1) Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got into scrapbooking.
I am passionate about the art of storytelling through scrapbooking and creating clean and classic layouts that will stand the test of time. Because storytelling is so important to me, I define myself as a "memory keeper." In 2001, I saw an issue of "Scrapbooks, etc." magazine while on vacation and fell in love with the idea of merging my photos and stories with pretty paper and stickers. As I immersed myself in the hobby, it began to change my thought process. It was like putting on my first pair of glasses; everything around me came into focus. The trees were greener, the sky bluer, the birds sang a more cheerful song and my memories and everyday life moments seemed more precious. My whole outlook on life changed! I have always been a joy-filled person but scrapbooking made me realize how much I have to be joyful about. I can't imagine my life without it! I live in Nashville, Tennessee and love to laugh and have fun with my daughter, Caroline, and husband, Mike. I've been blogging since 2005, sharing my love of memory keeping, card making, hand lettering, artful memory planning, art journaling and organizing. You can find me at tracieclaiborne.com.
After a couple of years of listening to podcasts, particularly ones about scrapbooking, I developed the desire to have a show of my own so I could make it exactly how I would most enjoy it. I've always had the gift of gab and after teaching scrapbooking for about 10 years, I was skilled at talking passionately about it to a captive audience. (I never worried about it being a visual hobby because talking about scrapbooking is just second nature to me and there were already multiple podcasts discussing it.)
3) You're a scrapbooker, blogger, podcaster, social media maven, teacher, wife and mom. How do you balance it all?
The homeschooling part is easy. We just started our 11th year and my daughter (in 10th grade) is self-directed by this point. I'm very good about scheduling my life but I'm not good about sticking to the schedule. I work best on a deadline and always seem to find myself staying up 'til all hours, getting it done at the last minute. I'm trying to change that about myself because I don't want to live in a cycle of stress! I quit my job in April to work full time on my creative business so I'm still finding balance but I've worked harder for myself than I've ever worked for anyone else!! My friend, Jen Schow, helps keep me on track. We are creative business partners in the sense that we share our ideas, help each other stay on track and motivated and we'll be collaborating on some projects together. Her support has been so instrumental in my success. I also have Tiffany to run my ideas by and my friend, Shanna Noel, has been a huge source of support and knowledge for me. You have to surround yourself with the right people! People who believe in you and your dream and want to help you achieve it but also people who understand the business that you're in.
My first love is talking about scrapbooking and my second love is talking about, going on and planning a Disney World trip. I am obsessed with all things Disney. Almost every scrapbooker I meet has been to Disney but you don't find many Disney layouts for inspiration online. I really feel like it's an overlooked category of scrapbooking, probably because the designers who work for the manufacturers are scrapping other topics and that's who I turn to for inspiration. I started the show out weekly and intended on keeping it that way but I had to put it on hiatus for a few weeks while I worked on some other projects. A new episode will be out in October and going forward, the show will be once a month. The thing about podcasting is, once you figure out how to do one podcast, it's tempting to do more!
5) Can you give us a sneak peak at your upcoming third podcast?
I'm waiting to announce it until I have my logo ready but I'll be talking to people who work full time in the creative industry. :) The first episode goes up October 22nd.
6) Where can we find your classes and what are your newest classes all about?
I just released my first online class. It's called "Easy Hand Lettering" and is available now at tracieclaiborne.com (click Shoppe). It shows you step by step how to do traditional hand lettering and an easy shortcut to making it look great. There are 10 lessons, 10 videos and 12 practice worksheets. It's almost 3 hours of instruction and is $20. On October 22nd, I'll be releasing my next class, called "Journal Your Life: 12 Strategies for Meaningful Memory Keeping." In November, I have a class coming up with Jen Schow (www.craftyjenschow.com) about using sketches. I'm super excited about that one because I am her biggest fan so the idea of working with her thrills me. :)
I also have a class that was just released at Big Picture Classes. It's called "Start with the Story" and I contributed to a class on pocket page designs at Get it Scrapped!
7) What advice would you give to new scrapbookers?
