down every little detail. And it was probably a bit over the top. But I actually still so loved that I wrote so much about those early, early months of her life, because it was very, it's really special to me even going back now and reading it.

Jennifer Wilson 12:03

Oh, yeah, for sure. I know that I like documented every diaper and everything for like the first three weeks and all that too and I still have that record. It's really cute.

Ronelia Motroni 12:12

Today, my baby blinked for two seconds longer than normal. Oh, my goodness, I need to write it down.

Jennifer Wilson 12:20

So let's kind of go back in time a little bit. How did you get started scrapbooking and how has your hobby evolved since you began?

Ronelia Motroni 12:29

Yeah, so I did actually start when my daughter was born, I was always into memory keeping in some way or another. I did scrapbooking when I was in high school very briefly. But I've always taken a lot of photos, I've had planners, I've had just, I print on my photos, I've always wanted to keep those memories safe somewhere and somewhere tactile. But I really got into it when my daughter was born. She was two months old. And I realized I need to do something with the piles and the piles of photos that I have taken. And I didn't want to just leave them digitally because I really like feeling paper and I wanted to print them out. And because I'm creative, I wanted to find something that I could do that's creative whilst also, and I had thought about scrapbooking. But I didn't really think in my mind at that time scrapbooking, scrapbooking was 12 by 12 layouts, because that's what I'd done when I was 15 or 14 years old. And it was very much, I didn't think that there was another option I was looking for. And because I'm slightly, I'm a somewhat of a contrary person. So I didn't want to just put in an album one of those like standard album that you get at the pharmacy or whatever. I wanted to find something that sparked joy. And so I started researching it. And I landed on Project Life. And I did an entire 12 x 12 Project Life album for her first year. And it was my first completed album. And to this day, it's still one of my favorite albums. And the irony is I didn't even take many photos of it. I do have some on Instagram, but I just was so involved in creating these layouts, I just loved it. And that is really what sparked that passion for memory keeping for me. Now, over time, it became more about the story. So I started to realize that I was allowed to scrapbook for myself as well as for my family. Because everything was about my daughter at that stage, every story I told was about her or my husband Justin or it was just family focused. And it was not really about me. And then I started to realize that it was almost a guilty realization that I could start writing stories about myself and I could start writing about things that are important to me and it doesn't have to be because I necessarily want to remember them in 50 years time. It could just be that I wanted to write the story and have beautiful products to play with at the same time. So that's kind of how my hobby has changed over time, it was very much initially like, this is going to be my daughter's baby album, and I'm gonna record her life and then it's become about recording all of our lives and our collective experiences.

Jennifer Wilson 15:18

Oh, I love that I love how it kind of turned into even more of a gratitude practice and a celebration of life right now. I think that's, to me, that's one of the reasons why we all stick with this because it's yes, we want to save the memories. Yes, we want to play with the products. But it's, it's what, how it makes us feel and feel connected to the life we're living that I think it ends up being like, the real value.

Ronelia Motroni 15:43

Exactly. And like Brene Brown says, like, your story is important. It's part of who you are. And it's about self discovery and understanding who you want to become as well. And recording that somewhere. It's, there's something really special and lovely about that.

Jennifer Wilson 15:59

Oh, and that's that. I mean, that's another kind of justification and alignment for you to document your own mental health story going to therapy.

Ronelia Motroni 16:07


Jennifer Wilson 16:08

Because like it's so I mean, that's the justification or the reasoning that you have. Because that's the one of the biggest places that we discover more about ourselves.

Ronelia Motroni 16:20

Absolutely, yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 16:23

So so I feel like I'm like challenging you a little bit here to like, nudging you forward on this project. But maybe it's just because it's so personal to me as well.

Ronelia Motroni 16:31

I'm definitely gonna challenge myself, by the time this podcast goes up, I need to have told that story.

Jennifer Wilson 16:38

You need to email me a link to the Instagram post, and I will include it in the show notes.

Ronelia Motroni 16:43

Yeah, I will. I'll definitely do that.

