SYW224 – Finding Calm in the Crafty Cave

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Kaleb Garcia has felt warmly welcomed by the scrapbooking community as he began to share more of his work online and engage with fellow crafters. In this episode I’m chatting with Kaleb about his journey into memory keeping, the projects he loves most, and the growth opportunities for our industry.

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[00:01:23] Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking.

This is episode 224. In this episode I'm joined by Kaleb Garcia, a husband, father, and dedicated scrapbooker. Our conversation explores Kaleb’s creative roots, his crafty cave, and what its like to be male in a female-dominated hobby.

[00:01:51] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, Kaleb. Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:01:52] Kaleb Garcia: Hi. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:54] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I am looking forward to our conversation and getting to know you a little bit better, but can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:02:01] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, uh, my name is Kaleb Garcia and I live in, uh, northeast Ohio with my wife Sarah, we have a toddler now. Uh, Gabriela

[00:02:12] Jennifer Wilson: That's awesome. How old is she?

[00:02:14] Kaleb Garcia: She's gonna be two.

[00:02:15] Jennifer Wilson: So fun. So fun. I miss those days in some ways, not in others. So I just remember always kind of like. Needing to wrangle my daughter, like getting her to sit in one spot and, and not run out into the street or do something she wasn't supposed to. So it certainly requires a lot of energy.

[00:02:36] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, exactly.

[00:02:38] Jennifer Wilson: So what's exciting you right now? Both within our hobby as well as outside of it.

[00:02:42] Kaleb Garcia: Um, Well, right now for scrapbooking, I'm done with my December Daily from last year. I usually work on it after, so I'm very excited cause I'm in my last story. So alomst done with that.

[00:02:57] Jennifer Wilson: Nice.

[00:02:58] Kaleb Garcia: And not scrapbooking. Well, my daughter's gonna be two next month and I'm doing all the planning for her birthday and all the preparations.

[00:03:07] Jennifer Wilson: Is there any kind of theme for her party?

[00:03:09] Kaleb Garcia: We're gonna do an Encanto theme.

[00:03:11] Jennifer Wilson: Ah, that's awesome. I love it.

[00:03:13] Kaleb Garcia: So it'll be fun.

[00:03:15] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. So we always also like to ask our guests about their memory keeping bucket lists. So these are stories that feel important, significant to tell. They could be big and meaningful or even just small slices of life about you. Um, but do you have an important story that yet you've not told?

[00:03:34] Kaleb Garcia: Yes. And I'm sure we all have a couple, but I have one. Uh, 2015, went, uh, on a pilgrimage to Spain. And I did the last hundred kilometers of the Camino de Santiago. And I, I wanna document that. But I haven't found like the right product or like the right way to do it. And I'm just like waiting and waiting to see like if I find the, the right way to do that one.

[00:04:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, it can sometimes be intimidating to feel like we're doing justice to the story and really kind of honoring the significance it had in our lives.

[00:04:10] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, I agree.

[00:04:11] Jennifer Wilson: So today I wanted to talk more about how you got into scrapbooking. Um, we'll acknowledge that you are a male in a female dominated community, and that's super fun. Um, but can you tell, tell us how you fell into being a scrapbooker?

[00:04:27] Kaleb Garcia: Yep. So, growing up my grandma used to take lots of pictures, but she was not a scrapbooker. She just liked to document life with lots of pictures. And, uh, so I grew up taking lots of pictures myself and, uh, we used to travel a lot as a family, eventually, uh, I started sharing my photos like on Facebook and social media. And, uh, people used to ask me about my trips and I would always have to like find my computer or my phone and try to, to show pictures. So eventually I started making photo books for our family, but I always like, uh, I like craft and, and so I, it wasn't enough for me. And so I started researching and, and, I started finding like travel journals. And from there it just kept going until I just found about scrapbooking. And at first I wasn't that interested because the, what I would find was like layouts and one picture and a whole bunch of decorations. And I was more interested in like sharing the, like, the pictures of where we went. And then little by little I ended finding out like more modern scrapbooking and, and memory keeping.

[00:05:43] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:05:44] Kaleb Garcia: And then from there I started making like little albums of our trips and things like that. Until now I'm all in.

[00:05:50] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I can see how the, like increasing popularity of travelers notebooks and smaller album projects made it feel like, oh, here's something that's really the way I wanna do this.

