scrapbook blogs

A Photo, A Memory, A Man…

Because of Memorial Day, there were some fantastic news shows on tv. I was watching something on Fox Channel this past weekend where they were interviewing Pearl Harbor survivors. As they spoke to these older gentlemen, who were recalling their horrific experiences, photos were being shown on the screen. As one recalled a good friend he lost in the bombing, they showed a photo of the friend taken sometime I assume while they were in Pearl Harbor because he was wearing a tan uniform and standing on a beach near the water. But I just loved this photo because, as I looked at it more closely, I noticed all these little details. He was a good-looking guy, with dark hair worn slicked back under his military cap. He was holding a cigarette down by his side (you know, back then smoking WAS cool). His belt was cinched in pretty tight which accentuated his muscular upper body, and he stood very straight, staring at the camera, as if to say, “Damn, I’m good and don’t I know it.” And it got me to thinking about how important photos are. Here, all these years later, I didn’t know this man whose photo they were showing on tv, but I “knew” him. I could tell so much about his personality, his looks, his character as a military man, his “way with the ladies” – all those things that his family probably adored about him and missed awfully much after he was killed.

Now, how can I make that meaningful to me today? I think I will try to remember how important it is to capture photos of people, of their being, of who they really are. Yes, zoo pictures and ocean pictures and birthday party pictures are good and important. But let’s try to capture “our” people too, okay? And even better than just a photo in a box, let’s keep scrapbooking them, journaling about them, and making them even more meaningful. I have lost all of my grandparents, and my father, and I only wish someone had captured their essence like this – in a scrapbook – while they were still here with us. Because now all I have is the mystery, the wondering, and the wishing that I could have known more about them. Let’s keep working to not let that happen to our kids or to the generations below us.

Sorry, I just get so emotional on Memorial Day, don’t I? But I do want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to my Grandpa C (WWII) and Grandpa F (WWII and Korea). I wish I could know more of your stories. And thanks forever to my DH, who signed up for the Air Force DURING Desert Storm. Much like those who signed up after 9/11 – knowing they would be serving during wartime – he is the bravest of the brave.
(God Bless the USA!)

Getting Your Scrapbooking Mojo Back

I didn’t scrapbook very much last year. There were a lot of reasons for that – I was working too much, I was busy with other things, I wasn’t going to crops because I was saving for a scrapbooking cruise, I was spending more time with my family, etc. But, truth be told, I had also run out of mojo. I started scrapbooking in 2002 and I really caught the bug pretty bad. I would scrap every chance I got, whether it was spending late nights at my desk, attending crops, or taking classes. I cropped at friends houses and went to retreats. I can’t say I had an awful lot of pages to show for all that time, but I was sure having fun. Looking back, I spent a lot of time socializing and shopping. And I spent too much time on certain techniques that, I feel now, really didn’t add that much to my pages. I think I got carried away, a bit caught up in what the magazines and tv shows were doing, what I was learning at CKUs, what I felt was expected of me as a “scrapbooker”.

But I have a new perspective now and my focus is back on where I think it should be: on the memories and the pictures. I’m now over the guilt of “sticking my husband with the kids” while I crop, and “spending money on supplies when I just went on a cruise”. I’ve become a consultant for a company with products that I absolutely love and am passionate about sharing with others. I COMPLETELY enjoyed organizing the crop a couple weeks ago. My stuff is organized again and I can enjoy the process without tripping over things. So, suffice it to say, I finally have my scrapbooking mojo back. I’m very happy and excited, because I truly missed it while it was gone. I think I was a little depressed without it. A big part of me was missing. I assume it’s why my house – and scrap area – got so disorganized. If you ever lose your scrap mojo, don’t worry – it will come back. Mine did.

Where To Find Scrapbook Organization Items

I’ve done a few posts now regarding scrapbook organization and I truly thank you for all the nice comments and questions. I wanted to share links to some of the organizational items I’ve found very useful in my scrapbooking area:

Julie asked about the Iris project sorter, which is actually called the Scrapbook Chest by Iris.Iris sb chest

Becca/BS asked about how to sort all those beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous papers we have. This is what I use – Cropper Hopper Vertical Paper Holders. They are the best thing since peanut butter and banana sandwiches! They hold the paper much like a magazine holder stores magazines, so you can thumb through and pull out what you need without messing up the rest of the stack. I truly love these and think anything by Cropper Hopper is genius! CH Vertical System

