SYW203 – My Way with Sarah Kee

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Within the first 5 minutes of my conversation with Sarah Kee, I knew this episode would be a good one. She disclosed her struggle with anxiety, something we share in common, as an invitation to document more of your real story.

Our discussion covers Sarah’s favorites, as always, but one of her big lessons learned has been the therapeutic nature of creating. While not a substitute for professional help, what we do as scrapbookers is powerful and important.

Personally, I felt comforted hearing someone else put words to so much of my own story. I hope it offers ease and insight to you as well.

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 203.In this episode I'm interviewing Sarah Kee for the My Way series. My Way is all about celebrating the unique ways memory keepers get things done. We're excited to have Sarah as the January featured artist at Simple Scrapper.

Hey friends, I’m back from a short break and ready to bring you weekly episodes in 2023… starting with today’s conversation with Sarah, whom you may know as @redoaklines on Instagram. I’m excited about our group of Featured Artists this year and the peek we’ll get into their creative lives through these episodes. I also want to share a bit more of a behind the scenes look at Simple Scrapper in every episode. That will likely look like an anecdote or a few announcements, but this week I want to start with some context. I launched Simple Scrapper in 2008 as blog to share lessons learned in my own journey in scrapbooking, but it quickly became so much more. At the beginning of 2011 the first version of our membership came to be and today, 12 years later, it is a thriving, off-Facebook community. The community is not just a part of my business, it IS my business. That means my team and I are solely focused every day on facilitating an amazing, supportive online experience for our members. We do this through two-month containers of content and activities that we call Creative Journeys, ensuring that you are guided towards success without overwhelm or inspiration overload. In fact, one of the best things we do is help you find a way forward when you totally flush with projects, supplies, and ideas. We’re your online home for happy and productive scrapbooking. And I hope 2023 is the year you check it out! You can visit to check out our new quarterly plan for a shorter commitment at a discounted price. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you in this space, but for now, here’s my conversation with Sarah Kee.

[00:02:51] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, Sarah, welcome to the podcast.

[00:02:53] Sarah Kee: Hi. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I am looking forward to chatting with you today and hearing more about your scrapbooking hobby. But can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:03:05] Sarah Kee: Yeah, so, uh, I'm currently married, uh, to my wife of 15 years. And we have, uh, seven-year-old twin girls and we also have one dog. She's Miniature Schnauzer, so if you hear her barking in the background, I apologize,

[00:03:21] Jennifer Wilson: No problem at all. We love our animal friends on this show.

[00:03:26] Sarah Kee: I'm sure it happens a lot.

[00:03:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. So what's exciting you right now? We are actually changing up this question, and we're asking our guests to share one non scrapbooking thing and as well as one scrapbooking thing.

[00:03:42] Sarah Kee: So for, I'd say non-scrapbooking thing right now. Something that's exciting me is, uh, anything pertaining to gardens or gardening in general. I find that gardens are a sign of hope and when you plant something, you're hoping that there's a tomorrow. Cuz you have to wait for it to, like, you have to tend to it, right? I love watching like different flowers change throughout the seasons. Um, it's, it's sad when they obviously die off, but I get really giddy waiting for stuff to bloom back. So that's, that's kind of like what my non scrapbooking thing is currently.

[00:04:21] Jennifer Wilson: That's so beautiful. A beautiful way to think about it.

[00:04:24] Sarah Kee: Yeah. And, in a previous lifetime, I actually used to be a florist. So having the ability to grow things and then cut it yourself and then create something else out of it is really exciting for me as well.

[00:04:39] Jennifer Wilson: Oh yeah. I mean, it just, I, I mean, it probably connects back to your crafting as well, like doing things with your hands and creating something from, you know, seemingly nothing or just from, you know, the supplies.

[00:04:53] Sarah Kee: Right, right. It has everything to do with taking pieces and, uh, placing them and putting them together, um, in a very creative, artistic way. And I find that outlet to be my jam.

[00:05:05] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Yeah, a hundred percent.

[00:05:09] Sarah Kee: And then as far as, um, something scrapbooking that's exciting me right now, um, I'm, I've gotten into digital files. So I've been scrapbooking for a while now, but I came back to it in 2020 when everybody, everybody was home and I unlocked the whole digital scrapbooking world. And I was like, wow, there's all these cut files out there that literally you can, the, the possibilities are just endless with what you can do with cut files and digital files nowadays. I'm not an expert by any means of it, but the fact that they're out there and I can explore them, I get really excited over that.

[00:05:54] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I mean, just technology has added so much to scrapbooking and we have, even just like the production speed, digital designers are so amazing in how many things they can create, compared to the the paper industry. And so there's just always an endless supply of new fun things.

[00:06:14] Sarah Kee: Right. So I've, uh, traditionally been like a traditional scrapbooker, right? Just paper and, um, stickers and you know, things like that. So me, unlocking that digital aspect of it was like, wow, I can do a little bit of both. So, um, I've really just been excited over the whole hybrid scrapbooking idea. But yeah, I just, I watch all the digital scrapbookers and I'm like, wow, that's amazing.

