A Recent Digi Page

Just wanted to share a recent page that I LOVE.

This is a photo I took at a friend's wedding last summer. The colors were so pretty. A detailed list of supplies can be found in my gallery.


Digital Fusion

I've been bitten by the bug! Yes, I have all the classic symptoms; wide reddened eyes from staring at the computer screen, enlarged mouse finger from clicking downloads incessantly, frequent mutterings of digi paper organization, and the obsessed crazed look of a woman in constant pursuit of pretty papers. I'm an aspiring digital scrapper.

I've been drawn to it for a while now, but discouraged so many times by feeling limited. But now, I've learned some new tricks, and downloaded a plethora of digi kits and am feeling more liberated. It appeals to the collector/organizer in me. I download stuff - instant gratification - I add it to my collection - collecting - and then I get to categorize, organize, and drool over it. Not to mention that you only get a little sneak preview of what is in this little package called a "zip file" which makes it seem more like a present when you finally open it and view the contents in their entirety. And I LOOOVE presents.

So I've been loving this new found pleasure. I've created several digital layouts this week. I am loving the whole new world of designer goodies that has opened to me. No more of the same ol' same ol'. And the best part is, I can get a lot of it for free. None of it ever gets used up either. It really appeals to my frugal side as well.

The best thing about all of this is that I am being inspired by things I never noticed before, and it's translating to my paper scrapping as well. I'm seeing things just a little bit different that I have before, and noticing details that I may not have noticed in the past. I'm able to see things a little clearer (not literally of course, I need to see my eye doctor about that!). In working on a few projects last night, I was completely inspired by a few things I noticed - minute little details I might add - in a fashion magazine {I never understood why my mother-in-law insisted I needed it. A subtle hint perhaps? But now I'm thankful} Ideas flowed, and I literally could not scrap fast enough. I finished 6 projects last night! {Those that know me know I'm a notoriously pokey scrapper. I spend hours, days even, on one page alone. For me to get 6 projects done in a weekend is a real feat.}

I guess it's true that learning something new can open your eyes in other areas of your life. I just never suspected this revelation in my scrapbooking would come simply from delving into another realm of it. I've found my muse and it came in the form of digital fusion.


It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like


I've got my house all decorated. Most of my presents are wrapped. And soon we'll be on our way to Montana for Christmas. Hooray!

I just love the snow. Especially on Christmas. It wasn't that long ago that I left it because I was tired of it. But now, I miss it and I love it. Of course, that's probably because I left it, but oh well.

I'm looking forward to cozy evenings with the family gathered in the living room around the "Vegas Tree" as it's come to be known for the number of bright lights. The annual Christmas party will be the day we arrive and promises to be as big and fun as ever. We'll have enough food left over from the party and my mother's tendency to over do it, to last all six of us through the following week. And she won't stop there! No sireee. She'll make a beautiful Christmas Eve dinner where we'll sit and talk and sip wine. Then we'll load up the 4-wheel drive family sleigh and hit the streets to see all the pretty lights. Silly headgear* is required for this trip. No one is admitted without it.

Upon our return home, exhausted from laughing and dazed from all the light seeing, we will open just one present of our choosing. The choosing of the present is an art in itself. When my brother and I were young, and had time to be home alone with the presents, we would scope them out, guessing, shaking, and fondling each package. By Christmas Eve we knew good and well which one had us the most curious, and therefore, which one we would open that night.

It's my favorite time of the year. There's no doubt about it. And Christmas Eve is my very favorite part of it because of all the fun traditions we've developed over the years, and the great memories that go along with them.

*Silly headgear; (n) an object, usually a hat or headband, worn on the head that is so ridiculous or silly that you cannot possibly take one seriously while wearing it, nor be serious yourself. Christmas silly headgear should either flash, blink, jingle, or at the very least, look utterly ridiculous.


Take a Break

This month, I'm taking a break, and in turn, giving all of you a break. There's enough stress this time of year without thinking about getting a layout in for consideration. I won't be calling for a new Blueprint this month.

So watch for big things to come in January! *wink wink*

Happy Holidays!


New Message Board!

YAY! BlueMedia has started a message board for discussion about calls, contests, idea books, and upcomging events all in ONE PLACE! Hooray! Here is the link:

BlueMedia Forum


BlueMedia Launches New Site!

BlueMedia has launched a new website, with all the information you want in one spot!

See the cover of the NEW Scrapbooking: Styles Defined book!

Join Blue in the Forums and chat, share, ask questions, and enjoy contests and calls!

Check it out! BlueMedia Site


November Blueprint Calls

It's time again for a new Blueprint! YAY! This month, you get TWO! Double YAY!