Also for Becca – don’t we love ALL kinds of paper?? I recently reorganized this aspect of my house too. I have tons of gift bags, tissue paper, wrap, etc. It used to be in a large flat Rubbermaid container under the bed. But when my collection outgrew the box and I realized how hard it was to find anything, I moved it all to this. Target wire cubes It’s the wire cubes you can find at Target or Walmart for under $20. I have a couple plastic bins on top for mini-gift bags, bows and ribbons. It’s been a good system so far. I’ll post a photo of mine soon…
Edited: Here ’tis:
Target Wire Cubes

While I was writing this, I received an e-mail about another cool organization tool and this one you can take with you to crops! It’s the Catchall by Croppin Cutie and MarthasChoice.com has them on sale for $16 right now. catchall by croppin cutieI don’t have one, have never seen it til now, but boy it’s cute. Gotta love the pink! I think this would be great to use at crops or just keep on your desktop to keep all those tools and little pieces contained.

Feel free to ask any more scrapbooking organizational questions and I’ll be glad to help!

WWYD If You Lost Your Scrapbooks?

There is a gal who frequents the CK Message Board who had some really bad luck recently. Her water heater burst while she was out of the house, and she came home to find her house flooded. Her scrapbooks were stored close to the floor and she lost several albums along with some supplies. And because Scrapbookers are the sweetest people on earth, her Scrap Friend on the board is organizing a project where we send her pre-done pages that she will slip into an album and send to this gal who lost her scrapbooks. Ladies who don’t have time to complete layouts by the May 30 deadline have generously offered to send on some scrapbook supplies. It’s so wonderful to see everyone pitching in to help. I know we can all identify with how heartbroken we’d be if this happened to us. I’m now looking for another way to store my scrapbooks…because they are currently on the bottom shelf against a wall that backs up to the water heater in the garage. It’s because I don’t have another shelf that can hold the weight of the scrapbooks, but I’m going to have to figure something out. I couldn’t bear to lose all the photos, memories and hard work that have gone into the books I’ve created. Toys, carpet, furniture, even scrapbook tools and supplies can be replaced, but not my scrapbooks. I hope our computer scrap-friend will be able to take a little solace when she receives the pre-done album, feels the love of people she’s never even met, and doesn’t feel AS overwhelmed with the recreation of her albums.

A Scrapbook Crop for Mothers Day

This past weekend, I held my first ever crop! It was a lot of work, but SO FUN. I had hoped for about 20 scrapbookers to attend, but there ended up being only 11 of us. The good part of that is everyone had plenty of cropping space. There were round tables that normally seat 8 people (for dinner), and there were only 2 people per table. My mom had made name tags for everyone with a little clip art that was perfect – a scrapbooker saying “I Need Elbow Room!”. The crop was at a newer hotel and their service was excellent – they were just a pleasure to deal with. When not that many people were signing up for the crop, I was going to cancel it. But I called the hotel manager and told him my predicament…and he lowered the room rental price by $125 so we could still have the crop. Here was the menu: Donuts and Starbucks coffee for breakfast; foccaccia sandwiches with turkey or tri-tip, chips and iced tea for lunch; candy and cashews for snacks; pizza and salad for dinner; and brownies for desert. Yum! Everyone seemed happy with the food. I had planned to order pizza from one place, but it turned out that one of the scrappers’ sons owned a pizza place. So she called in the order, got us a great deal, and it was delivered (vs. me having to pick it up). She said her son would kill her if he found out we ordered pizza from anyplace else, LOL. Two of the gals made a Starbucks run in the afternoon for that needed pick me up. The crop went from 10am to 10pm, so we needed lots of energy. There were goodie bags for each person. And we drew door prizes every hour so each attendee won something. Then there were Challenges – for each one met, you got a ticket to another prize drawing. That was the best part I think, because it really motivated people to scrap a lot and to try new things. I, of course, didn’t get much scrapbooking done. It’s a lot of work to run a crop! I worked on a Daisy D’s class kit and made a little board book about my mom. It had pictures of her from our trip to Rome and it’s called, “Mama Mia!” I will post a photo when it’s done (and after I get her permission to show her photos to the world!). People saw me doing the kit, liked it, and I sold all the kits I had. It WAS a great deal – 2 board books, tons of 6×6 paper, ribbons, 2 sheets of letter stickers, 2 sheets of other stickers, and metal photo corners for $13. Will post a link to the kit later… Have you ever held a crop or are you thinking about it? Tell me about it in comments!

