SYW252 – Finding Yourself in Projects

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Projects offer a clear beginning and end, making them attractive to a wide variety of memory keepers. In this episode I’m chatting with Steph Grimes, a scrapbooker who finds gratitude and meaning through her creative projects. Our conversation includes how she selects which projects to take on and strategies for getting more photos of herself into her project albums.

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[00:01:18] 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 252. In this episode I’m joined by Steph Grimes for an insightful deep dive on being a project-focused scrapbooker.

[00:01:42] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Steph, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:01:43] Steph Grimes: Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here to talk to you today.

[00:01:47] Jennifer Wilson: Me too. I've been following you on Instagram for a while and I love seeing all the things you're doing and your memory keeping and in your life. Um, but can you kick things off by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:01:58] Steph Grimes: Sure. Yeah. Um, I currently live in Baltimore, Maryland with my husband, Sean, and our dog, Ruby. Um, we both grew up in this area. We currently live about within five minutes of our parents. Um, my husband's grandparents, siblings, aunts, cousins, um, we kind of all just live in the same neighborhood. Um, Yeah, Ruby is our six year old, almost seven year old, uh, Vizsla, and she is a, actually a service dog for my husband. Um, we have no children, and it's just the three of us.

[00:02:37] Jennifer Wilson: Fun, fun. I noticed that Ruby has her own Instagram account as well.

[00:02:41] Steph Grimes: Ruby does have her own Instagram account. It is very inactive.

[00:02:47] Jennifer Wilson: I tried to start one for my cats, but then I was, it just got too hard. So.

[00:02:52] Steph Grimes: It's too hard. It's just too hard. I don't know how people manage multiple accounts. It's a challenge.

[00:03:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, for sure. So I love to ask our guests what is exciting them right now, both inside their crafty lives as well as in everyday life. So what's exciting you right now?

[00:03:10] Steph Grimes: Yeah. So outside scrapbooking, I am extremely excited about just our year ahead. We, um, we had a really slow year last year. We tend to travel a lot and go on all kinds of crazy adventures. Um, but my sister got, my youngest sister got married in August. And so there was just a lot of wedding ness that happened last year. Um, and so it was a slower year for us. So this year we are coming back hot. Um.

[00:03:40] Jennifer Wilson: Nice.

[00:03:40] Steph Grimes: So, we bought ourselves electric bikes for Christmas, um, and are just really looking forward to getting outside more, spending more time outside. All kinds of things. We've got some travel on the calendar already. We've already traveled this year.

[00:03:58] Steph Grimes: We went to St. Louis over, um, Martin Luther King weekend, um, a couple of weeks ago. And so it's already kicking off and I'm very excited about that. Um, and then scrapbooking wise, I think I'm just really excited about starting a new year of documenting. Um, I always really love the excitement of starting, again. Is how I'll say that.

[00:04:22] Jennifer Wilson: Mm hmm.

[00:04:22] Steph Grimes: Not starting over, but starting again, right? Is how do I want to tell my stories this year? What projects am I going to participate in? What things can I let go? Um, and I'm feeling just jazzed about that.

[00:04:35] Jennifer Wilson: Well, that very much leads into the topic of our conversation today. I'm excited to like really get into the weeds with you about how you think about projects and how you approach them. Before we get there though, I would love to know if there's a story on your memory keeping bucket list. So one thing that you would like to document, but you haven't yet.

[00:04:53] Steph Grimes: Yes, there is. Uh, so my husband and I have a really complicated and interesting story. Um, so we actually met when we were in middle school, uh, for the very first time, a friend at church, he came to church with him. Um, and that, that guy and I had been friends since birth, really, our moms were pregnant at the same time.

[00:05:15] Steph Grimes: Um, and so we grew up together. Um, and so I met this guy and he was just, You know, I still remember him walking in the room for the first time and just being new and interesting. And we were friends all through middle school, through high school, um, and just never really got together. Um, and then he met a guy in college who I ended up marrying. Um. And he unfortunately passed away in 2007. Um, and so we were only married for a few years. Uh, and then my current husband, Sean and I got married, um, in 2010. And so we have this really interesting beginning, but I was sort of in a scrapbooking hiatus after my husband passed away. Um, and so, it's about six years of no stories being documented. Um, in that way. And so I really want to go back at some point and try to fill in those details and write that story down. Um, because it just kind of lives in us and in the, the folks that we, that we know who, you know, sort of lived it with us. Um, but I want to see it on a paper.

[00:06:26] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, for sure. Wow. That's so interesting. As you said, like it's a very non traditional way to get together. Um, but I'm, I'm so glad that you, you found your way to each other after, um, all that time and obviously hardship as well.

[00:06:43] Steph Grimes: Yeah. I mean, it was kind of this, um, he he's my person, right? I, it's not to say my first husband wasn't also a person and my person. Um, but I think this was sort of always the, the master plan. Um, somebody's master plan. Um, yeah, it's, it's fun.

[00:07:03] Jennifer Wilson: I can't wait to see how you do that. That's yeah, that sounds like a really, uh, a meaningful and a joy filled project. So, as we've already been discussing, I get the sense that you are a very project focused scrapbooker. I don't see a lot of like, that you're doing one off layouts that might go somewhere sometime. Um. How does, why does this approach work well for you?

[00:07:26] Steph Grimes: Yeah, so I, you are spot on. I am definitely a project focused scrapbooker. I tend to scrap, um, you know, participating in projects like Week in the Life or December Daily. Um, really just encourage me to look at my life in an interesting way. Um, and definitely in a way that was different from how I used to scrapbook, right?

[00:07:50] Steph Grimes: I started scrapbooking in the early 2000s. So it was very much. you know, sort of the Creative Memories days and, um, and those kinds of things. And so I came at it as a very traditional, you know, we scrapbook this event and then we go on and we have a birthday or we have Christmas and it gets one or two pages, you know, in this sort of yearbook annual sort of thing.

[00:08:15] Steph Grimes: Um, and then after I took that hiatus, I kind of came back, and everything had changed. Um, and so I rediscovered Becky Higgins, who I had always loved. You know, her, her like page sketches. I just were a dream come true. Um, I think I had every book that she ever wrote, her handwriting book and you know, How To Do Creative Lettering.

[00:08:40] Steph Grimes: And that was so cool. Um, I was never very good at it, but I, I admired that. Uh, and so she had Project Life by the time I came back in around 2012, I think was the first time I purchased a Project Life kit. And that was back when she sold it as a whole box. You got all the cards, you got the page protector, you got the album.

[00:09:00] Steph Grimes: Um, and so that landscape was just really different. And so, um, I think Becky Higgins and Project Life, and I sort of started that in 2012 and didn't make it very far. Uh, and picked it back up in 2013 when Elise Cripe had created a, um, a Project Life kit.

[00:09:21] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes.

[00:09:22] Steph Grimes: Seafoam kit, if I remember correctly.

