Hello, Analog Friends! This February, I talked to Suzanne from Suzy’s Craftery. She’s a YouTuber known for her journaling tips and stationery review videos—and one of Cafe Analog’s friends who designed our “Serotonin” stamp.
In this new series of Cafe Analog’s blog called ANALOG FRIENDS, I invite you to enjoy long-form reading at a slower pace (preferably with a cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate!)—while getting to know the people behind Cafe Analog’s products you love.
Hanny (H): Hi, Suzanne! We know you from your Instagram, YouTube, and our mutual journaling circle. However, we’d like to know you better! 🙂 What else should we know about you besides being a stationery lover, designer, and creative person?
Suzanne (S): Hi! I’m Suzanne, 39 years old, and I live with my family in a town in the middle of the Netherlands. I’m married and the mother of our 10-year-old son Arthur. I met my husband in Turkey while studying Turkish languages and cultures. I’m very interested in foreign languages, cultures, and history. Actually, a lot of things grab my interest 😉
My career is a good reflection of that. From working as a psychologist, making a career switch to nursing, specializing as an obstetrics nurse (yes, I helped deliver babies!), and returning to psychology again, my current profession. I work as a therapist with adults with all kinds of problems. Also, creative-wise, I basically like anything. As long as it’s something that’s being made with your hands, I like to try it out. It goes from knitting/crocheting to woodworking, leatherworking, decorating cakes, etc. Creative journaling grabbed me the most in the last years because it feels somehow so versatile.
H: How did you start journaling? Do you have a specific journaling style? What do you use your journal for?
I first came across bullet journaling in 2018. I bought a journal and some markers and tried using it as a planner. Somehow, I let it go after a few months. Then, at the beginning of 2021, I came across the idea of using a (bullet) journal as a daily journal. At that point, I was going through a tough period in my life, and I was searching for a way to express my emotions.
I started with mixed media and used a lot of different techniques. At the end of 2021, I came across Café Analog (CA) and fell in love instantly with their beautiful products. I loved that Café Analog worked with small female designers who made their designs with lots of love.
I think my journaling style nowadays is eclectic.
I like using and trying out lots of different techniques. Also, I like to express my emotions in my spreads. Currently, I have three journals: a Jibun Techo for planning and writing short daily highlights, a Hobonichi Weeks as a gratitude journal, and an A6 Hobonichi as a daily/reflection journal.
H: How do you see journaling from a psychological point of view? What are the benefits of journaling for us, our growth, and our mental health?
S: I think, journaling—as any form of making art—is a perfect way of expressing your emotions. In my work, I give writing assignments quite often. That can be writing a letter to a deceased person or someone who hurt you in the past—or writing a letter to yourself. You can take that in several ways, like a letter for your past or future self.
For ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), keeping a planner is essential to gain more leadership over your daily time. It can help plan appointments and set priorities but also break up large tasks into smaller doable tasks. For depression, it can also help to keep a daily positive log (or gratitude log) to focus on things that are going well in your life instead of focusing on negative thoughts.
Some people also keep a diary when they follow a treatment to write down their thoughts, process them, and reflect on their lives. I believe if you reflect on your life regularly, you will become more aware of what is important to you. What goals do you like to reach? With who or what do you want to spend your time on? It helps you to pause amidst the chaos, untangle thoughts and experiences, think of ways to solve problems, and create meaning.
Ultimately, I think this is an excellent way to release and prevent stress.
H: I am so happy to see the growth of the journaling community here on the Internet. It’s like seeing all the introverts being “open” through their journals 😀 However, sharing your journals online also opens up that comparison trap. You start seeing other people’s journals and feel like yours are not good enough; you start thinking, “Why am I not getting likes?”—or you start wanting what other people have in their journals… How do you see this? Have you experienced this yourself? How do you cope, and what would your advice be to someone feeling this now?
S: Yes, it is indeed so great to see the growth of the journaling community. I love to see how people create and use their journals. But, in the end, it is a personal reflection of yourself.
You are correct that there is a great trap of comparison. Also, on Instagram, there can be a focus on likes and getting followers. At first, I also felt more sensitive to that part. I worried if people would like my posts, and when I got fewer followers than the week before, I started doubting myself. Also, I tried making pages which I thought people would like to see.
In a moment of reflection, I discovered that this way of using Instagram and my journal gave me too much stress. In the end, it is a hobby, of course. I decided to make only things I like, with products I love, and stop following my Instagram statistics.
Of course, I still like it when I reach a milestone in followers, for example, 10K around 1.5-week ago. But it is more happening on the go. So my advice to someone in this trap right now is to stop for a moment and focus on why you started journaling in the first place.
