Posts Tagged ‘Donna Downey’

WDYT? 1 Million Views of “Scrapbook Obsession” by 12-31-11?

Can you believe it? My little ol’ Scrapbook Obsession blog has been around for almost 4 1/2 years and, as of 4/30/11, has received over 874,000 hits. I *know*, right? Pretty cool.

Hold up for a second. Do you ever watch the Miley Cyrus skit they do on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE? “Pretty cool.”

Okay, now you see why saying “pretty cool” made me think of Miley, right? But back to the actual topic of this post …

Let’s cut to the chase: I want to hit the 1 Million Views landmark by December 31, 2011. That will be just prior to my five-year blogiversary in January 2012. Do you think we can do it?

I thought I’d look at my stats from the past and see if this is even a do-able goal:

2007: 56,218
2008: 240,095
2009: 250,702
2010: 241,045
2011: 86,364 (as of 4/30/11)

I’ll need to get 126,000 more hits in the next 8 months. I’m thinking it can be done! Here are some topics I predict would help generate enough clicks to put me over the top:

Donna Downey Contro #3
Photos of new items at Michaels, Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, etc.
Anything Martha Stewart

Hee! That’s all tongue-in-cheek. But my blog definitely gets more looks when I post about scrapbook industry controversies, fo’ sho’. Other popular posts are the shopping ones. Yeah, there are a bunch of you scrappers after my own heart. The shopping is a VERY crucial part of scrapbooking, no doubt about it :)

There have been 4,307 comments left and I have 145 active subscribers (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!). I hope to reach 5,000 comments and 200 subscribers by my deadline of 12/31/11. These goals might be harder to reach but I’m going for it.

What kinds of posts are your favorites or what kinds of things would you like to see here?

Other than this kind of thing, I mean …

Because I don’t post gratuitous beefcake photos. This is a scrapbooking blog, people! Stay focused!

{Wait. Maybe we could get Patrick Dempsey to pose shirtless with a scrapbook. That would work, right? Okay, I’ma have my people call his people and see what we can work out}.

Okay, now let’s get started on this million hits project, shall we? Sheesh.

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More On Donna Downey and Fossil Purse Birdgate … “The Art of Possibility”

Yesterday, a very interesting comment was left of my blog post called DONNA DOWNEY AND THE TALE OF FOSSIL PURSE BIRDGATE:

Just as a quick FYI because the bag photo clearly shows our brand, Art of Possibility®, clearly printed, Art of Possibility® is a registered trademark of Art of Possibility LLC and its use in this case is an infringement of our trademark. That bag and its creator have no relationship with Art of Possibility. Please, please don’t mistake this for an authentic Art of Possibility® product.

It was left by Ketra Oberlander and here is the photo she’s referring to:

Ketra is not a regular reader and I’m not familiar with her, so I did some looking around. I noticed on the YOU THOUGHT WE WOULDN’T NOTICE blog post I mentioned in my last DD entry, that Ketra had also added this comment:

To add yet another layer: my company, Art of Possibility® LLC, owns “art of possibility,” clearly printed on the bag. Why is Donna Downey using my company’s trademark on her bag? So stunningly bizarre … and without our permission.

In my research, I found out that Donna Downey and Ketra Oberlander/Art of Possibility Studios were both part of the DESIGNER SHOWCASE at CHA-W in Jan.-Feb. 2011. {Wow, now THAT is interesting, isn’t it?!?!}

I followed Ketra’s website link and this is what I found: AOPSTUDIOS.COM. Yep, AOP stands for “Art of Possibility,” the same phrase Donna used on the purse she created and held a CHA class on (or planned to? I still don’t know for sure if the class was actually held and what it entailed). The same purse that she created a bird stamp from, which she planned to distribute through UNITY STAMPS (but they pulled it prior to CHA-W in late January).

Okay, let’s talk about “Art of Possibility Studios.” This is from their website:

Art of Possibility® Studios exclusively represents physically disabled artists via license to manufacturers interested in connecting with consumers on a meaningful level and with cause oriented programs at retail.

By choosing Art of Possibility® brand products consumers become true Patrons of the Arts through their purchase, supporting the artists in a for-profit business model which liberates them from dependence on charity and creates a path for their participation as equals in our society.

Founded by award-winning blind painter Ketra Oberlander, the Art of Possibility® aspires to encourage and inspire you to transcend expectation and be your best.

If you take a peek at their ARTISTS PAGE, you’re going to be blown away by these amazing artists and what they accomplish.

Okay, at this point, obviously, my scrapbook-obsessive personality disorder went from 0 to 60 in nothing flat! Holy cow. Even more Donna Drama. Ack.

