Martha Stewart Products at Michaels Stores

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The Life magazine circular in my newspaper this week had a small feature on Martha Stewart. It said that “She’ll debut a line of craft products – including paper, scrapbooking, and storage items – at Michaels Stores this spring.” I tried to research more about this but I couldn’t find the products on her website. I did find an old Craftrends article from April 2006 that she was partnering with EK Success. As you know, EK Success is one of the top producers of scrapbooking and papercrafting products. Anyway, I can’t wait to see her stuff. I’ve always liked her furniture and home products. Although I don’t own a lot of her things, I have always looked to her for home decor ideas. She uses a lot of the colors and color combos that I like. One of the favorite inspirations I got from her is the use of clean white furniture and white moldings with deep pastel colored walls. For example, my bedroom has an ocean theme. The door moldings and baseboards are white as is some of the furniture. The walls are painted an ocean blue/green color that looks wicked cool against the white. I just love it. Hey, I should try to translate that to a scrapbook layout! Well, I look forward to seeing Martha’s scrapbook products and, like someone on the CKMB said, we can always use our 40% off coupons if her stuff is pricey! The word is that her products will be at Michaels Stores starting this April. My Mike’s is always slow to get new things, so please let me know if you see any “Martha” stuff at your Mike’s, k?

Youngplay Memories Scrapbook Store

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Yay! I finally got to go yesterday. This is the huge super-scrapbook store I’ve talked about before. It’s in Tracy, CA about 10 minutes off the I-5, I-205 and the I-580 (they kind of form a triangle with the store in the middle). This store has over 20,000 square feet of scrapbooking and beading supplies, a huge crop area upstairs, and a latte stand.

I got there about 11:30 am and planned to stay for an hour (yeah, right!). I started in the back of the store which, actually, is where a lot of the good stuff was. They had the usual wall of Bazzill, and their Basic Grey, Bohemia and misc. patterned paper back there. I of course found the Clearance table and had a ball. There was quite a bit to choose from but like most clearance areas, it was disorganized and difficult to wade through. But I did get a bunch of Daisy D punch outs and cardstock stickers, and several sheets of American Crafts letter stickers that I’m using throughout a vacation album. And about 30 Wild Asparagus die cuts (they were 75% off, or $.15 to $.25 each). When the nice lady rang me up, she said I got $11 worth of WA die cuts for $3. For some reason, I never bought the WA kit on QVC or anything, but I do have a lot of their papers. Was glad I got the die cuts to go with them. The bead section, also in the back, appeared to be under construction. Although I also make beaded jewelry, my mission that day was scrapbooking so I moved on.

I was very impressed with their huge sections on boys, girls, babies, sports and birthdays. And the travel section! It just went on and on and on. There were several sets of stickers, papers and die cuts where it appeared they had all 50 states along with some other countries. I was surprised they didn’t have more wedding items and the album selection was small. But they had all the latest and greatest stuff, a nice section of alterable items (I got a large ‘craft’ letter of my first initial to alter), and MANY samples around the store of pages and projects. The entire front wall was covered with project kits for 2-page layouts. They were very cute and very product-heavy but, at $18, too expensive for me. I enjoyed looking at them for ideas though. Unfortunately, the latte shop was powered down so the coffee I’d been waiting for all morning was not to be :( Maybe they only have it going during crops (?). I also couldn’t find any magazines and when I asked at check-out, she said they don’t carry them because they are not good sellers. I said, “I guess everyone already subscribes, huh?” and she said, “Yes, the people who come here are serious scrappers and they already get the one’s they want”. Also very few idea books. The only recent one I saw was Ali Edwards’ A Designer’s Eye for Scrapbooking with Patterned Paper. This would probably not be disappointing for anyone but me, I guess.

I finally got some Bazzill Bling (a sheet each of purple and blue), several Tres Jolie journaling blocks from My Mind’s Eye, and some beautiful embossed paper I’d never seen before called Letter Press from Autumn Leaves. I think my favorite purchases were this, this, this and this. It was very hard NOT to buy the Fancy Pants 12×12 acrylic stamps called Bella Brush and Pollen Dust. They are even more Heavenly in person than on the website! I had to tell myself, “Ok, put them down, back slowly away. They are $30 and you can’t afford them”. I did not leave without some scrumptious stamps however…got the Heidi Swapp clear stamp journaling stamps called love and – my favoritest purchase of the day – KI Memories date stamps called Icons – Calendar. I got my mom a few things towards her Christmas present, and some Heidi Swapp Bling crown stickers for my friend K. She’s ‘the queen of everything’ but going through some hard times right now. I sent them off to her today inside a handmade card (made from a Becky Higgins sketch, really cute, I should’ve taken a photo to post).

So…1.5 hours later (!) and $93.30 on the Visa (!!!), I forced myself to leave. Please don’t think I normally spend that kind of dough…I had a recent windfall and had planned for this trip :) I meant to sneak upstairs and take a peak at the scrap area, but I forgot until I was on the highway. Well, I’ll check it out next time…because there WILL be a next time, I’m sure. I also got some great deals at Old Navy and Walmart on the way home, so it was an entirely successful trip.

I’m the Tagger This Time!

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I enjoyed the Tag You’re It! last time, especially reading everyone else’s responses. I saw another one on Scrap My World and I wanna’ do it even though she didn’t tag me :)

I have to share 5 quirky things about me. Here goes…

1. I do not eat red meat. Please don’t give me credit for anything like loving cows too much. It’s just disgusting, bloody and greasy. (I probably just made you not want to eat it either, huh?)

2. I am afraid of the dark. I grew up in a bad neighborhood where dark meant shots fired, helicopters shining lights in my bedroom window, and constant fear. I will NEVER live that way again, nor will my children.

3. I am physically addicted to Starbucks. I try to stop and I honest to goodness can’t. My order is quirky too: Venti sugar free vanilla triple breve latte. Sometimes I shake it up and have sugar free hazelnut or dolce. Is it the caffeine rush or the taste??? BOTH!

4. Like Tanja, I’m not into labels or designer clothing, handbags, etc. I buy my clothes at Target, Walmart, JC Penney’s, and Old Navy. I only have so much disposable income and my priorities are scrapbooking and Starbucks.

5. I believe that kids should be kids while they can and, therefore, don’t allow my kids to do every activity, sport or club they want. I think what my kids can learn during our limited “family time” is worth 10x’s more than a coach or instructor can teach them. Unfortunately, this belief makes me “quirky” or “wierd” or “mean” in the eyes of most other parents I know.

Okay, now it’s your turn! I’m tagging Karen, Leslie, and Scrappy Cat.

Pleasanton Scrapbook Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old/New Scrapping Friends

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

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

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

SB Weekend Delayed…

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

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

Just An Update…

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

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

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

Scrapbookers Weekend

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

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

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

Tag, You’re It!

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

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

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

3.  Turn to page 123.  Okie dokie…

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

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

Piz-ZAZ-zle…I Just Like To Say It!

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Here are some new scrapbooking things I like:

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

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

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

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

Goal Oriented: Update

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

Scrapbooking Cruises – Part 1, My Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Memory Works, Scrapbook Idea Books, and Blog Hits

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

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

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

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

No Happy, No Scrappy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goal Oriented, Scrapbook Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the Heart of Scrapbooking

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

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

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

Organized Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

Anybody Got an Apple?

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

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

The Best Holiday of the Year

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

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

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

Scrap Dream Unfulfilled

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

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

Random Thoughts:

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

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

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

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