scrapbook magazines

Kristina Contes Speaks (Maybe She Shouldn’t Have?)

I have bunches of work to do tonight, so I’ll keep this short (Yeah, right, “Mrs. She Who Can Never Be Brief”…).

As you all know (if you don’t, read HERE and HERE and HERE) – there’s currently a big contro in scrapbook world about some of the CK Hall of Fame 2007 winners who broke the rules, won anyway, and no action has been taken against them (yet) by CK. At the center of the hurricane is KRISTINA CONTES, who has one layout in the the HOF issue that has a photo credit for NISA FIIN. Miss Kristina has been getting the bulk of the onslaught, and today SHE RESPONDED on HER BLOG. And here is the FEEDBACK on CKMB so far. Am I blind are or are they NOT discussing the Kristina Response on 2peas?!? C’mon, Peas, whaddup? (Maybe they’ve all left the building). So, “discuss amongst yourselves” (if you’re a fan of Mike Myers/SNL, you’ll get that)…and I’ll be back!

HOF…An Opinion, Finally…

Okay, HOF thoughts have percolated in my brain long enough. Truly, it shouldn’t have taken this long. I know right from wrong, as do you. If it walks like a liar, talks like a liar, and makes see thru message board posts like a liar…well, you know the rest. I realize there is an awful lot at stake here. But anyone, HOF or Honorable Mention, who did not follow the photo rules should step down. CK should issue a FEE-YOU-JUS apology to all contestants, “winners”, and customers. And then let’s move on and get back to what we should all be doing: scrapbooking and enabling.

Here is how my opinion crystalized. And it’s pretty simple. You enter a scrapbooking contest run by a prestigious magazine. You read the rules to see what the parameters of this contest are, to make sure you aren’t confusing them with the rules from all the other contests and page calls you submit for. You painstakingly complete the required layouts to ensure you have done your very best work. You double, triple, quadruple check the rules of the contest because you certainly don’t want to be disqualified and have your entry rejected after all the work you just put into it. If you have any doubts or feel a rule is unclear, you go onto the free message board provided by the magazine and clarify the rules to make sure you understand every aspect. You fill out the required forms and sign your name that you have complied with the rules. You send it all in and keep your fingers crossed, feeling like you did the best you could and, if nothing else, you know your entry will at least be considered (and not returned to you) because you followed the rules to a “T”. The magazine receives your entry, along with hundreds of others. Each entry goes through several levels of a thorough screening process to ensure that all stated entry qualifications are met. This is a prestigious and life-altering contest, where the person(s) you choose will represent the magazine. Someone who can’t even follow the rules for a contest entry is someone a large magazine would not want to work with. They must be held to the highest standard. Revenues from this magazine are down, and staffing is more limited than in the past, but they work extra hours or hire temporary help or don’t sleep for 18 days, but they do whatever it takes to painstakingly weed out non-compliant entries. For one thing, fair is fair. For another, the magazine does not want to cause controversy, alienate readership, or encourage legal action. They take this very seriously, especially given that there have been accusations in past years’ contests of impropriety. If those accusations are unjustified, then the magazine has nothing to worry about – just keep doin’ what they’re doin’. Magazine staffers come across several entries that don’t comply with the rules; most of the violations are to the “100% of the photos must be taken by the entrant” rule. Crap! Many of these non-compliant entries are by well-known or well-regarded or cute or interesting or male or intriguing or excellent blogger scrapbookers! Crap! The magazine does not want to disqualify these entries. There are so many reasons why this or that person should be a winner, not rejected. Boy, they think, if we disqualify them we’re going to piss some people off. They check with their legal department and find out that they can legally disqualify the entries without fear of legal repercussions because the entrants clearly broke the stated rules. Crap! After clarifying any and all photos that include the entrant were either taken by someone else vs. a self-portrait with a timer, etc., the decision is made to disqualify the entries, as much as it sucks. Now that all the entries have been sorted and met the qualifications, they are made anonymous (as anonymous as you can be, when some of the layouts include Long Arm Self Portraits of the entrant). Judging begins, with a slow weeding down to the very ‘best of the best’ entries. One last check is made to ensure that all rules have been followed. Remember, this is a Pretty Big Deal Contest?? Can’t have any mistakes or questions of integrity. The winners are announced, the special HOF issue comes out, and the year progresses as always. Some disgruntled rejectees gripe on message boards, blogs or e-mails about this or that impropriety, but the magazine doesn’t pay any mind because they are confident that they are squeeky clean. They enforced all of the rules and the best entries were chosen from those which complied. The end.

But as we all know, that is not exactly what happened. And as much as we want to speculate, we will probably never know what really DID happen. But here are some of the possibilities, i.e. things that COULD HAVE happened, not saying they DID happen. Entrants misread or misunderstood or ignored the rules. CK ignored obvious violations of the rules. CK’s judging policy sucks, as it does not have any safeguards to ensure that all stated rules were followed. CK wanted certain scrapbookers to win so badly that they overlooked the rules or pretended they didn’t matter. CK decided on the winners, then realized the error, but decided to go forward because it was too late/too expensive/too embarrassing to admit their wrong. CK figured it was too late to right the wrong because the HOF issue had already gone to press and, hey, what were they going to do, print a whole other HOF issue? And forever embarrass those entrants they’d have to ‘out’ as Dirty Rule Breakers? Not gonna’ happen. CK lower level knew what happened early on but upper level did not take it seriously enough. Entrants who violated the rules wanted fame and publication so bad, they did what they had to. Entrants disagreed with the rules that were too difficult to meet, they complained, and CK decided to ease up. I mean, we could go on and on. It’s like my saying that “Nobody knows what goes on inside a marriage except the two people in it.” No one in Scrap World really knows what happened except, I would guess, about 5 to 10 people. And I doubt they’re gonna’ fess up. But I can not think of any scenario that allows, with any integrity and honesty, for this situation to have happened organically. Someone somewhere pulled a fast one. Obviously not anticipating the doggedness of the blog and message board community of scrappers, a community already fed up with Scrap Celebs and publishing favoritism and Life Artists and So There. This community was standing at the precipice and the HOF incident pushed them over the cliff.

