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Pleasanton Scrapbook Expo

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A company called Davis Promotions hosts Scrapbook Expo events in about a dozen cities throughout the year. (Thank you Leslie - I just did my first link!). I've been to the one in San Jose, CA twice and the one in Pleasanton, CA twice. This year was my third time at Pleasanton. There are classes taught by various vendors which you pay for and attend ala carte. Then there is a huge building with all of the vendor booths where you can do make-and-takes, see new products, and SHOP! It used to go for 3 days - now it is 2 days - and there are crops both nights you can attend (for a fee). The crops have games and contests so you don't really get much scrapping done, but it's a great place to meet scrappers from your area of the country. I've only gone "all out" and taken classes/attended crops one time. My mom and I shared a nearby hotel room and basically lived at the Expo for 3 days. It was a blast. Cost wise, I think it's probably pretty similar to the cost of a CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) or CKC (Creating Keepsakes Convention). The atmosphere, to me, is just more casual than those events and more friendly to a beginner scrapbooker. Here is the experience I had this year...

I arrived at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at around 11:30 am and found parking pretty easily. The event started at 10 am and people were already leaving so parking spaces were opening up nicely. It cost $8 to park on the fairgrounds or you could park for free if you wanted to walk quite a ways. Many people that were attending classes and crops had their rolling or carry totes, so I can't imagine them wanting to walk very far. I also saw a lot of mom's with full size strollers, which hadn't been allowed in the past. Here is the new rule, as copied from their website: "We can not allow Large or Rolling Bags on the show floor. Small umbrella strollers are allowed on the show floor (infants unable to sit-up will be allowed in other small single seat strollers). This is to keep our aisles clear and allow space for all guests to walk the floor." I was sorry to see they had changed the rule from umbrella stroller only and now allowed larger strollers. I agreed with the old rule because the floor of the expo gets VERY crowded. It's not really fair that we all have to move around the large strollers. And I say that as a mom who REALLY REALLY wanted to attend several expo's when my kiddos were that little and I had to miss them because I couldn't find a babysitter and my child/ren weren't big enough to sit in an umbrella stroller. I honestly think everyone should be considerate of others and if you can't take your child in an umbrella stroller, don't go (please).

I paid my $8, got my wristband on, was checked in at the door, and entered scrapbooker heaven! First stop was the restrooms (which were large; about a 3 minute wait :). I only had 2 hours to spend, so I got right to browsing the booths. It was not as crowded as in years past and I was able to finally do some make-n-takes. In the past, there were long lines for the M&Ts that I never felt like waiting in (hey, you miss out on too much shopping time that way). But I was able to do 3 M&Ts - a 2-page 12x12 layout using tan cardstock with black lasercut designs and a Family 2007 scene ($4); a 2-page 12x12 beach themed layout with glitter ($2); and a 1-page 12x12 layout called "The Scene of the Crime" ($2) which you can use for pictures of your kids, husband or dog doing something naughty! When I figure out how to post photos of them, I will.

If I'm remembering past Expo's correctly, the M&Ts were more expensive this time. But it was fun to do them and nice to give my feet a rest from all the walking. As for the shopping, I had no complaints. I didn't buy nearly as much as I have in the past because of my own budget, not because there wasn't plenty I wanted! I did mean to go back to the Creative Memories booth and pick up another Power Sort Box for photos (I've spoken of my love for them in the past). I saw one, didn't want to carry it around, said I would go back, then ran out of time. Oh well, they're easy enough to get from a Creative Memories Consultant around here. I also had 2 packs of some new Basic Grey in my hands - Stella Ruby and Scarlet's Letter. Sooooo pretty and marked down from $20 to $16...but the line was long and I'm obviously NOT a long-line-waiter. I can get them from Memory Works for that price anyhoo. There's just something about instant gratification that we all love, isn't there? But I'm happy with my purchases. I've been wanting to try Tombow adhesives since hearing them constantly raved about on the Creating Keepsakes message board. I've been a Hermafix tab girl for a long time, so I'm curious to try something new. I love the pink t-shirt I got that says, "You better be nice, or I will crop you out of my scrapbooks". Oh! And all the brads I got...at one booth you could fill up a cup with eyelets, brads, beads etc. for $7 for a small cup. There were two larger sizes but I forget the prices (maybe $14 and $20 or something?). The Daisy D's Modern Romance paper pack is so gorgeous I can't wait to make something with it.

I had to leave at 1:30 to meet a friend for lunch nearby, at Fernandos' Mexican Restaurant. There are many restaurants, hotels and stores near the Expo so you will never be at a loss if you decide to go off-site for eating, lodging or shopping. After lunch, we walked around shopping and got some coffee before we each hit the road for long drives home. All in all, a very "Pleasant" day in Pleasanton.

I will probably go to the San Jose event this year too (August 10/11), but it appears they have moved it to the nearby city of Santa Clara, CA. I think Scrapbook Expo's are great events and highly encourage you to go if you can.

Old/New Scrapping Friends

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So I started a new part-time job this week. One of my co-workers was showing me around and introducing me to everyone. You know how it is when you’re new…I was nervous and wondering if I was ever going to feel at home here. Before my recent stint as a SAHM, I was with one company for 12 years. I knew everyone and everything, which is a nice feeling to have, isn’t it? Starting over is hard and I was really dreading it, though everyone has been super cool so far. We enter an office to meet yet another person, when I realize…hey, I know her! This gal “D” is a scrapbooking friend. I didn’t remember that she worked here, although I must have been told at some point.

Anyway, D was in the group I went to CKU San Jose with back in 2005. I was thankful for the ‘small world’ we live in, and we had a good laugh telling my co-worker about our CKU experience. There were 6 of us in our ‘dorm’ and we participated in a lot of the fun stuff that goes along with CKU’s. We called our group ‘Lisa Bearnson’s 7 Little Scrappers’ and it was a play on the 7 Little Dwarfs. One of the ladies’ daughters made up a scrapbooking song to the tune of “Hi Ho, Hi Ho”. I’ll try to find the lyrics…it was very clever. Believe it or not, we got chosen as one of the top 3 submissions and performed our skit/song at CKU in front of all those scrappers. We had little dwarf outfits consisting of cloth triangular shaped hats that folded down…you know, dwarf hats. And we each had an apron that had our dwarf name – Croppy, Scrappy, etc. I was Punchy and I sewed little paper punches to my apron with polka dot ribbon. It was so fun! We just laughed our heads off the entire time. The creative gals in my group created a centerpiece with a bucket of apples and mirrors with some clever saying about ‘the fairest of them all’ or something. I can’t take any credit for all of this. I was just along for the ride and I’m so glad they included me.