Scrapbook Page Challenges for a Crop

I have a last minute request for you readers. I’m holding my first Memory Works crop this Saturday. I’m giving out prizes for those who participate in challenges. For example, the first one is to “create a layout using any of the sketches on the following page” (then I provide a sheet of sketches). Can you think of any more challenges I can use? Have you participated in any challenges at a crop – will you share please? I’m searching online but I hope you can help me too. TIA!

My New Photo Organization System

As I’ve written about here and here, I’m on a kick to organize my scrapbook area. I’ve made a lot of progress in organizing scrapbook supplies, but to say I was dreading the photo organization part is a drastic understatement. I finally buckled down and got it started last night…and I couldn’t stop! I was up until 1am even though I had to get up at 6. I was in such a groove, man. Wow, watch out for Ms. Organizer Geek over here!

Here is the old way I organized photos and memorabilia:

Photo Storage - BEFORE

Here is the new way I organize photos and memorabilia:

Photo Organization - AFTER #1

Photo Organization - AFTER #2

The old way: When I first started scrapbooking – like many of you – my photo “organization” was a hodge podge. Yes, I did have some that were nicely chronological in magnetic albums and in mismatched photo boxes. I had some in 2-up or 3-up photo albums. And the rest were still in photo envelopes and stored in various places around the house – the kitchen junk drawer, my nightstand, the office, etc. When I went to my first crop, my friend told me how she organized her photos and it sounded good, so I adopted it. This is it: Buy a bunch of manila envelopes from Walmart; they are cheap and come in various sizes (6×9″, 9×12″ and 10×13″). File photos by event in an envelope and use the larger size if you have memorabilia to go with it. In the upper right corner, write the Event and the Date. Write any journaling notes or page idea notes on the front of the envelope. Then when it’s time to scrap, just grab the envelope and you’re good to go. In addition to photos, I keep everything else too – ticket stubs, flyers, invitations, art, portraits, letters. These are things that don’t fit nicely into your average photo box or album. That’s why her system sounded great to me, and it worked very well for most of the 6 years I’ve been scrapping. But it’s time for a change because…there are flaws in the system. The 2 main problems I’ve discovered are storage area and convenience factor. By storage, I mean that I’m running out of room to store things this way. I have 6 of these white plastic bins full of photos and the leg area under my desk is full with them. I have nowhere to expand with this system and looking ahead, I can see it’s not something I can do forever. The envelopes would file easily in a standard filing cabinet, but I don’t have room to put one anywhere. (Side note: If I would scrap more and blog less, more of these photos would be in albums, but that’s not the point!). Because I ran out of room about a year ago, I’ve virtually stopped filing new photos. I wanted to file older photos too, but there was nowhere to put them. The other factor was convenience, i.e. how difficult was it to keep up this system? I felt like I was constantly buying envelopes and spending lots of time sorting things by event. I rarely ‘pre-flighted’ the envelopes for upcoming events so as time went by, ticket stubs and photos kept accumulating in piles on my desk. In other words, it’s not an easy thing to keep up day by day; it’s a project every time to sit down and do it. Well, who has time for that?!?! In the meantime, Creative Memories came out with the Power Sort Box and it was love at first sight. I like how you can store so many photos in one place, yet pull out smaller portions of the box at a time. I know my photos will be archivally safe in PS Boxes, whereas I was always doubtful of the manila envelopes (the box doesn’t indicate if they’re archival safe or not). So, the only hold up to changing my photo organizing system (other than my dread) was purchasing some PS Boxes…and them babies ain’t cheap! They usually go for $35 each but – patience IS a virtue – I just found 2 of them on CraigsList for $28 each. Consider it my Mothers Day present, yeah? Last night after all were in bed, I plopped down in front of Desparate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, and sorted photos into my new Power Sort Box. Every time I finished a stack, I went back into my scrap room for more. It was so satisfying to get my photos in order! I worked on 2000 through 2006 and set aside any other random ones that turned up. I used the label maker to label the 12 new dividers with ‘Jan 2007′, ‘Feb 2007′, etc. so I will be inspired to sort this year’s photos as I go along through the rest of the year. For all the other years, I used the small index cards (vertically) and labeled them the same way for each year. It’s so easy to find things at a glance now and that’s why I want to keep going. There have been so many projects that have flashed in my mind over the years and then the next thought has been, “But I don’t know where those photos are”. Well, now I will. I will eventually re-sort all those photos in the manila envelopes into the PS Boxes. Now, I have just one envelope per month which is easier to maintain. I can just keep the current one handy and not feel so pressured to label them event by event. If I have journaling notes, I’ll just jot ‘em down on scrap paper and put them in the monthly envelope also. This is actually fun (am I sick in the head?) and I’ll be working on it again tonight – can’t wait :) There are still other big photo projects to do: getting all my photos on computer, organizing them into files, and backing them up; and what to do with all those index sheets, CDs and APS cartridges? Oy, a worry for another day.

