SYW250 – Aligned with the Seasons

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Sometimes there’s a project you just have to do. Maybe you’re not even sure why or how. That’s exactly how Helen DeRam and I felt as we were discussing some of our creative desires and objectives for this year.

What resulted from those patient, curious conversations is a year-long workshop for members called Aligned: Tending Your Creativity Season by Season. In this episode you’ll hear the origins behind the project, how we are each approaching it, and some of our initial observations on the Winter season.

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[00:01:21] 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 250. In this episode I'm joined by Helen DeRam to chat about the intersection between the natural seasons and our creative practices. Our conversation explores how we can feel more aligned with seasonal shifts and introduces a new workshop we’re teaching together.

[00:01:56] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Helen. Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, once again.

[00:02:00] Helen DeRam: Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for having me again.

[00:02:02] Jennifer Wilson: This is going to be a really fun conversation, I believe. Uh, but for those who haven't heard you on the show before, can you share a bit about yourself?

[00:02:12] Helen DeRam: Sure. I live in northern Illinois with my husband Rudy. I'm a IT manager by day. I, um, I like to call myself a bird nerd. I. And I like to go antiquing. I've been scrapbooking for 20 plus years and uh, I am on the creative team for Simple Scrapper for a few years, and I love that. It's, um, it's been really fun to be part of the community.

[00:02:39] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, and I've, I love getting to know you, to see your work evolve and have conversations like the one we're gonna have today that are incredibly specific about the ways we create and what that means in our life and how it all intersects together. I'm curious about you being a bird nerd, and maybe we can, like, this is a bit of a preview of what we're gonna discuss, but are you often going outside to look for birds. Do you, I'm assuming you've got like binoculars at your window and how does that look? What does that look like for you?

[00:03:16] Helen DeRam: Yes. Um, we do have actually a couple, a pair of binoculars. So, 'cause we're both kind of bird nerds, um, my husband and I. And, um, I do have a big feeder, um, that I can see from my kitchen window. And so I have three. It's like a pole with three different, um, hooks. So I have three different feeders that I keep, um, full during the winter. And I'm always looking out to see what kind of birds are coming to the feeder.

[00:03:47] Helen DeRam: Um, and yes, uh, when we go outside, I love to just stop and listen to the birds too. Especially this time of year, there's a couple bushes where all these sparrows just congregate and the sound is, is amazing. It's so fun.

[00:04:04] Jennifer Wilson: I bet.

[00:04:05] Helen DeRam: But yeah, every time we're out, whatever the season is, I'm, I'm always aware of the birds and, and what's around and lots of hawks and owls and all the songbirds, well, maybe not all of them, but lots of them around. So I can't quite get great photographs of the birds, my birds. Um, I wish I could, I probably need a really big, I know I need a really big lens, and a tripod.

[00:04:34] Jennifer Wilson: Yes,

[00:04:36] Helen DeRam: Some fuzzy photos of them.

[00:04:38] Jennifer Wilson: You know, I think that's, it's okay. Like you couldn't, like there's an experience here that is intangible. Um, and there's so much value to that beyond the images that you get. I mean, 'cause I know you also, you do have a lot of photos of plants and flowers and landscapes and there's only, I mean, yes, you can use them a lot, but eventually there's just a lot of them, far more than the number of scrapbook pages you're going to make.

[00:05:08] Jennifer Wilson: And I imagine that would be the same for birds too.

[00:05:10] Helen DeRam: For sure. Yes, for sure. Yeah. I couldn't possibly, um, scrapbook them all the landscapes or birds if I was taking photos of all the birds.

[00:05:23] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. Was this an interest you had like lifelong or was it something that kind of became something more significant when you met Rudy?

[00:05:32] Helen DeRam: Um, it definitely became more significant when I met Rudy. He actually had like a bird book, you know, and it was like, let's identify the birds, and I was like, oh, this is a thing, you know? Um, growing up, we kind of lived in the woods and there were always birds and I was, you know, sort of aware of them, but not to the level, um, that I am now.

[00:05:57] Helen DeRam: And, um, identifying them and, and that kind of thing. And it's really fun. I have actually an app on my phone that, because I'm not good at like sound identification, but the app you, um, turn it on and capture the sounds. And it's amazing, it's, Cornell and it, it grabs all the sounds of the birds and identifies them and I love that because a lot of.

[00:06:20] Jennifer Wilson: Shazam for birds.

[00:06:22] Helen DeRam: Exactly, yes. Because a lot of times there's birds you hear and you never see, and it's like, what is that bird? So I love being able to identify them that way as well.

[00:06:34] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that sounds so fun. I, I ask all this because I grew up, uh, when we lived in Michigan, my grandpa had tons of feeders and was just like this. That was definitely his passion. And so I, I grew up doing a lot of that and learning a lot of things.

[00:06:51] Helen DeRam: Oh, nice.

