Archive of ‘scrapbook blogs’ category

Lil Bit A Target Enabling Here…

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Thanks to my new best friend zacmag on CKMB, I learned that Target has their Halloween scrapbooking stuff 50% off. Never one to pass up a good deal, of course I went by after work today. Um, yeah, I had prescriptions to pick up too, uh huh, yeah. (Which, by the way, was very frustrating. I just switched several scrips there and they keep screwing them up). So, at my lame Target, there were only a few Halloween items left, mostly the Making Memories deco items which I wasn’t crazy about. I found one lone pack of MM Halloween ribbon. It has 4 trims, only one of “witch” I didn’t like (the orange fringe-y stuff). My favorite is the super cute sheer orange ribbon with little black bats. That will make a great border fo’ sho’. The picture doesn’t do them justice. They are much more colorful in person and the top one looks greyish here, but it’s really solid black. The bats have silver glitter sprinkled on them, and the bottom silver one is very thick and sparkly. Think I’m going to save that for a Christmas tree page…

MM Halloween trims

There were no little Sale or Clearance stickers on the rack, and the tag showed it as regular price ($4.99) but I ran it under one of those red scanners and it came up 1/2 off! I started thinking it a bit odd that hardly any of the Halloween stuff was left, because I was just in there last weekend and they had tons of paper packs, stickers, and chipboard. So I went back to search a little harder for Halloween items and tucked UNDER the rack (hidden on purpose, perhaps??), were some MM black glitter chipboard letters ($6.99). When I got to the check out, the letters also rang up 1/2 off. Score! You can’t tell in the picture but they are glittery sparkly (ooh…sparklies!). The chipboard is pretty thin, and they are about 3″ tall.

MM shimmer jigsaw letters

Those Autumn Leaves stamps I showed you HERE were also on sale (for $1.38, originally $1.99). I already have them all but I didn’t have the inks they package to sell with them. They each come with one small and one bigger inkpad; I got the green/silver and red/gold combos. Can you say Christmas Cards?!?

Target $2 stamps

NOT on sale, I also got the cutest 8×8 album by MM!! Oh, I’m in love! It’s brown leather with scalloped edges and is spiral inside. Also has a ribbon closure. It’s adorable. I was originally thinking to use it for my Memory Works demo album, but then – duh – because it’s spiral, you can’t add pages so I’ll have to think of a special theme album to use it for. So, it’s this album but in chocolate brown…

MM 8x8 scallop album

I also found the Dec. Scrapbooks Etc. Add that to the Dec. CK I just bought, and we are in for a night of scrap mag heaven!

In the $1 Spot, they had tons of little metal buckets for organizing. Grey (metal), white, black, hot pink and red were the colors at my store. I passed on those (I had to pass on SOMETHING, didn’t I?). Did you get anything at the Target After Halloween Sale??

Done Been Tagged: 7 Random Facts…

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about me:

1. Last night, I worked through the night. I’ve officially been up for 37.5 hours. I can’t feel my toes, and my eyelashes hurt…

2. My favorite part of winter is sleeping in flannel sheets. Mmmm….cozy…

3. I love the show, John Edward Cross Country. I cry every time I watch it. I wish he would do a reading for me, and I could hear from my Dad.

4. I think the bestest tortilla chips in the world are Taco Works. Don’t have one! You’ll get addicted…

5. I just got a new job. Don’t ask me about it. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

6. In eighth grade, I survived a race riot at my junior high school.

7. Some things on my Christmas list this year: pj pants and fuzzy socks, Old Navy gift card, Colbie Calliat CD, a housekeeper for one day and the peace to scrap…

This tag brought to you by….Rachel/CKMB SunnyinColorado!! Here is RACHEL’S BLOG. Head on over there if you want to check out more of her super cool ornaments.

rachels ornament

I think everyone has done this tag by now…but ifya haven’t – please join in, and link it here so we can learn about your randomness :)

Get to Costco…Quick!…Great Price on Tags and Bags!

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Okay, first let me tell you about the bags. Here they are from the All My Memories WEBSITE:

Tote-ally Cool! Tote 2 – Black Pinstripe
Features: • Lazy Susan carousel attaches magnetically to the bottom • 21 pouches and pockets to accommodate all kinds of crafting tools and materials • Reinforced hidden drawer with zippered flap for security • Cell phone pouch with clever faux-buckle magnetic snap • Breakaway O-ring allows handle to unlatch • Handy mesh beverage pouch
Fabric: Heavy-duty canvas
Size: 8.5”L x 10”W x 18.5”H
Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Price: $29.99

