SYW178 – My Way with Jennifer McMurtrey

by | Jul 4, 2022 | Podcast | 0 comments

We’re thrilled to have Jennifer McMurtrey as our featured artist for July 2022. A selection of her layouts inspired our latest collection of sketches and templates for Simple Scrapper members. In this episode you’ll find out what Jennifer is loving in the industry right now, how she stays inspired, and some of specific strategies she uses to create beautiful, layer-filled scrapbook layouts. Her passion for artistry shines through on every page and in our conversation!

Links Mentioned

Jennifer McMurtrey 0:00

So I showed up that Friday night at six o'clock because it was six to midnight with my two pictures and I walked in and I, I always say it was like the heavens opened and the angels were singing. I was like, Oh my gosh, the wall of stickers. And from that point forward, I was I was done. I was hooked on it.

Jennifer Wilson 0:21

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 178. In this episode, I'm interviewing Jennifer McMurtrey for the MyWay series. My way is all about celebrating the unique ways Memory Keepers get things done. We're excited to have Jennifer as the July featured artist at Simple Scrapper.

Jennifer Wilson 0:52

Hey Jennifer, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

Jennifer McMurtrey 0:54

Hi, Jennifer.

Jennifer Wilson 0:57

I'm excited to get to know you a little better in this my way episode. But can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

Jennifer McMurtrey 1:04

Yes, thank you. My name is Jennifer McMurtrey. I live in Central Washington State in a small town of almost 7000 people. So pretty tiny. It's not where I grew up. It's about 30 miles away from where I grew up, which is significantly larger than where we live now. But I live here with my husband and our three dogs Mabel, Mildred, and Luna and our youngest daughter who's actually getting ready to fly the nest in August.

Jennifer Wilson 1:37

Wow, what an exciting time.

Jennifer McMurtrey 1:39

It's exciting and scary because I've Google mapped it and it's 923 miles from door to door. From here to, she's going to UNLV in Las Vegas. So she's not just going away a little bit away. She's going a lot away. Far far.

Jennifer Wilson 1:56

Yes. That's that can be hard.

Jennifer McMurtrey 1:59

Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 1:59

I was only three hours away from my parents. And it was it was a struggle for for both of us.

Jennifer McMurtrey 2:04

It is I'm just I'm not ready for it. But I really don't have a choice. My my two other children Phoebe is 26 and Caleb is 22. And they're out of the house already. Excuse me, which I'm used to but just having the whole empty nest coming up is really kind of breaking us out a little bit.

Jennifer Wilson 2:26

Yeah, I bet well, I'll be curious through our conversation today how that may be effecting your lens on scrapbooking,

Jennifer McMurtrey 2:34

Major.

Jennifer Wilson 2:35

Things change a lot over the past few decades. But now you're at maybe a pivot point.

Jennifer McMurtrey 2:40

I definitely am. And I was listening to your most recent episode and how you're hanging out with the cats now and or it was your friend who was hanging out? I can't remember but...

Jennifer Wilson 2:51

Oh, that was that's me. It's me and the cats.

Jennifer McMurtrey 2:53

It's gonna be me and the dogs.

Jennifer Wilson 2:56

Yeah. And Emily is only 10 but she's always doing something with her friends or camp or some sport or so it's yeah, it's definitely a shift

Jennifer McMurtrey 3:04

It it definitely is.

Jennifer Wilson 3:07

So in terms of your hobby right now, what's exciting you?

Jennifer McMurtrey 3:10

You know, I have to say that I've been in a little bit of a creative rut recently. And I think it's just due to life events. My My dad has been sick, my mom has been having issues and it just kind of like killed my mojo. But something that I just ordered and recently received is the new Layered Life kit that Christine Middlecamp is doing. I don't know if you've seen that on Instagram?

Jennifer Wilson 3:36

Haven't. I will make sure to link it up in the show notes. Because super cool.

Jennifer McMurtrey 3:40

It's amazing. It I did receive it a few days ago. And I cannot wait to play with it. It's just gorgeous. And it reminds me of say old Crate Paper colors, the golds and the turquoise and the pinks and just very, very akin to what she was working with when she was with Crate Paper. So I'm really excited to play with that.

