Meet the 2012 Design Team: Rachel McPeek

Get to know Rachel McPeek…

Your Name: Rachel McPeek

Where you live: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Your most commonly used username in the scrapbooking word: teachermom

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Rachel McPeekPlease tell us a little about yourself, your family, your background…I am a teacher taking a break from my career to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I have 2 children: a 4th grader and a toddler, and we have 1 dog that keeps us on our toes. When I’m not scrapping or otherwise playing in Photoshop, I am reading, surfing the internet, playing video games or avoiding housework at all costs.

How did you become a scrapbooker or memory-keeper? I started scrapping in 2005 when I was introduced to the hobby by a neighbor. I was looking for a more social hobby, as I had been cross stitching, and my eyes were starting to cross themselves and I was missing girl time. I switched to digital scrapping shortly before my son was born, as the combination of soon-to-be-toddler and paper messes gave me nightmares.  Digital was the perfect solution to short nap times, working one-handed while feeding, and no time wasted cleaning up! (Have I mentioned I hate housework?)

How would you describe your scrapbooking style? My style is most often paper-based, from my background in paper. I like realistic looking elements.  But I also really like to challenge myself to scrap other styles, so play with big photos and small photos, clusters, and minimalist pages as my mood shifts.

When do you scrapbook? How much time do you spend on this activity during a typical week? I scrap mostly during my son’s naptime and after the kids go to bed in the evening. My favorite wind down activity is to watch a movie or TV with my husband with the laptop in front of me. If I had to put a number to it, I’d say I scrap 10-20 hours a week, depending on my inspiration or if I have other things that have to get done during that naptime (like showering).

What is your favorite way to capture the journaling part of your scrapbooking? I often find myself journaling as if I am talking to my subject or writing them a letter. I use “you” a lot, as my subjects are often my kids. But I also like to treat it as if it is my journal and only for my eyes. I get some pretty honest journaling that way.

What story from the past do you most wish had been documented so you and/or your family could enjoy it now? I wish I knew more about how and why my ancestors came to this country, and their stories, even as close as my grandparents. The stories of my family’s experiences are what I wish were documented. I did some genealogy research after my daughter was born, so I know a lot of the factual information, but the memories, experiences, and emotions are lost from those itemized points of data.

What is your favorite source of scrapbooking or design inspiration? I love going through galleries if I’m lacking for inspiration, but I often find with my limited scrap and computer time, that I don’t have as much time as I would like to browse. A lot of my personal scrapping inspiration comes from my photos or challenges around the Web.

What is your favorite part of scrapbooking/memory-keeping? My favorite part of scrapbooking would have to be the knowledge that I am leaving my kids with my perspective on our lives. We tease my mom because we remember threats she would make when we were kids, but don’t remember her reading to us nightly (though I know there were a whole lot more stories read than threats made), so this is my way of remembering the good. I do scrap the “not so good” moments too, but more often than not it’s the daily celebrations that take the center of the page.

What do you find the most challenging about scrapbooking/memory-keeping? Finding my creativity if I can’t find inspiration. When I’ve lost my mojo, I just can’t make anything, it seems. I can sit in front of an empty canvas (or even a blank template) and see nothing. When this happens, I have a hard time in other areas of my life, because scrapping is where I do a lot of my daily reflection and thought. If I can’t process, it makes it hard to move forward.

How has your scrapbooking changed since you first started? (or has it?) Other than my medium changing, I think deep down my scrapping is the same because the focus is the same.  It’s about recording memories so we don’t forget. I take that back.  I do have one thing that’s changed:  I complete more pages. When I worked with paper, it would take me a couple hours to make one page (after stewing about it for probably half that), and I would often leave pages half finished. Some lacked a title or a few bits and pieces that I had intended to add, but I also have large sections that are complete except for journaling.  WHAT!? Yes, I have entire sections of my daughter’s early years that have no journaling written, but space left for the words. I no longer leave my journaling off pages, because I also know I don’t go back to add it later (nor do I got back to fix spelling errors once they’ve been printed).

Please share one piece of advice on how to capture everyday real life memories for others new to scrapbooking and/or memory-keeping… The biggest thing for me is that a page doesn’t have to include a photo to record the memory. Treating my scrapbooking more like a journal allows me to record those special moments that I wasn’t able to pull out the camera to visually document.


Scrap your Real Life: Journaling Prompts, Project Ideas, Inspirational Layouts & More to Help You Scrapbook Your Real Life Stories

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