SYW201 – Finding a Cohesive Creative Process

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When I noticed that Simple Scrapper member Youngmi An was sharing beautifully consistent, story-filled work across all formats, I had to learn more. This was clearly someone who had found her style and a creative process to bring it to life again and again.

In this episode we chat about how Youngmi scrapbooks, including how she turns inspiration into a completed page and the observations she’s made about her future. There are very few mentions of specific products, which leaves me wondering if scrapbooking ‘your way’ is really about the stuff at all.

Links Mentioned

[00:00:00] Jennifer Wilson: 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 201.

In this episode I'm joined by Youngmi An to chat about defining and refining your creative process in scrapbooking. We dive into the details of how this Simple Scrapper member crafts a consistent, cohesive approach.

This is one of two episodes that close out the fourth year of the Scrapbook Your Way podcast. We're taking a short break and will return with new episodes on January 23rd.

I am so grateful for your support of the show... for every listen, every comment, and every share.

You may have noticed we don't take outside sponsorship. Scrapbook Your Way is made possible by listeners who become Simple Scrapper members.

Our community is built around supporting YOU keeping YOUR memories YOUR way.

We have an amazing schedule for 2023, including our first retreat of the year in a few weeks. Visit to learn more about our creative community.

And now, my conversation with Youngmi An.

[00:01:30] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Youngmi, welcome to Scrapbook. Your. Way.

[00:01:32] Youngmi An: Hi. Thanks so much for having me. I'm very excited to be here.

[00:01:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I am looking forward to our conversation so much, and I think we're gonna have a good one today. Can start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:01:46] Youngmi An: Absolutely. So my name is Youngmi An. I've been scrapbooking since high school, so that's like 20 some odd years. If you wanna do the math and figure out how old I am. Um, I live in California with my husband, we're child free, but I am a very proud auntie and imo to the most amazing nieces and nephews. Um, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and then went to college at the University of Illinois where I met my future husband.

[00:02:10] Jennifer Wilson: Wait, wait, wait. I did not.

[00:02:11] Youngmi An: I know.

[00:02:12] Jennifer Wilson: Know this.

[00:02:13] Youngmi An: Yes. Yeah.

[00:02:16] Jennifer Wilson: That's super cool.

[00:02:17] Youngmi An: Yeah. It's, it's such a great campus. I absolutely loved my time there and I, I miss it a lot sometimes.

[00:02:24] Jennifer Wilson: You know, we are in my university job, we are currently interviewing some people and almost everyone doesn't live here but used to, and so they all wanna come back. It's so crazy.

[00:02:37] Youngmi An: Yeah, it's just, it's such a gorgeous campus and there are just so many opportunities to just have like that most amazing college experience. So I'm not surprised that people wanna go back, like, I would love to go back someday.

[00:02:49] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Yeah, that'd be really cool. And if you ever visit, definitely let me know. So.

[00:02:53] Youngmi An: Yeah. Um,

[00:02:55] Jennifer Wilson: Sorry I interrupted you.

[00:02:56] Youngmi An: No, that's okay. That's totally okay. Um, after graduation, we moved to Boston, um, where we lived for 10 years before we moved across the country to Santa Barbara, California. So that was a huge change. Um, but definitely one we were ready for.

[00:03:11] Jennifer Wilson: Santa Barbara versus Central Illinois. I mean.

[00:03:15] Youngmi An: I know.

[00:03:16] Jennifer Wilson: We do like nice fall festivals and stuff, but still.

[00:03:19] Youngmi An: Yeah, which I definitely miss a lot, especially this time of year. Um, like, to be honest, a week ago, I, I didn't know what month it was because every day looks and feels the same. That like, I used to mark the passage of time with seasons that, that doesn't exist here. Um, but thankfully we just have one nice season.

[00:03:38] Jennifer Wilson: That's good. Yeah, I lived in Riverside for two years and we had a lot of not so nice seasons, but there were some nice ones too.

[00:03:49] Youngmi An: Yeah, it's, it's lovely here and I encourage anybody to visit. It's very easy to get used to.

[00:03:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I bet, I bet. So what's you right now in memory keeping?

[00:04:01] Youngmi An: So I'm not sure if it's because the nineties are making a comeback right now, but I'm really loving the idea of documenting my childhood and teenage years.

[00:04:10] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:04:11] Youngmi An: So my mom recently sold my childhood home, so I had the pleasure of sorting through 18 years of my life that had been stored there. And I feel like there were just so many fun stories to tell, like, um, about my JNCO jeans, which to this day I still like the most precious article of clothing I've ever owned.