Jennifer Wilson 4:03

Oh, so fun. Yes, I'm I love. I don't know, I have lots of hope for our industry that we will always love to make art. Play with pretty things and combine them with our words and photos. I think our computers will continue to play a an important role. But you can't get past the tactile experience.

Jennifer McMurtrey 4:25

No, and I'm totally in it for the tactile experience. That's, that's my jam. And that's what I love the most about it. One of the things.

Jennifer Wilson 4:35

Yeah, for sure. So we also like to ask our guests about their memory keeping Bucket List. So in particular, do you have a particular story that stands out as one that you have not yet told but it feels really important to do so?

Jennifer McMurtrey 4:48

Yeah, I do. And I've been thinking about this long before you had approached me about being on the show which thank you for doing by the way. I, it's gonna be a hard one. But I think it needs to be said and and my childhood is one of me surviving a lot of trauma and abuse and overcoming that. And my children are very aware of it. And when I want it, when I say I want to tell my story, I don't want to go into all the nitty gritty details. But just more of how I was feeling and how it impacted me as a child and how it played a major role in my teenage years and my young adulthood in terms of turning that trauma into just a whole mess of bad decisions. Which took me quite a while to turn around and get out of and it's not something that I really speak about very often. But it it is a major part of my story. And I think it needs to be told, I think it's time. I think it's time.

Jennifer Wilson 5:49

Yeah, I think that's definitely, I can imagine that being at this empty nest point that you can feel like you've, you've raised them to adults, where they're more capable of handling different more difficult stories.

Jennifer McMurtrey 6:02

Most certainly, and I teach high school. And so I'm able to, they call me the bad kid magnet at school, because I'm always I'm always relating, and they're not bad kids. But relating to the kids who are struggling with their home life. And maybe making some bad decisions in terms of substance abuse and self harm and just self destructive behaviors, because that's my story. And so I do share it with my high schoolers at a certain point, because I think it helps them relate to me much, much better, as well as let them see that. Hey, I'm going through this right now. Like she did. But you know what? She turned out all right. She's doing okay.

Jennifer Wilson 6:41

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And yeah, I think if it will be, I hope it will be kind of additional catharsis for you, as you release that on top of you know, anyone who reads it who may benefit from it. So...

Jennifer McMurtrey 6:56

Yeah, that's...

Jennifer Wilson 6:57

And really important.

Jennifer McMurtrey 6:58

I'm realizing that I'm still carrying a lot of that around. And the catharsis part of it will be huge, because it does need to, I need to get rid of it. It's, I just need to get rid of it.

Jennifer Wilson 7:08

Yeah, that'd be so interesting. So yeah, sending you lots of strength and courage as you tackle that.

Jennifer McMurtrey 7:13

Thank you, I appreciate it.

Jennifer Wilson 7:16

So this is a MyWay episode, because you're one of our featured artists. I'd like to kind of start off by giving our listeners a teaser about what makes you tick. We are in our Photos creative journey right now. So what has been successful for you when it comes to finding, choosing, using, or sharing your favorite photos?

Jennifer McMurtrey 7:35

Well, let me just start with, there was a time where I was the worst at taking pictures. So I had tried and tried and tried to get on design teams for quite a while and I could never take good pictures of my projects. And so just becoming a better photographer in that sense has has been a struggle and a journey for me and one that I'm, I'm I have a better grasp on now. But having our phones has made all the difference because I use Lightroom all the time on my phone. And then I've purchased some light and airy filters which can take, they just take my photos to the next level, whether it's projects or ones that I've taken the kids or the family or the dogs or whatever it is. It, it, I basically photograph and print, photograph, edit, and print from my phone all the time. That's what I use.

Jennifer Wilson 8:31

You know, having whatever process you use, just knowing this is what I do. And doing consistently sometimes is like, you know, 90% of the battle of handling your photos

Jennifer McMurtrey 8:43

Most definitely. Now I do some design team work now. And so when I'm adding the footers and things like that I use Photoshop Elements on my laptop, just because it, it makes it easier to just manipulate the photos a little bit further. But for the most part, all of my photography is done with my phone and edited on the phone.