[00:06:02] Kaleb Garcia: Exactly. And especially a time when I started uh, being interested in the hobby. I was just getting into college and of course I was broke. So it's, it's, it's expensive to, to scrapbook to be honest, you know, if you wanna do it.

[00:06:18] Jennifer Wilson: It is.

[00:06:19] Kaleb Garcia: The right way. So, uh, smaller projects were more affordable for me. That way I could, you know, get a, a few papers and I could make them last. If the, it was like travel notebook four by four and, and that way it just made it able to do the project.

[00:06:37] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. For sure. I'm just curious how, um, how maybe your thought process or your choices maybe shifted at all when your daughter was born two years ago.

[00:06:47] Kaleb Garcia: Oh, for sure, yes. Uh, well I used to document before I was even married. So I have like a couple December Dailies from before then, but then as soon as

[00:06:58] Jennifer Wilson: [00:06:58] Kaleb Garcia: we found out that we were gonna have a baby, then I immediately got an album and did all my, my wife's pregnancy album. So I have everything documented there. And then from there I just continue, uh, documenting all, all we all, everything we do with, with my daughter but also us as a couple.

[00:07:18] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm. Now, You mentioned how you've always taken photos, but have you always done kind of other types of crafty things or was that kind of a new skill you had to develop?

[00:07:28] Kaleb Garcia: Uh, I was always crafty. I was the one kid that always had notebook and crayons and color pencils. For every, uh, like Christmas or birthday, I would ask for art supplies. I took all the art classes available in my high school. And then eventually I, in college I ended up studying art history, so I always love art and the craftiness and all that.

[00:07:56] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love art history classes. Those were some of my favorites in college too. Yeah, they're so fascinating. So can you talk more about your experience as a dude? You wanna say it that way? Within our community, you know, I'm, I'm curious both of the, uh, I'm sure there's been a lot of positive anecdotes, but maybe even on the other side, have there been any kind of assumptions that you've had to work through about you or challenges?

[00:08:21] Kaleb Garcia: Yeah, it is different because uh, it's as cater for female. Like, so it's sometimes I have to adjust. Uh, but at the beginning, at the, I, I used to follow a lot of, of, uh, crafter. I used to watch all the videos, but I never really interacted because I just, you know, I wasn't sure how it would work out. And I remember in, in, uh, 2020 when the pandemic hit, uh, a lot of people started doing lives and interacting with the community. So I little by little, would comment and say things in the chat and things like that. And so eventually I decided to, to, uh, open an Instagram account for my crafty stuff. And then while sharing there, I started, like people started getting used to me. And then little by little now everybody knows, you know, that the dude that's commenting is Kaleb and he's okay. So, but yeah, sometimes, uh, at the beginning I would get, you know, blocked because they didn't know that who I was and you know. So, but not, not, I'm very, uh, accepted in the community, I, feel.

[00:09:36] Jennifer Wilson: That's awesome. And I think now that you have been on Instagram for a while, people can see that there's other people that follow you that maybe they follow. So because Instagram shares those things so hopefully that that happens a lot less often.

[00:09:50] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, Yes, exactly. That helps. Now that I have shared stuff people know that I actually do craft myself, so they're more accepting right away and, and yeah, but not, I never have some like really bad interactions, but everything positive so far.

[00:10:08] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's so wonderful to hear. Now, you mentioned that sometimes you kind of have to adjust things. How do you feel about the, the product lines that are available?

[00:10:16] Kaleb Garcia: Yeah.

[00:10:16] Jennifer Wilson: Do you feel like that there's plenty of products that kind of meet your visual interests?

[00:10:21] Kaleb Garcia: It helps that I have a girl. Uh, a daughter. That helps a lot. And myself, I'm, I'm, I'm very preppy, so I use a lot of color when I'm, what I wear and and stuff like that. So color doesn't affect me. Like, you know, I wear pink all the time. Uh, but, but sometimes, like a lot of the words, a lot of the phrases are like directly for, for, uh, for women. And for example, if there's like a collection about reading, they're girls reading or a summer collection and there's ladies in bikini swimming, you know. So I, I I always have adjust to that. And, and yes, there's some lines that are for men, but usually like beer, fishing or sports.

[00:11:03] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, it is very much along kind of sterotypes and so it'd be interesting to see kind of how can we kind of bridge that gap a little bit more.

[00:11:13] Kaleb Garcia: I always share that people think that men doesn't, like pretty things and yes, we do like pretty things. We like, you know, uh, there's a whole community of men that use little notebooks to document with stickers and they journal, but they don't call it scrapbooking, you know? So just, uh, I think the scrapbooking word I think is gonna be, you know, flowers and stickers and you know, and it's just more of a documentation, like just a, a way of documenting, uh, your life.