Tote-aly Cool tote 2

Then, there’s the cute little one, the Tote-ally Cool! Mini Tote 2 – Black Pinstripe.
Features: • Zippered front pouch • Easy-carry handle • 4 elasticized tool loops • Total of 15 open pouches to accommodate all kinds of crafting tools and materials• Covered pouch with secure Velcro flap • Hidden pull-out drawer with zippered flap for security
Fabric: Heavy-duty canvas
Size: 4” x 4” x 10`”
Weight: 7.2 ozs.
Price: $11.99

tote-all cool tote mini

So, add those together and you get a total price of about $42. You wanna’ know how much COSTCO sells BOTH of these together for???? ONLY $24 !!! Sweet deal, eh? I got this version, the black pinstripe, and my Costco also had them in pink. I’m super scrap happy, because I’d been eyeing these totes for a long time but didn’t want to pay that much. Yahoo! I got both for less than the retail price for just one. By the way, I have the link above to Costco.com, but I couldn’t find the totes on their website. Maybe they are in-store only?

Okay, then there’s the tags. Thanks to Gladys/Oreosmom over on CKMB, I also got these wicked Christmas tags at Costco today. It’s a huge pack of 60 gift tags and 4 gift card holders. They are very nicely embellished and super cute. One has a pair of ice skates, and the blades are made out of paperclips (clever!)…I mean, we obviously have the talent, but who has the time??

Here are the tags on a website, but the picture is small:

Costco tags

Here are my photos – don’t know about the lighting:

costco tags and bags

costco tags and bags2

She claims to have started another CKMB Frenzy and I have to agree.
“Frenzy”, def. Noun. When someone finds a cool product that we all must have, and then a shopping frenzy starts. We credit the popularity of Mike’s stamps to our CKMB frenzy. Other Frenzy examples: Prisma pencils, Cricut die cutting machine, Tim Holtz Grunge Board, Costco MME stack, Target stamps…just too many to mention.

Anyway, here are some links to CKMB about the Frenzy, and showing you the cards Gladys has made using these fabu Christmas tags. You’ll be able to see the tags much better than in my lame photos. I’ll post (good) pics of my cards if I actually get them done before Christmas!

LAZY CHRISTMAS CARDS

ANOTHER CARD WITH A COSTCO TAG

HER LAST CARD…OF THE NIGHT

gladys last card of the night

CKMB FRENZY

This huge set of tags was only $8 at Costco. So for about 12 or 13 cents per tag, you can make some rockin’ Christmas cards.

Scrapbooking Tip #1

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I saw a great tip on TV today and it gave me the idea to post a Scrapbooking Tip every now and then. Today’s tip comes from Wendy Hudnall from AUTUMN LEAVES, when she was a guest on SCRAPBOOK MEMORIES, EPISODE 1101:

Wendy said a designer friend told her that, to keep your rub-ons from getting all flimsy and messed up after you cut a few out of the sheet, here’s the trick: Keep the rub-on sheet in the original packaging and just cut through it. Then your unused rubons will stay together better. Love it! I tried it tonight with some Basic Grey rub-ons I’m using for cards and it worked!

Martha Stewart’s Craft Room…It’s A Good Thing

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MS craft room

See all of Martha Stewart’s craft room HERE.

What I like:
~ The pretty apple green cabinetry that’s all built in, and maximizes an awkward loft space.
~ The buckets and jars of goodies that you can SEE, because see = use.
~ The plexi slice-and-fit acrylic dividers inside the scissor drawer. I assume you can really personalize those to fit any drawer and type/size of item.
~ The large, shallow drafting-type drawers where she stores all her fabrics – nice and easy to see.
~ The sewing machine hooked up to the laptop. Wowza. I’m don’t sew but that’s kewl. Is that how all of you who sew do it now?
~ The large counters – I would LOVE to have that much counter space.

I notice she has shelves that accomodate her 18×18 scrapbooks and papers. Hmm…a Martha Stewart scrapbook furniture line in the works, perhaps?? As always when I see these rooms, I’m jealous of such a pretty, organized, and fresh looking craft space. Do you like? What ideas do you take away from Martha’s room?

Show Me Your Explosion Boxes

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I first discovered Photo Explosion Boxes online awhile back, because there was some controversy about a scrapbooker/papercrafter supposedly coming on to message boards and blogs saying she had the copywright or patent or whatever on explosion boxes. Like, therefore no one else could post them or do them or some such nonsense. After reading the posts on the topic, I came away with the fact that explosion boxes were created way back when and there is no way someone from this generation could copyright or patent them. Anyway, always one for a good scrapbook-related controversy, that’s me! But I did fall in love with how KEWL they are and what a great idea. Here is an example of one:

explosion box2

explosion box1

These photos are from a wonderful blog full of projects – check out Stamp, Paper, Scissors HERE.