Jennifer Wilson 9:05

And do you find that particularly helpful in terms of like, being out and about or just being able to work on it, not tied to the computer,

Jennifer McMurtrey 9:13

Definitely because I can sit in my chair watching TV while I do it. Or if we're on a road trip somewhere I can. Or if I'm in my prep period at work and don't have anything that pressing that needs to be done. I can sit there and and play with my pictures while I'm at work as well. Don't tell anybody.

Jennifer Wilson 9:31

You know, I'm always that person in the car with like a blanket over my head so that I could not have any glare on my phone and I can actually see that. It's the real exposure of the photo.

Jennifer McMurtrey 9:42

Okay, you're a little more extreme than I am. But I haven't. I think my husband would think I'd lost my mind if I started doing that.

Jennifer Wilson 9:52

I think mine learned that a long time ago.

Jennifer McMurtrey 9:54

I know, he has but I think it would it would be, I'd be even more gone to him at that point.

Jennifer Wilson 10:01

Let's go back a little bit. And can you share how you started scrapbooking and maybe how your hobby has evolved in all that time?

Jennifer McMurtrey 10:08

Yeah. So back to kind of telling my story I, I, I say I got kind of a late start in life. And so when I was 28, I started going back to school at the local community college. And it was a cohort program. So I was with this group of ladies for the entire two years that that were in that program together. And so one night, they're like, Hey, we're gonna we're gonna go to a crop and I was, I was like, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. And they said, well bring a couple pictures and meet us at the local scrapbook store. Or this store, I had never even heard of it. And I was like, All right, crazy, ladies. And so I showed up that Friday night at six o'clock, because it was six to midnight with my two pictures. And I walked in and I, I always say it was like, the heavens opened and the angels were singing, I was like, Oh my gosh, the wall of stickers. It was and from that point forward, I was, I was done. I was hooked on it. And I mean, that was, let's see probably 2001. And and so I've pretty much been going strong with the scrapbooking since then. I've had some some periods where I haven't scrapbooked as much just because I have I continued my education from there and have been, well I'm I'm done. But had been going to school off and on for about took me like 18 years. So I always tell kids don't be Jennifer, don't take years to finish your your schooling. But that was really what introduced me to it and they were more into card making and the stamping then then I ever got into. I'm not a huge card maker for some reason. It's like my kryptonite, and I just freeze and I can't seem to come up with anything. But I've I've lost touch with all of those ladies since then. But I do know that I am the one that stuck with the hobby. Since that night.

Jennifer Wilson 12:11

You know your your heavens parting, angel singing moment, it makes me think about how I bet you were a kid who also enjoyed crafty supplies and things right?

Jennifer McMurtrey 12:22

Yep.

Jennifer Wilson 12:23

And maybe school supplies. The best part of the year is going to get new school supplies.

Jennifer McMurtrey 12:28

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 12:28

And there's something about scrapbooking that finally gave you a purpose because you'd like go to the store and be like, I really want that. But what would I do with it?

Jennifer McMurtrey 12:35

Exactly.

Jennifer Wilson 12:36

Now we have something that we can do it with all these things that we've wanted to buy since we were kids.

Jennifer McMurtrey 12:41

You know, I would get my coloring books and I would sit in my, I just vividly remember sitting in my room with my Barbie coloring book. I can't believe I'm admitting this out loud. And I would start on page one and color from the beginning to the end and her outfits would be the same color all the way through and just it was crazy. But I always just the whole paper thing and do you remember the Richard Scary Busy? I had those little cutout neighborhoods and I'd have those setup on my floor and just that that whole tactile part of it. I've I've had that since I was a kid and my mom has always so and she was a huge seamstress and so she would take me on the craft show circuit around our hometown. And I would sit at tables in the park with her while she would try to sell her pot holders. And she would take pot holders and sew them in half diagonally and put scissors in them. And just you know total 70s and 80s type stuff. But I just remember loving loving doing that with her and and all see and all the things that people made always fascinated me.

Jennifer Wilson 12:52

And so I'm imagining that you're not scrapbooking in exactly the same way that you were when you started.

Jennifer McMurtrey 13:57

Oh no, definitely not. Not even.

Jennifer Wilson 14:02

So how did that evolve for you over time?