[00:09:24] Steph Grimes: Um, and I was hooked. Uh, and so that was how I documented for a long time. And being a long time fan of Ali's, um, Ali Edwards. I just jumped in, you know, and so for all the community projects that she's had going on, um, I participated really loosely. Um, for a while. So December Daily, I had a couple of years where I sort of participated in the way of like taking photos and maybe putting them on Instagram or just saving them and sort of writing stories. Um, you know, on my computer without putting them into a never, they never made it into an album.

[00:09:58] Steph Grimes: So I like that they have a definitive beginning and end, right? It's manageable. It's achievable. I like a sense of accomplishment when I'm scrapbooking. I am, a thousand percent a finisher. And I like that I can finish those. It doesn't feel like this sort of ongoing thing where I could create layouts for every day of my life for the rest of my life. Right? That doesn't have an ending to it. And so, yeah, I just, I really appreciate that they've invited me to tell stories through different lenses, right? So for a Week In The Life, and as an example, I get a really deep dive into what our life looks like right now. Um, and I really, I really appreciate that.

[00:10:39] Steph Grimes: Every time I go back and look at those albums, I'm like, wow, my life has changed so much. Um, and I did my first album, I think this year will be my 8th or 9th year of doing Week in the Life. Um, And then December Daily really is an opportunity for me to go deep and wide on the holiday stories. Um, something I did in my December Daily this past December, um, was looking at what's happening currently and how can I relate that to the past?

[00:11:09] Steph Grimes: Right? So telling a story about taking my nephews to the train garden that I grew up going to. That my dad would take me to, because that's when my mom was, you know, working on Christmas stuff for us. And so that was a chance for him to take us out of the house and do something with us. And so, you know, sort of marrying those stories. I don't know that I would ever think to do that on a, on a 12 by 12 page, um, or something smaller where I feel like I'm constrained to that size and space. You know, projects are sort of the, I, I, they make me feel like I'm making progress.

[00:11:44] Jennifer Wilson: I love that. I love that idea. And I think for those of our listeners who do struggle to, uh, acquire that feeling, maybe there's that a perspective change that's needed and how can you start more specific projects or turn the things that you are currently doing into more of a project?

[00:12:02] Steph Grimes: Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if I, you know, for this year, I even considered maybe I'll only do Week in the Life. Maybe I don't need to document our monthly stories and sort of the whole year as a whole. Maybe I'll just do Week in the Life. I've changed my mind about that. But, um. You know, if you just did that project every year, it's a huge project, but wow, what a story you, you'd be able to tell over time.

[00:12:27] Jennifer Wilson: Well, that's what I was curious about is, do you think Week in the Life satisfies some of those same urges that you had when you started traditional Project Life way back when, um, and comparing it to the other ways that you've documented everyday life? Because it, it does capture so much in just one week. But it's also not everything. So it's,

[00:12:50] Steph Grimes: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think so. I mean, I go, I go hard for that project. Um, you know, my Week In The Life albums typically are real chunky and, and bulging at the seams. Right. And I, I love it. I just, I can't get enough of this is what it looks like. And, you know, there's a lot of conversation in the community.

[00:13:15] Steph Grimes: I feel like anytime these community projects pop up, I see it a lot around both of those. Week in the Life, December Daily, right? Of this, like, I don't have kids. My life is boring. It's not interesting. I've never had kids. We, again, it's just the 3 of us. and so, I look at that as an opportunity to get really, like, I've never felt that my story wasn't important to share because it's such a, seemingly small story, right? Or what others might perceive as a small life. I feel like my life is larger than I can handle, a lot of times. And so I really like the opportunity to sort of dig in and look at those details. And again, when I first started Project Life, what I loved about it was moving from event based storytelling to the everyday storytelling. And,

[00:14:08] Steph Grimes: I mean, that's exactly what Week in the Life is, as you said, in like a really big, detailed way.

[00:14:14] Steph Grimes: Um, and so yeah, I really, I, I go overboard with it. I really should pare back a little bit. Um, I just, I can't stop. I can't stop myself.

[00:14:25] Jennifer Wilson: Where do you, or do you, um, incorporate some of those more event based things? We're going to get to travel next, but I'm curious about, oh, birthdays, anniversaries, you know, other holidays. If you know, say like, for example, if, if Easter is important to your family, how do you capture those?

[00:14:45] Steph Grimes: Yeah. That's a great question. I, um. We, I think we are a little untraditional in that most holidays are not celebrated around here. My husband really struggles with his birthday. Um, I know, I know quite a few people that are that way. And so that's not really ever a big deal. Um, anniversaries same. You know, we, we're just not, I think the way that we look at it is very much that we are grateful to have our relationship. And we celebrate that every day. So it doesn't have to just fall on our wedding anniversary.

[00:15:20] Steph Grimes: Um, we passed our 10, 10 year anniversary in 2020. And we were supposed to go to Hawaii, which of course did not happen. Um, as our. Anniversary is in August. Um, I also turned 40 in 2020. So two really big life events. Um, and I put them in my monthly Project Life that I was doing at that time. So, you know, I saved some cards that my nieces made me and left me on the door, you know, because we were still at my birthdays in March. So it was right.

[00:15:56] Jennifer Wilson: Oh yeah.

[00:15:56] Steph Grimes: At beginning of the pandemic. Um, and so they had like, come and decorated my door and left a gift and, you know, made cards and things like that. So, of course, we took photos of that. And sort of talked about that that way. But yeah, it all just kind of goes into, other than Christmas, right?

[00:16:12] Steph Grimes: December, um, I go all out for Christmas. Um, that's my holiday. That's my jam. Um, I did an album this past fall. Um, using Ali Edwards, um, Halloween kits. I just could not resist how cute they were. And we, again, don't do much for Halloween usually, but I thought, Oh, if I pull together stories from over the years.

[00:16:35] Steph Grimes: That would make an album. Um, and I ended up with two albums. Um, I did an alphabetical, so a Halloween through the years, the ABC edition. So it's alphabetical order. And I pulled.

[00:16:46] Jennifer Wilson: That's fun.

[00:16:46] Steph Grimes: Things for each letter that just for Halloween y or fall ish. Um, and kind of documented, my nieces and nephews and you know just all of that stuff.

[00:16:57] Steph Grimes: Um, so it came together. Um, and I had even more content than I thought I would. Um, but yeah, other than that, it just goes into whatever I'm doing for my sort of yearly documentation at that point.

[00:17:11] Jennifer Wilson: Sure. Sure. I love this distinction between thinking about how you live your life and how you feel about those types of milestones of various scales and then having your memory keeping reflect that. Because I think, you know, particularly for those like you who grew up in the more traditional, uh, Creative Memories style, like those were the things you scrapbooked.

[00:17:37] Jennifer Wilson: But when, but that's not even necessarily what even life looks like these days. You know, particularly I think the pandemic changed things. We're all about, okay, we're going to celebrate this at a different time or a different way. Um, things are so different today and I love how we have products and formats that can support that.

[00:17:58] Jennifer Wilson: Um, and also be more doable as we're talking about today, because there are specific projects that have a beginning and end.