[00:06:52] Jennifer Wilson: And during the pandemic, Steve, I got Steve some feeders and he put 'em up. And so we've been, uh, just enjoying what the birds do and then how all the creative ways the squirrels try to get to the feeder. Despite all the squirrel deterrent devices that we have.

[00:07:10] Helen DeRam: Uh, I know, I know. They are, they are amazing.

[00:07:15] Jennifer Wilson: Like it's a gymnastics thing in our backyard sometimes.

[00:07:19] Helen DeRam: Yes. That's fun to watch too.

[00:07:21] Jennifer Wilson: So as always, I love to ask our guests what is exciting them right now. So could you share one thing that's inside of scrapbooking as well as one thing that's not scrapbooking related at all?

[00:07:33] Helen DeRam: So not scrapbooking related at all. If the weather holds this weekend, we're supposed to get a winter storm. Um, if that doesn't happen, then um, it's my sister's birthday, so all of us, we're gonna go antique shopping and then go out to dinner. So, um, we'll do that at some point even if, uh, we have to cancel this weekend.

[00:07:54] Helen DeRam: But if we do have to cancel this weekend and it's a winter storm and we stay in and just have comfort food and I scrapbook, that's fine too. Scrapbooking related. So this project that we're gonna talk about is definitely exciting me. But I'll pick a different one. Um, I am working on a travel album for a trip that we took last year to Maine, and I'm doing it in a similar way, um, album wise to this project.

[00:08:23] Helen DeRam: And it's just, I love it. I'm probably about 70% complete. It's very interactive and, um, just working on that and seeing the photos from our trip in the summer. That's really fun to do that and relive those memories as well.

[00:08:37] Jennifer Wilson: Now is working on kind of two projects in a similar format, is that increasing your excitement about that format or are you getting curious about other things?

[00:08:47] Helen DeRam: Right now, because it's fairly new, it's increasing my excitement for sure. And working on one gives me ideas for the other. And is giving me more confidence in, you know, different, um, inserts and interactive ways to do things. So they're building on each other.

[00:09:08] Jennifer Wilson: Get more into that. Yeah. So what about your bucket list? This is the other question we'd love to ask our guests. Your scrapbooking bucket list includes stories that feel important or significant to tell. They don't have to be huge or difficult. They can be really small, but very personal and meaningful. So do you have one story on your bucket list that you've not yet told?

[00:09:31] Helen DeRam: I do, um, probably more than one. But, um, one that has been popping up for a while that I've been thinking about is, growing up, before, like, you know, the, before the age of five. We lived in Chicago in a three flat, and it was me and my mom and dad and my aunt and uncle, and my cousins and my grandparents.

[00:09:55] Helen DeRam: And every morning me and my cousins who were, you know, just a few, years older than me, we would go up to my grandmother's and she would give us coffee. Now there was more milk and sugar than actual coffee, but we would sit around her kitchen table and there are, there are actually a few photos of it.

[00:10:14] Helen DeRam: Um, and we would drink coffee and she would give us cookies. And it was just, it's just such a great memory and probably started my love of coffee. But, um, that's definitely something that I wanna scrapbook.

[00:10:26] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love that story. You are not the first, not even the second person that I've met that grew up in a three flat in Chicago with like all family in the building. Um, it's such a unique part of, I don't know, Chicago story.

[00:10:44] Helen DeRam: Yes, definitely. There's a lot of great memories because it was that early childhood, you know, up until I was five. Like, um, you know, Christmases and just because it was my cousins, they're all boy cousins, so there's all, you know that as well. It was just so much fun. We, it was a blast. So there's, there's a lot of stories there.

[00:11:03] Jennifer Wilson: For sure. Yes. I think that the coffee in particular, like if all of us traced for all of those coffee lovers, I'm sorry for all of you who don't love coffee, you're missing out. But um, like what is our origin story when it comes to coffee? And I think that'd be really interesting to, uh, to swap stories.

[00:11:24] Helen DeRam: Oh yeah.

[00:11:25] Jennifer Wilson: With our creative friends so.

[00:11:26] Helen DeRam: That would be very interesting.

[00:11:28] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, Today we are talking about Aligned. And this has been mentioned on the podcast a number of times now with a name, without a name as this vague concept. Because it definitely started as some thoughts and discussions we were having before it really became a thing. So Aligned is a year long workshop in four parts, and it is designed to help you connect the natural seasons of the year. And we are operating from a northern hemisphere perspective, with your creativity. So how can we express our connection to the season? How can we deepen that connection? Understand it, document it, invoke the feelings of the season and the visual imagery. And notice how those change throughout the year. Um, so we're doing this inside of the membership. Uh, it's, it's been so interesting because I, we talked about all the different ways we could do this and it made the most sense to share this with our community. And really, um. I don't know, share it from a place of love. Like we decided that we were doing this in November and December. It wasn't part of the big picture, Simple Scrapper planning for the year. It was like, okay, we're, we're gonna do this thing, surprise, everyone. Um, and it's amazing. And it's been amazing to see the reaction to it. So, so what did I miss in terms of what this actually is?