Since my ORIGINAL DONNA POST on January 31, 2011, I haven’t commented on this issue again, even though I planned to. Part of that was because I’ve been really busy with work/home and then I got sick.

But part of it has also been I didn’t know what else to say. The original DD Birdgate thread on 2peas NSBR had been pulled by The Powers That Be over there (although the more mild one, which focused mostly on Unity’s role in the contro is still available HERE). I lost track of how long the NSBR thread got but I want to say it was beyond 20 pages. I never got past reading page 13 or so, and I don’t know what – if any – new revelations I missed. But it appears that Donna Downey has not publicly referenced the Birdgate issue. {If I missed it, will someone please help me out with a linkee?}

Some speculate that she’s keeping her mouth shut for legal reasons, which I would think is a wicked smart move. Donna’s ORIGINAL BLOG POST showing the purse is still available to view, including all of the negative and name-calling comments. I just left a comment myself, asking if she’s going to comment publicly on the issue. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back … but I doubt it will happen.

I don’t know, call me crazy, but on something like this, I prefer to hear both sides of a story before I come out with guns blazing and a strong opinion. Especially on my blog, if you know what I mean. Leaving a comment on someone else’s blog or in a message board thread is one thing, publishing it on your own blog is another. So slam me if you will, but I’m not going to make some big Proclamation of Hate against Donna Downey. Yet.

What I will say is that all signs are pointing to her doing something wrong. Signs point to her making some serious mistakes. Signs point to her being a really careless business woman. Signs point to her not being a very nice person.

That said, I’ve never worked in the crafting industry, the legal industry, nor the big-time business world. I’m not educated in this stuff. I can’t whip out copyright law, trademark law, the life history of Donna Downey, how CHA works, how stamp designs are commissioned, or anything else. I don’t know if her silence is her ducking and covering, or if it’s being enforced by her lawyers, Fossil’s lawyers, Prima’s lawyers, CHA’s lawyers, and/or Unity’s lawyers.

It’s hard to form a strong opinion when there’s so much I DON’T know.

All I can say as a layperson is that this does NOT look good for Donna nor her integrity. If what’s been revealed so far IS all there is, if she has no defense to play, if we aren’t assuming to much … then she’s done wrong. Again.

So let’s get back to Ketra and “Art of Possibility.” I e-mailed her with a bunch of questions and asked if I could publish her answers on my blog (although I was more than willing not to). I asked things like whether legal action is being pursued, whether the bird/building design is involved (it’s not), etc. Here is her answer, in it’s entirety:

My lawyer is following up with Donna so I don’t want to get into a bunch of speculation.

To be clear, my company owns the words “art of possibility” for consumer goods/art &surface design work. I trademarked the term in 2008 when I established the company. That means you could use “art of possibility” for, say, a business management book or seminar on the stock market or something, but for art & design and consumer goods, any use is an infringement.

Another CHA member drew the infringement to my attention and I now troll around blogs looking for that specific promo photo and post something whenever it comes up. I’m not a huge blog reader so it’s all “extra work” on this end, although your blog made the work quite pleasant. Thanks for covering so many interesting issues in crafting.

As a CHA designer member who exhibited for the last two years (I took a break this year), I’m certainly a “known quantity” in the community. I’ve been a Surtex and Licensing Expo exhibitor for the past 3 years, teach seminars on art licensing for LIMA and will be teaching “Art Licensors’ Top 10 Mistakes” for Licensing University this year. The last two years I’ve written the art licensing chapter for Aspen Publishing’s The Licensing Journal/Update.

I could tell from your email your curiosity is piqued; I cannot begin to speculate on Donna’s motives; I don’t know her personally. I do find infringing on the IP of a company dedicated to serve a community marginalized by physical disability a really weird choice. Since my lawyer’s following up with Donna there’s no reason to make a big stink; that’s just business, I guess. But business is made up of people, and I’m sure I’ll always wonder about Donna’s decision to use our trademark.

You may reprint all or part of my reply and attribute it to me: Ketra Oberlander, Founder, Art of Possibility LLC. You may also direct people to our web site so they can learn about the very cool work we’re doing to elevate humanity through our creative output. ;-)

Ketra is one classy lady, that’s all I can say. I truly admire the way she’s handling things, and fully support her. My one big hope ~ out of all this scrapbooker drama ~ is that if nothing else comes from it, let’s be thankful that our attention was drawn to Ketra, her work, and the Art of Possibility organization and artists. If there’s anything you can do to support them and their work, please do :)

I predict this will not be the last we hear regarding this Donna Downey Adventure. I predict there will be more in the future. No matter what controversies happen to DD, she seems to keep on going, maintaining fans, holding workshops, and being paid handsomely for doing what she does.