[00:18:04] Steph Grimes: Oh, for sure. Yeah. I mean, you know, we've always been a family. So for Christmas, right? My dad, um, my dad works in a steel mill. And so there have been Christmas days where he's had to work in the morning. Right? And so growing up, it was just very much a, we had Christmas and Santa came to our house whenever it worked for my parents schedule.

[00:18:24] Steph Grimes: Um, and it still works that way. He now lives in Ohio, um, most of the year and, uh, most of the time. Um, and works there. And so our Christmas sometimes happens in the middle of January, like it did in 2022. Um, because everybody got COVID before Christmas. Um, so, you know, if I was just doing an annual album or any, I, you know, I just.

[00:18:51] Steph Grimes: I like the flexibility of like everything can happen when it happens. And I've got a place to put that story. And not forcing a fit with something that just doesn't fit my life.

[00:19:03] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. So let's dive more in to travel. Um, obviously you're traveling a lot with your husband. I do sense that Ruby sometimes joins in the fun when you're doing a road trip. Um.

[00:19:16] Steph Grimes: Ruby often joins in the fun.

[00:19:18] Jennifer Wilson: Um, how do you like to document your adventures? I noticed that one trip you did that you scrapbooked last year had two full 9 by 12 albums.

[00:19:27] Steph Grimes: Oh, yeah. Yes. So, um, I love to travel if you haven't picked up on that yet. Um, and we, let's see, neither one of us has traveled much overseas. And so a few years ago. Um, we were working for a nonprofit organization that we were essentially running and managing, um, as sort of second and third in command at that organization.

[00:19:53] Steph Grimes: And so it was just real intense for the first few years of starting that up and, you know, getting funding and, you know, it was just a lot of work. And so the first two or three years we worked there, we did not take a break. Um, and then we were like, we need a big break. Uh, and so that would have been 2014.

[00:20:12] Steph Grimes: And we decided let's just get in our Jeep and we will drive wherever we want to go for, we took three weeks off of work. And that was our first cross country trip. Um, and so that sort of long range road trip cross country road trips. Those are really our favorite way to travel. Um, we got Ruby in 2017 and right off the bat.

[00:20:36] Steph Grimes: She was traveling with us. Um, I think our first trip with her was a road trip to Atlanta for a conference we were presenting at. Um, and because she's a service dog for my husband, she goes with us and, you know, my sister has a dog that gets car sick. I never even thought about that as a possibility. Um, she just, she makes our adventures better.

[00:20:57] Steph Grimes: Um, she loves road trips as much as we do. She loves the outdoors. She's very rewarded and fulfilled by her work. And so she doesn't mind, you know, oh, okay. We went on a hike this morning, but this afternoon we have to like, go work either when we're going to a restaurant or when we're going to present somewhere or whatever.

[00:21:14] Steph Grimes: Um, so yeah, I travel albums are my favorite thing. My entire list of things to work on this year are travel albums from the past few years. I think going back to like 2019. Um, my first project I started this year is actually a travel album from a trip to Disney, um, and Universal that we took in 2022 with some friends.

[00:21:38] Steph Grimes: Um, I keep a track of as much as possible when we're traveling. Uh, I use the Day One app on my phone and my computer and my iPad. So I try to sort of set up ahead of time a template for what kind of details do I want to, what, what do I think is going to happen on this trip? How do I want to capture that?

[00:21:58] Steph Grimes: Um, so I've done this in a variety of ways. Sometimes I do it hourly and then I set an, um, an alarm on my phone for every hour to go off and sort of then at that moment, the alarm goes off. I just sort of pause and write down sort of what's happening in that moment.

[00:22:16] Steph Grimes: That ends up being more of like a Day In The Life sort of format. Um, I have a method I call on the threes. Um, and so I set a timer for every three hours on my phone. So like 6 AM, 9 AM, noon, 3 PM, et cetera. And then I write down what's happening when that alarm goes off. And it's rough, right? Sometimes I'm standing, I'm about to get on a ride at Disney World.

[00:22:38] Steph Grimes: And so that alarm gets stalled for 20 minutes. Um, so it's, it's close enough. Um. Hybrid, right? So, doing like a morning, afternoon, evening story alongside a currently list with sort of observations and overheard and gratitude. And, you know, sort of all of these journaling techniques and ways of telling that story I've picked up along the way.

[00:23:02] Steph Grimes: I'm getting ready to document our St. Louis trip. And so I've been sort of catching up. I didn't do as much journaling on that weekend a couple of weeks ago. Because we were driving most of it. And so I'm having to go back. And so the way I'm doing that is like, what are the travel highlights? We got caught in a snowstorm.

[00:23:20] Steph Grimes: So like, that's got to go in there. Of course. What are the food highlights? What are the activity highlights? And then what are the feelings highlights? Like what were, you know, what sort of stood out? Um, yeah. And so, yeah, I really try to get as much down as I can in Day One, while I'm traveling. Because then when I sit, whenever I finally have time to get to that project, even if it's years later, I still have a good amount of information. Um, that can help guide that journaling and makes it so much easier if I do it in the moment than trying to catch up on it later.

[00:23:52] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I have a couple questions for you.

[00:23:55] Steph Grimes: Please.

[00:23:56] Jennifer Wilson: First off, do you, I'm assuming you also are using Day One during Week in the Life and does that documentation look even more extensive? Like, do you have timers every 20 minutes or?

[00:24:08] Steph Grimes: So it depends on how I'm telling the story. I don't always do, for Week in the Life, I don't always do a, um, an hourly approach. Um, but if I do, yes, then I have an alarm go off every hour for seven days. Between the hours of like, probably between like nine and nine.

[00:24:28] Jennifer Wilson: Sure. Sure.

[00:24:30] Steph Grimes: Um, but then, yeah, I set up the templates ahead of time for Week in the Life and I just copy and paste every day.

[00:24:35] Steph Grimes: So I have a template in Day One that just is like, this is what I want to document because I also include like gratitude or sometimes I do a lens for the day, right? Like, um, around here or, those kinds of things where I'm using more of like a story prompt than like what's happening every hour.

[00:24:53] Steph Grimes: Um, gratitude is always part of that. Um, you know, sort of a, what we're eating. I document that. Um, so breakfast, lunch and dinner kind of thing go in there. So, yeah, I just, I mean, Day One is, it's easy to set up templates and I, I like having that work done ahead of time. I don't have to think about it every day.

[00:25:13] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. So going back to the travel in terms of how much are you thinking ahead about how you will document it. And kind of setting up some of those prompts in the same way you would with Week In The Life. Or are you just, are most of these having been in the past, you just noted as much as you could and now as you're thinking about the project, you're figuring out how to organize that information?

[00:25:37] Steph Grimes: Yeah, for me, those two things go hand in hand. So part of how I experienced travel is how I'm going to tell that story later and how I'm going to document it. Um, so for example, I'm working on this, um, what I'm calling a magical adventure album. Uh, because it was during Christmas time. We went with friends for the first time to Disney World and to, um, Universal to go to, to go do all the Harry Potter stuff for the first time.