Jennifer Wilson 16:46

Yes. All right. Let's talk a little bit more about how you are creating these days. So what you already mentioned a little bit about size and format but can you explain a little bit more about how you're typically creating now that you're not doing you know, traditional 12 by 12 Project Life?

Ronelia Motroni 17:04

Yes. So, I do still have got, I have got an annual 12 by 12 Project Life album that I do, because I do still like continuous memory keeping element of that like this is my year in a binder. So I do still like that. But that is more of a facts type of this is what we did, then this is what we did, then this is what we did. I don't spend too much time journaling. It's it's really just for this is our family memories moving on. But in terms of other sizes, like if the size exists, I've probably done it. I have got two six by eight albums that I work in. One that is dedicated to my daughter. And one that is a family like that's one that's talks about me and our family. I've just started working in the new 10 by 8 size, where I tell bigger family stories. And I love that 10 by 8 size because I can print these beautiful large photos. And like I said, I actually did that a lot during my December Daily last year where I did the beautiful blowing up photos, and I just absolutely loved them. I do have some traveling notebook, traveler's notebooks for some smaller stories, Life Crafted albums, I have been really enjoying doing 9 by 12 layouts. Just really whatever the product inspires me to do, it's not so much the story, it's usually the product that dictates what album I'm going to be working in. I am on a design team. So when we get sent products, I have got pretty much free rein of what I want to do. So I sort of let that decide how I go ahead and how I tell the stories and in what size. The only size that kind of scares me is a 12 by 12. I've done exactly 3 12 by 12 layouts since I started scrapbooking when my daughter was born, and I really love all of them. But they took a long time because the size is daunting to me. And I don't know why.

Jennifer Wilson 18:59

You know, one thing that I've done in the past is I've made like an 8.5 by 11 or a 9 by 12. And if something just kind of feels like not quite finished about it or not quite grounded, I then just slap it on at 12 by 12 pattern paper and call it done. You know, it seems to somehow bring it all together. But that can kind of be like a gateway to experimenting is because you do have a smaller canvas. But then it does end up being 12 by 12. So...

Ronelia Motroni 19:28

Yeah, exactly. That's actually really good. Oh, you just do to six by six. I've done six by six layout. So it's just the two of them together.

Jennifer Wilson 19:35

Yes, yes. Yes, yes. And I had a guest recently talk about the 6 by 12 album, as you know, if you're looking at it as a spread, that's a 12 by 12. It just happens to be cut in half. And so it's just a kind of a different way of looking at it and having an album that's a little bit more compact in the end.

Ronelia Motroni 19:58

Yeah, exactly.

Jennifer Wilson 20:00

But, but I love, I just want to go back to you know how you're typically creating and it sounds like you're just having fun and you're playing and you're just loving how you can connect the the products that are like delighting you with the stories that you want to tell. And I think that's sounds like a really like a healthy and happy place to be. I love it.

Ronelia Motroni 20:21

Yeah, it's nice, I do. When I do create, I definitely do it based on sort of intuitively, I don't really have many rules for myself about I have to create this amount of this point, or I have to do this many layouts in this album. It's very much just like a gut feeling, how I feel. Because I want to enjoy creating, and I find that if it's too regimented, then it becomes like a job. And I don't want that. I don't want to feel like I'm working in that I have to do it. I want to actually just like love it. So that's why I've got so many different size albums, because I just don't know what what is going to tickle my fancy at any given time.

Jennifer Wilson 21:00

Nice. I love kind of like following your intuition that way. Now, whose products are you completely obsessed with? It's okay to share, like what design team you're on. But then who are you also purchasing from?