I do want to say that I sympathize, yes sympathize, with CK. For 12 years, I worked for a high profile organization that had 10,000 employees. We were an excellent group and I was proud to work there. But like any other large organization, there were tons of problems and bad shizzle: miscommunications, lazy workers, red tape, staff shortages, disgruntled workers, disgruntled bosses, people who didn’t care as long as they got their paycheck, and complete and total lies told about us by the press. There were rumors and favoritism and gossip and Golden Children. There were times when I jumped to conclusions based on the limited information I was privy to, only to be proven completely wrong. After the first few times of eating crow, I learned to give people the benefit of the doubt, to let the dust settle before I drew a conclusion, and to remember that all of us are human and we all make mistakes. There are 10 sides to every story, and I’m sure CK and KC and everyone else has their defense. I can’t wait to hear it. If I’m proven wrong in my conclusions or opinions here, I’ll happily apologize. I’m not saying all this to hurt anyone. I’m just trying to make sense of it.

That said, I am disappointed in CK, but not surprised. I am appalled at ANY entrant who broke the rules, and who accepts prizes and recognition and stays silent when they know what they’ve done. Even if it was an honest mistake (how could it be?), apologize and step down if you have no decent explanation. I don’t think CK should oust them; it should be an action by the contestant. I am proud of everyone who stood up, called a spade a spade, and refused to be bullied or banned or silenced. I am heartbroken for any HOF entrant who followed the stated rules and did not win, now having to watch others enjoy the spot that could have been theirs. I am saddened that it has all come to this. I am hopeful that the industry has learned a huge lesson, and will do the right thing by us in the future. I have faith in you, my fellow scrappers, that we will cut everyone a little break, not be mean or snarky, and not kill the messenger. And I am certain that we will all remember that, ultimately, it’s not about contests and magazines and recognition anyway. It’s about your photos, your memories, your people, your life. Peace out…

CK Hall of Fame 2007 – My Thoughts Exactly

I can’t believe, and I don’t know why, THIS ISSUE is consuming so many of my thoughts these last 2 days. I didn’t enter HOF, I will never enter HOF, I don’t know anybody who entered HOF…And yet I can’t get this whole fiasco off my mind. Honestly, I’ve never paid much attention to these magazine contests except to enjoy the special issues they generate where I get to see the Cream of the Crop, which just gets more and more amazing every year. Like, “graphic artist” amazing, like “how’d they do that?” amazing. This year, I got caught up in the SOY (Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooker of the Year) madness because I frequent (about every 5 seconds) the CK Message Board. One of the more well-known ladies over there (NoelJoy aka Noel Culbertson) made the Top 10, as did some other of my fave Gallery Goddesses. So, between the anticipation for Memory Trends and Las Vegas and The Announcement, I got caught up in the SOY frenzy. I was really impressed with the caliber of not only scrapbookers, but PEOPLE, that were chosen for the top 10. They all were just so classy and fun and appreciative and humble; it was a pleasure to watch it all from the sidelines. It’s easy to put yourself in the place of someone who has poured their heart and soul into their entry, and the waitiing, and the dreaming “what if??”…and the inevitable disappointing crash when it’s not you. So, yeah, I totally get it. I get the depth of the emotion and commitment and disappointment this HOF mess has unsurfaced. I think maybe it’s hitting uninvolved ME so hard because I’ve always had such a sense of right and wrong, of fair and unfair, of good and bad, of black and white. There is not as much “grey” for me as for most people. You either did or you didn’t. It’s either Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke. You’re either pregnant or your not. No grey.

And that’s why I”m struggling. Every time I’m fired up, decision made, ready to unleash on this keyboard my “feelings” on this event, I stop. I think, “But what about this?” and “Was it on purpose?” and “Everyone makes mistakes” and “How do you fix something gone so horribly wrong?” and “How would I feel if my magazine and my JOB were on the line?” and “How would I feel if I had entered HOF?”.

And the frustrating thing is I’m not finding the black and white, just a bunch of muddy, drippy, annoying grey.

CK Hall of Fame 2007 & The Drama That Has Ensued…

I tell ya’, you go away for a little scrapbook retreat weekend, and this is what happens! Here is the gist of the story as I can gather it, only having time to scan a huge amount of posts at Creating Keepsakes and 2 Peas message boards from the last few days:

When the CK 2007 Hall of Fame book which showcases the winners came out recently, it was noted that one of the winners (Kristina Contes) had used at least one photo in her entry that was not taken by her – as required by contest rules. Apparently, there was no doubt about who took the photo, as photo credit was given to Nisa Flin, who happens to be a professional photographer. There were lots of questions being asked about how she could have won, given that the rules weren’t entirely followed. Today, this message was posted on CKMB by way of explanation:

“It has been brought to our attention that in CK’s The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9, we inadvertently listed an incorrect photo credit with the “Family of 3” layout. This was an editorial oversight on our part. CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin and for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone. If you have any further questions or suggestions, please e-mail us your thoughts at letters@creatingkeepsakes.com and be sure to include “HOF Comments” in the subject line.