[00:26:05] Steph Grimes: Um, and so for that, I initially, I made albums for everybody in our group. We're mostly scrapbookers. Um, and so I made six by eight acrylic albums, um, ahead of time. So when I'm sitting down now, I actually have changed my mind and I want to do it in a 10 by 8. And I'm realizing most of my photos that I've taken are sort of in that portrait orientation. And so I struggled making that decision because I was like, Oh, I actually already documented the trip as if it was going in a six by eight, right? Like my, what I would consider my key or feature photos are all in that, you know, vertical orientation. And so that is part of how I go about experiencing it. And, and, I'm thinking about that as I'm taking photos. I'm thinking about the details, um, that I want to capture. And like, if I, you know, yeah, the every day, the every hour alarms, sometimes the, like, 3, every 3 hour alarms, they get to, they get on my nerves, right? Depending on how long the trip is, um. And so there are times where I'll overlook those, but I always try to go back, even if it's at the end of the day and put in like, what was the most important thing from the day that I want to, or the most special or the most memorable?

[00:27:22] Steph Grimes: Um, because I want to have that when I come back. Uh, one of the things, um, that I put down in my notes here were just, I did a, my husband and I did a, um, before we were married, we hiked the Grand Canyon. Um, went to Havasu Falls. Um, which is beautiful and unreal. And it was this really special trip. Um, and it was before iPhones. So we lugged our big cameras around with us, which is unreal.

[00:27:52] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, for sure. Wow.

[00:27:56] Steph Grimes: When I realized that, I was like, Oh my gosh, we took all these photos with our DSLRs. And, you know, we have all these photos of all this camera gear that we're carrying with us as we're hiking the Grand Canyon, you know, no small feat.

[00:28:07] Steph Grimes: Um, so I have no words written down for that trip. None. Um, and so 2 years ago, um, when Ali Edwards came out with the, um, the like unbound album, the, the one that's just open with the rings. I was like, oh, I think I want to use that to tell that Grand Canyon story. Um, I gotta get it out of me. Uh, it's just, so I went back and just sort of recalled what I could. Um, I have a pretty good memory. So I'm, I'm grateful for that. Um, but I just wrote the stories from now. You know, this is what I know now that I wish I knew then. This is, these are things that I didn't write down that I really wish I would have. These are photos I didn't take. That are, you know, memories from that trip that I'll really love and cherish. So now that story is kind of like it lives somewhere, instead of just in my head and in my heart, you know.

[00:29:00] Jennifer Wilson: Do you think that was easier or harder than having all the notes that you do currently in Day One?

[00:29:06] Steph Grimes: That's a good, good question. I think. It was, um, in some ways it was more freeing.

[00:29:17] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:29:18] Steph Grimes: Um, because I didn't have a story that I already had to tell you, like I could kind of craft it however I wanted to craft it. Um, and I could organize it in a way that made sense to me. So in a lot of ways, it was really exciting.

[00:29:34] Steph Grimes: Um, but I really do like having that in the moment journaling. It's so different than what you would write even 2 days later. And there are lots of times that, that to album, uh, project that you're talking about was a Pacific Northwest, uh, road trip that we did in 2018. Um, and there were things that I thought I remembered about it.

[00:29:56] Steph Grimes: And then I was reading my journaling. I was like, oh, that happened differently than I remember. Um. So it's always more accurate, right? It's always more, and if I do it well and I don't like burn out on it in the moment, then I have a really good, you know, I just, that's exciting in a different way. I don't know. I don't know that one is easier or better than the other. They're just different.

[00:30:22] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. So last year you used a memory planner format for documenting everyday life. I'm curious what you liked and didn't like about it.

[00:30:33] Steph Grimes: So I tried, um, Heidi Swapp's sort of Stop The Blur approach, um, her memory planner kit. I went all in. I mean, all in. I bought the albums at, or the, you know, the notebooks. They're not even albums. I mean, I bought the Holder album. I bought the notebooks all ahead of time at the beginning of the year. For Christmas, I asked for an annual subscription to the, to the kit.

[00:30:57] Steph Grimes: So my husband got that for me. I was just excited to try something new, right? I had been doing some version of what we call Project Life or pocket scrapbooking for years. At that point. Um, I had switched to monthly in the 9 by 12 in 2022. I tried to do weekly in the 9 by 12 and I made it to about May. And,

[00:31:20] Steph Grimes: haven't done that. The rest of that yet. So going into 2023, I was like, okay, it's going to be, I'm going to experiment and try something new. I would just got really excited about seeing everybody trying that format. A group of friends were trying that format and they had done it in 2022 and, I just loved it when I got to see it in person.

[00:31:41] Steph Grimes: And it ended up being a flop for me. . Um, yeah. So one thing I really loved about working in the memory planner format was using my stamps. Um, I'm a big stamp fan. I'm a big stamp collector. Stamping is actually how I got into scrapbooking. Uh, so my mom is a Stampin' Up demonstrator. And signed up when I was like 20 years old. And so we started by making cards and then that was my sort of gateway into scrapbooking.

[00:32:08] Steph Grimes: Uh, and so I come from that place of stamps. So I was really excited to be able to use my stamps and, um, way more than what I do when I'm working in pockets. Um, I, some of it, I think I got caught up in sort of the, how cute all the little interactive products are that Heidi designs.

[00:32:27] Jennifer Wilson: They are very cute.

[00:32:28] Steph Grimes: Um. They're very cute.

[00:32:30] Steph Grimes: But when I sat down to work with them every month, I just felt frustrated. Um, I think having been a pockets person for so long, it was just really hard for my brain to adapt to how do I get all of this content that I have, right? Because I'm, I'm a writer. I'm a journaler. I take a ton of photos. How do I minimize that down into these really tiny spaces, um, that are adorable, yes. But, uh, not practical for me. Um, it felt like. So I didn't really like the format. I really love large photos. I really missed those. I found some ways to include those, um, as the year went on. But, um, there's still just not big enough for me. Um, I didn't like the pressure I felt to write about something that happened every single day.

[00:33:19] Steph Grimes: I felt very stuck in that sort of weekly format because that's how the, the notebooks that I, again, I bought all of this stuff ahead of time thinking like, I'm totally into this. Um, and so I wanted to use the products I had without like buying more. Um, so I could have gone to a less formatted notebook for sure. But I didn't because I had already had them in my stash.

[00:33:41] Steph Grimes: So, um, yeah, I entered it because I felt bored of Project Life and that pocket style, and I obviously didn't keep up with it weekly in 2022. Um, I thought that the memory keeping or the memory planner approach would be really simple and quick and easy. Um, so that I could focus on these other projects on my to do list.

[00:34:02] Steph Grimes: Um, but it just didn't really happen that way. I constantly felt like I had to reinvent the wheel, um, and new techniques, new interactives. Oh, that thing I did last week that I loved actually won't work this week because I have more words or fewer words or more pictures or fewer pictures. Um. So it was really, I just really missed my pockets.

