Part of that change included a better website and blog, one that matched my personal design aesthetic and gave me a place to share stories and promote my business. And as much as I’d like to jump right into that story, to understand where I am today, we must hop into the virtual Delorean and in the words of Huey Lewis, we “gotta go back in time.” Flux capacitor, fluxing.
The year was 1989. I graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas–Arlington and promptly went to work as an editor for an employee magazine of a chain of grocery stores based in beautiful Coppell, Texas.
It was my first taste of corporate America and it was a fine one at that. I learned how to write and edit copy about pressing matters in the grocery business, how to decorate a cubicle in a quasi-personal yet inoffensive way, how to wear white opaque hosiery with sensibly low-heeled 9 West pumps and how to make the most of the employee smoking lounge.
Then I met Daniel E. Zielske Jr. and fell madly in love. A move to the Land of 10,000 Lakes soon followed.
After a thankfully brief foray into selling men’s clothing, I went to work as an assistant editor for a small trade association magazine. In those days, editors wore many hats, including that of a graphic designer. They plunked me down in front of a charming Macintosh SE with a 9-inch black and white screen and said, “Now design what you write.”
That’s how my career in design began.
And whaddya know, it turned out I was a better designer than a corporate writer.
True, my background in journalism made me a very handy graphic designer. I could re-write copy when needed. I could spot typos (in others’ work FAR more than in my, ahem, own). I also had a true passion for photography so when push came to shove, I could get my camera out and at the very least, create images to help us in the design process.
But I really did fall in love with graphic design. With zero background in the field, I read and looked at everything I could get my hands on. From idea annuals to tech manuals, I immersed myself in the discipline so I could really BE a designer.
I was not artsy. I was not funky. I have always been linear and clean in my approach. But I decided early on that I would be a servant of the message at hand, not the focus of it. (Note: my therapist would tell you that I was the complete opposite in my personal life, but that’s for another post.)
Then I had a baby. Then I got a new design job. Then I had another baby. Then I quit my new design job because I just didn’t make enough to have two kids in daycare and feed them, too.
I enjoyed a year of not working which included being home with my baby boy and preschool girl, and a 9-month stint on Paxil. I knew I needed to get back to work in some capacity. Both my life and our bank account needed it.
I began to freelance for a handful of clients and for the next few years, managed to keep busy and bring in a little bit of income. And then in 2002 it happened: I walked into a scrapbook store and all Hell broke loose.
Some of you may know this story, or if you’re new here you don’t. It’s pretty simple. I walked into an Archiver’s scrapbooking store in Roseville, Minnesota, and fell deeply, madly and irrevocably in love with scrapbooking.
I bought some adhesive, a paper trimmer, some card stock and some patterned paper. I came home and made this:
And aside from creating two human beings, it was truly the finest hour my creativity had theretofore seen.
And yes, I heard a choir of angels in my dining room, the place I still scrapbook today.
And that was it. I was all in, baby.
But how did that lead to this? Making my living in the scrapbook industry? Having a blog that became an integral part of my business? How did I go from making that first page to being here?
That story coming tomorrow.