LSS

Coming Up: Scrapbook Shopping, LSS Reviews, and Washi Tape Storage

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

Just wanted to check in since it’s been over a week since I posted. I’ve been in Arizona :)

I need to get my work and laundry done first, then I’ll be posting about some scrappy shopping I did! There’ll be plenty of photos with reviews of the 2 scrapbook stores I visited. And I’ll show you what I bought, of course. It’s all super yummy!

I also have 2 new posts I’m working on about WASHI TAPE storage that I hope to get posted this week.

Please say “hi” and let me know how you’re doing! What’ve you been up to these days? Please leave a Comment below :)

Friday Night Scrapbook Randoms #8

~ Project 365 for 2010 started today. I took some photos after midnight of our little New Years celebration, and also some photos on our walk today so I have about 8 photos to choose from. I’m going to start a Word document journal of my photos each day, then when it’s time to journal for my P365 scrapbook, I’ll just print it out or transfer it over in handwriting.

I found THIS blog via 2 peas tonight and she gave some good insight about not stressing on this project. I don’t want it to be a stressful thing, so any tips like that, I love.

We started a separate Project 365 forum at SCRAP SISTERS STUDIO, so that’s cool to have one place to gather all our posts, info, and inspiration. Whoever thinks of it first will start a daily thread in the main Scrap Chat forum, then I’ll move it over to the P365 forum once everyone has had a chance to read it. We don’t want it to be out of sight, out of mind. I ended up starting the thread for today and was happy to see all the responses of the ladies participating. I also responded to the first daily thread on 2peas. I think staying involved in those daily threads will help keep my Project 365 mojo going.

~ I wish I hadn’t been laid up in bed not feeling well most of today. I have so many new scrappy things to show you from Christmas and I need to take photos of them! Instead of taking photos to share with you, I chose to watch 8 back episodes in a row of Million Dollar Listing that have been sitting in my Tivo for months. {Okay, Chad, you can “love” your dog, just don’t “LLLLOOOVVVVEEEE” your dog. Crap, man, get a life!}

Anyway, once I got my lard ass out of bed, then took the kids and dog out on a long walk, it was too dark to get good photos. I will try again tomorrow. I got the crop bags I wanted (eeee!), my Basic Grey “vintage” order came in, and I got to shop at an actual LSS for the first time in probably 5 months. I’ll give you a review of that store and here’s a hint: It’s the “largest scrapbook store in California.” Ha! You’re jealous, huh? That’s okay, I would be jealous of me too.

~ 2 peas is having log-in issues and I’m getting mighty sick of it. I have to re-log in every time I go to post something. Grrrr. Maybe they will get it fixed on Monday, when everyone goes back to their normal life in the business world. If not, I may have to go to their home office in Wisconsin and bang their heads together like Larry and Curly.

~ I set a deadline to finish my scrapbook room MAKEOVER by 12-31-09 and *SHOCKING* I did not meet my deadline. Wow, that really surprises me, that I started a scrappy project and didn’t finish it when I said I would (insert eye roll here). Now that I’m feeling better, I’m hoping to finish it by my new deadline of Sunday, 1-3-10.

I would really love to have an organized space and clean desk to be able to get some major scrapping done in 2010, because my “number of layouts completed” for 2009 was pretty dismal. I don’t keep a tally but I would guess it’s in the 40-50 page range and that just bites. I would also like a clean slate to start Project 365 with for 2010 and feel like I can sit down on a weekly basis to insert my photos and journaling in the P365 album.

Did you have any scrappy deadlines set in 2009 or projects you were determined to finish that didn’t get done? C’mon, help a sister out! Make me feel like less of a loser, would ya?

Well, that’s all I got. Gonna make like a tree and leave…buh bye.

New Line @ Michaels: Vintage Findings by Making Memories

I first heard talk of this line in THIS post at 2peas. So, I popped over HERE to check it out. I was quite confused because so much of it looks to me EXACTLY like something JENNI BOWLIN already has or something she would design. I assumed Jenni partnered with MAKING MEMORIES to design this line, but I searched around their website and blog and could find no mention of such. So, yeah, kinda’ weird to me that MM would be allowed to make a line that looks SO similar to another designer/company but that’s just me, I guess. No one else on the thread commented on it being a concern to them (but one Pea told me that Jenni does not work for MM, which I knew).