Stay tuned … there WILL be more! LOL

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Donna Downey and the Tale of Fossil Purse Birdgate

Gosh, where to even begin!??!

I will try my best to synopsize the LONG chain of events, but if you really want the Low Down Dirty Scoop on this, you have a lot of reading ahead of you. And I’m warning you, I’m going to say ALLEGEDLY a lot because I’m not Donna or Fossil or Unity, and I don’t know for a FACT what has happened in any of this. I’m just reading what others have written and doing my best to summarize it to the best of my understanding … ALLEGEDLY :)

Once upon a time, there was a famous scrapbook writer and designer named DONNA DOWNEY. She had a sparkling personality and creative talent. She inspired scrapbookers and won lots of fans. She made a very successful business and a nice living from these endeavors.

Donna was a sought-after crafting instructor and gave workshops, often costing a pretty penny. But that was worth it and okay with many … it was Donna Downey, after all. She had a saying that I loved, and have quoted on this blog before: “Perfect just the way you create.”

Then one day, she became the subject of a major “scrapbook scandal.” To save you from reading the 21-page 2peas THREAD {although you are certainly welcome to}, I’ll try to summarize: Donna ALLEGEDLY refused to refund class tuition to a Pea who couldn’t attend for very serious health reasons. It wasn’t until the Peas did a perfect pile-on that Donna eventually refunded the Pea’s money, but most saw it as too little, too late. The damage had been done and a boycott was launched. In the years since, many Peas have stuck to this ban and the issue occasionally comes up in the context of other scandals, so we’re all reminded of the sitch with Donna Downey.

Okay, that was the background. Now, for the latest:

Started on Sunday, January 30, 2011, check out THIS 2 peas thread on the NSBR side, which spawned THIS thread on the Scrapbooking side.

It all started with a Pea who couldn’t sleep, and while surfing the internet she found THIS. It’s a post from a blog called “You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice … but we did” The blog says, “This site is dedicated to pointing out those things that give you that feeling of ‘haven’t I seen that somewhere before?'” In other words, people post there when they feel that someone’s art or creative work has been “ripped off” by someone else.

The blog article referred to THIS post from Donna’s blog in which she posted this, on December 26, 2010:

last weekend in Peddlers Village, PA, one of my students brought this really cool Fossil bag to class (hi sandy!). it was a different shape than this but i loved the birds. while at Quakerbridge mall in NJ, we saw the whole line of fossil bags in this print and i just didn’t like the shape of any of them. i am a “big bag” kinda gal. i have journals, pens, sunglasses, etc that i have to fit in there and they were all really slim.

today i woke up and felt the need to make my bird purse!
i took out a bunch of fabrics and just started tearing strips and layering them around the bottom of the bag. the design is the same (or basically the same) on the front and back side of the bag.

and as for the birds i hand drew them with a sharpie pen and they make me SO FRICKIN’ HAPPY I CANT TAKE IT!

the orange flower trim, shhhh, that’s mine too…you didn’t see that either.

it is not finished by any means but i just had to share!

The comments from Donna’s readers back in December were initially super-supportive … but the most recent ones have taken quite a turn. The great majority of Peas who’ve posted to the thread that broke this story (linked above) are quite unhappy with Ms. Downey, to put it mildly, and some have posted to her blog, the You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice blog, and have attempted contact with UNITY STAMP COMPANY via their Facebook page, and with Fossil, the seller of the purse that Downey was so “inspired” by.

Not only did Donna ALLEGEDLY make a purse for her own use, inspired by the Fossil purse with a nearly identical design, but she ALLEGEDLY created a stamp for Unity using one of the same bird designs, assumedly passing it off as her own design (the thought being that she would’ve had to sign an agreement/contract with Unity stating that the stamp design was original and not taken/copied/traced from another source). On top of that, she gave an “Artful Bag” class at CHA this past Saturday using said stamp …

From Prima Marketing’s CLASSES AT CHA listing:

Saturday, January 29th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Artful Bag taught by Donna Downey – 10:30 am – 12pm

Donna’s new product line is so versatile and colorful. Join her as she shows you some new techniques using her brand new canvas bag, floral ribbon trims, iron ons, and lots of gorgeous fabrics.

However, although Unity appears to have ALLEGEDLY planned to release the bird stamp – as evidenced by it’s appearance on their website for pre-order (now missing), inclusion in their CHA catalog (alas, distributed with a sticker over the bird stamp image saying “not available”), and the inclusion of the stamp in the ad for Donna’s Artful Bag class at CHA – apparently, plans for Unity to release the bird stamp were scrapped (pardon the pun) at some point, which leads to even more questions … like what did Unity know and when did they know it?

