SYW211 – Field Guide to the Soul

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In this episode I’m chatting with Mandy Ford about her recently-released book, Field Guide to the Soul. We discuss her creative evolution from being an avid scrapbooker to illustrator and online educator, as well as the symbolism of her One Little Word in her personal journey. I particularly connected with the context of nature that Mandy brings to her work.

Links Mentioned

[00:00:40] 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 211. In this episode I'm chatting with artist Mandy Ford about her personal creative journey, what real self-care looks like, and her new book “Field Guide to the Soul.”

[00:00:42] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Mandy, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:00:44] Mandy Ford: Hi. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:47] Jennifer Wilson: I am looking forward to getting to know you a bit better on today's conversation. Uh, this episode is gonna be really fun, I think. And so could you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:00:58] Mandy Ford: Sure. Yeah. So I'm Mandy Ford and I live in Indiana with my husband and two boys. I have twins that are 14. And yeah, we just live in small town Indiana. And been doing my art business now for, um, almost 10 years. Started in spring of 2013, so I'm coming up close on that, um, anniversary, which is exciting. And, um, yeah, it's kind of crazy and my book's coming out almost 10 years to when I started, so that's, that's pretty cool.

[00:01:25] Jennifer Wilson: Ah, what a fun milestone to connect that with. So I love that.

[00:01:29] Mandy Ford: Yeah, for sure.

[00:01:30] Jennifer Wilson: And we're gonna talk a lot more about your book and our conversation today. So I'm excited to hear some of the details there.

[00:01:36] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:01:37] Jennifer Wilson: But the first thing we always like to ask our guests is, you know, what's exciting you right now? And if you could share one thing from, you know, everyday life and then one thing from, you know, scrapbooking memory keeping your creative artsy life.

[00:01:51] Mandy Ford: Yeah, so I mean, of course we're talking about my book and that's like the most exciting thing for me right now. Um, art-wise, career-wise, it's a huge kind of bucket list dream project, and, um, it's. The launch date was March 28th ish, but it's already shipping from Amazon now, so I'm already getting posts from friends who've gotten in the mail and it's just like, kind of surreal.

[00:02:12] Mandy Ford: So just kind of riding that, wave of excitement and, um, yeah, so the book for sure. And also just creating lots in lots of different ways. I've been making meditations, which is kind of a new thing. So, um, hoping to share some more of those soon. And doing a lot of art journaling. Um, I do still do scrapbooking, but it's a lot smaller like traveler's notebook size pages.

[00:02:36] Mandy Ford: So I have a lot of fun with those when I do scrapbook. And yeah, and like I said, I have twins. They're 14, they're in high school and they just, um, started their second semester. So we're navigating just having two freshmen in high school. So that's a real life thing, which has been, um, pretty overwhelming, but they're doing great. So I'm super proud of them.

[00:02:58] Jennifer Wilson: Now are they involved in sports?

[00:03:00] Mandy Ford: They're not, um, they have been before. One of my boys has been before. They're, they're very different kids. They're fraternal twins and, um, one of them is a lot more into like Minecraft and gaming. And yeah, um, so anyway, it'd be interesting to see. We homeschooled them for two years during the pandemic.

[00:03:17] Mandy Ford: So they're back to public school this year. So that's been quite the, quite the adjustment for all of us. So they're kinda just still getting adjusted, being back and it's a big school. Um, so yeah, I think this is like the settling, adjusting year and then next year hopefully they'll be able to kind of find their way a bit more.

[00:03:39] Jennifer Wilson: Sure, sure. No, I'm definitely hearing a lot of that this year from.

[00:03:43] Mandy Ford: Yeah. Yeah. It's kinda more challenging.

[00:03:46] Jennifer Wilson: Particularly for those who, who switched schools for one reason or another this year. I mean, it was just that transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school or just, yeah.

[00:03:55] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:03:55] Jennifer Wilson: A lot of that shift in navigating things.

[00:03:59] Mandy Ford: Yeah It's um, you think having twins when their babies is hard and it is, but 14 is a whole different kind of hard.

[00:04:05] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes, yes, for sure. So I always like to ask my guests as well about their bucket list in terms of memory keeping. So this could be one story that you really want to tell in whatever format. It could be a traditional scrapbook, it could be a photo album, a photo book. You know, a beautiful display on the wall. It could be a gift. So anything at all. So what's one important story that you still want to tell?