Jennifer McMurtrey 14:05

You know, I, well I no longer cut my pictures into circles and put them in the sun in the sky at the beach. That was one of my first layouts. And I went out and cut around us and placed us on the beach so it looked like it was, it was it's pretty funny looking back. But I did it to me it almost seemed more cartoonish back then using the die cut characters of the boys and the girls and the parents. And that was so popular back in the early 2000s. And it I just kind of came into my own in terms of what I'm comfortable with, what I know doesn't work for me. I love the messy, I love the paint on the backgrounds and splattering and tearing and cutting and and just texture lots and lots of texture.

Jennifer Wilson 15:00

Mm hmm. And what sizes or formats are you creating in these days? Are you doing 12 by 12 layouts? Are you doing, what's what's really kind of lighting your fire?

Jennifer McMurtrey 15:11

12 by 12 for sure has always been my go to. I will sometimes do 8.5 by 11. And, you know, for I'm on the Elle's Studio team and for Elle's Studio, it, it's more of a pocket based you know, it's it's targeted more towards pocket scrapbooking, which is not something that I'm huge into, but I do have some Life Crafted albums. And I, I will do one monthly spread in that because I have tried to Commit to Project Life and I cannot. I cannot do this, like at all, I tried at one time, and ended up it was just too much because I wanted everything to be in there, all the details. And it just blew up in my face. And so 12 by 12 for sure. Some, some Life Crafted type layouts, and 8.5 by 11 once in a while.

Jennifer Wilson 16:06

Very cool. I've been thinking a lot about this recently that I think some people are very project oriented. And then they like the confines of a specific project. They know what they need to do. And then I think others, which includes myself see a whole layout as its own project. And like that's, that's about as much as I can commit to at a time exactly when I tried to make something bigger, I definitely struggled to finish it sometimes.

Jennifer McMurtrey 16:29

Definitely. If I know that I'm starting with this, this one page, and when I get done with this one page, then I'm done. And on to the next I can't be I'm trying to work on some mini albums of some recent trips that my daughters and I have taken. And they've been started but they're I don't even know where they are right now. They're somewhere tucked away. And one of these years I'll I'll get back to finishing them. But I just can't sit down and work on a big project like that, from beginning to end, it doesn't work for me.

Jennifer Wilson 17:01

Well, I think it's okay to know that about yourself and to just pay attention and do more of what works. And a little bit less, it doesn't mean never, but maybe just you know, pare back on what maybe doesn't work as well for you. Because you know, it's gonna take you longer

Jennifer McMurtrey 17:14

Yeah, and so take it out once in a while work on it, and then put it away again when you're sick of it. And and that's okay, I go to my crops with my girlfriends. And there will be some of them that are like I got to do this, this and this. And I can't work on this until this is done. And I just my my brain doesn't operate that way at all.

Jennifer Wilson 17:33

For sure. So in terms of the products you mentioned, you're on the Elle's Studio team are there any other products that you're completely obsessed with? Who are you always checking out with your online shopping cart and all that.

Jennifer McMurtrey 17:46

I've been trying not to online shop too much. But I was on the Simple Stories team for two years and I absolutely love their products and have a ton of that. But one of my very, very fav, favorites is Pink Fresh. I just I love the modern prints and just like they're, it's it's kind of snarky. Some of their collections have been, which really speak to me, because that's my personality. And so I have been able to do I feel a lot of fun things with their products. That's one that I go back to time and again.

Jennifer Wilson 18:21

Fun, we'll definitely link them up. They have some really pretty color palettes and I love kind of petite patterns. Which they're good at as well.

Jennifer McMurtrey 18:29

Yeah, they have some great some great products.

Jennifer Wilson 18:32

So what is something you use or do on most of your pages? Like if we look through your album, what would we notice?

Jennifer McMurtrey 18:38

A white cardstock background, most definitely. I love pattern paper but I can't make a layout on pattern paper. For me it just, I don't know what the deal is. But for some reason, it just feels it just doesn't feel right. So a lot of my layouts you'll see white cardstock and ink of some sort on there. I didn't used to be into stamping but being on the Elle's Studio team I've really worked on trying to hone my stamping skills. I've been with Elle's Studio for, this is my fourth year with them. So her her stamp and die game lately has just been spot on. And she's really coming out with some fun products and those the the die cuts and the stamping have been a you'll see a lot of that on my projects for sure.

Jennifer Wilson 19:30

Yeah, one of the challenges these days is there's so many amazing stamp sets coming out.