Happy National Scrapbook Day!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for. There are so many fun things going on today and this weekend. There are large crops and just friends getting together to scrapbook. There are big sales at the brick and mortar stores, as well as at the online stores. My company, Memory Works, is doing some great promotions. There are online crops – so many, it’s impossible to keep up. There is scrapbooking inspiration everywhere and I just love it. My plan for the day and the reality have turned out to be two different things, LOL. I had planned to have some friends over to crop while we watched QVC and participated in the online crop at Creating Keepsakes. But….both friends had to cancel (important things came up, I understand :). I did have the house to myself – a rare occassion – so I took the opportunity to do an excellent house cleaning (I know, bo-RING!). It’s now 1pm my time and the CK online crop is “over” but everyone is still chatting. Even Elsie stopped by and chatted with us (sweet). I didn’t win any of the cool prizes and didn’t have time to do any of the challenges by Ali Edwards. But I’m reading through all the posts and looking at the amazing pages people are doing. GOD, there’s some talented ladies out there! It truly amazes me and makes me proud to be associated even in a small way with them. There are so many posts, I hope they keep the forum up for a few days so I can get through them all. (Edit: I see now where Ali said it will stay up for a month, whoo hoo). I’m copy/pasting all of Ali’s challenges into a Word document with links to my favorite pages to use as samples for each one. When done, I will have created an Everyday Beauty album. I don’t know when I’ll get to it because I’m still working on that dang cruise album (my love/hate relationship with it is blossoming, can you tell??). Anna Griffin and Lisa Bearnson have been on QVC and I really enjoyed watching both of them. I hope you celebrated in a special way and that you’ll tell me about it in the Comments section (feel free to post a link to your blog). Viva NSD!!

Scrapbook Peeking at Tuesday Morning

First of all, I apologize to my friends at CKMB who’ve already heard this story. But I just had to share it on my blog too. I’ve been finding scrapbook stuff for quite awhile now at Tuesday Morning. The store is about 40 minutes from me, but whenever I’m in that town, I stop in. Sometimes I find nothing, sometimes I hit the motherload – like the huge KI Memories pack for $30 with 80 sheets of paper and tons of embellishments I found last January. So I got my ad in the mail last week and it showed “Mini Scrapbook Kits for $3.99, Compare at $11.99. More than 100 pieces and assorted styles.” The picture in the ad was so small, it was hard to tell the brand or even what you get in the kit. But that price sure sounded intriguing. I drove down that way Sunday to shop at Costco, then went to Tuesday Morning. I looked through all the scrap stuff and didn’t see the kits. Then I realize…duh, their sales don’t start until…..everybody say it with me…..”TUESDAY MORNING!!!”. They always put the sale items on the endcaps, then cover them with huge white butcher paper and writing that says, “Will Be Revealed on Tuesday Morning”. So I’m standing there wondering if my Tuesday Morning will be getting these kits – should I drive all the way back down here in 2 days? Well, a girl’s gotta know! Was it wrong of me to try and untape the butcher paper to get a teeny weeny peek inside the endcap shelves? Well, all the shoppers around me seemed to think so because I was getting some crazy looks. My eyes brightened as I saw the words “K-Ology” and “K&Co” on the packaging!! But that wasn’t enough information, so I decided to look at the little sign that describes the item. It was attached to the top shelf with magnets and I reached up on tippy toe to grab it – and it falls with a crashing sound, banging between the butcher paper and the metal shelves several times before it hit the ground. Red-faced, with everyone staring at me, I tried to stick it back on the top shelf…and it crashed down between the paper again. I set the sign on a nearby shelf and walked away. It’s embarrasing the lengths I’ll go to just to save money on scrapbooking items!
PS: Today being Thursday, the kits “have been revealed” but I haven’t had time to get back down there (color me sad).
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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!