What made you love it?
You are making your journal just for you.
Others can inspire you, but you don’t have to become like the other person.
In the end, there is room for everybody on the Internet, also for you.
H: You are also designing our Serotonin stamp with Cafe Analog! Have you always been into stationery design? How did the idea/inspiration come to you?
S: Yes, the Serotonin stamp is something I’m very proud of! It is my first and only stamp /stationery design at this moment. I made it for a stamp challenge from Café Analog. I wanted to make a feel-good stamp that could help with reflecting. There is a lot of symbolism in this stamp.
At first, the serotonin molecule, of course. This had to be there, as a link to my profession as a psychologist. It is one of the ‘happy’ hormones since it stabilizes our mood. Then I thought of ways to increase the serotonin in our brains naturally. One way is meditation. I picked the pen and notebook for this since journaling can also be quite meditative. But, also, the lotus flower stands for meditation. Another way to increase our serotonin is by being in nature. That’s why I added some branches and the lotus flower to represent nature. I made a few sketches and ended up with the current design 🙂
H: How long have you been doing YouTube videos? What do you mostly share? What do you like/dislike about being a YouTube creator? 😀
S: I started on YouTube in April 2021 with Dutch-spoken videos. I mostly shared tutorials in mixed media journaling. I made tutorials on which materials to pick and how to do different techniques but also did some reviews. I also like to show how I organize my stuff and something like what to bring on holidays.
Last summer, I decided to make an English-spoken channel because I have a lot of English-speaking followers on Instagram and it would be nice if more people could follow what I say in my videos.
What I like about being a YouTube creator is teaching people things and hopefully give them inspiration. Also, I like to give the message that journaling is for everyone. My goal is to give people the freedom to create without being limited by thoughts of perfectionism or ‘what would others think’ or ‘what if I mess up’.
I like to show my mistakes and ways to deal with them. In this way, I hope more people can enjoy this wonderful hobby.
The only thing I dislike about being a YouTube creator is that editing videos is very time-consuming. A video for about 30-min would take at least 6 hours of editing! At first, I was making weekly videos, but right now, I make them when I have time. The main reason for this is the time it takes! 😉
H: Can we see your desk, creative corner, or mini stationery capsule? What are some of your favorite go-to stationery supplies for journaling? Also, I know that recently you got profiled in a Japanese magazine! Can you tell us more about that?
S: You sure can! I added some photos from my happy crafty corner here:
On my desk, I keep my stationery capsule, which I change every two months or so. I like to go through my stamps, tapes, papers, etc., and pick the ones I want to work with for the upcoming period.
Last week I changed my capsule to a more winter-to-spring setting, as seen in one of the photos. It is very hard to pick my favorite go-to stationery supplies. If I have to select some, it would be my fountain pens and some stamps, and PET/washi tape. I don’t have some specific favorite item I use all the time. It really depends on my mood, and what I like to use.
And about the magazine! One day I got a message from La Dolce Vita, with the question if I would like to give an interview. They were making a magazine about desks from different creative people and wanted to feature mine as well. I felt so honored that they wanted to feature my cozy desk! I’m very pleased with the end result. It is so nice to see it printed on paper. In the end, we are all analogue paper lovers, aren’t we 😉
H: When and where do you like to journal? Do you journal every day? Do you love journaling outside, like in a cafe? Do you journal when you’re traveling or on vacation?
S: I obviously love journaling in my cozy corner, and I do it mainly in the evenings. I’m really an evening person. Journaling in the night would be my perfect time of the day, but that’s not so handy when you need to wake up early for kids/work 😉
I don’t journal every day. Sometimes I have other obligations or things I want to do. If I forced myself to journal daily, I think it would take away my pleasure from journaling.
Since I’m easily distracted, I find journaling outside quite hard. But I love going to friends’ or your Stationery Cafés! It is so fun to share thoughts about our beloved hobby, new ideas, new stationery, etc. I always take some supplies on my holidays, when it’s for a more extended period. Journaling is, in the end, quite addictive 😉 and I also like to keep up the memories we make on holiday.
H: Do you have some wholesome stationery YouTube channels you can recommend to us? 😀
S: Honestly, I don’t follow too many YouTube channels. I mainly check out things I have a question about, such as reviews about certain inks or fountain pens. But I have a few channels I like. One YouTube channel I like is from Petra Brcic. Also, I like the videos from Yoseka Stationery. You also posted your first YouTube video on the Café Analog channel! That video I also found very pleasing and relaxing to watch, so I can also recommend your channel 😉