[00:04:28] Youngmi An: Or like my Cabbage Patch Kid doll. Um, And music like, um, recently in the last issue of Spark Magazine, I think, I think it was Shannon Manton who shared a project that she did of a hundred songs that changed my life. And as soon as I saw that, I immediately started writing down all these songs that evoke certain memories or occupy just a very distinct moment in time.

[00:04:51] Youngmi An: And it spiraled outta control very fast. And I ended up with like 200 songs. So I'm gonna. Yeah, I, I'm gonna have to pair that down a little bit, obviously. Um, but even just making the list was so much fun. So I don't do a lot of retrospective layouts, but I think it would be really interesting to tell those stories with the perspective that I have now.

[00:05:11] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes, yes. And so Shannon actually was on the podcast, uh, in our very first few months and she's been on since, but talking about this particular project. And so I will link that episode in the show notes where she goes into a lot more detail about the inspiration and the process for a hundred songs that changed my life album.

[00:05:30] Youngmi An: Yeah, it's such a cool idea. I love it.

[00:05:33] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. And so obviously that spurred a lot of stories for you. Do you have any really big stories that are on your bucket list? Things that feel really important to tell?

[00:05:43] Youngmi An: Yeah, I mean, I, I have a ton. You know, it's, I feel like a lot of scrapbookers haven't scrapped their wedding for some bizarre reason. So that's one of 'em. Um, but the biggest one that's also the most intimidating to me is my family history.

[00:05:56] Jennifer Wilson: Mm.

[00:05:56] Youngmi An: And there are two really big challenges to this, and the first is photos.

[00:06:01] Youngmi An: Um, on my dad's side, there really are no photos that I know of from when he was young. We have a few from when he was young adult, but nothing older than that. And it wasn't until recently that, like, I realized this and it kind of clicked, but I think it's likely because of the Korean War. Um, my dad was about five years old when the war began, and so my best guess is that either photos never existed of him in his childhood or they were lost during that time.

[00:06:26] Jennifer Wilson: Oh wow.

[00:06:28] Youngmi An: So it's, it's definitely a bummer. It's like kind of like a hole in our family history. Um. And then the second challenge is the stories. So in my family, and I know a lot of families struggle with this, um, there's an unspoken understanding that you don't talk about things or ask about things that are sad or painful.

[00:06:48] Youngmi An: And unfortunately for us, that includes a lot of our family history because both my parents lived through some really difficult things that I'll never know about. Um, and on one hand I've come to respect that they don't want us to know. Um, so even though I think those stories are important and I want to know them, ultimately those are their stories to share or to not.

[00:07:09] Youngmi An: So when I am lucky enough to kind of catch these bits of family history, I try to scribble it down somewhere. Um, cuz I'll take whatever I can get. But I'm really, I'm not sure how to kind of document these random bits of story and like miscellaneous photos. So that's something that hopefully I'll figure out someday. But it, it would be kind of like a monumental, lifelong project.

[00:07:32] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm. Yeah. It seems like you need to kind of create a home for it that you can add to over time.

[00:07:38] Youngmi An: Yeah. And you know, it's, I feel like the way we scrapbook now, it's very much like we have a photo and we have the story that goes with the photo, but with kind of these older stories and photos, it, there's not usually like a one-to-one.

[00:07:51] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:07:51] Youngmi An: That go together like that. Um, but yeah.

[00:07:55] Jennifer Wilson: You know, pocket pages, like, you know, you can have a photo and a story or a photo and story pair.

[00:08:01] Youngmi An: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, on my mom's side, we're lucky enough that my grandfather was into photography. So we have more photos of that side of the family than I think a lot of others who live during that time period and in that area do. Um, so I don't know, maybe I, I have my, um, my mom is the youngest of nine, um.

[00:08:22] Jennifer Wilson: Wow.

[00:08:23] Youngmi An: And I'm the youngest cousin in that generation.

[00:08:26] Youngmi An: So, um, I have a lot of cousins. I have a lot like, feels like hundreds of cousins. Probably an exaggeration, but sometimes it feels like a hundred cousins. Um, to kind of mine for information. So hopefully I can get some stories through them.

[00:08:39] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I also think the the kind of meta story about, um, the, the cultural norms of not talking about, um, some of the harder things and how that was the expectation in your family. And I think that is a story in itself to maybe, you know, to even start off this project.

[00:08:57] Youngmi An: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:08:58] Jennifer Wilson: That, you know, there always will be gaps because, know, this is what was important and a value to my parents. And maybe sharing the contrast with what your current values are.

