SYW265 – My Way with Wendy Erasmus

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Wendy Erasmus combines her passion for storytelling with minimalist products, creating beautiful pages and projects sharing her legacy. In our conversation we explore how Wendy has deepened her self worth and grown closer to her authentic self through her memory keeping. This is a heart-felt episode that’s also full of helpful suggestions.

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[00:02:03] 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 265. In this episode I'm interviewing Wendy Erasmus for the My Way series. My Way is all about celebrating the unique ways memory keepers get things done. We're excited to have Wendy as the June featured artist at Simple Scrapper.

[00:02:34] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, Wendy, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:02:36] Wendy Erasmus: Hey, Jennifer, thank you so much for having me.

[00:02:38] Jennifer Wilson: I'm looking forward to our conversation today, but can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:02:44] Wendy Erasmus: Yes, sure, of course. Um, first off, really just such a lovely experience to be online with you today. Um, you know, I'm an avid listener. I actually, this is kind of the soundtrack usually to my crafting sessions. So it's a really cool full circle moment to be here to kind of be on the opposite side and to, to share today.

[00:03:06] Wendy Erasmus: Um, But, um, a little bit more about me. So as you know, by now, my name is Wendy. I'm from South Africa, um, more specifically within South Africa. I'm from a city called Johannesburg or more lovingly or affectionately known as Josie. Um, I am an avid photographer, particularly for wildlife. So very much kind of in my happy space out in nature, um, and in the outdoors.

[00:03:34] Wendy Erasmus: And yeah, I recently got married just over two years ago. For me, that feels still very recent. Um, to my amazing husband and really best friend Brett. Um, and I think that's just been a very, Interesting and exciting season that I kind of haven't let go of yet. So I'm very much still in bride mode, even though I'm no longer a bride, but yes, I'm also a mom to a 14 year old to Cruz, our son.

[00:04:06] Wendy Erasmus: And yeah, he was a wonderful blessing that came along with my relationship with Brett. And besides that very much an animal person, we have eight rescues. So if anyone kind of, gets to know me on social media, they will see a lot of the, the fur children in all of the layouts. And, um, yeah, they're a very, very big and important part of our lives.

[00:04:29] Wendy Erasmus: And, um, besides that, I think probably what else would kind of define me or help people to get me, get to know me a little bit better is the fact that I have a deep love for Jesus and just an absolute unabiding, um, gratitude for Heavenly Father and his role in my life. And particularly coming from a background of not always feeling like I'm deserving of that love.

[00:04:55] Wendy Erasmus: So yeah, my religion is, is a huge part of who I am. My faith definitely determines kind of the way I approach the world. And besides that, probably just the common denominator of being a crafter and being someone who finds great joy in crafting, um, and creative outlets.

[00:05:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I love, I love our hobby and how we get to combine so many different passions of capturing our lives and taking photos and playing with fun supplies, whether that's, you know, on our devices or in front of us. Um, it brings it all together for sure.

[00:05:30] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely.

[00:05:32] Jennifer Wilson: So Wendy, what is exciting you right now? I love our guests to share both something inside of scrapbooking as well as something in everyday life.

[00:05:39] Wendy Erasmus: Yeah, so I actually kind of, you know, we all go through the mundane of everyday life and don't always necessarily have something particularly exciting to look forward to. But for me, at this point in time, I'm so blessed to be able to be looking forward to an upcoming trip abroad with my mom and my sister.

[00:05:57] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and travel is just such a cathartic and important and inspirational part of my life. And something that I crave so much more as each year passes. So, you know, in terms of my career, I am in a very fast paced environment. I work in finance. Um, and so making time to travel is, you know, not always possible and it's definitely a luxury and a commodity for me.

[00:06:22] Wendy Erasmus: So yeah, very much looking forward to that trip, which is kind of a girls trip, if I can put it that way.

[00:06:28] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and purely for leisure. So that's really great. And maybe if I'll segue from there into the next most exciting thing that comes of that is definitely the travel album that will be in production as we go.

[00:06:43] Wendy Erasmus: And yeah, I just, to be honest, travel albums are probably my favorite type of project to do. In actual fact, I know they, they are my favorite project. And also very much kind of what I curate on my social media in terms of what I consume. So very excited about that and definitely know I'm a documenter. Because I think the travel Like I said, it's very relaxing and it's an important thing to me and I love the inspiration and the kind of relaxation it brings.

[00:07:11] Wendy Erasmus: But you know you're a documentor when the key thing that you're looking forward to about the travel is creating a scrapbook album about it.

[00:07:19] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, for sure. How do you get ready, uh, for a travel adventure in terms of thinking through the scrapbooking aspect?

[00:07:27] Wendy Erasmus: So I definitely have a really good workflow and rhythm that I'm in with all projects. And it is quite generic and organizational in nature. So it kind of works well across projects in different spheres of my life. And really, it's you know, by having a dedicated space. So in my case, it's a device. Um, for others, maybe that'd kind of be like cloud storage or, you know, an album on a phone or whatever.

[00:07:56] Wendy Erasmus: But for me, I love my Ipad pro. It's largely where I do all of my digital documenting. So to have a space, first of all, to have only those projects and only the data and media or files that are related to that project on that device. So that it just removes all the clutter and the noise and kind of distraction.

[00:08:16] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and on the other end of that, with that device or that space in place to really set things up, um, in a way where it is convenient to organize the information. And maybe let me give an example. So for a project, I'll create kind of a master folder on my iPad and, or an album. And within that, there would be sub folders of kind of, if I wanted to document by day or by location or whatever it is, and every day I would just drop.

[00:08:48] Wendy Erasmus: I kind of cull through my photos and, and really pick the images that, um, tell the story and, and go along with the narrative and just drop those in. And usually I have a bit of a tradition of kind of on the way back on the flight, hopefully it's, it's long enough. Usually it's kind of nine hours plus, but this time it's going to be about 22 hours, I try and finish the album. So I do documents as I go. But I just think that one of the biggest things that has been a game changer for me as a memory keeper or a scrapbooker is having organization in place. Because we can't all document and be completely up to date all of the time. And I think that's a huge challenge that people face in the memory keeping arena. But what you can be is organized. And then if that system is functional, it doesn't matter when you get back to that. The subject matters there. You've jotted down the journaling and memories, and it kind of takes all of the organizational chaos out of it and just really makes the process fluid for me.

[00:09:50] Wendy Erasmus: So I'm quite hard and fast about sticking to that. But keeping that device as dedicated for only my memory keeping. It does definitely cause some contention because if you're a mom, you'll know that, um, children believe that whatever you have is theirs. And they have their own device, but yours is just so much more appealing. So Cruz and I have had some boxing matches because I'm just so petrified of losing images or layouts, despite backing them up and doing all of that. I think we all have that kind of inherent fear. So yeah, those things are just kind of the framework of what works for me across whether it's a travel album, a yearbook, or just kind of an ad hoc project. That's what I, I do to prepare for it and to create that system. And yeah, it works.

[00:10:38] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, so much, like so many good ideas in there. Uh, one of the things you mentioned definitely has come through in multiple episodes throughout this year of this, particularly when it comes to travel. But to making, to make sure that you are organizing your information, preparing in advance, gathering, um, just making sure that things are saved so that you can document it on the flight home. Or, you know, five years in the future, if that's what works out for you.