[00:06:40] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. So fun.

[00:06:43] Sarah Kee: Yeah.

[00:06:43] Jennifer Wilson: So we also like to ask our guests about their memory keeping bucket list. So this could be one or more stories that you really feel like you want to tell, but for one reason or another you haven't done yet. So what's on your bucket list?

[00:06:59] Sarah Kee: I guess in terms of scrapbooking and photo documenting, the story I wanna tell and I would encourage others to tell, is just scrapbook your everyday real, real, raw life. Because at the end of the day, the people who are gonna look at these scrapbooks are people who wanna know who you really were, right? And for me, uh, my everyday real life includes my struggle with living with anxiety. So just everything around that. So I don't know, I'm trying to think of examples, but like, if it's like a picture of like, food, something I cook for the family. Like, did I love it? Did I hate it? How did I feel about it?

[00:07:41] Sarah Kee: Or like if my family goes on hikes or something like a family hike. Were we exhausted? Did we finish it? Did we give up along the way? Things like that. Or like, I even like to scrapbook, you know, the, the typicals, like vacations, like where we went. Was it fun or did we completely have meltdowns along the way? Like, I wanna remember it all. So posed, candid photos, all of it. Everything in between the real stuff.

[00:08:08] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm. love

[00:08:09] Sarah Kee: So I guess, yeah, I guess essentially I wanna be able to share my story as being real and raw. Cuz it's exciting, you know, like I, it seems, I don't know, maybe it's boring, maybe exciting. I don't know. Either way, I wanna be able to tell all of it.

[00:08:26] Jennifer Wilson: I don't think it's boring at all. I think, you know, I do our, our children, our grandchildren, you know, our, our future ancestors. Do they really want the sanitized version, the Instagram version? No. They wanna know what life was really like for you.

[00:08:46] Sarah Kee: Exactly. Like, you know, just the whole ups and downs and everything in between, I think, um, is what I'm, I'm looking for as far as bucket list. I traditionally, uh, always wanted to scrap more of the happy things and like the pretty things because yay for pretty things, right? Like everyone loves pretty things, but. You're right. Like you, you, I just, you just wanna show like real, real things.

[00:09:14] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think we also have so many different formats today that are particularly inviting of some of those types of stories. Even products that support those types of stories that you, all of your scrapbooking doesn't have to look the same. You can choose a particular project to document those everyday moments, more of a memory journal type of thing, um, or even in your big layouts. But there's lots of choice available for sure.

[00:09:40] Sarah Kee: Right, right. Agreed. Completely. One hundred percent. I like, I like that. Yeah, you're right. Um, there's just so many more options. That are out there on the market that allow us to do that as, uh, memory keepers.

[00:09:55] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and as a, a fellow, uh, sufferer of anxiety, I definitely appreciate that you mentioned that. And, you know, there's so much of a kind of a, a feedback loop with the more that we can be in gratitude with taking photos and celebrating our memories. Sometimes it feels easier to deal with the moments when, uh, our mental health is getting the best of us.

[00:10:19] Sarah Kee: Right. And, and there was a good chunk of time when I really got into it where this hobby was a creative outlet for me to kind of help manage that stress and that anxiety. So like it, it's kind of stuck with me.

[00:10:34] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:10:35] Sarah Kee: This is my little outlet.

[00:10:36] Jennifer Wilson: I love it.

[00:10:37] Sarah Kee: Yeah.

[00:10:38] Jennifer Wilson: So speaking of my things, this is a My Way episode, and this is really all about you. You're one of our featured artists, our first one for 2023. And so I'd like to start by giving our listeners a little teaser about what makes you tick. Right now we are in our Habits creative journey. This is our first two month, uh, container for the new year, and I'm curious what has been successful for you in developing habits around your scrapbooking.

[00:11:08] Sarah Kee: When you say habits, I'm sitting over here like, oh my gosh. It's like, I don't know, it's deemed as a negative thing for me. But I have been trying to keep a positive outlook on that word habit. Right.

[00:11:19] Sarah Kee: So as far as in like, uh, developing habits for scrapbooking, I try to do something creative at least once a day, like I said. And it has to do with me managing the anxiety and stress that I, you know, like everyday stress. So that usually ends up coming out in the form of paper crafting. If I can't get time to sit at my desk to create something, then I'll try to do something else creative. So that could look like, obviously, like I was mentioning earlier, floral arranging or cooking something that I normally wouldn't or reading a book. But, as far as, uh, I guess, habit wise, it's just doing something creative and that tends to look like paper crafting. So once a day.

[00:12:04] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think the more that we, do our best to like live in the lifestyle that we want, of, of crafting, of taking care of ourselves, of resting. It helps us like balance that with all the, the go go go that we need to do.

[00:12:23] Sarah Kee: Right.

[00:12:24] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes.

[00:12:25] Sarah Kee: So with the go, go, go, I just, I, I really do try, I try to do something at my desk at least once a day. I mean, it could be like making a tag, working on a layout, I don't know. But yeah.