Anyway, it was great to see D again and know that we’ll be working together. If I need a ‘scrap chat’, I can go visit her on my break. And I was able to invite her to the National Scrapbook Day event I’m trying to arrange. Scrapbooking is so widespread, I’m sure I’ll find other new co-workers who scrap too. It’s like a nice little bonding moment when you find others with the sickness, isn’t it?

SB Weekend Delayed…

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I was up until 1am getting ready for the event this weekend. Because I don’t have any Memory Works stock yet, I had gathered some other items I could have for sale – a few albums, adhesive, paper packs, embellishments, etc. I got everything inventoried, priced, and put in cute little baskets. I had about 1/2 of the car packed for the trip (my family was going with me). Then the phone rang at 10 this morning. It was my friend J, the hostess for the scrapbooking weekend tonight and tomorrow. One of her children is sick with the flu so we had to reschedule :( Wouldn’t you know it?! But better everyone be healthy so we don’t spread even more of this flu around. I think everyone I know has been sick several times this season.

Well, the good news was that Memory Works ordering is easy and shipping is fast! I placed my first order this Tuesday and had it shipped to J (she lives in another city) in the hopes it would arrive in time for this weekend. And it did – she got it yesterday. She said everything was beautiful and she was very happy with what she ordered. Now it will be ready for next time. The new catalog comes out soon and they have been putting up new items on the website called “Sneak Peeks”. So far, they have the new Basic Grey and Fancy Pants – yum!

Just An Update…

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I finally got my new notebook computer!! I’m the proud owner of a MacBook Pro with a 17 inch screen and 2GB. Whoo hoo! This is my first Apple product, so I’m still trying to find my way around in Mac World. So far, I LIKE! I like very much. So easy to use and the graphics are easier to understand than Windows. As I type this in a window on the left side of my screen, I’m watching the video introducing the iPhone on the right side. Man, I want one of those! They come out in June and I’m sure will be impossible to get.

On my old laptop, I wrote a post yesterday. It was about packing for a scrapbooking cruise. It appeared that WordPress was doing the auto-save throughout. But when I went to post it, it had disappeared :(:( I was so mad, I haven’t been able to bring myself to re-write it yet.

And I did finally make 1,000 posts a couple days ago. So that was a great feeling. Thanks to everyone who helped (wink, wink). Well, I’m off to prep for the scrapbooking weekend! Hope you’re having a great week…

Scrapbookers Weekend

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In a recent post, I talked about a group of preschool moms who were inspired to learn how to scrapbook, or renewed their dedication to scrapbooking, after attending the memorial service of a friend.  The friends’ scrapbooks were lovingly displayed at her service and everyone was very touched by the deep meaning that scrapbooking can hold in our lives.  Well, through the efforts of my friend “J”, who told me this story, all those ladies will be scrapbooking together this coming weekend and I get to be there too.  J has asked me to help instruct those that are new to the craft, and to have my Memory Works products available should they need anything.  Some are just going to bring all their photos and work on getting them organized, a dreaded but so important task.  I hope to also get a little scrapping done myself, but we’ll see how it goes.

I’m so excited to do this.  I’ve mostly worked with experienced scrappers so, while I may share a tip here and there, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to teach someone from the ground up.  J and her family were at our house last weekend and, when I was showing her through the Memory Works catalog, she said, “You are so excited!  And you know your stuff.  You’re the perfect person to be a scrapbook consultant”.  Awww, shucks.  But it’s true that I am excited about ~obsessed with~ scrapbooking.  I have a list of things I need to do to get ready for next weekend.  And I have to…place my first order!!!  J ordered some things so I told her she’s my guinea pig. 

The challenge is that I’m still pretty sick.  They treated me for strep throat but it’s 3 days after taking the entire Z-pack and I’m still not better.  I go back to the doctor tomorrow morning but I think the prescription this time will probably be, “Just be patient.  You’ll get better”.  But I wanna’ be better NOW!! (stamp foot hard on ground).

Tag, You’re It!

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I’ve been tagged by my blog buddy Karen over at Scraps of Mind (http://karooch.wordpress.com/).  (Sorry, things like this prove how computer UN-savvy I am!!  I don’t know how to show you the book cover or make the websites attach right into the name).

1.  Find the nearest book:  Cool.  I’m reading a good one right now about a little girl who seems have a special connection to God that no one can explain – divine voices, stigmata then miraculous healings.   

2.  Name the book and the author:  Keeping the Faith by Jodi Picoult

3.  Turn to page 123.  Okie dokie…

4.  Go to the 5th sentence on the page & copy out the next 3 sentences onto your blog.  “It has been years since he personally went to confession or took communion, and religion for Allen will always be scarred by the bestiality of the nuns who taught his parochial school classes.  But Catholicism runs deep, and this girl has made him rethink his choices.  What if, all these years, he’s been wrong?”

5.  Tag 3 more people.  Okay, I’m tagging Ilse (http://www.ilsesjournal.com), Leslie (http://oranginadreams.wordpress.com/), and Scrappy Cat (http://scrappycat.wordpress.com/).

Piz-ZAZ-zle…I Just Like To Say It!

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Here are some new scrapbooking things I like:

Check out the new product that’s a collaboration between Bazzill Basics Paper and Creative Imaginations.  It’s called Pizzazzle and you can see it at here.  Click on the icons to see it in all 15 colors.  They took the all-time best cardstock in the world - Bazzill - and put some new textures to it.  There are monogram, number and tag punchouts and matching white chipboard shapes.  I will definitely be getting some of this stuff!  What do you think?  Will you Pizzazzle?

Now check out the American Crafts website for some free computer wallpaper:  http://www.americancrafts.com/wallpapers.php.  Your icons will get lost in some of them but they're oh-so-pretty to look at.  I currently have the grey, black, and white one on my desktop and it makes me smile every time I log on.  While you're at the American Crafts wallpaper site, check out their idea gallery - lotsa great stuff.