It’s been in the back of my mind to create one someday, so I always have my eye out for instructions. Today, I was cruising over at 2peas and found this, the CUTEST EXPLOSION BOX ever. I like how it has so many more places to put stuff than the other explosion boxes I’ve seen. So, I’m off to try and translate centimeters into inches, and French into English. Have you done an explosion box yourself, do ya wanna’, or seen one you really like? Please link to it or tell us where to find it on your blog down there in Comments. Thanks!

Are You Interested in F.R.E.D?

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Can FRED make your neck feel better? Will FRED enhance your layout experience? Is FRED too expensive or just right? No, FRED is not what you’re thinking…getcher mind out of the gutter! FRED is a portable crafting table that tilts like a drafting table. It comes with magnets to hold down your work as you go. You set it on top of your existing desk, and you can fold it up to take to crops. I first heard about it on THIS 2PEAS THREAD. The inventor/seller of FRED even chimes in, so you can hear about the product first hand. Here is the WEBSITE for FRED. Maybe I’m just having another blond moment, but I couldn’t figure out how to sign up for their e-mail list. I also couldn’t find the videos on YouTube (although the videos on the website worked fine for me). If anyone figures it out, please let me know. I think the price seems reasonable for the quality, and it sure sounds like they have some happy customers. Hmmm…it’s one to think about for my Christmas list. How about you…interested?

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

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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…

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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

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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.

Diary of a Scrapbook Retreat

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As I posted about HERE, I was lucky enough to spend last weekend at a scrapbook mini-retreat. It was nothing fancy, not an organized retreat house, just 5 friends who got together. One friend T. has a sister-in-law who owns a beach house, so we only had to pay $250 to have the house from Friday through Sunday. We agreed to do all our own cleaning and laundry to save on the cost, plus the Sister Discount came into play, I’m sure.

On Friday, I worked until 12:30, then had a bunch of shopping and errands to do. One thing I did was buy a little goodie for each of the girls…they each got 2 of these Autumn Leaves acrylic stamps from Target. They cost $1.99 each and are so cute!

target stamps

I picked stamps that applied to each girl, like the baby carriage stamp for T. who’s about to start her famliy and the one with the stars for L. who has a cute little boy. I found some cute bags and tissue, too. I love shopping for friends, don’t you? Since it was K.’s birthday we were celebrating, I also got a card for her. Inside I wrote that her gift was a $40 credit towards her Memory Works order. I thought that way I know she’s getting things she loves! Then I got some food and drinks from the grocery store, as we were each responsible for one meal and our own snacks/drinks. I finally got to the house around 4:30 and was so happy to be there! I was the last to arrive, so I quickly got set up and started scrapping. We each had 1/2 of a large table (T. had her own table which shared the laptop).

The in-depth chatting started up right away and didn’t stop until we left Sunday afternoon. They were 4 of the nicest ladies ever and we had lots in common. I had already known T. and L. through K., and they had all come to my crops so I knew them as acquaintances. I met S. that day, and what a sweetie. When you talk to people non-stop for 2 days, they definitely become Friends. We now know probably more than we ever wanted to about each others husbands, kids, families, jobs, medical crises, and scrapbook preferences! That’s one of my favorite things about scrapbooking is that you can sit around and talk while you do it. And because you’re sharing photos and journaling that are so personal, you truly get to know the scrappers you share time with.

We had a late dinner of Italian takeout (eggplant parmigiana for me, yum!) with an expensive bottle of Rotta zin that my husband insisted I bring to share with my friends. Then back to scrapping! We lost T. to her beddie bye at 10:30, L. and S. at 1am, but K. and I were up until 3am. I surprised myself because I’d only had 3 hours of sleep the night before when I stayed up late packing for the retreat. Then Saturday morning K. and I woke at 7am with the other ladies, which also surprised me. I guess we were so excited to get some more scrapbooking done, and we didn’t want to miss a minute of the fun. I made lunch, spinach ravioli and french bread with homemade chocolate chip cookes, but I didn’t have any. My family came over to the beach and we met for lunch at a cool outdoor restaurant. I was so happy to see them all, you would think I’d been gone for 24 days instead of 24 hours. It was a gorgeous day, with a fun and delicious meal. Afterwards, they headed off to the pier to see if they could find the Great White Shark that had been sighted there recently, and I headed back to the beach house. We scrapbooked all night again, only stopping for dinner that L. had made in her crockpot. It was a delicious chicken tortilla soup from a recipe she got in Fix It or Forget It. For desert, T. and L. surprised K. with a cake T. had made ~ German Chocolate, her favorite ~ and we sang Happy Birthday. No one ate cake just then as we were so full from the soup. S. had to leave that night because she was going to a 49′ers game the next morning. She’s a Creative Memories rep and she was able to help out K. with a brown leather Compass album that K. had been looking for (they are no longer in production). That night, K. and I were the last ones up scrapbooking again…I think we made it til 1am.