[00:11:47] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. I think, yeah, the word definitely has assumptions and connotations that go with it that I think don't necessarily reflect the diversity of our hobby today.

[00:11:58] Kaleb Garcia: Yes..

[00:12:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. So it sounds like you're doing primarily smaller projects. What's your favorite type of project is it one that's kind of open-ended or has some specific boundaries around it?

[00:12:14] Kaleb Garcia: I, enjoy the small project that has a, a beginning and an end. Uh, it's, uh, like I, I do December Daily, October Daily. I do a summer album, you know, uh, travel albums that, you know, has a, a specific beginning and end. And, I like, uh, theme, like, I like, uh, seasonal and all that kind of stuff.

[00:12:38] Jennifer Wilson: That's fun. Yeah. I noticed that you really liked both December Daily and October Daily. Um, do you I I haven't noticed a lot of October products coming out yet and I'm surprised cuz I'm already seeing, you know, Christmas lines come out.

[00:12:51] Kaleb Garcia: It, it drives me crazy and I, I'm gonna, uh, uh, I'm not afraid of going directly to the source and asking for stuff. So I often go straight to the companies and I message them like, Hey, we need this and work on this, please. So, yeah, it's, it. I really, really hope that they come up with something cool this time.

[00:13:12] Jennifer Wilson: Well, or you'll be using lots of printables and constructed things ourselves with mixed media and die cuts and, you know, all these things. We can do it. So we just wanna buy more stuff to, to go with it.

[00:13:26] Kaleb Garcia: Right. Yes. I, I, yeah. It's hard because sometimes you know, being crafty you're like well I can do this. But then if it's already made, it makes it faster, which is good too.

[00:13:38] Jennifer Wilson: So how do you manage like your stash of supplies do you have like a dedicated space, a cart? You know, how, how does that fit into your home?

[00:13:47] Kaleb Garcia: So I actually have a craft room, what I call my crafty cave, like a man cave for crafting. And it's in the basement. I, I, I done videos about it. It's, it's not what, you know, it's not the typical white, uh, furniture and beautiful table. It's more like a you know a rough looking manly craft room. But yes, I do have a space in, in the basement of our house. Uh, but since I have a baby now and I'm very involved, dad. Uh, I work from home half the, the week and I have to be near my baby the whole time. I often bring stuff up to my working desk, uh, and then I can work from my table while I watch the baby and spend time with my wife.

[00:14:32] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, for sure. I think those types of priorities as we go through different seasons of life impact where we're spending time creating.

[00:14:42] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, totally. You have to adjust if you want to keep, uh, enjoying the hobby.

[00:14:47] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. So, as I was, you know, looking through your Instagram and I, I noticed a theme that kept coming up and that was your faith. So, I'm curious how that connects to your deeper why and your deeper connection to this hobby and, the process of documenting.

[00:15:05] Kaleb Garcia: So I'm big on my faith, I am Roman Catholic I'm actually, have been, uh, uh, catechist. I teach to younger kids about faith for many years. And, uh, uh, as we know, the Catholic faith is very visual. We are, uh, big patrons of the arts. We like sculptures and paintings and, uh, so we're a very visual faith. Uh, and I practice actually in my home, uh, liturgical living, which is bringing like the faith and the holidays to your house. And, you know, through the food and activities you do at home. And I documenting all that through my hobby of, of scrapbooking. Uh, it, it, it's a struggle to find supply and, and papers that match that. But, but it's, uh, course, like we said earlier, I can, I try to do as much as I can with what I find, and if not, I'll try to make it so.

[00:15:59] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, for sure. And I'm sure you're able to kind of bring some of that out in your December Dailies as well cuz maybe there, I'm sure there's more supplies that time of year.

[00:16:09] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, totally. Yes. That I go all out with all the, the feasts and all the religious activities we do in December Daily.

[00:16:17] Jennifer Wilson: So are there any techniques, formats, or approaches that you're interested in trying? Like would you, would we ever see you doing a 12 by 12 layout? You know, where, where do you think you're going next?

[00:16:29] Kaleb Garcia: Twelve by twelve is, it's hard. It's, it's huge. Uh, I often do smaller albums. I did try, uh, Project, Life in, uh, what was that, nine by 12 a couple years ago. But it's just, it was just too much. Uh, I, I found myself doing, like putting pictures of silly stuff that really didn't mean anything just to put something in it, you know?