Start with your LEAST important photos. Like photos you took yesterday. Make a mini album about fall or things you love. Something simple with a beginning and an end so you'll feel accomplished. Don't buy a lot of stuff. Just buy what you need for that one project. Make that project and then make something else not important (in terms of photographs you cherish). Study the work of a variety of scrapbookers. Look to the blogs of manufacturers like Simple Stories, October Afternoon, Doodlebug, Crate Paper, American Crafts and study the work the designers do. Sketch out layouts that you love and use those as a foundation for your pages. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Scraplift every page and try a variety of styles until you find one that really resonates with you. After about six months of scraplifting, you'll start to develop a sense of what works for you and what doesn't. Keep scraplifting. Develop some "go to designs" that will help you have a starting point every time you scrap. Tell your stories on a page. Don't leave the journaling off. Don't let it intimidate you. Talk on your page like a friend is standing over you and you're explaining what happened in the photos - it's that easy. I could go on and on!! :)
8) Where do you find inspiration for your projects, classes and podcasts?
Ideas for classes and projects are never the problem. Finding time to execute the ideas is the problem. I immerse myself in the online scrapbooking community so I'm constantly seeing people communicate their scrapbooking needs. I try to listen to my audience/customer and fill the need that they are telling me about. Not that they tell me directly but it's in feedback I receive from the show and just random comments on my social media. I have plans right now for about five classes but most of them will be next year because I just write it all down and then get to it as soon as I can. I rarely show my work right now because I have to hold it back for a class and that's one hard thing about creating classes: I love to share projects as soon as I create them but I just can't. For the Scrap Gals podcast, we try to keep our finger on the pulse of scrapbooking and what people are excited about. That might be Travelers Notebooks, making lists, planners or telling their stories but we have to be interested in it first or we can't talk about it. That's one reason people love our show, we only talk about what we're genuinely interested in. Our show is not for everyone: we have strong and specific ideas about scrapbooking and we're okay with knowing that everyone won't always agree with us. We love to connect with people who want to laugh, think deeply about the outcome of the time they spending creating and those who just like to listen in as we chit-chat about scrappy things. For those people, we deliver a fun hour each week. We say repeatedly, "there's no right or wrong in scrapbooking, this is just how we do things." I focus on taking beautiful photographs and telling stories. Tiffany focuses on having fun and playing with pretty products. Together, we have a good balance of ideas. For my Disney podcast, I just look online for Disney pages that I love and then try to convince the person who made them that it's really not scary to be on a podcast! :) For my new show, I'm interviewing the people I admire and look up to. This is the project I'm the most excited about right now because it's very self-indulgent. I'll be asking questions I need answers to.
9) What has been your most memorable moment (good or bad) in your scrapbooking career so far?
I had just finished up my job and one week later, Big Picture Classes asked me to teach there. I was giddy with joy! Them asking me out of the blue was an awesome and fun surprise. A couple days later, Debbie Hodge asked me to teach at Get It Scrapped so I was on Cloud 9 the whole week. :) Then I worked like a crazy woman to get both of the classes done. Turning them both in, right on time, was a great feeling of accomplishment. I'm super happy with how they both turned out.
10) Please share something about yourself that the scrapbooking world doesn't know.
I'm still surprised when someone knows who I am or is interested in me (like you asking me to do this interview, Gina). One day, I was in a scrapbook store in Knoxville, Tennessee and someone came around the corner and said, "Are you Tracie Claiborne?" I said, "Yes I am!" She said, "I recognized your voice from your podcast!" It shocked me that anyone would recognize me! I receive e-mails and messages on Facebook almost daily with the most incredible words of kindness and love. I can't even describe what a blessing that is that perfect strangers take the time to be so nice to me! I usually cry and show my husband and he just shakes his head and says, "That is so awesome." I do not take one minute of it for granted. I cry daily because people are so wonderful to me. It makes me want to work harder, inspire more and dream bigger so I can be deserving of their kindness. When I get tired and want to quit, I think about all those people who have been so kind. Speaking of kindness, thank you Gina for this opportunity - I appreciate it so much! -Tracie
Hope you all enjoyed Tracie's interview and will subscribe to her amazing podcasts, Scrap Gals and Magic Memory Keepers. We'll all be anticipating her new podcast and her upcoming classes too!
Stay tuned for more exciting news, events and scrapping tips here at California Scrappin'!