Crops and Retreats are for People Pleasers … Like Me

I was just reading THIS POST at 2peas, called “Maybe it’s because I’ve never been to a crop …” The poster, Jessica, goes on to state:

But I really don’t see the benefit… if peopl spend weeks getting ready for an all day crop then wouldn’t you have been able to do all those layouts before instead of putting together all these page kits? Is it more for the socializing? I just think that all the time I would spend gettin ready for a crop + the time I would spend at the crop I could get more stuff just doing it at home.

Then many Peas chimed in either to agree with her, or to explain why they do attend crops and retreats. Here is one such answer, from Renee:

The benefit is a big chunk of uninterrupted time to work on projects. No where to go, nothing to do, and no one calling for mom.

Yep, ^^^^THAT^^^^ would be me, LOL. That’s certainly why I go to crops. I don’t get anything done at home. Srsly. I hardly ever scrap at home anymore. And I figured it out.

I’m a People Pleaser.

I *should* be able to sit at my scrap desk, tune out all the distractions, and tell my kids and husband to leave me the heck alone. I should be able to focus, and daze off into Scrappy La La Creative Land.

But I just can’t.

Say I’m sitting at my desk scrapping. I hear one of the kids looking for a permission slip or piece of schoolwork, I jump up and help them. I hear the hubs starting to make dinner or do the dishes, I jump up and help him. My family starts watching a movie together, and I don’t want to miss out so I join them … and make the popcorn, then do the dishes after. When the dryer buzzes, I go fold and put away the laundry, and start another load. And when that dryer buzzes, I do it again. Lather rinse repeat. When the phone rings, even if I’m successful in ignoring it, when DH says it’s for me, I take the call (aren’t I within my rights to say, “Tell them I’m busy and I’ll call them back”? That’s what a sane scrapper would do).

When I’m working from home, I manage to tune everything out, to resist family movies, to let these capable human beings fend for themselves. But for some reason, I can’t seem to do it in defense of my scrapbooking time. I guess the difference is that, when I’m working, I’m People Pleasing my clients (since they ARE paying me, after all, lol).

Maybe it’s because I *do* work so much … that I feel like when I’m home and NOT working, I should be spending every spare moment housekeeping or doing things with my family. So maybe stay-at-home moms don’t stuggle with this, I don’t know. I would love to hear from you SAHM’s … are you able to scrap at home? It seems like most of the popular scrapbook bloggers are SAHMs; I can’t think of any who work full-time (at a non-scrapbooking job, I mean).

Maybe the successful at-home scrappers create when the kids are in bed for the night? Unfortunately, I’m either working again or too tired at that point. Oh how I WISH I could scrap late at night. I used to, when I worked part-time and didn’t have to be up early the next day to put in a full day’s work. Ah, the good old days!

So. I go to crops and retreats. Like someone said in the 2peas thread, I get more pages done at my annual weekend retreat than I do the entire rest of the year. Sad but true.

Coincidentally, that retreat time is almost upon me! I’ll soon be going away for the weekend ~ a Friday through Sunday in March ~ to adjoining condos at a nearby lake, to scrap, scrap, scrap. There will be eight of us and we’ll take turns doing meals, so the only time I’ll be tied up is making dinner on Saturday night. But I hope to pre-flight something and just warm it up at the condos.

Matter of fact, I think I’ll write another blog entry before then about how I pack for a crop. I’ll try to take photos of the process and then explain what I pack and why.

How about you? Do you crop mostly at home or mostly away? Are you a People Pleaser or can you focus and block out all distractions?

I Have a New Blog :)

It’s called “Erika Perika” and you can find it HERE. Please come visit and tell me what you think so far. What I mean is, tell me if you like it and if you don’t, keep it to yourself. Bwahahahaha!

I just started it tonight … erm, this morning … it’s 2am. I’m going to bed now. And no, I was *NOT* delirious from lack of sleep when I wrote the Justin Beiber post.

Srsly.

More On Donna Downey and Fossil Purse Birdgate … “The Art of Possibility”

Yesterday, a very interesting comment was left of my blog post called DONNA DOWNEY AND THE TALE OF FOSSIL PURSE BIRDGATE:

Just as a quick FYI because the bag photo clearly shows our brand, Art of Possibility®, clearly printed, Art of Possibility® is a registered trademark of Art of Possibility LLC and its use in this case is an infringement of our trademark. That bag and its creator have no relationship with Art of Possibility. Please, please don’t mistake this for an authentic Art of Possibility® product.