[00:16:57] Kaleb Garcia: So I, what I did is I divided that into like seasonal albums. So I would make own like, uh, four by eight little binders, and then I would divide in my winter, spring, summer, and fall. Uh, and I'm very comfortable with that right now. So, I don't know, I, I, I have done, uh, photo albums way back when, and I know they have changed a lot, but I enjoyed the craftiness. It's very therapeutic for me. Especially, I, I am sitting in the computer a lot cause I, work as a translator of special education documents. So sometimes I'm sitting for hours in the computer just typing words and translating. So the craftiness of like grabbing paper and glue and all that is, is very calming and relaxing to me. So.

[00:17:46] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I bet, I bet. Now you mentioned four by eight albums. Are these the Life crafted albums?

[00:17:51] Kaleb Garcia: Yes. Uhhuh. I buy, I buy them directly from the source, but I also learn how to make my own with different fabrics. So I do a combination.

[00:18:01] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's super fun.

[00:18:03] Kaleb Garcia: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:03] Jennifer Wilson: Do you have any videos of that on your instagram?

[00:18:07] Kaleb Garcia: A, a lot of people have asked about it. I haven't done it just because I'm, I'm not sure like how to go about it, but maybe I'll work on that.

[00:18:15] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, that'd be fun. At least we'll share a photo of what it looks like. But that's really cool. I love this idea of doing kind of seasonal small album, Project Life ish type of album. I think that can be really fun.

[00:18:30] Kaleb Garcia: Yes. I, I, I, it took me like a couple years to get to that point. Because it's, I feel like the bigger album was too long for me. And like I said I like he beginning and end you know, the year ends and starts, it just felt like forever. Whereas like a seasonal, like a winter album, I can capture our winter in one album that, you know, is so to end that project an entire year in a big album.

[00:18:59] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, Yes. I think that's super smart. Now, I guess in terms of summer, you are gonna be starting a summer album if you haven't already. Can you tell us a little bit about what, how you're gonna approach that one?

[00:19:09] Kaleb Garcia: Yes, I'm gonna make my own, uh, uh, four by eight album. I already ordered a fabric. It's a summary fabric. And hopefully, uh, I will be doing that one outside of the page protector, but also some page protectors there too. So a little mix of shapes and sizes in there.

[00:19:28] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that sounds super fun. And do you have any kind of fun plans for the summer?

[00:19:35] Kaleb Garcia: Uh, yeah, but, well, I live like two streets, three streets from the lake, so we spend a lot of time by lake. Uh, no travels this year but uh, birthday parties and a lot of, uh, movies outside in our backyard and fires and fun stuff.

[00:19:52] Jennifer Wilson: That sounds delightful for sure. Do you have any advice for maybe other crafty, curious males out there who want to, um, maybe be more visible in the industry, make connections with others, and, or even just who are maybe their friends and family of our listeners maybe wanna get started with memory keeping?

[00:20:19] Kaleb Garcia: Totally. I, I think the first thing will be that being crafty doesn't make you less of a man. Uh, a lot of these crafts started with a lot of men, like sewing and cooking. You know, with scrapbooking, uh, don't be afraid of, of what you have, uh, what you make. Uh, and, uh, know, just, just try to, to, uh, show a presence so that you know, this, the, like companies can see that we also craft and we also need product made for us.

[00:20:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. And not, and not just the, beer and the camping.

[00:20:58] Kaleb Garcia: Exactly. Yeah, I like beer and I like camping. But you know, there's more to life.

[00:21:02] Jennifer Wilson: Correct. For sure. Well, I'm so grateful that you're part of our community, and thank you for spending time with me on the podcast.

[00:21:08] Kaleb Garcia: Thank you for having me. I've been a fan for a time.

[00:21:12] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, thank you so much. Can you share where we can find you online? Anything else you might have, you might be sharing new or coming up soon?

[00:21:19] Kaleb Garcia: I have on Instagram, uh, it's, uh, uh, Mr.KGarciaCreates. And, uh, I'll be working in a summer album, and then I have to finish out my October Daily so there'll be a mix of fall and summer coming out.

[00:21:34] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. Nice, nice. Gotta get that done before October rolls around again.

[00:21:39] Kaleb Garcia: Yep. I need to buy more stuff when they come out.

[00:21:42] Jennifer Wilson: I'm looking forward to it as well. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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