[00:09:10] Youngmi An: Yeah, that's a perspective that I hadn't thought of. Um, just how we've changed and we talk more.

[00:09:17] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:09:18] Youngmi An: I love that. That's great.

[00:09:19] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and maybe in the future there'll be, you know, um, inroads and a meeting in the middle. As, as you share more of your, uh, perspective on memory keeping with your family. And, you know, maybe things will pour out.

[00:09:33] Youngmi An: Yeah.

[00:09:35] Jennifer Wilson: All right, so I absolutely love how you use different techniques and formats to document your memories and tell your story. And your body work feels so cohesive. You are a lovely scrapbooker and I'd love to focus this episode on kind of teasing apart your creative process and how you make decisions.

[00:09:57] Youngmi An: Sure. Well, and thank you for that by the way,

[00:09:59] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, you're welcome. Yes, I am. Yeah. I've just been so, uh, enamored with the things you've created, um, particularly, uh, in the past few years as you've been a member. So, maybe we can start by hearing all about the different page and project approaches you use currently in your memory keeping and crafting.

[00:10:19] Youngmi An: Sure. Um, so I'm always working on multiple projects at once, and so right now, um, that includes kind of everyday stories that go in a yearly album. Um, I'm working on Hawaii Vacation album, an Italy vacation album, and I've got kind of an ongoing Disney album. Um, I work in multiple formats, so right now it's 12 by 12, 9 by 12, 8.5 by 11. Which was actually a bit of a shift for me, um, because up until a couple years ago, I was like a very hardcore 12 by 12 person. But I wanted to try some smaller formats because those 12 by 12 albums are enormous. Like, they're extremely heavy. They're like kind of difficult to flip through. Um, so I'm like, I, I need to make these a little bit smaller and I'm, I'm running outta space very fast.

[00:11:06] Youngmi An: So , um, my albums tend to be a mix of full page layouts and pocket pages, which, um, you'll see that, especially in my travel album. So I'm, I'm just trying to get in as many photos as I can. Um, and I also keep a memory planner. Which I love because I feel like that's kind of like my playground and it lets me be creative in a different style from my scrapbooks.

[00:11:34] Youngmi An: Um, it's a place for me to capture like those tiny stories that don't really make it until a layout. And so these days more than my scrapbook, my memory planner is really what is capturing like my everyday life.

[00:11:48] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's so fun. I'm curious, has that been an evolution? Have you ever done kind of a traditional Project Life and now the memory planner is taking that place? Or, no.

[00:11:59] Youngmi An: Kind of. So I did Mm, like looking behind me at my shelf. I did three years of Project Life. Um, and it was fun, like kind of collecting like little bits, like, I don't know, like stickers or tags or tickets and things like that. And I would put doodles in there. It was really different, um, from my regular scrapbooks but, I felt very constrained by the pockets themselves.

[00:12:26] Youngmi An: Um, and it was like giving me a lot of stress, so I kind of abandoned that. But this memory planner is kind of a return to that, um, where I don't feel like things have to match. Like it's, it's very scrappy in the traditional sense, I guess. Like it's chaotic, there's no design and I love it that it is that way.

[00:12:45] Youngmi An: Um, like it's just lots of stickers and washi tape and, um, I can, that's where I let out, like my cutesie side and I play with like Zakka style and, um, it's just, it's just a lot of fun. It's, it feels very freeing.

[00:13:01] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love to hear that. So when you're, when you have time to create and you're sitting down to your desk, how do you decide what it is that you're gonna work on? Are you kind of in, in the moment person, or have you kind of already planned that out in advance?

[00:13:16] Youngmi An: Um, so a little bit of both. So I do very loose planning, um, because I've learned that I can't force anything when it comes to scrapbooking. I need to have my options so I can just go with whatever is speaking to me at that moment. So I keep a running list of stories that I wanna tell just scribbled into a notebook. And I have an album on my phone of photos to scrap. Every once in a while when I'm like waiting in line or I'm like on a flight or something, I'll go through my camera roll and add a photos to that album. So between those two, whether I'm feeling inspired by photos or by the story, I can always find something to scrap.

[00:13:54] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love that. I think we all kind of take inspiration from different places, and I love how you're kind of using your little pockets of time to make sure the inspiration is waiting for you.

[00:14:06] Youngmi An: Yeah, and I've realized that like it's, it's helped me to become more productive too, just to have that running list.

[00:14:12] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:12] Youngmi An: Of stories. Um, cuz you know, I have a terrible memory, so like, I'll, I'll forget. Like, um, so writing it down has helped a lot and it's always, I love that feeling of being able to check something off. I find that very satisfying.

