SYW241 – Making Peace with Your Pace

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Sometimes the sheer volume of our memories and photos can dampen the joy of scrapbooking. In this episode I’m chatting with Jaymee Da Rocha about her perspectives on the pace of memory keeping. Over the years Jaymee has chosen to shift her mindset and her creative approach to find more contentment with her hobby.

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[00:01:17] 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 241. In this episode I’m chatting with Jaymee Da Rocha about her memory keeping mindset and the shifts she has made to feel more satisfied. This is an essential conversation for anyone who has felt behind in scrapbooking.

[00:01:47] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, Jaymee, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:01:49] Jaymee Da Rocha: Hi Jennifer.

[00:01:50] Jennifer Wilson: I am looking forward to our conversation today. I think this is going to be a really good one. Can you share a little bit about yourself for our audience?

[00:01:58] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, absolutely. Um, as mentioned, my name is Jaymee I live in Darwin, Australia. It's up in the northern part of Australia. It's very hot and humid where I live. It's around, I've done a conversion. It's around 90 degrees Fahrenheit for about 300 days of the year here. And we have lots of crocodiles.

[00:02:17] Jennifer Wilson: That's awesome. Yes, I have a, actually have a friend that lives there who I went to college with. He's So a geologist.

[00:02:23] Jaymee Da Rocha: Wow, my goodness. That's incredible. Yeah. So, um, and yes, I live with my husband, my four children. I have a daughter and three sons and their ages are 9 through to 15. And we have an English toy terrier, a dog called Arlo.

[00:02:38] Jennifer Wilson: I'm sure you have a busy household. Um, we talked about before that your kids are all avid soccer players. So I'm sure you're always coming and going.

[00:02:46] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, absolutely. Definitely wear the soccer mom hat. Proudly.

[00:02:52] Jennifer Wilson: So Jaymee, what's exciting you right now? I'd love if you shared one scrapbooky related thing and then one life related thing.

[00:02:59] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yeah, absolutely, Jennifer. Uh, a scrapbooking related thing, about two weeks ago I finished a a scrap retreat and so I'll give a shout out to Karen and the girls that I craft with at Stamp Craft. We do a quarterly retreat here in Darwin over three to four days. And, um, yeah, that's always something that I look forward to.

[00:03:20] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, a hundred percent. It's just so, uh, calming and a nice reset. And yeah, I love doing that as well.

[00:03:28] Jaymee Da Rocha: Absolutely.

[00:03:29] Jennifer Wilson: And then what about what's going on in your life these days?

[00:03:32] Jaymee Da Rocha: Uh, well, again, very busy with work and, uh, kids, uh, school activities, social activities, and sport. Uh, but on a personal note, at the moment I'm currently listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos, doing some research. I'm very interested in learning about pilgrimage hikes across Portugal and Spain. And at the moment I'm learning about the Camino de Santiago. So I'm just watching, uh, packing videos and finding out how long it takes to do that track, how much it costs and tips on how to go about it.

[00:04:08] Jennifer Wilson: And so what has sparked your interest in this particular like location and type of adventure?

[00:04:14] Jaymee Da Rocha: Oh, sure. So about seven years ago, the family, we lived in Portugal for six months and it was just a fantastic experience to be over there. At that point in time, we were staying on the coast of Portugal, very close to the Spanish border. And I was always fascinated by why these people kept walking through the town with these big backpacks and trekking poles and I thought they were crazy. And it wasn't until recently that I found out more specifically about how big a thing these, uh, pilgrimages, and not necessarily being, uh, needing to be of a religious, uh, belief. But that it's open sort of to anybody, and yeah, just what a fantastic, uh, interesting opportunity it looks like. Yeah, it's on my bucket list.

[00:05:05] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's so fun. That's so fun. Now, of course, we love to talk about our memory keeping bucket list here on the show. And these are stories that we know we want to document. in one format or another, but for some reason we haven't yet. So do you have a story from your life that you are waiting to document?

[00:05:25] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yeah, something that's definitely on my list. High priority. Uh, my mum passed away 15 years ago and I really want to tell the story of her life. I'm thinking the perfect opportunity there is to utilise the Simple Scrapper membership and perhaps follow the Before Your Story format and incorporate it into a finishing project.

[00:05:46] Jaymee Da Rocha: So it's really just something that I want to be able to have for reference for myself, but also for my children as well. Because they didn't get to meet her. So it would be fantastic to be able to, uh, have them be able to go through her story from her upbringing through to adult life. And yeah.