It was left by Ketra Oberlander and here is the photo she’s referring to:

Ketra is not a regular reader and I’m not familiar with her, so I did some looking around. I noticed on the YOU THOUGHT WE WOULDN’T NOTICE blog post I mentioned in my last DD entry, that Ketra had also added this comment:

To add yet another layer: my company, Art of Possibility® LLC, owns “art of possibility,” clearly printed on the bag. Why is Donna Downey using my company’s trademark on her bag? So stunningly bizarre … and without our permission.

In my research, I found out that Donna Downey and Ketra Oberlander/Art of Possibility Studios were both part of the DESIGNER SHOWCASE at CHA-W in Jan.-Feb. 2011. {Wow, now THAT is interesting, isn’t it?!?!}

I followed Ketra’s website link and this is what I found: AOPSTUDIOS.COM. Yep, AOP stands for “Art of Possibility,” the same phrase Donna used on the purse she created and held a CHA class on (or planned to? I still don’t know for sure if the class was actually held and what it entailed). The same purse that she created a bird stamp from, which she planned to distribute through UNITY STAMPS (but they pulled it prior to CHA-W in late January).

Okay, let’s talk about “Art of Possibility Studios.” This is from their website:

Art of Possibility® Studios exclusively represents physically disabled artists via license to manufacturers interested in connecting with consumers on a meaningful level and with cause oriented programs at retail.

By choosing Art of Possibility® brand products consumers become true Patrons of the Arts through their purchase, supporting the artists in a for-profit business model which liberates them from dependence on charity and creates a path for their participation as equals in our society.

Founded by award-winning blind painter Ketra Oberlander, the Art of Possibility® aspires to encourage and inspire you to transcend expectation and be your best.

If you take a peek at their ARTISTS PAGE, you’re going to be blown away by these amazing artists and what they accomplish.

Okay, at this point, obviously, my scrapbook-obsessive personality disorder went from 0 to 60 in nothing flat! Holy cow. Even more Donna Drama. Ack.

Since my ORIGINAL DONNA POST on January 31, 2011, I haven’t commented on this issue again, even though I planned to. Part of that was because I’ve been really busy with work/home and then I got sick.

But part of it has also been I didn’t know what else to say. The original DD Birdgate thread on 2peas NSBR had been pulled by The Powers That Be over there (although the more mild one, which focused mostly on Unity’s role in the contro is still available HERE). I lost track of how long the NSBR thread got but I want to say it was beyond 20 pages. I never got past reading page 13 or so, and I don’t know what – if any – new revelations I missed. But it appears that Donna Downey has not publicly referenced the Birdgate issue. {If I missed it, will someone please help me out with a linkee?}

Some speculate that she’s keeping her mouth shut for legal reasons, which I would think is a wicked smart move. Donna’s ORIGINAL BLOG POST showing the purse is still available to view, including all of the negative and name-calling comments. I just left a comment myself, asking if she’s going to comment publicly on the issue. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back … but I doubt it will happen.

I don’t know, call me crazy, but on something like this, I prefer to hear both sides of a story before I come out with guns blazing and a strong opinion. Especially on my blog, if you know what I mean. Leaving a comment on someone else’s blog or in a message board thread is one thing, publishing it on your own blog is another. So slam me if you will, but I’m not going to make some big Proclamation of Hate against Donna Downey. Yet.

What I will say is that all signs are pointing to her doing something wrong. Signs point to her making some serious mistakes. Signs point to her being a really careless business woman. Signs point to her not being a very nice person.

That said, I’ve never worked in the crafting industry, the legal industry, nor the big-time business world. I’m not educated in this stuff. I can’t whip out copyright law, trademark law, the life history of Donna Downey, how CHA works, how stamp designs are commissioned, or anything else. I don’t know if her silence is her ducking and covering, or if it’s being enforced by her lawyers, Fossil’s lawyers, Prima’s lawyers, CHA’s lawyers, and/or Unity’s lawyers.

It’s hard to form a strong opinion when there’s so much I DON’T know.

All I can say as a layperson is that this does NOT look good for Donna nor her integrity. If what’s been revealed so far IS all there is, if she has no defense to play, if we aren’t assuming to much … then she’s done wrong. Again.