[00:13:03] Helen DeRam: I think, I think you got it. It's, you know, scrapbooking the season in the season, celebrating the season, it's a love letter to the season. I think was, you know, one of the, the ideas. So, and I also just wanna say that, working on this with you and I always felt like I just had this jumble of ideas and feelings about this and, you know, we had a few discussions and messages back and forth. And you were able to take all of that and use your superpower and make specific prompts and activities and journaling prompts to go along with all these different ideas. And that was just amazing to see and be a part of. So thank you for that.

[00:13:47] Jennifer Wilson: Thank you. That's, that's so kind of you to say. I mean, I think I've grown comfortable over the years with being in a place of uncertainty, the, the messy middle as they called it. Like just not knowing and knowing, okay, I just need to, gather ideas, continue thinking, and that over time it will come together. And to trust that you can't really force it. Particularly when things come at you in such like an abstract conceptual way. Before we talk more about kind of how, like this came to be in where we were at. I wanna also mention, you mentioned prompts. So the format of this is we do an introductory post to the season, um, an invitation to kind of figure out how you're gonna approach it. And we're actually gonna talk a lot more about how we are each approaching this as a project. And then we have 12 weekly prompts for each season. And each prompt is, has a variety of ways that you can interpret it. This is a very non-directive, very collaborative, um. Type of experience. Um, if you think about something like Crop and Create Delivered, which is, here's the stuff and here's what you're gonna make with it and let's follow along. And that's amazing. I love that. This is like the opposite of that. It is like you start with yourself and figure out what you're going to do, and we are planting seeds along the way for you to, to keep going and keep coming back to it. And maybe that's why it's been kind of just a kind of a delightful difference to so many other things that we do.

[00:15:35] Helen DeRam: Yes, definitely. And it's, it's so fun to see it sort of evolve and, everybody's different ideas in the membership.

[00:15:43] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. So going back to, you know, October, November, what were you like thinking about and imagining when it comes to doing something. This wasn't yet a project. It wasn't a workshop, but what were, what was on your mind?

[00:16:01] Helen DeRam: So a couple things, and I think I, you know, maybe came from a different angle than you did. But, so last year, the creative team for Spark Magazine was doing seasonal layouts. So, you know, capture the season on a page or two pages. And I really liked that. I liked being able to summarize a whole season.

[00:16:25] Helen DeRam: And last year I was doing, um, I was trying to do, the memory planner. And um, I love that. I love all the, I love how it's different. I love the interactive pieces of it, but that weekly format just, it ties me up and I have a hard time keeping up. And I have a hard time in that format breaking out of the weekly idea and here's what happened on Monday and here's what happened on Tuesday.

[00:16:51] Helen DeRam: So. So then I kind of thought, well, seasonal makes more sense for the way I wanna document. And I wanted to then, you know, try and incorporate those different creative ideas and the interactive bits, but do it, over the whole season and kind of try and capture it that way. And also the idea of you know, scrapping the season, in the season. Like I, I love to, you know, the product I buy, the papers I buy, like, I definitely do buy ones that are very seasonal looking. And every time as I'm like flipping through my papers and like a spring one will pop up and I'll be like, oh man, the spring, I wish it was spring and I could work on it and use this paper. I like, I like, I like using those products in the season. It just kind of, it feels more aligned if you will.

[00:17:44] Jennifer Wilson: Well and you like, just for kind of a stylistic reference, you love 49 and Market. You love everything botanical to start with. Like, this project very much fits your style at like, just on a fundamental level. Um, and so it's so interesting to kind of see how everyone is approaching. 'Cause not everyone has that style, like you're maybe, uh, so like an ideal model. I don't know. Or I don't wanna say anything is like more ideal or more perfect than others, but it was definitely a natural fit for sure.

[00:18:21] Helen DeRam: Yeah, I tend to lean more toward, yeah, natural, looking papers in the botanical and things like that. So that sort of lends itself to this seasonal idea for sure.

[00:18:33] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. Now my perspective is actually very, very different. I wasn't coming from a, uh, from really a scrapbooking perspective at all. There was certainly a, a memory keeping desire, a creative desire, but it was more about I want to feel more connected to what is happening outside. Um. I spend a lot of time in here at my desk, inside. I, I started keeping track of the number of days I don't leave the house and I did not like that number. Um, so even if I don't have to drive anywhere, um, I would like to make sure that I am leaving the house and experiencing nature's seasons. We do, we, I live in Illinois as well, and so we both, uh, experience kind of the full range of, of seasons of the year, and I wanted to do something creative that, uh, supported me, encouraged me, and helped like, I don't know, create an experience loop, I guess. So like I'm, one of this is the same reason I do December Daily. Like I do this project because it helps me experience the holiday season in a more like, fruitful, positive way. Um, it's not just about I'm having this experience in the season that I'm documenting it, it's certainly like, it's all connected for me. And so that was really what I was going for. Um. With this project and then we kind of just combine those ideas together. Though our interpretations are are also quite different.