Unity has responded on their FB page with this:

Note to all…this was never put into production. We have no intention of it being introduced into the Unity product line. thanks for bringing it to our attention!

In the 2peas thread on the Scrapbook side, this was just posted by AJ, the Unity stamps Design Team Coordinator:

Hi! Unity has no intention of producing this now, ever, or making it a part of the Unity line.

So, as best as I can piece things together, here is what is being assumed to have happened [[[[[ ALLEGEDLY ]]]]]

1. Donna Downey saw a Fossil bag and was inspired by it.
2. She made her own version of the purse, with fabric-strip buildings and bird designs that are a very close match to the original purse.
{Up to this point, most people are okay with it … she was inspired by a purse she saw, she made her own copy of it, and shared it on her blog for inspiration}.
3. Her fans loved the bag and many said stamps NEEDED to be made from the bird images.
4. Donna then worked with Unity on a stamp that was to be a CHA-W 2011 offering, included in their catalog.
5. Donna taught a class this past Saturday at CHA which was advertised using a picture of her Fossil-inspired bird purse, and what is thought to be a mock-up of the Unity stamp … which apparently has not and/or will not be manufactured after all.

I’m blogging this at 1:45 on Monday morning, the day after the 2peas thread started. According to their website, CHA runs from January 29-February 1, so we’re assuming that people like Donna, those at Unity, etc. are a bit preoccupied right now. As of now, Donna’s blog and her TWITTER account are devoid of any mention of this “scandal” and her “smoking gun” blog post with all the negative comments has not yet been removed (do we predict that it will be?). The 2 peas thread on NSBR is now at 8 pages and still growing.

As you can see from my post back HERE, I’ve tried to stay out of the fray so far with Donna Downey scandals. If you do a Search on my blog for “Donna Downey,” you’ll see that I’ve never badmouthed her. But it’s near impossible to keep my opinion to myself on this one … partly because it’s not the first time she’s done something I don’t understand.

At this point, I’m not going to say much. I don’t feel like all the facts are in. I feel like we’re supposing and assuming a lot. I hate to form opinions this early in the game. I try to be fair and discerning about this kind of thing.

That said, it ain’t looking good for Ms. Downey, as far as I’m concerned. If it walks like a stolen bird and talks like a stolen bird, well … you know the rest.

I do pray she has a good explanation for what has happened, and we can all eat our words. I like to assume that people ~ especially those I look to for inspiration in the scrapbooking world ~ are honest and true. But if what we “think” happened ends up being what actually happened? I’ll be very, very disappointed …

How about you … care to weigh in?

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“The Power of the Peas” aka How to Get That Dang Blog Prize They Owe You

Check out THIS recent 2Peas thread. Interesting, huh?

So this scrapper enters a blog contest, she wins, and then never receives the prize. Seems to be a common occurrence in the scrappy blog world these days. When I read about Connie’s plight with FLOWER SOFT, I wasn’t sure what to think. As I’ve gotten older (ahem…), one thing I’ve realized is that I should try to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. Instead of jumping right to the conclusion that these blog-prize-failing companies are super lame and suck big lemons, let’s back up and see if it wasn’t just a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, or something like that.

Luckily, this incident did have a happy ending, a contrite company who accepted full responsibility and fault, and a scrapper who got an even bigger prize than she originally won. Score!

As someone who has given blog RAKs away myself, I also have to be more understanding because I’ve been known to lag for quite some time before getting prizes in the mail to their deserving recipient. My excuse is that I get just plain get busy and either forget or honest-to-God don’t have the time. In the grand scheme of my life (3 jobs, mom, wife, scrapbook consultant, puppy owner, etc.), sometimes buying a prize and something to mail it in, and getting myself to the post office during their business hours ~ which happen to be the same as my work hours, darn it ~ isn’t higher on the priority list than working for pay, feeding my kids, and hassling my husband…erm, I mean…making life for my husband heaven on earth (good save, good save…right?).

Anyhoo, I do see a difference between me, lowly mom blogger who makes no money for this blog, and a company who is selling their product and therefore their image, customer service, and reputation. They have a VERY vested interest in keeping their prize winner (and all her scrappy friends) happy. If I piss you off, what’re you gonna’ do, quit reading my blog? NO NO NO! Don’t leave, Pissy Miss. I’m just sayin’. It’s apples and oranges.