[00:34:22] Jennifer Wilson: I think, um, one of the topics that's come up on the show and in many conversations over the years that scrapbookers are amazing at taking very simple concepts and making them incredibly complicated.

[00:34:33] Steph Grimes: Yes. Yeah. That, that nail on the head. I mean, that's, that feels totally accurate. Um, yeah, I just, I couldn't find a way to simplify it. So I've made it to the beginning of August so far. I do intend to go in and finish it. I already have started printing photos for the rest of August. Um, because again, I'm a finisher. Um, so I will go back and finish that. I will also go back and finish my 2022 pocket album. Um. But yeah, it's not something I'm going to continue with. So I've canceled my subscription and I just have accepted that I am not a notebook person.

[00:35:12] Jennifer Wilson: That's fair. That's fair. I tried it for the first quarter of 2023 and I gave myself, okay, try it for a quarter. If you don't want to continue, you don't have to. And. Like you, I did not. So

[00:35:25] Steph Grimes: That was a good plan. That was a better plan than going all in.

[00:35:30] Jennifer Wilson: I'm glad I did what I did, though. And looking back through it, I enjoy it. I just don't want to make it again, I guess. So

[00:35:37] Steph Grimes: I totally agree. Looking back at it, I'm like, Oh, this is awesome. Oh, look what I did here. This is so cool. Oh, look at all the stamping I did on this page. Love it. But it's not something I want to do. I didn't enjoy it in the process.

[00:35:51] Jennifer Wilson: Uh, there's also to me, working in a bound book, uh, is can create additional anxiety over messing up because then if you mess up, you have to cover it somehow. And it's. Yeah, it just becomes a whole thing.

[00:36:05] Steph Grimes: Yes. Yeah, I had to redo, like, the first four pages of my December Daily Album this past year. Like, at least two or three times, so I'm probably working in a bound album right now is not the, not the best prescription for me.

[00:36:21] Jennifer Wilson: So, okay, we know you're not going to use a memory planner this year. Um, how will you be documenting everyday life in 2024?

[00:36:28] Steph Grimes: Yeah, so I have decided to go back to pockets. Um, probably not a surprise. Um, so, but I'm trying a little bit of a new format. So I've done, I've of course have done the sort of 12 by 12, um, Design A sort of typical Project Life layouts. I did those for many years. And then I switched to, uh, monthly in the 9 by 12 albums, which I really love that too.

[00:36:55] Steph Grimes: Uh, did weekly in the 9 by 12 and this year I'm actually going to try six by eight. So I have a, um, I really love the Citrus Twist Life Crafted albums. So when they came out with their six by eight albums. I bought one just because I had to have one. Um, I didn't have a project in mind for it. Uh, and it's perfect because now it's going to work for this.

[00:37:17] Steph Grimes: And I love that I'll be able to go back because I know I'll need more than one album, um, that I'll be able to go get those at any point in time that will match. Um, versus, you know, buying something that's more of a printed one off, you know, from, you know, Ali Edwards will often do albums for the different projects throughout the year.

[00:37:35] Steph Grimes: Um, yeah. But I don't know how many albums I'll need. So I, and I may not be able to get those later in the year. So I'm excited for that. The quality of those albums is amazing. Um, and I am going to be using Ali's Stories By The Month kits each month. I love the sort of revamp of that subscription. Um, so I've canceled all my other subscriptions and that's the one I'm sticking with.

[00:38:02] Steph Grimes: And I am just going to do a, a monthly approach, sort of pulling out the highlights from the month. Some of those might, I might also include other products. So like, Um, I have all the Story Play kits from last year that I never used. So I might, you know, integrate those throughout the year of like, oh, hey, actually, I'd like to do, stories. Yeah. You know, I don't know, some of them are so generic that they can just be built in throughout, right? Like little moments, right? That's we can do that any time. Um, Story Kits. I have story kits, physical story kits for the last few years that have remained largely untouched. So I'm also looking for ways to sort of build those in.

[00:38:46] Steph Grimes: Um, so yeah, for my annual project or my sort of what I call my yearbook at this point. Um, I'm gonna do a six by eight pocket album and working inside and outside the pockets and just. Do it my way. Um, I had this sort of really interesting experience working on my December Daily of like feeling like I was forcing a fit.

[00:39:07] Steph Grimes: Um, and once I sort of let that go of like the pressure to use the pages that I made during the prep season, use all the products that I bought because I went totally overboard. Um, I just love this year's kit so much. Um.

[00:39:24] Jennifer Wilson: So that forcing a fit, that was because you were working in 10 by 8 for December Daily?

[00:39:29] Steph Grimes: I was working in 10 by 8, but it was more not even about the size. It was more just forcing myself to do things that didn't feel good, right? To stress about, you know, it's, again, it's that making it more complicated than it has to be. When I removed all those complications and all those quote unquote rules I was putting in place for myself. Of like, I have to use this page because I made it in November.

[00:39:51] Steph Grimes: Well, guess what? It doesn't work anymore. I don't, I don't feel excited about it anymore. And as soon as I let myself off the hook, then I was like, Oh, this is me. This is, you know, I feel like I found myself in that project and my style and what I like. And so I'm just looking forward to like, removing more of those rules and getting them out of the way so that I can just, if I want to stick things in pockets and call it a day, great.

[00:40:16] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:40:16] Steph Grimes: There's nothing wrong with that. That's better than being stuck, you know, sort of with just that story and those photos and those memories living in my head or in Day One. Where no one is accessing them. Um, and it's on, it's on the page. Who cares what it looks like?

[00:40:33] Jennifer Wilson: I'm, I'm curious if you've had a similar experience as what I just had. I was browsing through my December Dailies. Well, in truth, I was actually browsing my blog pictures of December Dailies, but, um, I noticed in

[00:40:46] Steph Grimes: It's easier that way.

[00:40:47] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I noticed in 2017 that I was, it was like a, I did a very straightforward six by eight pocket page approach and it's one of my favorite albums and probably the, the one that was finished first. Like, like, finished fastest, like, probably in January.

[00:41:04] Jennifer Wilson: Um, I think I maybe, like, tidied up a few things later in the year. And I'm like, why, why am I, like, I love doing some of the other things. But why am I always making it more complicated for myself, um, versus doing the things that I know work. So

[00:41:21] Steph Grimes: A hundred percent. The exact same experience. Yeah. It was just, it was, I was just sitting there. I was like, no, this doesn't feel good. I don't feel good working on this. I'm not happy working on this. Then what's the point. Right. So I pretty much didn't work on it all throughout December, which is unlike me.

[00:41:37] Steph Grimes: I usually work on it, not as I go, but like throughout the month. Um, but yeah, I finished it and it is my favorite December Daily album.

[00:41:47] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love it. I

[00:41:48] Steph Grimes: My favorite.

[00:41:49] Jennifer Wilson: Just for our listeners, if you are, especially if you're new to the show, we will include links for everything that Steph has mentioned in the show, um, prior to this and, and continuing on, um, in the show notes for the episode. So, we'll find all the links on her Instagram, any, any sources that she has, and of course any, uh, shopping links as well for specific products?