Brian Tippetts
Editor-in-Chief
Creating Keepsakes”

Well, no one was buyin’ it, to say the least. The responses to that message from Brian have now reached 10 pages, and still going strong. The statement that “CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin” was not accepted by the masses because there is apparently evidence abounding on the internet that the photo was indeed taken by Nisa Flin. Well, that led to the point that, on further examination of the HOF entries, there are possibly several entries with photos not taken by the entrant. As you can imagine, those HOF entrants who DID follow all of the rules, and took pains to only include photos taken by themselves, are pretty ticked. Others asked, essentially, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a contest. Everyone makes mistakes, even CK. At least they admitted it and apologized.” Which was responded to with, essentially, “It’s not ‘just a contest’ if you put countless hours and inspiration and money into your HOF entry, and took pains to follow every single rule, only to lose to someone (or several someone’s) who didn’t follow the rules.” Another point being made is that, for those who would like scrapbooking to be a career or professional accomplishment, winning or losing HOF is an entirely big deal. I would equate it to Halle Berry winning the Oscar ~ you betcha’ she got a lot more and better roles after that and deservedly so. Winning big contests or awards is a way for excellence to be recognized, put on a pedestal, and shown to a much wider audience. In response to complaints of posts being deleted by CK because they questioned the contest, CK posted this Reminder:

“Thank you for being a part of the CK message board! We would just like to remind everyone of the guidelines you agreed to follow when you created a message board account. Messages that do not uphold these guidelines will be pulled.

You agree to be respectful of others’ ideas and opinions. You will not use any expression of racism, bigotry, obscenity or profanity (including asterisks [*] to represent profanity). We will not permit such comments.

You agree to not make personal attacks, or “flames.” (Flames are comments about a person rather than about his or her opinions.) In addition, you agree to refrain from posting libelous remarks about companies or individuals. Libel is defined in Webster’s II New College Dictionary as “A written, printed or pictorial statement that defames one’s character or reputation or exposes one to public ridicule.” We reserve the right to remove messages that we consider libelous. This is a serious matter. If you post libelous remarks, legal action can be taken against you. To learn more about libel, see www.firstgov.gov or the Libel Defense Resource Center.

You agree to be respectful of Creating Keepsakes and our staff. We are happy to provide this message board as a free service, but we reserve the right to delete messages that are disrespectful to us. We work hard for you, and we appreciate your polite consideration as you make comments about our staff and our publications.

Please see our guidelines for further details: http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/mb/guidelines.ihtml
_________________
CK Online”

And after bunches of negative (and some positive) feedback to his original statement, Brian added this to his original post:

“UPDATE:

Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue. According to the information we have received, the photo credit attributed to Nisa Fiin that appeared with the “Family of 3” layout on page 20 of The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9 should have appeared with the “This Is Real” layout on page 49, the “Laughter” layout on page 107, and the “Precious” layout on page 159. We admit this is inconsistent with the statement in the Official Rules that “Entries, including photographs, must be the sole work of the entrant.” During the judging process, we had no information that the stated photos were taken by someone other than the contestant. We apologize for any confusion this has created regarding the Hall of Fame Contest. Because of the lengthy speculation regarding this issue, we would like to explain our judging process in depth to provide insight into why photographs have appeared in The Scrapbook Hall of Fame special issue that are not the sole work of the entrants.

Before judging the entries, we verify that each one follows the specified format, which is:

“1. Complete the scrapbooking assignments listed on the reverse side. For the purposes of this contest, a “layout” is a one- or two-page scrapbook layout that conveys a single theme. Assignments are also listed at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof.
“2. You can send us your assignment layouts in three different ways. (1) Take photographs, (2) print computer scans or (3) make reduced color copies (so that four layouts fit on one side of a sheet of 8½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper). Do not send original layouts; we are unable to return materials. On the back of each color copy, photograph or printed scan, print your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and a complete list of supplies used to create the layout (including both the manufacturer and product name of each supply used).
“3. Affix the color copies, photographs or printed scans to the fronts of three sheets of 8 ½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper (three or four layouts to a page) by applying photo tabs or glue stick to the backs (unselected, unpublished layouts will be separated after judging to be considered for use in the magazine and future special issues). Identify each layout with a label corresponding to the assignment letter that the layout fulfills.”

The Official Rules state that “Entries that do not follow the specified format, or that include more or less than 10 scrapbook layouts, will automatically be disqualified from the 2007 Scrapbook Hall of Fame contest.”

Once we have completed this disqualification round, we judge entries on a “blind” basis, which means that we do not have access to the entrant’s name when we view his/her layouts. We have no way of knowing whether the contestant is among the people pictured in the photos and as such cannot verify whether photos are the sole work of the entrant during the judging process. Even if we could verify that, the disqualification round has been completed, and while we expect entrants to follow the guidelines, our only policy for disqualification is stated in the previously mentioned formatting requirements.

