10,000 Blog Hits: Time for a RAK!!

Back in April 2007, I did a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) when my blog received it’s 3,000th hit. Well, now we are approaching 10,000 so it’s time to do another one. Here’s how you play:

Whoever posts a comment closest to the time my blog receives it’s 10,000th hit will receive a little scrapbooking goodie from me. I think it will happen in the next 2 or 3 days. The comment can be on ANY post on this blog. Good luck!

Scrapbook Crop #2: A Report

It’s been almost a week and I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep, LOL! I held my second scrapbooking crop last weekend. It was Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 10pm each day. I had an absolute blast! I know there are critics of crops and many people who say they just won’t go to one because they need to have all their stuff, they don’t like to pack for them, etc. But if you’ve never gone to one, you really should give it a try. The best thing to me is it’s like a mini-convention of scrapbookers and where else are you going to get that? Well, other than CKU et al, but not everyone can attend those events. To me, it’s not even really about how much scrapbooking I can get done at crops anymore. The pages I get done are just a bonus. It’s the networking, the scrap-chatting, the sharing of ideas, the sharing of excitement over this great hobby, looking at everyone’s pages and learning more about their lives, hearing the stories of their families, seeing their latest projects and learning new techniques. And invariably you find someone there who knows someone that you know (know what I mean?). I just love the whole ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ thing, don’t you? Anyway, there is just so much to a crop – it’s not ONLY about getting pages done!

This crop went very well, I thought. There were ladies coming and going at different times – I offered a Full Day and a Half Day option. That worked out well because everyone’s weekends are busy and this way, they could really work the crop into their schedule. One lady came for just a few hours while her daughter attended a birthday party nearby. Since she only paid the half day rate, she didn’t feel like she was being cheated of part of her fee. There were about 10-15 people there at any given point; there were 3 ladies that were there all day for all 3 days. Now that’s devotion! And many others who would’ve kept that schedule if they didn’t have other things going on.

One of the best things this time was that my LSS participated. I asked them if they could contribute anything for the goody bags and maybe some business cards. They came through with: 3 large items I used for end-of-the-day door prizes; (50) coupons for $5 off; (50) business cards; and tons of smaller items for hourly drawing prizes like mini album kits and embellishments. The grand prize was a $25 gift card to their store. I was so happy for the gal who won it – that was the best prize! I’m so amazed at their generosity and very grateful.

There was also a Creative Memories Consultant who attended for 2 days. She brought a bunch of her products to sell, and she even got some scrapbooking done. I was glad to make the connection with her and we have agreed to support each other in our consultant endeavors. She seems like a very smart businesswoman and I know I’ll learn a lot from her. I was happy that she sold some things and was able to have success from my crop. Gosh, there were many fun stories and projects, so many neat women I got to know or got to know better. There are such interesting lives being lived out there, and I love to learn about them. On top of that, I got to spend 3 days with my mom (who as always supported me through this), and with my good friend K whose table was up front so we got to talk and talk and talk.

As for the Memory Works part of it, that was also successful. I haven’t tallied it all exactly but I did make a nice little profit from items I sold at the crop, or from orders people made while there. Although it is hard (i.e. expensive) for me to have a ton of my products on hand, I did have a lot more things to show as samples or to sell this time, so that made a difference. The hard part is trying to predict which products will be popular and that shoppers will like. Scrapbooking products look nice on the internet, and even better in a catalog, but there is nothing better than seeing them in person. That’s what really convinces someone that they must have it! For instance, MW has a Crate Paper pack that looks very pretty in the catalog so I ordered it for myself. But when I got it in the mail I was like, WOW! The colors are SO pretty, the paper is SO thick, and the designs are SO fresh. It just blew me away. There is nothing like the real thing.

Many people were asking about the NEXT crop, so I will be working on that. The 2 hotels I would use are already booked throughout the summer. The first step is finding somewhere to hold the crop. I have orders coming in now to deliver (MW will ship orders directly to the customer but most of mine prefer to save on shipping costs by combining orders, then I deliver each one). I’m also hoping to get some scrapping done myself now. At the crop, I only finished one 2-page layout, and got everything done but the journaling on three more 2-page layouts. So I need to finish those. I’m also very excited about a new project I hope to start….that I learned about at the crop, of course! Three of the ladies had just returned from a CKU-Album and the project they were completing was an All About Me album designed by Becky Higgins. It’s absolutely beautiful, and so special. We took photos of all the layouts and made copies of her instructions, so K and I are hoping to create one for ourselves. We’re planning a couple Sundays together in July so we can work on it together. I hope all of your summer projects are just popping along!

Skinny Cow, Scrapbooking Cow…..SMART Cow

Have you discovered Skinny Cow frozen treats? As someone who is on a perpetual diet but also loves her desert, I have been enjoying them much. In fact, at Costco yesterday I got a package of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Half the box has chocolate ice cream, the other half vanilla. Yummers! And I see on their website that they’ve added some scrapbooking-related things. They are even having a Queen of the Crop scrapbook layout contest right now (deadline to mail your entry: 7/31/07). See, they have caught on that 1 of 3 households has a scrapbooker. They also realize that the same women who love Skinny Cow might also be the same women who scrapbook. Smart cow!