[00:12:38] Jennifer Wilson: I love it.

[00:12:39] Sarah Kee: Just to take that, that, you know, small little chunk of time in my very busy day to sit and just be with the paper, you know, and just like not think about anything else but like putting stuff down.

[00:12:51] Jennifer Wilson: It, it makes a difference. And to know that you can just take a moment. Like you don't have to have three hours.

[00:12:58] Sarah Kee: Right, right, right. Like, like I could always come back to it if I need to.

[00:13:02] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. All right, so let's go back in time and can you tell us how you started scrapbooking and maybe how your hobby has changed since you began?

[00:13:12] Sarah Kee: Yeah, so , I get asked this kind of a lot. When I was in junior high, maybe high school, I, I don't remember way back when. I was gifted a scrapbook kit and a scrapbook kit that has a, has stickers, uh, paper, an album, that kind of thing. And I was kinda like what is this? I'd never really seen anything like that because I grew up always just looking at, albums where they just shoved the four by six into the sleeves and stuff.

[00:13:42] Sarah Kee: Um, so I just thought it was a really cool thing that you could put photos into books in a more creative way, like a pretty way. I've definitely come a long way, since using all those products like, you know, those decorative scissors and stuff. Do you remember those?

[00:14:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Cutting things in shapes.

[00:14:02] Sarah Kee: But, but I mean, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I mean, like, you could still use those. I mean, if I had it and I had to use it, I probably would figure a way to use 'em. But you know, like it's definitely changed since then. Um, but for me, it's still just again, gluing down a photo, adding pieces around it to make it look aesthetically pleasing, right to my own eye. And, um, looking back on it and just enjoying that, oh look, this was such a fun time and oh, look how pretty this is. So it hasn't changed quite much. Um, but yeah, there's just, just different things, different ways I've tried to scrapbook over the years.

[00:14:40] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I mean, what was your middle school, uh, version of you think about using cut files and everything today?

[00:14:48] Sarah Kee: No such thing as cut files. There was no internet at the time. Um, but uh, I'd say it was like, cut like a photo of me and friends, and then it would be like, you know, taking whatever latest teen magazine there was and cutting the letters out and literally like glue sticking it to the photos, like doing coll. It was more like a photo collage sort of thing.

[00:15:13] Sarah Kee: Right. And then cutting out. Uh, things that I thought were cool and then sticking it around. Um, but the, I would also, I remember is cuz we were talking about decorative scissors, I would cut like little strips and stick it around the photo and be like, yay. Like, how cool this frame is. But yeah, that, that's kind of what I was doing in, uh, that, that junior high, middle school age.

[00:15:36] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of us started at that time and had that part, that type of scrapbooking, whether we were, uh, still young people or adults. Um, that's, you know, that's just the way things were and we've just evolved from there. But still, like, there's so many things that do echo to the past. It's still like, here's a photo, it has some sort of border.

[00:15:56] Jennifer Wilson: We're, you know, combining our favorite things on the page. We just have a lot more really expensive stickers we can add to it.

[00:16:02] Sarah Kee: Yeah, like fancier. Cause I just remember, um, finding all sorts of fun little stickers. Um, I think I actually hoarded when like this was much younger. Like when I was like elementary school, I hoarded a lot of my Lisa Frank stickers. I actually remember like kind of using them. In some of these other layouts when I was in high school and stuff, but yeah. But yeah, they're fancier, more expensive stickers, but that's still the same idea, like taking a photo and then embellishing around it.

[00:16:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yep. Yep. So what sizes or formats are you typically creating in these days?

[00:16:35] Sarah Kee: Uh, so I started doing, when I first started, it was like 8.5 by 11. Because they had those plastic protector sheets, because there's nothing on the market yet quite then for it. Um, and then I jumped towards the 12 by 12 format. Um, And then I stopped scrapbooking for many years, like 10 years or so.

[00:16:55] Sarah Kee: And during the pandemic I had nothing better to do, so I busted out all my old stuff and I went online looking and everybody had like different, um, sizes and formats that they were working on. And that intrigued me and I was like, wow, I wanna try. So I did, um, try doing other sizes, but what really has stuck with me is the 12 by 12 size.

[00:17:18] Sarah Kee: Uh, I started kind of working with the traveler, travelers notebook size, which I really like cuz they're smaller. And I feel like they're more manageable to work with, but I don't know. Something about that 12 by 12 gets me.

[00:17:34] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's just a, a canvas of opportunity and you can fit so many more, just.

[00:17:41] Sarah Kee: Pretty things. I'm all pretty things. Pretty things, pretty photos. Um, I feel like it, it is, it is like a blank canvas for me. You could do mixed media on it. You don't have to do mixed media on it. You could do a bunch of different things with the 12 by 12 size. Uh, the only downfall to that is it obviously takes up a lot of room, especially when you're trying to store it. I'm notorious for creating layouts and then putting stacks of them in the room. And like, my kids are just like, aren't they supposed to be in an album? And I'm like, yep.

