Welcome to the Leading Your Best Creative Life interview series! In this series, I will feature real women who make time to scrapbook in their busy lives. Each month you will meet a scrapbooking mama, just like you, and learn how they lead their best creative life. I will ask her about her scrapbooking habits, how her creative priorities have (and have not) changed, how often she scrapbooks, and more!
I hope this series will help to remind you that we are doing our best to be memory keepers and crafters. It can be hard to prioritize your creative outlets, but you aren’t the only one that struggles with finding time to scrapbook and craft.
This month’s interview is with Meagan Johnson who is also a mother of four! She has been making great digital layouts with the Project Life App plus traditional layouts since 2002. I was instantly drawn to her digital style because she thinks outside the box using the Project Life app. She is currently on the 2018 Becky Higgins Design Team and posts her layouts on her Instagram – thepracticalscrapper. You can also check out her blog The Practical Scrapper, and her Pinterest for more inspiration.
I hope you enjoy the interview with Meagan and don’t forget to check out more of her stuff on Instagram!
How long have you been scrapbooking and why did you start?
I have been a scrapper since my aunt introduced me to Creative Memories in 2002. I was just in it to make my wedding album…that’s where it all began!
When you had children, did you find it difficult to make time for scrapbooking and how did you make it a priority?
Yes, it was very difficult to make time for myself. Mommy guilt is real and hard to combat, especially when you are a young mom. I always felt like there was something else I should be doing. Like scrapbooking our memories was selfish? Like I should be folding laundry at night and prepping for the next day…or sleeping. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s legitimately how I felt.
I definitely played the mommy-martyr role back then! I slowly learned that just because I liked to scrapbook didn’t mean I was being selfish. It was a win-win endeavor…feeding my creativity and recording our memories as a family. It was actually very healing to put my two busy little boys to bed, take a couple deep breaths, and then relive our everyday through organizing our pictures and creating pages for our family album. All the struggle of the immediate day went away through my crafting and, no matter how frustrated I was with my boys that day, at night I could look at their pictures, take a step back, and fall in love with them all over again.
It has since become a very important part of my mothering! Not only do I need to scratch that creative itch but, equally as important, I need to have the reflection time to find the motivation to keep serving my family. Scrapbooking is really my therapy so I make it a priority! I have had to adapt my approach through the years but it has remained one of the constants of my life since 2002.
How do you currently make time for scrapbooking and how often do you scrapbook?
I am constantly scrapping in the Project Life app on my phone, in bed, while watching a movie, waiting to check out at Target…it is just too convenient. It’s a wonderful tool! I paper scrapbook in my craft room while my baby sleeps or at night when my younger two are in bed probably 2 to 3 nights a week.
Every once in a while, when my creative itch is insatiable, my husband will send me to a local hotel for a night! I check in at 3 pm with all my supplies, set up my stuff at the desk, stream Netflix, and scrap til I pass out! In the morning he will bring the kids over to play in the pool while I scrap until checkout. It’s the best gift EVER! (This sounds AMAZING!!!)
How have your scrapbooking methods changed over the years?
Before the Project Life app became available in 2014 I was strictly a traditional, chronological scrapbooker but I was starting to drown in pictures! Life doesn’t slow down so you can catch up on your scrapbooking (as we all know). I dabbled in Photoshop Elements in 2011 but didn’t like it. I just love to touch all my stuff, thumb through my paper, cut, measure, tape and, mostly, hoard supplies (shopping for scrapbooking is a hobby in and of itself!).
There was a point when I considered giving it up altogether because I was just too overwhelmed! That was a very sad consideration. Thankfully, at about the same time, the Project Life app saved me! I realized that I could start where I was at in the app and commit to staying current (which I have!) AND then go back and catch up when I had time via traditional scrapbooking. It really is the best of both worlds.
Are there any methods, supplies, or strategies you use to help you finish projects in your limited time?