[00:06:05] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that sounds amazing. Yeah. I think that format, as you know, I I'm biased on it. it works so well for just being able to capture someone's life in a way that feels complete, but it is still doable for so many years and so many stories.

[00:06:21] Jaymee Da Rocha: Agreed. And whilst I haven't started it yet, that's the plan. And then yes, I think I would then speak to family members as well, just to try and add extra bits and pieces for context. Other than.

[00:06:33] Jennifer Wilson: Mm

[00:06:34] Jaymee Da Rocha: What I know.

[00:06:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, sometimes I think that's, we, we, as scrapbookers, we're often like here, we're doing this, we are telling our stories, but there's so much more we can add, kind of additional kind of lenses and perspectives, and maybe even uncovering things we didn't really realize or understand fully when we talk to others about those stories.

[00:06:56] Jennifer Wilson: So sounds wonderful. So Jaymee, you suggested today's topic and I'm excited to dive into this. So we're talking about making peace with never being caught up. As scrapbookers and memory keepers, we're always living, we're always making more memories and time just keeps on going and that we are lucky that that is happening.

[00:07:16] Jennifer Wilson: Um, to get started, can you tell us a little bit more about how long you've been scrapbooking and how you got started?

[00:07:23] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, I've been scrapbooking in some form or another for as long as I've had children, so that's 15 years now. A friend, Katie, took me to what I think was a Creative Memories Party and I was hooked. I've always been a storage, organizing, and stationery lover, so that just fed right into the hobby.

[00:07:42] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, yes, I bet. I think, I think so many of us have that. We like we're hoarding our little special papers as kids and loved our supplies. And then we discovered that there was a way to do that as an adult with our photos and have some meaning to it. So yeah. And when you think about where you are at today, why do you continue? Like what does the hobby mean to you?

[00:08:08] Jaymee Da Rocha: So an example, I love looking back at what I have completed. In 2017, we lived in Portugal for six months and just traveled the country top to bottom, visiting family there and over in Malta. When we got home to Australia, I made seven photo books. They're about a hundred pages each, and that was filled with all the photos and journal entries from our time there.

[00:08:33] Jaymee Da Rocha: And I love to look at them and it transports me straight back to that point in time. So that's a really, yeah, loving example of why I continue to do it today.

[00:08:44] Jennifer Wilson: And what are your goals like in the relative short term right now? What are you working on these days? What formats are you working in?

[00:08:52] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yeah, sure. Um, so a short term goal is to finish my children's baby album. One of my four children's albums is completed a traditional, uh, 12 by 12 album. And I've probably made a hundred layouts in that. It was, yeah, a real labor of love to do that. And I'd like to replicate that for my other three children.

[00:09:18] Jennifer Wilson: So I'm curious, is the finished project for your oldest child?

[00:09:22] Jaymee Da Rocha: No, it's actually for my third born. Go figure.

[00:09:26] Jennifer Wilson: Okay.

[00:09:27] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yeah. Just the timing of when I really, um, so it's actually a few years ago that I finished that one, but I just had a real bee in my bonnet to do that one. And I, that was the child that I had the most material photos printed and stuff. handy. So I followed his through to completion and the other 3, their albums are all started.

[00:09:51] Jaymee Da Rocha: So 10 layouts 20, 30, Um, not that they all have to be the same length. But just setting a bit of a, so the album is just for their first 12 months. Uh, but I think the completed one really sets a template for what I'd like to do for the others. And run those themes through the other albums. So yeah, it's just a, it's a big task, but like anything, breaking it down into manageable chunks.

[00:10:21] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. That always helps. So I, I assumed that it wasn't the first child. I was thinking about this recently. And I only have one myself, was talking to someone else who has multiple. And with your first child, you're so kind of wrapped up in, like the day to day of, am I doing this right? Like, you know, what's going to happen next?

[00:10:40] Jennifer Wilson: You don't really know. And so I think it's harder to be as present in, you know, the memory keeping mindset, I guess. Um, cause you're just trying to survive and keep your kid alive, I guess. And then the more children you have, I think the more you're able to relax and you, you know, the flow of it and, and you have more confidence in yourself.

[00:11:03] Jaymee Da Rocha: That's true. I think it's almost a catch 22 at the start, first child is sink or swim. Oh my goodness. What am I doing? And then as more come along, it's. It's busier, but it's more of a known thing. And then I think it's that trying to find pockets of time to get things documented, uh, while still trying to be present for your family and your children at the same time.

[00:11:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. Yes. So you are creating primarily in 12 by 12. Is that correct?