[00:04:32] Mandy Ford: Yeah, so this, so this year, so I've been choosing a word, like One Little Word, which I'm sure you're, you know, familiar with. For my year, for, gosh, probably, I think 12 years now or something, I've been choosing a word for my year. And um, I think last year was the only year that I didn't pick a word because I was just so overwhelmed with life and I couldn't decide on a word. And this year, um, I felt really energized and I chose my word and I started, an art journal. Um, so I'm excited to like, complete that this year. Like I figured out if I do a spread a week, which I'm already behind on, but whatever. I'll be able to fill the book for the year, kind of focusing on my word is, for the year is emerge.

[00:05:10] Mandy Ford: Cuz I feel like I'm kinda finally coming out of kind of this crazy cloud of the last couple years that most of us have been all caught up in. So anyway, I'm excited to see that come together, um, and do something just for me because I have a hard time doing that because I'm always thinking about, you know, stuff for my business.

[00:05:31] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. No, I, I can totally understand that. People think when you have a creative business that all your time is spent in, you know, the purely creative zone, and that's not, that's not the case for sure.

[00:05:45] Mandy Ford: Yeah, there's so much, you know, and I love doing marketing. In my previous career I did marketing for a, you know, in higher ed and I love doing marketing. But when it's for your own business and you're the only one, like I spent half my day yesterday updating my website, so.

[00:05:58] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:05:59] Mandy Ford: Yeah, there's a lot of behind the scenes stuff.

[00:06:03] Jennifer Wilson: For sure.

[00:06:04] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:06:05] Jennifer Wilson: So we are going to chat a little bit about your book today, but I'd like to kind of give some more context for how we got to this point. So can you tell us a little bit more about your creative evolution? Because there was a point in which you were a really avid scrapbooker and now you consider yourself an illustrator, an online educator. So how, how did that shift come about?

[00:06:27] Mandy Ford: Yeah. Gosh, it's so interesting when I look back on all of it. Um, I think I started scrapbooking probably around two thousands, early two thousands, um, and just really became obsessed. That was, you know, all I spent my time on. I didn't have kids. We had, I had a scrapbook room in our house. Um, a lot of 12 by 12 layouts, like, you know, lots of trips to the scrapbook store.

[00:06:51] Mandy Ford: All my extra money went to scrapbook supplies. It was just, yeah, I was obsessed. Um, and online a lot with, you know, like, that was, I don't know if you remember Two Peas in a Bucket? It was

[00:07:00] Jennifer Wilson: Oh yeah, of course.

[00:07:01] Mandy Ford: Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I was on there all the time. Met, I met people that I'm still online friends with through there.

[00:07:07] Mandy Ford: So, um, and I probably, would say I kept scrapbooking even after my boys were born in 2008. Course that, I mean, my time, you know, my time I had changed, but I, I kept going. Um, kind of narrowed down I think for a couple years once the boys were kind of getting bigger and I had a lot less time. I started in Instagram. I started Instagram, so I had all these four by four photos, like some square photos, um, which is probably like what, 2011 or 12? I don't know. I started doing small albums with those photos. Um, so I kind of changed from 12 by 12 to like six by six.

[00:07:46] Jennifer Wilson: That sounds about the time in which we were doing like all the square filtered photos and.

[00:07:52] Mandy Ford: Yes. Nashville was my favorite, I think. Um.

[00:07:55] Jennifer Wilson: Valencia was mine.

[00:07:57] Mandy Ford: Yeah, I liked that one too. And I was also blogging. I had a, I had, um, I was really active in blogging then too. A lot of sharing my scrapbook pages. A lot of stuff about my boys, but a lot of just, I like to write. I mean, um, obviously I have a book now, so, I mean, this is my first kind of, published work. But I did a lot of blogging back then, um, and met a lot of, like, my Instagram community started with, uh, blogging. So I kind of already had this community of friends I met through that. So I kind of just kind of fizzled out with the scrapbooking cuz life got so busy.

[00:08:30] Mandy Ford: I had an eight to five office job. I had, you know, little two little boys. My husband was working. Um, so I really didn't have much extra time. And kind of just stopped doing it for the most part. I picked up knitting for a while. I had an Etsy shop where I sold kni hats knitted scarves. Um, that was kind of, kind of a hobby that I started for anxiety relief cuz it was really calming. And then I just decided on making all these things I'll, I might as well tell them.