[00:18:18] Jennifer Wilson: I have, I have stacks as well. So you're not alone in that.

[00:18:22] Sarah Kee: Right? I'm like, uh, that requires me to go get the page protectors and then put them in the albums and like, ugh, I just wanna, I just wanna sit there creating all day.

[00:18:33] Jennifer Wilson: I think I finally settled on that. I just stack 'em up for like a year, and then at the end of the year, like, so this time of year in January, I'll go and like, file them all because I like, like flipping through them. And sometimes I'll share them, like if I am, you know, doing a live or something. Like I, I tend to refer back to them when they're newer and then as time passes, you know, I'm fine with them being in the album. So.

[00:18:56] Sarah Kee: Yeah. Yeah. You just kinda wanna keep him out a little longer to enjoy your, your art. Um, yeah.

[00:19:04] Jennifer Wilson: Now you are on a lot of different design teams. I'm curious, whose products are you completely obsessed with right now?

[00:19:11] Sarah Kee: Um, well obviously the ones I design for, I'm like, wink, wink. I am, honestly, I. Physical pro, are we talking physical product or just in general? Because right now, if you're talking any product, I'm obsessed with digital cut files.

[00:19:29] Jennifer Wilson: Okay, well, whose cut files are you loving?

[00:19:31] Sarah Kee: Um, so a lot of the, the brands and design teams that I currently design for have exclusive cut files.

[00:19:39] Sarah Kee: So that's awesome because then obviously you can coordinate their collections and their product with their cut files, cuz it's exclusively made for them. So like Hip Kit right now, who I design for, they've got exclusive ones that I really like. Um, uh, the Cut Shoppe, actually, I'm not designing for them right now. But, Ashley, she makes such gorgeous cut files that I really like.

[00:20:08] Sarah Kee: There's Layered Life. So, uh, Christine Middlecamp, she came out with Layered Life. They don't have exclusive cut files. This is like, I'm jumping topics, but she, um, has recently come out with a little kit, like, kind of like an ephemera little kit with like papers and stuff. I really like her designs. They remind me of things that I, uh, used to scrapbook with. Way back when I first stopped. Uh, I don't know. It's different, you know, I'm always looking for something that fits me and that I was like, wow, this is, I really like this. So, uh, there's Layered Life. Um, but then I also like cutesy things like Bella, Bella Boulevard, um, cute, fun things. My kids love that too. So I, I can easily get a photo of my kids with the cutesy stuff from Bella, so I don't know.

[00:20:59] Sarah Kee: And then, I don't know, just a bunch of different things, but like if you're asking me what I'm obsessed with, digital files, like the cut files and um, like digital stamps, that kind of thing.

[00:21:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. It's so fun to play with them. There's so many possibilities. So now if you look at your pages, is there something maybe besides cut files that you use or do on most of your pages? Do you have anything that's like a signature technique or just something that's, that's always part of your pages?

[00:21:30] Sarah Kee: You know, I'm always asking myself that question, , because I'm wondering what is it like sometimes I don't see it. Uh, I had to take a step back from that when someone asked me that a couple months ago. Um, and I started seeing a trend that I actually do, and I tend to use a lot of, foam adhesive and I love to layer a lot. Um, there's something about having a lot of dimension, which is, some people are just not into it, cuz it becomes bulky in your books. Right.

[00:22:01] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:02] Sarah Kee: But, when I create, I don't know what it is, I just, I'm always reaching for the foam adhesive and I'm always layering something on top of something else. And I was thinking, huh, do I do this? Because it's kind of like, uh, floral arranging where you are taking pieces and making dimensional things come off of something else, like a page. I'd say, if anything, the thing that I do the most and that I find myself doing is a lot of layering and a lot of, um, 3D dimensional things.

[00:22:36] Jennifer Wilson: I used to be such like a flat scrapbooker, and then when I was introduced to foam adhesive, I was like, my mind exploded. And I'm like, well, now I have to like pop up all the things and like.

[00:22:45] Sarah Kee: Yes.

[00:22:46] Jennifer Wilson: Bending flowers and you know, every, I'm all about the dimension now.

[00:22:51] Sarah Kee: Yeah. So, uh, people have like essential kits, like when they go to like crops or they go over to, um, scrap with others, right? I'd have to say that it's gotta be like scissors, uh, the actual product, like the paper and the stickers. Um, A tape runner of sort and for sure foam adhesive, like I cannot live without it. I don't think I could have a layout without foam adhesive. I'd have to go back and check. I probably will later and be like, wow, look. See everything I have created probably within the past few years, has to have a piece of foam adhesive.

[00:23:26] Jennifer Wilson: At least in one spot. Yeah.

[00:23:28] Sarah Kee: Yeah.

[00:23:29] Jennifer Wilson: So I've been scrolling your Instagram as you talked, and I, I noticed another trend, and I've wondered if you noticed this too?

[00:23:36] Sarah Kee: Oh, I'd love to hear it.