[00:11:35] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes. Uh, for the physical side of things. Yes. 12 by 12s for my children's layouts. In a digital side of things, i, um, complete a digital family photo book each year, which I print.

[00:11:51] Jennifer Wilson: And are you is that, digital like digital scrapbook pages that you're putting in a photo book? Are you doing it photo book style? What is the approach to that?

[00:12:01] Jaymee Da Rocha: Uh, sure. So I actually use, uh, I've had them for quite a while. I think we've got their Becky Higgins drag and drop photo templates. So.

[00:12:13] Jennifer Wilson: Okay, okay.

[00:12:14] Jaymee Da Rocha: I've had them for quite a while, but it just seems to be a formula that works. Um, I've considered delving into Canva and things like that, but just opportunity and time hasn't presented itself yet.

[00:12:28] Jaymee Da Rocha: So what I tend to do is set up at the start of each year, a folder per month. And I'll drop some of those templates in and then I'll just curate my favorite photos for each month. And then drag and drop photos. Uh, I think we call them design a, I sort of stick with a plain, consistent page, uh, layout for each one.

[00:12:53] Jaymee Da Rocha: And so through the year, I will use drag and drop templates in Photoshop Elements. And then at the end of the year, when they're all finished, I will just open up a, an Australian photo book website and literally just drag and drop all those finished pages in and produce a printed photo book at the end.

[00:13:16] Jennifer Wilson: Excellent. Now, how long have you been doing this project?

[00:13:19] Jaymee Da Rocha: Uh, ongoing. I would say I started it about eight years ago, and so I do one to two photo books per year.

[00:13:28] Jaymee Da Rocha: But then I've also done them retrospectively. So we're back to about 2001 up until last year. So I'm a year behind, but because I've got that process, it's sort of when I do do my quarterly scrap retreats that sometimes if I'm not doing tactile hands on physical scrapbooking, I'll go to the laptop and do some of that in batches.

[00:13:52] Jennifer Wilson: Jaymee, I'm curious how this photo book project helps you feel more caught up, more kind of that, a sense of peace around your memory keeping, knowing that we can't scrapbook everything.

[00:14:06] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, Jennifer agreed, we can't scrapbook anything and time passes so quickly. So I think it's just a matter of having a process set up digitally. Knowing that all the photos I take on my phone are backed up to the cloud. And that I can just get to them when time presents themselves to curate this, what I'd say, the favourites. And, you know, just do your best to record what experiences you have.

[00:14:35] Jaymee Da Rocha: And I think it's also a matter of stepping out from behind the camera, giving other family members the opportunity to capture some of the memories. And I think words are just as important as the images. So I really like to just, you know, take notes here and there. I would aspire to be a journaler, but that's not manageable for me.

[00:14:59] Jaymee Da Rocha: So I'll just, when I go back to look at photos to collect for a month for the annual photo book, I'll just take down a few notes of what might have happened for some of the photos and perhaps some of the thoughts and feelings for special occasions that might have been marked during that time.

[00:15:17] Jennifer Wilson: Terrific. Now I'm, I'm curious. So let me step back here. So, as I mentioned at the beginning, every day we get to make new memories and take more photos if we're lucky. And, but sometimes as a scrapbooker, it can feel like an uphill battle. And I'm so glad you have this project as kind of an anchor. But I'm curious other situations in which you tend to feel kind of overwhelmed by all the photos, all the stories and this, you know, this place where we start to feel like I will never catch up and this might feel bad.

[00:15:52] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yeah, absolutely. I think for me overwhelm can just be thinking you know all the photos on my camera roll. It's just massive. And it's polluted by hundreds and hundreds of screenshots that I use. You know, I almost use my photo gallery as a digital to do list. So, you know, that's self imposed, but it can be very frustrating as well. So I think from time to time, it's just sitting down and curating those photos when you can. I'll just do that. I'll sit down and batch process maybe for an hour or two, and I'll literally just sit on my phone and use hearts to, you know, save some favorites that will transfer across onto Google Photos. That's great that if you save images as favorites on your phone that it converts over to your Google photos as favorites as well. Uh, I find also that my husband can take photos of the same occasion, so then we've almost got double up. So a conscious thing I've done is to not sync our phones and to share photos.

[00:17:01] Jaymee Da Rocha: What I'll do is probably quarterly I'll jump onto his phone and just grab or copy over photos that I know that I don't have that he might've captured. And then that way it's, you know, not dealing with too many photos in their entirety or having things getting mixed up and saved over the top of each other.