Scrapbook Fest: MemoryTrends in September 2007

It’s times like these when I wish I were some kind of scrapbook retailer that qualified for (and could afford to attend) all the scrapbooking trade shows, like CHA. Registration has opened for the MemoryTrends Conference and Expo which will be in Las Vegas this September. Here is a link to the conference brochure if you’re interested. The keynote speaker will be Stacy Julian, talking about the wider definition of scrapbooking. Lisa Bearnson will present “an exclusive report on the results of the 2007 Scrapbooking in America survey”. I just love surveys; although most of them are NOT truly statistically accurate, they do give you some idea of what the trends are and what’s going on with any given subject. I have so many theories and opinions about scrapbooking today, it will be interesting to see if my ideas match those of the Big Survey. Alas, since I won’t be at MemoryTrends, I’ll have to wait for it to be published somewhere and hope it doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars to access like one’s in the past have. One great thing that has happened with the advent of so many scrapbooking blogs, you can experience the trade shows through the attendees. They share photos, diaries, and product reviews – it’s ALMOST as good as being there. And cheaper. Can’t wait!

Another LSS Bites the Dust :(

I was sad to receive an e-mail recently from one of my favorite stores, Gotta Crop in Lodi, CA. They are closing their doors on 6/23/07. So between now and then, they are having a liquidation sale and offering discounts on all purchases. The discounts increase as the closure gets closer. I’m just sad to see them go. I’ve visited their store several times over the years when I have been traveling in that part of the state. Every time a Local Scrapbook Store (LLS) closes, it makes me sad. If you are near to Lodi, go give the owners a hug from me and buy some of their stuff, k?

Memory Works: Crops and Monthly Scrapbook Kits

If you’ve noticed that my posts have gotten rare lately, it’s because I’m planning another scrapbook crop. The first one I did this past May 12, which was an all-day Saturday event. It went over so well that several friends asked me to organize another one, and couldn’t we make it THREE days long this time?? You ask, I’ll deliver! The next event will be in about two weeks (June 22-24, 2007). We had such good luck with the hotel we used last time, that we’re holding it there again. So I’m just in Heaven over here, taking sign ups, planning meals, shopping for goody bag items, getting my Memory Works stuff ready, and praying that lot of people sign up (so far, pretty good!).

In other ‘happy me’ news, I got my first sign-up for the Memory Works monthly kit (it’s called MW Express Kit). Well, okay, it’s my MOM but that still counts! Last week I decided to send out MW catalogs to everyone who had purchased something from me, mostly at the last crop. Those Basic Grey chipboard file sets were a big hit! I included a handmade Thank You card, the catalog, and flyers for the June crop, the June MW monthly kit, and the Sneak Peak for the July kit. My mom saw the June kit and loved it. Here it is:

June MW Express

For $35, you get:
8 sheets of Crate Paper/Basic Grey paper
6 sheets of Prism textured cardstock
26 Scrapworks shimmer letters
6 velvet blossoms, 6 crystal brads, 2 metal tabs, some 7 Gypsies goodies, 4 yards of ribbon
1 chipboard accordian purse kit by 7 Gypsies
supplies to make 5 cards
(and so much more I can’t list it all)

She also compared what she’s receiving in her current kit with what MW’s has and said mine has more for the money. So she’s canceling her current kit and going with mine! I’m so stoked!

Here is the July Sneak Peek:

July MW Express Sneak Peek

I love that the kits are month to month with no commitment (as long as you cancel by the deadline, one week before they send the kits out). MW has been doing kits since Feb. 07 and I have loved them all. They have such good taste, and I appreciate how their Design Team posts ideas on the website for pages and altered items you can make with each kit.

One more piece of news: I’m so happy to see that my blog has rolled over 8,000 hits. When it passes 10,000 it will be time for another RAK! Stay tuned…

Tell me how things are going in your Scrap World – any crops or CKUs coming up? Any good buys lately? Tell me about it in Comments :)

New Organizing Magazine & Lisa Bearnson

Finally, someone thought to create a magazine about organizing and home organization. Wouldn’t you know that Lisa Bearnson, our favorite lady from Creating Keepsakes magazine, is somehow involved? Two of my favorite things together: scrapbooking and organization. Click HERE to see the article I found!

Edited 6/11/07 to add:
So I e-mailed them over at the Organize Magazine website. I said how much I was looking forward to the magazine (being the organizational freak that I am). And that I was doubly excited because my favorite scrapbook gal, Lisa Bearnson, was involved. I received a quick response from Joyce Dorny, the Founder and Editor in Chief. She thanked me for writing and said that I “will LOVE the
Nov/Dec issue because Lisa is our FEATURE!!!”. She said some other nice things too. Whoo hoo, I’ll definitely be subscribing now!