Fairness in identifying the industry’s top talent has always been our top priority. Entrants who follow our specified format, sign the agreement that they have followed the Official Rules and exhibit talent based on our judging criteria are awarded the title of Hall of Fame.

Because we cannot verify that all photos are the sole work of the entrants and because of the feedback we have received, we are seeing legally what we can do to address this issue in the 2008 Hall of Fame Contest and will also address it in future contests. Please check www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof2008 in the upcoming weeks for an updated message.

As a final note, we’d also like to address any concerns that the CK editorial team has been removing posts from the message board as some sort of cover up. This is not the case. Only those posts which violate the TOU of the message board will be removed. Please see the “Reminder” post from CK Online in the Scrapbooking forum for further clarification.

Brian Tippetts
Editor-in-Chief
Creating Keepsakes”

Again, the ladies aren’t buyin’ it. In a nutshell, those who are upset feel that, even given the way HOF entries are judged, this situation shouldn’t have happened. At some point in the process, CK should have caught the inconsistency even if the entrants mistakenly or purposely did not follow the contest rules. There are posters threatening legal action, to cancel CK subscriptions, never buy a CK product or attend a CK event, enter any scrapbook contest, etc etc. To say the people are upset would be the understatement of the year. Unfortunately, this situation has made the normally peaceful CKMB ~ my very own Happy Place ~ into something resembling the Ultimate Fighting Championships. “New” members or “newbies” – an assumption based solely on their post count being under 20 or so – at first appeared to be the ones leading the negative charge against CK, and it was noted by some “old timers.” Others stuck up for the so-called newbies, pointing out that they may in fact be established members who started a new identity for fear of backlash after stating their opinions. I understand this; if I were an established CKMB’er who followed the rules of HOF and then discovered this problem, I would start a new ID before posting my true feelings. I don’t care what anyone says, there is professional backlash in the scrapbooking industry, just like in every other. Anyhow, then discussions started about how newbies aren’t welcomed, nay run off, at CKMB…then the defenders spoke up saying that wasn’t true.

I think where it stands now is just a running discussion of disappointment in CK and how the contest and aftermath have been handled. I know there are blogs where this is also being hammered out, and I do mean hammered with a capital H, but I don’t have the heart to read them right now.

{My disclaimer: I’m not involved in this situation. I’m not making accusations or statements or pointing fingers. I’m merely summarizing what I’m reading on message boards and quoting directly from statements made by CK in a public forum.}

I didn’t enter HOF or any other scrapbooking layout contest, nor do I plan to, that’s just not my bag. But I did once enter a contest to win a scrapbook store (yes, a scrapbook store!) that was closing. You submitted a layout with extensive journaling about why you should win the store and I poured my heart, soul, and lots of money into that contest. I can’t tell you the disappointment when I was told the contest was cancelled for not enough entries. So I can completely understand the pain this HOF situation causes to people. But, personally, I’m the type that likes to ‘wait and see’ in situations like this. I’m not going to comment yet, but let things settle in my heart and brain for awhile. I also want to see if CK does or says anything else before I make any kind of judgment about them. I can tell you it’s not looking good. But I wanted to share this event with you and hear your thoughts if you’re NOT kinda’ shocked speechless like I am. Yes, I know ‘it’s only scrapbooking’, but to the Scrapbook Obsessed, it’s a big deal…

August 2007 Creating Keepsakes: Ad Review

I’ve admitted from the beginning that I like to shop for scrapbook supplies as much as I like to scrapbook. So this entry should really come as no surprise. I just got my August issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine today and I was struck by how MANY of the ads and/or products caught my eye. So here’s a page by page review:

Pg 3 – Ad for K&Company Quick-Dry Craft Bond, “featuring renowned WackyTac technology that permanently adheres crafts together!”. Looks like it might be a solution to “the chipboard letters won’t stay on my page” problem. If anyone has tried it, please post a review in comments. I seem to recall seeing it on QVC awhile back.
Pg 8 – Ad for Fancy Pants new Botanical line. I really like everything Fancy Pants puts out lately, and this is no exception, a must have. Look at the calendar page in the bottom right corner!
Pg 11 – Ad for Bo Bunny line called Pep Rally. Didn’t like their early stuff, then loved their stuff for awhile, not a “fan” of this.
Pg 13 – Ad for doodlebug design Plain & Simple Chipboard Houses. I always love DD ads because they make amazing things out of paper. This product stumps me tho’. I can’t think of a way to use a cute little altered house. Too cutesy for home decor. Any ideas?
Pg 15 – Ad for the new Autumn collection by daisyd’s. I always think of them as being very “distressed” and homey looking. This is a little different, very cute, love the colors. Go daisyd’s!
Pg 16 – Ad for Three Bugs in a Rug new Chalk Garden collection. Have never loved their stuff (or this). Too bright, too hard, too busy.
Pg 18 – Ad for new XL ghost butterflies by heidi swapp (now that I’m typing all these industry names, I’m noticing how many use strictly lowercase letters, LOL). These are pretty. I love how you can back them with patterned paper, paint, glitter, rub ons, etc.
Pg 21 – Ad for The Rockstar Stack by Die Cuts with a View. Reminds me of the peek I got at the new Basic Grey line, Obscure. Very geared towards teens and music. I love how SB products are constantly evolving and there is something for every topic under the sun.
Pg 22 – Ad for “a new Bohemia – 20 new themes – 4 new color schemes – transparent frames, etc” C’mon, say it with me…..”Hallelujah!”. By that I mean, I dig Bohemia so Right On that there is more to love.
Pg 36 – The famous ad for Martha Stewart Crafts at Michaels. You can bet there has been some discussion about this on CKMB. I like the ad. It’s a creative way to show off her plethora of products (see, wasn’t I nice??).
Pg 43 – Ad for the Holiday Cardmaking Cruise with Sandi Genovese. A 5-day cruise for $598. Unless I’m blind, they don’t say WHERE the cruise is. But I looked on ScrapMap.com for you (it’s Cozumel).
Pg 44 – Ad for Skinny Cow ice cream. See, told ya they were after us scrapbookers big time. A 1 1/4 page ad in CK ain’t cheap.
Pg 50 – Ad for a new CK book coming out in August called “Super-Fast Pages with 4×6 Photos”. I will be buying this book before the ink dries.