Please note that ALL themes and subjects will be accepted. Just because it's November, doesn't mean it has to be fall, Thanksgiving, or Christmas related.

I'll post a brand new Blueprint once a month for you to interpret as you choose. Use the Blueprint, then send your pages to BlueMedia for their next Layout Blueprints book! Missed the first one? You can get it here: Layout Blueprints

For your convenience, I've made both a 12x12 and an 8x11 version of the Blueprints. Enjoy!

Mail your entries to :


Please make sure the files are no larger than 100Kb each so that they will be considered for publication. And mark your subject with "November Blueprint Challenge" so that they'll know to open it right away. If you'd like some tips directly from BlueMedia on submitting great layouts, check the "Publisher's Perspective" series on their blog at layoutblueprints.blogspot.com.

This call/challenge ends November 30th. Be sure to have your UNSEEN layouts in to BlueMedia by then! Good luck!


A Sad Case of the LSS Blues

I just visited one of the LSS a while back that had moved to a new, bigger location, and seemed to be doing quite well. I was excited about the new location, and their super duper scrapping room. I went back the other night to pick up a few things, and when I pulled up, the store was completely empty.

What's going on people? Are we not supporting our LSSs enough? Are we purchasing too much online where the overhead and operating expenses are less? Is the industry shifting?

I think it's all of the above. In the past five years, the industry has seen a shift. Five to ten years ago one could open a store on the notion of "If you build it they will come." And come they did! For years. Scrapbookers are resourceful by nature, and will seek out stores to supply their habit. However, in the past few years, the market has become saturated. Saturated with product, with stores, with online venues, and magazines.

The major downfall of these small local stores is that they have only focused on people who already scrap. Unfortunately, people fall out of the hobby, they themselves get saturated with product and decide not to buy more, or they just flat out don't make the time anymore. Stores and the industry in general failed to recognize this, and worse, failed to react fast enough. They did not start pulling in new blood. Any industry cannot live on their current market alone. No, they must expand, grow, gain a new audience.

The successful stores are offering classes at the beginner level, as well as intermediate and advanced. They are keeping people coming back time and again. And we all know that once a scrapbooker sets foot in a scrapbook store, they are not getting out of there empty handed. It's a matter of getting to those new scrapbookers. Introducing it to people on a simpler level.

How many times have you heard from a non-scrapper, "It just looks like so much work!" It's true. How would you feel today to pick up a magazine, having never scrapped a day in your life, and see the work therein? Wow. Just imagine how intimidated you'd be. Would you honestly feel like jumping right in? Would you really feel like, "Hey, I can do THIS!" Probably not.

It's discouraging to see it going on, and to know that people who really want to scrap and be a part of the community we share are feeling this way. It's time to reassess and bring the industry back to it's roots. Remember what it was like to start out, and try to assist new scrappers where you can. This community was based on friendship, the preserving of our family memories and heritage, and supporting eachother in our own processes. Let's start at the beginning and introduce people to scrapbooking on a less intimidating level. Or offer to teach a beginners class at your LSS.

Support your local Scrapbook Stores!


Scrapbook Answers Closes It's Doors

It's a sad sad day in the industry. If you have not heard yet, it was announced this week that Scrapbook Answers magazine will close it's doors. November will be their last issue.

I am so saddened by this huge loss in our industry. The magazine was phenomenal. Truly. I saw it as the new industry leader that would set the standard for other magazines within the industry. Thank you to all the staff at SA, for bringing such an amazing, in-depth, honest magazine to our mailboxes every month. I can only hope that other mags will catch on and see what the scrapbookers really want. We don't want just oodles of slick pages with showy scrapbook layouts, we want facts, tips, how-tos, real reviews (Not just lipservice to your advertisers), and honest writing.

What a hole this will leave in my monthly magazine stack. It was the only one I rushed to open and read every month because I knew I'd be rewarded with more than just pretty pages. I knew I'd refer to it time and again for the articles. I still refer to my March issue (I beleive it's March 06) with the fantastic photography lessons. PAGES of them! I was floored when I read them. It has been a real saviour to me every month. A refreshing breath of air.

And now I'm out of breath.


Blueprint Challenge: Oct 2006

Welcome to my new Blueprint Challenge series. I'll post a brand new Blueprint once a month for you to interpret as you choose. Use the Blueprint, then send your pages to BlueMedia for their next Layout Blueprints book! Missed the first one? You can get it here: Layout Blueprints

Mail your entries to :


Please make sure the files are no larger than 100Kb each so that they will be considered for publication. And mark your subject with "October Blueprint Challenge" so that they'll know to open it right away. If you'd like some tips directly from BlueMedia on submitting great layouts, check the "Publisher's Perspective" series on their blog at layoutblueprints.blogspot.com.