[00:42:10] Steph Grimes: Enabler alert.

[00:42:11] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. I'm sorry. Slash not sorry, Okay. So you're doing six by eight this year. I'm curious, have you, have you gotten started yet? You said you're doing monthly and we're, this is end of January.

[00:42:25] Steph Grimes: I put something on the cover on the inside cover, um, one of the really pretty vellum cards from Ali's kit this year. Um, I've got a couple things in the pockets. I have ideas. So as I'm writing things down in Day One, um, because I also, I got the story, I didn't cancel my story kit subscription until after the Start story Kit. Because I always really like the beginning of the year. Again, it goes back to that sort of like excited to start again. Um, and so I did get the Start Story Kit physical, um, products. And so I've got some story ideas. So as I'm going through Day One, I'm kind of putting a note at the bottom.

[00:43:01] Steph Grimes: That's like, Hey, this might be a good place to use the Start Story Kit or this particular product in a kit. Um, and sort of leaving that those bread crumbs for myself. Um, when I do finally sit down to do it. But then I jumped into, I mean, how I got into the, the magical adventure album. Was, um, I had so much fun working on December Daily when it came time to clean up my December Daily and put it all away.

[00:43:26] Steph Grimes: I was like, well, you know, that, that album happened or that project, that trip took happened during Christmas. So I should just like leave the stuff out and start working on it. And I offered that same option to myself last year. Cause it was right after, you know, we were, the beginning of December last year, and in 2022, we were just coming home from that trip.

[00:43:48] Steph Grimes: So, it was really fresh at the end of, at the end of January. I might not have even finished. December Daily until like February in 2023. Um, and I offered the same thing to myself of like, Hey, do you want to work on that now? And it was a hard no. Like it was a, um, almost violent response from my body. That was like, absolutely not.

[00:44:09] Steph Grimes: We are done. This was not a pleasant experience. Like we are finished with this. And this year, when I like asked that same question, it was like, yeah, let's do it. Um, and so I'm, I'm just sort of riding that wave. So I haven't gotten to the, to the annual start yet. We'll see. Couple weeks.

[00:44:25] Jennifer Wilson: I think one of my biggest curiosities will be how you feel about the 6x8 size versus 9x12, um, as you approach each month. Um, so.

[00:44:36] Steph Grimes: It has been a struggle. Yeah. Because of course now everyone's going back to the bigger sizes, right? Ali's gone back to doing 9 by 12. I saw Morgan Beal is doing a 12 by 12. Um, you know, everyone's going back to these. And I was like, Oh, maybe I should have gotten a 9 by 12 album. But I'm also, I'm really wanting to use what I have.

[00:44:56] Steph Grimes: And I have this six by eight album and I'm just going to give it a go. I feel like it might help me. It might accomplish the thing I was trying to aim for last year, which was accomplishing the goal of focusing on other projects and getting those travel projects knocked out. Um, because it's going to be really simple.

[00:45:14] Steph Grimes: And so if I don't overcomplicate it, and if I can keep it. If I can keep it really simple, then it will work. I'm hopeful.

[00:45:22] Jennifer Wilson: So.

[00:45:23] Steph Grimes: But also a little nervous.

[00:45:24] Jennifer Wilson: How many travel projects do you have on your agenda and are those the only other projects that you are planning on other than, of course, Week The Life and December Daily?

[00:45:34] Steph Grimes: Great question. Yeah. Let me see one, so I have seven, seven specific travel projects on my list. Going back to 2019 when I went to Story Camp.

[00:45:47] Jennifer Wilson: Does that feel doable for one year?

[00:45:50] Steph Grimes: No, it doesn't feel doable for one year, probably. But If I could put a really, those have been on that list again since, you know, since 2019. So if I could put a big dent in that, if I could get three done, I would think that would be really great. I would feel really good about that.

[00:46:08] Jennifer Wilson: Are there any other projects that you kind of were thinking about and then you have put a hard line in the sand and told yourself no?

[00:46:16] Steph Grimes: Yeah, so I, um, I thought about working on the Story Play projects this year. Right. I enjoyed those kits last year, even though I didn't use them. Um, I, I liked them. Uh, and so I just, I was like, no, we're just not going to do this. I might get some digitals later in the year, but I didn't buy anything from the, from the release last week.

[00:46:37] Steph Grimes: I will do Week In The Life and December Daily, because those are my favorite projects. Um, I'm sort of doing Week In The, uh, sorry, sort of doing One Little Word. But not really. I'm, I'm mostly journaling. Um, I bought a, a Archer and Olive notebook, um, to sort of keep track with that. I really just felt called to have a word this year.

[00:46:57] Steph Grimes: Um, so yeah, trying to keep it light, but not really. It's not really any different than any other year.

[00:47:03] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think when you're passionate about this hobby and when it becomes part of how you live, it's hard not to get excited about all the things.

[00:47:15] Steph Grimes: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, it's just, I mean, I've, you know, I've heard Ali Edwards say a number of times, like, December Daily is just how I live in December, right? And that's just, yeah, this is how I live. I live thinking about, and, and not so much that it takes me out of the present moment, but I feel like it enhances the present moment. Like it makes me feel more present to pay attention to the details of what's happening and what's going on every day, or during a specific event or a trip. Versus like pulling me out of that.

[00:47:43] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. I love that you highlighted that because I think sometimes there's, oh, I don't know, perspectives and opinions on, on the way that we choose to document things. And I think I've become better at putting my camera down. But then also I'm trying to absorb more details. Um, to be able to, you know, add them to Day One or incorporate later.

[00:48:07] Steph Grimes: Yeah. And it's, you know, it's a, it's a balance, right? I know some people are going to listen to this and go, what? You, you spend your vacation, like with all these alarms going off all day long. It's like, yeah, but I ignore half of them by the time it's all said and done. And it's, it's more just a reminder for me to take note of what's happening.

[00:48:27] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, to take that pause.

[00:48:27] Steph Grimes: Versus kind of just going through it and then it's a blur.

[00:48:31] Jennifer Wilson: So if you had to like look through all your projects, what is the favorite project of them all? And what makes it special?

[00:48:40] Steph Grimes: Yeah, um, I had two actually in mind, uh, when I thought about this question. So one of them is what I already talked about was the Grand Canyon trip, right? Where It just, it was like, I had photos, I had great photos, but that was it. Um, and I'm, I'm just so happy with that album. It's, it is so special to me.

[00:49:00] Steph Grimes: Um, it was a trip that, um, my first husband had wanted to do with our group of friends, my current husband included, because we were all friends together. Um, and never got to do. And it was something he had lived in Phoenix, um, for a while and lived in Arizona. And so it was just always something that was so special to him.

[00:49:19] Steph Grimes: And the, the opening photo that I put into that album is actually one that he took. Um, that's a big, awkward size photo. I don't even know what size it was printed. It was very bizarre, but it worked great in the 10 by eight album.

[00:49:32] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:49:33] Steph Grimes: Um, that we had hanging on our wall for a long time as this reminder of like, this is why we did this trip.