[00:08:58] Mandy Ford: So yeah, I kind of got away from scrapbooking for a while. Uh, did a lot of the knitting and, um, had that shop. And then in 2013, was when I started my art business. And I talk about this in the book, at the beginning of the book, a little bit about how that began. Um, it was very, it's a very woowoo, if you know that term, thing.

[00:09:20] Mandy Ford: But, um, I took a creative writing class where I worked, I worked at a, um, a seminary. So folks went there to get their, um, masters of Divinity to be ministers or chaplains, things like that. And the professor teaching the writing class was a good friend and I just wanted to hang out with her while she was teaching the class.

[00:09:37] Mandy Ford: I took the class. And, um, she had us do some doodling in the class, and I, I really literally hadn't drawn, like, I kind of forgot I could draw. I drew my whole childhood, and kind of just stopped. I don't know, I guess I just decided that's not what an adult does. You have to get like an office job. So that's what I did. So we started doodling in class and I was like, this is fun. And I did this little doodle that was just said something like, you're enough. And I posted it on my Instagram and everybody really liked it. I got all these comments, I'm like, well this is kind of fun. Maybe I'll start sharing doodles. And yeah, it just kind of started taking off from there.

[00:10:12] Mandy Ford: And I called it This Girl's Doodles cuz my blog was This Girl's Life. Um, And it's, it just started growing. And I had people start asking me to draw. One of my blogging friends asked me to draw her house for her, and I had never done that before. And I was like, okay, I guess I can give that a shot. And then I just started getting house commission drawing, drawing commissions. Um, so it just, it just grew kind of organically from there.

[00:10:35] Jennifer Wilson: That's, yeah. That's so cool. It's, it came out of this place of kind of wanting to soak up inspiration and, you know, it just happened, you know, it's like that spark of, of genius type of thing.

[00:10:47] Mandy Ford: And when I, you know, walked into that class, I was in a pretty stressful just time of life and I was really anxious and work was just really, things weren't good in my job. And I just, it was kind of an escape for me to take that class. But when I walked into it, I just felt different.

[00:11:02] Mandy Ford: Like I felt like something good was getting ready to happen, and I'd never had that feeling before. It was very strange. And it did. I mean, it's just, it's very odd. Um, but that's kind of where the whole idea, I guess for the book kind of started back when I started drawing again. So.

[00:11:19] Jennifer Wilson: So if you fast forward to today, like where do your passions really lie? Like what's your favorite thing to design? Um, what, what lights you up the most in the creative process?

[00:11:31] Mandy Ford: Yeah. You know, this last year has been so exciting because, I mean, I really enjoy creating printables for paper crafting. Um, and my dream was to have like physical ones, you know, like actual stickers and papers. And this past year I got to see that happen with, um, a paper crafting kit and stickers. Um, I started designing stamps for Studio Calico.

[00:11:53] Mandy Ford: That's another, they're just like huge bucket list things. And then my book. All these things happened last year, um, or started happening like in the fall of 2021. What year is it?

[00:12:04] Jennifer Wilson: It's 2023 now.

[00:12:05] Mandy Ford: It's so confusing when you think back on last couple years, it's like, what year did that happen? Um, but all the products like made it to my hands last year.

[00:12:13] Mandy Ford: And yeah, it's just, I love, I just love all of it. It depends kind of what I'm in the mood for. Um, I'm a very kind of intuitive, just do what I feel like doing kind of person. Um, I have to, to not be that way these days a little bit. I have to plan a bit more, which isn't my, um, I'm not wired to be a planner.

[00:12:34] Mandy Ford: Um, but you know, I sometimes I'll wake up in the morning with an idea in my head and I have to draw it, you know? Um, it just, yeah, it just depends. And I love, I love making so many different things. It's hard for me to choose, a lot of the time. Um, but I'm really lucky that I get to, to make all these different things.

[00:12:53] Mandy Ford: Um, and there's different people that like some of them, like all of it. Cause I have some fans that just love all of my things. Um, yeah. It's just, I don't know every day is exciting because I can, I can just kind of create it for myself and decide what I'm gonna do.

[00:13:09] Jennifer Wilson: Ah, love that. I love that. It sounds like very, just very nourishing and fulfilling.

[00:13:14] Mandy Ford: Yeah, for sure. It's a little overwhelming and daunting. Because it's hard to choose.

[00:13:19] Jennifer Wilson: Well, yeah, of course being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. But you're, you have a, you have a membership with your, your subscription products, and it's really built around this concept of soul care. And that's, you know, a, a big theme in your book as well. So what does soul care really mean to you?