Are these not the prettiest, most elegant things you've ever seen?  http://sarahheidt.mennonite.net/Home/Products/Lasercuts/Scriptina_titles.  I just love the Scriptina font, and I can't imagine cutting these titles out with a craft knife.  I have yet to see a Scriptina font for my Cricut, so I will have to buy these from Sarah.  Guess you girls with the die-cutters that hook up to your computer could do your own though, huh?  One day, when the sunbeams break through the clouds and I get the sign from above, "It is time", I will begin scrapbooking my wedding from 13 years ago.  When that time comes, these Sarah Heidt lasercut Scriptina titles will be mine at any cost. (Don't tell Sarah I said that...wouldn't want to be overcharged!).

Any great products you'd like to share with the class??

Goal Oriented: Update

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Bummer, I didn’t meet my goal of 1,000 hits on my blog by the end of February.  I just checked my blog stats, which show only 824 as of midnight my time on 2/28 :(   Oh well, that’s still a lotta hits for a new blog I think (??).  I will just set a new goal:  5,000 hits by the end of 2007!!  Peace out…

Scrapbooking Cruises – Part 1, My Experience

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As I’ve mentioned, I went on my first scrapbooking cruise in October 2006.  It was sponsored by Creating Keepsakes magazine and toured the Mediterranean Sea.  I’m going to write some things about it to share my advice for anyone who might be taking or considering a scrapping cruise.  I’m no travel expert, so all I can do is tell you about my experience – how I prepared, what I packed, the excursions, the crops/classes/activities, and life on board my ship.  I think I’ll break it down into different entries; otherwise, it will be too long :)  I hope you enjoy!

First, the basics:  I learned about ‘Cruisin’ With Lisa’ (Bearnson, founding editor of CK)  from an ad in Creating Keepsakes magazine in Spring 2006.  My mom and I had to plans to go to Italy ‘someday’, but nothing was concrete.  When I saw the ad, I thought ‘This is it!” so I called her at 10:30 that night.  She’s like, ‘What’s wrong? Why are you calling so late?’, but I just could NOT wait until morning to ask if she’d go on this cruise with me.  (Think I kinda freaked her out, oops).  She was on board right away (pardon the pun, sorry) and soon after a good friend ‘K’ decided to join us.  By the time we called to reserve our spots, much of the cruise was booked.  I learned that, had I been looking on the CK events site or been on their e-mail list, I would’ve known about the cruise months sooner.  We were still able to get the rooms we wanted for the most part (by that I mean the cheapest choice, or we could not have afforded it!).  We had to leave a series of deposits, and the cruise had to be paid in full well before the departure date.  For this reason, I would highly recommend travel insurance.  It’s not that expensive compared to the amount you have at stake if you have to cancel your trip.  That being said, ‘K’ is STILL trying to get all of her husband’s money refunded through insurance; he had to cancel due to some family health problems.  I have faith she will get her money back and still think insurance is the way to go.

The most frustrating part was planning the rest of the trip – getting there and back, and our plans to stay in Rome for 2 days while we were over there.  I don’t know if this is true of all cruises, but the travel agency….despite contant begging and harrass-…ummm…politely asking….would NOT confirm the times of our flights into/out of Rome, nor the ship departure/arrival time until 2 weeks before departure.  We didn’t even know what vacation days to ask for from work…uurrgghh.  This is an extremely long story but the moral is this:  do not make your travel arrangements yourself through the internet, do it through the cruise lines.  It may seem like it costs more but - I compared notes with those who used internet and they paid MORE in the end – it’s cheaper through the cruise line.  It’s also simpler, less stressful, and safer.  By safer, I mean that if you book your flights, hotels, transfers and excursions through the cruise lines, they are obligated to get you to and from the ship on time.  The ship cannot leave without you if you’re late, etc.  It’s a nice feeling of comfort and worth every penny.  We had a seamless trip, while others had hassles, lost bags, lost reservations, were running terribly late, etc.  The best part was the transfers – someone carries your bags everywhere you go.  We could not have done it otherwise because, for a 12 day trip, we each had a large suitcase, a small suitcase, a carryon, a purse, a camera bag, and my mom had a walker.  Traveling makes you very tired anyway – can you imagine carrying all those bags too?

Other things to do ahead of time are:  get your passport (this can take many weeks unless you want to pay top dollar), have other photo ID, read travel books (so you can fully appreciate your destinations), join the Yahoo group about CKU cruises (very helpful!), get a copy of the cruise lines brochure (if I had done this sooner, I wouldn’t have bothered the travel agent with so many little questions cuz it’s all in the brochure!), and talk to a local travel agent even if they don’t book anything for you (they can give you hints about how to travel in a foreign country, etc).

Please join me next time for another episode of Scrapbooking Cruises when I will discuss ‘what to pack’.  Caio!

Note to self:  Even if you have strep throat, do NOT take Tylenol with codiene right before bed because it gives you wierd visions when you close your eyes.  Ugh!  (The good part about being afraid to fall asleep was that I looked through my awesome new MW catalog all night and brainstormed ideas….projects, make and takes, hostess gifts, incentives, oh my!).

Memory Works, Scrapbook Idea Books, and Blog Hits

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I’m going to the doctor today for what I think is strep throat, so this post will be brief.  Just a few things:

1.  I got some nice e-mails from Memory Works last week.  One was a quarterly newsletter that had page ideas, product updates, corporate updates, introduced business office members, and introduced the design team members.  It had color photos and was very nicely put together.  There was also a sneak peek at the March 2007 monthly kit which is absolutely adorable.  My consultant kit is due here today and, once I’m feeling better, I can’t wait to get my MW consultant site up and running.  The new MW catalog comes out in April and they’ll be giving sneak peeks periodically until then on new products from CHA.

2.  Last week, I used my 50% coupon at Michael’s for an idea book I’ve been wanting called “the me book” by Autumn Leaves.  It has been fun to look through and get ideas.  I’m so impressed with the journaling, with how revealing and insightful the designers are.  They share the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It inspires me to do the same.  Life is not perfect, and our scrapbooks shouldn’t be a fairytale either.  I always have my kids in mind when I do get that personal, and just make sure that nothing I say will hurt or harm them.  Otherwise, I think it’s a good thing to reveal who we really are, what we’ve been through, and what we’ve learned.