This call/challenge ends October 31st. Be sure to have your UNSEEN layouts in to BlueMedia by then! Good luck!

For your convenience, I've made both a 12x12 and an 8x11 version of the Blueprint. Enjoy!


Blueprint Challenge: Sept 2006

Welcome to my new Blueprint Challenge series. I'll post a brand new Blueprint once a month for you to interpret as you choose. Use the Blueprint, then send your pages to BlueMedia for their next Layout Blueprints book! Keep watching their website for updates: Layout Blueprints Mail your entries to :


Please make sure the files are no larger than 100Kb each so that they will be considered for publication. And mark your subject with "September Blueprint Challenge" so that they'll know to open it right away. If you'd like some tips directly from BlueMedia on submitting great layouts, check their blog at layoutblueprints.blogspot.com.

Without further ado, here is your September Blueprint. I know it's a bit late, but spread the word, and don't forget to check out the first book, Layout Blueprints, at LayoutBlueprints.com!

**Please read the rules and clarifications on the Blueprints blog**

Submit never-before-seen LOs only! Due by Oct. 1st


I Love My ZOOM!

I am still completely infatuated with my Canon DRebel XT. I used to try to take photos of my husband wakeboarding and always ended up with these pictures of a dot out in the water attached to a line. Nice. I really wanted some close, action photos of him and the faces he makes when he's concentrating so hard.

I bought a Samsung 70/300 lens for my Rebel and it's just the thing! I absolutely love it! I can get right in close on his face, see the beads of sweat and water, and the sport mode on the camera allows me to get the perfect shot of his acrobatics. It also allows me to be "Super Stealth Photographer" at gatherings and events and get great shots of people when they don't know you're there. Gotta love the candids.

This is a layout I did using one of my favorite shots of him wakeboarding. I like the juxtaposition of the lines in the photo vs the lines on the paper.

A little bit closer still. He must be preparing for a trick, judging by the concentration in his face.


Lousy Crop

Signed up for a crop for Saturday. I was so excited to go because it was a new store location, really nice facilities, and I was hoping to meet some other nice scrappers.

So I show up, and there is one other lady there setting up her stuff. She looked nice enough, so I asked if she was saving any places. "Not really" So I said, would it be OK if I sat here? "I guess" (hm. real freindly.)

So she left the table and went out into the store. When she came back, she had two friends with her. She promptly packed all of her things and they set up at another table, leaving me abandoned.

Keep in mind, there are 4 places to sit at each crop table.

They never spoke a word to me, but rather, kept whispering to eachother and looking at me suspiciously as if I was eavesdropping.

Why do women treat eachother so poorly? I guess I have just been very lucky to have met the women I have in this industry. I always try to be welcoming to new scrapbookers I haven't met, and have always been welcomed just as warmly. Perhaps I've just been very lucky up to this point.


A Small Kindness

An elderly man walked into my office today, looking tired and a little worse for wear. (It's a tough neighborhood, a lot of depressed areas... and people. I never know what I'll get when the door opens.) He was working at the construction site next door. He asked if there was a store close by. I told him there was but it wasn't open until 10. He looked extremely disappointed, so I asked what was wrong. He explained that he was diabetic, and had forgotten his lunch at home. His wife could no longer drive to bring it to him. The other man working at the site could not spare anything. I told him I had plenty of snacks, and offered him something to boost his blood sugar. He thanked me, and went back to work.

Sure made me feel good to be able to help him out, if even in such a small way. And I'm really glad I keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand! :)

Have you helped a random stranger lately? Leave your comments/stories here.


A Special Thank You

I'm sure I've mentioned my lack of scrapping in the past few months. I've been extremely busy with a wedding, a book, and just life in general. So of course scrapping is the first thing to be put off.

Somewhere in the past 5 to 6 months, even when I WAS scrapping, I was beginning to feel like I was lost. Like I'd been struggling to find myself. I tried to step back, out of myself and my perspective, to examine what it was that was throwing me off my usual groove.

It took a special person, a stranger to me, to step up and offer the help I needed to get myself up out of that rut so I could find my style again. She came forward and volunteered to give the help I'd been needing.

Thanks to her, I am feeling back in the swing of things. And I feel more than ever like I have sunk into my style and found my true groove.

Thanks, Niki, for reminding me of the simple things I knew all along, but had lost along the way. You're a lifesaver! :)


I'm On a Roll!