Ronelia Motroni 21:12

So the design team that I'm what team that I'm on actually is they don't create their own products. It's called Kitaholic kits here in Australia. And so what they do is they collate new releases. And they send a kit out based on items that sort of match new releases that have come out. So they often do American Crafts, like Paige Evans kits that they match them with a mixed media kit. Or they get have like stickers that it doesn't come from a Paige Evans collection, but it matches the colors. So they kind of put together this beautiful kit. And so it's often based on the colors or patterns. And then you can create however you want. It's like a giant kit, you can do so many layouts with it. So obviously, I love that. But that's not one product that they provide. I think I in Australia, my favorite company has got to be Cocoa Vanilla Studios. They are incredible. They released maybe like two or three collections a year. And every single one of one of them. Whenever I get my hands on it, I'm so inspired to just create because it's just such beautiful products. Of course I love Ali Edwards products as well. I feel that when I get products from Ali Edwards, I create in a different way to how I would with other products. Because I, when I, her products are often designed to trigger a story that you wouldn't necessarily have thought to tell him to tell otherwise. And so I love getting those products because then I can tell the stories that I feel inspired to tell because the products are always gorgeous. But they are it's also a story that I wasn't necessarily always going to tell so I do love that. I love Paige Evans. Everything she comes out with absolutely adore and really anything's rainbow colored, I love.

Jennifer Wilson 23:06


Ronelia Motroni 23:07


Jennifer Wilson 23:08

I love that.

Ronelia Motroni 23:09

If there's a rainbow product that comes out like I need to get it like I have got, my life is very colorful. I I've often got rainbow colored hair. I've got colorful tattoos I wear bright colors. So is often photos were very beige kit, or beige products just will not work with a lot of the photos that I take because I always dress my daughter in the same kind of thing like very rainbow bright colors.

Jennifer Wilson 23:37

Sure, sure. Yeah, no, I love to do that with my daughter too. She doesn't let me dress just her as much as she used to. But it's definitely fun. Now, one thing that stood out for me is that just your point about how Ali Edwards products will often kind of send you in a different direction because it's so not pattern paper focused. Whereas Paige Evans is a good example of the polar opposite of being very pattern paper focused. It's kind of a different creative experience. And it's, you know, both are valuable and fun. And I love that we can have different kinds of creative flow depending on the products we pick up that day.

Ronelia Motroni 24:24

Yeah, absolutely. I, I find that I create in sort of two distinct ways. And the first way is create using Ali Edwards products. And the other way is to create using the traditional kind of like 12 by 12 papers or like her papers and embellishment and stuff like that. And I have distinct styles based on which products I use. I would never be able to create a layout similar to the ones I create for the design team, for example, using Ali Edwards products because they're just so different. And they inspire me to do different things. So I definitely someone once asked me What's your scrapbooking style, and I was like, I've got more than one, I definitely don't just stick to the one.

Jennifer Wilson 25:07

It'd be interesting to see like how you could pair like more of the traditional supplies on like a left side of a page or you know, half of a larger spread. And then pair that with like the full page photo more minimalist, as you know, kind of like having a study, in contrast, like, Okay, we're going to have a focal feature here with the photo. And then now we're going to use all the pattern paper and make it busy on the other side. So that'd be fun.

Ronelia Motroni 25:34

Yeah, I actually did a layout like that was quite similar, where it was a lot of products that we got in one of these kits. And I was one of the first layouts that I posted this year, where I took three large six by eight photos of my husband and me and my daughter. And then I did on the opposite side, I did use more of a traditional kind of scrapbooky type of layout, where I was talking about my wishes for the future. So I did do that thing where I sort of applied the Ali Edwards mentality to traditional scrapbooking products, which I quite enjoy.

Jennifer Wilson 26:08

Very cool. Yeah, yeah, I bet. So is there something when you look at your pages, maybe if you don't even have a style, though, like that you use or do on most of your pages? Do you have like a signature thing? Like, sometimes it's like corner folding or stapling something or a little doodle? Is there is there like something that you always do?

Ronelia Motroni 26:28

So because I have different styles, I was, I was actually one that looked through some of my layouts to see, what is one thing that I always do. And one thing I always do is add a date using a date stamp, because I feel like it just completes a layout for me. But I think more broadly speaking, I definitely focus on the photo. And think about how I can, I can enhance the photo by using beautiful products. And by journaling in such a way to really complement the photo and the way I've placed the photo on the layout. So I would, I have never done a layout that is, doesn't have a photo on it. Because that to me is often a starting point, even if I'd wanted to tell a story. And I was inspired to tell the story using not like not being drawn from the photo, I would always find a matching photo to match that story. If it's, for example, a story about blooming, I would just take a photo in my backyard a photo of some flowers. But I would always try to match a photo because I think the photo is the thing that draws your eye initially in almost all of my layouts.