But I do understand that life sometimes gets in the way. Sometimes mistakes are made. Now, sometimes people are buh-twipes too, you just never know. The point is ~ and I DO have a point ~ that if you’re a scrapbooking company, you DO NOT want to piss off a scrapbooker if you care to stay in business past this coming Friday. On the 2peas board, they call it the “Power of the Peas.” What that means is that 2peas is a FEE-YOU-JUS message board community and if a scrapper posts on there that they were somehow cheated or mistreated, the Peas (once they verify the story and that this isn’t some troll) are going to Back a Sister Up.

They will hunt you down and … well, okay, not really … but they will use the power of the internet to spread the word about your lousy company and you will rue the day ~ yes, I said RUE! ~ that you messed with a Pea. The best example I can give is the DONNA DOWNEY boycott. That happened 8 months ago and “we” are STILL boycotting everything she has a part in. I’ll just bet Donna is full of rue, don’t you think?

So just some ‘food for thought’ for you scrapbook company owners, bloggers, etc. out there in Scrap Land. If you promise a prize and you don’t deliver, we will patiently wait and politely pursue you. But if you ignore us or lie to us (don’t bother, we know how to take screen shots), we will take you down. Yes, we will take you down to China Town. (Oh, chill! I’m not being un-PC, I’m just quoting DeNiro in Meet the Parents…sheesh).

Or like my Italians say: “You messa with me, I messa with you. Capice?”

Capisco. Loud and clear, Vindictive Scrappy Girl, loud and clear…

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Donny Downey’s Scrapbook Studio Makeover

My Scrap Sister ANGIE posted THIS link on the message board today…it’s a detailed look at the recent scrapbook/craft room makeover done by famous scrapper, DONNA DOWNEY.

Donna has been the subject of CONTROVERSY recently, but I’m not even gonna go there…that’s a post for another day. A day filled with lots of chocolate cake washed down with dirty martinis. I just don’t have the strength right now…Go ahead, read that 2peas thread, and then the link within the thread and you’ll see what I mean. I just can’t go there without being quite fortified with chocolate and vodka.

Okay, well!

Let’s just talk about her room makeover, shall we? If you’re not a DD fan ~ or say you’re even an official Hater ~ just pretend I’m talking about, ummmmm, my “friend” Dee Dee’s room, okay? Will that make it possible for you to be objective, to enjoy the room for what it is? Hope so. If not, go have some cake and a ‘tini, come back, and try again. See, doesn’t cake and a ‘tini make everything better? Yeah, Mama knows….

So.

Here is what DD’s scrap room used to look like:

And here is what it looks like now:

Quite a change, yes?

HERE is a whole series of photos of her old room, the makeover process, and the final product. What I would do if I were you (and I know you’re very glad that I’m NOT) is I would page back through all those photos and look at them in order. They will make a lot more sense that way, I promise.

As you can see, DD already had an amazing creative space, one we would all consider ourselves lucky to have. I have written many times of my love of and coveting of the Ikea EXPEDIT, especially those big honkin’ ones she had. I get slap happy just thinking about how organized I could be with all those cubes, wonderful cubes!

So I was already supremely jealous of the girl. I loved the French doors, the green shade on the walls, the large table space in the middle of the room, and all the wonderful organization. Then she goes and becomes a RUNNER, which is so amazing and inspirational to me. I see people like DD make a commitment like this, and it makes me believe I could actually do it, too. THEN she goes and re-does her room into a pretty close replica of my dream scrapbook room.

I am envious of her to say the least. Especially envious of anyone who can spend $4,500 (plus a new computer) on re-doing a perfectly good craft studio right now, at the same time I’m eating Top Ramen for lunch and working three jobs. Jealous, jealous, jealous…I’m not even gonna lie.

Back to her new room…I encourage you to watch the great video she posted to get the scoop straight from Donna….emmmm…I mean “DD.”

Things I love best about the room:

– Cute red Ikea bookshelf…the color, the way it makes great use of the corner, the different style of it
– The eclectic glass knobs on the drawers, keeping all that white furniture from being too industrial
– The color of the walls….that pretty blue is my dream scrapbook room color, so light and fun and inspiring
– All that counter space and closed storage space, under the counters and inside the island
– The accent colors, i.e. the whole color scheme of the room; that’s what I would’ve picked my own self
– All the fun art and deco things that make it her own and a special place she wants to create in every day

I just adore this room and ~ controversies aside ~ wanted to share it with you and see what you think. Are you loving it as much as I am? If not, what would your “dream scrapbook room” look like? Feel free to post links to photos, or just describe it to us :)

I’m just here with my chocolate cake and dirty martinis, and all the time in the world…

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