[00:11:08] Jennifer Wilson: But if you've done the legwork, you can feel confident that you can get back to it later. And I think that just, as you mentioned, like we will never be caught up, but knowing that you've captured what you needed to and saved it all together. Means that we can scrapbook it later when we can. So.

[00:11:28] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely agree.

[00:11:30] Jennifer Wilson: So before we get into so much more about you and your hobby and how you've evolved over time, do you have a story that's on your memory keeping bucket list that you've not yet told yet?

[00:11:43] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely. So again, kind of coming back to what I mentioned earlier about, you know, Brett and I getting married two years ago. Um, I think kind of all brides and grooms and, you know, the whole marriage industry really revolves around kind of once the wedding is over, this thing that you have to take you back to that and to transport you back to that is probably your formal wedding album, which we have.

[00:12:09] Wendy Erasmus: Um, but, um, for me, a really big bucket list project right now is actually kind of the behind the scenes, what I would like to call my personal wedding album. So, you know, with this process, I very much as a crafter, you can understand where this comes from, but I wanted to be really hands on. I felt very strongly that you know, I'm only going to get married once. And I want to not skimp on anything.

[00:12:37] Wendy Erasmus: I want to have full creative control and input over my wedding. And so I created a lot of work for myself. My poor mom spent many, many hours doing damage control and helping. So we could kind of stay on track with this never ending to do list. Um, that really could have obviously been mitigated if I'd kind of outsourced things a bit more. But it was important to me to be really hands on.

[00:13:03] Wendy Erasmus: And so as a result of the process being so personal and so important to me. I, and being a documenter, I took endless amounts of photos. So I've got, um, this album of 5, 000 plus images that are just kind of like a personal archive. Of from the moment that we got engaged, which was such a surprise. Kind of, it came completely out of the blue. To the whole planning process and research and finding all these perfect vendors. And, and, all these little details that I had in mind um, to the wedding itself.

[00:13:36] Wendy Erasmus: So, and all of the kind of auxiliary events that go with getting married. Um, and you know, 500 plus videos, and there's just a lot of content to get through. And so I've actually really been very gentle with myself. I'm very excited about the project, but I've allowed myself the space to really In my mind's eye, organize all of this. And really try and create a framework because this is something that is not a usual project.

[00:14:02] Wendy Erasmus: It, the organizational part of it definitely fits into the same paradigm. But how I want to lay it out and how I want to kind of create chapters, um, has taken me a long time to visualize and figure out how I want to do it. So, I'm very much not somebody who likes to kind of go and recreate a project. I like to get it really right and authentic from the beginning.

[00:14:22] Wendy Erasmus: So I've really taken time to just ponder on that. So that's a big one, which I'm hoping to be able to start on this year. But another one, which is very unexpected, but fun. And definitely more from a genealogical perspective is Brett, my husband's grandmother, his maternal grandmother is such a colorful and unbelievably special human being in our lives.

[00:14:47] Wendy Erasmus: And she's just lived a life that has been abundant with so many unbelievable things. So really a phenomenal love story and really romantic love story that kind of seems like something from a movie or from a book. Um, and also, you know, she was born pre World War II and she was a young child and can remember, you know, rationing of, of supplies kind of coupons or, you know, and, and the, and the World War from that perspective. And also just a prolific sportswoman and athlete. So she's got so many amazing parts of her life that just are so phenomenal to me. So I've kind of spent the past three years doing these little video interviews with her where we prompt questions.

[00:15:33] Wendy Erasmus: And that's a project that I'm really excited about because besides Cruz's yearbooks, so my son's yearbooks that I do, that will be the first, if I can call it kind of biographic project that I do. And I'm really into that at the moment, I think that there's so much importance in genealogy. And understanding with more depth and complexity, you know, where we come from, how people became who they are and kind of what makes them tick.

[00:16:00] Wendy Erasmus: So definitely, you know, as any documenter, I think we all have kind of a long list of things, but those two are definitely front and center of mind for me right now and on my bucket list to at the very least get started this year.

[00:16:13] Jennifer Wilson: Both really wonderful and interesting projects. Um, and I like how they give you a little bit of variety to choose different supplies and really think about them differently. But so much, uh, so much goodness when they're all going to be done. Yeah, I can't wait to see how they look.

[00:16:30] Wendy Erasmus: Thank you. Yes, I'm very excited. My family's all putting pressure on me. They're excited too. But like I said, I try and just be a little bit more gentle with myself. Um,

[00:16:40] Wendy Erasmus: and not kind of this undue pressure. So really, just letting it unfold very organically and kind of getting the, the mind leg work done, um, in preparation for those.

[00:16:51] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. So Wendy, you are our featured artist for June 2024. And this is one of our My Way episodes where we get to really go deep into who you are, your creative process. And we've already, we've already uncovered so much just in these, this intro part of our conversation. Before we dive in to our full round of questions, I'd like to give our, our audience a little bit more of a teaser about what makes you tick. Right now we're talking about storytelling and obviously I think I can tell that stories are so much at the heart of what you do. Um, what advice might you have for listeners who want to share more of their stories and their projects?

[00:17:30] Wendy Erasmus: So absolutely, I, I'm a huge, huge proponent and lover of kind of the story behind the story and the story itself. So there's a lot of things that kind of bring the context and the narrative of the story that we tell. And for me, it is, it has been a very big pursuit or part of my approach to memory keeping and particularly to scrapbooking. To really try and balance out telling the story through visuals and also through words.

[00:18:00] Wendy Erasmus: So kind of, I think if you look at a lot of memory keepers, somebody is usually either quite weighted on photos or quite weighted on journaling. For me, I really try and strike that balance. Because I feel that both have so much value to add to the story, but kind of in the, in the, you know, for the sake of being brief and impactful, I think I would have to say that for me, I've been a photographer for over two decades.

[00:18:25] Wendy Erasmus: Um, I love images. I love that they're able to lock a moment into the image forever. Um, but over, for example, the last 18 to 24 months, I have found that I've, I've, I've felt this gravitational pull towards documenting via video content. Um, so as you can imagine, that is a little bit more difficult to incorporate into static layouts, if we can put them that way.

[00:18:51] Wendy Erasmus: Or, you know, kind of a physical layout or so forth. But, there have been ways for me to mitigate against that or to kind of find or circumvent that a little bit, but still, you know, include that. And for example, it would be to upload videos to YouTube as unlisted or private videos, and then create a QR code to add into my

[00:19:11] Wendy Erasmus: layout. And the reason that I mentioned this specifically is because I think that as memory keepers, it is very easy for all of us to feel like we need to conform to the norm. And that we need to follow this traditional mechanism of documenting and scrapbooking. And, um, I, I really feel that you should do whatever is your heart's desire, wherever you feel a pull, whatever format that is in. There really is no fundamentally correct recipe or approach in scrapbooking. And I think it's that lack of rules that is an invitation to get really creative and authentic with how you tell your story. So be it images, video, experiential ephemera, physical, digital. I think it's, you know, for me to, to give any kind of advice to people about storytelling, it really just comes down to the fact that you need to document the stories. And those stories in a way that makes you feel most motivated to document them. And tells your story the most authentically.