On Sunday morning, everyone was up drinking coffee and slowly starting to scrap by 9am. K. made us a great breakfast of fruit salad and scrambled eggs with sides you could add like cheese, green chilis, etc. L. had to leave at noon; me, T. and K. kept scrapping and talking until 4pm then starting packing up. We loaded our cars with all our own stuff ~ and there was lots of that! ~ and we packed the tables and chairs in T.’s Suburban. Then we spent about an hour cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, remaking beds, and divvying up all the leftover food. I came home with the rest of my ravioli and bread, 2 bottle of Pellegrino, half of a German Chocolate cake, cookies, a bottle of OJ, some wine, and the remainder of my Diet Coke 12-pack. We were joking how my DH would be like, “Oh, yes honey, you can go on the next scrapbook retreat!” because I was bringing home some of his favorite foods.

At 5:30, it was time for me to head home. As much as I missed my family, it was hard to leave. I had such a good time and got a lot done. I seem to rarely scrapbook at home these days, because there are always so many other things to do. I hope to unpack all my gear soon and keep this momentum or mojo going. Retreats and crops always get me ‘in the mood’ again. I loved looking at everyone’s completed pages as we went along, and learning new techniques from them. The things I got done: 9 pages for my Europe album, 4 family pages, 10 cards, & organized my Bazzill by color and my Basic Grey by line (Blush, Phoebe, etc.). I have been blessed by K. with A LOT of BG and it’s what I’m solely using in my Europe album, so it was getting out of control. I feel so good now that it’s organized. I also sold some Memory Works things kind of by accident. I fully looked at this as a ‘getaway weekend’ and did not want to sell anything while there. But I still had the box full of stuff in my trunk from the crop a couple weekends ago. Plus on Saturday DH brought over a box that came Friday that was full of stuff K. had ordered and lots more. So of course, we all got excited about new things and the rest is history. But I was very glad I had things the girls needed to complete projects they were working on. For example, T. started her SNAPSHOT OF ME album (Becky Higgins, CKU album) and said she’d looked around but hadn’t found a paper line she like enough to do her entire album in. Then she saw I had Basic Grey’s Infuse pack and she loved it!

bg infuse

Her album was turning out very cute. I can’t wait to see it when she gets all her photos in and journaling done. All the girls are such talented scrapbookers and I was very lucky to be in their company this weekend. If you haven’t gotten together with YOUR scrap friends, gotten away for a little retreat, I highly recommend it.

Scrapbook Getaway, Retreat, ‘Mommy Time’…

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Every year, a friend of mine celebrates her birthday by meeting up with a group of friends to scrapbook for the weekend. One of the friends has a family hook-up to a beach house for the mere cost of $250 for Friday to Sunday. This is a house that would normally rent for $1500 or so per weekend. Very sweet deal. I’ve never been invited but have been hearing about this trip for the last few years, as kind of an ‘outer circle’ friend. But this year I got invited to go! As it happens, this birthday friend and I have become a lot closer lately. Our friendship was really sealed when we went on a European scrapbook cruise together last year. If you can survive overseas travel with a buddy and not want to kill them at any point, you are good friends! Truly, it was a wonderful experience and we still talk about how glad we are that the other person was there. We came from the same perspective of complete and total amazement that….OH….MY….GOD! We are in Europe! I’m totally digressing from my main point, but here is a funny story. The cruise was over and we were spending 2 days in Rome before we went home. After a quick hotel check-in, we got a cab to the area of the Coliseum and decided to have lunch at a sidewalk cafe across the street while waiting for our tour to start. My mom was with us too. My friend and I are both trying to casually order this cool ‘Italian sidewalk cafe lunch’ with our fancy Pellegrino water and we keep catching each other’s eye. It’s calm, quiet, casual all around our table. You know, the Italians are SO cool and even the tourists were chillin’. Finally we couldn’t stand it anymore and I burst out with, “Are you thinkin what I’m thinkin?”, and she says, “Yeah….” So we both look over at this monumental structure across the street, that we have read about and seen photos of and dreamed of visiting for years, and I say (pardon my French), “We’re eating lunch next to the fuckin’ Coliseum!”. And then we just lose it! I can’t explain it, I guess, but if you’ve ever anticipated a trip your whole life and then you finally get there, it’s just SO exciting! Btw, my mother (who hates profanity of any kind) just rolled her eyes at us…but I knew she understood.