[00:23:37] Jennifer Wilson: Love to, um, cut skinnier papers into like, you know, a banner flag shape. So instead of having, you know, a squared off edge, you're always cutting the little triangle out.

[00:23:50] Sarah Kee: Interesting, I have to look

[00:23:52] Jennifer Wilson: You use a lot of you know, like flag type supplies too, which are maybe pre-made. But I could tell a lot of these you've cut from your strips of pattern paper. That it's like I'm going back like a long time and you do this a lot.

[00:24:06] Sarah Kee: I, are you talking like, um, like, like little pendant flags or something. Or like, okay. Yeah, that's interesting. I'm gonna have to look at that. I, I don't know. I, I need something I can't just keep on, like, sometimes I wanna be just using squares or just circles or something. But like I said, I need some sort of like dimension and some sort of texture.

[00:24:33] Sarah Kee: Um, and when I'm talking texture, I'm not talking like, Like, you know, some people like use like Gesso or like paint or something and I love it. It's beautiful. But for me, I think the most like mixed media I can do is like inks, um, and sprays, but I'm not quite one to paint or use like tons of like glitter or anything like that.

[00:24:53] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. But adding like different shapes, like adds interest to the page.

[00:24:57] Jennifer Wilson: Um, I think that sometimes, like too many squares like can be harder to layer or like they break up the page too much. So I can tell you, you, know, you tweak, you tweak things.

[00:25:11] Sarah Kee: As you're talking about squares and how it would not look like as, um, 3D as I'd want. The first thing that comes to mind is I remember a layout I made, like I was like punching out a bunch of squares. Um, or maybe I was cutting out, I don't know, like a two by twos or three by threes to like make a grid right.

[00:25:29] Sarah Kee: And am sitting there and I'm laying it all out. I'm like, oh, I don't like how this looks. And of course I was like, I can keep these squares and use them, but I'm going to pop some of these squares and some of these photos. And I'm like, see, I did it again. I used a foam adhesive.

[00:25:46] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Well, and I've certainly, like, I've started something as a grid and I line everything up perfectly straight. And then it's much more interesting when you start to like, turn things and put things on angles and, and layer add more layers and, um, as you said, pop things up as well versus just like, you know, a grid of nine flat things.

[00:26:08] Sarah Kee: Yes. Yes. And I find myself even doing this with stickers too. Like even though there's stickers and it's like adhesive back I'll even put foam adhesive on that. Like obviously you can make it non-stick by using powder and stuff, but I'm like, I don't care. I just love popping things off the page.

[00:26:28] Jennifer Wilson: So kinda shifting gears a little bit, going back to habits for better or worse a little bit, um, when do you typically find the time or energy for scrapbooking?

[00:26:39] Sarah Kee: So I usually find the time, oh, it varies, but most of the time I'd say is after I drop the kids off, I try to get myself to the gym talking about habits, right? And, uh, I will come home, make coffee, and then sit at my desk. Because, I have turned it into routine. And if I can keep to that, like we were talking about habits, then I'll get that one time in the day where I have, um, that creative space to myself without the kids at home.

[00:27:09] Sarah Kee: Uh, because if the kids are home, they'll be like, mommy. I'm like, I'll the whole creative process that you're in, right. It's broken and then I can't, I'm like, wow. I go back to like figure out what I wanted to do with this piece. Um, so it tends to be my time and my energy, it tends to be in the mornings. Unless, I'm like, something hits me and at nighttime they'll be just like late and I'll be like, I gotta, I have this idea, I just wanna do this. Um, it doesn't happen too often anymore because, uh, I have the seven year old twins, love them so much, but yet they're so exhausting. So at come nighttime, I'm like, Nope, I'm done. Can't, can't think creatively anymore.

[00:27:58] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I think you're not alone with that. And it, it just reminds me that I think for, for many of us, certainly not all of us, we have a little bit more flexibility in our days than maybe we used to pre pandemic because there's more people working from home and have, you know, chosen to, to find more time. But then, are we actually using that time to put ourselves first for even just a snippet for 15 minutes for 30. Because you know, you're, you're gonna be worn out at the end of the day.

[00:28:28] Sarah Kee: Yeah. No matter how much you're like, oh, I'll, I'll push it out later. It's just like things happen. Life is life.

[00:28:35] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:36] Sarah Kee: You, you might not get to it, so might as well do it. Well, I've got that time and the energy.

[00:28:42] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. So how can we, we best use that and have that fit into the day.

[00:28:47] Sarah Kee: Right.

[00:28:48] Jennifer Wilson: So kind of a, a related question to this is about motivation. Do you find that your motivation stays like consistent over time? Or does it ebb and flow?

[00:28:58] Sarah Kee: Motivated as in when it comes to creating things?

[00:29:01] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, like wanting to keep scrapbooking. Like, do you have times where like, eh, I'm just, I'm into something else. Like I know it'll come back, but, or do you like always wanna play with your pretty things?