Did Martha Just Insult Us??

There’s a Wall Street Journal article going around the scrapbook world, and we’re feeling a little insulted. It’s about Martha Stewart’s entry into the scrapbooking and paper crafting industry. Read the article here and come back to me…..I’ll wait…..(getting some coffee)…..(making a layout)…..(reading some scrap blogs)…..Oh, good, you’re back! Well, what did you think? I’m just really not sure how to take that. First of all, the writer Brooks Barnes says, “What does the domestic-arts maven see in a dowdy industry where merchandise is sold in cluttered stores stacked floor to ceiling with pipe cleaners, Styrofoam balls, glue sticks, beads and fake flowers?” Did you know we were DOWDY?? By that, I mean not you and me literally, but the industry that we love and support. I can only suppose this writer visited one craft store in one town, and arrived at this great generalization. I’m sure there are craft stores like those he described, but I highly doubt they are your “average” craft store. I’d bet dowdy stores are actually pretty rare these days, especially with the surge in general crafting which started after 9/11. As the article states, scrapbooking is now an almost $3 billion industry, and that is NOT being fueled by dusty little craft stores. In fact, scrapbooking products are now found in a variety of places: local scrapbook stores, chain craft stores like Joann’s and Hobby Lobby, Target, Walmart, Tuesday Morning, Dollar Tree, Mervyns, etc. I’ve scrapbook shopped in LOTS of places and I’ve been to only one craft store that I would describe as dowdy (the owner was in her 90s and has since sold the store to the younger generation).

On the other hand, I think we should take it as a compliment that Martha Stewart is looking to scrapbookers to save her financial hide. The article further states, “The rollout of Martha Stewart Crafts is part one of a planned merchandising blitz that the company hopes will return it to profitability and deliver long-term growth. Although Martha Stewart Living posted revenue of $288 million in 2006, up 36% from a year earlier, it had a loss of $17 million. It hasn’t turned a profit since 2002, the year Ms. Stewart became entangled in a securities-fraud investigation that resulted in her five-month imprisonment on an obstruction-of-justice charge.” It sounds like she’s really depending on internet sales to boost her numbers and I think that sounds like a smart idea. Haven’t you noticed all the LSS’s closing lately? I attribute that to the growing popularity of shopping for scrapbook supplies online. (I also think there has been a drastic decline in that $3 billion number from 2006, but that’s another discussion). Personally, I think her focus on internet sales is “a good thing”.

I also found this part very interesting: “To protect its brand, Ms. Marino sought an exclusive partnership with a specialty retailer. The company decided that two national chains — Jo-Ann Stores Inc. and Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. — were too downscale, according to two executives involved in the matter.” I’ve never been to a Hobby Lobby, but I’ve shopped at Joann’s and can’t really see a difference between Jo’s and Mike’s. It makes me wonder how factual Barnes’ quote from “two executives” is. I’m always skeptical of mass media and this is no different. Of the article overall, I’d say the reporter had a slant decided before (or if) he even started researching the scrapbook industry and quotes like this support that slant. Besides, this writer is no stranger to creating controversy and ticking people off.

There were some other interesting tidbits in the Wall Street Journal article, such as this: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in February said it would stop selling fabric by the yard in certain stores and begin offering crafts supplies.” I’ve heard talk of Walmart getting rid of the fabric section at many stores, but I had NOT heard that the space would be used to expand crafting (which I hope is another way of saying “scrapbooking”). I enjoy shopping at Walmart for scrapbook supplies because their prices are so good, and would love to see that section expand. Heck, you know me, I’d love to see any store expand their scrapbook section so I can expand my shopping!

I think the main issue of the piece is whether scrapbookers will support Martha Stewart in her efforts – will we boycott her, rally behind her, or treat her the same as every other scrapbook retailer? That is the most interesting question to me. Is she too East Coast glam for us soccer moms, college students, and grandmas out here in middle America? Are we angry at her for past indiscretions and current ‘Bossy Betty’ attitudes? Or do we feel like, “Who cares?? If it’s cute, I’m buyin’ it!”? How do you feel about this article and about Ms. Stewart? And did you feel insulted? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photos of Martha at Mike’s Products