[00:14:26] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I think you're not alone on that for sure. Yeah. I love, I think. It'll be in a random place where I come up with a story idea and those are the ones that I really need to like mark down because it wasn't related to a specific photo. It was a connection between things or a conversation with someone. And I think some, those are some of the most fun pages to make because they maybe wouldn't have been sparked otherwise.

[00:14:51] Youngmi An: Yeah.

[00:14:53] Jennifer Wilson: So when you are creating what about the, the creative starting point? Are you starting with that story? Are you starting with a photo or a particular product?

[00:15:04] Youngmi An: So it can be all three. And it, it varies because in order for me to actually create a layout, there needs to be like this special magic that happens. I need to have the perfect combination of supplies, story, photo, and design, and if one of those things is missing, It just won't happen no matter how hard I try.

[00:15:23] Like when I was a chronological scrapbooker, I would try to force myself to scrapbook certain photos in a certain order, and all I would do is just like stare at my desk. So once I freed myself of that expectation and I let myself scrapbook whatever I wanted at the moment, I was so much more productive. I loved my layouts a lot more, and I just enjoyed the process a lot because when all those things align, it's just such a great feeling and everything comes together like it's meant to be, and it just like flows.

[00:15:53] Jennifer Wilson: Now, I'm curious, what, do you have any strategies that you use to cultivate the magic or things that, you know, support you in, in finding that state of flow?

[00:16:05] Youngmi An: You know, I think a lot of it has to do with just over time learning what works for me. you know, like what kind of supplies I like to use. Even just like layouts, like what kind, like how many photos do I like? And that I think just comes with doing it over time and trying out different things.

[00:16:25] Youngmi An: Because once I figured out like, okay, this is how I like to scrapbook, this is what I like and the layouts that I, you know, that are my favorites and I can kind of return to those things. it's almost like it's become not routine necessarily, but just kind of comfortable in my scrapbooking.

[00:16:44] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love that. And I'm sure that kind of leads to that cohesiveness in your, you know, body of work, if you will, that you kind of have this comfort zone that feels good and, and keeps you in that magic zone.

[00:16:58] Youngmi An: Yeah, so I mean, sometimes I like to pop out of it. And you know, whether or not I like what comes out of those times. Um, it's fine either way. Like obviously I don't love every single layout that I make. Um, but it's always fun to experiment and try something new so that, you know, things don't feel stale.

[00:17:17] Jennifer Wilson: Well and on that note, do you like to follow along with like challenges and things like that that might lead you to like starting from a different place or using another point of inspiration?

[00:17:27] Youngmi An: Absolutely. I, I really actually love challenges and once I figured this out, I felt like I became even more productive. Because, I mean, one of the things it gets me to use products that I may not have reached for, or I think of stories that weren't necessarily on my little list. And most challenges come with a deadline for submissions.

[00:17:47] Youngmi An: So it gives me like this extra boost of motivation to get me to finish and, you know, stop kind of like hemming and hawing over little decisions and be like, you know, just go for it. Don't overthink it. And, and get it done. Get it scrapped.

[00:18:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes, yes. I think those, the deadlines are something that helps a lot of us as well. Now, I noticed that you love to use cut files. So when you use these as part of a project, is that kind of the starting point? You just say, I'm gonna use a cut file today, or that something that comes in later in the creative process?

[00:18:19] Youngmi An: It's usually a starting point for me, um, because every once in a while I'll see a cut file and I'll be like, Yes, I know exactly which photo would be perfect for that cut file. Um, so usually that's where I'm starting. And also a lot of times, you know, if I've taken a break from scrapbooking or I'm just, you know, kind of feeling like I'm in a bit of slump I'll, I'll pick a cut file and make a layout. Because it, it goes pretty quickly. It's almost like meditative , if you will.

[00:18:46] Youngmi An: And doesn't require a lot of decision making. Well, it depends on how you use it, but, um, you know, cuz I, I like to back my cut files with lots of different pattern papers. Um, and so that process like, that's the kind of like meditative process for me.

[00:19:02] Youngmi An: I know a lot of people find that very stressful though. Um, and normally I don't do a whole lot of embellishing on top, so it, it goes pretty fast. Um, but the most time consuming part is when my machine doesn't properly cut out all the corners and then I have to snip them out all by hand. So essentially the machine cuts it once and then I cut it again by hand.

[00:19:21] Youngmi An: So I, I should, I really need to adjust my settings, but yeah.

[00:19:25] Jennifer Wilson: You could even tell it to cut twice too, so, or three times.