So let’s get back to Ketra and “Art of Possibility.” I e-mailed her with a bunch of questions and asked if I could publish her answers on my blog (although I was more than willing not to). I asked things like whether legal action is being pursued, whether the bird/building design is involved (it’s not), etc. Here is her answer, in it’s entirety:

My lawyer is following up with Donna so I don’t want to get into a bunch of speculation.

To be clear, my company owns the words “art of possibility” for consumer goods/art &surface design work. I trademarked the term in 2008 when I established the company. That means you could use “art of possibility” for, say, a business management book or seminar on the stock market or something, but for art & design and consumer goods, any use is an infringement.

Another CHA member drew the infringement to my attention and I now troll around blogs looking for that specific promo photo and post something whenever it comes up. I’m not a huge blog reader so it’s all “extra work” on this end, although your blog made the work quite pleasant. Thanks for covering so many interesting issues in crafting.

As a CHA designer member who exhibited for the last two years (I took a break this year), I’m certainly a “known quantity” in the community. I’ve been a Surtex and Licensing Expo exhibitor for the past 3 years, teach seminars on art licensing for LIMA and will be teaching “Art Licensors’ Top 10 Mistakes” for Licensing University this year. The last two years I’ve written the art licensing chapter for Aspen Publishing’s The Licensing Journal/Update.

I could tell from your email your curiosity is piqued; I cannot begin to speculate on Donna’s motives; I don’t know her personally. I do find infringing on the IP of a company dedicated to serve a community marginalized by physical disability a really weird choice. Since my lawyer’s following up with Donna there’s no reason to make a big stink; that’s just business, I guess. But business is made up of people, and I’m sure I’ll always wonder about Donna’s decision to use our trademark.

You may reprint all or part of my reply and attribute it to me: Ketra Oberlander, Founder, Art of Possibility LLC. You may also direct people to our web site so they can learn about the very cool work we’re doing to elevate humanity through our creative output. ;-)

Ketra is one classy lady, that’s all I can say. I truly admire the way she’s handling things, and fully support her. My one big hope ~ out of all this scrapbooker drama ~ is that if nothing else comes from it, let’s be thankful that our attention was drawn to Ketra, her work, and the Art of Possibility organization and artists. If there’s anything you can do to support them and their work, please do :)

I predict this will not be the last we hear regarding this Donna Downey Adventure. I predict there will be more in the future. No matter what controversies happen to DD, she seems to keep on going, maintaining fans, holding workshops, and being paid handsomely for doing what she does.

Stay tuned … there WILL be more! LOL

Scrapbook Obsession Mentioned in a National Magazine!

Yep, I’m so stinkin’ excited!

CHECK IT, GIRLFRIEND.

OH, AND HERE, TOO!

Okay, so that wasn’t a magazine you were expecting, huh? Whoever would’ve thought I’d be mentioned in an article in “Hobby Farm Home” magazine, right? Not me. But here is how they describe the HFH mag on Hobby Farms website:

Hobby Farm Home
The editors of Hobby Farms also produce Hobby Farm Home, the home magazine for those truly living in the country. Hobby Farm Home highlights farmhouse activities such as cooking, crafting, collecting, pet care and home arts and skills.

See? Crafting. That’s us. Scrappers are crafters!

I answered some questions for the writer back in September 2010 and never heard anything more of it. I was just going to contact MONETTE to ask if her article was accepted. Then I was in Walmart one day looking for the latest CREATING KEEPSAKES and SCRAPBOOKS ETC and there was Hobby Farm Home magazine! I flipped through it to see if the article might be in there and had the most surreal experience … there was my name at the top of page 66. Holy mother of … WTH?

I called my mom right from the magazine aisle. I bought all three copies they had, which made the checkout lady wonder, LOL. I told her I was mentioned in an article and she was giddy with me :) Even though she had NO idea what I was talking about … Scrapbooking your farm? Mmmm-kay …

There was one little bit of confusion printed but that’s okay. Just for fun … whoever spots it first and leaves a comment here, I’ll send you a $5 Starbucks card (or Target card? if you don’t like coffee, tea, sweets, or smoothies … hee).

I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging. I actually found this out 2 or 3 weeks ago but was too bashful to say anything. But I’m still excited and can’t contain myself. This is NOT the kind of thing that happens to me! So it was extra-special and fun. Thanks for letting me share.