So back to my point ~ and I did have one ~ that this friend and I shared such an awesome experience and now we feel bonded for life. And I finally got invited to the beach retreat. Which is this weekend! So I’ll be up super late doing laundry, packing, making some meals for the fam, and writing a blog entry. I probably couldn’t sleep if I tried. I hope to get a lot of scrappin and relaxin done. And I hope you also occasionally allow yourself a scrapbook getaway, a retreat from real life, some Mommy Time…because you deserve it. See ya’ Monday!

The Scrapbooking Industry: My Take

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As you know, I’m fairly “scrapbook obsessed.” (REALLY???? We hadn’t noticed!). Which means that, yes, I scrapbook but also that I think about it 24/7, read all the scrapping books and magazines and blogs, participate on message boards, watch scrapbooking on tv, attend and hold crops, work as a scrapbooking consultant and have my own little s/b business as a compliment to that, etc. etc. (Yes, I could go on!). As a person who is this involved, I have some opinions on what I think is happening in the scrapbook industry so I thought I would share them and see what you think. Note: When I refer to the scrapbooking industry here, I’m talking about paper scrapping not to include digital. First of all, it’s no secret that in late 2006/all of 2007, the industry has slowed down. By that I mean it’s not making as much money for the biggies, i.e. the magazines and the major scrapbooking product companies. Secondly, tons of local scrapbook stores (LSS’s) are closing with only a few new ones opening. Since LSS’s used to be the heart of the industry, I take this as a major hit. I think there are 4 major reasons for this downturn: the economy, the internet, digital scrapbooking, and the industry itself.

Okay, the first and easiest reason is the economy. Not that the economy is horrible, but it has taken a hit in the last few years with gas prices so high, mortgage rates going up while home values stagnate or recede, and jobs being outsourced to other countries where they can pay someone 50 cents an hour to do the same job an American would be paid $12/hour for (major pet peeve of mine, but we won’t go there). But the bottom line of our economic shift is that we all have less disposable income to spend on scrap supplies. Yeah, I know, horrors! Everyone I’ve talked to – ladies like me who have scrapped and shopped for years – has had to tone down their spending. I used to fill my Honda with gas for $25, and now it costs $45. There went the $20 I would’ve spent on supplies last week, and that adds up to $80 less from this one consumer over the course of a month. May seem small but not when you multiply $80 by the millions of scrapbookers who routinely shop. Before we used to think nothing of dropping $80-100 at the LSS every few months, but now it might happen once a year by using those gift cards from Christmas. Because our money is so tight, we’ve become smarter shoppers who rely on…big box craft stores and their lovely coupons. While this is convenient and cost-saving to we consumers, I feel it has really hurt the industry. I’m the most guilty of it than anyone I know, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, just pointing out that it has had a definite effect. When I can get a Colorbok 12×12 album using a 40% off coupon for $12 instead of $20, or use a 50% off coupon to buy a Crop in Style Cube for half-price, I’m going to do it. But when I do, I’m taking the money I would have spent at the LSS and giving it to Michaels which is a huge nationwide chain. As much as I adore Mikes, they are not contributing to my community, donating items to my crop, or supporting my local scrapbook community like an LSS would. When we continually give our (few) scrappin’ dollars to Mikes, Costco, Hobby Lobby, et al., we are making it virtually impossible for the LSS to stay in business. When I asked one local owner why she was closing her store, she said, “Everyone thinks running a store is so profitable because scrapbook supplies are expensive. But it takes A LOT of pieces of 69 cent patterned paper to pay my light bill.” In other words, sure, there is a good mark-up on scrapbook supplies but it’s not like owning an appliance store or a car dealer where each sale can net you hundreds/thousands of dollars. A person has to walk out of the LSS with a bagful of supplies (or a full-priced Cricut or a full-priced QuicKutz) for them to see a significant profit per sale. I don’t know of one LSS owner who is making a killing, even the very savvy, business-smart ones. When I used to have 7 LSS’s within 100 miles, I enjoyed shopping at them so I could have the latest and greatest and enjoy the atmosphere there, even if it cost a bit more (see THIS POST for more on my love of LSS’s). But after I heard that comment from the owner, I made even more of a point to spend my scrap budget at LSS’s. Now I’m down to 1 LSS and I go there at least once per month even though it’s a 45-minute drive. The rest of the time, I do use my coupons and look for deals at big box stores. I suppose as a matter of principal, I could refuse to shop ‘big box’, but #1-I’m not that strong (LOL), and #2-Would it really make a difference if one lone scrap shopper in America made that effort? Nope. It would take a banding together of many of us, and I don’t see that happening. For most of us, the slowing economy has made it so that we put our budget ahead of the things we enjoy about our LSS’s.

