I tell ya’, you go away for a little scrapbook retreat weekend, and this is what happens! Here is the gist of the story as I can gather it, only having time to scan a huge amount of posts at Creating Keepsakes and 2 Peas message boards from the last few days:

When the CK 2007 Hall of Fame book which showcases the winners came out recently, it was noted that one of the winners (Kristina Contes) had used at least one photo in her entry that was not taken by her – as required by contest rules. Apparently, there was no doubt about who took the photo, as photo credit was given to Nisa Flin, who happens to be a professional photographer. There were lots of questions being asked about how she could have won, given that the rules weren’t entirely followed. Today, this message was posted on CKMB by way of explanation:

“It has been brought to our attention that in CK’s The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9, we inadvertently listed an incorrect photo credit with the “Family of 3” layout. This was an editorial oversight on our part. CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin and for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone. If you have any further questions or suggestions, please e-mail us your thoughts at letters@creatingkeepsakes.com and be sure to include “HOF Comments” in the subject line.

Brian Tippetts
Creating Keepsakes”

Well, no one was buyin’ it, to say the least. The responses to that message from Brian have now reached 10 pages, and still going strong. The statement that “CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin” was not accepted by the masses because there is apparently evidence abounding on the internet that the photo was indeed taken by Nisa Flin. Well, that led to the point that, on further examination of the HOF entries, there are possibly several entries with photos not taken by the entrant. As you can imagine, those HOF entrants who DID follow all of the rules, and took pains to only include photos taken by themselves, are pretty ticked. Others asked, essentially, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a contest. Everyone makes mistakes, even CK. At least they admitted it and apologized.” Which was responded to with, essentially, “It’s not ‘just a contest’ if you put countless hours and inspiration and money into your HOF entry, and took pains to follow every single rule, only to lose to someone (or several someone’s) who didn’t follow the rules.” Another point being made is that, for those who would like scrapbooking to be a career or professional accomplishment, winning or losing HOF is an entirely big deal. I would equate it to Halle Berry winning the Oscar ~ you betcha’ she got a lot more and better roles after that and deservedly so. Winning big contests or awards is a way for excellence to be recognized, put on a pedestal, and shown to a much wider audience. In response to complaints of posts being deleted by CK because they questioned the contest, CK posted this Reminder:

“Thank you for being a part of the CK message board! We would just like to remind everyone of the guidelines you agreed to follow when you created a message board account. Messages that do not uphold these guidelines will be pulled.

You agree to be respectful of others’ ideas and opinions. You will not use any expression of racism, bigotry, obscenity or profanity (including asterisks [*] to represent profanity). We will not permit such comments.

You agree to not make personal attacks, or “flames.” (Flames are comments about a person rather than about his or her opinions.) In addition, you agree to refrain from posting libelous remarks about companies or individuals. Libel is defined in Webster’s II New College Dictionary as “A written, printed or pictorial statement that defames one’s character or reputation or exposes one to public ridicule.” We reserve the right to remove messages that we consider libelous. This is a serious matter. If you post libelous remarks, legal action can be taken against you. To learn more about libel, see www.firstgov.gov or the Libel Defense Resource Center.

You agree to be respectful of Creating Keepsakes and our staff. We are happy to provide this message board as a free service, but we reserve the right to delete messages that are disrespectful to us. We work hard for you, and we appreciate your polite consideration as you make comments about our staff and our publications.

Please see our guidelines for further details: https://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/mb/guidelines.ihtml
CK Online”

And after bunches of negative (and some positive) feedback to his original statement, Brian added this to his original post:


Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue. According to the information we have received, the photo credit attributed to Nisa Fiin that appeared with the “Family of 3” layout on page 20 of The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9 should have appeared with the “This Is Real” layout on page 49, the “Laughter” layout on page 107, and the “Precious” layout on page 159. We admit this is inconsistent with the statement in the Official Rules that “Entries, including photographs, must be the sole work of the entrant.” During the judging process, we had no information that the stated photos were taken by someone other than the contestant. We apologize for any confusion this has created regarding the Hall of Fame Contest. Because of the lengthy speculation regarding this issue, we would like to explain our judging process in depth to provide insight into why photographs have appeared in The Scrapbook Hall of Fame special issue that are not the sole work of the entrants.

Before judging the entries, we verify that each one follows the specified format, which is:

“1. Complete the scrapbooking assignments listed on the reverse side. For the purposes of this contest, a “layout” is a one- or two-page scrapbook layout that conveys a single theme. Assignments are also listed at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof.
“2. You can send us your assignment layouts in three different ways. (1) Take photographs, (2) print computer scans or (3) make reduced color copies (so that four layouts fit on one side of a sheet of 8½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper). Do not send original layouts; we are unable to return materials. On the back of each color copy, photograph or printed scan, print your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and a complete list of supplies used to create the layout (including both the manufacturer and product name of each supply used).
“3. Affix the color copies, photographs or printed scans to the fronts of three sheets of 8 ½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper (three or four layouts to a page) by applying photo tabs or glue stick to the backs (unselected, unpublished layouts will be separated after judging to be considered for use in the magazine and future special issues). Identify each layout with a label corresponding to the assignment letter that the layout fulfills.”