Jennifer Wilson 27:38

Well, and I love that it almost makes this little like triad of how we like assemble things together. Like we have a story, the photo and the products and sometimes one of those comes first. But we want to kind of complete the picture by picking you know what's going to fit together here and a little you know, harmonious little package.

Ronelia Motroni 27:55

Yes, definitely.

Jennifer Wilson 27:58

So when do you typically find the time and energy for scrapbooking. So I imagine with a four year old she keeps you pretty busy. How do you keep it going?

Ronelia Motroni 28:08

I'm actually really lucky in that she has got, where my craft area is set up in our, we've got two living rooms and my craft area is set up in the front living room which is right next to her playroom. So I when I sit down to create, she often would just sit down next to me and do some drawing. Or she would just stand by and have a look what I do. So I actually can create and talk to her while I'm creating, quite easily. So she hasn't, sometimes she wants to get very involved. She steals my stickers often and use them and I'm just like, Oh Emella you're not allowed take mommy's stickers. But so I do get a lot of time to create even with her around. But I find that I'm mostly creatively inspired during the day. All really late at night, sometimes it'd be like 10 o'clock. And I'd be like, I just have to create this layout. Now. I have to do it. And so, but I rarely would think I'm going to have dinner, I'm going to make dinner, I'm going to tidy up the kitchen, then I'm going to go create. I'm not really in a creative mood right then. And there. It usually is, during the day, not after I've done a big job. Like I feel like I need to be in a very relaxed state of mind to go and create.

Jennifer Wilson 29:25

Yes, yes, definitely. And I think kind of understanding that about yourself is helpful, particularly if you feel like you're constantly kind of butting heads with yourself like oh, I should go do this but I don't feel like it. Well, we have to pay attention to when our energy is highest. And like you like sometimes you know, I am already asleep at 10 o'clock and sometimes I'm you know raring to go and like we're gonna we're gonna jump in and do all the things now in the next couple of hours. So...

Ronelia Motroni 29:53

Yeah, that's exactly it when that strikes it doesn't matter what time it is when that creative inspiration strikes, like you take it, you go you run with it.

Jennifer Wilson 30:01

Yes, yeah. So do you have any, like strategies that you rely on that you use to kind of stay motivated or kind of bring it back? Because I imagine you sometimes have a little bit of an ebb and flow with it.

Ronelia Motroni 30:13

Yes, I mean, I think everyone does, I very much have to be in a very happy mood to create. And sometimes you have to create when you're not necessarily in a happy mood, especially, for example, you've got the design team work that you need to submit. So I say to myself, I take it in steps. When I'm not necessarily feeling it, or I'm not in the mood, I take it in steps. And I say, all I need to do right now is find and print the photos and put them in the little envelope. And that's it, that's all I need to do. That's the first step. And then after that, it's like, okay, you've printed the photos. Now, now, you just have to choose the products to go with them, it's very easy. And so taking these little incremental steps, is something that really helps my brain. And it's not just with scrapbooking that I do this, is not just with crafting, I do this with everything, when I've got big responsibilities, or lots of things to do with work, I have to narrow it down to what that first step is. Because often, once you do that first step you tell yourself, you're just going to do the first thing, and then you can take a break. But often when you do that, you're like ready to jump into the next thing. And then the next thing, so I definitely take that strategy, and I use it pretty much across my my life. But also I in terms of gaining inspiration, I go on Instagram, I watch YouTube videos of my favorite creators, I engage with people who do creative things, because then I get inspired to do that as well. So I and I also know when I get that little bit of guilt when I'm not creating, I don't open Instagram, because I would feel guilty for not creating, but I tried to force myself to look at it because as soon as I feel inspired, I'm like, Okay, let's go. And then of course, it comes down to things like, you just need to shedule it in, like, make yourself time, take yourself out on a date, treat yourself, set up your space, clean your space nicely, make a coffee, light a candle, and just do it. And so getting that space ready for yourself and getting, like, as if it's an appointment you have to keep, that helps me as well.