The second trend that has negatively effected our industry is the internet. It’s tied in with the big box/economical reasons above but, basically, there are so many advantages to internet shopping that many of us have transitioned to it either partly or fully. There are so many positives to buying scrapbook supplies from the internet: easily view everything that’s available, compare prices to get the best deal, and take advantage of screamin’ deals on Ebay – all in the comfort of your warm, dry house while wearing your jammies! The only negatives: credit card/ID theft issues, waiting for the package to arrive, and sadly, taking our money away from the LSS’s. The major upside is that the internet has allowed any scrapper who would like to open up their own ‘store’, whether it be Ebay, Etsy, or a full-on store website. As a scrapper who recently quit full-time work and was interested in working from home, I can appreciate how that kind of opportunity could be irresistable and even considered it myself. However, this freedom in e-commerce has led to a saturation in the scrapbook market…and the eventual failure of many online stores. Don’t get me wrong, I think you can still make some pocket money in this type of venture but I don’t see many people making a full-time income from it. There are many huge sites that have done very well for a long time (ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOBBIES, EMBELLISH IT, etc.), but they are rare in my opinion. (If I’m wrong on this, please educate me :-). Bottom line is that if we’re all shopping online and forcing vendors to give us the rock bottom price or go out of business, and forcing the closure of LSS’s which offer all the products that keep the big magazines/companies going, then we as online shoppers have negatively impacted the very industry that we so love.

The third big effect I see involves digital scrapbooking. I don’t know any official statistics, but I’ve concluded that a large portion of paper scrappers (maybe 50%?) have transitioned partially or fully to digital scrapbooking. I base this on the number of people who talk about it on MB’s, post their digital pages, demand representation in the ‘paper scrapbooking’ magazines, and the number on digi-websites and blogs. I’ll bet Costco is making a killing on 12×12 page printing! Digital scrapbooking is very popular and it has to have had an effect on the paper scrapbooking industry. It goes something like this: A paper scrapper wants to try digital scrapbooking. She looks around online and downloads one free digi-kit from 50 different sites. She tries the digital thing and realizes she can complete a whole album while sitting in the car with her laptop at 5 of her son’s baseball practices. Not to mention no fuss, no mess, no sticky desktop to clean when she’s done. She thinks, “Why didn’t I try this sooner?” and tells all her friends to try it, which they do, and they all love it. Ms. Digi Scrapper looks at all of her paper scrap supplies and says, “I’d better stop buying supplies because I will never even use what I have, much less new stuff. And besides, why pay money when I can get all those digi-kits for free?” Now the only money she is spending is on printer cartridges and digital page printing (although I hear from lots of digi-scrappers that they don’t even print most of their pages; the pages live in their computers to view onscreen, post on their blog, or e-mail to relatives). Anyhow, even if some of this 50% of scrappers remain hybrid, I’d bet they still don’t spend anywhere near the amount of money on supplies as they used to. As for the creators/sellers of digi-elements, are they getting rich? Have we just transitioned the profit from the paper scrap companies to the digital designers? Personally, I don’t think so. Again, why pay for something when there are so many freebies? I love the ARTICLE Kim Guymon at Scrapbiz.com wrote about this subject and she explains it very well. But, again, the bottom line is this huge transition to digital scrapbooking has changed the face of the scrapbooking industry as we know it. I imagine if you’ve gone totally digital, you aren’t concerned but as a ‘completely paper’ scrapper, I kinda’ wish it wasn’t happening. I’m not blaming anyone – the digital scrapbookers or their industry – I just wish digital had come along after my lifetime or something, LOL. It’s like when I get mad sometimes and DH says, “Why are you mad at me?!?” and I say, “I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at the SITUATION.” (Pout, pout).

“Fourthly” and lastly, I place some blame on the scrapbook industry itself. I think they have bowed to the pressure we put on them for something new, “the latest and greatest”, all the time and they just release too many dang products! Coming from me, this statement probably shocks you, right? I can shop like nobody’s business and drool over all the new products. I discuss them here on my blog and post links to enable your shopping as well. But just because we want the new stuff all the time, doesn’t mean the industry has to provide it. I think the popularity of the scrapbook magazines with their ads for new products, their awesome pages and articles featuring the new stuff, and all the internet advertising of same has pressured the makers of scrapbook products to keep putting out new collections. Well, I’m no expert but I imagine that costs a lot of money – designing, advertising, attending trade shows, sending reps to the stores, and filling orders. When the industry was really thriving, that was all well and good. But now that it has slowed, we’re still expecting tons of the latest and greatest, and they are still delivering. How can that be profitable? Add to that the new companies that continue to appear and it boggles the mind. A few of the longtime, larger companies have recently gone out of business and I predict that more will follow. I’ve also noticed limits on production that frustrate stores and consumers. It has to eventually fall apart, as much as I absolutely hate to say that.