Anyhoo, the rumor is {this has not been confirmed, as far as I know} that MICHAELS has an exclusive deal with MM to sell Vintage Findings now (June 2009), then the line will be released to the LSSs in the fall. Which, if I were an LSS, would tick me off and make me not order it because by the time the LSSs receive it, it will be “old news” to scrapbook shoppers. That’s probably all by design and I know companies like Making Memories are doing whatever they can to survive in this economy but it still makes you feel kinda’ icky, doesn’t it?

This issue came up before when BASIC GREY did exclusives with Michaels and the paper stacks for lines like Urban Prairie (one of my favorite BG lines evah!). You can read about it HERE. I know that many LSS owners, and LSS supporters like myself, were pretty upset by the BG development because “How dare they dis the LSS like that ?!?!?” I guess I finally came to peace with it for these reasons: 1. Those of us without LSS’s anymore can still easily buy it, and 2. If it comes down to it, I believe in whatever measures it takes to keep the SB companies in business. But I know it ain’t pretty, folks. One positive I can point out is that, to my knowledge, this kind of thing doesn’t happen all that often. I can only think of these 2 instances in the past year or so. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Anyway, here are a couple quick photos of the items they had at my Mike’s. They were taken with a stealth iPhone, so as usual, please forgive the quality. At least at you get the idea, right?

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See those little crystal-topped stick pins in the top photo ?? {HERE’s a link….stupid MM website won’t let me copy the photo}. Those reminded me of an online AMR friend, so I bought them and she’ll be receiving them in the mail soon. I love scrap friends!

Okay, all that said and please don’t shoot! But I’m not a fan of this line. Some of the papers are cute ~ I like the map ones ~ but I guess I’m not a true vintage girl because I can’t see myself using these things on my pages to a large enough degree that I’d buy a whole pack of the findings. A few of them were cute – the labels and stick pins come to mind – but overall, my review is … Eh. I thought things like tickets and simple labels were overpriced (you could make them or buy them on Etsy or at an office supply store for a lot less). But I know there are a lot of you true Vintage Girls out there who will really like it. There were many on that 2peas thread who were totally in love and buying it up like crazy. That’s the beauty part…to each their own in scrapbooking. There’s something for everyone.

What do you think of the Vintage Findings line by Making Memories? And what do you make of the Michaels exclusive on it?

Are You Disloyal to the LSS If You Shop Big Box or Discount?

There is an older post on my blog where I told you about some cool items that were new to Michaels. Here is a comment I recently received on that entry:

—————–
A few posts ago you lamented the possible closing of your LSS. Yet it’s posts like this — and all your “look at the mass deals at big box stores and HSN” and “buy from me @ Scrapworks so I can break even” posts — that are helping put the independent LSSs out of business.

I’m not saying that nobody’s entitled to a bargain. But you can’t have it both ways.
——————

When she said, “A few posts ago you lamented the possible closing of your LSS,” she was referring to THIS post. Her reference to HSN is HERE (well, one of my many, LOL) and “. . . buy from me @ Scrapworks so I can break even,” is referring to, I guess, THIS post about my affiliation with MEMORY WORKS, because I don’t recall ever asking you to buy from me so I can break even (?).

Anyway, I was not surprised or insulted by her comment, as its one that I expected to hear, I guess. But, as I e-mailed to the poster of the comment, I think it brings up a very interesting point. I mean, the state of this industry – the scrapbooking industry – does cause quite a dilemma for those of us who would like to support it and keep it alive. For real. How do we reconcile the endless message board posts and blog entries about the great deals to be found at big box stores, et al? How do we explain our online orders to “peachy cheap” sites and the like? How do we defend our copious use of 40% and 50% off coupons at stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and the like? (The commenter didn’t even call me out on that one….but my conscience forced me to confess it, yeah).

Well, here is my story, and I’m stickin’ to it….