[00:13:39] Mandy Ford: Yeah. So I mean, at the core of it, you know, we're, every human being has a soul. I mean, this is my own personal, beliefs coming in. But we all have a soul that needs tending to and, and cared for so that we can, you know, be fulfilled and, you know, fulfill our purpose and, and just enjoy the time we're here being human. So soul care, it's kind of, it's like self care, at a deeper level. You know, it's honoring what you need in whatever moment you're thinking of. Like, it could be something as simple as like, you know, doing your nails, or a face mask or something. But it also could be, um, going, going to therapy. Doing hard things that, you know, will help you eventually. Really just listening to your intuition, your, you know, whatever you wanna call it. Um, and doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. Yeah, so that's, that's basically what I think of when I think of soul care.

[00:14:32] Jennifer Wilson: Now are there, like what things would you put outside of that box? Because I think sometimes, you know, we, I mean we all have to craft our own definition for, for soul care, for self-care, for the things that we do that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. But is there anything that you consider not soul care.

[00:14:53] Mandy Ford: Sure. Yeah. I mean, it's.

[00:14:54] Jennifer Wilson: Personal to you. Maybe the answer is like, you know what you personally consider not soul care.

[00:14:58] Mandy Ford: Right. Yeah. I mean, I think it is such an individual thing, and it also varies based on the time of life you're in. Um.

[00:15:05] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm.

[00:15:06] Mandy Ford: And you know, I think ultimately it's not letting outside voices and people and things dictate what you do for yourself. Sometimes you don't have a choice. I mean, um, you know, I, like I said, I worked an eight to five job.

[00:15:20] Mandy Ford: Um, I had that up until, um, the middle of 2020. And, and my life was dictated quite a bit by that job. Um, but within that, that environment, I could put up boundaries and create, you know, a space for myself that was um, you know, helpful and, and I'm trying to say it in a nice way. But the, the work environment I was in was very challenging because there were a lot of people pulling at my time and attention. And you kind of have to decide, okay, that's something I don't have to do and it's not gonna be healthy for me.

[00:15:52] Mandy Ford: You know, those are the hard parts of soul care um, is, you know, deciding what's gonna work for you and what doesn't. And, and, you know, that can change based on the time of life you're in. It certainly has for me over time.

[00:16:07] Jennifer Wilson: It sounds like that soul care helps us like, strengthen and uphold our boundaries. I don't know, like, I think that's a really interesting way to think about it.

[00:16:16] Mandy Ford: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:16:18] Jennifer Wilson: Because the more that we are able to do that, the more, um, oh, safe isn't the right word, but the more like that foundational, um, health and happiness will be there.

[00:16:34] Mandy Ford: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, safe. And you know, I think for me, I, I probably wouldn't have used the word safe before the pandemic hit, but I, you know, experienced so much hard change and loss, um, in that first year. Um, and I didn't feel safe. And I needed, you know, a lot of the, a lot of, well, gosh, all my work comes from a place of things that you know, I need to hear from my own encouragement. And I know that if I need to hear it, then there's probably a lot of other people that do um, as well. But yeah, it's really just taking care of yourself and knowing what you need to thrive. Um, and sometimes that does mean creating boundaries.

[00:17:14] Jennifer Wilson: Now, h how can someone kind of identify like that I need more soul care? You know, why? Why do we need it? Who do you think especially needs it? Um, you know what kind of, I don't know, like red flags, you know, like how could I identify like, oh, I should really be paying attention to this part of my life and I've maybe been neglecting it.

[00:17:38] Mandy Ford: Right. I think and our lives can get so busy and, you know, I'm not, I'm not a go, go, go type person to begin with. I, I need a lot of quiet downtime. Um, but when you notice that you're feeling, you know, and I think sometimes people can, don't even take the time to stop and think about it, you

[00:18:00] Mandy Ford: know, cuz it can be scary. That's about how am I really doing ? Um, but yeah, I think if you're feeling depleted, you're getting anxious a lot, you're getting, you know, losing your temper, getting angry a lot, um, finding it hard to focus, feeling super tired. Um, you know, if you just have to take the time to stop and listen and. , um, be like, okay, something's not right here.

[00:18:25] Mandy Ford: Cuz I just don't feel, I don't feel good in one way or another, physically or, you know, mentally,

[00:18:31] Jennifer Wilson: And then just being like, okay, what can I do to make myself feel better? That's gonna be healthy.