In my last post, I was frustrated at being unable to find ANY photo of ANY Martha Stewart scrapbooking product. Well, here’s something I just found posted on the 2peas message board. It’s a little peek at some of her products. What do you think? I like the packaging; very Martha! I assume the rotary tool and blade are to cut her huge 18×18 inch paper since it won’t fit in your average paper trimmer. I wish the poster had listed the prices. Also, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to go by Michaels today. There were employees on ladders and clogging the aisle so I could only get a brief look. They had about half of the aisle done. When I walked up, the employees were saying they should boycott her stuff. Intrigued, I eavesdropped…. Then they said they should notify the manager, NO!, they should notify corporate. I innocently asked what was wrong and one employee explained they just found out that employees cannot use their discount on Martha Stewart products. They were NOT happy. One suggested installing the merchandise bar across her face in the display. So I browsed best I could and – I guess it was a surprise to me – I actually liked a lot of it. Now, the 18×18 paper is truly ridiculous. Maybe for wrapping paper or to cut up into pieces but how do you even store paper that large much less use it full-paged in a scrapbook? But there were some very pretty white lace paper borders, nice paper packs, cute stickers and pretty rub-ons. Oh! That reminds me, I just heard from an LSS owner who was at CHA that, in her keynote speech, Martha called them “rub downs”. You can tell she scrapbooks everyday, huh? Well, not everyone can be as Scrapbook Obsessed as me! I even made a Martha purchase: 2 packs of memorabilia envelopes that are very cute (I will post a photo when my gallery is back up). In each pack are 3 little envelopes in cute solid colors (1 set has white trim) that have clear fronts so you can see your item through them. They will be good for souveniers from my trip to Europe and the colors will go nicely with that album. They were $3 each which I thought was a fair price. The price I couldn’t go for was $9 for a paper pack with 12 sheets. Granted, it was crepe paper and very unique. I will probably get it another time :) The packaging on Martha Stewart products is very nice, with a metal rod hanger, thick stock, and hard-to-get-into packages. They spent some money there, for sure. I wish I could’ve seen more and you know I’ll be going back soon…

Martha Stewart at Michaels – An Early Review

As you probably know by now unless you live under a 12×12 patterned paper rock, Martha Stewart is introducing a line of scrapbooking and paper crafting products. It will be exclusive to Michaels Craft Stores for 1 year and is in partnership with EK Success. This has caused quite the uproar in the scrapbooking world, at least the one I live in. On every message board, at every crop, every scrapper, even the Michael’s employees are talking about it. But I guess that’s no surprise since they’ve been working like dogs reorganizing their stores to make room for Martha. Although Martha’s products won’t be officially introduced until later this month, many of the Mike’s stores have already started putting out the products. This is according to reports from scrapbookers on message boards I read, who are giving their early reviews.

And so far they are not great. I’m going to generalize here (and I know there are exceptions), but most comments I’ve heard are along these lines:
An 18×18 scrapbook is too big. You wouldn’t be able to lift it, hold it, or even open it on the coffee table. At $80 for the scrapbook and $2-3 per sheet of paper, who can afford it anyway? Maybe for an extra special wedding album…
Her decorating items are nice but her scrapbooking is too simple for my taste. Color reviews have been mixed: some likey, some don’t likey.
Her line is getting one or two separate aisles at Mike’s which takes space away from other products that are more beloved.
The word is that no coupons will be allowed EVER on Martha Stewart scrapbooking items. That irks many devoted Mike’s shoppers and leads them to wonder, “Why is she so special?” and “Ok, her stuff is going to be way more expensive”. (The only other items Michaels has refused coupons on were the expensive die cutting machines/accessories, the Sizzix and the Cricut). I also heard a rumor that Michaels employees can’t even use their discounts on her products.
Martha Stewart items have special aisle tags that are different from the entire store. I believe Martha’s tags are a tasteful creme color. Again, “what makes her so special?”
If she wants to be part of the scrapbooking world, why didn’t she introduce anything at CHA? (and why can’t I, an investigative blogger, find ANYTHING online that show pictures or gives price points of her products??).
Many still appear resentful of Martha Stewart over making us feel so imperfect during the 90s; her general condescending attitude; and her jail time.

I’m not saying I agree with any of these comments, I’m just reporting. I’ve also heard some positive things like:
Her scrapbooking products are beautiful and classy, and no more expensive than products at the local scrapbook stores.
Martha can do no wrong and is loved and respected by many.
She is a pro at organization so, if she has any scrapbooking organizational products, they will undoubtedly be good.