October Afternoon “5 & Dime” and “Rocket Age”

“My name is Erika, and I’m an October Afternoon addict.”

“Hi Erika!”

The first step is admitting you have a problem. There are 12 steps all together. For this addiction, I am currently on Step 1. I’m attempting to admit that I am powerless over this addiction and my life has become unmanageable. ATTEMPTING, people!

Okay, I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m on Step ZERO: Not willing to acknowledge that I have an October Afternoon problem because then I would have to quit buying up the new lines every time they come out.

{P.S. Do NOT leave me some silly comment about how dare I make fun of the 12-Step Program when there are people out there suffering with serious problems and I shouldn’t be making fun of them, blobbity blobbity blah. It’s a JOKE. Unclench already. Sheesh}.

Okay, so back to my addiction issues and the Step Program. For cawfee, I am currently on Step Zero. For Diet Coke, I have scratched and clawed my way to Step 12. I won’t be so bold as to say that I’m cured because that would be tempting fate and that is one bee-yotch I don’t want to tangle with. So I’m just taking ‘er one day at a time, my friends. One day at a time. (Nah, nah, nah, nah … One Day at a Time!) (If you’re old enough to get that TV show reference, you are damn old like me).

{Note: My one-year anniversary of Diet Coke Sobriety is coming up on 02/15/11 and I am damn proud of myself. I had a 4-can-a-day habit for YEARS and I just decided one day to quit cold turkey. However, I’ve recently begun drinking Sugar Free Rockstar to stay awake at work and, my fellow Diet Crack addicts, I fear ’tis a slippery slope. I call on you – and my HP of course – for strength at this difficult time. “Let go and Let God”, “Attitude of Gratitude”, “Semper Fi”, and all that. Thank you.}.

I’m on, like, Step 18.5 with my former acrylic stamp addiction. Totally cured. Recovered stampaholic. One day about a year ago, I said “no more!” and haven’t bought another set since. I know, I know … you wish you had my strength, don’t you? Yeah, I get that often.

All that said, HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW EFFIN OCTOBER AFTERNOON COLLECTIONS!?!?!? No? Well, here you go …


See the collection on October Afternoon’s site HERE.

Here is a teaser … the 8×8 Paper Pad:

Okay, is it just me or at first glance, did this one make you think of Jack Daniels?

NO? It IS just me? Crappity crap! Maybe I have another 12 steps issue to start on …

Okay, here is the second new OA collection:

See the whole thing HERE.

Just a taste … the paper pad …

Of course, I love both of them … although not equally. {Shhh … don’t tell Rocket Age but I love 5&Dime just a wee bit more}.

It seems they’ve added some new components to their lines, like the Chip n Stick, Miscellany, Tin Pins, and Rubber Charms. Yes, there’s another new type of item that I left out but only because I can’t type that word. I have a ______ phobia. They skirr me. I have nightmares. No, I’m not kidding. Hey, for some people it’s clowns, for others it’s spiders, for me it’s _________. Oh, just seeing them and thinking about them, I’m all “Ick!”

Are there 12-Step programs to deal with phobias? Never mind. If hating ________ is wrong, I don’t wanna’ be right.

So, back to my point … and I did have a point … OA has two new lines!! What do you think ~ love or hate? Hot or cold? Addicted or couldn’t care less?

For my fellow OA Addicts … see you at the meetings! I’ll be the one with the jitters, standing by the coffee urn :)

Memory Works: Now Taking Pre-Orders for Simple Stories “Destinations”, “Life Documented”, and “ele.ment.ary”

So now that I’ve explained all about the Simple Stories lines by MEMORY WORKS and teased you a bit in my LAST ENTRY, it’s time to talk about what’s next … a new line, two revamped lines, and PRE-ORDERS on all three!

The newest Simple Stories line is called “Destinations” …

DESTINATIONS COLLECTION KIT

Collection Kit – MSRP $20.99 (includes entire collection components, plus bonus transparancy overlays exclusive to kit)

Collection Kit contents:

{6} sheets of 12×12 double-sided, designer cardstock paper
{1} 12×12 sheet of Fundamentals cardstock stickers
{1} 12×12 sheet of Expressions cardstock stickers
{30} double-sided, cut-apart element pieces; sizes 4×6, 6×8, 2×12, 4×12, and 6×12
BONUS: {6} 4×6 transparency photo overlays exclusive to the Collection Kit

*The Collection Kit has all of the elements listed below in one kit, or you can buy the elements separately … except for the 4×6 transparency photo overlays, which only come in the Collection Kit.