[00:49:38] Steph Grimes: And this is, you know, sort of in his memory. Um, it was also the first anniversary, my first wedding anniversary after he passed. And so it was just a really special trip and I'm really happy that I now have it written down and all of that story is in there. Um, you know, it's not just segmented of like, this is why we took this trip and, you know, being something sort of phony or, or I don't think I would have written it the same way in the moment. Um.

[00:50:07] Jennifer Wilson: No. Well, I mean, your perspective is so much deeper now.

[00:50:10] Steph Grimes: So much deeper. Um, so I'm really, and again, that sort of goes back to that journaling in the moment or journaling later. Not better one way or the other, but in that case, it was, it really offered something and lent something to that project, that was really special. And then the other one that I have are my honeymoon albums.

[00:50:28] Steph Grimes: Plural from my first marriage in 2003. So we took a two week cruise in the Mediterranean. Um, it was the first time, I was 23 years old, I had ever traveled anywhere really. Um, definitely the first time outside the United States. Uh, and it was life changing. And that project ended up being two 12 by 12 albums, very traditional, like 12 by 12 layout pages.

[00:50:51] Steph Grimes: Um. I've got ephemera. I was using archival mist. If anybody remembers that from back in the day to like include all of our pamphlets, I sprayed everything with archival mist before it went in so that it was preserved. And, um, I think that's really funny. When I had that, remember that memory come up. Um, I wanted everything to look distressed and old looking like some of the places that we visited.

[00:51:17] Steph Grimes: And so I spent months collecting papers and stamps and embellishments. And I had friends that were helping me find supplies when we were into scrapbooking conventions and scrapbook stores. Um, cause those were all still things back in the day. Um.

[00:51:30] Jennifer Wilson: Kind of funny that you used a lot of like vintagey old looking products, but used archival mists at the same time to make sure that your own stuff would never look old.

[00:51:41] Steph Grimes: Yes, pretty much. It has held up great, by the way.

[00:51:44] Jennifer Wilson: Bet. I bet.

[00:51:45] Steph Grimes: 20, 20 years later, it's still in really good condition. Um, you know, I bought special alphabet stamps. I mean, it just, it was like, it was all consuming. I think it was probably the first project that was ever really, I just really got into. Um, and had a specific vision for that completely, I was able to completely execute on. Um, and then my sister and I actually worked on a lot of it together. Um, completing pages and working through things and coming up with design ideas. And it was so much fun. Um, I really think that's where my love of large photos came from. You know, thinking back, that was really the first time that I, you know, made a photo that was most of the page. And I'm just so, you know, now my life, I live a totally different life now. Um, and so I'm so grateful to have all those stories documented. Um, it was really the trip of a lifetime. Um, and the album, I feel like really feels like that reflects that kind of embodies that.

[00:52:43] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, lovely. Thank you for sharing those.

[00:52:47] Jennifer Wilson: So the last two questions here are a little bit asking for advice for our listeners. Um, one of the things I've noticed is that you do a wonderful job of getting yourself in the photos. Um, how do you think having lots of photos of you helps to support your memory keeping no matter what project you're working on?

[00:53:06] Steph Grimes: Yeah, I love that. I, um, I do try to get in the photos. As I said earlier, you know, it's just, it's really my husband and I and our dog. So, uh, you know, if I had kids, it might be easier to leave myself out of more of the story, but this is my story. This is my life. I love it. I've chosen this life for myself. And so for me being in the photos and it's not always easy, you know, I like every other woman on the planet probably, and some, men just really struggle being in front of the camera. It's not always comfortable. I don't always like the way I look in photos. You know, but I do it anyway because I think it's so important. Um, it's, it's one way that I sort of ground myself in those experiences and remember those moments. Almost like proof that I was there and I did the thing. Whatever the thing was. The thing could have been snuggling on the couch with my niece, right?

[00:53:58] Steph Grimes: You know, I want to remember that. I don't want to have to rely on my memory to show that back to me, because it's not going to be the same. Um, and so that's sort of just how I, you know, I don't always trust my memory. Um, none of us should. Knowing how memories are like, are recalled. Um, and that they're sort of reinvented and re, you know, regenerated every time we recall them. Um, and so, of course, they're going to change over time. And my husband's grandmother, um, we lost her last year, um, after a long battle with dementia.

[00:54:33] Steph Grimes: And so, my husband also has memory loss issues due to a high school accident, but he was in, um, in sports. And so that aspect of it is just really important, right? It's the sort of documenting what is real and true and happening in the moment. Um, and so I think it does help me support, it supports my memory keeping in that way. In that it just supports the memories.

[00:54:57] Steph Grimes: Um, it helps me remember so that when I go to write it down or, um, you know, sort of retell that story in a way I, I have proof of what was happening.

[00:55:09] Jennifer Wilson: And I think the value that you place on it helps to helps you move past any like awkwardness or insecurities about doing it.

[00:55:17] Steph Grimes: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. My husband, a couple of years ago, he was looking through one of my albums and he just paused and he sort of looked at me real intensely. I was like, well, what, what did you see in there? And he just expressed in that moment of how important and helpful it is to him to look through those scrapbooks as a way to help him remember, because he doesn't remember, right? His memory is junk. And so, we were having a conversation about, you know, sort of crafty burnout and hobby burnout and at the beginning of the year. And he's like, you can't burn out on this hobby. Like, it's too important to me. It's too important to us. Um, so I really need you to like, do whatever you can that prevents the burnout.

[00:56:00] Jennifer Wilson: Well, that means trying new things, experimenting, you know, different sizes, uh, whatever it takes to keep it interesting.

[00:56:07] Steph Grimes: Yeah, exactly.

[00:56:09] Jennifer Wilson: Do you have any tips that you use to get self timer shots or remote shutter shots, um, so that it's not just a, you know, a one handed selfie?

[00:56:19] Steph Grimes: Yes, we do plenty of one handed selfies. No shame in that game. My husband's really good. He's got long arms, so he's, he's really good at capturing a big group in a one arm selfie. And sometimes those are fun, but I have an Apple watch that's paired with my phone so I can use my Apple watch as a remote for my for my camera on my phone, which is super easy.

[00:56:43] Steph Grimes: Um, I always have both of those things with me. So it's never a problem during Week In The Life. It's so nice. Um, and then I, I have a bunch of different tripods that we use or phone stands. Um, but I have a one that I really like, which is a small GorillaPod Tripod. And what makes that one unique is that the legs of it are all adjustable.

[00:57:05] Steph Grimes: And I don't mean just like in height or, or, or sort of distance, but like they bend. And so you can wrap it around a tree. You can wrap it around a fence post. Um, and so we use that all the time. Um, I think a tripod will go a long way toward helping you get in the photo. Um, and during Week In The Life, and sometimes when we're traveling, I just, I use all kinds of things as makeshift tripods and for stands.

[00:57:31] Steph Grimes: Um. You know, I set my phone up in my Christmas tree. I've set my phone up on top of books leaning against something in the you know, next to the kitchen sink. Uh, just wherever. Um, so I, my biggest thing is don't be afraid to get creative, have fun with it. Your phone is going to be fine for the most part.