CK book 4x6 photos

Pg 51 – Ad for DCWV’s new “All Dressed Up” with glitter. I haven’t given in to the glitter products yet because I wonder about it scratching photos over the long term. But this is really pretty. Love the two album samples they show. The line will be great for wedding, prom, etc.
Pg 52 – Ad for CK’s “Easy Patterns for Scrapbooking” kits now available at Joann stores. Not sure how I feel about these. You know I love the Easy Patterns book by Brenda Arnall but the only thing that salvages a shred of creativity about it is that you get to pick your own papers and use your own brain to cut them. These kits have all the paper provided and it has cut marks on the back. Hmmmm….
Pg 59 – Ad for new Dorothy collection by Anna Griffin. I don’t use a lot of her stuff but this is unique and could be adapted to more than heritage pages. Very pretty color scheme of black, white and pink/fuschia. It’s “just one of 7 new collections for 2007″ for you Anna Fans.
Pg 64 – Latest & Greatest column, Spiral Punch by Stampin’ Up! It’s a paper punch that gives you “an authentic spiral punch edge” like torn notebook paper. I will be calling my SU rep next week. Also love the Starfin alpha stamps by FontWerks on the next page. A very cute font and I like how you can color them in as you like. Would like to try the Power Bond adhesive from Tombow on pg 67 to see if it really “makes adhering textured cardstock oh so easy”. I struggle with my Bazzill sometimes.
Pg 75 – Ad for Cosmo Cricket’s Gretel collection. Cute ad but I like to see the product line not just photos of adorable kids.
Pg 86 – Ad for 2007 CK Scrapbooker of the Year contest. The ad doesn’t give a deadline but it already passed (7-6-07). I feel badly for anyone who works on this now. Hopefully they would check out the website beforehand. CK knows how their own publishing dates; I wonder why they did this?
Pg 93 – Ad for We R Memory Keepers new line of Classic Leather Albums. Smart move. Remind everyone “we’re here, we have albums!”. I have noticed a resurgence of the 3-ring album lately.
Pg 101 – Ad for Prism’s Metallics line of shimmering cardstock. Reminds me of Bazzill Bling. Prism is the line of cardstock that Memory Works carries; I hope they add this soon. I think it would be a big seller since MW does not carry Bazzill.
Pg 117 – Ad for two new Autumn Leaves idea books: Perfectly Clear and Foof-a-Life. AL idea books are my favorites so I’m excited to buy these, especially Perfectly Clear which has techniques for using AL clear stamps (I have several sets).
Pg 118 – Ad for the Memory Planner by Karen Foster Design, available August 2007. Don’t know if I would use the entire planner but I like the templates that allow you to easily make page sketches. Very clever.
Pg 141 – Ad for Vertical Drawer Organizers by Cropper Hopper. I think these are a great idea, a natural companion for my CH Vertical Paper Holders. I want them for storing foam stamps, for one thing.

CH vertical drawer organizer

Pg 142 – Ad for Clear Albums by Pageframe Designs. They have talked about these on CKMB and I like the look. But too advanced for me. Maybe when I’m a big girl scrapbooker someday.
Pg 147 – Ad for….oh, who cares….there’s a shirtless blond guy with muscles. That’s all you need to know.
Pg 162 – Ad for Dear Diary journaling tools by Collage Press. I’m intrigued…
and same page has an ad for my fave, ScrapRack.
Back inside cover (yeah, you thought I’d never get done!) – Ad for Prima’s “all new embellishments, including alphas, brads and super hot journaling cards”. I love the ad, how they got a nice theme/photo while still showing a good amount of the products along the outer edge of the page. They all look beautiful, by the way.

So, there’s my ad review. Feel free to tell me what you think. Am I way off the mark or did I tell it like it is? And the answer to your question is: No, I obviously DON’T have anything better to do with my time (LOL).

Stay tuned: Next time I will post a review of the August CK issue itself – features, articles, etc.

Lisa Bearnson + QVC + National Scrapbook Day = FUN!