[00:18:36] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes.

[00:18:37] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:18:39] Jennifer Wilson: I, I, I feel like there's like this, everyone has their suite of things that they know, like, or that those foundational things that they should go back to. Like, hey, if everything is kind of like wonky, um, am I doing these like five or six things? And no, okay, then let's start with one of them and then kind of add that back.

[00:19:01] Jennifer Wilson: Are, do we feel better? Yes. Okay. Do we still need to feel even better? Yes. Okay, then let's pick another thing. Um, because it's so hard to kind of juggle all the balls all the time when there's so much of the external world, our families especially, that are asking us for things and, and drawing on our energy, and that's, that's part of our job. But, um, yeah, it's, it's the reality.

[00:19:22] Mandy Ford: Yeah. And it can be easy to forget what things make you feel better when you are super busy. Um, and I, you know, I think, and I, I think a lot of people do this like you, you, avoid, you know, like say, I know taking a walk outside will make me feel better today. Some days I don't do it, even though I know it'll make me feel better.

[00:19:40] Mandy Ford: You know, it's like we just, yeah. Um, self-sabotage sometimes, but, and you know, when you're really depleted, you have to start small and that's okay. You know, you don't have to go, you know, run a mile, which I would never do. But, um, anyway. I only thought of that cause my boys had to run the mile in gym the other day and that was the first time they had to do that. And I was nervous for them.

[00:20:04] Jennifer Wilson: Isn't it great? That's like a great part of adulting is that we don't just have to like run the mile in the middle of the day and then go to class.

[00:20:12] Mandy Ford: Thinking about about that. I was like, if I was at work and at three o'clock and at two o'clock in the afternoon, my boss is like, okay, we're gonna go run a mile now, and then I have to go back to my office for an hour and work.

[00:20:21] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:20:23] Mandy Ford: Yes, thank goodness.

[00:20:25] Jennifer Wilson: No, thank you. Now, I, this, this question's a little bit different, but when you think about the, the message you're trying to share and the products that you create, how do you feel like it's different from other things on the market?

[00:20:41] Mandy Ford: Yeah, that's a really good question. Sometimes it's hard to, to discern that, but I think the biggest one is, it's just me. You know, we all have a huge set of life experiences and mine is, is is kind of odd and interesting. I mean, everybody's is, I think. But I mean, I grew up a minister's kid. I worked at a Quaker seminary for 15 years.

[00:21:04] Mandy Ford: Um, I'm not Quaker. You know, and now I'm, you know, I have a part-time graphic design job, but I, you know, now I'm making this art and, um, I don't know, it's just, uh, nobody else can have these experiences but me. So I think that's my art, is, you know, infused with this crazy mix of experiences and people that I have had the, you know, opportunity to, have, you know, as part of my life. So I think that's number one. What makes it, you know, different, unique is that it's, it's me.

[00:21:36] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. But that's so important because I think so many, whether you're doing it for for hobby or you have a dream of doing something professionally in the creative world, you can think, well, there's other people doing the same thing, but no one else is you. So you will always have something that's unique to it because of just, you know, we're all special.

[00:21:57] Mandy Ford: Exactly. And I think a lot of people, and I still, I'm, I'm working last couple years on, on sharing more and more of really what, you know, with the really unique parts of me. Cause I think we can get scared that people will reject that, you know? Um, but you know, what do we have if we're not, you know, authentically just who we are? Cause you know, that's, that's the point of being here in my, in my humble opinion.

[00:22:22] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. Totally agree. So your book, as you mentioned, was due to be released March 28th, but is already shipping when this episode goes live. Um, the tagline, the title is Field Guide to the Soul, and the tagline really caught me for one particular word, an inspired activity book to help you find peace, purpose and connection through the magical teachings of nature. So you had me at nature because there's, I think there's lots of books that, that try to take us that direction, but to tie it into something that's like kind of important and I already know is very restorative to me, really, really caught my attention. So what was the inspiration for you to, to go down this path and write the book?

[00:23:04] Mandy Ford: Yeah. Um, so I've always kind of been, the funny thing is I'm not an, like a camper. I'm not a girl that likes to like be outdoors and get dirty, but I love nature. Um, I love, um, yeah, so I love the moon. I love clouds. Like I'm just, I could just stare at a cloudy sky for an hour straight. Um, I've just always been, and I, as a kid I drew, you know, I love to draw trees and just sit outside and draw things outside. So, um, and I always loved rock collecting, like crystals and things like that.