[00:19:28] Youngmi An: I know sometimes I do that just cuz I'm like, Ugh, I really don't feel like gambling today. So I'll just have it cut twice and it'll take like 45 minutes to cut the file.

[00:19:37] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, it could be frustrating. Now when you are backing your cut files with pattern paper and the, you know, the stain glass window paint effect, like what's your strategy for doing that? Cuz I've seen a lot of different ways that people like to do that.

[00:19:52] Youngmi An: You know, I do probably just like the most basic way. Um, I know there's a way to have the machine cut it for you, but. I'm not sure I'm, I think that's supposedly faster, but I weirdly don't have the patience for that. So I will cut out like a tiny scrap, tiny, tiny scrap of paper that's about the right size and shape. I'll glue it onto the back and then trim around it.

[00:20:16] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Okay, That's fair.

[00:20:18] Youngmi An: Yeah.

[00:20:19] Jennifer Wilson: I've seen like a lot of different ways and so I'm always curious like, what's your preferred method from, you know, the very precise, we're gonna tweak the cut file to cut the backgrounds, or we're gonna, know, make it work.

[00:20:31] Youngmi An: Yeah, I, I mean, you know, with cut files that kind of have bigger pieces.

[00:20:36] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:36] Youngmi An: I'll save the cutout parts. Um, and I can use that kind of guide, like, you know, I'll take a piece of paper and trim it to just a little bit bigger, um, but for, yeah. So, but that doesn't work for like, the really intricate ones where it's just like a thousand tiny circles, um.

[00:20:53] Youngmi An: But like, I, I did that recently on a cut file that was, words. So the openings were much bigger and so that worked well for that. But usually it's just kind of the old school, glue it onto the back and trim it off.

[00:21:04] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. Nice. Now, do you have any advice for someone who wants to include more cut files on their pages? Cuz I hear this a lot, like, I wanna learn how to use my Silhouette. I wanna actually use all these cut files that I've purchased. Um, any suggestions?

[00:21:18] Youngmi An: Yeah, so they really are so versatile and there's just so many amazing cut files out there. Um, but I think if you're new to them or if you're kind of intimidated by them, I say start with something really simple like the large title. Anything with like big openings, those tend to be easier to back. Um, or if you like the look of intricate cut files, but the thought of doing like that backing process that I said gives you hives, then you don't need to do it. Like there are so many other options. Um, you can watercolor behind it or even just leave it as is. Like, I think. Intricate white cut files look really striking against a darker background and like vice versa.

[00:21:59] Youngmi An: Um, so there's just so many different ways to use them. Um, but I think the most important thing, at least for me, what I've learned is just make sure that your tools and supplies are right for the job. Um, cuz even if your cut settings are absolutely perfect, you won't get a good cut if you're using lower quality paper or your blades are dull or your cutting mat needs to be replaced.

[00:22:22] Youngmi An: So, It really is worth it to use the good stuff.

[00:22:26] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's a great piece of advice. I love that. I think, uh, particularly in this scenario, that really makes a difference. You know, some scenarios in scrapbooking it doesn't, but in this one it really does.

[00:22:38] Youngmi An: Yeah. And that's something that, you know, for years I was getting like terrible cuts. Everything was ripping and I couldn't figure out what it was. Um, cuz you know, at the time I was on an extremely small budget as a scrapbooker, and so I was trying to like stretch my supplies. I was using like cheaper card stock. And then finally when I was like, okay, I'm actually wasting more time and money.

[00:22:59] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:00] Youngmi An: By not keeping my supplies in good condition. And so once I made the switch, I was like, Oh my gosh, my life has been changed.

[00:23:07] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes. And I also want to double down on your suggestion to not choose something overly intricate when you start out. My first cut with my original Silhouette as many years ago now was a doily and that was a huge mistake.

[00:23:21] Youngmi An: Oh no.

[00:23:24] Jennifer Wilson: I just thought it was just gonna be this magical miracle tool that just could cut anything out and I just have to like lift it up and I had no idea. So, uh, needless to say that didn't work out so well.

[00:23:36] Youngmi An: Oh no.

[00:23:40] Jennifer Wilson: So are there any tools or other shortcuts that you regularly turn to or rely on to figure out how your page is gonna come together? Like, how do you compose your pages?