National Scrapbook Day is coming up this Saturday, May 5, 2007. I wanted to share two things that are happening that day. First of all, QVC is celebrating NSD with some shows that air at various times starting Friday night. You can view the times here (these are Pacific times but you can change it to your timezone). The other event will take place on the message board for Creating Keepsakes magazine. To quote the website: “CROP WITH ALI – Join us for National Scrapbook Day, Saturday, May 5, as we crop the day away with Ali Edwards! We’ll have fun challenges, friends, giveaways and more from 12 to 4 p.m. ET. All you’ll need is your scrapping supplies and your computer. See you there!”. I think the place you check in is here. There was a kit you could buy ahead of time but I believe it’s sold out now. The word is that you can still participate in the ‘crop’ even without the kit. I’m hoping to have some friends over that day to crop. I’ll have QVC on the tellie, and CK on the laptop at the crop table. Don’t you just love how well electronics and scrapbooking go together! What are your plans for National Scrapbook Day?? You MUST celebrate!

Scrapbooking Organization: Mission Accomplished

At 3am today, I finished the challenge from CKMB to organize my scrap space…wahoo! Here are the BEFORE pics: BEFORE #1
BEFORE #2
BEFORE #3

And AFTER pics:
AFTER #1
AFTER #2
AFTER #3
100_2537

I still have some work to do, like organizing my massive quantities of photos (heritage, childhood, high school…to about 2003). I’m also looking into a bookshelf or some other way to store my finished scrapbooks in my living room. Right now, they take up a good chunk of my scrapping bookshelf. For the living room, I’m digging this IKEA Expedit bookshelf . We don’t have an Ikea around here but I think I can purchase it online…if I can get hubby to agree that it’s $200 well spent (wish me luck). Edited: Ummm, make that over $400 when you include shipping. May have to wait until I can travel to an IKEA, gulp.

Back to the scrapbook organizing! Other than what I mentioned in my last post, here are the top 10 things I did to organize my space:
1. Went through a huge stack of patterned papers that I bought or was given over the course of the last year and didn’t put away. I already had specific Cropper Hopper vertical holders or files for Chatterbox, Memories Complete, SEI, Doodlebug, KI Memories and Bo Bunny. In this process, I located enough Basic Grey, Daisy Ds and My Minds Eye (thanks to that Costco double pack) that I had to create folders for them too. They all look nice and comfy standing next to each other on my bookshelf.
2. Went through a huge stack of embellishments that needed were scattered everywhere. I got some of them put away in my ScrapRack, and put the rest in an Iris drawer for later filing. By cleaning out all my 12×12 Iris drawers, I now have someplace to store things until I have time to file them instead of piling them on my desk or leaving them in shopping bags all over the floor. I will try to file things right away, but if they do go in the Iris drawers, I only have so much space to fill before I have to stop and put things away.
3. Dusted! Wow, a lot of dust builds up when you don’t scrap for a year. Yuck….but nice now :)
4. Put all my computer-related software, blank photo CD’s, etc in one drawer of my desk. Sorted through two other desk drawers and made room for tools I don’t use often.
5. Got rid of two old wooden vegetable crates that I’d been using in the corner as a little shelf and moved my Iris “project sorter” into their place with the mini stereo and telephone on top.
6. Fixed my “letter E” collection that had fallen off the shelves when my husband was pounding on the garage wall awhile back.
7. Took most of the white plastic baskets out of my little shelf unit and filed that stuff elsewhere. They were not covered baskets and everything got too dusty. Moved all my mini-albums from various places around the room onto the shelf instead. Note to self: Dust once in a while.
8. Things that were sorted through and tossed or moved out of my scrap space: old scrapbook catalogs (do I HAVE to hold on to every single one?? Jeez.), past issues of scrap magazines, birthday gifts for others that I have been stashing under my desk, and my huge collection of photo frames.
9. Purged a stack of newspapers after cutting out and Archival Misting the obits or articles I wanted (someone close to me is quoted in the paper a lot).
10. Consolidated my page kits and project kits from crops, CKU, the cruise etc into one plastic crate which now sits under the table.

Oh, speaking of table, I added a table to my area and am thrilled with the amount of workspace I now have. I can even have a friend over to crop with me in there now! (DH will be happy we’re not all over the dining room table anymore, LOL).

I don’t think I have any great organizing advice above, except to say “Don’t wait as long as I did to purge stuff you won’t use or doesn’t belong in your scrap space”. From things I already had organized, I would highly recommend using cute jars to store your ribbon (decorative, cheap and practical), and utilize Cropper Hopper vertical storage for your papers. They even have 6×6 and 8×8 holders now. It’s so much easier to access your papers and not crush them than with horizontal storage.

I still have a little work to do on sorting embellishments and such, then onto the next project: photo and memorabilia organization!

