A New (and yet old) Message Board Community: Scrap Sisters Studio

I wanted to apologize for being such a bad blogger of late but the reason is a good one. Ohhhhh, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful….erm, message board?

You may have heard me mention, oh once or eleventy-billion times, that my message board home is a place called AMR, All Moments Remembered. It was a message board started by a sweet friend and online store owner named Stacey. At the time AMR began, I had been a fixture at the Creating Keepsakes Message Board (CKMB) for about a year or so. {Remember when I had all the CKMB girls’ blogs in my blog roll…until there were over 100 of them and I had to stop).

But, honestly, for all the fun friends and conversations I had there, it was such a HUGE place, that it never truly felt like home to me. I’m one of those gals that, if you and I are friends, I got ya back for life, sista. Don’t mess with my friends and we won’t have a problem. You know, like we did in the Old Country (I’m Italian, capice?). But I’ve only got so much love to go around, ya know? Ten-thousand “friends” on the CKMB is a lot to handle, even for someone like me, LOL!

Well, then God sent me Stacey. She joined CKMB with her little bubbly personality, enthusiasm for life, and love for scrapbooking. Like me, her dream was to open a scrapbook store. The difference between us was that I talked about it. She was actually gonna do it. We became fast friends, chatting on and off the CKMB board. She started a blog to promote her new online store which she called All Moments Remembered, and I loved reading each day what the developments were with her store, the excitement in her voice, and the positive outlook she had on everything.

Then came the day when Stacey got booted from CKMB. {This story is well-known folklore, so I’m not speaking out of school, k?}. The TOU at CKMB clearly said you could not have a business name as your message board name, nor anything in your message content or signature line that promoted another business. Because obviously, Creating Keepsakes is a business who wants to continue as such, and they want you to buy THEIR products, not some cute lady’s from Oregon who just started the best online scrap store in the world. Apparently, Stacey was *cough* unclear on those rules, or her glasses fogged up that day, or SOMETHING…because she changed her MB name from whatever it was (“scraphappy” or something like that) to “AllMomentsRemembered.”

Scandal. Just pure scandal.

So, CKMB powers-that-be sent her a nasty-gram and when she didn’t cease and desist, they booted her. In true Stacey spirit, what did she do? Oh, she just started her OWN message board, of course. And THAT, my friends, is how the All Moments Remembered Message Board was started. I signed up on the first day the AMR-MB was up, which was December 27, 2007. I was proud to be member #29. As of closing today, there were 826 members but I believe at times there were over 1,000 or more). Also, as of today, I was the #3 poster @ AMR, right behind those Chatty Cathy’s named JENNIFER/Jingle and ABBY/scrapbookfrenzy.

So, for almost 2 years now, I’ve been chatting pretty much daily with the AMR Girlz. I would never have thought you could be “true friends” with people you’ve never even met face-to-face, who live all over the country, most of whom you’ve never even spoken to. If you stop to think about it, it’s our computers, our technology, that is actually making the connection, so it’s kind of bizarre. The only way I know most of them is from words they’ve typed that I’m reading, kwim?

But I have to say, I love those gals and they are my TRUE, dear friends. AMR was a smaller board and it didn’t move that the speed of light, like CKMB, 2peas, or the Cricut board. Sometimes I get frustrated when I want to chat and no one is around. “I need some chat, people!” Sheesh. But I would trade “busy but impersonal” for “quieter but more meaningful” any day of the week.

Stacey really set the tone for that board to be encouraging, friendly, supportive, and fun. We joked, we laughed, we shared our work, and our scrap shopping finds. There was a Chit Chat board for discussing TV shows, family stuff, you name it. There was a Spiritual forum where we could ask for prayers, and where a special lady named MISTY/snowlady posted daily quotes from Scripture. And we can’t forget the Recipe forum, where you could share or request yummy recipes from your AMR friends.