Jennifer McMurtrey 19:35

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 19:35

And it's really hard to rein yourself in to not get them all.

Jennifer McMurtrey 19:40

I know and I'm so fortunate to be on that team because Elle is so so generous with what she sends each of us. And so I have more stamps and I will ever be able to use in my entire life after being on them for four years. But again, I'm so grateful for it because it's not something that I think I would have tapped into normally. And with her team, I'm, I'm one of the people who instead of making the pocket pages like some of the ladies do, I'm the one that's making the 12 by 12 layouts and showing how Oh, you can still get this, this kit of three by four cards and four by six cards and die cuts. And you can cut them up and you can turn them into a big a layout, it doesn't have to, to fit into this one specific type of project.

Jennifer Wilson 20:29

Yeah, I know, I'm definitely always checking out your pages, because I'm more of a layout person than pockets myself. So...

Jennifer McMurtrey 20:34

Yeah, the pockets, they they're kind of like cards, they just for some reason, they, I look at them, and my brain just goes I go, my mind goes blank. I, I can't. I've tried to work past this. Maybe I need therapy for that. I don't know. But I can't seem to get past that.

Jennifer Wilson 20:54

I don't know what it is like, I will definitely do it once in a while. But even with something like, excuse me, with like December Daily, I realized I'm not finishing these because I'm trying to do all pockets. As soon as I switch to doing mostly small layouts. It was fine. It was no big deal.

Jennifer McMurtrey 21:10

Yes, this was my first year ever finishing a December Daily. And it was just a really great feeling. But like you I have some things in pockets. But for the most part, I was printing and I did it in a Life Crafted album. So I was printing large photos and putting embellishments on those photos. And just you know, as soon as I kind of got into the groove and got rid of this idea of what I think it should look like and just went for it. And I mean, my way, right, scrapbooking my way. That's when I really started to get those pages done and just have fun with the project instead of stressing out about it.

Jennifer Wilson 21:51

Oh, that's wonderful. But before we get too far on, I want to touch back on the stamps a little bit just because when you have a lot of stamps, you have to figure out how you're going to manage those. So how do you organize your stamps?

Jennifer McMurtrey 22:02

Oh, dear goodness.

Jennifer Wilson 22:04

If you do, and it's totally okay if you don't if they're in piles.

Jennifer McMurtrey 22:08

They are somewhat organized. I keep all of my Elle's Studio products in a Raskog cart. For the most part, I have all of my stamps together. And being on the Elle's team we are using current products. So before I grab any stamp out of the pile, I have to go back on and make sure that they're in stock because we don't want to show products that are no longer available. So they're in a clear bin. But then I've also, last summer I bought some 8.5 by 11 magnetic sheets and put them into page protectors. And I have the dies out of the package and on these magnetic sheets with the stamps included in the page protectors with them. And so I have a binder of Pink Fresh and Altenew and then I have a binder that has all of my Elle's Studio dies and stamps that go coordinating stamps. And they're in binders on my on the countertop in my craft room. So my husband is very, very supportive of my hobby because my hobby is way less expensive than his. We'll just put that out there. And so last year, he put kitchen cabinets along one wall of my craft room for me so I've taken over one of the bedrooms in the house and and I have a giant kitchen island in the middle of the room. That is where I craft and so I have to have everything out. Or I forget I have it basically. So I have everything, all of my dies are somewhat organized by category and in bins on my countertop so I can see them.

Jennifer Wilson 23:47

Well what a good hubby you have. That sounds amazing.

Jennifer McMurtrey 23:50

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 23:51

I love how we've grown to turn to these kitchen supplies to make our craft rooms more functional because that's where you stand up and you do things right. So it's definitely pretty handy.

Jennifer McMurtrey 24:05

I mean, I have Thickers in a vintage a dish strainer, dish strainer. And it's so cute. And then I have pens...

Jennifer Wilson 24:13

That's a wonderful idea. Wow, I've never heard that.

Jennifer McMurtrey 24:16

Right. I found this old dishwasher silverware holder and we go to estate sales and yard sales all the time and and it fit perfectly on these hooks that I have on the side of my Raskog so it's functional but it's cute at the same time.

Jennifer Wilson 24:31

I love that. I love that. Are there any other kind of organizing tips or solutions that really stand out to you or something you'd like to share?