[00:29:13] Sarah Kee: Yeah, absolutely. I find myself going through ins and outs of it. Uh, there are times when I'm all about the paper crafting. But then I'll catch myself being like, I just, I'm in a rut. I can't do this. I don't wanna do it. So I have learned over time to not force it and to just let it be, let it sit. I find that if I force myself to want to do it, the things that I'm most proud of, they won't come out. They like, they, I just can't make them. so I let it sit. Uh, in the times where I'm not paper crafting, I'll do other things. Like I was telling you, I do other creative things, right? So I'll be doing like flowers or, um, I'll be gardening. Or because I, uh, help out at my kid's school, I'll do like room parent things, which gosh, that's like a whole nother side of being creative for a teacher. But I say to just, and then you were talking about keeping motivated. Um, I think like, to stay motivated is the fact that I'm on certain design teams. I have deadlines. So.

[00:30:18] Jennifer Wilson: We hear that a lot.

[00:30:20] Sarah Kee: If, if I've got a deadline, then it's like, well, I better get to it, right? Um, so that, uh, I have it all up in my calendar, like, you know, this is due, this is due.

[00:30:29] Sarah Kee: So I pre-plan for that and it keeps me motivated. Um, but again, like I can't force something and like I told you, I just, I leave it. I let it sit out in a pile off to the side and I might work on something else, or I just might not do anything paper related at all.

[00:30:47] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think sometimes having a deadline, maybe just to say, work with this particular product, whether it's externally or internally imposed on you, um, helps you spend time thinking about it and kind of keep aiming towards it. Um, cuz you said you can't really force it, but if you know, okay, by the end of this week or next week, I wanna have used this new thing, then you're gonna, your brain's going to your brain is very powerful and we'll support you.

[00:31:14] Sarah Kee: It's, yeah. right? Right. It's already geared at, oh look, it's on the table. You're looking at it. There's a date on the calendar and you want this done by, okay. You can do it right. And so it's there. So it keeps me motivated in that sense. Um, but, uh, Other strategies I'd say for pulling me out of the rut, like out of ruts and keeping motivated.

[00:31:38] Sarah Kee: I'd say I love, doing, sketches or scrap lifts. So like Paper Issues I used to design for them. They post those kinds of challenges all the time, and I find those just to be so much fun because people are so open about that in the Scrapbook community, like, oh, you just scrap lift. You know, it's not us stealing each other's art at all.

[00:32:01] Sarah Kee: It's become more of, Hey, let's all work together to just get our photos documented. So I really appreciate that. So like, I love scrap lifts and I love sketches.

[00:32:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. They're always like so inspiring. I, you know, we've created sketches as Simple Scrapper for over a decade, and many of them were inspired by my own layouts. But recently, because we have this featured artist program like yourself, I started following the sketches and I'm like, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. I don't have to like be, have, find all of my own original creativity. So it's been cool to rediscover that.

[00:32:38] Sarah Kee: Yeah. And I, it's just been unlocked to me that like you guys have these sketches now. Like when you reached out to me, I was like, oh. And then I was like looking into, and I was like, oh my gosh, look at all these sketches from these featured artists. Look at all the things I can do. It was so, yeah, that, that keeps me motivated and wanting to make things.

[00:32:58] Jennifer Wilson: Super cool. All right, so I have a curiosity here. Is there something, you know, since we know you love cut files, we know you love pennant flags and of course lots of dimension. Is there something that you've decided is just not for you at all?

[00:33:14] Sarah Kee: Um, yeah, and it probably is an unpopular opinion, but it is me and I am the featured artist, so I'm just gonna give it to you so I'm not one for pocket pages.

[00:33:26] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I had a guess that that was what you were gonna say.

[00:33:30] Sarah Kee: Because like I, um, like we were talking, I, uh, don't like putting it in a plastic sleeves, like smaller plastic sleeves because I scrap bulky, right? Like I use the foam adhesive. So having it be in those plastic, like those plastic page protectors, it's like suffocating for the things I wanna make. And then I find myself having a book that literally cannot close all the way.

[00:33:54] Sarah Kee: Like I'll have. Like, I love using the Citrus Twist albums, right? And like my books will just be like, like open. They won't close all the way because they're just so bulky and big. And I wanna put the journaling in. I wanna put the photos and all the pretty embellishments that go with it. And it just doesn't work with pocket pages, it just doesn't.

[00:34:15] Sarah Kee: I, but I do, when I look at others doing the pocket pages, it looks beautiful and I'm like just so into it and I'm like, oh, look at the clean lines. And, you know, I can definitely appreciate the designs, um, that people have with that. It's just, it's not for me. Like I, I've tried and it just doesn't come out that way.

[00:34:38] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think that's like, that's kind of a maturity in, in scrapbooking is to be able to separate appreciation from, something that can really be part of your own practice.