[00:20:19] Wendy Erasmus: So authenticity is really at the core of everything for me. And often kind of difficult to hit that mark because of trends that go around and because we can appreciate so many different formats in scrapbooking. But definitely, you know, stick to your story, be authentic about the formats and the way that you tell it, and the story will tell itself.

[00:20:39] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. That's a wonderful point. It's, it's so much more important to get the story out in the way that feels natural and comfortable to you than it is to make it look like whatever is the, the trend of the moment.

[00:20:53] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely, yeah, I think, just, yes, just to reiterate, it's exactly that. Authenticity is the nutshell. I gave a very long description and to kind of get there, but it's all about authenticity. And at the end of the day, it is your story. So it gets to be really unique.

[00:21:10] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, a hundred percent. So let's go back in time. And can you tell us how you got started scrapbooking and how your hobby has evolved since you started?

[00:21:19] Wendy Erasmus: Sure. So I think to explain, you know, why scrapbooking means so much to me and where it all originated from, I need to go back a bit. Like you said, back in time and share the backstory for context. So I actually had quite a tumultuous start to life. Um, and ended up being raised by my maternal grandmother until her passing in my preteen years.

[00:21:40] Wendy Erasmus: So as a result of this, I can honestly say that I can count all of the photos of myself, um, and my life or those formative years as a child, probably on two hands maximum. Um, and I guess in life we're faced with this choice to either repeat what we've experienced or to kind of gravitate to the opposite side of the spectrum.

[00:22:00] Wendy Erasmus: And for me, those experiences and those feelings of, of not having the bits and pieces of my story. Definitely lit a fire in me to start documenting these experiences of my life. Through photography, particularly from the moment that I was adopted at the age of 12. So at the time, I definitely wasn't consciously aware of what I was doing and how it would, you know, I wasn't photographing for scrapbooking layouts.

[00:22:28] Wendy Erasmus: Let me put it that way. Um, but the, the common denominator throughout all of it has been this desire to photograph and encapsulate memories. And that's honestly just grown with such, um, abundance with each year of my life that has kind of passed from then till now. And, um, also when I was, when I was a teen, I saw one of my close friends, Candice, her mom and aunt used to do a lot of script, like traditional scrapbooking layouts, like those really artsy, scrapbooking, you know the 12 by 12 inch pages, the kind of double spread. She, they used to do those often. We were always together. And I know that that's my first kind of inkling of a medium of expression, or a language of expression for these images that I would take. And I think also just kind of as, as I worked over time to understand and uncover my own identity as an individual. Which is such a fundamental part of kind of going through the foster care system and through the adoption process and so forth.

[00:23:29] Wendy Erasmus: It's like, who am I? Who's this person? You know, is it my story from before? Is it my story from now? Kind of how do the two things align with each other? And I, I really struggled to find kind of the puzzle pieces to build that picture of the past. And so I decided that instead of dwelling on this really sad thing, um, where I didn't have what other children had. Which is, you know, photo albums and scrapbook albums and so forth of their, their lives, I decided that I would spend the now and the future,

[00:23:59] Wendy Erasmus: really passionately making up of what I had felt robbed of. And so, you know, I thought often how impactful it would be if my Oma who, who raised me, had maybe kept a diary or there were more images, um, to understand where I came from. But I can't change that situation. I can't go back. So I do feel that I could kind of move forward and document the stories that would allow my posterity to know instead of wondering.

[00:24:27] Wendy Erasmus: So in terms of the practice evolving over time, um, I've worked very hard to find an authentic voice to articulate my story through scrapbooking. And when I first started, um, posting layouts on Instagram many, many years ago in my kind of more minimalist style, it wasn't trendy at all at the time. And it took me many, many years to find others in the community who appreciated similar aesthetics and inspired me with different ideas and approaches in that same aesthetic tone. So in a nutshell, I'd say that the evolution kind of lies in the fact that I've become more confident and appreciative of scrapbooking in my preferred style over what's trendy.

[00:25:09] Wendy Erasmus: But where it came from and where it will always, you know, be based in as a core function is the desire to document. The desire to acknowledge that I matter in the humblest way possible. It doesn't sound very humble, but it is meant in that way. That I have value and that I have worth. Despite the difficulties that I'd experienced as a child, which kind of taught me otherwise.

[00:25:34] Wendy Erasmus: So it's a very deeply spiritual, genetic, and organic transformation that's, that's taken place. And I'm just so grateful. I know it sounds probably so silly. That I'm so gushing and so passionate over scrapbooking. But it really was a companion to me throughout many years that were very difficult for me and has been a constant throughout that time.

[00:25:57] Jennifer Wilson: Not, not silly at all. It's a, it's a powerful and beautiful story and just showcases how you, uh, took something that was difficult and challenging and used it Uh, for, for strength and focus to move into a new and more beautiful chapter of your life. So yeah, no, thank you for sharing, uh, all of that so personally.

[00:26:23] Wendy Erasmus: Yeah, I think there's also a lot of stigma around kind of adoption and, and, each of us owning our story. And I, I know that things were very often difficult for me throughout those years. But I do believe that by speaking on it, we, there's no shame in that, um, and we

[00:26:44] Wendy Erasmus: can remove that stigma. And just kind of own your identity, you know, just as many people are kind of born to a set of parents, for example. And the identity is so deeply vested in those parents that they have.

[00:26:56] Wendy Erasmus: I think that the opposite can also be true to say that my identity is not vested in the people kind of who are my biological parents and that my story is just different. Um, so yeah, very much kind of documenting and the community at large has really helped me to come to terms with that. And to speak about it proudly rather than have this kind of guarded secret.

[00:27:19] Jennifer Wilson: I'm curious if you've documented without photos, some of those memories from your growing up story or have you intentionally allowed them to exist as the before times?

[00:27:34] Wendy Erasmus: So again, It totally makes sense. So the kind of answer is twofold. So yes, I have documented them in the sense that you know, like I mentioned with it being difficult, obviously, you know therapy and and trauma counseling. Is something that is so important in navigating a way forward. And as a result of that, again, speaking openly about mental health and about these challenges that we face as individuals in terms of our emotions and identity. You know, being in therapy has been something that has really allowed me to bring a lot of that to consciousness and to recall.

[00:28:13] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and for me, that era, it's kind of a Wendy-pre or, you know, before. And so I'm happy with them living in journals and being out there kind of in the world. I mean, it's not that anyone's particularly reading them, they're not published or anything. But that they're there, that I've acknowledged them. But I think in acknowledging that that is not authentically who I am. And that a lot of how I was in that time and the way I acted, the experiences I had, especially as a child or a minor, we're very much the product of adult decisions, which weren't within my control.

[00:28:55] Wendy Erasmus: Whereas owning this narrative from that point onwards that I have documented and we are kind of picked up the skill of being able to scrapbook and really put the story together and the whole narrative together. That portion from that point onwards, is truly my story. So yes and no, both have, they are able to coexist. Both are important in the grand scheme of my identity. Um, and I think that's also important is to remember, you know, scrapbooking is very much the, the, I suppose physical. I don't want to say physical because it can be digital too, but almost like a manifested product of documenting and memory keeping.

[00:29:35] Wendy Erasmus: They are very close to each other, but they aren't necessarily the same thing. But the same, you know, I feel very, very strongly and very passionately about speaking out and sharing layouts, not because of wanting people to follow me or wanting to be a social influencer. If you kind of get to know my personality, you'll know I'm actually the complete opposite of that.