DOUBLE-SIDED DESIGNER CARDSTOCK {6}

Designer Cardstock Paper Pack – MSRP $5.50
(includes six 12×12 sheets of designer cardstock paper; one sheet of each design)

12×12 FUNDAMENTALS STICKERS

Fundamentals 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00

12×12 EXPRESSIONS STICKER SHEET

Expressions 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00

12×12 DESTINATION ELEMENTS {6}

Signature Elements Paper Pack – MSRP $6.00
(includes six 12×12, double-sided sheets of signature cut-apart element pieces; one sheet of each style)

4×6 TRANSPARENCY PHOTO OVERLAYS {2 of each 3 designs}
* Exclusive to Collection Kit


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A revamped version will be out of our first Simple Stories line, “Life Documented” …

Collection Kit – MSRP $20.99
(includes entire collection components, plus bonus transparancy overlays exclusive to kit)

It will be like the existing “Life Documented” kit, but it will include 2 new double-sided cardstocks (4 new designs):

And 2 new 12×12 cardstock sticker sheets:

Fundamentals sticker sheet

Expressions sticker sheet

Specifically, the Collection Pack includes:

{6} sheets of 12×12, double-sided, designer cardstock paper
{1} 12×12 sheet of Fundamentals cardstock stickers
{1} 12×12 sheet of Expressions cardstock stickers
{30} signature pre-designed, double-sided, cut-apart Element pieces in a variety of sizes including 4×6, 6×8, 4×4, 2×12,
4×12 & 6×12
{6} bonus 4×6 transparency photo overlays exclusive to Collection Kit.

Note: The price on the “Life Documented” kit did go from $16.99 to $20.99, due to the 2 additional designer cardstocks and 2 additional sticker sheets. So a $4 increase but the additional items are worth about $8 … not bad.

Designer Cardstock Paper Pack – MSRP $5.50 (includes six 12×12 sheets of designer cardstock paper; one sheet of each design)

Signature Elements Paper Pack – MSRP $6.00 (includes six 12×12 sheets of signature cut-apart element pieces; one sheet of each style)

Fundamentals 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00

Expressions 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00

A revamped version will also be out of our second Simple Stories line called “ele.ment.ary” …

Collection Kit – MSRP $20.99
(includes entire collection components, plus bonus transparancy overlays exclusive to kit)

It will be like the existing “ele.ment.ary” kit, but it will include 2 new double-sided cardstocks (4 new designs):

And 2 new 12×12 cardstock sticker sheets:

Fundamentals sticker sheet

Expressions sticker sheet

Specifically, the Collection Pack includes:

{6} sheets of 12×12, double-sided, designer cardstock paper
{1} 12×12 sheet of Fundamentals cardstock stickers
{1} 12×12 sheet of Expressions cardstock stickers
{30} signature pre-designed, double-sided, cut-apart Element pieces in a variety of sizes including 4×6, 6×8, 4×4, 2×12,
4×12 & 6×12
{6} bonus 4×6 transparency photo overlays exclusive to Collection Kit.

Note: The price on the “ele.ment.ary” kit did go from $16.99 to $20.99, due to the 2 additional designer cardstocks and 2 additional sticker sheets. So a $4 increase but the additional items are worth about $8.

Designer Cardstock Paper Pack – MSRP $5.50 (includes six 12×12 sheets of designer cardstock paper; one sheet of each design)

Signature Elements Paper Pack – MSRP $6.00 (includes six 12×12 sheets of signature cut-apart element pieces; one sheet of each style)

Fundamentals 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00

Expressions 12×12 Cardstock Stickers – MSRP $3.00
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Now that you’ve seen the new “Destinations” kit and the revamped “Life Documented” and “ele.ment.ary” kits, now it’s time to talk pre-orders. The word I’m getting from Home Office is that Destinations and Life Documented will be available in late February/early March, and ele.ment.ary some time in March. If you place a pre-order now, please understand that I can’t promise when these items will be available. But when they ARE available, I’ll be posting here on my blog to let you know (so please Subscribe to my blog, if you don’t already). If you pay for a pre-order, I’ll e-mail you when the time comes to place your actual order. Sound good?