[00:23:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, me too. I was a geology major, so that kind all of all.

[00:23:38] Mandy Ford: Oh, fun.

[00:23:38] Jennifer Wilson: Came naturally.

[00:23:40] Mandy Ford: Oh, my gosh. We could talk a lot about rocks. Um, and, you know, so I, yeah, I collected rocks as a kid and then I just kind of quit. And then I, I don't remember when I started again, but I have a good selection again. Um, so in a way, the book is kind of a culmination of all of that.

[00:23:56] Mandy Ford: [00:23:56] Jennifer Wilson: What is your Inspira like, what, you know, you talked a lot about kind of, that you'd always kind of had the seeds of this book in you since, you know, the beginnings of your art business. But kind of how did it kind of come together.

[00:24:10] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:24:11] Jennifer Wilson: In terms of like kind of finding the, what's the nugget of, of truth and wisdom that you're trying to share?

[00:24:17] Mandy Ford: Right. I think, you know, one of the things that I, I'm able to do is I'm able to, get meaning from, pretty much anything. Like, that's just one of my gifts, I guess. Is that I can take, I can take a lesson, find beauty, find a message in almost anything. And for me, nature, it's just like a no-brainer. Like I could think of the moon and think of the lessons or the clouds or air or whatever. And when I had the idea for the book, I knew I wanted to be nature based, but my publisher had the idea to pick, you know, an element for each chapter. So that was kind of how that came together. And it turned out, um, just really lovely. And, you know, you said something about a seed, like there's a chapter where the artwork is showing, you know, a seed like growing underground and you know, if you have a dream that you wanna grow, how it needs time kind of in the dark to, you know, be nurtured and grow before you know, like you let it out into the world. There's so many good metaphors with nature. So, um, yeah, that just came real. Yeah.

[00:25:19] Jennifer Wilson: Would you consider the pandemic like your dark time for this book? Like did you know this had to come out of, um, that that time?

[00:25:29] Mandy Ford: Yeah, I mean, goodness, that's when I can get emotional talking about it. It's, it was a, it's been a rough time. Um, you know, I lost my job in 2020. Um, I had had a full-time, eight to five job since I had graduated college. Um, so I did not see that coming. Um, the book was already kind of in process when that happened. Um, very early process. Cause I didn't start writing it until, um, yeah, the fall of 2021, but I wrote it and I did all the art in like a four months time period.

[00:26:00] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:01] Mandy Ford: Um, basically a chapter week. Um, so, but yeah, it, it, I, I couldn't have written this book. It wouldn't be the same book if I hadn't gone through what I did. Um, and yeah, it, I mean, I'm honestly just really proud of myself because when I think back, it's like, it's been such a hard time and the fact that I've been able to make something like this feels kind of like a miracle. So, um, yeah. Uh, yeah. I don't know what else to say about that, but it's been, it's been quite the the ride.

[00:26:36] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I think having your word be emerge this year, it se seems like such kind of that natural next step of.

[00:26:43] Mandy Ford: Yes,

[00:26:43] Jennifer Wilson: You know, you.

[00:26:44] Mandy Ford: For sure.

[00:26:45] Jennifer Wilson: You took the darkness, you created something amazing with it, and now you're like emerging out of the darkness to share it with the world.

[00:26:52] Mandy Ford: Oh gosh.

[00:26:52] Jennifer Wilson: It's just a really exciting to think about.

[00:26:55] Mandy Ford: It is. Cause I, you know, it's funny, when I started my art, I, I was very confident at the beginning. Um, and bless my heart, I mean, when I look back on the art I was making then, I mean, I just loved it and I thought it was everybody should wanna buy it. Um, and, you know, it's good to be confident, but, um, you know, it's, I've grown a lot since then. Um, and my art has grown so much since then. So when I first started my art, I did have pretty early on a licensing deal, which really, uh, was exciting and I wasn't, you know, I didn't expect that.

[00:27:26] Mandy Ford: And so I started contacting companies left and right and learning about licensing. And I had an art agent for a couple years, um, which really taught me a lot of things and I made a ton of great art. Um, and then I just got burned out and had to take a step back, um, and stopped contacting companies. And then at the end of last year, around, no, November of 2022, I was like, wait a minute, why haven't I've been contacting companies again?