Another cool thing Stacey did was to give us “Stacey names.” Under your message board name and above your avatar photo, sometime when you weren’t looking and maybe didn’t even notice for a while, Stacey would add a special name chosen just for you, based on her getting to know you over time and finding out what phrase really represented you, be it funny, sweet, or serious. For instance, MARILYN/Melonscraps was christened “Stickles Queen” for her amazing love of and collection of Stickles; ANGIE/craftyscrapr became “Miss Pretty Toes” because she loves the beach and her flip flops with painted toenails; and I was given the Stacey name “Director of Advertising.” Which was funny because some people may have thought it was an actual title I held with the AMR store, and that I was a paid employee, but nope, lol. I just loved AMR so much, I talked about it and steered people towards her store any time I could. Stacey was living my dream and I did whatever I could to support her.

Which reminds me of a story….Remember that crazy scrapbook product frenzy, the THREADING WATERS punch by Fiskars? The first time I saw that thing, I knew it was going to be a hugely popular tool so I tipped Stacey off about it, and she had faith that I knew what I was talking about. So she right away ordered a whole bunch of them from Fiskars. And when they flew off the shelves at Michaels, Target, and all the online scrapbook stores, no one had them in stock anymore….except Stacey. For a while there, AMR was one of the only places you could buy that darn punch, and not on backorder, but actually get it right then. Stacey never forgot I had told her about it. She never tried to take credit for it or anything. She told everyone else, “Erika is the one who told me to get those!” And she sent me the most generous gift box of supplies from her store, just as a way to say thank you. Actually, that’s another thing Stacey was known for was being very generous in giving away her products as RAKS, crop prizes, and you always got extra items with your order, things she had handpicked for you, knowing what each of us liked. I don’t know how she did it, honestly.

Well, fast forward to the economic collapse last year, and long story short, the AMR online store eventually was closed. However, in the meantime, Stacey had realized her other dream of opening an actual brick-and-mortar store in her hometown. Over time, Stacey has had to move on from the AMR MB and the inmates have taken over the asylum, LOL! Stacey could no longer support the MB so several months ago, she offered to let members take it over, and DENISE/denisewalks stepped up to the plate. Denise has been running AMR since then, with a little bit of admin support from me, and lots of help from lots of other members. We’ve managed to keep AMR MB going and as fun and wonderful as it ever was.

But the time had come for a fresh start, where Denise and the loyal board members could be more in control of the mechanics of the board. Also, with Stacey no longer associated with the board, a new name for our gathering place was in order. A new domain name was procured by Denise (at her personal expense, but we’re going to find a creative way to make the board pay for itself and/or many generous members have offered to chip in so Denise doesn’t have to absorb the cost herself).

So today, October 27, 2009….Scrap Sisters Studio was born.

We had a Scrap Chat Hour tonight to kind of kick off the new site, and help get the word out to everyone that we’ve officially moved. I can’t think of a more perfect name for our board, because the ladies there are truly like family. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not perfect. Like any family in the world, we occasionally have scuffles and squabbles, hurt feelings and unspoken hurts, frustrations and unfairness. I mean, we’re women after all, LOL! But it always works itself out and the family bond is as tight as ever. New members are welcomed from Day One like they’ve been there the entire time.

It felt weird writing all those things above about the way AMR “was,” in the past tense. Because those things still apply to the way Scrap Sisters Studio “is” and “will always be.” It’s a warm, fun, friendly home away from home and even if they try to kick me out, I’m never leaving. Seriously. Don’t even try ‘cuz I grew up in The Hood and can kick serious ass.

Capice?

This post is just my way of memorializing AMR, Stacey’s store, everything that brought this group of sweet scrapbookers together and still bind them. I wanted to honor Stacey because it was her personality and efforts that set us up to be the way we are now. And for that, we owe her a debt of gratitude. {Stacey, if you’re out there, MWUH! Love ya, girl}.

And this post was a way to celebrate, and document on my own blog, this day being the start of something new and fun for me and my scrappy girlfriends.

We always welcome new members. HERE is where you would sign up. (ETA: When you register, you will NOT get an e-mail confirmation. Sorry, this new board doesn’t have that feature. We’re approving new members as quickly as we can, so please give it a little wait, then try to log in until it works :). We’ve got some fun plans for the Scrap Sisters Studio website as a whole, so this is going to be a great new adventure! Thank you for letting me talk about my buds…I {heart} them like sisters.

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