3.  Thank you for helping me toward my ‘blog hits’ goal of 1,000 hits by February 28, 2007.  It’s going well and I think we might make it!!!  I appreciate all the comments and am trying to answer every one.  Keep hitting :)

No Happy, No Scrappy

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I was laughing out loud yesterday (because I could SO relate) from the blog Bought, Sold or Processed (http://gingerrohlfs.blogspot.com).  She did a post on 10 things she must have her way, like ‘no wire hangers’ and ‘spotless glasses’.  I’m going to make a similar list, but of ‘Things I Must Have My Way While Scrapbooking or In My Scraproom’.

1.  I must have a cold can of Diet Coke on my desk while I scrap.  Same goes for a crop.  I even bring my little Igloo in case they don’t have Diet Coke there.  The few times I was without a Diet Coke, I tried having a coffee but it’s just not the same.

2.  I gotta’ have my tiny embellishments – brads, eyelets, etc. – sorted by color in my Craft Mates holder.  As soon as I buy something, it comes out of the packaging and into the proper color bin.  I love being able to find the color I need right quick.

3.  For some reason, it makes me grit my teeth to see a scrapbook album lying flat.  No matter how disorganized my scrap area can get, I have to stand my albums vertically.  Many lean against things until I can find a spot for them on the bookshelf.

4.  I’m very anal about journaling.  It has to be perfect with no spelling errors, etc.  If I find a mistake after the fact, I’ve been known to rip the journaling off the page and re-do it.  ‘Cuz I was an English major????

5.  This is the cropping set up I have to use or I can’t get anything done:  self-healing mat in front of me, cup of pen and tools to my farthest right, flat pack with adhesives, etc. in upper right, Scrap Rack in front of me (if at home), then papers and photos to my left.  It’s weird but if that’s out of whack, I can’t think.

6.  Must have my cell phone and Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers nearby when scrapbooking.

7.  If I buy something scrap-related for a specific project I’m working on (birthday book, a gift I’m making,…), I have to put all that project stuff together in one pile or holder.  If I put the paper with my papers or the ribbon in my ribbon jars, I forget I have those things at project time.  (This explains a lot of the piles in my scrap area, yup).

8.  I scrap best late at night.  Don’t know why, that’s just when I feel creative.  I sit at my desk sometimes during the day and just stare into space, trying to get motivated.  At crops, I end up talking and shopping all day, then when night hits – well, let’s just say I’m usually one of the last gals to leave at 3 or 4am.

9.   I’m obsessive (imagine that!) about my scrapbooking magazines.  I can NOT get rid of them until I’ve read the entire issue, cover to cover.  Skimming the whole thing doesn’t count.  This is a very annoying habit.

10.  Absolutely NO food allowed in my scrap area.  And I love food, so that’s saying a lot :)

What are your scrapbooking pecadillos?  What kinds of things MUST you have your way?  I would be interested to hear!

Goal Oriented, Scrapbook Style

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I don’t know about you, but I do much better in life and am more productive if I set goals for myself.  So, here are some upcoming goals I have…and one of them requires your help!

1.  To scrapbook 52 pages in 2007 – That equates to 1 page per week, which is totally do-able.  I’m going to count pages, not layouts, so if I do a 2-pager I get credit for 2!  Also, I’m only going to count COMPLETED pages with journaling and all.  That is the part I usually struggle to get done and has kept many-a-page sitting in the ‘incomplete’ file.  I put it off, either because I want to computer journal or because I did the page at a crop and couldn’t concentrate well enough to journal in the midst of the madness.  What are your scrapbook page goals for 2007?

2.  To sell at least $1,000 in Memory Works products in 2007 – By that I mean $1,000 retail  & since I keep 20%, that would be $200 Washington’s in my wallet.  I’m not a big ‘salesperson’ type of girl, so I’m approaching MW as more of a fun thing to do.  Although extra money is always nice, I don’t need the income per se.  But I think any business should have goals, don’t you?  Now, the question is, do I count products I buy for myself toward the $1,000????  LOL, think NOT!  Somehow, I don’t think that helps my bottom line.

3.  To get at least 1,000 hits on this blog by February 28.  That would be just over 1 month I’ve been writing.  It makes me feel so good when people read this, and when they leave comments it just makes my day!  I’ve always loved to write, and you KNOW how I feel about scrapbooking.  This blog is the best of both worlds for me.  And since this is the first time since I was 17 years old that I haven’t been full-time employed, I have to admit I miss the comments like ‘good job’ or ‘wow, you’re a good writer’ or ‘thank you for that info you shared’ that I used to get from work.  I hope it’s not too selfish to feel this way.  But I hope you will keep reading, keep ‘hitting’ my blog, share with your friends, and I’ll let know how it goes.  Let’s DO this thing!  (Think I got that from the ‘Friday Night Lights’ football coach or something….).

Do you have any goals for 2007, scrapbook-related or otherwise??  Please share them in the Comments or shoot me an e-mail.  I would love to hear that I’m not alone here on Goal World.

Memory Works just called.  My consultant kit is being shipped as we speak!  Yowza!

At the Heart of Scrapbooking

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I received a very touching e-mail from a good friend last night.  It nearly broke my heart.  She had just returned from the memorial service of a friend.  She knew this friend through her childrens’ preschool and they had shared a love of scrapbooking.  This lovely woman was a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.  At the back of the reception room, the family had displayed the many scrapbooks this woman had created during her life.  My friend said it was so meaningful, that all the other preschool moms came to her after the service and asked to be taught how to scrapbook.  They were touched by the value of what this woman had done, the beautiful legacy she had left for her children.

I was touched that my friend asked me to join her in this meaningful endeavor, to teach others to scrapbook, and we’re working on dates we can get together with everyone.  Honestly, it just made me cry and it made me grateful (yes, this is where I get really sappy on you…).  How much do we all take for granted this wonderful craft we do, scrapbooking?  Our non-scrapping friends don’t always understand us.  Our husbands may poke fun, or wonder if it’s really worth the money we spend on supplies and the time away from home that we spend at crops.  We as scrappers may even get distracted by the desire to ‘buy the latest and greatest supplies’ or ‘I have to get published so everyone will see me in print’.  But this story really reminded me why, at the core, we do what we do.  It’s for the love of our families, the respect for where we came from and where we’re going, and the need to share our daily lives and lessons with our children and extended famly.