So there are my thoughts on today’s paper scrapbook industry. I think about it a lot as I read the message boards and hear so many complaints lately like this: “CK has gotten so thin”, “My LSS closed :(“, “The freebies at CKU/Expo have gotten so limited,” and “Why is there no Michael’s coupon every week like there used to be?”. I’ve noticed that CK, the premiere scrapbook magazine, has changed to a company with horrible customer service and thousands of loyal subscribers dropping their subscriptions. I see Creative Memories, the premiere (or at least original) scrapbook home party company, firing employees and making decisions that continue to alienate their consultants and, hence, customers. To me, the answer to these questions and the reason for the negative trends all lies in the fact that the scrapbook magazines and the companies who make the products are not thriving like they used to be. As scrappers, that’s just something we have to realize and live with. Hate to be Debbie Downer, but I think it’s only going to get worse… Please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m not happy about it either, fo’ sho’. Now tell me what YOU think – I would love to know if I’m ‘in the dark’ or ‘on target’.

Stacy Julian: In The News

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I don’t know if you read the message boards like I do, but there has sure been a lot of talk about Stacy Julian lately.

stacy julian

To synopsize if I may, it sounds like there were a lot of dissatisfied customers who paid for her Big Picture Scrapbooking/A Year to Remember online class. Heidi Swapp’s name was mentioned a lot too, not necessarily in a positive way. Here is just ONE THREAD from 2peas; there were several. Apparently (and, remember, I’m just getting this from reading what people post; I can’t verify the truthfulness), after some of these unhappy customers sent e-mails of complaint which weren’t responded to to their satisfaction, Stacy sent an e-mail MEANT for people within her company (?) which also went to the disgruntled customers. She gave some defense for her class, stated that some people were bent on being unhappy at any cost, and ended the e-mail with “So There”.

Well, then it was ON!

It was like a snowball rolling downhill, gathering more and more momentum. You can go to 2peas, search on Stacy Julian or BPS and find lots of threads about this. Not being a BPS customer and a mere lurker at 2peas, I just stood back and watched (read) the drama unfold. It seems to have calmed down for the moment. I noticed recently that someone on CKMB asked an innocent question for thoughts on BPS and, at least when I last saw the thread, it seemed no one on CKMB had negative comments. May be a case of “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,” or maybe no one over there is aware of all the goings-on.

As for Heidi Swapp, I’ve been hearing on several boards lots of negative comments about her products failing – rub ons that don’t rub on, etc. – and not great customer service in dealing with the flaws. Related to BPS, she was criticized for how she conducted her voice instruction for her classes from her home phone – interruptions from kids, background noise, rambling, etc. Again, I can’t say because I didn’t hear them myself.

I think it’s interesting how the world of online everything has made classes like BPS possible, but it has also offered up the instructors for instant critiques that are highly public. I think most of the comments and critiques have seemed fair-minded and objective. Which is good, because I don’t think there is anything to be gained from ‘rude’ types of criticisms. That said, I can sure understand scrappers’ extreme frustration when they pay hundreds of dollars for something that isn’t delivered as promised.

I feel badly for Stacy, Heidi, et al., who I’m sure went into this project with good intentions but perhaps got overwhelmed with other commitments, maybe didn’t listen to/address early complaints, and now have to read hurtful things about themselves and try to fix it all. Again, because I wasn’t involved and don’t know the whole story, I’m not choosing sides, just sharing what I’ve gathered. My heart goes out to everyone involved and I will say a little prayer that peace is restored for all of them. Remember MY POST, Scrapbookers Are The Nicest People? They truly are, so I know this will all work out (yeah, call me Pollyanna…).

In other Stacy news, she gave a keynote speech last week at Memory Trends. Prior to writing the speech, in this BLOG ENTRY, she asked for scrappers to answer the question: If you could change one thing about the scrapbooking (and/or our industry in general) that would allow more people to embrace and enjoy this amazing hobby, what would it be? She received 257 comments which are truly worth a read when you get the chance. I’m going to do just that, and hopefully do an entry here with my thoughts. I’m also going to search for an audio of her Memory Trends speech, as I’m really interested and heard it was good. But I also heard she ended it….”So There.”

Now on 2peas, someone said that Stacy and Heidi are not allowing comments on their blogs. I just left a comment on Stacy’s. It was accepted but did not appear right away, which probably means she moderates her comments prior to posting them.