[00:29:57] Wendy Erasmus: So it takes a lot of courage to put these layouts out there and to raise your voice. But I do want to tell whoever is willing to listen and whoever needs to listen and hear this, that besides scrapbooking, journaling in a notebook is scrapbooking. Telling your story is at the core of what we should all be doing because it's a practice of self love and of recognizing our worth.

[00:30:23] Wendy Erasmus: So in short, really, the story before matters, the story kind of circle post that matters. Both coexist equally with each other. And I'm just very happy with the formats that they're in. And like I mentioned, there aren't really many photos. So journaling is really kind of the sum total of what it could be. Um, because they just aren't the resources to make it more visual.

[00:30:47] Wendy Erasmus: And I'm okay with that. That's kind of those chapters are that and the next chapters are what they are.

[00:30:51] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. Well, and it's, it's, so clear that scrapbooking, um, in the most broadest sense is not something that you Do. It is something that you, you are, that's part of you. Part and parcel of Wendy is, is this process of memory keeping.

[00:31:09] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely.

[00:31:10] Jennifer Wilson: So bringing us to, to modern day, um, can you tell us a bit about how you create today? What sizes, formats, why this works best for you? It sounds like you're, um, predominantly or exclusively creating on your iPad, if that's correct.

[00:31:26] Wendy Erasmus: Yeah, I think to a large extent. But, um, again, kind of the past informs the future. So when I started out, like I mentioned, I definitely worked on 12 by 12 inch layouts. Um, and kind of double spreads and single spread. Then move to pocket scrapping, um, at the heart of the Project Life physical product era, which feels like a lifetime ago, but

[00:31:51] Wendy Erasmus: at the same time doesn't. But about five years ago, I just kind of completely stopped documenting and took this hiatus for a while. Um, because I just felt that the practice was what I wanted to do. It was kind of on point. But I don't want to say only the physical manifestation, but kind of the medium or the expression or articulation thereof wasn't 100 percent authentic to me.

[00:32:20] Wendy Erasmus: And in actual fact, deterred me a lot from creating because the process had become really involved and just didn't feel authentic. So I decided that I would never, I'm very much a, I'm going to offend people now and I don't mean to. I'm like not a read on your iPad, read on your Kindle kind of girl. I need to hold the book, smell the book, physically have it in my hands.

[00:32:42] Wendy Erasmus: But I am very much into the digital aspect of things. And I feel that I can proficiently articulate myself digitally. So I would very much say that my approach is hybrid. I definitely, my process is digital, but the manifestation of it will always be physical. Like I don't see a day ever in my future where there isn't a physical album for every single yearbook. And for every single project. Whether it's ring bound or whether it's a file, whether it's a photo book, the physical is very important to me to live with it, hold it and feel it.

[00:33:18] Wendy Erasmus: So for me, kind of in, in more detail of the process itself. So the context of kind of the geographic context of South Africa dictates that we don't always have, not always, we actually just don't really have access that is convenient, um, to printing options like Shutterfly or Persnickety Prints or Blurb Books or any of those types of things. So I needed to pivot around that in my area and where I live..

[00:33:47] Wendy Erasmus: And I decided to really invest in a very good high quality printer. And to make my layouts into A5. So half of an A4, half of a kind of letter size format. Um, and each page is that. And I've consistently stuck with that format, and I definitely will do that in future as well. And just to tell you why I've done that, like I mentioned, you know, the availability of resources for printing is not the same in our country.

[00:34:16] Wendy Erasmus: It's just not a product that I suppose is as popular as it is abroad in different areas. And secondly, and this is so important, I often tell people this when they ask me questions and they, they ask for insight or for help to refine their process. Or to just kind of spark that motivation. If your project and creating your project, your scrapbooking pursuit or whatever it may be, is difficult and involved, you will be deterred from creating that project. It has to be easy, authentic, and something that is accessible and easy to do on the go. You know, time is such a precious commodity kind of in the 21st century. And, and if we have to think about what deters most people, that would probably be the number one answer that comes up of, you know, I just don't have time to do it.

[00:35:08] Wendy Erasmus: Probably closely followed by, I don't know how to do it or how to express it. But, um, the process needs to be simple. And that's where my approach came from. So I exclusively document in A5 size. I print them at home, slot them into filing sleeves within an album, and it works like a dream. It works really, really well for me. There's cohesion across all of the albums and yeah, we, you know, I do a beautiful label for the spine. And that's kind of the format that I create in that works for me.

[00:35:38] Jennifer Wilson: So can you talk a little bit more about the tools you're using on your iPad to create? Are you using Affinity Photo or Photoshop or, yeah, let's talk about some of the, the, the technical process, uh, on the digital side.

[00:35:51] Wendy Erasmus: Sure. So again, not at all somebody who is kind of stuck to one platform. I love the versatility and the different, um, I suppose, offerings from different platforms. So I would say definitely Project Life and the Project Life app is a great starting point to really get you into a format. It's quick, it's easy, it works really well.

[00:36:16] Wendy Erasmus: Um, but obviously the difficulty with Project Life is, you know, the cards in between and the designs in between. There are options on the Project Life store, but out of necessity, I think I used to document literally exclusively only on the Project Life app. And then there was this long hiatus where they didn't bring out many kits during those few years.

[00:36:38] Wendy Erasmus: I mean, I don't know if you ever documented with Project Life or anyone listening, this might be familiar to them. I remember succinctly waiting for like the last week or the first week of each month for the new kits to drop and going through them voraciously and say, Oh my gosh, this fits, I'm going to buy this one.

[00:36:55] Wendy Erasmus: I'm going to do this one. That was like such

[00:36:57] Wendy Erasmus: a era and a season in our lives where we, we would wait for these kits to drop. And I think that as time went on. And people really found their authentic kind of languages of expression or, you know, aesthetics. People wandered away from that and found other ways to import.

[00:37:15] Wendy Erasmus: Um, digital kits rather than use the kits on the app, whatever that may be. So I think Project Life is a great starting point and definitely the greatest of all time. It's just the, the MVP of, um, digital scrapbooking in this era that we're in. Photoshop is unbelievable for, um, like I mentioned, the kind of more biographic projects and for the more

[00:37:39] Wendy Erasmus: single image layouts and the more visual or formal album. So like my wedding album, I've exclusively designed in Photoshop. But I find obviously you can use templates from a variety of companies who offer them. But definitely not the thing that I gravitate towards most. Um, I would rather probably say, you know, I would make my own templates or my own kind of page versions in Photoshop, slot things in.

[00:38:05] Wendy Erasmus: I've got a few. As you go on over time and you do a lot of projects, I think you kind of get into a flow of what you really like, layouts that work for you and your type of photographic style and so forth. But also, recently, um, I stumbled upon a social media account and I, I can't remember the name now so sorry if you're listening, hey lady that scrapbook's on Canva like all honor goes to you and all credit goes to you.

[00:38:28] Wendy Erasmus: I can't recall the um, the account handle per se. But um, she scrapbooks pretty much solely on Canva. And that was just such a cool different things to experiment with. So sometimes when I feel like, especially kind of with grid layouts, where there's a lot of images and it starts to get heavy, you know, I'll explore Canva and use that as an option. There's just such a variety, all of this is available on the iPad.