[00:27:50] Mandy Ford: So I've really started doing that again and, um, you know, hoping to make some new connections and get some new products out there. Cause I've had some licensed things I've had like greeting cards and um, I even had like a kitchen floor mat, a Christmas kitchen mat that was in Home Depot. Um, so anyway, I wanna have more products like that.

[00:28:08] Mandy Ford: Yeah. Um, so yeah, it's just kind of like, okay, I was hibernating and kind of just hiding away cause I kind of had to, to make, to make the book especially. Um, but now I feel. Yeah. Like I'm kind of coming out of that and feeling more confident and wanting to show my face again. Um, literally, and, you know, I guess on the internet. But cuz it has been, you know, an odd time. I've been home all the time working from home and, um, yeah. So.

[00:28:39] Jennifer Wilson: It's time to put pants on again.

[00:28:41] Mandy Ford: Oh, gosh, do I have to? I don't know. Yeah, I didn't, didn't wear leggins at all before, uh, the pandemic and now it's like I have, like, 10 pair. You know, and they're just constant rotation.

[00:28:53] Jennifer Wilson: So, you know, the, the subtitle says that it's an activity book. So what kind of activities can we expect from it? Because this isn't just the book that you read, it's a book that you participate in.

[00:29:03] Mandy Ford: Yeah, so each chapter, like I said, is focused on a different part of nature and, um, some chapters have like a meditation you can work through. Um, some have, uh, journaling places to do journal or reflection. Um, There is the chapter about the moon has like a moon phase chart that you can fill out. Um, there's like a guided map meditation, which also, by the way, if you order the book or pre-order, there is a free meditation that you can get from my website that I did, um, to go along with that. So yeah, just like there's one that's like a collage. You can make a collage on the page. So lots of different activities to go along with each chapter.

[00:29:41] Jennifer Wilson: And, and I'm curious how kind of the, the messages and the art in this book are kind of, how are they similar and how are they different from what you offer through the membership? Obviously the through line is you, your creative style, your aesthetic, your, you know, you itself, but you know, how are you differentiating the, the purpose and, and the visuals?

[00:30:01] Mandy Ford: Yeah. So that's an interesting question cuz I hadn't thought about that until I read that question on the list. They compliment each other really well. And the goal of both is, you know, similar. Um, the difference I think, with the club is that, um, you're given these tangible things that you can use in your creative practice. So, the club every month includes, of course you can print the whole thing, it's a digital magazine. Um, but I always create some sort of, stickers or pattern papers or, um, journaling cards, that you can print out and use. And sometimes I'll do like a video, you know, sharing how I've created with them. So it's kind of like taking all of the, you know, the advice and things from the book and then also using your creativity to take care of your, your soul. So.

[00:30:51] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm.

[00:30:52] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:30:53] Jennifer Wilson: I like the idea of them being companions, and I think this book will maybe introduce more people to you and then be like, oh, I can do paper crafting with these things too.

[00:31:02] Mandy Ford: I hope so.

[00:31:03] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:31:03] Mandy Ford: It's interesting because I have so many, like I've said before, I have so many different interests and I love the scrapbooking and I love art journaling. And you know, it's like you can, you don't have to pick, you can do all of them obviously not all the time. But yeah, I try and mix it up in the club.

[00:31:18] Mandy Ford: They're always journaling prompts. There's always, you know, stuff like that. And then I also usually include links to just fun things. There's always a theme each month. Um, this month it's note to self, um, kind of like a valentine to yourself since it's February.

[00:31:31] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's fun.

[00:31:32] Mandy Ford: Yeah, so.

[00:31:35] Jennifer Wilson: So I'm curious kind of where, what's, what's your vision for your business? Now, I'm not asking you like, you know, uh, throw out all your cards here, but, um, you know, are you, where, where are you headed as, as an artist and business owner?

[00:31:51] Mandy Ford: Yeah. Gosh. It's interesting. I feel, even like with my word for the year, I feel like it's a big turning point for me. Um, with the book coming out and I'm starting to get the kind of dream projects that I've been wanting for so long. Yeah, just it's like a big, really big milestone. Um, and the art I created for the book, I really had to push myself.

[00:32:10] Mandy Ford: And, um, it's my style, but I, it's a little, a little different and I just, um, yeah, I just see this time as, um, I don't know what's gonna happen really. But it just feels exciting. It feels exciting and I feel like I'm kind of really, you know, just making a turn into a new chapter. That's very cheesy. I can't think of a different word, a new chapter, um, of my, you know, art career, whatever that's gonna look like. But yeah, you just, I just keep taking the next step and, um, yeah.