{I’m going to repeat things I’ve said again and again on this blog, so you lovely Regular Readers, please forgive me the repetition. But here goes…}

I live in a rural area. A few years ago, there were 7…count ‘em, SEVEN…local scrapbook stores within one hour of me. There were 2 LSSs in the town next to me (15 minutes away), 3 stores that were 30 minutes away, and 2 more that were a good one-hour drive. To many, you wouldn’t even call 5 of those stores an “LSS”…how “local” is it, if you have to drive for 30 minutes to one hour to get there? But I considered them my local stores. I choose to live in the boondocks, so I understand shopping here is not at a premium and though someone in LA might have crazy access to the stores of their choice, I don’t. Just the way it is.

But here’s the point: When there were 7 LSSs within driving distance of me, I shopped ‘em, baby! That was back when I worked my high-powered job and made excellent money. Scrapbooking was new to me and I had some serious product collection to do, ya know what I mean? I didn’t limit my spending to LSS’s either….I shopped at Scrapbook Expo twice a year (which is made up of manufacturers, and of scrapbook stores from far and wide). I shopped at CKU. When I traveled for business, I found LSSs in the towns I went to and I shopped them Bad Boys, too. Looking back, it was an unhealthy obsession but my point….my point again was? Oh, that’s right! That no one has been a better Supporter of the LSS than me! Seriously.

To go back even further, I discovered scrapbooking in 2001 by attending a CREATIVE MEMORIES party (yeah, fess up, so did you!). I took one trip to MICHAELS way back then, didn’t really care for what I saw, and stayed away for years. I mean, I might go for the basics like adhesive and such but, for the most part, the LSS owned my heart. They had the helpful people, the latest products that I saw in CREATING KEEPSAKES magazine, and I didn’t know from a discount…I happily paid full retail price. Well, until I filled up my “frequent flyer” card at the LSS and got some free product. Shizzle, I was so happy each time, you wooda’ thought I won the freakin’ lottery!

Fast forward to 2007 and…welcome to my world…my income has shrunk considerably and 6 of the 7 LSSs in my area have closed. Now, to digress for a minute…sure the economy played a part in these store closures, and that is reflected in the mass amount of LSS closures nationwide. But to be fair, I would blame at least 5 of the 7 LSS closures on things OTHER THAN the failing economy/industry. MY dream was to open an LSS so, believe you me, I was paying close attention, I was running the numbers, and I was privy to “insider information” on several of these stores. The last thing I wanted was for these stores to fail. It truly. broke. my heart. I WANTED them to succeed. I rah rah’d them every chance I got. I took out of town visitors there. I had them sponsor my crops. I was a hugely loyal customer. I did not criticize them to anyone (in my out loud voice). I just shopped and supported and cropped. So you can imagine my sadness when, one by one, these local scrapbook stores closed their doors.

Okay, so after the closure of 6 of “my” 7 stores, where did that leave me to shop? You guessed it…Walmart. Target. Michaels. Eventually, Tuesday Morning opened 30 minutes from me where, quite by accident while looking for pillowcases one day, I discovered they carried scrapbooking supplies. And, lucky them, they are close to Costco where I shop once a month. Walmart has the basics. I have probably spent $20 on scrapbook supplies there in the past year. Target has slowly rotating stock, discounted prices that have slowly morphed thisclose to retail prices, and the occasional clearance endcap worth shopping. That leaves Michaels and Tuesday Morning, where I do utilize my coupons (for the few items they’re still allowed on, LOL) and I take advantage of the occasional good deal. My point is that (and there IS a point here, somewhere, I swear!), for those of us in less populated areas with no LSS within 30 minutes, do we have much of a choice? Am I not to shop at all, except for the few times per year I can justify driving 45 minutes to a town I have no other business in? My answer, the one I’m completely comfortable with, would be no.

I’m sure there will be those who disagree, and that’s groovy. What is America if not a place where we can agree to disagree, right? But I think I’m doing more of a service toward keeping the scrapbooking industry alive – even if I can’t personally support LSSs the way that I used to – by shopping at the likes of Michaels and Tuesday Morning, than if I did not shop for scrapbooking supplies at all. Let’s face it…in this horrible economy, scrapbook spending of any kind is a luxury. If I can, in my small bloggy way, entice people to spend ANY money on ANY scrapbooking materials, well then, I call myself a winner, damn it! I blog about items and deals at Michaels because that is my mainline to supplies (yeah, that drug reference was intentional). If I had LSSs to publicize, I would. Damn straight. Before the blog redesign (and you loyal readers will vouch for this), I had about a bazillion links to ALL MOMENTS REMEMBERED, my favorite online store, all over my blog. I linked to STACEY and her store every chance I got. Well, now even the AMR online store has fallen victim to these times and, although Stacey still sells supplies online through her ETSY store, there is no longer an AMR online store to link to. {Happy side note: Stacey opened a brick-and-mortar AMR in her town in Oregon and, at last report, it was doing great!}