[00:38:52] Wendy Erasmus: It's available on, you know, a desktop or a laptop. All of these things are available for me, definitely the iPad is great. Um, I am an absolute MacBook Pro fan. Like I love MacBook Pro. MacBook Pro, may they bury me with it one day because I'll need it on the other side. But, um, there's just so many options and there's so many ways to do it.

[00:39:13] Wendy Erasmus: It's really about the options are more abundant than they ever have been. And about each person finding what works and what fits for them.

[00:39:20] Jennifer Wilson: So I'm wondering if it's, um, Canva Scrapbooks, Rachel Gialongo.

[00:39:26] Wendy Erasmus: Hmm.

[00:39:27] Jennifer Wilson: There's multiple people who use, uh, who use Canva.

[00:39:30] Wendy Erasmus: I would have to check, but I think it, it might be, you see, this is what happens is I just fall in love with the layouts and don't look at like literally any of the other details that go along with it. But like I mentioned, it was just, I told you, I have this guilty pleasure is particularly, um, for, for travel layouts, but I think so.

[00:39:51] Wendy Erasmus: I think I've just had a look while we've been speaking. It's Canva Scrapbooks, Rachel Gialongo. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that, but I love that. I love that she has just completely owned that space. And Canva is such an amazing and powerful tool. Which really has just bridged the gap between kind of not necessarily having the know how of how to work in Photoshop. And Photoshop being a lot more manual, um, in terms of the use of tools and so forth.

[00:40:15] Wendy Erasmus: I mean, Canva is just so much easier. And I see when I kind of did a Google, a Google search, a search within Canva, kind of on templates. There are so many amazing collage templates. And that's the thing that I think that's so amazing with scrapbooking one of the things that's so amazing. Is that for each and every person, who has this intention and wants to do this, there's a way, there's an outlet and there's a way that you can find to do it. You just have to have this desire and the spark to tell the stories, and whether it's just a single layout with just one image in it and some scribbled notes on the side, or it's this beautiful, beautiful, like extensive artsy layout, it's possible to be done. You just got to find what works for you.

[00:40:57] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. A hundred percent. Um, yeah, it's just funny because I, as of this recording, I am speaking with Rachel later this morning in about 45 minutes. And when this episode comes out, her episode will have already been released. So.

[00:41:11] Wendy Erasmus: Oh gosh. Well, That's amazing. That's a really good reference back to it.

[00:41:17] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Lots of good options for digital, um, being discussed during, um, this particular series of episodes. Diving in, and this is, to me, this is a loaded question because I already know the answer for you, but whose products are you completely obsessed with?

[00:41:33] Wendy Erasmus: I'm having a giggle to myself because if it was me asking myself this question, I'd also know the answer. But, um, I suppose if you've keen, kind of had a look at my memory keeping style and my scrapbooking, the answers are no brainer. I'm absolutely obsessed with, and actually most importantly, deeply inspired, by Wilson Wilson Org.

[00:41:53] Wendy Erasmus: So I just want to preface this, like, this is not a paid partnership. I'm just

[00:41:57] Wendy Erasmus: an absolute total fan girl, have been for the longest time. Um, yeah, and I think it's actually a great question in terms of maybe explaining my process. And how I've come across, not come across, but kind of developed myself to this point as a memory keeper.

[00:42:15] Wendy Erasmus: So Sally's designs and just. Kind of her mentorship has been such an integral part of my development as a memory keeper. And I am truly just always astounded by the usability and the thoughtful design that comes from her studio. Um, and when I think of all kind of the scrapbooking greats that have redefined the industry over the past two to three decades, um, and they've really, I suppose, inspired how we

[00:42:40] Wendy Erasmus: memory keep and make scrapbooks today. Sally is just right up there for me as a doyenne of memory keeping. Because her products have given people with little to no scrapping experience, such an arsenal of tools to really just get started somewhere. Um, and obviously add to that, she's the sweetest, kindest, and most real human being out there, which totally translates to all the products she puts out.

[00:43:02] Wendy Erasmus: Um. And for me, as somebody who values authenticity, that just resonates with me on an innate level. And I have served on a creative team, but honestly, the love and affinity runs deep well before I did. And it will continue for forever after. And really, Like if there's anything that I can recommend in terms of the world or realm of digital scrapbooking and tools and resources, she has a variety of free kits.

[00:43:28] Wendy Erasmus: And it's again, not a sales pun from my side at all. Really just something that helped me so much to say, ah, this is my voice and it's okay. It's a good voice to have and it works. And, um, yeah, like I said, just an amazing company to look at if you don't know where to start. Um if you're not sure of how to pull kind of the design capability of a layout together. Or you're not sure and need prompts of how to journal, you know, a lot of people really struggle with journaling.

[00:44:01] Wendy Erasmus: I think you can tell by this interview, I do not have a problem with talking and telling stories. So I don't. But her prompts are fantastic for people who do. So definitely hands down, Wilson Wilson Org. I will forever be a fangirl.

[00:44:14] Jennifer Wilson: We will definitely link her shop as well as the episode that she was on because I had the pleasure of chatting with her in the past as well.

[00:44:21] Wendy Erasmus: Yes.

[00:44:22] Jennifer Wilson: So, Wendy, is there something that you use or do on most of your pages? I know a lot of that comes through from the consistency in the products. But like, do you have any kind of signature techniques?

[00:44:33] Wendy Erasmus: So definitely, um, I think the, the simplest one to, to discuss is probably the elephant in the room as well. Um, it's definitely white space. And I just love how white space or blank space creates a place for the art to rest in between the consumption of the words and the images. So it's not just a stylistic choice for me, and all about aesthetics. It's actually such an integral tool for me to tell my stories effectively. Um, it just reduces clutter and allows the images and the stories to honestly just take center stage in the layout. And although I would definitely not call myself a minimalist in terms of kind of general life. Um, I think definitely I'm probably the most minimalistic in approach in terms of my scrapbooking layouts. I just have such an appreciation for the way in which solid design principles like white space or blank space are just able to ground and balance a layout.

[00:45:31] Wendy Erasmus: So definitely white space and a close second, which I won't go into because we kind of all know what it's about. Probably a close second would be typography. I really try very hard to stick to only two, um, kind of font families or fonts. Usually a serif serif. I love the combination of something a little bit more traditional and old fashioned with something very clean and minimalist, which is very much, that's my personality. Kind of the juxtaposition of different worlds.

[00:46:00] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and that definitely shows through, I suppose, in my layouts throughout kind of all of them consistently is the white space, the typography. Um, and I think actually maybe to mention again with typography. You know, each year I select two fonts when I'm using Wilson Wilson Org products, which is very often. Um, the top, the typography is kind of obviously already out there, but Sally and I have very, very similar styles.

[00:46:26] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and aesthetics in that sense, which makes it a good match. But I'll choose a font for the two fonts. So Serif and sans serif font for that entire year's project. So that everything across the board is cohesive. They honestly don't ever really vary very far away from kind of what the previous one was. But, um, definitely those are the best ways in which you can create cohesion across all of your designs.