Please let me stay focused on that – when I’m feeling like I just can’t get a page to look ‘right’, when I’m embarrassed to post my layouts on message boards because ‘I’m just not good enough’, and when I crave that new product I may not really need ‘just because it would be cool’.  Scrapbooking really isn’t about all the fluff, it’s way more important than that.  I hope that when I pass on, my scrapbooks will be displayed as this woman’s were.  I want every person in my family, all of my friends, to know how much they meant to me.  I also want them to know that I was always evolving in life, and always trying to become a better person.  I think my scrapbooks would say all the things to them that I could no longer say.

Organized Chaos

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I’ve been scrapbooking for about 5 years now, and boy have I accumulated a lot of stuff.  I’m very blessed to have a scrapbooking area in my home, which I share with the kids’ playroom area.  It works out great because I can scrap, make cards, organize photos, or work on the computer while still interacting with them.  My window has a beautiful inspiring view.  I’m very lucky.  But like a lot of you, I also love to scrap-shop!  I am proud to say that about two-thirds of what I have was bought on sale, at a discount store, or with a coupon.  I even got my Store in Style cubes one at a time, with Mike’s 40% off coupons (hey, we are a thrifty family! my SIL bought her dining table and 6 chairs one piece at a time using the 40% off coupons from Cost Plus!).  My mom also gives me tons of stuff.  She has a very particular style that she likes for scrapbooking, so if she has extra papers or embellishments she doesn’t care for, she knows I will take them.  For instance, they gave us lots of free stuff at CKUs (“Creating Keepsakes University”, see http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com ).  She belongs to a monthly kit club and the items aren’t always her style.  Score for me!!

Anyhow, I feel like I’m constantly organizing, purging, and re-organizing my stuff just so I can have some desk space to scrap.  It’s always a work in progress and I don’t think I’ll ever be done.  Even if I go on a spending freeze, I’ll still feel the need to better organize the stuff I already have.  I actually enjoy organizing…just another healthy obsession, right?  So last night (or this morning) I was up until 2am working on my scrap area.  It felt like a got a lot accomplished in 3 hours, but when I looked at my space before walking away, it didn’t look that much different.  Dangit!  I did find some new floor space I hadn’t seen in awhile LOL.  I purged 6 photo storage boxes (you know, the one’s you get at Mike’s for $2/each?).  Some were empty/never used and others had partially organized photos in them.  But I’m switching all my photos to the Creative Memories Power Sort boxes (http://www.creativememories.com).  Until I can afford more Power Sort boxes, I just put the photos in a Rubbermaid container.  But I got all my sorted and unsorted photos and memorabilia into one area of my bookshelf so when I get to that project, I won’t have to search all over the house.  My birthday is this spring – think my list will just say “Power Sort Boxes please!”.  It’s aggrevating when you’re ready to organize but you don’t have the equipment you need, huh?

My favorite organizational item is my Scrap Rack (http://www.scraprack.com).  It’s like a series of 12×12 binder pages that attach to several “spinders” (the metal 3-ring part of a binder), all attached to an easel-like rack.  It’s tilted about 45 degrees so you can turn pages and see everything.  I have one section sorted by topic (birthday, sports, zoo) and another section by calendar year (New Years, Valentines, Spring, Mothers Day, etc).  This system works just perfectly for me, because I seem to function best if I have everything for one topic in one place.  For example, if I’m doing a Christmas layout, I turn to ‘Christmas’ and there are all my Christmas papers, brads, ribbon, and embellishments.  I even put topic-specific layout ideas, poems, and quotes in there.  I’d say I have about 80% of my stash filed in my ScrapRack.  I’ve gotten into the habit of just filing things right away when I bring them home from the store.

On my bookshelf, I have 10 vertical paper holders (http://www.cropperhopper.com) – they’re cheap at Costco or at Mike’s with the 40% or 50% coupon.  I use those for Bazzill by color, regular cardstock by color, and one is full of just Chatterbox stuff (luv them!) and another is filled with my recent KI Memories big purchase.  I use the smaller paper envelopes they come with to hold my other favorite papers/embellies by manufacturer – Autumn Leaves, Doodlebug, Memories Complete, and SEI.  When I have a lot of one line, I like to keep the items in one spot because they work so well together.  Also, when I do theme albums, I prefer them to have a continuous look so I use mainly one brand at a time. 

The prettiest things in my scraproom are my ribbon jars.  I got 6 canning-type jars from Cost Plus ($3 each) and sorted my ribbon by color.  It looks very nice on the shelves.  I used to use the little boxes and the embellishment case by Cropper Hopper for my ribbon, but it got too labor intensive to roll and file each new piece of ribbon.  Now I just unwind new ribbon from it’s holder and throw it in the jar.  When I’m working on a layout and need a particular color, I just put that jar on my desk instead of bringing out the whole CH case.  I would love to post photos of this scrap-haven of mine, but it’s still too embarrassing.  When I get things in better order, I will show you.  For now, I just love spending time in my organized chaos.

Anybody Got an Apple?

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I’m going to buy a new laptop in the next week or so.  Okay, this IS part of my Scrapbook Obsession, because I use my computer to journal and store/print photos (and to blog, ha!).  I’d like to use the new one for my Memory Works business and possibly try digital scrapbooking.  I’ve been thinking about what to buy for some time, but I really need to JUST DO IT!  I researched things like dependability, customer service (from an English-speaking country, please?), speed, and memory.  I had settled on a Lenovo laptop and was just waiting for the money (which has arrived).  Well, then I’m scrapping at a friend’s house one day and she has a beautiful Apple desktop with the 20 inch monitor.  It was gorgeous, and seemed so easy to use.  My friend said that, when she was recently computer shopping, a mutual friend recommended Apple because of their user-friendliness, security, and they don’t crash as often as PC’s do.  I really trust his opinion because he’s one of my “go to” guys on techie issues.  (Me = so far from a techie I can barely spell it).  Now, I’m pretty much sold on a MacBook Pro, Pro because I want the larger screen.  I’m thrilled that Macs can now run Windows and all the MS programs I’m used to, like Excel and Word.  They also run every type of software I’ve checked so far, like Photoshop and programs I’d need for work.  Now it seems like wherever I look, everyone’s got an Apple.  The local Mac store was way busier than the other computer stores I went to (no, it wasn’t because of the Ipod’s, those were in a separate section next door).  Is it just me, or is some big switchover happening?  Is Apple the way to go? 