[00:32:47] Jennifer Wilson: No, it just sounds like you're very kind of, you're in a place of openness.

[00:32:52] Mandy Ford: Yeah, for sure. And I, yeah, I think I used to really like to know exactly what was gonna happen. And, and I had kind of a plan, you know, I had this full-time job and I was doing all the things you're supposed to do. And then when that all went away, it was terrifying. And then after two years of, of not having a job like that and still being able to pay the bills and, you know, make really lovely things, I'm like, okay, well maybe this is survivable even, you know, like good.

[00:33:21] Mandy Ford: So, you know, learning to trust, um, taking my own advice cuz I say that in the book, trusting the universe. Um, you know, that will be taken care of and that really cool things are gonna keep coming my way, you know, um, it's not, not, it's scary, but it's also exciting at the same time.

[00:33:40] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, those things definitely can exist together. So.

[00:33:43] Mandy Ford: Yeah, I don't, I mean and that's, that's the definition of my life these days. But, you know, it's, some days you deal with it better than others, but overall it's um, I wouldn't, I wouldn't change it, you know? Yeah.

[00:33:56] Jennifer Wilson: So I noticed on your website that you offer a number of free printables. Can you share where audience can find those? Cause I think it would give them a really good like, taste of your style.

[00:34:05] Mandy Ford: Yes, for sure. And there's a lot of different things on there. So yeah, my website is just And then there is a, I think it says Freebees at the top, um, in the menu. And yeah, there's coloring pages. There are like printables for like scrapbooking or art journaling or your planner. Um, I think I, the last one I added was, um, moon, moon phase stickers for your planner. Um, all sorts of different things in there.

[00:34:30] Jennifer Wilson: Oh fun, very cool.

[00:34:32] Mandy Ford: Yeah, cause I do have a, I do have three coloring books as well, so, um, I have a few coloring pages on there that would give people an idea of what, what those look.

[00:34:41] Jennifer Wilson: Oh yeah, and I noticed you, those are on Amazon, so I will link those up, um, in the show notes as well.

[00:34:46] Mandy Ford: Yeah.

[00:34:47] Jennifer Wilson: It's been so fun. I'm, you know, I'm so excited for, you know, where you've been and where you're going. Um, can you share like other places we can find you online? I'm assuming you're on social media. Because of course, where part of where we connected.

[00:35:00] Jennifer Wilson: Um, and anything new or coming up, you know, maybe it's just, maybe it's the book. It's all book all the time, I'm sure for next few months.

[00:35:06] Mandy Ford: Right, all book all the time. Um, yeah, so I mean, Instagram is even despite all of its, you know, issues, it's still my favorite place. Um, so that's, you know, definitely where people can find me. Mandy Ford Art, um, I'm pretty much Mandy Ford Art on all of my social media, you know, Facebook, um, I have Twitter, don't really use it.

[00:35:25] Mandy Ford: Um, so mostly Instagram, Facebook.

[00:35:27] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:35:29] Mandy Ford: And let's see, what else? Um, I have a whole new set of stickers in my shop. That's another thing I love making is stickers. I like vinyl stickers. So those are something fun to check out. Um, and I just started offering, offering, um, creative mentoring sessions, um, which is something fun I decided to start offering because I have so many different varied experiences that I can share with people who are kinda in the beginning phases of either a creative business or really just wanting to grow their creative, like practice for hobby. Um, so that's something people can find on my website as well to sign up for an hour to chat with me. So.

[00:36:06] Jennifer Wilson: Oh my gosh. Do you have a cat's coffee and craft sticker? Um.

[00:36:11] Mandy Ford: That has been my best seller and when I made it, I made it for myself. And then I I thought should I put it in the shop because that's a very like, um, niche thing. Like you have to like all three things and it's been my best seller.

[00:36:24] Jennifer Wilson: I love it. I think a lot of crafty people like cats. I don't know. It's a thing.

[00:36:28] Mandy Ford: I, it's a thing and of course, I mean, yeah, I'm coffee obsessed, so I can't, yeah, can't help myself.

[00:36:35] Jennifer Wilson: Mandy, this has been delightful. Thank you again for spending time with me.

[00:36:39] Mandy Ford: Thank you for having, it's great chatting with you.

[00:36:42] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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