[00:46:52] Wendy Erasmus: And maybe another one to suggest as we're thinking of it would probably be just, you know, not necessarily filtering your images, but kind of grading your images to be of the same tone palette. Um, so that it doesn't look like something that's really kind of overexposed or high in contrast versus something that's really bright and airy.

[00:47:11] Wendy Erasmus: And that also just helps to create cohesion. And all of these things, you know, they're great design principles to keep in mind. But again, It's setting people up for success. It's setting the scrapbooker up for success because it just makes the process so much easier.

[00:47:26] Jennifer Wilson: It's interesting that you change the fonts every year. Because I've been using, I just pick one, and I've been using it for probably six years now. And I don't have any intention to ever stop using it. Because it just works for me. I like the amount of words I can get in a space, and I even use it in photo books. Um, and I will choose the photo book software to make sure that I can use that font with it.

[00:47:51] Jennifer Wilson: So, um, there is that, so those decisions that you can make one time, um, really make a difference in terms of, uh, managing your kind of your energy, your decision making energy around your projects.

[00:48:06] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:48:07] Jennifer Wilson: So, so speaking of energy, when do you typically find the time and energy for scrapbooking? What times of day can we find you on your iPad creating? Um, and, and does it vary over, over a week or month?

[00:48:18] Wendy Erasmus: I, um, definitely wish I could come onto this podcast and say that I scrapbook on a Sunday evening or on a Tuesday afternoon. But I'm a mom. I don't, my time is not my own. I don't have any set time. Because kind of, there just is no planning that, you know, there's always something that your child or your family or one of the eight dogs or work needs.

[00:48:43] Wendy Erasmus: So I am very much a disciplined person in the sense that it's just such an important thing to me. That even though I don't have a set time to scrapbook, that's okay. That's Wendy's time. You're not going to interrupt her. Don't come into the room. Like I saw somebody posted something on, um, Instagram the other day that said sort yourself out for dinner is like the way to say I'm scrapbooking tonight or something to that effect.

[00:49:09] Wendy Erasmus: And I unfortunately don't have that. But like I mentioned, I'm very disciplined and I think motivation, you know, as human beings, you may never have a lot of time and especially in kind of the parenting season, time is such a valuable resource. But I do believe that as human beings, you know, we make this conscious choice to prioritize certain things. And when we do that, we get to choose what's kind of on top of the list. And for me, documenting is such an important practice. So from a discipline perspective and a priority perspective, I'd say that probably takes more preference or is more the way that I make time and bandwidth for it. Rather than scheduling it weekly.

[00:49:47] Jennifer Wilson: Sure, sure. No, and that's after speaking with you, I could, I can tell that. Like, I feel like I have this, this visceral sense of, of who you are and, and what your days might look like in terms of how this has to be a priority for you for, for so many reasons. Um, that said, does your motivation ever, like, take a nosedive?

[00:50:10] Jennifer Wilson: Um, we all go through certain things in life, busier seasons. Um, do you have any strategies that you need to, that you have to use to, to come back to motivation?

[00:50:19] Wendy Erasmus: Definitely. I think that probably despite all the different types of layouts and aesthetics and kind of articulations of scrapbooking, the one common denominator that we all share as memory keepers is that we have all gone through a phase of not creating. And, you know, for some it's a hiatus for others, they just don't have the time.

[00:50:42] Wendy Erasmus: For some, it's just kind of, you know, that creative fatigue, whatever your reason is. That's the common denominator that brings us all together. Is that at times we probably haven't created or have lost motivation. Um, for me I am, this is going to be quite an outlying kind of viewer opinion. But I am absolutely ruthless about cutting projects that I've started that just don't fulfill me. So I used to be very much someone that has to start something and completely finish it to feel like there's closure and that it's done. And you know, I find it very easy to fall into a cycle of guilt where you easily start to feel that you need to finish this. Because you started it and you may have posted about it and people are going to ask about it. Or you know what it is.

[00:51:29] Wendy Erasmus: I am ruthless. I will cut a project that does not serve me. And as I've done that and really practiced that over the past few years, I've found so much more motivation. Because you're actually realigning the bandwidth that you do have into the projects that truly make you tick and truly are passion projects for you.

[00:51:48] Wendy Erasmus: So that's definitely one way that I stay motivated. And I think another way is to, I try very, very hard. I don't always succeed. I am fallible in the sense we all are. But, um, I try very hard to finish my yearbook project, which is kind of a staple project for me every year. Whether you want to call it a yearbook, family yearbook, or a Week In The Life.

[00:52:07] Wendy Erasmus: I try very hard to finish that project in the year that it takes place. And that's a lot of pressure. Um, and particularly last year, I had such, you a dedication to creative team, um, responsibilities that that definitely suffered hugely. And put me under a lot of pressure. But I try to do that because I feel like if you can at least just kind of, like I said, get it into the organizational format and get started on it. You know, your brain does the processing and the telling of the stories very subconsciously. And then when you kind of sit down to do it, you feel motivated because you've got all the resources to be able to do what you need to do. So those are definitely ways, um, to create that motivation is the organization. And really just being very specific about saying, you know, this project doesn't serve me. It's not a story that I want to tell anymore or have the bandwidth to tell.

[00:53:01] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I love that. I'm, I, don't want to admit that a project popped into my head. And so now I'm like, Hmm, uh, should I let that go in order to, to move on to other things that might be more interesting or motivating to me in the moment?

[00:53:19] Jennifer Wilson: So, yeah, I think that's a really valuable lens to use.

[00:53:23] Wendy Erasmus: You've got to do the KonMari method and hold each project and see if it sparks joy for you. And if not, let it go. You know what I mean? It's just, it's just such an, I know it sounds like such a hectic kind of approach, like all of the stories matter, right? So it is a bit kind of more intense of an approach, but jeepers, once I figured that out and that clicked in my mind, I just honestly don't have this guilt. I don't feel guilty for not finishing something and it's okay if it's not finished. Maybe that's all it ever was supposed to be. So, and that's the thing is it's not just about the project and the end product. It's the process of it. You know, it's a very restorative, therapeutic, cathartic process to put your thoughts and experiences down on paper, proverbially. Maybe put it down on your screen if you're digital. But that's the point of it, is that that's the cathartic part of it. And then there's this amazing product that is the result of it that you get to enjoy and to transport you back to those memories. So all round it's a, it's a win-win, but only if you let it.

[00:54:27] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I love that. I love that. So we've already talked about your evolution and so I'm sure there's a lot of things that you kind of left behind in the past. What stands out to you as something, whether it's a supply, technique, size, or format, that you've decided is just not for you?

[00:54:43] Wendy Erasmus: I'm going to have to preface this one. Don't come for me. In the comments, ladies and gentlemen. But it's, it has to be the mixed media formats and physical kind of layouts. The mixed media, I think, I mean, how do I kind of zone in on what I mean by mixed media? Like, I don't want to throw shade. And I don't want to make it sound like I'm being negative about them.

[00:55:06] Wendy Erasmus: Um, but kind of those artsy layouts, you know, with all the ephemera, the brads the buttons, the stamping, that's all amazing. Um, I don't think that any format is better or worse than the other. That's, that's not the point here. We all know it would be digital, but, um, we won't, we won't go there.

[00:55:24] Wendy Erasmus: But from my personal experience, you know, I did those formats and I honestly found that I was most critical of myself. And it was most easy, easy to be deterred when that was my practicing medium. Um, because. I think I was just very perfectionistic. I am very perfectionistic by nature. I just want something to be the best that it possibly can be kind of in terms of what I create.