I’ve been asking around and no one has had anything bad to say about Macs.  Ooohh!  And I want that iPhone that comes out in June 2007, too btw.  I guess my only remaining concern is that going with an Apple might hamstring me somehow down the road, and not run a crucial program or download that I need.  I won’t have a PC to back me up, because the laptop I have now (an HP Pavilion) is borrowed.  I’m sure the rightful owner will be happy to have it back.  Also, Macs are definitely more expensive – are they worth it?  I wish the computer fairy would descend from the clouds and tell me what to do.  Anybody got an Apple, and some advice??

The Best Holiday of the Year

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According to a message board I’m on, there are some changes happening at Creative Memories!  I have already decided to be a Memory Works consultant, of course, but I’m excited for the CM consultants I know (and others who may want to join CM).  I haven’t verified the info, but this is basically what the post-er said:  The plans haven’t been finalized yet.   It is still $500 minimum retail sales every three months (cumulative, not in one month, like it used to be long ago).  There will be new shipping rates effective April 1, 2007.  They are $7.00 for orders under $100 and 7% for orders over $100.  There is a new recruiting incentive starting March 1st. When a hostess has a show with sales $400 or more, they can join as a consultant for only $72.50 (I edited what she said; this is not a direct quote).  So, it all sounds like great news.  I’m really happy about the shipping charges being reduced – they were $18 per order unless you had a really huge order.  If the consultant only keeps 30%, they would have to place an order worth $60 to just break even.  That just didn’t seem fair.  Again, great news!

Speaking of Memory Works, I will commence hounding of the mail carrier every day because my Consultant Kit should be arriving any time now.  On February 6, I got an e-mail saying it would ship in 7 to 10 business days.  All I’ve accomplished so far is buying a nice sized paper rack for $20 from an LSS that was closing, so I can display products at crops or parties.  And a dear friend who lives 2 hours away has offered to host a party for me.  We were going to hold it in March, but then I found out that Memory Works is coming out with a new catalog in April.  So, now we’re tentatively looking at the first Saturday in May since that is NATIONAL SCRAPBOOKING DAY!!! There are several sites regarding the wonderful “holiday” if you Google it, but this was my favorite:  http://www.nationalscrapbookingday.com.  It lists NSD events and even has a petition to make NSD a federally recognized holiday.  When I checked the petition, they had over 1,000 signatures - go scrapbookers!  I will keep you updated on my plans for that day.  If my own MW event doesn’t materialize, I’ve been invited to my SIL’s Creative Memories crop AND one at an LSS.  Whoo hoo, one of my favorite days of the year!  What are your plans?

I had another great find online this week.  First of all, don’t you just love Ali Edwards (check out her blog: http://aliedwards.typepad.com)?!?  I have always admired her scrapbooking style.  It’s very fresh and unique, simple but revealing, just classy I think.  I’ve always wondered where she gets those cute little stamps she uses on her layouts for journaling, numbering photos, etc.  Well, via another blog, I finally figured it out:   http://www.catslifepress.com. They have the KEE-YOU-TEST stamps.  And the prices are great, especially if you get them unmounted which I plan to do.  Shipping for unmounted stamps is only $1.50 per order, and unmounted stamps range in price from $1.50 to $5.  Not bad at all, huh?  You should check it out.

Scrap Dream Unfulfilled

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Do you remember that old commercial where the mom is desperately waiting for the Mervyns store to open, and she stands against the front window saying, “Open, Open, Open!”.  Well, that was me yesterday in Tracy, CA.  I had an out-of-town job interview that took me – oh so conveniently – by Youngplay Memories, a store I had learned about online (http://www.youngplaymemories.com).  It’s a-MAZE-ing, super big, with everything scrappin’ under the sun.  “And they have a coffee bar too” (stupid reference there to Wayne’s World, one of the all time greatest movies).  When I arrived it was 9:30 a.m. and they didn’t open until 10.  So I stood with my toes and my forehead against the front glass door, WILLING the door to open so I could have a crack at Super Scrap Wonderland.  When I first looked in the window and saw aisle after aisle of scrapbooking stuff, I swear I heard the angels sing.  Alas, I had to leave for my interview (I know what you’re thinking and, yes, it was a toss up.  I really had to ponder which was more important, a job to keep my kids fed or a chance to shop at Youngplay Memories).  I bid the building “adieu” and drove off, vowing to return on my way home that afternoon.  Well, it was not to be.  The interview took 4 HOURS and I could not make it back to the store before it closed at 6 pm.  I even called and gave them my sob story:  “But I’m from out of town and I could be there by 6:30!”.  A serious scrap dream unfulfilled.  Well, I told my best scrappin’ buddy that we need to take a field trip sometime soon.  Is that insane to drive 2 or 3 hours solely for the purpose of scrapbook shopping?  Have you ever done that?

I did make some other shopping detours while in Sacramento.  I returned to a shop I had been to before called Beverly’s Unique Scrapbooking (http://www.beverlysuniquescrapbooking.com).  The owner is super nice and has made really good choices on her rather large inventory.  She went to the recent CHA so I got to hear about that firsthand.  I found 2 sheets of beautiful thick cardstock by Creative Imaginations that are really unique.  One has a pink, red and cream colored design of scrolls and old-fashioned flowers, and the edges of the sheet are die cut around the outer scallop design.  The other sheet is light blue and white with a scalloped or ruffled edge and white stripes (like reverse binder paper) which will be great to journal on.  There were buckets and buckets of 12×12 paper on sale either 5 for $1 or 2 for $1, so I got various sheets of Reminisce, Basic Grey and Ala Carte.  Then a pack of 30 lined papers that I’ll use for journaling (only $3, good deal).  They are from Hot Off The Press and meant to go in SaraBinders.  Also, some beautiful rub-ons called miniMARKS by American Crafts.  They will look great in my travel scrapbook, all scroll-y and flowery.  At a nearby LSS called Scrap Around the Corner (http://www.scraparoundthecorner.com), I got several of the Bohemia transparency picture frames that remind me of the digital scrapbooking look that is so popular right now.  At Joann’s (I’m so jealous of you who live near one of these stores cuz I don’t), I picked up Heidi Swapp Scrapbook Scenery rub-ons, so pretty!  And a pack of 100 Printables by Die Cuts With a View that I’ll use to do flyers or newsletters for my consultant business when I get started (http://erika.memory-works.com).  The pattern is very cute.