[00:20:22] Helen DeRam: They are, they are, but they both, you know, they come together to celebrate the season. And I love that you're using it in that December Daily, quote unquote way to, um, I want to, you know, experience the season, document the season, so you're using this project to, to do that, you know, to, to spur action, to enjoy the season.

[00:20:45] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:20:45] Helen DeRam: So I love that. And as far as the way we're approaching this, um, you know, we're doing it in different ways. So what foundation did you choose to do this and, and why?

[00:20:56] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think the first thing I need to say is that as we were talking about this, you like kept checking in with me and said, have you picked something yet? Like the, the days are going by here and we actually are going to have to do something and share something. So have you picked something yet? And finally I just, I did some more browsing and I went with my gut and I chose a Square Mixed Media Journal from Dyan Revely. Um, I've used another one of her journals before in a different size, and this one has different kinds of, of ledger papers in it. Um, so it has like a cream background with various ledger papers and I knew it would h held up to like, paint and other wet things. Um, because that was definitely an interest that I had. And I am using this one book for the whole year. And so there'll be four different sections, one for each season. I've actually left like a blank page for some sort of introduction that I will create at a time when it feels like I'm ready to do that. I, I'm not, I haven't gotten there yet. I wanna see where this goes. But, uh, so far it's felt very like portable. It fits outta my table well. Um, everything has held up so far in terms of like the paper not overly buckling or doing weird things. Like everything is like, guess it's in my comfort zone. Which allows me to go outside of my comfort zone when it comes to responding to the prompts.

[00:22:33] Helen DeRam: Oh. That's perfect.

[00:22:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, and so I think like what, from that perspective, your foundation is also kind of in your comfort zone, or at least in your excitement zone.

[00:22:46] Helen DeRam: Yes, definitely in my excitement zone. I saw, um, it's 49 and Market and it's their Quad Folio Foundations album. And there's many foundations, inserts that you can use as well. And I saw a video on it, on A Cherry On Top. And I was immediately like, this is it. This is my album that I'm going to use for this seasonal project.

[00:23:15] Helen DeRam: And originally I was like, it's quad, it's four, there's four seasons. I can have one album for the whole year. But then I was like, Hmm, Helen, maybe not. Because I wanted, I want it to be just, chockfull of photos and journaling and bits and envelopes with stuff and, ephemera. So I'm gonna do one per season. Which I feel much more comfortable doing. 'Cause then I can, you know, I can really kind of expand and, and include all the things I want to include in it. So, yeah, I'm really excited about it and, and just all the different, um, the interactive bits. I'm just really into all of that, you know, flips and flaps and envelopes, and there's a little notebook here and there's a, photo here and I just really love that. So that's what I chose.

[00:24:07] Jennifer Wilson: It was really interesting 'cause as we were like talking about ideas and I was looking at kind of similar albums, but I really kept going back to like, what's gonna feel like delightful and easy for me? What's gonna feel approachable? Cause I didn't want there to be any like hesitation. 'Cause some projects are like, oh, this needs to be like good. I feel intimidated by these products. And so I, I chose not to use that type of album 'cause it's very beautiful. But I know that I knew that I might overthink it. And I didn't want that to be a barrier to kind of jumping in with ease every week.

[00:24:44] Helen DeRam: Right. Right. And that's, that's a really good point. And especially since we just kind of, you know, came up with this and sort of added it on the fly and threw it into the community, keeping it simple, keeping it, you know, whatever works for you. Um, I think is, is the path to success for this project. And we're seeing all kinds of different formats in the community as well when they're posting. So what have you seen?

[00:25:10] Jennifer Wilson: It's been so interesting because, I mean, just like digital pages and traveler's notebooks and just other forms of journals.

[00:25:20] Helen DeRam: Memory Dex. I think there's a couple of those.

[00:25:23] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, yes, that was the, that was definitely the most creative one. And it's one that's like in, in a drawer versus like a spiral. Um, just so, how do I say this? I think I was so surprised at the receptiveness to the members. And I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was surprised at the receptiveness to just saying, okay, I get to pick whatever it is that I want to use for this.

[00:25:50] Jennifer Wilson: And that has just been so fun to see that what we're doing is versatile, personalizable, um, like, has an opportunity to really use whatever you have. You don't necessarily even have to go buy anything new to do it as, as we both did. Um, so that it's just been so, so fun and I think it's only gonna get better as we, we go through. We've just released the third prompt as of this recording. So we've got so much of the year ahead of us to see, to see where this goes.