[00:55:49] Wendy Erasmus: And I actually like the words of Dr. Brene Brown in the sense it's also been a big integral part of my journey. Is that I think it's something to the effect of I'm a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good enoughist, and jeepers those mixed media layouts, they were not great for my mental health. Because I mean, it's, first of all, I think there's this perception that you need to own all of the costly stash to be able to do it.

[00:56:13] Wendy Erasmus: And secondly, you sit with these layouts and this is not for everyone. This is just my experience, but you sit with this and you know, you put it together and it doesn't pull together easily. It doesn't look like you want it to look, and it's not as perfect as you want it to look. And I mean, how many people have been deterred to tell their story?

[00:56:31] Wendy Erasmus: Because they're not able to do it in the way that these deeply creative artists, um, are. And I mean, a scrapbookers, all of us are artists to a certain extent. But I'm saying particularly kind of those artsy, mixed media, um, layouts. And I think, you know, last, why that's kind of something that I've left behind and that's just something that I know for a fact I'll never return to. Is because in my mind memory keeping and scrapbooking particularly is, is divided into probably two different parts. Um, you know, there's the creative side, which is about the presentation, the artistic freedom, the expression. Um, and the other is kind of more documentary, which is that school of thought rather than the outwardly creative function. And for me, the documentary factor is the core pursuit, and the creative is secondary.

[00:57:19] Wendy Erasmus: It's not less important, but to me, to tell the story is more important than how the story is told, if that makes sense. So I think you just need to decide yet again as a scrapbooker, you know, what serves you? What is an accurate medium for you to authentically convey yourself? And maybe in those mixed media layouts, um, kind of the creative element is more focal to people who scrap in that way.

[00:57:46] Wendy Erasmus: And for me, that just doesn't resonate with me. So that's definitely, I'm leaving the mixed media layouts in the past. I still have all the flowers. I still have all the embellishments. I'll never get rid of them. Because a stash is a stash, but I'm leaving them in the past and I'm happy to do that. Not that there's anything wrong with them.

[00:58:04] Wendy Erasmus: I love looking at them. I follow a lot of accounts who, scrapbook way, but just not me.

[00:58:09] Jennifer Wilson: So I'm just going to offer a point of contrast here because I, uh, admire your style and Sally's and this, this beautiful, minimist, cohesive, consistent style so much. But it brings out my, some of my worst perfectionist tendencies. And so it, the, the more creative, the more busy, the more chaotic pages. Like I'm thinking, you know, like following something that Shimelle might do. Those seem to like quiet the perfectionist noises and I can embrace it and get my story told and move on. So it's just so fascinating to, to hear how, how our brains work and how we can all be so different.

[00:58:52] Wendy Erasmus: Absolutely, and I, again, coming back to that, you know, it's great to have different perspectives. Um, I, I don't think that there will, I hope this doesn't come back in future to, to bite me, but I don't think there ever will be a time where there isn't a space for those very artistic layouts. And I think it's really, if you, if you explore it at the core of what it is, what is your purpose in this pursuit?

[00:59:17] Wendy Erasmus: You know, for some people, this is escape. This is freedom. This is expression for other people, for me, for example, it's control over my story. It's narrating my story. So for me, I suppose, again, like I said, although as important, the creative side of it, and absolutely there's room to be creative in different ways. That is not the core purpose of this for me. Um, please don't come for me. I'm not slating, not slating the mixed media layouts. They are beautiful, but absolutely.

[00:59:50] Jennifer Wilson: Is so interesting.

[00:59:52] Jennifer Wilson: Just the word you use control versus freedom. I think that's a really interesting conversation point in terms of, um, what you're seeking from the experience. I don't think we've ever kind of stepped back that much to think about what we're getting from it and how it serves our personalities and our end goals. So yeah, no, I don't think people are going to come for you. I think we're, they're going to be intrigued and we can have some really good conversations about it.

[01:00:16] Wendy Erasmus: Good. I'm, I'm hoping that's the case. Because I do love the layouts. I love looking at them. I think it's also, again, like that, that, that paradigm of perfectionism because you can't do something. It kind of deters you and not that, you know, can't do, but it just doesn't come naturally to me. And I, I love art. I'm a huge art collector. I, I love art. I love looking at art. It's probably one of my favorite things to do in life. But, just that autistic freedom. It's just, there's not enough control. There's not enough cohesion. It's just too different. It's, it's, it's not telling my story in that way. And honestly, probably at the core of it all, I just, I don't know if this is why I'm not a minimalist. Because I don't know if I could actually just use only one photo in a layout.

[01:01:02] Wendy Erasmus: I think I, I don't know. It's not, I don't think it's possible. Like I just, I can't do it. I'm getting anxiety just thinking about having to cull down to one photo or just to choose one. How do you choose one? I suppose that's maybe an excuse to make many layouts, but I can't do it. I can't commit to just one.

[01:01:19] Wendy Erasmus: I need more.

[01:01:22] Jennifer Wilson: That's, that's funny. Um, so starting to wrap up here, do you have any like wonderful, favorite top organization tips from inside your hobby or inside your home that you'd like to share with our audience?

[01:01:35] Wendy Erasmus: That's an interesting one. So definitely going back to what I said about kind of creating a space and an organizational system. But, um. I'm all for the organizing. Like, even in the physical, I really wish that I could, could lift up the screen. Um, if it wasn't just kind of a podcast and an audio recording to just show that it's very much about kind of also keeping your physical studio space, if you have a studio space or your physical crafting space organized. Because that just allows you to really hone in on your craft and really just come into the space and spend time on it.

[01:02:14] Wendy Erasmus: And I know not everyone kind of has that studio space or all of the supplies, all of those things. But you know, organization, whether it's digital, whether it's in your physical realm, it's just such a key component to being able to function in that creative space. So organization is very key to me. It's something that I absolutely love to do.

[01:02:33] Wendy Erasmus: I think I organize things, reorganize them. I'm very much somebody who, I think I'm quite type A in many respects. But as I've gotten older and hopefully matured a little bit and grown and evolved. I've definitely become someone who is able to say that, you know, the way that something is now. It doesn't have to be the way that it is forever. And you can change things to serve you and to work better for you.

[01:02:59] Wendy Erasmus: So definitely, yeah, just organization is key. Keep your, your kind of physical space organized, keep your digital space organized. And that will really lend itself to a better creative process. Because it just removes all of that background noise and kind of, you know, the, the white noise in between and all of the distractions.

[01:03:20] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and I, I want to underscore that you said you're not, a minimalist. But you can be organized and have that sense of control and peace around your, your space without being a minimalist.

[01:03:33] Wendy Erasmus: Yeah, I, I'm thinking of Sally immediately. I'm thinking of Sally, her, she lives the minimalism life in every respect. And it's, it's very much, I think it's such an admirable thing. Because it's all about appreciating the basics. And what you have and being happy with what you have. You know, all of these concepts, both kind of in the artistic viewpoint of, of how we express ourselves artistically. But also who we are as people and how that influences how we express ourselves artistically.