Random Thoughts:

How come nobody told me that Dollar Tree has American Crafts stickers and letters??  (Got me some today).

There’s a new scrapbook magazine.  Here is what their website says:  “Introducing the first magazine to blend Traditional and Digital Scrapbooking together in fun and innovative ways!  Find out how you can enjoy trying both methods together! Discover scrapbooking methods you may not have thought of before”.  Check ‘em out!  (http://www.scrapbookdimensions.com).

Did you know you can change your handwriting into a font?  I haven’t tried it yet but would really love to.  I type MUCH faster than I write, so it would be a pleasure to type all my journaling.  However, I feel strongly that at least some of my journaling should be in my own writing.  What do you think?  Anyhow, I posted a question on the Creating Keepsakes Message Board – aka CKMB – and got some good direction.  Speaking of CKMB, it is a wonderful resource to learn new things and make friends.  Please check it out – you will get addicted like I am (http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com, then choose Message Board, Scrapbooking).  See you there!

Perfect Just the Way You Create

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I walked past the table today and my own layout caught my eye.  It’s one I’m doing for the infamous travel album.  It made me think to myself, “Wow, I really like my style”.  Do you ever have those moments?  For me, they are few and far between.  I spend much more time criticizing myself because my pages don’t look as good as the pages shown in magazines or that people post online.  I know we all have our own style and there are reasons behind our style.  Here is mine – let’s ‘break it down’!

1.  Lots of photos per page – Nope, won’t see any single photo layouts in my albums.  I don’t scrapbook to be artistic or to showcase my graphic designer skills.  I scrap to get my pictures in albums where we can look at them.  I take a lot of pictures, always have.  I’ve gotten better about selecting which one’s to file vs. include in layouts.  But there has been many a time when I was looking through an album and thought, “Hey, where’s that picture of…?”.  I remember it, I feel it was part of the story, and I want others to see it so why is it stored separately in a box?  I don’t want any more of those regretful moments.  Honestly, how often do you gather around to look through the photos that are stored?  Me, never.  But I constantly look through my albums.  I always have one placed on the coffee table for easy browsing.  So mostly I store doubles or photos that are very similar to others.  Other than that, it goes in my scrapbook.

2.  Good journaling – I love to write (duh!) so journaling has never been a hardship for me, like I know it can be for some.  I have more of a problem keeping it simple and not writing down TOO much.  As for handwritten vs. computer journaling, I try to handwrite unless it’s extensive journaling that won’t fit…because my handwriting is on the larger side.  I look at my scrapbooks as a journal, and I want to remember the details.  I always make sure to include the date, place & people details because those are the most important.  I also include my initials and the date I scrapped it really small in the bottom right corner of the page.  I don’t scrap chronologically, so it helps me to see how I’ve progressed (or not, in some cases!).

3.  Nice photos without much editing – I’m not that great with computers.  I don’t know how to use PhotoShop (yet).  I don’t have time to sit and individually edit each photo.  I’d rather spend that time scrapping.  I take both digital and 35mm photos but everything is developed at my local Longs Drugs.  I can’t tell you what an excellent job they do.  The colors are rich and the photos are clear and sharp.  The digital ones, I might play with a little on the kiosk-thingee when I download them, but mostly I just order 1 or 2 of each, a CD, and pick ‘em up when they’re done.  With a coupon, their prices are pretty good and I’ve never found that photo quality anywhere else.  Yes, I’m very picky.  I don’t like photos with that “digital” look.  And I don’t believe in editing other than red-eye or cropping.  For me, my scrapbook captures my real life with all it’s imperfections.  I don’t want to show off my digi-family, our digi-dog, and the digi-4th of July parade.  Gimme real life anytime.  (My stepdad is an amazing photographer who does graphic artist level stuff to his photos in PhotoShop.  We got into quite the debate at Christmas!)

4.  12×12 layouts - I have done several mini-albums for theme stuff, but my everyday albums are 12×12 postbound.  I started scrapbooking with Creative Memories (who didn’t?), so I have several strap hinge albums.  But when I discovered how easily you can move pages around with post-bound, I was hooked.  I also love the variety in album choices because they are the most popular type of album and most companies have some version of a 12×12 postbound.  I have to go 12×12 because of all the photos (see #3).  I have a friend who scraps 8.5×11 and I can’t even comprehend that.  I keep trying to convert her to 12×12, pointing out all the advantages, but she won’t budge.

5.  Pretty simple style – Not Becky Higgins simple, or Cathy Z. simple, but simpler than most I see.  Here is my typical page:  Base of Bazzill cardstock or subtle patterned paper; embellished a bit with more PP, or store bought embellishments (I don’t ever make my own like some talented ladies do); title with rub-ons, letter stickers, paint stamps or computer generated; a mixture of cropped and uncropped photos, with the focal photo(s) matted with cardstock; journaling either hidden or showing; and maybe some ribbon as a border or little bits stapled here and there.  That’s it.  I know about embossing, UTEE, quilling, layered stamping, etc. but you won’t see it my pages.  I admire those that will spend that kind of time on a layout, but I’m not a patient girl.  Let’s get some layouts done – chop, chop!

I hope when others see my scrapbooks and my style, they see me reflected there.  I’m a practical, smart, attractive, traditional, talkative, passionate, loving wife and mom.  I hope those attributes also describe my pages (well, except a page can’t be a wife and mom…).  Anyhow, it was a good moment to see that layout and be pleased with it.  I hope you have moments like that too.  I completely love Donna Downey’s motto:  “Perfect just the way you create”.  Now, go create something!

You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone

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It’s a sad, sad day in scrapbook land.  ANOTHER local scrapbook store (LSS) near me is closing it’s doors :(  This is sure becoming a trend around here.  Last year at this time, there were 7 stores within a 100 mile radius of me.  Now there are 2.  I’m not talking about Michaels, Joanns, and Hobby Lobby-type big chain stores.  I mean good ol’ mom and pop, independently owned stores.  Is this happening in your area too?