[00:26:25] Helen DeRam: I know, I know. It's so exciting. I, I love looking. Um, I look every day to see, you know, the new posts that people are doing and questions that they're asking, and conversations they're having. It's, it's, it's really been a lot of fun.

[00:26:38] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. So we're in winter right now. Uh, it's, as you mentioned earlier, it is finally getting cold here. Um, you might get a lot of snow. I'm not sure how much we are gonna get down here, but I'm, I'm actually really gunning for like big snowstorm because that makes me happy.

[00:26:55] Helen DeRam: Right. Yeah.

[00:26:56] Jennifer Wilson: I'm. I'm curious, what are your favorite parts of the season?

[00:27:02] Helen DeRam: Um, so I, I do like a big snow storm as well, especially if you don't have to go anywhere. Sometimes it makes you, makes you stay home. So I do like that. I like, like, I like going outside, you know, getting bundled up, going outside. You know, kind of checking out, um, what's going on in the yard and nature.

[00:27:21] Helen DeRam: And, I will say, just real quick, I have a little mouse living in a flower box and I'm kind of letting him live there. And I put peanuts out and I go check on the mouse and he is eating the peanuts. Um, uh, anyway, I like, I just, you know, I like the cozy indoor parts of winter, like comfort food and having a fire in the fireplace and scrapbooking all day on a Saturday. And I think one of the, one of my favorite things is kind of like at sunset when the light turns blue and we call it blue hour. And I just, I have so, so many photos on my phone. Of, of blue hour and every minute it gets bluer and bluer and bluer till it's dark. And I just, I just love that, that color and that light, and it's even more pronounced when there is snow outside. So, um, blue hour is top thing for the season for me.

[00:28:21] Jennifer Wilson: I don't think I've ever really noticed that. I've noticed it. Like, oh, it's light and now it's not. Um, it's, but like just slowing down and taking note of that, that's something I'm definitely going to do. Um, I would say noticing is a, we have a specific prompt about it, but it's definitely an overarching theme in what we're doing. Because it's about, okay, it's not just what is happening, but how is it, like, what is the context of that happening as it, as it comes to this, this particular season of the year?

[00:28:55] Helen DeRam: Right, right.

[00:28:58] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. It's, it's so interesting. We paint a very magical picture, but it's each season brings its own challenges. What are some of the things that maybe are not as fun for you?

[00:29:11] Helen DeRam: I think just being cold a lot of the time. I, you know, the dark can be a challenge for people. I don't, I embrace it. So that's not a challenge for me. I like you know, it's dark, you know, blue hours over, I'm gonna lower the shades, I'm gonna get cozy. I just think, so just being cold I think is a challenge.

[00:29:32] Helen DeRam: I really try to embrace, each part of each season, um, and even in winter. So what about you?

[00:29:40] Jennifer Wilson: I think that's one of the reasons I want to do this, because I feel like I'm a bit of a weenie when it comes to weather of any kind. Um, and particularly in the winter, I'm like, oh, it's cold. And then if it's also wet and cold, I'm like, I don't wanna leave the house. I don't feel like I have the right arsenal of gear. Um, I'm a wear sandals until it snows kind of person. And then I'm like, oh, do I really have to wear a coat on top of this heavy sweater? And so, I don't really support myself in actually wanting to go outside in it. But I want to like, I want, I want to do that 'cause I've had experience in the past where I adequately prepared and had a great experience.

[00:30:29] Jennifer Wilson: Um, so I want to observe my behaviors and, and perhaps shift them. I definitely, the darkness definitely does impact me. And I've talked before on the podcast how I have a happy light now on my desk. I actually kind of got out of routine in that over the holiday season 'cause I wasn't in here as much.

[00:30:47] Jennifer Wilson: Uh, but now that Emily's gone back to school, I'm kind of excited for that to be the starting point to my day. In terms of the favorite parts, I do love those snow days. Like I'm always the one hoping for everything to get shut down and nobody had to have to go anywhere. I'm checking like the cancellations early and crossing my fingers.

[00:31:09] Jennifer Wilson: And I just like, I have this delight. Yeah, I feel like I had more of them growing up in southwest Michigan than we do down here. Um, but I remember one time a couple years ago when it was just, it was not just snowing and a ton of snow. It was very blustery, like almost white out conditions, and Emily and like four other kids were just traipsing around the neighborhood. And they were having a ball despite it being incredibly cold and not like, not even like the fun snow, where now the sun is glistening, it's, this is miserable. But they are kids and that was delightful to them. So I like that kind of spirit, is definitely what I bring to the season. Um, the coziness aspect as well. Uh. Right now for the past 24 hours, I've had one of those cozy ambient sound videos on the TV downstairs. Where it's just like playing chill music and it's showing a fireplace. And I noticed it. I woke up in the middle of the night and I could still hear it, and it would just like, it made me so happy to have it. And really I'd forgotten to turn the TV off, but I'm like, oh, I just wanna leave that on. Unless we're watching something. We need to have like, just this mood, like setting the mood for the home because we don't actually light our own fireplace. We never have, and I'm not sure that we will. But it, it just gives like more of an atmosphere, even when it's cold and gray outside.

