Nanny, Teacher, Librarian, And Now: Serengeti Memory Keeping Guest Designer

We loved so much having Junell Kruzel as our Serengeti Memory Keeping Guest Designer. She has an awesome gift of creating with multiple formats and we hope you’ll find her work just as inspiring as we did. Get to know her better by reading below, then you can view all her gorgeous projects (she did layouts, a traveler’s notebook spread, and a pocket page!) on our Serengeti Pinterest board. We hope you’ve found a new designer to stalk! She’s awesome!

Hi! I’m Junell Kruzel and I’m so honored and excited to be the June Guest Designer! I live with my husband Cameron in NW Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie. I am a former 5th-grade teacher and also a former nanny and most recently I’ve worked for our local library system. When I’m not scrapbooking you can find me reading and drinking lots of coffee, binging Netflix, or taking care of all my succulents which has recently become a new hobby for me.

We do not have any children of our own, but I don’t let that stop me from taking all the pictures and telling my story. I’ve been scrapbooking since 1998 when I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and wanted a unique way to document my experience. (I didn’t know scrapbooking was a thing yet!) I was at a craft store and happened upon Memory Makers magazine (remember that one?) and the obsession began!

I started off doing the 2-page layout with 4×6 pictures cut into crazy shapes, then I graduated to doing just 1-page layouts with smaller pictures. In 2010, I bought the first Becky Higgins Project Life kit and documented with pocket pages for a long time. I now enjoy a mix of styles and I loved documenting in a TN for the first time this month using the Serengeti kit! Even though I’ve been scrapbooking for a long time, I’m still learning so much from my favorite scrapbookers. There is no shame in scraplifting and learning new techniques in the process.

I try to encourage everyone to take the time to get in the picture and document your life. Your story matters and is important, even if society tells you otherwise. Many years ago, I went to a crop by myself and a woman asked me how many kids I had. I told her that I didn’t have any and she responded by saying, “Then what on earth do have to scrapbook about?” I was in disbelief that she actually thought that because I didn’t have kids I had nothing to scrapbook. I felt like I was punched in the stomach and I got very tongue-tied and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I felt very much like I didn’t belong and it made me question why I was doing this.

And now I’m 44 years old, an infertility warrior, still without kids of my own, and I am beyond joyful when I look back at years and years worth of albums. I am so thankful that I did not let that woman take something so precious away from me. I am so grateful for this life-affirming, stress-reducing, happy, creative, valuable hobby. It’s my passion. It’s my gratitude. It’s my story. It’s who I am.

“If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” Anonymous
You can find me on Instagram. My handle is @junell.kruzel

1. When is your most creative time?
Right before I have to leave for work! That’s always when I have the best ideas.
But I do most of my scrapping on what I call “Friday Fun Night” or Saturday afternoon when I have a larger chunk of time.

2. How do you unwind?
It depends on my mood. If I’m in a quiet mood I like to read on my front porch. If I’ve got more energy, I like to put on my headphones and listen to music really loud. (And dance, if no one’s watching!)

3. If you were in a rock n’ roll band, what would your job be?
Well, I can’t sing or play any instruments, so I would probably be part of the crew that sets up and tears down.

4. What is your guilty pleasure?
Scrolling Instagram way past my time limit! (I set one, but I always ignore it.)

5. If your life was a movie, what actress would play you?
Melissa McCarthy

6. What is your favorite accessory?
The gold band I wear on my right hand that Cameron gave me when we were dating and my Mantra Band bracelets with encouraging sayings on them.

7. If your life was a novel, what would the title be?
Patience is a Virtue, and You’re Gonna Need A Lot of It

8. What was your first job?
I was a page at a library- shelving books. Perfect for my introvert, Enneagram 5, book-loving self!

9. Share 3 of your bucket list items with us.
1. Vacation in Hawaii   2. Move closer to an ocean, possibly the Carolinas.   3. attend crops all across the country and meet more of my Instagram friends in person!

10. What is “dressed up” for you?
A nice pair of jeans with a top that doesn’t have coffee stains on it, and wearing my hair down instead of in a ponytail.

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