The Official Rules state that “Entries that do not follow the specified format, or that include more or less than 10 scrapbook layouts, will automatically be disqualified from the 2007 Scrapbook Hall of Fame contest.”

Once we have completed this disqualification round, we judge entries on a “blind” basis, which means that we do not have access to the entrant’s name when we view his/her layouts. We have no way of knowing whether the contestant is among the people pictured in the photos and as such cannot verify whether photos are the sole work of the entrant during the judging process. Even if we could verify that, the disqualification round has been completed, and while we expect entrants to follow the guidelines, our only policy for disqualification is stated in the previously mentioned formatting requirements.

Fairness in identifying the industry’s top talent has always been our top priority. Entrants who follow our specified format, sign the agreement that they have followed the Official Rules and exhibit talent based on our judging criteria are awarded the title of Hall of Fame.

Because we cannot verify that all photos are the sole work of the entrants and because of the feedback we have received, we are seeing legally what we can do to address this issue in the 2008 Hall of Fame Contest and will also address it in future contests. Please check www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof2008 in the upcoming weeks for an updated message.

As a final note, we’d also like to address any concerns that the CK editorial team has been removing posts from the message board as some sort of cover up. This is not the case. Only those posts which violate the TOU of the message board will be removed. Please see the “Reminder” post from CK Online in the Scrapbooking forum for further clarification.

Brian Tippetts
Creating Keepsakes”

Again, the ladies aren’t buyin’ it. In a nutshell, those who are upset feel that, even given the way HOF entries are judged, this situation shouldn’t have happened. At some point in the process, CK should have caught the inconsistency even if the entrants mistakenly or purposely did not follow the contest rules. There are posters threatening legal action, to cancel CK subscriptions, never buy a CK product or attend a CK event, enter any scrapbook contest, etc etc. To say the people are upset would be the understatement of the year. Unfortunately, this situation has made the normally peaceful CKMB ~ my very own Happy Place ~ into something resembling the Ultimate Fighting Championships. “New” members or “newbies” – an assumption based solely on their post count being under 20 or so – at first appeared to be the ones leading the negative charge against CK, and it was noted by some “old timers.” Others stuck up for the so-called newbies, pointing out that they may in fact be established members who started a new identity for fear of backlash after stating their opinions. I understand this; if I were an established CKMB’er who followed the rules of HOF and then discovered this problem, I would start a new ID before posting my true feelings. I don’t care what anyone says, there is professional backlash in the scrapbooking industry, just like in every other. Anyhow, then discussions started about how newbies aren’t welcomed, nay run off, at CKMB…then the defenders spoke up saying that wasn’t true.

I think where it stands now is just a running discussion of disappointment in CK and how the contest and aftermath have been handled. I know there are blogs where this is also being hammered out, and I do mean hammered with a capital H, but I don’t have the heart to read them right now.

{My disclaimer: I’m not involved in this situation. I’m not making accusations or statements or pointing fingers. I’m merely summarizing what I’m reading on message boards and quoting directly from statements made by CK in a public forum.}

I didn’t enter HOF or any other scrapbooking layout contest, nor do I plan to, that’s just not my bag. But I did once enter a contest to win a scrapbook store (yes, a scrapbook store!) that was closing. You submitted a layout with extensive journaling about why you should win the store and I poured my heart, soul, and lots of money into that contest. I can’t tell you the disappointment when I was told the contest was cancelled for not enough entries. So I can completely understand the pain this HOF situation causes to people. But, personally, I’m the type that likes to ‘wait and see’ in situations like this. I’m not going to comment yet, but let things settle in my heart and brain for awhile. I also want to see if CK does or says anything else before I make any kind of judgment about them. I can tell you it’s not looking good. But I wanted to share this event with you and hear your thoughts if you’re NOT kinda’ shocked speechless like I am. Yes, I know ‘it’s only scrapbooking’, but to the Scrapbook Obsessed, it’s a big deal…

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  1. avatar

    I’ve been giving alot of thought to your previous post about the state of the scrapbooking industry. There is another reason for the downturn of the industry and I’ve been trying to articulate it. Your summary of this situation pretty much sums it up!!

    Everyone loves a prolific and talented, yet humble and hard working designer. Becky Higgins is a good example. We see photos of her family in her layouts, but you don’t hear her blathering on and on about them on her blog. The details of her daily life are none of our business.

    But nobody likes a ‘celeb’ that appears to have gotten too big for her britches. We adore them for their talent, but ahbor them for their constant self-congratulations and for pushing their personal lives on us. Maybe their intention is to be positive and friendly…but it backfires. Always. The mobs will take them down like a pack of hyenas the second they show a weakness. Nobody wants celebs that are constantly going, “go me! Look how much I rock!!” We like our celebs to be humble.