Here is how the pre-orders will work:

I’ll collect and process payments until the release date(s). When the kits and additional items become available, I’ll e-mail you with instructions on what to do then.

{Which will be to log into my Memory Works WEBSITE, place the pre-paid for items in your shopping cart, enter your shipping address, and submit your order. I will automatically be notified that your order has been placed and, instead of having to wait for your payment to be received, I’ll be able to approve your order for processing immediately … assuming your payment has been received and processed already}.

{But don’t worry about that part right now, LOL}.

To place your pre-order now, e-mail me at scrapbookobsession(at)gmail(dot)com. Please include:

1. Item(s) requested and cost
2. Shipping address
3. Total due including items, tax*, and shipping/handling**
4. Payment method – check, money order, or Paypal
~ I prefer Paypal, and will e-mail a Paypal invoice to you ASAP
~ If paying by check or money order, I’ll e-mail you back with my address. Please be aware that I can’t approve your order until the check/MO have been received and cleared.

* Sales tax amount is based on the tax rate for the address you’re shipping to. There is a really cool sales tax rate lookup and calculator HERE.

** Please see THIS post for information on Memory Works shipping/handling information and costs.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns :) If you know of anyone who plans to order Simple Stories “Destinations”, “ele.ment.ary,” or “Life Documented,” please send them my way!

Memory Works: Simple Stories NEW “Destinations” Line … and “ele.ment.ary” and “Life Documented” too!

Yeah, this gets kind of confusing even to me, and I’m a MEMORY WORKS consultant, LOL!

Here’s the scoop … and I’m gonna’ go back to the beginning:

Memory Works is a direct sales company from Utah (kind of a “mom and pop” if you will) who for al has sold scrapbooking products from a variety of popular companies, including BASIC GREY, MY MINDS EYE, BO BUNNY, PINK PAISLEE, and more.

I joined Memory Works as a consultant in February 2007, when all of my local scrapbook stores closed and I was no longer able to get my fix of the “latest and greatest” products … so I decided to become a Memory Works CONSULTANT to support my habit (yes, I am purposely making a drug reference … ‘cuz it’s all so addicting!)

In 2010, Memory Works began producing their OWN line of products called Simple Stories. Here is the philosophy behind it, from the SIMPLE STORIES BLOG by Amber Crowell, the co-owner (with her husband Kevin Crowell) of Memory Works:

About Simple Stories
A Simple Solution

As a busy mom and scrapbook business owner who is passionate about telling our story, I became frustrated, stressed and guilty with the hobby that I loved so much. Instead of scrapbooking as a creative outlet or something that brought me joy – it started to become just another job on my to do list. It seemed I never had enough time to scrapbook. I put creative pressure on myself to make every page perfect or to compose the most eloquent journaling. I felt guilty for being so behind, and was overwhelmed with so many photos.

In fact, as my children grew it become disheartening as they wanted to see photos or look through albums. I had piles of half finished layouts, photos still on my computer and incomplete albums – but nothing to really tell our story!

With all my supplies, years of scrapbooking, and passion for preserving our memories I had very little to show for it. Thanks to Stacy Julian and Big Picture Scrapbooking, I started storing my printed photos in divided 4×6 page protectors in a 12×12 album – just so my children could view our photos before I scrapbooked them. I’ll never forget the first time we looked through our “album” together – It was amazing to see our children laughing, smiling, and remembering. No patterned paper, no embellishments, no perfectly designed layouts – just our memories and our story. At that moment I realized what my hobby was all about.

I loved the concept of simply inserting photos into divided page protectors, along with decorative scrapbook elements, for quick and easy scrapbooking and instant gratification. However, I wanted an even simpler solution for my busy life. Instead of cutting, cropping, embellishing and creating my own handmade elements from scratch I wanted a product that featured stylish, pre-designed element pieces in just the right sizes (to fit those page protector pockets perfectly!)

That’s where the Simple Stories concept was born and we’re thrilled to now share our solution with other scrapbookers: A system that would allow them to balance their hobby with their busy lives and products that would help them share their memories in a simple, yet beautiful, way! It was a dream come true to finally be able to launch our Simple Stories concept in January 2010 when we introduced our signature kit Life Documented.