[00:23:51] Youngmi An: Yeah, absolutely. I am all about sketches. Um, I think in the past a lot of us kind of had this like, hesitation with using sketches like that thought of like, am I really a scrapbooker? Am I really a creative if I'm just copying a design that someone else created? And I definitely felt that way and it was like this weird insecurity that I had until I heard something that Shimelle said once about how as scrapbookers we put. an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves to create like a completely unique design with every project that we make. And that's not something you see in other hobbies. Like other crafts like quilting and knitting and cross stitch. Like they rely on patterns that are meant to be copied and adapted. So that's how I view sketches, cuz a blank canvas can be really intimidating to me cuz there are just so many possibilities. But sketches help me jumpstart that creative process. Sometimes I'll follow it exactly, sometimes I won't. But having that starting point just helps me scrap faster and easier. And, you know, if you're like me, the thought of all the stories that you want to scrap, but you don't have time to, like, keeps you up at night. So like sketches can just really help you get those stories into your albums.

[00:25:10] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes. And even like using your own designs from the past, if you have a layout that you really love, it use different products, different photos, use the same, you know, use yourself as the sketch and it'll come out beautifully, and you probably won't even realize that it's the same design.

[00:25:27] Youngmi An: Yeah, I scrapbook. I scraplift myself all the time and especially since, you know, like I mentioned, I have multiple albums going at one time. So if I make a layout where I'm like, Oh man, I really nailed it with this design, I'll be like, well, I have a couple other albums, so I'll just like scraplift myself to make like two more versions of it and they'll probably never be seen side by side. But it again helps me get those photos into my albums.

[00:25:54] Jennifer Wilson: Well and I think that's like another comfort zone place. The more that you can kind of understand, I can make pages that look kind of like this all day long and without stress. You know, then do that. You know as much as you want to. So do you have any colors or patterns that you regularly reach for more than others? I was like going through your Instagram and seeing if I could like pull out some trends here.

[00:26:20] Youngmi An: So color wise, I realize that I do have kind of like a pallet, but it wasn't intentionally. Cuz I didn't even realize it until a while ago, but I feel like 80% of my layouts are pink, teal and yellow. And I don't know, that color combination just brings me so much joy and, you know, it does, it does appear in different shades.

[00:26:41] Youngmi An: Um, but it got to the point where I was like, Okay, I need to buy some green supplies. There's like no green in my scrap room. And once in a while, like I'll need a color that isn't pink teal or yellow. And um, and then I'm like, Oh no. So I'm like trying to like add, like diversify and cuz I love all colors. It's just something about those three together just, uh, it just makes me so happy.

[00:27:03] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love hearing that. I think that we all need to know what colors really, as you said, bring you joy and to reach for more of that in, in many areas of life. I think that makes a difference in, you know, how we feel about all the things that we're doing and creating.

[00:27:19] Youngmi An: Yeah. And then in regards to patterns, patterns can be a little tricky for me. Um, I, you know, I love kind of all the generic stuff like florals and stripes, but the really themed ones like houses and cacti really trip me up. So you actually don't see a lot of those types of patterns in my layouts, but, um, you'll see a lot of tone on tone, subtle patterns.

[00:27:42] Youngmi An: Those are like, my bread and butter. Um, I love that they lend detail to a page, but that they can also read as a solid, so it, it doesn't add like too much chaos to the page. So when I'm pulling together supplies for a layout, I often start with a multicolored patterned paper, like a floral, and then pull in those subtle single colored patterned papers that coordinate and sometimes I feel like that is like my favorite part of the creative process, and it's something that I can do if I just have a couple minutes here or there. Like I actually have a stack of, like, I, I, I wouldn't even call them kits, but just like stacks of paper where I'm like, Okay, these are the papers that I wanna use together on a layout at some point.

[00:28:22] Jennifer Wilson: I thought I was the only person that did that.

[00:28:25] Youngmi An: Oh.

[00:28:25] Jennifer Wilson: My pattern paper stash and I'll see like I've kind of coordinated some things for like a future page.

[00:28:32] Youngmi An: Yeah.

[00:28:32] Jennifer Wilson: These look really nice together.

[00:28:35] Youngmi An: Yeah, and it, I mean, just like, so when I am ready to scrap, like, you know, I kind of have like min, like almost a kit ready to go. But I just, you know, we all, we love pattern paper as scrapbookers and it's just fun to kind of sift through them sometimes and just, you know, pair them together.

[00:28:52] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I agree. So fun. And I definitely start with like that multicolored first. So I think we have a similar process there. Now, I notice that you have a fair amount of journaling on your pages, sometimes even a lot of journaling. Why is the story aspect so important to you?

[00:29:09] Youngmi An: So, oh gosh, there, there's a lot of answers to that, but hopefully I can say this in a way that makes sense. But, um, so I guess, probably like the main reason why my layouts almost always have journaling is that I have a terrible memory. So I have been blessed with an incredible life. I get to do amazing things that I am so grateful for and I don't wanna forget them.