Bottom line, what I’m trying to say in my as always verbose way is this: I’m doing the best I can. I shop my 45-minutes-away-LSS as often as I can. I shop at Michaels to the point where they yell “Norm!” when I walk in the door. If I see something I like at Tuesday Morning or Costco, I shop and I share. I sell Memory Works so I can make a little mo’ money to…guess what?…spend on scrapbook supplies. I don’t mind if people question my motives or my method, because I know I’m just doing my thang.

And I know that I do it out of the love I have for this craft and my true, heartfelt desire to play a part in keeping it on life support through these crushing times. I hope in my own small way, I inspire and support you in doing the same. Of course, support your LSS! But don’t feel badly if you show your financial support in other ways, too.

Shop on, Sistas!

PS: I would dearly love to hear your thoughts on this issue, but please, keep it nice. No harshing on the nice lady who left the comment that generated this post, or I will edit/delete posts as necessary. If you would like to harsh on me, that’s fine….

Scrapbook Shopping 2 Days Before Christmas

It’s been a while since I did my shopping rounds down in the Big City, but I had to hit Costco yesterday so there was my excuse, LOL!

First we drove the 45 minutes to my nearest LSS, which I was SO looking forward to. I hadn’t been in months and was going to treat myself to a tiny shopping spree. I also wanted to see what their latest and greatest, most popular items are because ~ other than Cricuts ~ I haven’t been hearing much chatter on the MB’s these days on what the hot item is that everyone wants. However, we were greeted with a note on the door saying they were closed through 12/27 due to a family emergency. Shizzle! Major disappointment. I was so pathetic, I stood there with my nose pressed to the window trying to see the What’s New section right up front, and it looked like mostly the K&Co. Christmas stuff that I had already seen most of at Michaels. The Bazzill racks were so close, I could almost reach out and touch all that yumminess…except for that darn locked door in the way! To get things back in perspective, I took the kids to a park in that town I’d been wanting to check out. The family of an old friend of mine that passed away last year put a beautiful memorial to him there, with a stone bench, a tree, and a plaque that told of his life. He was an amazing man and I’m glad I got to be there, sit on the bench, and say a little prayer to him. The kids had a blast playing and got out some energy to prepare for our long shopping adventures ahead, LOL!

Next, we went to the Big City Michaels which is better than the one I usually go to. Yes, they were packed (did you see this POST about how the craft industry is actually doing better during the recession?). As I had heard on 2peas, they had a ton of their PP on clearance but I didn’t see anything I wanted, but doesn’t “major clearance on patterned paper” = “new patterned paper is coming”?? Yeah! I ended up with a white Staz On ink pad to get with my 50% off coupon (score!), and a paper doll kit for one of my nieces for 25% off. I was disappointed again…I figured this Mike’s would have the BG Sugared and Archaic that my regular Mike’s hasn’t carried, but no luck. I kept grabbing the Bazzill Christmas pack to use my coupon on but then put it back…You know how much I {heart} Bazzill but my 3 vertical paper holders just got full to the brim with Bazzill and Prism, so I really need to use some up before I buy more (did I just say that?). I don’t have a ton of money right now anyway, so it was best to just get the ink pad for less money. I hate being responsible and, as you will see, that was nothing compared to the willpower challenge I would face later. PS: They give you a 50% off coupon with your receipt.