Needless to say, Amber is SO not alone and the Simple Stories concept took off mightily, with crazy-good sales for the first SS line, “Life Documented.” I was one of those anxiously in line to purchase this amazing kit, as I planned to use it for my first go at PROJECT 365.

With all the buzz about Life Documented, I decided to take pre-orders for the kit so that it wouldn’t sell out before I and my customers got one, LOL. And since it was already January and many of us were using the kit for a project that started January 1, everyone wanted their Life Documented kits ASAP. The pre-orders worked out famously, as we all got our kits quite quickly and, after anxiously awaiting them, were so impressed with the quality and design of the product.

Note: If you go to the Simple Stories section of my WEBSITE currently, it does show a listing for the (original version) of the Life Documented kit. However, it has been out of stock for a while and, to my understanding, will not be re-stocked. But don’t despair … a new and improved version is on the way!
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Now fast forward to Summer of 2010. Based on the huge success of the Life Documented kit, Memory Works decided to launch a second kit in the Simple Stories series. It’s called “ele.ment.ary” and it uses the same simple scrapping approach but this time to make School Days albums or just to make layouts for all those school photos.

As MAY FLAUM from SCRAPBOOK UPDATE showed HERE, with the Simple Stories lines, you don’t have to stick to the divided page protector method … you can also use the products on regular layouts, card, and other projects. One really cool thing about ele.ment.ary is that, unlike the bright-bright colors of most school lines, it’s kind of distressed and mellow looking … which means it looks GREAT with old school photos. Now I’m not calling you “old” but you could certainly scrapbook some of YOUR school photos with this, couldn’t you? {If it makes you feel any better, I’m “old”, too, LOL}.

I could tell that “ele.ment.ary” was going to be popular, so I also took pre-orders on it. Again, all went very well … my customers and I were able to get our kits and accessories quickly. And again, we were very happy with the quality and design of the ele.ment.ary products.

If you’re interested, there are still some (original version) ele.ment.ary kits available HERE along with some of the matching accessories. For the reason I say “original version,” you have to stay tuned, silly …
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Now we’re in 2011 and it’s time for yet a third Simple Stories line … “Destinations.” This new line will be perfect for scrapping those vacations, past or present. I know that when Memory Works asked its consultants and customers what topics they would like to see covered by Simple Stories, “vacations and travel” was at the top of the list. Ask, and you shall receive!

I think Destinations is going to look beyond awesome with Disney photos, with it’s mix of primary colors along with black touches to bring out the “Mickey” and “Minnie” in all of your photos. It’s also, like the other Simple Stories lines, so stinkin’ versatile that you’ll be able to use it on many, many layouts. I’ve started scrapping all our trip photos using the divided page protector method, for three reasons:

1. On vacations, I take TONS of photos. If I were to scrap my usual layouts for all of the photos I want to include, my travel scrapbooks would take forevah! to complete, and they would weigh more than a cruise ship.

2. I want my travel books completed quickly, while the memories are still fresh for my journaling, while the ticket stubs are still handy, and we can enjoy reliving the trip and sharing it with others right away.

3. It’s so easy! Develop photos, slip ‘em in the pockets, journal on a 4×6, pop that in, add some pretty paper and accents … DONE. Not as fancy as usual but DONE.

Anyhow, I was one of the many who asked for a Simple Stories travel line, so of course I *need* to order some Destinations! For one thing, I have a stack of Disney photos just waiting to be scrapped. I also think this line will look great with pictures from our Seattle trip, don’t you? Not to mention school field trips and other random events throughout the year.

All 3 Simple Stories lines have a unique, kind of colorful, kind of shabby look that so many of us love. I know that many people, while they love the concept of PROJECT LIFE by BECKY HIGGINS … just don’t care for such a clean, linear, precise look in their scrapbook products. Well, if that’s the case, be sure to check out the Simple Stories line. I think you’ll really like it.

So where does that leave us today? Why, anxiously awaiting the release of – as my post title indicates – the NEW “Destinations” line and ~ could it be? ~ a re-release of the popular “ele.ment.ary” and “Life Documented” lines!

Stay tuned … more information is right around the corner :)

{I mean, really, STAY TUNED! My next entry will tell you about how to PRE-ORDER “Destinations” … and some other things …}.