I love LSS’s.  Here are the top 10 reasons:

1.  Aaahhh…the smell of fresh scrapbook product when you walk in the door.  For me, it’s like being a book lover and walking into Barnes and Noble.  Or being a mechanic and walking into the shop.  It’s the smell that represents what I love to do and it makes me feel like I am home.

2.  The friendly “Hello!  Let me know if you need help finding anything!” and a smile.  Much nicer than sitting at home, yelling at your computer while you try to navigate a scrapstore website, “Just tell me where the Basic Grey Wholy Cow rub-ons are!!!”.

3.  Hosted crops where you don’t have to plan anything, don’t have to prepare any food, don’t have to try and gather all your friends at the same place and time, you just have to show up and pay a little somethin’-somethin’.  Bonus:  You meet other scrappers from your area who you wouldn’t have met otherwise.  Double bonus:  Discount on all supplies bought while cropping.

4.  The latest and greatest items are there.  All the owners go to CHA, Memory Trends, etc. and bring back the new goodies.  And since they are as Scrapbook Obsessed as you are, they can’t wait to show you everything.  When you experience their giddy joy, you feel you are not alone in the world.

5.  They have some of the nicest public restrooms I’ve ever been in.  As someone who frequently shops with kiddos, we almost always need to take a tinkle while at the scrapbook store.  Don’t you think they have the cutest facilities?  They’ve got that woman’s touch, like handpainted walls, toilet paper rolls in a Longaberger basket, and nice-smelling hand lotion.  My favorite ever LSS bathroom had quotes and hints about scrapbooking plastered all over the walls.  It was nice to have reading material.

6.  They have scrapook classes, often taught by someone you know.  I have learned some of the coolest things at LSS classes.  And, again – snacks, drinks, and shopping discounts.

7.  Running in to scrap-friends is always cool.  “Hey, what are you buying?”.  “Omigod!  Did you see the new Karen Foster on aisle 3?!?”  “Get out!  I was looking for that!  How are the kids?”  “They’re great.  Tyson’s at t-ball so thought I’d sneak over for some retail therapy.  How are yours?” “Wonderful.  Well, tell Dave and the kids I said hi”.  “Same to Bob and little Bobby”.  “Bye!”  “Bye!”

8.  You gotta’ see the stuff in person.  I don’t care how wonderful the website price is or how many choices the webstore has, I like to see my product ‘for real’.  I need to hold it, see the true color of it, feel how thick the cardstock is or try out the color of the ink on the scratch pad.  I want to carry an actual basket on my actual arm as a wander lazily through a store, not virtually place items in a virtual shopping cart.  I like to listen while I shop to the country music on the store speakers, the little boy with his mom in the next aisle asking, “Can I please have some baseball stickers?”, and to the owner telling a newbie how to get started.  I love to see all the beautiful Bazzill colors all in a row on a paper rack.

9.  It gives me hope that someday I could own a scrapbook store.  I always thought that I would work my butt off for however many years, build up my IRA and make sure I would have a comfortable retirement, then open my own business where I could share my passion for this craft.  But that dream is dying…

10.  They have a plethora of scrapbook magazines.  I’ve already mentioned how much I love these, right?  For the longest time, LSS’s were the only place I could find Scrapbook Trends magazine.  I like not having to wade through all the other magazines on the newstand to find the one’s I really want.  It’s one-stop shopping for those babies!

So, now you see why I’m so depressed.  I’m clearly not a fan of online shopping (ironic considering my new consultant gig will involve selling products online?).  When I look at my top 10 list, it seems to be about community for me.  I will miss my dear friends, the LSS’s.  I hope they can make a comeback someday.  Until then, I will travel further to visit the few that are left.  And I will make do with Michael’s.

PS:  It’s official!  I signed on to Memory Works yesterday and am eagerly awaiting my new consultant kit.  I already have one party booked with a friend.  I will guilt my mother into being a good customer.  Life is good.  Thanks for all the Comments of encouragement and advice.

Super Bowl Scrapday

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The plan was to go to a friends’ superbowl party today.  But one of our kiddos is sick and we didn’t want to spread laryngitis germs amongst the other kids at the party.  So we stayed home and watched the game.  Well, DH and kids did while I scrapbooked at the dining room table.  It was perfect – I could hear the game (not that I care about football, I just wanted to know when the funny commercials were on).  I made 7-layer dip and drank 3 of my Amstel Lights, which DH says is NOT beer, tho’ I like to think it is.  Then it was becoming difficult to cut a straight line or put photos in order, so I switched to ice water.  I only got 8 pages of my travel album done but progress is progress, right?  A friend called from the party to see where we were and I told her the situation.  There was all this noise in the background – talking and cheering – and I’m thinking, “Man, wish we could’ve gone to the party”.  And she says to me, “I wish I were at home scrapbooking”.  Ah, the grass is always greener at the other end zone, isn’t it?

On a non-Super Bowl note, may I say how much I enjoy doing my little blog?  The best part is reading the comments that are posted.  Not only is blogging new to me, but even reading blogs is new to me.  See, it’s like this…I quit my job and started spending all day on the computer looking for another one.  For the first time in forever, I actually had a little time to check all this out.  I am a private person when it comes to details about my family, where I live, etc.  But it’s great that I can type my thoughts out and that’s okay with you.  Scrapbooking is so universal and the nicest people do it.  This blog just reaffirms that, because all the comments have been so nice and so helpful.  I even noticed that one of you put MY blog on YOUR blog.  Is that super cool or what?  Thank you from the bottom of my ever-loving scrapbookin’ heart.

Ooh, one last thing!  I have a job interview in a couple weeks that will conveniently take me right by the Youngplay Memories store in Tracy, CA (http://www.youngplaymemories.com).  I’ve been drooling over their website for months.  The store is freakin’ 20,000 square feet.  AND they have a latte shop.  It will be like I died and went to Heaven.  I’m pretty broke, so I won’t be able to buy much but I will enjoy just walking around, drooling, and petting the merchandise.  I’m sure people like me pet the merchandise all the time, so I don’t think I will get kicked out.

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