Jennifer McMurtrey 24:39

You know, my inks. I have a lot of ink and so in my drawers I have the Tim Holtz metal containers for all of my Distress Oxides in it. It became so cumbersome going and getting that tin and pulling it out, pulling the ink out. And and so I took the the plastic I don't know what you want to call it, the trays that are inside those those metal bins, and they fit in my drawer perfectly so I didn't have to cut them or do anything to them. I just simply took them out of the metal tins and now they all fit into one drawer and so I can open my drawer and see them all. And then if I'm going to a crop I just grabbed the tray, throw it back into the metal tin and off we go.

Jennifer Wilson 25:24

Nice. That sounds super handy.

Jennifer McMurtrey 25:26

Yes. Yeah, that's one of my best hacks.

Jennifer Wilson 25:30

It sounds awesome. And if I, you know if you have any, if you have any pictures of these specific items on your Instagram, if you could point them out to me, I would love to include those links for our listeners.

Jennifer McMurtrey 25:41

Yeah, I don't know if I have one of that specifically, but I do have a picture of when my craft room, I say when my craft room was clean. It's a hot mess express in here right now. I am off for the summer as of Monday at noon. So one of my one of my projects this summer is going to be to go through everything and purge stuff that I'm not using and my girlfriend's have a giant papercrafting garage sale over in Snohomish. So I'll be heading over there in July to try to get rid of some of my stuff and maybe make some money back but make room for more new stuff.

Jennifer Wilson 26:18

So can we talk a little bit more about your process? When do you typically find the time and energy for scrapbooking? And does it, like is it consistent for you? Or does it wax and wane?

Jennifer McMurtrey 26:28

it kind of waxes and wanes. I can't stay up late anymore. I used to be a major night owl. But that doesn't. The older I get that doesn't work for me anymore. I'm very fortunate with my work schedule. Since I teach, I'm base I'm generally home by about 3:15 or 3:30 every day so I will come home and have a little bit of quiet time and decompress from my day. And then I have time, I have a couple of hours that I scrapbook before my husband gets home from work or even in the evenings. But I do generally scrapbook on, sounds weird, on Sunday. Sunday's my scrapbook day. I don't know why. But that just seems to be the day that I work on laundry and, and work on projects.

Jennifer Wilson 27:12

That sounds awesome. I would love a nice quiet Sunday.

Jennifer McMurtrey 27:15

I know. Our house is getting too quiet though with the with. Yeah, it's like I stated earlier this whole this new chapter in our lives is exciting. I'm excited for my kiddo and her making her dreams come true. But at the same time, it's like, holy moly. It's just the two of us now what are we going to talk about?

Jennifer Wilson 27:36

Mm Hmm. Well, it'll be interesting to see how things shift in the next couple of years and and how you you know, choose to spend more time together and more time maybe you know, in your own spaces doing your own things. So it's yeah, it's you know, there's there's opportunities there. And of course, it's always an adjustment as well.

Jennifer McMurtrey 27:56

Yeah, and we've been working hard at doing that. And I spoke ofv my husband's hobby earlier, he restores vintage arcades. So we have, I say our family room as Chucky Cheese. I think we have nine arcades in the family room. That's that's his hangout, his little man cave back there and a bunch of them out in the shop that are in progress. So he has his thing and I have mine and and we're both very supportive of one another because it I think that when we each get to do the things that we love doing it makes us better together.

Jennifer Wilson 28:32

Yes, I love that. I love that. So do you have any strategies that you use maybe because you said you may be more in a funk right now, strategies that you use to kind of get back in the groove.

Jennifer McMurtrey 28:44

You know, I think just coming in here into my craft room sitting down. Like right now I have a box from Elle that I need to start working on. So when I'm in a funk, I can just come in here and say I'll unbox all that and get it organized. I have little, those scrapbook.com little cardboard organizers that I keep the current kits in so that I'm, I have that right in front of me. But a lot of times just coming in to the craft room and tidying up a little bit, going through the new product to see, see what I have and start kind of getting an idea of what I want to work on. I'm always on Instagram, always, that's one of my go twos for inspiration when I am in a funk and then I do have a bunch of sketches that I have saved that I will if, if I absolutely cannot come up with anything at all. I will start with a sketch and go from there.