    CK mag is most notorious for nurturing and then exploiting their designers. Their celeb status is manufactured. They suck people in with their manufactured ‘contests’ and then cultivate their public personas. Scrapper of the Year? The chance to be famous and advance your scrapping “career?” Puh-lease.

    Yet we’re obviously falling for it, when you consider how many people are entering, and the lengths to which they will go to win, and the anguish they experiences when they don’t. And its really sad how many people care so much about the outcome. THIS is what is wrong with the industry.

    Go scrap something! You’ll feel much better!

  2. avatar
    Heather Prins says:

    Oh i just love your blog! i had no idea this was going on! So not fair that she won, just my opinion. I love the celebs, but i do get tired of seeing the same ones, over and over. if the photo wasn’t legit, it is very disappointing.

  3. avatar

    I am so out of the loop…..sounds like I should keep it that way! :)

  4. avatar

    oooh drama! Wow, I can’t believe all this was happening and I had no idea. I hope it gets settled. I would hate to see the Scrapbooking Industry turned into the Athletics world – will Kristina Contes be the new Marion Jones??? Tune in to find out.

  5. avatar

    WOW since CK banned me for using my store name as my on screen name and not wanting to change it I have been out of the whole loop. My mom always says Honey things happen for a reason. So I guess I will keep missing posting with some of the girls I really liked there and feel fine with the fact that CK didn’t want me. It is truly sad this is all happening. I have one message board I have been part of for 7 years. We were brought together by infertility and we are all still best friends. Many many of us have met and do things still with each other. It is an invite only site and maybe keeping it from the public is the best thing we ever did! There is over 200 of us there and this bickering NEVER happens. Well my best to all over at CKMB who I don’t get to say HI to any more. I hope everyone works this out and you all dont get banned along with me! Hey we can start a site called the BANNED Ckers!! LOL just kidding.

  6. avatar

    Your writing is great :) You didn’t miss anything did you :) hehe, im trying not to read anymore threads about it, cause it just makes my blood boil and i can’t have that stress right now! I am mad because i put a lot of work in my HOF and to see that happen, just pisses me off. I’m not sure if i want to try it again! We’ll see.

  7. avatar

    Your blog is great! thanks for the good information. Keep up the good blogging work. :-)

  8. avatar

    Hi Sandra ~ Thanks for becoming a reader here. Your comments are thought provoking and I really enjoy reading them. I think you summed up the Scrap Celeb/Contest Winner phenomenon very well. I’m an avid Hollywood watcher (ugh, I know!) and the same thing happens to those celebs ~ first, an up and coming celebrated talent; second, they are everywhere and you can’t get away from them and everyone saying how great they are; and finally, the downfall and backlash where we all turn on them the second there is a chink in the armor. Witness Britney Spears…Tom Cruise…Rosie O’Donnell. It’s a new phenomenon in our newly tech-ified culture. We, the people, now have blogs and message boards and websites to instantly publish our opinions. The magazines – whether it be People or Us or Memory Makers or CK – no longer have the power to tell us how we feel. Not sayin’ it’s good, I’m just sayin’…

  9. avatar

    Hey Heather ~ Thanks for the compliment! You are so sweet and I’m glad you’re here. I enjoy your comments. I think you feel the way a lot of us do. Can’t wait to see the outcome & know the truth.

  10. avatar

    Hi Nicole ~ Why are you staying out of the loop? I’ve noticed your absence at CKMB…just lurking, are we? LOL! Please come back into the loop. We need some rational voices in here :)

  11. avatar

    Hi Leslie ~ Your comment about Marion Jones…I was thinking the same thing! Isn’t it interesting timing? On one blog, I see they are forwarding all this HOF info to the large mainstream media. Would be
    amazing if it got covered…

  12. avatar

    Hi Stacey ~ Yes, the MB is hopping these days, that’s for sure! We could use one of your bald chicken stories right about now :)

  13. avatar

    Hi Nicole ~ I thought I remembered that you had enterered HOF. One look at your work on your blog, and I can see why. You are very talented. I’m so very sorry about this mess, esp. to those like you that worked so hard…only to have to question the validity of the contest. I hope there is a good resolution and you feel excited about entering next time :)

  14. avatar

    Hi Sudie ~ Thank you for visiting and the nice comment. I enjoy your blog also :)

  15. avatar
    Lynette says:

    I really enjoyed your post and all the responses. Everyone’s thoughts are civil and rational. That is sort of in sort supply right now. I have never been one to conside entering these contests, but from the responses the people who do put their souls into the effort. The breach of trust by CK is probably the greates source of pain for people.

  16. avatar

    Wow I had no idea about this…
    This is a contest it’s not like she left someone in a coma..

    My ? is why are we up in arms about this when we have so much to worry about?

    My sister is currently serving in Afghanistan, yesterday a bomb went off and 7 people in her battalion died…

    So it’s very hard for me to get enboil in this when our military are dying everyday, leaving young children destitute..
    just my 2 cents :)

  17. avatar

    Sandra, wow you seem to be really jealous. What is the big deal? it was a mistake. get over it. Seriously get a life

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