[00:17:24] Jennifer Wilson: I think one I wanna underscore one point that you made is that we sometimes are creating our own overwhelm by our behaviors. I know that like my phone, I accidentally take screenshots all the I'm trying to do something else and all of a sudden there's a random screenshot of whatever I'm doing. And, um, you know, on top of all the screenshots I am intentionally taking.

[00:17:46] Jennifer Wilson: So I think the more that we're aware of our behaviors around what is adding to our photo library and kind of contributing to the pile of lots of good things. But then why, how are we kind of adding to it in a way that makes things harder than they need to be? Uh, be just being aware of that and maybe deleting it immediately.

[00:18:05] Jennifer Wilson: Um, can, can be helpful.

[00:18:08] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, I couldn't agree more. I'm acutely aware that I'm doing it, but by the same token, I'm not taking active steps to reduce it.

[00:18:16] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:18:17] Jaymee Da Rocha: It's on the list for what would be better habits to have.

[00:18:22] Jennifer Wilson: So we know you're working on your children's baby albums and you are doing an annual photo book, um, in, you know, very much digital project lifestyle. Um, are there any other types of projects or layouts that you are making that help dampen the sense of feeling behind?

[00:18:45] Jaymee Da Rocha: Ah, let me think. That's a very good question.

[00:18:50] Jennifer Wilson: Or is it really the photo book that's really like, this is what keeps me connected and going and not feeling overwhelmed.

[00:18:59] Jaymee Da Rocha: I think you encapsulated it for me before. The photo book really is the project that anchors me to the now. And knowing that it's digital, it's at my fingertips. I can get to it very quickly and just batch produce some pages at any time. That's a reassuring thing. And then when on the flip side, if I've had enough of digital layout, I can go back to the historic, traditional scrapbook layouts, that is my children's baby albums. And yeah, I think that's probably both sides of the coin.

[00:19:37] Jennifer Wilson: So as a digital and a physical scrapbooker, you have the stuff of both worlds. Um, how do you take proactive steps to prevent the stuff aspect from becoming a frustration. Or or is it not one for you? You mentioned that you like to organize things earlier. So.

[00:19:56] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes. These days I traditionally scrapbook a lot less due to my time restraints, being busy with work and all the things that family and kids are. So I do have a big stash, tons of Thickers, papers, die cuts. All of those sort of things, really. For when I do get around to doing my kids albums. But I think when I've completed those physical scrapbooks, it's really going to be a turning point for me to want to purge. To really scale down my stash. And donate quality things to perhaps some not for profits and health centers in my area.

[00:20:35] Jennifer Wilson: I think that's really smart to really think about I am keeping these items for a specific thing. And when I have come to that end point then I am going to move on and choose a different path that that suits my lifestyle right now. And then should you ever have interest in the future, fortunately, there's always more scrapbook supplies to buy out there.

[00:20:59] Jaymee Da Rocha: That's absolutely true. We are a little bit limited in what we get locally here in in Darwin. Um, I do lean to Stamp Craft, my friend Karen, to she orders a lot of great, uh, supplies and stock in. But I think, yeah, definitely just looking forward to being able to use the things that I've got the things that I've lovingly collected to want to put into the kids albums.

[00:21:26] Jaymee Da Rocha: And I think it'll be a real cathartic thing that when those albums are finished and up on the shelf. That I can then move on a big heap of the ephemera that was used for those projects to, you know, for other people to use in other ways.

[00:21:42] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Now what's your perspective on finishing projects? Because the items that we've all talked about have very clear endings. They're not necessarily open ended. You know, you're printing a book at some point after a year has concluded. Um, you're deciding what is the end point of, each child's baby album. Is, is finishing always the goal for you?

[00:22:07] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes. Ultimately, I aim to finish each project at some point, but I'm also realistic. Life happens and, you get it done when you get it done. I use the quarterly retreats to set a goal and aim to complete something. Or at least get a start on an activity and I find carving out pockets of time a few hours to just focus, you can get a lot done.

[00:22:30] Jennifer Wilson: You know, one thing that just hit me is that you've chosen a very kind of select repertoire of projects to be, this is what I'm doing. This is what I have the bandwidth for. And I'm imagining that has been an asset to you. But do you ever get tempted to say, to do a December Daily or to pick up other things that you're seeing online and you're seeing others create? Does that kind of tempt you away from focusing on your core projects?