[00:32:46] Helen DeRam: That's a great idea. You know, we did the fireplace on the TV for Christmas because it was like 55 degrees. We actually had our patio doors open 'cause it was warm in the house when everyone was over. So yeah, it's kind of nice having that on and we didn't have the music, but you could hear every once in a while, like the crackling of the fire. And we found ourselves, uh, after everyone left just sitting on the couch staring at the fireplace on the tv. It was really nice. So I think that's.

[00:33:14] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:33:14] Helen DeRam: Great idea to have that going kind of in the background.

[00:33:17] Jennifer Wilson: There is something, something to that.

[00:33:21] Helen DeRam: Yeah. So it's still kind of early on in our project. We've only done a few prompts, but do you feel like it's helping you connect to the season more?

[00:33:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, but even stronger I am seeing how disconnected I might be. Um, particularly in like less hospitable seasons. Like spring and fall, I think I'm pretty good because I'm like, oh, it's just, as long as it's not raining, like everything feels nice. The temperature's not too hot, not too cold. I guess I'm very much a Goldilocks type of person.

[00:33:52] Jennifer Wilson: Um, and so I want to feel more of that year round. Because like conceptually in my mind, I do embrace it. I do embrace the shifts and how some seasons are more reflective and some are more like, like buoyant and exciting. I, I like acknowledge that mentally, but the way I behave doesn't necessarily align with that. And so I, uh, I think just noticing will help me do more of it. Particularly we get into some other prompts that maybe direct more of that behavior or invite it. Um, so far we've been kind of looking backwards a little bit, thinking about like how we feel, some of the topics that we've discussed here, like what are your overall impressions, what colors do you notice? Um, but I think as we go forward, it will continue to help me feel more like connected and actually get out in it.

[00:34:54] Helen DeRam: Good.

[00:34:55] Jennifer Wilson: What about you?

[00:34:57] Helen DeRam: Yes, I would say I'm, it's making me focus more on different parts of the season that I wouldn't otherwise. And just kind of looking for different ways to think about the season and different things to photograph. And so it is connecting me more and making me kind of focus more on little things that I would just kind of bypass. So I feel like it's, tuning me in, it's aligning me with the season.

[00:35:25] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. I Now I wanna see, like, I'm just going to plant the seed for you, a little tiny book that you put inside of a pocket, somewhere that tells the story of your mouse that you're feeding the peanuts to.

[00:35:39] Helen DeRam: Yeah, I might already have that going. So. .

[00:35:45] Jennifer Wilson: Glad we're on the same page with that.

[00:35:47] Helen DeRam: Yes.

[00:35:48] Jennifer Wilson: So I've emphasized to our community, uh, particularly when we kind of surprise everyone with this, that this isn't necessarily a big project in terms of scale. Though the, like the scope of a season or, or the whole year feels big. This isn't Project Life, this isn't a memory planner. This is like an invitation to, to jump in. So how, how have you been jumping in? Do you have a time set aside? Are you following your inspiration? What does that look like for you?

[00:36:20] Helen DeRam: Well probably both. When I started. Um, and again, mine's a little bit different because I am documenting my season. I created a foundation album and my plan was, uh, I, my plan in between Christmas and New Year's, I was like, okay, I'm gonna finish my travel album and then I'll work on my seasonal foundation album. Well, I was so inspired by doing the seasonal foundation album that I just went with that inspiration and I did it. so that felt really good. But because we have these weekly prompts and sharing what we're doing, I, you know, I have to be on top of that. So having that weekly assignment, if you will, is keeping me on track. And I, I really like that. Because I feel like I can actually get this done. Because I am working on it a little bit each week and, and adding to it. So, um, so I'm using my inspiration and kind of, you know, scheduling it as well to make sure that it gets done so.

[00:37:21] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. I definitely have a deadline every week for, if you haven't done it now by now, you really need to get this done. Because the, um, the prompt is going live tomorrow, whether, whether or not your photos are in there. Um, and, but I'm finding it easy to jump in. I'm always excited. I look ahead at my schedule and I'm like, oh, I could do that now.

[00:37:43] Jennifer Wilson: That sounds fun. Or I, um, I take a, like, I look at the prompt. Obviously we wrote these prompts together, but I remind myself, okay, what is the next prompt? And then I start thinking about it, kind of marinating on it and, and figure out how I'm going to approach it. And then when that idea kind of gels for me, I am very excited to, to jump in. And it's because it is so like small, there's boundaries around it. I, yeah, it just doesn't feel intimidating at all. Which, you know, so many other things that I've constructed for myself in order to share with others. Sometimes it does feel like intimidating or like work. And this definitely does not feel like work. It feels like play.