Jennifer Wilson 32:28

Oh, I love it, you shared so many different tips in that one little thing there of, of how you can stay motivated from you know, just setting up a space and finding a comforting environment recognizing your own ebb and flow, as we talked about before with the energy question. You know, seeking out the inspiration when you know you're ready to act on it. And then also kind of tricking yourself into getting started by making it as easy as possible. So I love that. I love you have this whole like little toolbox of strategies. It's...

Ronelia Motroni 33:03

Yeah, longtime as a serial procrastinator, that yes, it's up over a very long period of time. I was a lawyer for 10 years. And a lot of the stuff I just had to and I like I said I'm a procrastinator. So a lot of these techniques that I use now for scrapbooking I used when I was a lawyer to actually get work done.

Jennifer Wilson 33:26

Yes, I can tell that we were very similar in that regard. It appears very productive on the outside, but you have to use all the tricks on the inside to make it make it seem that way.

Ronelia Motroni 33:39


Jennifer Wilson 33:40

So is there anything that you've tried out inside of scrapbooking, whether it's a supply or technique a size, you mentioned 12 by 12, that's not in your comfort zone. But something you decided is like just not for you like like, Yay, I tried it. But no, I don't want to do this ever again.

Ronelia Motroni 34:00

I think for me, it's those chaotic layouts that have got so much going on. But they work. When I do that, when I try that, it doesn't work for me. I'm thinking here like Heidi Swapp where, where if you look at the type of layout she creates, there's a lot going on. And there's a flow to it. That makes sense to me when I look at it. But when I tried to replicate that, I just it just looks overcrowded, it looks messy, it just doesn't look good. And that is something that my brain has never really switched on, in terms of scrapbooking. I've never been able to do that and be happy with the end product. That's why I'm leaning more towards the minimalist type of crafting. Whereas I love those layouts. I love looking at them. I am in awe of them. I've just I just can't do it myself. That's not how my brain works. I It doesn't know when to stop. And so it just keeps going and going and going. And then by the end of it, I'm like, Okay, so what's happening here?

Jennifer Wilson 35:08

Yes, yes, I totally get that. I've been, I keep going back to the Heidi Swapp website, because every single person I interview on the podcast is like, Oh, yes, I get all the products, and I'm doing memory planning. And I look at it and everything is so beautiful. And so like, as you said, full, so detailed and layered, but my brain can't figure out how to do it. Like it doesn't, it does not translate for me on paper.

Ronelia Motroni 35:34

I once tried to follow a tutorial that she had on YouTube. So I was like, if I follow that tutorial, maybe I'll understand how she does it. And I got partway through I'm just like, oh, this is, this is a lot like my brain is like, tips my hat to her because honestly, every layout she does looks amazing. But if I tried, it just looks like I just threw some glue and threw some glitter. And through some photos, and then it does not look good.

Jennifer Wilson 35:58

Yes, yes. And she's such an expert in layering stamps too and my brain doesn't always like see that.

Ronelia Motroni 36:03

Yes, me either.

Jennifer Wilson 36:04

How do you like how do you construct that? So...

Aimee Mertell 36:08

Exactly. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 36:10

Definitely some envy there that we share. So how, how do you stay organized? Do you have any particular like tips or solutions that have really worked well for you?

Ronelia Motroni 36:24

So I'm in a very messy scrapper. If I am in the zone, when I'm creating there is paper everywhere, including the floor, including I've got a little coffee table behind me. It's everywhere. Like I am a very chaotic scrapper. Which is just funny because it was just talking about like minimum, minimum, minimalist layouts. But everything around me is a bit insane and cluttered. So the best way that I know to organize and kind of deal with all of that is by making sure that everything has a place. Every I know where my scissors need to go, I know where my, I don't know, glue needs to go, I know where my cutting machine sheets go. I know where my papers go, like everything has a place. And so even with all of the chaos around me, once I am finished, I can tidy up fairly quickly because everything has a spot. And so for that, I think the best thing is to have storage, some drawers, I've got some, I got off Amazon actually. Just some acrylic drawers that sit on my desk. And I use those for a lot of products. I've got stamp or ink catties. So I've got storage around me and everything has got its place. So that at least I know that when I get kind of crazy, and when I'm in this creative bubble, that when I'm out of it, I can tidy up quickly and leave my space in relative peace.