[00:29:32] Youngmi An: Like big things, small things, any of it. So, you know, I've realized there are so many things that I remember only because I spent time with the story, documenting it. So my scrapbooks are almost like a giant journal for me, that I get to refer back to and, you know, recall happy moments and, and things like that.

[00:29:51] Youngmi An: And, you know, looking at photos are a lot of fun and obviously they can evoke memories, but when you have a story written down that goes with that photo, I feel like it just, brings it to life in a way that, you know, the photo alone can't. Um, I very much scrapbook for myself and my husband cuz you know, as I mentioned, we're, we're child free.

[00:30:12] Youngmi An: Um, But I've realized that as I document my life, I'm also documenting the lives of my friends and family because, you know, obviously the stories I'm telling are, are from my perspective, but these people, they're part of my story. Um, and it's not often that people look through my albums, but when they do, I want them to remember moments in their lives. I, I wanna help them remember.

[00:30:36] Jennifer Wilson: Mm. I love that. you for sharing. So, uh, thoroughly about all the different reasons. I think it's, I could tell from your pages that it's important to you and that it's something that you value as part of your creative process.

[00:30:49] Youngmi An: Yeah.

[00:30:50] Jennifer Wilson: Now I'm curious how when you're designing your page, like are you thinking about the amount of journaling space you might need? How does that kind of all fit together? And at the same time, like how are you like creating homes for the journaling on your pages?

[00:31:07] Youngmi An: So I'm actually kind of bad at estimating how much space my journaling will need, or just how much story will actually come out of, you know, once I actually sit down to write it. So you would think that I would be able to eyeball it now, but a lot of times I feel like I either have too much story or not enough.

[00:31:23] Youngmi An: Um, but for times when I know that I am gonna have a, like a huge story, I just planned for an extra page of just journaling. Um, for example, when I made a layout about my laser eye surgery, I ended up with one page with photos and then one double sided page of size 10 font typed journaling.

[00:31:43] Jennifer Wilson: Wow.

[00:31:44] Youngmi An: I realized is totally ridiculous. I don't expect anybody to ever read it. Um, but just like it.

[00:31:50] Jennifer Wilson: You had something to say, so.

[00:31:51] Jennifer Wilson: There's a lot you can say about that.

[00:31:54] Youngmi An: Yeah. And again, it was just for my own self. You know, like, oh gosh. Again, it was too much story and it's, it really was just for me. Um, but you know, for an average size story, um, usually I kind of scribble it out. I scribble out a draft of what wanna say on a scrap piece of paper so that I can kind of estimate how much space I'll need.

[00:32:16] Youngmi An: And, you know, if it's more than what I was expecting, I'll type it up and print it just cuz you can get more on there.

[00:32:22] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:32:22] Youngmi An: Even though my handwriting is kind of small. Yeah, you just, you can get so much more if you print it out. But if I truly run outta space for journaling, that's when pockets and flip up come in handily, handy. And you know, you can always make room for journaling.

[00:32:38] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes, Yes. I love that. I love how you have kind of suite of strategies you recognize that you'll just do what it takes to, to get those words down when they wanna come out.

[00:32:48] Youngmi An: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:50] Jennifer Wilson: So I, I think in observing your pages, you have maybe incorporated more hybrid techniques over the past few years. Is that accurate? Or have you always been like a hybrid scrapbooker?

[00:33:02] Youngmi An: It's so funny because I don't really think of myself as a hybrid scrapbooker. But, um, I, I almost like don't even know the definition.

[00:33:11] Jennifer Wilson: Do you print things?

[00:33:12] Youngmi An: I do print things. Does that make me a hybrid scrapbooker?

[00:33:16] Youngmi An: Because.

[00:33:17] Jennifer Wilson: I mean if you print something other than photos, then yeah I would say so.

[00:33:20] Youngmi An: Really. Okay. All right. I guess I am a hybrid scrapbooker. Um,

[00:33:23] Jennifer Wilson: Like you print your journaling, maybe you print some type of like, uh, things that you cut out by hand.

[00:33:29] Youngmi An: Yeah, definitely. Um.

[00:33:31] Jennifer Wilson: Even using cut files definitely counts as hybrid.

[00:33:34] Youngmi An: Oh, I never thought of it that way. Okay, cool.

[00:33:39] Jennifer Wilson: Just like anything that you do to use your computer. Um, typically beyond photos, just because, you know, we kind of have to use some sort of technology for our photos these days.