Scrap Space Organization: A Report

As I explained in my last post, I’m in the midst of doing a major re-org and clean up of my scrap space. This was due to a Challenge on the CK Message Board and I might win a little something if I complete it. But, as they say, the true reward will be in accomplishing this long-put-off goal. I was up last night (this morning??) until 1:30 working on it. Things always seem to go easier when everyone else is asleep, no one is coming over to step on the papers I have spread across the floor, etc.! I pulled out my past issues of scrapbook magazines (there was a HUGE stack – I’m a magazine junkie). I put them on CraigsList and already have one person interested. My mom just taught me how to list things on Ebay so maybe I will put them on there too. Those of you that use Ebay: Does that seem like a good idea & investment of my time, or do you think they won’t sell? Most are from 2005 to now. I also started filling my Store in Style filer drawer cube with patterned papers. Many of my PPs are filed by topic in my ScrapRack or by manufacturer in Cropper Hopper vertical storage. That leaves papers that are stripes, flowers, leaves, etc. and they are now being filed in the drawer with labeled file folders. Speaking of which, are electric labelers the best thing ever invented or what? I’m also pulling out a bunch of things as I go along that I’m donating to my kids. These are papers and stickers that I don’t see myself ever using, but I hate to throw anything away. So they go in a special drawer in my Iris container that the kids can reach easily themselves. I’ve starting buying Iris 12×12 clamshell boxes for storing projects and have moved some things into those. For example, I have an album to do about my dog so I put the blank album, the papers, and all the dog embellies in the Iris box. This is actually part of my organization problem – that I tend to jump around from project to project before I finish any of them. I either get bored or I get excited about a new project and can’t wait to get started. Maybe my resolution for 2008 will be to stop doing that. My other problem is that I buy too much. I hardly scrapped at all in 2006 yet I kept buying things because I hate to pass up a deal (like Michael’s 40% coupons or KI Memories huge paper packs at Tuesday Morning). As they say, i could scrap til I’m 90 and never run out of stuff. A whole new problem is that, since I started being a Memory Works consultant, I’ve gotten even more stuff. By that I mean a consultant binder, and some items to sell/use for samples. I need to keep them dust free and “ready to go” so the MW things have taken over my Crop In Style XXL rolling bag. Now what will I do when I want to attend a crop for fun? Who knows. Well, I’m free all day and have to finish organizing my scrap area by tonight, so here I go again…

Organizing My Scrap Space

Okay, the time has come! I have tried for the last few weeks to organize my scrap area once and for all. Alas, I’ve made very little progress, just bits of organization here and there instead of the “overall” theme I was hoping for. Then today a fellow scrapper on the CK Message Board, “Groovy83″ aka Steph, posted a challenge to clean up your messy scraproom. Well, I always say that things happen for a reason so I’m going to heed the call. I have posted “Before” photos of my ultra-embarassing scrap area (it’s only 1/2 of an actual room) in the gallery. I will attempt to post them here too but you all know how computer challenged I am. If it doesn’t work, I’ll provide the link to the CK Gallery. (Edit: Couldn’t get the image in my blog, but here is the link. When you get there, you may have to scroll down to see the images).

Anyhow, Steph gave us til Friday at noon and since I’m busy Friday morning, I only have tonight and tomorrow. When you see the pics, you’ll understand why that doesn’t seem like enough time! Even if it’s not pure perfection by Friday, it will surely be a vast improvement. I will post photos of the “After” also. Some of the main things I need to do are: purge/sell back issues of scrapbook magazines; get non-scrapping stuff to it’s rightful home; file bunches of paper and embellies; and organize my photos. The last goal may have to wait until next week, but a girl can try. I’m getting new window treatments in this area soon so that is even more motivation to organize my scrap area. Wish me luck and pray I come out of that heap alive! TTFN

Favorite Scrapbooking Celebrities

Would you feel especially validated if someone you really admire did the same thing you did…after YOU did it?? I just learned from her blog that Cathy Z (of Simple Scrapbooks fame) just bought the same stamps from Cats Life Press that I mentioned in my blog awhile back. I fully acknowledge that it was Ali Edwards (of Creating Keepsakes fame) who orignally discovered these and, dare I say, made them famous. But it still felt good to ‘share’ something with Cathy Z (does that make me a scrap-stalker?? LOL).

Speaking of Scrap Celebs, I think I would like to make a list of my all-time faves:

1. Lisa Bearnson: This woman has always been an idol and mentor to me. She and her husband took an exceptional risk years back and started a scrapbooking magazine out of their garage, at a time when scrapbooking was not very big and magazine publishers guaranteed it would fail. Lisa pushed forward anyway and, as you know, became an amazing success. Through it all, she has maintained her love of scrapbooking, telling her story, and preserving her family memories. Lisa seems to have a very tight-knit family and I know how much work that must take, especially with all the traveling she does. Lisa is the only scrap-celeb I’ve met AND gotten to know a little bit. I’ve seen her at several events, cruised with her in Europe, and watch her religiously on QVC. She is the most consistently nice and gracious person in the industry. I don’t think you can fake that kind of personality, you either is or your ain’t and she is. I also happen to love her scrapbooking taste and think my style is similar to hers (tho’ nowhere near as good!). As you can see, I chose Lisa Bearnson as my #1 favorite and it has as much to do with her as a person as it does with her scrapbooking talent.

2. Cathy Zielske: I always just refer to her as Cathy Z because a) everyone knows who that is, and b) I forget how to spell her last name! I’ve never met Cathy nor seen her in person but, in reading her blog every day, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about her. Again, just a genuinely nice person, a loving mom, and a talented person who shares her wealth (of talent and ideas) with the rest of us. Cathy is quirky, a little more on the wild side than me, raises her kids differently than me, etc yet I find so much in her that I relate to. I SO admire her scrapbooking style. She has given the definition of “simple” a whole new meaning. She captures the important stuff and tells a beautiful story while keeping the focus on the photos and the emotions. I feel like I’m always watching to see what Cathy will do next!

3. Ali Edwards: I love Ali Edwards’ style more than anything. She has really created her own non-duplicatable style from the very beginning. No one can touch her, not even close. To me, she has no fear. Ali just does what Ali wants and we all love it because it’s as close to perfect as it could be. I also admire her work ethic. When she is writing a book AND contributing to CK AND caring for an autistic son AND fundraising for autism research AND supporting her very politically successful husband AND looking so cute doing it, I wanna’ just give her a hug and ask, “When do YOU get to sleep, you poor baby??” But she makes it look effortless and fun, so how can you not admire that?