Jennifer Wilson 38:02

Nice. Yes, I think that that idea of having a home for things works all over our houses and spaces and workplaces. Because you know you can it goes somewhere else it doesn't live here in the middle of the desk or on the floor or wherever. So...

Ronelia Motroni 38:18

Yeah, if it doesn't have a home, then find it at home. And it doesn't have to be a practical home. Because it can always change down the track. It just if it has a home, then you don't have to think about it. And it clears your mind for other things. When it comes to...

Jennifer Wilson 38:34

Yeah, and you know, you know also when you can't find it where it is like, you know where to find it again, even if it doesn't make any sense. Like we keep our thermometer in the cabinet where the drinking glasses are. Because most of the time when I need a thermometer, it's because somebody's probably not feeling well and probably needs a drink anyway. But that's the place that I always can find it is if it's just a talk to the side of that cabinet.

Ronelia Motroni 39:02

That's very sound logic. I have my scissors, I just plunk them on the shelf right in front of my face. And there's no reason why they should go there. Because I literally put them there one time when I first decided to set up my space. And now that's where they live. This is where they are like all my scissors are in this just this random bit of shelf.

Jennifer Wilson 39:24

Perfect. Well, that's their home. So I love it. So where would you like your scrapbooking to be in 10 years.

Ronelia Motroni 39:34

So I've been really drawn to digital scrapbooking that has got pretty much the whole process is done digitally in terms of photo and journaling. And then when it's printed out, embellished with products, and I would love to be able to grow that and find more creative ways to do that. Almost to make layouts look a bit like magazine pages where it's sort of an editorial or an editorial style type of layout where just looks very neat and punchy. And the title is like striking. But it's not overwhelming. And that is something that I really love to do. And I think as scrapbooking is heading in a very digital direction, there's so many amazing digital products. And a lot of support in terms of using Facebook, not Facebook. So there's a lot of support in terms of using Photoshop, in terms of YouTube videos online to help with digital scrapbooking, so that's something that I would love to get a better grasp on. And it's not something that I'm 100% there yet, so it's definitely on my to learn list.

Jennifer Wilson 40:49

Awesome. I love that. I think that the more that you can kind of develop those skills, the more flexibility you have. And I've had so many guests on the podcast talk about just difficulty in particularly those who who don't live in the US getting things shipped, the cost of shipping is just so incredible. Digital provides a little bit more flexibility to try new things and be more selective with the products that you do purchase.

Ronelia Motroni 41:18

Absolutely. And also because currently in COVID times, and with the shipping delays and everything it's taking so long for products to get here. I just got a product, products that I ordered from the US, that was shipped in December. So for my...

Jennifer Wilson 41:36


Ronelia Motroni 41:37

So it is it takes a long time for physical products to get here, as well. And so sometimes when they are first released, you get really excited. But by the time they get here, you'll just be like, Oh, if everyone else is created using this already, and you sort of like lose it.

Jennifer Wilson 41:53


Ronelia Motroni 41:54

Kind of so doing digital scrapbooking really helps with it. And I've done that a lot. Actually, last year, I did four or five layouts, which I've never done digital layouts. But I did four or five layouts, where I just used digital products. And I love them. And I really, really want to do more of that.

Jennifer Wilson 42:14

Oh, that sounds fun. I was thinking just yesterday about how maybe I need to try more of that Heidi Swapp style, digital or digital and hybrid, to be able to kind of play with the layered stamping and get more of that full look but have the control to undo and move around. That you have with digital.

Ronelia Motroni 42:34

Exactly, yeah. And I think if you do that, you're gonna gain a confidence around it. And so you would even then be able to properly translate that into doing that physically because you are used to doing it digitally, then.