Scrapbook Organization: Store in Style Cubes

In this post, I included photos of my re-organized scrapbook area. Reader Crafter727 noticed the white storage cubes I have and asked about them – if they were the ones sold by Oriental Trading Company and how the quality is.

SIS Cube

The organizational cubes are sold in the Oriental Trading catalog. They are made by Crop In Style/Store In Style. However, I got mine one by one at Michaels using 40% and 50% off coupons and think that is the way to go. I just looked on Oriental Trading website and the plain cube sells for $28 plus shipping. At Mike’s with the coupon, I paid $15-18 and no shipping of course. As for the quality, it is very good, just make sure to line things up well and tighten the screws when you assemble them. Then they will be very sturdy. They also give you stabilizer brackets you can screw into the back to keep the entire unit safe from toppling over.. I recommend the cubes and plan to get more. Btw, Target sells similar cubes but the dimensions are different and no coupons, so they cost more. I’ve seen the Target cubes and feel they aren’t as good quality but others who have them say they are just as good at the Store in Style cubes.

Target Organizer Cube

I use the 1-Drawer Cube to store all my adhesives. I have the Drawer Divider inside. It’s perfect for all those boxes of sticky dots, vellum tape, and random glue sticks. I have one cube with a door where I put a bunch of mini albums and little projects I’ve made at CKUs. The Filer Cube has my non-themed paper by color. As you can see in the photo, I use the other cubes just plain or with the Inserts to store albums, projects in progress, page refills, etc. Thanks for posting all these great questions – you give me ideas what to write about!

Scrapbook Organization: The ScrapRack

I purchased a ScrapRack about 3 years ago and really love it. It helped me to get organized in a way that was logical to me. This made me very happy because the system I had before this was not working. I used to keep my papers filed by subject in Scrapfolios (the 12×12 accordian folders with handles that you can get at Michaels).

Scrapfolio

My theme stickers and embellishments were first kept in a Creative Memories binder…

CM Binder

…then in “PSB’s” (Paper Sticker Binders) by Crop in Style. Themed ribbons, beads, metal, buttons, etc were kept in other separate places. The problem was when I went to choose items for a page, I was looking in 10 different places for what fit the theme I was working on. It would get very tiring and frustrating. I also had outgrown the capacity of my old system, with 3 paper takers and 3 PSBs bursting at the seams. It was time for a change…

Then one day I was at a Scrapbook Expo event and they were demonstrating this product called the ScrapRack and I fell in love! I knew on the spot it was right for me.

An Empty ScrapRack:
Empty ScrapRack

This is how it looks without any pages in it. It consists of a metal Base and 7 Spinders, which are like the spine in a 3-ring binder. The Spinders are attached to the Base with velcro and you can add, remove and configure them as you like. You can use the huge variety of 12×12 pages sold by ScrapRack or you can improvise. I purchased a kit which came with the ScrapRack and a variety of pages, and I’ve supplemented them with my old PSB pages (which I just moved right from the PSB to the SR) and with 12×12 page protectors for full sheets of paper.

The ScrapRack website is full of helpful information on how to best utilize it. There are organizational steps, category suggestions, room makeovers, testimonials, and FAQs. They have excellent customer service and are happy to answer any questions. They’ve really done a great job with their website.

This is how I’ve utilized my SR system:
– It’s on my desk right in front of me when I scrap, within easy reach.
– I have it divided into the categories that made the most sense to me, but you are of course free to make it your own. First, I have a kind of ‘through the year’ half which goes January through December with all the months, holidays and events. For example: New Years, Winter, Valentines, St Patricks Day, Spring, Easter, Mothers Day, Summer, July 4, etc.
– The other half is by topic in alphabetical order, for example: Birthday, Camping/Outdoors, Cowboy, Dog, Family, Graduation, Ocean, School, etc.

Here is a filled page showing how you can also use the ScrapRack to file your items by color:

Orange Page SR

I have lots of stuff and getting it all into the ScrapRack was not a quick process. I think it took about a week of evenings to gather things from their various places and get them into the pages. I took most things out of their packaging which helped them fit better into the pocket pages. The only paper I put in the ScrapRack was themed paper. So my cardstock and more generic patterned paper is elsewhere; otherwise, I would need another ScrapRack! What I love about this system is that everything from a given theme is all in one place. I just turn the pages til I get to that theme and everything I have is right in front of me. No more searching all those other places and taking 30 minutes just to see what I have. For instance, the other day I was working on an Easter page. I turned to the Spring/Easter section and found some cute Easter-themed paper, some 3-D bunny stickers, and a card of pastel self-adhesive ribbons. All I had to do then was get cardstock from the vertical holders on my bookshelf, and I was ready to scrap!

The only disadvantage to this system is that some would consider it pricey. I know I did, and asked for $$ for my birthday that year so I could afford it :). But when I considered how much I had invested in 3 PSBs, 3 Scrapfolios, and the other storage I could get rid of, it was more than worth the cost. I wish they could get the ScrapRack on QVC – then you could get a good deal for sure! As you can tell, I highly recommend this product (no, they are not paying me to say that, LOL). Feel free to ask me any questions you have about the ScrapRack.