Jennifer Wilson 29:40

Yes, you know what, I love sketches too. And it's so funny because for so long, I was like, you know, we actually create sketches as part of what we do at Simple Scrapper. In fact, you know, we have a new collection based on your layouts. And so I always felt like I had to do more original things, but now I'm like no, I like sketches. It's so fun to just have someone tell you, here's where you place the things that are the products that you like, tell the story that you want, and put it together like, you know, a puzzle.

Jennifer McMurtrey 30:10

And you know, sometimes because I am on design teams I worry about, well, oh, they're just going to look at that and know that Jennifer made that because it looks like everything else. So I, you know what I mean? You know how you can see something like Missy Whitten, who is amazing. I can look at hers with all the mixed media. And I'm like, Ah, she made that awesome layout, right. But the sketches help. And if if I can't find a sketch that's really jiving with me. I'll go back and look through layouts that I've done, I'll go through my own Instagram feed. And if there's a layout that I really was proud of, and I really liked, then hey, let's make something like that, again, using the current product. And maybe I'll change this up or all I'll change that, or I'll add this or take this away. So scraplift yourself, for sure. If you have something that you really like, then make it again. And I'm becoming more comfortable in my own creativity and not trying to be, I think you kind of have like an impostor syndrome. Where it's like, I'm not as good as these other people. And, gosh, why am I on this team? How can they have me here? Because I don't, I'm not Missy Whitten. And I'm not Ali Edwards, and I'm not all these amazing people. But I think that becoming comfortable in what you're making, and taking ownership of the great things that you're creating is huge. And I think that's been a big part of the process for me, is just kind of owning, owning who I am as a creative and just being proud of what I'm putting out there.

Jennifer Wilson 31:46

Oh, that's so well said. And I think it's so important so that we not get caught up in all that comparison that makes us feel lesser than. We are, we are awesome. Just on our own with whatever we're creating.

Jennifer McMurtrey 31:59

Absolutely, absolutely. We all have our, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and just work off of those strengths. And if there are things that you don't do as well, then practice and get better.

Jennifer Wilson 32:13

So I'm curious, speaking of weaknesses, is there something in scrapbooking, whether it's a supply a technique, a size, or a format that you've decided is absolutely not for you?

Jennifer McMurtrey 32:22

Okay, let me I have a list. First of all, hand stitching on layout. Oh, it looks amazing. But I can't do it. I don't want to sit there for three days, stitching on a layout. I want to, I'll machine stitch all day long. But stitching, no, thank you. I've done it a few times. And by the time I got done, I was like I'm never doing this again. And even though it's amazing. Project Life, no can do it. Because I want every single detail of every single day. And I just can't seem to to pare it down into something manageable. And then the last one that I was thinking about would be all of these adorably cute mini albums that people are making. So I go through the Simple Story feed and and look at what the new members of the design team are making and these cute little mini albums that look like a house or they fit into this cool little thing that you made that they sit in. I cannot do that either that I just I can't do that. How do they think of that stuff?

Jennifer Wilson 33:32

I know, but I feel like it's kind of all come back. Like we used to do more of those types of projects. And now what is old is new again. But now it's even to the you know, times 10 right in terms of like interactivity and embellishment and how like how epically awesome can we write makes us really tiny project.

Jennifer McMurtrey 33:52

And there's a lady that creates for Ali Edwards, thereypie, or I don't know how to say her, her use her name, but she makes some of the most amazing layouts and she she doesn't use a whole lot of equipment. You'll see her cutting with a blade and a sharp edge, a straight edge and the things that she comes up with blows my mind. Like I don't even I'm just sitting there sometimes. How does your brain even do this? How do you come up with this stuff? It's just, she's amazing. Lots of amazing creatives out there.

Jennifer Wilson 34:31

I will definitely include a link to Jennie's Instagram in the show notes for this episode because everyone has to check it out. She does great reels of all these sped up of her process and it just kind of blows my mind sometimes.

Jennifer McMurtrey 34:44

It totally blows my mind.

Jennifer Wilson 34:46

So okay, kind of thinking more big picture here. This has been an amazing conversation. Where would you like your scrapbooking to be in 10 years?