Perfect Quote for a Scrapbooker

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“Some folks say I have a short attention span, but they just….Ohhh look, sparklies!”
~taken from siggie line of CKMB’s Brightsy

I just love this quote. I smile every time I see it. It reminds me of my fascination for all those pretty, sparkly scrapbook products. I’ll be walking through the store, thinking my interior thoughts about “Oh, we need milk” and “Did I pay the electric bill?”, then…wham!…sparklies! Tunnel vision….so cute…must have….how much?…who cares….SPARKLIES! Can you relate?

An Amazing Disney Album with Cricut

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Am I right when I say that pretty much every scrapbooker has gone to Disneyland or Disney World, taken loads of cool pictures, and needs to make a Disney album? Well, if you would like some awesome inspiration or just want to drool, go check out this DISNEY ALBUM that was posted on the Cricut message board. Her post says that she worked on it for 3 1/2 months and completed 182 layouts! Her layouts are pretty detailed and she includes lots of photos per page. I, for one, am truly impressed. I love all the bright colors and fun fonts which really go along with Disney.

Scrapbookers Are The Nicest People :)

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I’m such a bad, bad blogger….
I received 2, count ‘em, 2! RAK’s awhile back and I never posted them or properly thanked the lovely scrappers who sent them. So…finally….

First, thank you to Tya aka CKMB JandBsmom (meet her at Ramblings of a Hockey Mom BLOG). When I put together the list of blogs by CKMB’ers and shared it over there, she offered to send me a RAK to say thank you. I told her I would accept only if she would let me brag about her publicly. So, look at these gorgeous cards she sent!! I just love them. They are so pretty/cute and I will love giving them out. So, thank you Tya, and my apologies for not thanking you sooner.

cards RAK from Tya

Then there is Janine, over at HER BLOG, “i am me”. She is also known as CKMB hulagirl. I enjoy her blog and, after reading THIS POST, I left a comment admiring the KI ribbon she got at Big Lots. Well, she promptly contacted me to say she was going to send me some! I mean, how nice is THAT? So here is the ribbon she sent me, which I have already begun using in my Snapshot of Me album. Thank you Janine!!! And, again, I’m so sorry for my tardiness.

KI ribbon RAK

And, finally, since I was over at Photobucket anyway…here is a picture of the RAK I am sending to Liz aka hickschick. This is my drawer…yes, drawer…of Mike’s stamps, with the set I’m sending to Liz lying on top. You can see that, indeed, I do have (prior to the RAK) 127 of them babies! So, enjoy Liz. They will be in the mail this week :)

Mikes stamps RAK

Memory Trends 2007 – New Releases

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The Memory Trends show going on in Las Vegas is one of the wonderful scrapbooking trade shows held every year. Most companies show off their new product releases. Memory Trends is similar to CHA, the big show by the Craft and Hobby Association. This week at Memory Trends they are also announcing the winner of the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooker of the Year (aka SOY). There are a few of the Top 10 Finalists who frequent the CK Message Board, so if you want to chat with them or view their galleries, come on over to the CK WEBSITE! We’d love to have ya’.

I found this great site called REMEMBER THE MOMENTS where all the new product releases for Memory Trends are shown – wha hoo! And there is some gorgeous stuff as usual. Every time I think the designers couldn’t possibly top themselves, they do. I picked one favorite from each line shown:

3 Bugs in a Rug, from Playful

3 bugs playful

7 Gypsies, from Pretoria

7 gypsies pretoria

Basic Grey, acrylic stamps!

bg stamps

Cosmo Cricket, love the whole Hey Sugar line…

cc hey sugar

Flair Designs, from Rejoice (the true meaning of Christmas…)

flair designs rejoice

Hambly Screen Prints, a sampling

hambly sampling

Karen Foster

KF ballerina

Luxe Designs

luxe designs hearts

Making Memories, 5th Avenue, Elizabeth
There was some talk lately that MM had kinda’ lost their edge, but I must now eat my words! They are definitely back with some rockin’ stuff. If you look at nothing else, check out the MM stuff. They have 3 new lines!

mm 5th ave

My Minds Eye, from Frost.
They also have 3 new lines; love them all, very Basic Grey-ish..

mme frost

Paper Salon, clear stamps

paper salon stamps

Rouge de Garance, a cutting edge company, very cool stuff – check it!

rdg pinwheel

Rusty Pickle, feeding the acrylic album craze…
RP acrylic albums

Scribble Scrabble, Spencer’s Collection
I’ve never heard of this company. Could you have fun with this paper, or what?

SS Spencer

Studio 8, Falling Leaves (NEW COMPANY)

studio 8 falling lvs

Technique Tuesday, acrylic stamps

TT stamps

So head on over to RTM and check it all out, then come back and Comment with your thoughts, your likes, your dislikes.

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