[00:34:48] Sarah Kee: Right. I, um, when I had stopped scrapbooking, that was the thing. I, uh, wanted to just keep up with the trends that were happening and I found myself not enjoying it as much because it was like I was forcing myself to do whatever trend was in, and, and I, I, it just wasn't happening for me. Right. So even when I told you I had come back, like during the pandemic to get back into the craft, I was looking like there was a lot of like pocket pages and a lot of traveler's notebook sizes and all this stuff, and I was just like, oh, I'll try it again.

[00:35:25] Sarah Kee: Right? But what really still sticks with me is the 12 by 12. And like I've, I've really started enjoying that traveler's notebook size. But if someone was like, Sarah, you can only do pocket pages, I'd be like, okay, we're not paper crafting anymore, we're just not.

[00:35:40] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think with, uh, especially with those three by four pockets, there's nothing worse than having a really bulky card that you, a beautiful card that you've made and now you have to figure out how to trim off the edges to get it to fit in the pocket.

[00:35:54] Sarah Kee: Yes. But I can definitely appreciate when they, there's like a three by four with like a graphic on it with like some pretty saying or like a pretty design. I'm like, okay, by all means, I will slip that writing in the page and then call it a day. Right. Oh man.

[00:36:11] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think it's great that you've kind of identified that and you just are really celebrating what works best for you while still, you know, reserving some time for experimentation. I think that's a really kind of healthy balance.

[00:36:23] Sarah Kee: Mm-hmm.

[00:36:25] Jennifer Wilson: So let's shift to talking about organizing. Are you an organized person or a not so organized person?

[00:36:32] Sarah Kee: As you're saying this, I'm like chuckling to myself. Cause to be honest, I honestly don't have tips or just solutions for you for that, cuz I'm still trying to figure it out myself. So I'm actually not that organized. Um, people, I, l okay, so like I love, I absolutely love looking at everyone's spaces when they post it and it just looks so pretty and so organized.

[00:36:57] Sarah Kee: Um, But I'd have to say my space, it never looks quite that neat. I mean, it's clean. I can see my desk, I can, um, I have all my tools where I need, I've got like, you know, I have like a spiny thing on my desk right now with like, things separated like scissors, adhesives, my go-to pens, that sort of thing. Um, and I've got inks all organized on another side of my desk and stuff.

[00:37:21] Sarah Kee: But gosh, even if I try to make it look pretty and I try to make it look like photos that I see others doing. It looks like a storm came through within 10 minutes of me sitting down and making something. So, I'm like, mm. If you, if you ever wonder why Sarah does not post pictures of her scrap space, it's because of that.

[00:37:41] Sarah Kee: But I don't know, like I said, maybe I should start scrapbooking the fact that I'm just not organized, because I want, I want people to understand that like, this is me. It's real and raw. I'm not, I'm not that person.

[00:37:54] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think there's some folks that maybe are semi-organized in a very practical way, and they're not about like, uh, the aesthetics of how things are organized.

[00:38:09] Sarah Kee: Yes. I, I completely, it's exactly that. It's the practicality behind it. Um, so I know that I actually know people who are aesthetically like, uh, they love to aesthetically organize things and I love looking at it. Uh, but it just doesn't work for me because if I have it like this, I can't find anything and things need to be in places, where I know where they are and where I can see it.

[00:38:35] Sarah Kee: I mean, my organization, like I was kind of talking about earlier is like, I literally have like a rotating organizer bin thing with scissors. So like scissors will be in a spot, adhesives are in a spot, stamps are in, its like designated spot. Stamps and like die cuts, they're all in its organized spot on a cart off to the side of my desk. So everything has their home and it works for me.

[00:39:02] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I think that's the most important thing. I always, I think I, I just was, I don't know if I've ever thought about this before, but I kind of have a rule of thumb as if I try to organize something and it's difficult to get, to find something, to get at it, to, uh, pick the one I want, that this isn't the right solution because I'm never gonna open it. I'm never gonna dig through it because it's too like, cumbersome. Like if something's always like falling over when you're trying to look for this item, then this isn't working.

[00:39:33] Sarah Kee: Right. Yeah, it's exactly that. It, if it gets organized and put away, I most likely just will not use it and I'll just sit there because I can't see it in a way that like, I wanna be able to see it.

[00:39:44] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, there was a time like a decade ago where I organized all my washi tape by color, of course rainbow order on a shelf, but I would never use any of it cuz I didn't wanna have to put it back in rainbow order.

[00:39:57] Sarah Kee: Yeah. Right, right. And it looked pretty that way, so you didn't wanna touch it.

[00:40:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, of course.

[00:40:01] Sarah Kee: Again, why? I'm like, not that person.

[00:40:04] Jennifer Wilson: I think there has to be kind of a form and function, balance and function. Definitely. Uh, first

[00:40:10] Sarah Kee: Yeah, yeah. I'm like, wow. I am so impressed.

[00:40:15] Jennifer Wilson: Sarah, where would you like your scrapbooking to be in 10 years? It's kind of a big question, but I think it's an important one.