[00:33:49] Youngmi An: Yeah. Yeah. So I you know, obviously I definitely print my journaling a lot of the times. Um, there are a lot of really cool printables available now. Um, and oh, they're so dangerous because, you know, price point is great and they don't take up any like physical storage space. Like I can get into a lot of trouble with like printables. Um, but I just, they're so budget friendly. Um, cuz you can print 'em as many times as you want and, um, use them on multiple layouts. And it's great for what I like to call, oh gosh, like emerge quote unquote emergency situations. Where I'm like in the groove and, you know, I just need one last thing to finish my layout, but I don't have it, and it's like 11 o'clock at night.

[00:34:36] Youngmi An: So it's not like I'm gonna run out to a store and buy it. Um, so it's like, well, what can I download? Like, what can I print? What can I cut out, um, to help fill in that space and get this done? So it, it really does come in handy for those moments.

[00:34:50] Jennifer Wilson: I love that. That's the first time I've ever heard like, uh, heard about a scrapbooking emergency and that printables were the solution for it. So I love it. I think we've all had some sort of emergency. Usually it's like running out of adhesive for me or ink for my printer. But yeah, I think you know, they, they are so helpful in being able to, or even technology more broadly to be able to do that one last piece of customization where you can't find the exact right thing that you know you wanna include.

[00:35:20] Youngmi An: Yeah and I've, you know, they're also great for, um, past collections. Because, you know, there are some like past scrapbooking collections that are just, were my absolute favorites and I'm like, I wish I had bought buckets of this cuz I could use it forever. A lot of times they're available digitally so you know, you can print out pattern papers, you can print out die cuts and use them forever.

[00:35:48] Jennifer Wilson: I love that. And I think maybe part of it is just, is the evolution has come from the availability of these products too. That there's just so much more available both from, you know um, smaller boutique brands and the big manufacturers. So are you thinking about or planning for your 2023 scrapbooking yet?

[00:36:08] Youngmi An: Um, okay, that's, that's a funny question. Because I have not scrapped a single photo from 2022 even. Um, which is really unusual based on how I scrap these days. Um, but what happened is I couldn't decide on what format and size I wanted to use, and then the next thing I knew it's like, October and the year is coming to close.

[00:36:29] Youngmi An: So, um, but looking into 2023, I definitely wanna start exploring other formats like traveler's notebook sized albums for documenting things like vacations and, you know, stories that are a little bit bigger than something that would go in just like my annual albums. Because like I mentioned, the way I'm scrapbooking now, it's not sustainable.

[00:36:50] Youngmi An: I'm running outta room. We're gonna need to buy a second house. And, and I just, you know, I can't keep up with all the things that I wanna document. Um, I don't ever see myself ever going 100% digital. Just because I like physical, I love physical product too much. So I'm gonna have to shrink my album size down and maybe change my approach.

[00:37:12] Youngmi An: Um, I do think my everyday, like annual albums will remain in 12 by 12 or eight and a half by 11. But I'll, I don't, I don't know. I'm excited to test out traveler's notebooks, um, because, well, first of all, it's gonna be a challenge cuz the canvas size is so different than what I'm used to. Um, and I think just the approach that people use for traveler's notebooks is, is really different as well. But I'm, I've been super inspired by all the amazing things that people are doing with this size and like how they make it like, um, interactive and there's like, you know, things that flip out. I love that kind of thing. So I'm very excited about that.

[00:37:53] Jennifer Wilson: Well and I think maybe some of your memory planner techniques would adapt well, even though the format's a little bit smaller.

[00:38:00] Youngmi An: Yes, yeah.

[00:38:03] Jennifer Wilson: So well, that'll be fun to see what you explore in the new year and, um, yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing all the things you create.

[00:38:11] Youngmi An: Thank you.

[00:38:14] Jennifer Wilson: Can you share where we can find you online and maybe anything else you might be working on towards the end of this year?

[00:38:19] Youngmi An: So I'm pretty active on Instagram. My handle is Scrappy Toki. Um, and in case you're wondering what that means. Um, so Toki means bunny in Korean, um, and I just absolutely love bunnies. So my name is Scrappy Toki. Um, and I'm in the Simple Scrapper community. You can often spot me in the weekend Zoom crops.

[00:38:40] Youngmi An: So say hi, if you see me.

[00:38:43] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. Nice. Looking forward to it. Yeah. I love hanging out with you. Youngmi, this has been such a delightful conversation. Thanks so much for spending time with me.

[00:38:51] Youngmi An: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. This was, this was really wonderful to talk about all things scrapbooking with you.

[00:38:59] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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