4. Becky Higgins: Super pretty, super mom, super scrapper, super traveler, and has super style. Becky is a woman who, again, shares her craft openly with others and that’s where she seems to get her joy. Her pages are simple and that girl is NOT just trying to sell product! (I feel that some famous scrappers just try to jam as much product on the page as they can and I go, “Huh? Where are the photos and journaling?”). I really enjoy scraplifting from Becky because she is event-oriented like I am, and she often includes lots of photos per page. Her idea books, Sketches and Sketches 2, are like the Bibles of my scrapbooking table. I refer to them again and again. I only wish I’d found those books as a newbie scrapper – they would’ve saved me lots of headaches and heartaches :) Becky seems to have disappeared a little bit lately from scrap world. I don’t read her blog so I don’t know what’s going on, but I hope all is okay with her. I’ve only met her briefly at a CKU class she was teaching but she was lovely. I imagine her to be a wonderful patient mom who is very supportive of her kids (have I gotten that feeling through reading her journaling all these years?). She also recognizes the importance of families, traditions, and passing this all on to your kids.

I could go on and on. There are so many admirable women (and men) in the scrapbooking world to look up to. Who are your favorites and why? Please share in a Comment or I challenge you to write about your heroes on your blog, and share the link in Comments. I’m really curious who you all look up to.

Scrapbooking Cruises – Part 1, My Experience

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!).

No Happy, No Scrappy

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!

Thanks for the KI Memories

The weekend has come and gone, and the pile that will someday beget my travel/cruise albums is still spread across the dining room table.  But I did manage to work on my scrapbook space a bit.  Stashed under my desk, I came across a super deal I found a while back at that store, Tuesday Morning.  Are those everywhere in the U.S. or just here?  Anyhoo, I found the coolest thing there!  It was a pack of KI Memories stuff for $30, but the value was well over $100…um, that’s why I bought 2 of the 3 packs they had (didn’t want to be greedy – we scrapbookers are all about sharing, yeah?).  Each pack had 80 sheets of paper (usually $ .60-1.00 per sheet), 3 sheets of rub-on alphabets, 2 packs of Icicles, 3 sheets of cardstock stickers, AND an 8×8 or 12×12 album!  The one with the smaller album came with 2 extra sheets of rub-ons.  My gawd…how would any scrapper in her right mind pass that one up?  The albums retail for $20/$28, and each of the embellishments go for $3.99.  I almost felt guilty at the checkout.  I just wanted to scream at the lady, “Don’t you know what you’ve GOT here?!?”  She OB-viously wasn’t a scrapbooker because she didn’t even bat an eyelash at the purchase I was making.  I mean, I haven’t even told you yet about the Lil Davis foam alphabet stamps (3 sets) for $3 each – retail value $8.  Suckas!

So I sorted and put away 160 sheets of paper this weekend.  Also, I’m researching the idea of becoming a Creative Memories consultant.  I have resisted the idea in the past, both because of my fear of not being able to meet the required minimum sales per quarter and because some of their supplies were not my taste.  I got started scrapbooking in 2001 because of a CM party, for gosh sakes.  (And for that, I owe them a huge debt of gratitude…ohmigod, in my head, as I was typing that, I said, “gret of datitude”.  What a dork).  I’ve always loved their albums – they are such high quality and I like that you can get a consistent look on your bookshelf with them.  (Um, that was important to me Back in the Day, but now that I see deals like the aforementioned ‘practically free’ KI Memories albums, it’s a little hard to justify the expense of sticking to only CM albums).  I still use the cutting mat, circle/oval cutting systems, corner rounder, etc. from my first purchase.  And the CM Power Sort photo organizer boxes have saved my life.  But have you checked them out lately?  They have been coming out with some cool new stuff, including a digital photo organizer, hardbound digital scrapbooks, and more fashion-forward paper and stickers.  So, I’ve been looking around online for CM info, joined a couple Yahoo groups, and then, lo and behold, what do I find at Staples while shopping for Epson printer cartridges??  A magazine that caught my eye called, “Empowering Women”, which happens to be all about Creative Memories.  Almost all the articles are profiles of women who’ve been successful with the company.  It furthered my interest, to say the least.  Next I’m going to talk to a few friends and my sister-in-law who are CM consultants and see what their recommendations are.  I’m stilll concerned about meeting my minimums…don’t know if I’m enough of a ‘salesperson’ to make a success of this.  And my complete fear of failure prevents me from taking on anything I’m not 100% sure I can succeed at – ha!

SBO blog header by Chrispea 0709

Hello world!

mm emb ctr

I’m so excited!  My very own scrapbook blog!  How cool is that?  I figured since I’m thinking about scrapbooking 24/7 anyway, I might as well write about it.  I love to scrapbook.  I love to shop for supplies.  I loves me some scrapbooking magazines and idea books.  I spend too much time on the internet reading scrapbook message boards and blogs.  I have a scrapbook area in constant need of organizing – which I love to work on.  I TiVo all the scrapbook-related shows on television.  A lot of my relatives and good friends scrapbook, which I love, love, love!  Jeez, is there anything about scrapbooking I DON’T like???  Nope.  Can’t think of anything.