Jennifer Wilson 42:50

Yes, yeah, that's a good point too. Digital is kind of experimentation and training for for design in any kind of scrapbooking.

Ronelia Motroni 43:00


Jennifer Wilson 43:02

So if you had to kind of step back and think about your your journey since your daughter was born. In this community, what has been a scrapbooker taught you?

Ronelia Motroni 43:14

Definitely, that I should own my own story, The good, the bad, and the ugly. I used to only write happy stories. And I used to only share layouts that had happy stories. And over the course of the last four years now, I realized that it's okay to write the stories that is not always sunshine and happiness. It's both honest, and it's authentic, and it's truthful. And the whole process from start to finish can be so cathartic. And some stories are incredibly hard to tell and that that is okay. And I've never had the experience where I share a vulnerable story on Instagram or on any social media and I've had negative comments on that. People are always so kind and so supportive when you tell these heart wrenching stories because yes, they're real, they could feel that they that theyr'e real and I do actually have a Storyline Chapters album that I don't share it with anyone. Those are very, very sort of vulnerable stories that are just for me, but it's still part of the process is good to get that out and owning that is just amazing. And like I said there's some stories that I still would love to share in the future. I'm not quite like I'm not talking necessarily here about the mental health stories. There's other stories as well but I would love to share but I'm just not there yet. And and that's okay and taking your time to process that but being a scrapbooker it's not about perfection. If you want perfection, you you want a bit of chaos, you want a bit of messiness. And, yeah, if you own your story and all of that, it becomes a really beautiful thing that only you can create.

Jennifer Wilson 45:07

Well and also kind of feeling the autonomy or just the the security in knowing, you get to choose what gets shared outside of your own space. Even if you do have a social media presence and you are sharing regularly, you don't have to share everything. That's, you have that power. And so that can be empowering to know that, you know, you can own your story, and you do have choices with what you put out there.

Ronelia Motroni 45:36

Yeah, and sometimes what I like doing is, even if it's a hard story to tell, or, and I can't quite tell it, I give myself little hints in the stories that I do share. And reading back at that, it gives me a bit of a chuckle. So it becomes almost like, a nice thing with time because then I look back at his stories. And I'm like, I don't know what I was meaning when I said that particular sentence like I was talking about this but no one knew. So it kind of it becomes a bit of a mystery that I just I like that that's something that turns a bad into the good, you know?

Jennifer Wilson 46:13

Yes, yes, yes. And I think there's yeah, there's lots of different ways to incorporate part of the story. And like we were talking about before, knowing that eventually, we'll probably revisit it and tell more of it when you feel more comfortable. And I think that's what makes our albums so interesting to look at over time is because you can see the little threads between between stories, how they evolved, and how our own kind of security in our story has shifted. So...

Ronelia Motroni 46:42

Absolutely. That is so well said.

Jennifer Wilson 46:46

Thank you so much. This has been a delightful conversation. Can you share where we can find you online and anything you have new or coming up in 2022?

Ronelia Motroni 46:55

Absolutely. So I have got, I pretty much just share on Instagram, I do have a YouTube account that I don't use very often. But I really should use it more. And that's one of my challenges myself this year is to upload more videos. And but my Instagram is ronilia.creative, all lowercase. And in on that Instagram, it actually links to my YouTube channel as well, which is quite inactive, but will hopefully be up and running very soon. Yeah, in terms of what I've got coming up, I just want to keep creating, what makes me feel happy. And after this conversation, I now know that what I have coming up is a story about therapy. There's that. But yeah, I just want to keep doing what I do and just create layouts I love doing.

Jennifer Wilson 47:50

Oh, I love it. I think that's such a wonderful place to be. And I think where we should all be focusing is are we having fun? Are we really getting what we need out of this? And to recognize that's going to shift over time, every year that might feel a little bit different. Sometimes it's more playful. Sometimes it's longer stories. Sometimes it's maybe turning to the computer and relying on our technology to help us. There's so many ways to tell your story and as we always say you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. Thank you so much Ronelia.

Ronelia Motroni 48:21

Thank you so much for having me.

Jennifer Wilson 48:24

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