Getting to Know Jennifer Flaherty

Today we are talking with Jennifer Flaherty, the Peer Director here at Scrapaneers. She’s been scrapbooking since 2001, when she stumbled upon it while searching the web for clip art. Today she shares with us some personal info as well as what helps keep her scrapping 15 years after she started. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, your life (including how long you have been digiscrapping).

I am a forty-something, stay-at-home mom to three great kids: Jack, Patrick and Cadence. I was an elementary school teacher before deciding to stay home to raise our children. It was a difficult decision for me at the time because I really loved my job, however, I don’t regret it at all. We live on Long Island in New York, close to family and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

It's extremely important for me to let my kids know how important their bond is so this layout means a lot.I also really love the crop on this photo.

It’s extremely important for me to let my kids know how important their bond is so this layout means a lot.I also really love the crop on this photo.

I learned how to use a Macintosh computer while at college thanks to an amazing professor who made us use them. It was there my love for technology was born. I had always been a crafty person, dabbling in wreath-making, quilting, and card-making. Once I became a teacher (in 2001), I made all of my own posters and classroom materials using Microsoft Picture-It Publisher. I often searched the internet looking for additional clip art for my projects. That is when I stumbled upon digital scrapbooking and knew it was the perfect hobby for me, marrying technology and creativity!
Even though I don't make a lot of them, I love big photo layouts and this photo was just so gorgeous, there really was no other way to scrap it!

Even though I don’t make a lot of them, I love big photo layouts and this photo was just so gorgeous, there really was no other way to scrap it!

What is your personal scrapbooking mantra?

Hmmmm…I’ve never really thought about it. I guess it would be: Simplify. Don’t overcomplicate things. Just do it.

 

If you are like me, your time to scrap is probably limited, so when you make time to scrap — just scrap. Don’t organize your pictures. Don’t tag your supplies. Stay focused and just scrap. Do those other things when you allot time for those other things. But when you allot time for scrapping, just scrap. And when you do it, do what makes you happy. If clean and simple is your happy place, then make clean and simple layouts. If artsy is your thing, then go artsy or go home. You are only going to stick with it, if it makes you happy.

 

This is an example of one that I made just as a creative outlet. Even though there is no story, it's one of my favorites because of how much white space there is.

This is an example of one that I made just as a creative outlet. Even though there is no story, it’s one of my favorites because of how much white space there is.

 

And one more thing: Remember your purpose. For some, scrapbooking is a creative outlet and at times, that is true for me. But more recently, as my children get older and their childhood slips away, I realize that more important to me (and to them) is to tell our stories. So when I scrap, I scrap with that in mind. I make sure to record the details and the feelings that make up the moments in our lives, because that is what I noticed my children and I treasure most.

 

This is the story of her beginning -- when we first found out about her. It is such an important story to tell. It was also the only page I ever redid. I hated the original page and felt that this story -- because of its importance -- needed a better layout to go along with it.

This is the story of her beginning — when we first found out about her. It is such an important story to tell. It was also the only page I ever redid. I hated the original page and felt that this story — because of its importance — needed a better layout to go along with it.

 

What do you do to fit scrapbooking into your schedule?

Neglect my children and my household duties! What else? But seriously, in order to fit it in, it has to be a priority which means, at that time, other things are put on hold. Sometimes, you need to re-prioritize. After two failed attempts at Project Life. (I’m still going to finish those albums!) I have decided to adjust my plan. This year I am just going to do a month in review page and insert full page layouts of any events I wish to tell a deeper story about. It’s my album and I can do it however I want. This is my compromise because I am finding I have less time to document our family’s story, but it is still important to me.

 

This page was born from the photo. I loved it so much, I just had to scrap it. It's not an important photo, but it's a moment in time and I froze it!

This page was born from the photo. I loved it so much, I just had to scrap it. It’s not an important photo, but it’s a moment in time and I froze it!

How would you describe your style?

I’ve tried just about every style, with the exception of fantasy-type layouts. Through it all, I’ve come to realize that I am most drawn to linear layouts. Layouts with clean, organized lines. It’s the Virgo in me.

 

Very simple design but for me the beauty is in the story; the fact that she is just like my mom <3 .

Very simple design but for me the beauty is in the story; the fact that she is just like my mom

 

What programs do you use for scrapping and photo and supply organization?

I use Adobe CC, so I use Photoshop to create layouts and Lightroom for my photos. I have used ACDSee, iPhoto, Aperture and Lightroom to organize my supplies. My favorite was iPhoto, but one of the upgrades made it difficult to view PNGs with transparent backgrounds, so I stopped using it. I assessed my scrapping style and since I was a kit scrapper and rarely used my old supplies, I decided it wasn’t necessary to spend a lot of time and energy organizing so I switched to using Finder on my Mac to find my supplies. However, this year, I have resigned from most of my creative teams and will probably start using some of my old supplies, so I think I may be spending some time reorganizing them again. I’ll keep you posted!

 

No clean lines here! But there is definitely some order to it.

No clean lines here! But there is definitely some order to it.

 

What is something you’ve learned over the years as a digital scrapbooker that has helped you immensely?

Honestly, I am one of those, “build a better mouse trap,” kind of people. I am always looking for the latest and greatest thing that is going to be better than what is already working for me. (I guess I’d rather lead than follow.) But what I have learned is that help is readily available if you are using what the masses are using. I was using Aperture because I really liked it and I am an Apple devotee, but all the other digital scrapbookers were using Lightroom. So when I needed to know how to do something specific to scrapbooking, there was not a lot of help out there. Now, I use what everyone else is using and if I want to know how to do something, I just google it and there it is.

 

This is just a sweet memory that I think she will enjoy as she gets older, especially as she has kids and sings it to them.

This is just a sweet memory that I think she will enjoy as she gets older, especially as she has kids and sings it to them.

 

Thank you, Jen, for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself so we can all get to know you a little bit better.

 

 

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One comment

  • Katherine Engelhardt January 1, 2016   Reply →

    Fun getting to know you a little better. Thanks Jen!

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