[00:38:25] Helen DeRam: Yeah, and it also, you know, we've kind of left it very open. We give ideas and there's the prompt, but then there's also this sort of, do whatever you want behind it as well. Like if none of this is resonating with you, just kind of go with the idea and do something that works for you. So I think everyone's using their inspiration for that. And that's, that's been, that's been good and trying to keep it, um, you know, easy and not make it that big project. So, especially since everyone has many other projects as well. And so for, yeah. Right. Everyone does. But you said from the beginning that this project for you was more about the play than the finished product. So is working on this project helping you to let go of some of those feelings of perfectionism?

[00:39:19] Jennifer Wilson: It, it definitely is. Um, I think viewing it more as an art journal than a scrapbook or a, like a sketchbook, a a place where I'm exploring and experimenting. Definitely has, like, I've created some things so far that I'm like, oh, do I really like this? Like, I kind of love it, but I also kind of like, oh, I might've done that differently.

[00:39:44] Jennifer Wilson: Um, this isn't like a perfect masterpiece, but that's also just not the point. The point is to like, explore, express. Um, do something with this prompt and then like, observe and move on to, to the next one. And then go about like, living the life and trying to, uh, leverage the momentum of the creative action to inspire action non-creative action in life.

[00:40:15] Helen DeRam: Oh.

[00:40:16] Jennifer Wilson: So, yeah, it, it a hundred percent is at the same time, I will also say that doing this is one thing that inspired me to then do another Project Life photo book for this year using Lightroom. So.

[00:40:31] Jennifer Wilson: I Didn't know if I was ever gonna do that again. I did it in 2021 and I realized it is very much a photo management exercise for me that if I'm doing this project, I stay up with my photos and I can document things about smaller stories that maybe not, wouldn't be enough for a layout. And so I'm gonna do a better job of separating those smaller stories between ones where I, I do wanna create a layout and note those specifically. Um, but having these both is definitely giving me also a sense of kind of satisfaction as well.

[00:41:10] Helen DeRam: That's great. That's, that's exciting.

[00:41:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, and it, it feels, it definitely feels like doable as, as well. Um,

[00:41:20] Jennifer Wilson: I feel in a good place for it. What about you? I know that perfectionism is something that is sometimes a challenge for you as well.

[00:41:28] Helen DeRam: Um, yeah, I don't to, I always just say I am an overthinker, but maybe that's the same thing. So, um, it's, it is getting me out of that. And I think, you know, and one of the times we were talking about it, I was like, well, I'm gonna make a foundation album. And you were like, are you sure? Because, because I've struggled with that before.

[00:41:49] Helen DeRam: Because I'm always thinking like, well, if I make this foundation album, what if I change my mind and I wanna do something else. But, I, I just got over that. And I, I, I'm getting over the, the overthinking. I'm sticking things down. And the beauty of this particular album is that, even though I've created a foundation, I also have options for myself.

[00:42:12] Helen DeRam: So, you know, I've. I've made the foundation, I've used the insert, I've put the paper down. I've given it sort of a purpose. But I can still change it and, and add different things. And so that is the perfect combination. And also just having that weekly prompt and knowing that I, I need to post something. It's like there's no time to overthink this. Um, you know, I need to get it done. And that it actually feels, feels really good. So.

[00:42:40] Jennifer Wilson: So is that a different experience for you versus your creative team projects where you might have multiple weeks to work on something?

[00:42:47] Helen DeRam: Yes. Um, and it's one of those things like. If you have the time, you take the time.

[00:42:56] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:42:57] Helen DeRam: You know. Um, but I will say that my, um, I did start working on one of the, the layouts for the, for Spark Magazine, and I got it done a lot quicker and it, it came together, um, in a, in a different way. And so, that was really good. So I think, I think this, this kind of, I think is good for me, this, this project to, you know, let go of some of that overthinking and, and, and move ahead and get it done. So.

[00:43:27] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. I did a layout recently. I don't know that I'd done like a full 12 by 12 layout since October. 'Cause I think as soon as I, I finished a whole bunch of layouts. Um, and then I shifted to December Daily and I don't think I did anything else that big. And then I was like, this isn't my favorite layout I've ever made.

[00:43:48] Jennifer Wilson: But it got, kind of got me over the hump. I enjoyed the process and now I feel kind of, it was like that warmup activity. Now I feel more able to, to jump into other pages. So I think just being in it, um, uh, greases the wheels for more, I guess.

[00:44:10] Helen DeRam: Yes, for sure, for sure.

[00:44:13] Jennifer Wilson: So, so on that note, has working on these prompts inspired other ideas or thoughts for projects or layouts you wanna do? Because I know you're also working on your travel album at the same time in a similar format. Has there been like a feedback loop with that?

