Hello and welcome to this week's So This is Scrapbooking. Today, just for you, I have a peek behind the scenes of a very full scrapbooking life. It's a great story! Jennifer - but, hold on, let's have Jennifer tell us all about it herself...
Scrapbooking has become so much more than a hobby for me – it’s now a way of life.
I don’t just mean the way I see more details to photograph everywhere I go, or how I’ve decided my children need new coats – not because they’re growing out of them, but because I've scrapbooked so many pictures of them wearing them, and I don’t have papers left to match! There’s also the way it’s changed my career goals – something I never would have imagined when I started papercrafting.
I’ve always been creative, with an artist mother, and a dad who loved to read. I wanted to write stories, so I went to University to study Creative Writing, and I started writing a children’s fantasy novel - it was my dream to get it published. In the meantime (while I waited to find my fame!), I started running creative writing courses for children part-time with a friend, Rosie Bird (you can see more about those on this post, if you’re interested).
Then after University, around the time I had my daughter (2008) I discovered papercrafting, when I went to work at a shop selling supplies. At first I did cardmaking, then a co-worker handed me a scrapbooking magazine and I was awed by the pages – I went home and made my first scrapbook page and I knew straight away that I’d found my ‘calling’ – before then I’d dabbled in a variety of crafts (fimo, watercolour painting, and glass-painting to name a few), but none of them had ever captured my heart.
At first I was happy to scrapbook ‘on-the-side’ of my novel writing and creative writing workshops, even when I took Shimelle Laine’s ‘Blogging for Scrapbookers’ class and started joining in with the online community and becoming part of design teams. But then in 2010 Rosie and I went to a creative careers workshop, which we hoped would help us move forward with our workshops, and make more money from them. But there were some questions to answer about what we really wanted from life, and a personal 5 year plan to do (see below) and I realised I hadn’t mentioned my novel writing AT ALL. I had been just been carrying on with it out of a sense of duty or sentimental reasons - I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. And the things we wanted to happen with our workshops probably wouldn’t be possible – we wanted more work during the week at schools, but thanks to the credit crunch schools couldn't afford special activities anymore.
At the time I was still thinking of making money through crafts by having stalls or running workshops, but I had the same problem with these – they would need to be mainly at the weekend and I couldn’t do many weekends because of childcare – my husband works weekends and we don’t live near any family to take advantage of!
We carried on trying to run the workshops, but still getting mainly weekend work – my husband was using up all his holiday hours looking after the kids. And in the meantime I was discovering more and more online. Thanks to Julie Kirk’s ‘Tips for the Twitter Curious’ series I started to use twitter, and on there I met the editor of UK’s Popular Crafts Magazine (no longer available, but she’s now the editor of the new Make & Craft Magazine) – I replied to a tweet of hers, she popped to my blog, saw one of my recent posts, and invited me to write for the magazine! Also on twitter I saw a call-out for projects, for a book called ‘101 Ways to Stitch, Craft, Create’, and I created 2 projects for that book, and 5 for the next book (not yet released).
These, along with other things, made me realise I could make at least a little money from papercrafting. I started my bi-annual blog events which were really popular, and I thought maybe I could run an online class (my first one is now in preparation – it should be running in June if all goes to plan!). In 2012 Rosie and I decided to wind down the business running creative writing workshops, so we could focus on our own goals. Rosie is so supportive of my ideas, I’m very lucky to have her for a friend. We may run the workshops again one day, and perhaps sometime I might finish my children’s novel. But I’m okay with those being on hold for now!
I don’t earn much money from crafting yet, but I hope to keep building it up to earn a part time wage. It’s easy to fit my work in during nap-times and evenings (plus a little more on hubby’s days off!), so it’s the kind of work that works for me! I took Lain Ehmann’s ‘Crafting Your Biz’ class in January, which has given me more ideas and challenges – the main thing I realised during the class was that I wanted a new blog with a fresh start and a professional sounding web address – www.jennifergracecreates.com is ‘in-the-works’ and should be officially open on the 31st of March – you’re welcome to take a sneaky peek now but be warned it’s still in the early stages! There’s so much I’m doing right now, with the new blog, class preparations, and of course, planning for my next blog event (in May). But I’m passionate and excited about them, and my word of the year will keep me going... in 2013 I’m going to progress!
So This is Scrapbooking! I think Jennifer's story is an exciting one - and it looks like it has a way to run yet! Best of luck with your plans: you've got lots of support here.
Be sure to check out Jennifer's new site as well as her blog-of-the-moment, which you can find at Jennifer's Jumbles. It's absolutely, definitely worth a browse!