So, as you can see, this is quite the controversial issue in Scrap World! I for one am enjoying the ride. If nothing else, I like the attention it’s bringing to scrapbooking even if it’s fleeting. I’m sure there will be more to come as Michaels stores officially release her products, her contest winner is announced, and she does the week of scrapbooking on her tv show. And I will continue to enjoy hearing what everyone thinks, and sharing my own review when I finally get to see the Martha Stewart line for myself!

A Random Act of Kindness, Scrapbooking Style

On the CK Message Board, they do something called a RAK which stands for Random Act of Kindness. Basically, someone just feels like doing something nice so they have a quick contest or pick the “such and such number post”. Then they send that person a little scrapbooking goody. Sometimes people do a RAK to celebrate when they reach their 1,000 post, etc. So I’ve decided to do a RAK on my blog. I’m quickly approaching my 3,000th hit thanks to all of YOU! So I will send a little gift to the person who posts a comment closest to the time my blog receives it’s 3,000th hit. I hope that makes sense :) The only hint I’ll give you is that it should happen in the next 2 or 3 days. And remember, Memory Works just came out with their new catalog and it has all the cool stuff from CHA…I mean, LOTS of cool stuff. So the RAK gift just might be something from MW…

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

What I Did Last Week?

Over on Ilse’s blog, she has begun a Sunday list of what she scrapbooked during the preceeding week. She challenged other’s to do the same on their blog, so here I go. But my little twist will be to list everything I did that’s scrapbook-related.

1. Scrapbooked Friday night and Saturday with my mom and a friend.
2. Tried Easy Patterns idea book for first time.
3. Got 8 pages (mostly) done for my European cruise album.
4. Bought scrapbooking organizational items at Target (a spinning desktop pen holder thingee) and Michaels (12×12 Iris clamshell case).
5. Organized my albums on bookshelves, separating blank albums from filled ones :)
6. Labeled large manilla envelopes for January through December 2007, to collect memorabilia. I’m in the process of re-doing the way I sort/store photos and memorabilia.

SBR Book Review: Easy Patterns for Scrapbooking

I got “Easy Patterns for Scrapbooking” by Brenda Arnall after hearing so many people rave about it. It costs $14.95 on the Creating Keepsakes magazine website. I purchased mine at Michael’s using a 40% off coupon. I used this book for the first time last weekend and just wanted to share my thoughts.

First let me say, I was really in a rut. I felt like all my pages looked the same. You know, cardstock background, patterned paper accents (usually just one pattern, too scared to try more), some rub ons, a journaling box….blah! I’m a pretty basic scrapper, nothing too fancy, with my goal being lots of photos per page. But how to do that in a better way and change up my style a bit? Time for an idea book!

Here is how the Easy Patterns work: You choose a pattern, pick the designated supplies (e.g. 4 sheets of cardstock, 2 patterned papers, and ribbon tape), choose photos, and cut everything to the measurements provided in the instructions. Then you assemble the basic page, adding embellishments like the one’s used or choose your own. You end up with a variety of projects, say (2) 12×12 2-page layouts, 3 cards and a mini-book. A big bonus to me: You have hardly any scraps when you’re done.

Well, because of this book, I’m officially out of my rut! It became easy to try something new. The layouts are not complicated but you can jazz them up to your own liking. I actually mixed…gasp!…three patterned papers on ONE layout. Oh…my…gosh! After seeing several of my Easy Patterns layouts, both my mom and my friend ran right over to Mike’s and bought a copy! I liked how I didn’t really have to think, or overthink, about what I was doing. This is especially nice because I’m often so tired when the house is finally quiet and I have time to scrap. The only challenge was being careful to pick PPs that will work the same way as they do in the sample layouts. Like if a PP had flowers you cut out, yours should have some design you can cut out. And please follow the directions that say to write the letter in pencil on the back of each piece after you cut it.

I have two negative comments: 1) I wish there weren’t so many 8.5×11 layouts. The number of such layouts did not seem proportionate to the number of 8.5×11 (vs. 12×12) scrappers out there. In an ideal world, there would be an entire Easy Patterns book for 8.5×11 and another book for strictly 12×12. 2) For fancy scrappers who like to use lots of techniques or individual style, you might not like this book. But I think you should give it a chance…just put your own spin on em and embellish to your hearts content. I do recommend this book to any scrapper. If you want to try it out before you buy the book, an Easy Pattern is published each month in Creating Keepsakes magazine and there are many on their website that you can try for free.