[00:44:29] Helen DeRam: Yes, definitely. Just, um, you know, kind of the, the physicality of the album and the way that it works. And, you know, ways to, or incorporate multiple photos and journaling and different um, materials to use, like maybe I wanna use vellum or acetate. So yes, giving me lots of ideas. I have a notebook that I'm always writing down and drawing little sketches.

[00:44:57] Helen DeRam: So it's definitely, um, for these two albums giving me lots of ideas and just learning how to make these interactive things too, right. So it's helping with that. But then, for the layout, the 12 by 12 layout that I was working on for Spark. Um, sometimes I'll do a sketch if, uh, one pops into my head, I'll draw it out. Or sometimes I just let the layout take me where it's gonna take me. And I did that with this one. And it came together, like I said, pretty quickly. But then I was kind of looking at it, I'm like, well. This is good, but I was like, I need to do like this, this, and this, and, you know, to make it better and to just, it just, um, it just sparked creativity for, you know, doing a 12 by 12 layout and I'm, I'm so happy with, with that. And, it's that whole idea. It comes up a lot on the podcast that creativity begets creativity. Right. You know, you're being creative makes you more creative, so. And I think being in it, so much is it's, I just, uh, I'm just sparked with creativity.

[00:46:04] Jennifer Wilson: I love that. I love hearing that for sure.

[00:46:07] Jennifer Wilson: So I, my first reaction to this question was like, no, not really, but that's not entirely true. Um, a a because we're just so in the beginning of it. But I think for one, um, just having like, paints and pens and various things out. Has had me use them more. Um, I actually, when I was decluttering our guest room, I finally like got all the clutter out of our guest room, and now it only has like guest room things like a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, um.

[00:46:41] Jennifer Wilson: And there were two logic problem books. You know the ones where it's like Jodi has a red blouse, but Mike walked to the zoo and you had to figure out the answers. I got these in the nineties when we went to Great Britain on vacation as a family. And I've been carrying them around with me since then. So this is a long time, and I'm like.

[00:47:05] Jennifer Wilson: I don't really actually like doing these. I gave them to Emily, she didn't wanna do them, and, but these, like, they have a memory associated with them. And I'm like, I can just make these as like foundations for art journals. I can literally paint over them and like, keep them as a memory, but then use them for a different purpose.

[00:47:24] Jennifer Wilson: And so I've gotten started with that. Um, painting on those pages and for being like, almost newsprint. They've been surprisingly sturdy, um, to hold up to the paint. So like that is another project I'm working on. It's not really even a project, it's just like a place to, to play and just having those things out and doing it regularly, uh, as you said, like always begets more.

[00:47:51] Jennifer Wilson: And then at the same time, I'm actually very inspired by the things that you're doing by these different 49 and Market, like interactive albums. I have some other products already, like I want to get more. Uh, because there's certain pieces, particularly like. The florals and the leaves that I use up so quickly, I like, I want to have more of them.

[00:48:14] Jennifer Wilson: Um, and so I'm definitely on the lookout for a project to match maybe a like creative concept, like I wanna use these products or something. But I don't know what that is yet. So I'm gonna hold off on buying anything until I have a vision for that. But I'm definitely like inspired to do something in the future.

[00:48:35] Helen DeRam: Yeah, well, and you could incorporate some of them in your, you know, on one of the seasonal prompts as well.

[00:48:43] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. And uh, yeah. I'm just, I'm so excited just to see where this goes to continue seeing how the participants are interpreting it. And I think every season might like, might be a little bit different and as we go throughout the year. Also seeing, because we do have a really like good cohort of Southern Hemisphere participants who they could have like delayed six months to start, uh, from the beginning. But they're actually going ahead and doing their, their summer right now. Um. So it'd be cool to see how they're approaching it, kind of as like an early preview for what we might do later. So I'm excited about.

[00:49:27] Helen DeRam: Yeah, that's really fun to see.

[00:49:28] Jennifer Wilson: So spring here, the northern hemisphere in 2024 starts on March 19th. And so that's when we will kick off kind of the next segment. Um, but don't feel like you can't just like jump in anytime. This is definitely very low key as we've mentioned. Uh, very flexible and free. If you wanted to join us for winter, you're able to to do that and really is no catching up, but jump in very quickly and and, and join us for the experience.

[00:50:01] Helen DeRam: Yes.

[00:50:01] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, yeah, it's been so good and I've loved working on this with you and being able to bounce ideas back and forth and, um, meet our own like individual goals while also sharing something that seems to be resonating really well with the community.

[00:50:19] Helen DeRam: Likewise. I've really enjoyed it. It's been, it's been so fun and I'm just, I'm excited to see where it goes.

[00:50:27] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Thank you so much for spending time with me. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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