Besides the Project Life App, I use Scrapbook Generation!!! They have amazing monthly kits/sketches that accommodate a lot of pictures and use current paper lines from popular brands. Total bonus: they are sooooo cute. Their kits and sketches seriously saved my scrapbooking life! I can make a two page spread in a third of the time and I know I will love the end result. I just can’t recommend them enough!
I bought an Epson PaperMate to print the majority of my pictures at home. The quality of print is as good as Shutterfly, the cost is slightly more but not having to wait for my prints somehow helps my work flow. I like to bite off little chunks…like enough pictures for 2 or 3 spreads at a time…than printing pictures for a couple months worth of events and feeling swamped. It is really hard for me to feel inspired when I am overwhelmed.
What is your biggest challenge in scrapbooking right now?
I have too many projects going at the moment and it is hard to focus when I get in my scrapbook room. I totally have crafters adhd (and diagnosed inattentive adhd which is only aggravated by my crafters adhd!) I just want to do it all right now! My brain flies faster than my hands.
- Favorite scrapbooking tool or product? My Tim Holtz Mini Stapler and all my punches! I have a Cricut but it’s super dusty. I just love the ease of punches.
- Current inspiration that gets your scrapbooking creativity flowing? My pictures are my number one source of inspiration (why I like to print at home). Finding common themes and looking for fun colors to play up are where I start. I then find the paper kit to coordinate and a sketch to use.
- Favorite scrapbooking gurus? Allison Davis and Debbie Sanders at Scrapbook Generation (designers of the sketches and kits that I love). I oogle at Taylor Paige Evans pages even though I don’t necessarily have the time/talent to copy her style. She is just so colorful and fun. Following Paper Issues on Instagram is also really fun.
- Your go-to scrapbooking method or design? Two-page 12×12 spreads with lots of photos! I take a lot of pictures. I love to catch all the aspects of an event from the food to the people to the scene. I love my pictures to tell the story. I make chronological pages for our family but I also have an on going book for each child AND one for myself! I take lots of pictures of architecture and nature. I also love interior decorating and often take pictures of our home. I keep our date night pages and kid free vacations in that book also. It is definitely a favorite!
- Something new you’ve recently discovered in the scrapbooking world? The Facebook page called AppScrappers: Simply Project Life. It is a great resource and the community if very active and supportive. Also, online crop weekends! Scrapbook Generation hosts a handful a year on Facebook. The challenges are really fun and it is as laid back or as intense as you are able.
Share a recent project that you made – we would love to see!
Here is a few of Meagan’s beautiful Project Life app layouts – she currenlty does Project 52 (weekly) layouts for her family and another album for her baby girl’s first year of life.
As I mentioned earlier, Meagan is also on Becky Higgins’ Digital Design Team and wrote a recent post on Becky’s blog about turning off the drop shadow effect which changes the entire look of your layouts.
Meagan is also working on her 7 year olds baby book. She said, “It’s been so fun to relive him as a baby through this book.” These pages are all made from Scrapbook Generation kits or based on their sketches.
Any last thoughts for other mom’s out there who are struggling to prioritize their scrapbooking, crafting, and creative time?
Utilize whatever resources you can to keep a journal, even if it’s just bullet points, so when you do find the time to scrapbook you have the thoughts about the event/day/etc. ready to go! Putting a good story to the pictures makes it that much more fun but the more time passes the harder it is to remember the details.
Figure out your overall scrapbooking flow and embrace it! I have had several months where I couldn’t get to my craft room for one reason or another (which is why I love the PL app…it keeps me current). I have noticed that I have more time and focus in the months of January, February, and March so I try to capitalize.
Thanks again Meagan for being a part of this series! She truly is a great inspiration as a creative mom and memory keeper. I know I will be trying out some of her scrapbooking methods and looking at different ways to keep up with memory keeping. Let me know in the comments below how Meagan inspired you!
If you are interested in participating in the interview series, please contact me here!
See you next month – until then, lead your best creative life today!