[00:57:51] Steph Grimes: You know, don't do, be careful about, you know, I'm not going to put it near the, near the ocean or near the waves when we're, you know, at the beach. Um, I'm going to be a little mindful of that. But, um, yeah, it's just so small and easy. You can put it anywhere. So, you know, get yourself a small tripod of some sort. The, there's a timer on the camera app, whatever camera app you use, I'm sure there's a timer in there, um, and just play with it. Just, you know, that's, that's the only way to practice is to, is to try.

[00:58:23] Jennifer Wilson: Yep. Yep. I'm curious if you were to go on a Grand Canyon hike again, would you take the GorillaPod this time with your phone?

[00:58:30] Steph Grimes: Oh yeah. And it would be like, both of those things would be way less, I mean, I would have to have my phone with me anyway, right? And the GorillaPod weighs next to nothing, so it would be a much, much less heavy pack

[00:58:42] Jennifer Wilson: Bet. I bet. Yes. So kind of thinking even more big picture, what have you learned from bringing the intensity that you do to projects like Week in the Life and December Daily?

[00:58:56] Steph Grimes: Yeah, that's good. I, um, I think the biggest lesson I've learned is that I love a good challenge. These projects are long. They are marathons and not sprints for sure. Um, and they take a lot of effort and dedication to get to the finish line. And as a finisher, that can feel like pressure. Um, so I feel like I've tried to learn to just embrace that. Look, Week In The Life is a season and December Daily is like 2 seasons, really. Because all that excitement and enthusiasm starts in August. Right?

[00:59:32] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:59:33] Steph Grimes: And so we're getting all the way through fall and then I don't finish it usually until at least the end of January, um, or sometime in January. So, you know, we're going to winter at that point.

[00:59:44] Steph Grimes: So I just, it's sort of mentally setting myself up for like, okay, I just know this is going to take a long time to do. Um, I have learned to see my life in new ways through these projects. Like, Week in the Life really offers a chance for me to zoom in and get really detailed on the small, seemingly insignificant day in and day out kind of things.

[01:00:10] Steph Grimes: Um, but I, I also realize, and I think this is one of the things that they've taught me is that nothing ever stays the same, right? Change is like the only constant. I know that sounds so cliche, but it's so true. Yes, every year I put up the same artificial tree and mostly the same ornaments. But most years there's something new to be added.

[01:00:32] Steph Grimes: Um, and then I think about that all season long while I look at my tree, um, and sit on the couch with it. So how I feel about sitting around my tree each year is different based on what's happening in our lives that month. You know, this year was a lot of joy and rest and ease. Last year was stressful and grief filled.

[01:00:51] Steph Grimes: You know, my, my husband's grandmother.

[01:00:53] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-Hmm.

[01:00:54] Steph Grimes: Passed away in the middle of December. So, you know, it was completely different. And sure, the tree was the same, but everything in my life, all the context around that was different. My nieces decorated our tree this year. It's all I could think about every time I looked at it was like my niece who I remember the minute she was born. Was standing to put the star on top without needing to stand on a chair. I mean, like she's just, she's 12 and she's huge. Um.

[01:01:24] Jennifer Wilson: My 12-year-old is five seven, so.

[01:01:27] Steph Grimes: Yes. Yeah. My, my 12 year old niece is taller than I am and I'm 5'8.

[01:01:31] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, gosh,

[01:01:32] Steph Grimes: We have crossed that. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:01:34] Jennifer Wilson: I'm only 5'4"., So definitely feels taller.

[01:01:39] Steph Grimes: Definitely. Oh,

[01:01:40] Jennifer Wilson: 12 year olds, what are we feeding them?

[01:01:42] Steph Grimes: What are we feeding them? How did she get so big? How can I not hold her in my arms anymore? Right? It's just everything changes all the time. And so if we aren't paying attention, we're going to miss all that, all that mess, all the messy details that are so beautiful in our lives. Right? I think I probably more than anything, I think they've taught me to pay attention.

[01:02:05] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-Hmm. Yes. I love that. I think it's so true. One of the things that I wanna underscore when you were talking about December Daily. Is this idea that even though things look the same, they're actually not. Because we're different. The context is different every single year. Because I've, I've heard people talk about, and I probably have considered it myself.

[01:02:25] Jennifer Wilson: Like, well, maybe I don't need to do it every year because maybe we do a lot of the same things. Or we put up the same decorations. Our house doesn't look that different. But we, as people enter into every, every season of the year with new perspectives and maybe more joy or less joy. And, um, that so much is a, is an important part of the story.

[01:02:47] Steph Grimes: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, my Week in the Life album used to be so much about work, right? Because that was most of my life. We, we ran this nonprofit and it was a youth serving nonprofit. And those kids were our lives. Those kids were our kids, right? And I couldn't imagine a time when I wouldn't ever work there.

[01:03:06] Steph Grimes: And then we got let go, um, in 2019. And so my life is totally different in that way. My work is totally different. You just, you never know when something's going to change. You know, I didn't choose that change, um, but it happened. Um, and it's very much part of the story. Um, and it definitely colors how you see things.

[01:03:28] Steph Grimes: Um, so yeah, I, to me, I think I've also embraced that challenge of, okay, these are kind of the stories I've told about our tree in the past. How can I tell something different.

[01:03:37] Jennifer Wilson: Different. Yeah.

[01:03:38] Steph Grimes: Um, you know, or, and even if I told the same story every year, it would still be different. Because like you said, I'm different.

[01:03:46] Jennifer Wilson: Hundred percent. Steph, this has been so incredible. I know our listeners are going to absolutely love this episode.

[01:03:53] Steph Grimes: Oh, thank you.

[01:03:54] Jennifer Wilson: Can you share?

[01:03:55] Steph Grimes: Having me. It's been so great.

[01:03:56] Jennifer Wilson: Can you share where they can find you online? Anything else like you are, have new or coming up later this year?

[01:04:03] Steph Grimes: Yeah. Um, I am on Instagram and YouTube. Both of those places are sort of my home base, um, for sharing creative projects. Um, and I'm @createdbysteph on both of those. Um, and Jen will have the links for that for sure. Um, and after taking a much longer than intended break from sharing and creating content, I'm actually hoping to share lots more this year, especially videos.

[01:04:26] Steph Grimes: Um, so I'm already thinking about that. And, um, I just needed a break and I'm really excited to be back. I posted my December Daily walkthrough video last week. Um, and that's just a rush of excitement. I'm, I'm excited to share in that way again.

[01:04:42] Jennifer Wilson: Mm. Yes. I love it. Thank you so much. I can't wait to check out your December Daily walkthrough and continue seeing what you create this year.

[01:04:52] Steph Grimes: Thank you so much. Yeah.

[01:04:54] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners,

[01:04:55] Steph Grimes: Been wonderful.

[01:04:56] Jennifer Wilson: Please remember that you have permission to scrapbook your way.

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