[01:04:05] Wendy Erasmus: There is so much underlying symbolism and deep meaning that belies that. So for me, I need to I need to be able to zone in and to focus and to really create that focus. So whether it's by the story and the images being the focal points through blank space or the way that I document, or whether it's in my home. You know, saying these things no longer serve me, they don't spark joy for me.

[01:04:33] Wendy Erasmus: To remove them, that's fine, but I'm also just somebody who believes like, just keep whatever makes you happy. If it makes you happy, it has a purpose in your life. I have so much washi tape. I never use washi tape. I literally never use it, but I have to have it all. I have glitter. It's like the little girl in me, that little inner child that's just living her best life. But I allow myself that indulgence because it's organized. It's not bothering anyone. It brings me happiness and mental wellbeing. So you do you. So I definitely can't be a minimalist. I definitely see the school of thoughts. I love Sally for it. She's definitely very focused in that sense, but you do what works for you. I suppose that's just the common theme throughout this entire discussion is do whatever serves you and what makes you happy.

[01:05:17] Jennifer Wilson: It's, that reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughter last night. We were talking about a decision and whether or not it was a good, a good or, or a less good decision. And she's like, but did it make you happy? And I'm like, that's a really interesting way to think about it. Because yes, a lot of the time we should be choosing that personal joy, but then there is also, should we always be choosing the immediate gratification over, you know, long term, um, impacts of those choices as well.

[01:05:43] Wendy Erasmus: Jennifer the answer is yes, just buy the washi tape, buy the stickers, buy the albums, even if you don't use it, just buy it all, do it all. You see, I'm a minimalist maximalist, that's what I am. I'm like, I'm both, I can't, I can't be on one side, and that's it, just do what makes you happy, you know, if you think about the world out there, in our careers, hopefully you're doing, you know, if you, if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Hopefully that's kind of the truth for many people. But it's not possible for many people. There's so much out in the world and especially kind of from a religious or faith based aspect, the world is in tumult. There's a lot of things that are unpredictable that are not great.

[01:06:22] Wendy Erasmus: Being an adult, man, I wish I'd had those naps that I was missing out on as a child. I wish that I was living my best life when I was a child and could do those things. The world is a difficult place. And for me, honestly, just, bring positivity into it. If it's envelopes, paper. See, I'm, I'm backing myself up here.

[01:06:44] Wendy Erasmus: So I'm making up for the fact that I, that I brought heat to the mixed media artists by telling them that it's okay to buy the supplies that they want to buy. I hope they're seeing this overcompensating here. But just do what makes you happy, because life is just too short to be unhappy. And even if it's immediate gratification, I mean, we all need to have some restraints, I suppose. But I think you can tell I have absolutely zero restraints when it comes to this.

[01:07:11] Jennifer Wilson: Wendy, what has being a scrapbooker taught you? If you had to boil it all down.

[01:07:16] Wendy Erasmus: This is going to be, I mean, let's get serious for a moment. We've laughed a lot, but this is going to be really, this is personal. Um, I suppose I kind of thought about this question and maybe the best way to articulate it is with a bit of an analogy. Um, so that it can be visualized. So for me, I think scrapbooking has allowed me to kind of place a stick in the sand to mark a moment.

[01:07:40] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and the great thing about it is that, you know, you're marking that moment, you're celebrating it, you're documenting it. But the amazing thing is that you get to walk back to it. So you get to kind of take your, your jog down the beach or go on this adventure down this proverbial beach that you can visualize where you've put the stick in the sand. And you get to, to return to this and see how the environment has changed around that stick since the last time that you were there.

[01:08:08] Wendy Erasmus: So maybe the tide has come up or it's gone down and that's life, you know, things change. And I think the great thing that it's taught me is that by making that mark in the sand and placing that stick in the sand as a marker, you are able to return in future and actually have a litmus test or a measuring of how you have changed and hopefully for the good.

[01:08:30] Wendy Erasmus: Um, and that's really at the core of it, is that it's shown me that, you know, this was difficult, but I have grown since then. I have let that experience mold me in a good way. And through looking at these scrapbooking layouts, I'm able to say, you know, the last time I was here, these were my feelings. Now these are my feelings and that's it.

[01:08:50] Wendy Erasmus: So in a nutshell, it's taught me to tell the story, place the mark in the sand so that I can fully appreciate that value of the human experience and of my journey and growth by seeing where I came from. And using that to kind of determine where I'm going. So that's very, very deep. It's not meant to be in any way, but like I said, it's genetic for me. It's such an innate part of who I am. And scrapbooking has been an unbelievable companion to me in the worst of times, in the best of times. And it's been an unfailing companion. So that I think sums up how I feel about it.

[01:09:27] Jennifer Wilson: Uh, very well said. Beautifully said. Yeah. I appreciate you spending time with us and sharing, um, so genuinely, uh, with our audience today. Wendy, can you share where we can find you online and anything you might have new or coming up? Oh gosh, it'll be almost to the second half of the year when this episode goes out at the beginning of June.

[01:09:49] Wendy Erasmus: I'll be traversing the universe. I'll be on holiday when this comes out. Because I'm traveling in June. So you will find me on the gram living my very, very best life. Um, but yeah, I, before I kind of share my handle or anything, I just do want to say, that, um, like I mentioned before, it's really daunting to be out on social media.

[01:10:10] Wendy Erasmus: I mean, I'm not scared of kind of putting things out. I love what I do. And like I, I've, I've said here, you know, it's very authentic. But it's, it's very personal. Um, a lot of the layouts, you know, features some of the worst and best moments of your life. But in the last, so I would say probably about 18 months, I've felt such a

[01:10:28] Wendy Erasmus: huge prompting to share and to push past that. Um, and the people that I've connected with, particularly on Instagram, on, I'm on Facebook and all of the other usual things kind of on my personal name. But I really I'm not really kind of active on those, but on my memory keeping and scrapbooking and crafting,

[01:10:49] Wendy Erasmus: it's just everything because I've got a finger in so many crafty pies. But on there, it's really the most authentic version of me. And it's such an unbelievable space where I've met some of the most amazing people within this community. Which is just an unwavering, unbelievable, I've never seen a negative comment in this community. And it's not that there aren't negatives to point out, it's just that people choose to support and encourage one another in the scrapbooking and memory keeping community. So when I share my handle, you know, there's no obligation to go and follow. But I have felt a very, very huge pull to share. And the reason why at the core of it all is just because I want people to tell their stories. Your story matters. You matter. Tell your story. So yeah, my handle is moderndocumenting with no spaces or symbols and you can find me on Instagram. And I would love to be scrapbooking, besties and to encourage you to buy suppliers that you don't need as well.

[01:11:48] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I definitely feel more like your scrapbooking bestie after this conversation. It was just delightful. Thank you.

[01:11:56] Wendy Erasmus: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I'm, like I said, in such awe of the conversations that you have, and I think it's such an imperative, part of being a memory keeper is to not only just be set in your ways, but to be open to learning and to new experiences and to be continually inspired. And if you allow yourself to be there is just so much inspiration

[01:12:17] Wendy Erasmus: to be had in this community. So thank you so much to you and your team for creating a platform where we get to, you know, experience these different perspectives.

[01:12:27] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to scrapbook your way.

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1 Comment

  1. Helen

    The thought of putting water on my layout makes my skin crawl. But some of my favorite YouTubers make junk journals. Art inspires.


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