Jennifer McMurtrey 34:55

Well, I'm just gonna put this out there in case any of my children ever listen to this. I hope I'm scrapbooking grandchildren someday, that's my my goal. You know, I've never been one of those scrapbookers that's like I have to have a baby album done, I have to have this album done for this person. When I do my big craftroom rehaul this summer, one of my goals is to get all of the old pictures that I have for my grandmother's house and just things that my mom has given me over the years. I'd like to get those organized and start scrapbooking those. I just want to, I just hope that I never lose my passion for it. So I hope that 10 years from now, I'm still, I'm still working at it, just as I am now. Maybe not on design teams at that point. I don't know that the design teams, keep me, keep me going because I have deadlines. And so that helps me stay accountable to keeping up with my my craft and, and getting those stories out there. And when you when you look at my scrapbooking, you'll notice that I don't always include a lot of journaling on my layouts. But what you're not seeing on the front is most often on the back. So I have trained my children. That sounds awful. I've trained my children that somday when I'm gone if you're looking through these, look on the backs of the pages, because I will often include handwritten journaling on the backs of the pages that I don't necessarily want everyone in the world having privy to see, been privy to seen. So I just...

Jennifer Wilson 36:30

I like that solution. It's a way to maybe balance a lot of different factors, you know, sometimes the privacy, sometimes just the aesthetics of the layout. Yeah, I think that's a it's a handy thing to do. And I've definitely done that a few times, especially if I had something a lot longer that I wanted to, that would definitely would not fit on my layout.

Jennifer McMurtrey 36:51

Yeah. And it's always been about the creative outlet for me more so than always telling the actual story. And I guess you know, that would be another goal of mine is to get better about putting, putting the story to paper along with the photos. But I like I said, I do that most often on the backs of the layouts. And my kids know that when when they look through my albums someday, that to pull them out of the sheet protectors, because there is more than likely going to be something on the back.

Jennifer Wilson 37:24

I like that. I like that a lot. So if you look back over your experience as a scrapbooker and Memory Keeper, what has it taught you?

Jennifer McMurtrey 37:33

That my story matters, your story matters. Everybody's story matters, no matter. No matter where you come from, no matter what you're doing in your life, what you've accomplished, what you haven't accomplished it, it all, it all matters. You know, after my grandmother passed away, we found all of these handwritten journals that she had done over the years that we had no idea. And, and having been able to sit down and read those it, I had such a better idea of who she was as a woman, as a mother, as a wife, as just every, every aspect of her life, aside from being my grandmother, and I would I take that. And that's that's something that I hope that I am able to pass on to my kids. It's just I think that we all have to get to that point where we realize that every single one of us matters, and we all have something to contribute to the world, no matter big, no matter how big or small that thing might be.

Jennifer Wilson 38:42

What a what a lovely and beautiful thought to end on Jennifer, this has been so fun. Can you share where we can find you online and anything you might have new or coming up later this year?

Jennifer McMurtrey 38:52

Absolutely. So my, um, I post on Instagram more than anything, and that is at Jenmc72. So it's J E N MC 72. That's where I post all of all of my projects. In the upcoming year, I think I'm going to try to get back out there and maybe I took a break from some design teams this year just because I need to get my my daughter graduated and, and deal with some some things going on with my parents. But I'm, I'm hoping to start reapplying for some more teams here in the next year because I won't have any children at home. So just that's that's kind of my scrappy goal moving forward is just to get back out there and get get back on some of those teams.

Jennifer Wilson 39:39

That sounds awesome. And you already mentioned that how much that helps you with accountability.

Jennifer McMurtrey 39:43

Most definetly.

Jennifer Wilson 39:43

And so we should all do things that, that support us in continuing to to move forward and accomplish what we want inside of our hobby.

Jennifer McMurtrey 39:50

Yes, most definitely.

Jennifer Wilson 39:53

Well, Jennifer, thank you so much for chatting with me.

Jennifer McMurtrey 39:55

Thank you for having me. It's been it's been amazing.

Jennifer Wilson 39:58

And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. All right friends, we are halfway through the year and that's the perfect excuse to start fresh. No matter where you're at with your scrapbooking you can take stock, make a new plan, and then proceed. And if you'd like some help creating that plan for the second half of the year, you're invited to download the free workbook at simple scrapper.com/focus.

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