[00:40:22] Sarah Kee: Hmm. Honestly I think it's like such an open-ended question, but I, I think, um, I honestly just wanna be doing it and doing it for fun and not doing it because, it's required for like a design team or something. Or, um, I don't wanna be doing it just because I'm forcing it. I want it to be just something there that I use as my creative outlet, for my anxiety. Um, so whatever that looks like, I just want to be able to be doing it and having fun while doing so.

[00:41:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. I love that kind of having your, your deeper purpose in mind allows flexibility to follow your instincts and your passions and whatever, whatever new thing. I can't even imagine what scrapbooking might even look like in another 10 years sometimes.

[00:41:13] Sarah Kee: Right. And even if that means that I'll be pocket scrapbooking in 10 years, so be it, right?

[00:41:19] Jennifer Wilson: You're gonna be a flat, minimalist, pocket scrapbooker.

[00:41:22] Sarah Kee: Right? Like as long as I'm enjoying that process, of creating, right. Then so be it, let it be pocket page scrapbooking for me.

[00:41:33] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Now looking back to, you know, middle school and your journey since then, what has being a scrapbooker taught you?

[00:41:41] Sarah Kee: Jokingly , it's taught me not to hoard. Because, I know that's not probably a typical answer for this, but, scrapbooking has honestly taught me not to hold onto things. To kind of just let things go. Living where we live, so we live in northern California in the San Francisco Bay area. Homes are, they're just, they're, they're pretty tiny. So there's not a lot of space that we have, uh, to put all these beautiful pretty product. So I have to be very selective on what I keep and what I don't keep. Um, so it's kind of taught me, you, you gotta get rid of it, if you're not using it. It's like kind of in your closet. You, you didn't, you haven't worn it in so long. It's time to get rid of it. Sure. I have a whole hoarding section in my space. Like that has like old Basic Gray, Crate Paper, Sassafras.

[00:42:35] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:42:37] Sarah Kee: You know, most of the things that like I, that just don't, bring me joy the way it did before I have to just, I have to let 'em go. And that kind of goes with, uh, it goes with things in life in general, right? Like, it doesn't bring me joy, then I just gotta cut it off. Like, there's boundaries for me.

[00:42:58] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and even using those special things like, oh, I'm saving this for this pretty thing, whether it's like a dress or that Lisa Frank sticker or you know, the newest little collection of die cuts. No, we have to use them because they'll always be more.

[00:43:12] Sarah Kee: Right. Right. Um, and that's, I guess scrapbooking also has taught me that too, to just, instead of just letting it sit, cuz it looks pretty to just live with it and use it. Have fun with it, uh, because, you know, give it like a couple months. I, I always, it, it is true in this industry, there's always something new and something better that comes out. Um, and although fun and great, I also still appreciate things like that. So it's, it's like just use it, cut it up. Even if you think it's pretty, open up that package of die cuts and put it on a page. Um, because, gosh, it'll end up in the back stash that I'll end up having to get rid of because I can't, I can't keep it all.

[00:44:05] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, you don't want that beautiful thing that you kept to end up being decluttered, so just use it.

[00:44:11] Sarah Kee: Um, and then, so that was, I guess like my, my joking answer. I guess in, uh, the question really was what has scrapbooking taught you? Honestly, because I use it as my creative outlet for my anxiety, it's taught me that it's okay. It's okay to just make mistakes. It's okay to not make mistakes. It's okay to be proud of it. It's, I mean, a project honestly will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try. You could rip it apart and put back together and it may or may not be something you want. Um, and you kind of just have to learn how to go with what comes from It right? It's a whole process. So I guess essentially what paper crafting has taught me is that it's okay to make these mistakes and, and it'll work out in the end.

[00:44:59] Jennifer Wilson: It will, it will. Like it never, whenever I look back at something that I didn't really love in the moment, I'm always appreciative that I have it, and I think it's neat and I'm like, you know, I'm so glad that I have this. Other people aren't scrapbookers, and they don't have anything like, this at all. So even if it wasn't my best work ever, it's still beautiful.

[00:45:16] Sarah Kee: Exactly. And it, it, kind of goes back with like, oh, well what do you want people to really see? And honestly, like, even though I'm looking at this page and I'm like, what? Like why did I glue this? And it looks like this? Like nobody down the line is gonna go, Hey Sarah, this looks off. Right. Um, so it's okay. It's okay to make those mistakes.

[00:45:38] Jennifer Wilson: Perfect. What a one way to end it. I really appreciate your time today. Can you share what we can find you online? Anything you have new or coming up 2023?

[00:45:47] Sarah Kee: Um, so most, well, I guess all of my stuff can be found on my Instagram. So I am @redoaklines, so I post, um, all of my layouts and all my design teamwork on there. And then recently I've been trying to create Reels cuz people have been asking me to do Reels of my creative process. So I'm kind of doing that cuz I, I don't do the YouTube videos. I'm like, so not tech savvy with all of it. But yeah, you'll find me at, Red Oak Lines on Instagram.

[00:46:19] Jennifer Wilson: Perfect. We will include that link in the show notes for the episode. Sarah, thank you so much.

[00:46:24] Sarah Kee: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:46:26] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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