Next, I checked the Dollar Store but they had nada. Back in the Day, they would often have something good ~ remember the fake Thickers, and the fake MME Soft Spokens? Lately, nothing, but I can’t seem to give up checking every so often. Next door to them is Tuesday Morning, which is so hit and miss, sometimes I feel like, “Why bother?” But this time was definitely a hit. They had tons of 12×12 postbound albums; I can’t remember the brand name but they all had themes on the front like a Santa, sports, or whatevs. There were letter sticker packs and metal photo corner packs. Then the light shone down from the heavens and illuminated not just a huge pack of KI Memories 12×12 papers, but a huge-r pack of Heidi Swapp 12×12 papers. The KI Memories pack, similar to the way American Crafts packages their paper packs, had the bottom right corner open so you could flip through and glimpse all of the papers. There was a nice mixture of patterns and even some with rounded corners. But I had to pass on it, because some of the papers I already have from the LAST KI Memories stack I bought. But if you love KI, the price was great so go check it out. Now, resisting the HS stack was much harder because I hardly have any of her papers. Samples of all the papers were shown on the back – there were stripes, solids, plaids, stars, and some of those cool travel/map papers she does. I carried that thing around like a newborn baby for quite a while but, alas, left the store without it. I need more PP like I need a hole in the head. My resolution for 2009, now that I have my scrap area (mostly) organized, is to START SCRAPPING more! Use up some of what I have so I can stop passing up sweet Heidi Swapp paper deals. Anwhizzle, there were also chipboard alpha sets and some cute ribbon, but those weren’t worth standing in the long lines for so I put them back. I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact prices on the KI and HS pack but I want to say $8.99 and $9.99 and it was a ton of paper.

Finally, to Costco where I saw the famous huge paper pack they’ve been talking about at 2peas. It comes in it’s own accordian holder and the papers are thick, good quality. There’s even an instant rebate right now, so you should definitely go check it out if you have a chance. If I remember right, it’s normally $29 with a $10 rebate making it only $19.

They had another one of those huge “no name brand” kits with all kinds of paper, embellies, and an 8×8 album. You could do a cool album project with that with your eyes closed. No choices or shopping, it’s all right there for ya’. They had the 2-pack of 12×12 albums but they were, like, ribbed silk (?) texture which I don’t care for. With my kids, they’d get dirty and ripped. I like the faux leather ones better and hope they come back soon. I also wish my Costco would sell the page protectors that go with these albums (brand is Memory Stor). They’re great quality and I’ve ordered them a couple times but I prefer instant gratification. Besides, if I buy it in a store I can sneak it inside whereas anything that is shipped, I have to explain/justify to DH and who wants to waste time doing that? (TOTALLY kidding, Honey! I show you EVerything I buy…yep, I do). And remember those cute gift tags at Costco that were all the rage last year? (CKMB girls, say heyyyyyyy…) They had a new set; still perfect for embellishing Christmas cards. Again, I left empty handed.

So, an anticlimactic day for me, as the thing I was looking most forward to was the LSS shopping. And even though I couldn’t afford to buy much, I sure enjoy the scrapbook window shopping, don’t you?

Speaking of Mike’s, my Partner in Shopping Crime, Abby, told me this today:

“Mike’s has all the Basic Grey Sugared and Archaic (except the 12×12 Archaic paper) for 40% off on clearance! Oh, and the Falala MM line is on sale, well, most of it is. I got the rubon roller, some BG sugared fibers and some falala canvas letters.” My stupid Mike’s (both of them) don’t have any of this stuff but yours might, so get sum summa’ that clearance goodness now! You have a 50% off coupon you need to use anyway, so go!

By Design Scrapbooking Boutique

I love SCRAPSCENE, I love SCRAPSCENE! (Yeppers, two links for the price of one). I get their daily e-mail, and they always point me to the best scrap happenings. Today I found the most coolest LSS via ScrapScene…By Design Scrapbook Boutique. Mind you, it’s in Houston so it’s not like I can visit in person. But it’s a beautiful store just to look at, and I can see why it’s such a success.HERE is the write-up and review of the store posted on ScrapScene. I love the image of the shoppers with their noses up against the glass. HERE is the owner Tracy’s blog.

Here are some photos of the store, so you can see what I’m drooling over…

I love the name and the whole concept of the store, combining a fabulous looking designer showroom with scrapbooking. Because, as you know, design and scrapbooking overlap in so many ways. The pink, black and white color scheme is brilliant and yummy.

I wish I could click together the heels of my ruby slippers (um, yes, I DO wear them around the house, as a matter of fact!) and end up inside this fabulous store in Houston, Texas. C’mon readers, wherever YOU are, let’s all click our heels and meet up there!