[00:23:00] Jaymee Da Rocha: That's an excellent question. I find that I get down the rabbit hole of looking at social media and just loving junk journaling, December Daily, all the different things people do. And I curate photo boards of all the other things I'd love to do. But I'm also a realist and I realize that it's going to be mission enough for me to achieve these things. So I sort of love to look and admire other people's things, but I pull myself back down into reality and focus on the key things I'd like to complete, first and foremost.

[00:23:35] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think sometimes even making, you know, you mentioned you're, you're curating a photo board, whether it's on Pinterest or somewhere else. Like just the act of celebrating things that you love can have some satisfaction to it. And maybe somehow those, those visual ideas will trickle over into the projects you are working on.

[00:23:55] Jennifer Wilson: Maybe a little trickle into other aspects of your life. Um, so I admire your restraint. I'm not sure that every one of our listeners, myself included, always has that. We often get tempted by the shiny new things. So.

[00:24:10] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, absolutely. Um, also, guilty of. I suppose I try new things and don't see them out. So I'm okay with that. I suppose I like to watch other YouTubers and creators and have a bit of a go of what they're doing. And perhaps using that as a bit of a practice run for the techniques, the layouts, the look and feel that I like to then translate that into some of the activities, some of the projects that I'm producing for my own albums.

[00:24:45] Jennifer Wilson: Do you have an example of something that you've tried that just didn't quite work for you and you're okay with letting it go?

[00:24:52] Jaymee Da Rocha: So I'll take a little sidestep and then I can jump back to that question, but I just completely left out. I was doing physical project life and enjoying that. And at the same time I was retrospectively doing my digital photo books for the years before. So, the physical Project Life was something that I definitely got into and loved. But then by the end of three or four years of doing that, um, you know, the physical, the active printing photos every month, it became a bit of a time constraint. And so that's what made me step into the digital Project Life equivalent.

[00:25:30] Jennifer Wilson: Awesome. I'm glad you found kind of found your way and obviously it's working so well for you because you're still doing it today with the same templates and just leaning on what works best for you.

[00:25:41] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes.

[00:25:43] Jennifer Wilson: Jaymee, do you have advice for anyone who's, uh, not yet made peace with the, with never truly being caught up in scrapbooking?

[00:25:52] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, absolutely. I think it's okay to be frustrated for a time, but then accept like laundry, you're never going to be caught up and stay that way. I think it's important to enjoy the memories you're making and the time that you have with friends and family. I think it's a great idea to take photos and videos and in pockets of quiet time get them scrapbooked whatever way works for you. I think it's also important to not forget to journal or at least take little notes of things people say or thoughts you have. Because some personal reflection, along with the image combined, that's the most valuable thing.

[00:26:32] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. I totally agree. And now I have this image of like creative laundry in my head. Because I think that's a really, like, it's a really helpful and important analogy. But if you think about the positive aspects of laundry of, particularly if you're someone who is doing laundry for your family, like I am helping my family have clean clothes and clean sheets.

[00:26:54] Jennifer Wilson: And I'm, it's an act of care for yourself and your loved ones. And that's what scrapbooking is too. And we're always going to be doing it because, uh, there's always things happening and we have to do the laundry and do our scrapbooking. So I love that. I love that. Uh, analogy. Jaymee, this has been a fun conversation. Can you share where we can find you online and anything you might be doing towards the end of this year?

[00:27:20] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, Jennifer. I'm not a prolific online scrapbooker. I do have a private Instagram account.

[00:27:26] Jaymee Da Rocha: You can find me at 6_suitcases. And if you send me a friend request and mention Simple Scrapper, I'd love to link up. Um, I also need to get back into the Simple Scrapper space and utilize my membership because I've been a bit neglectful in that space. I'm very much looking forward to jumping back into Simple Scrapper activities for quarter four this year.

[00:27:51] Jennifer Wilson: Awesome. I can't wait to see you over there as well. And is your Instagram name 6suitcases because there's six people in your family and you enjoy traveling?

[00:28:00] Jaymee Da Rocha: Yes, that's exactly right. That name comes from the time 2017 when we were living over in Portugal, six of us and we took six suitcases for six months. So the name's sort of stuck since then.

[00:28:12] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love that. That's so fun. And maybe someday you'll be going back for your big pilgrimage across those countries and you'll have more memories to scrapbook.

[00:28:22] Jaymee Da Rocha: That's the plan.

[00:28:23] Jennifer Wilson: Thank you again for spending time with me.

[00:28:25] Jaymee Da Rocha: Thank you so much, Jennifer.

[00:28:26] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to scrapbook your way.

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