I'm feeling inspired. I feel like my "time off" actually refreshed my view and creativity. I feel like I've found my style again. I had felt lost in a sea of trends and pressured to keep up with the latest 'thing'. But in all reality, my true happy place is found when I am true to myself and my style.

I had a great time doing this layout. I had so many unrelated pictures of Jamaica to scrap, and needed a nice opening page for the trip, so here is what I came up with. It's simple, to the point, and I like it. That's what's important, right? :)


Things of Joy

Just some random thoughts for today. These are just a few of the things that bring joy to my everyday life.

* A hug from my husband when he comes home

* Two fat, purring kitties on my lap

* Sunshine (I'll take anything I can get in the Great NorthWET)

* Getting that great photo

* The last 1/2 mile of my drive home

* A good, clear view of Mt. Hood from our hill


Promoting Yourself on a Shoestring Budget

When you are first starting out as a professional designer, things can get spendy. Supplies, trade shows, promotional materials, postage, you name it. So where do you draw the line? How can you promote yourself without breaking the bank? Can you look professional without that expensive portfolio case? Yes you can!

The age old saying "Time is Money" comes into play here. Just as any new business, you, as the owner/proprietor, will need to invest substantially. When you start out, your primary investment may indeed have to be time. Properly invested, it can payoff big.

There are several things you can do to promote yourself on a daily basis without laying out much cash. For example, you can write your own press releases and send them to your local papers or special interest newsletters. This definitely takes time, but your name will be "out there" in front of people. Make sure that what you write is actually noteworthy; teaching a public class, an article being published, etc.

Rather than assembling an expensive portfolio, take the time to put together a trifold brochure, and make up business cards to go with it. Print it on a good quality paper. You will be prepared to present yourself and your work to potential persons of interest. If you have the file electronically, convert it to a .pdf file using any number of free conversion softwares available, and you will be prepared to email it at a moments notice.

Write a designer resume for yourself. If you haven't had much industry experience, use your job related experience and relate it to this industry. For example, if your goal is to be on a design team, use your experience in your job meeting deadlines, and following instructions. Use any teaching experience you have. Teaching means planning ahead, being able to speak in front of people, and communication skills - all great lead-ins for a DT job.

Use up your scraps and make greeting cards to send to editors, design team leaders, and other persons of interest. It's all about networking. Even if you think someone is not in a position of importance, or won't be able to help you advance, send them a card anyway. You never know when a contact will be promoted, or move into a position where they can help you. Keep up with your contacts, keep good notes, and be sure to include personal information in your correspondence such as their spouse's or children's names. Make it personal.

Write scrapbooking related articles for newsletters, local papers, or websites. Small newspapers, newsletters and websites are always looking for content. Write a "how to" article on a technique for a scrapbooking website or newsletter. Write a more basic and broad article, ex: top ten reasons why everyone should scrapbook, for a local paper. Be sure to add any published articles to your resume!

These are just a few inexpensive ways to promote yourself. Whether you are just getting started, or are already a well-known name, these tips can help you advance and meet your goals without breaking the bank.


Getting Back in the Saddle

After what seems like a very long hiatus from scrapping, I am going to make time to get some things done this weekend. I have a huge pile of new photos to inspire me. Now I just need to make a trip to the LSS to get a huge pile of new supplies to go with them! Hahaha.

I'm feeling like all my layouts and galleries are looking old. Do you ever feel like that? The layouts in my galleries are not that old, but they sure seem like it to me. Gee, when I think about it, they are maybe only 6 weeks old. But seeing as I haven't been able to do a thing since, it must be really hitting me. I'm tired of not being able to upload something new. (There's that submitting addiction again.)

I just want everything to be fresh, and exciting. Not just for browsers, but for me too. I get tired of seeing the same thing. Know what I mean?

A Long Dry Spell Has Ended

After what seems like ages, I finally was able to sit and scrap the other night. I finished a page using my favorite photo from our honeymoon. I think it turned out rather nice. Simple.

It was enough to get me back in the swing of things, and I'm already working on another Jamaica layout. Hopefully I'll be able to share that with you by the weekend. It's taking me some time because I'm feeling out of practice, and I very much want to "do it right". Know what I mean? Not that there is a right way or a wrong way. I just want it to be "me", which was somewhat lost or muddled over the past few hectic months.

So here is the sunset layout I completed, entitled "Just Us".


A Rescue and Adoption

I went to the Humane Society this past Saturday and met two handsome cats. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I went in to find two kittens, or possibly two older cats. I had strict guidelines and qualifications for the older cats, though. Kittens, though terrors, are easier to adapt. So I asked the employee if she could think of any two older cats that were short haired, neutered males, with claws, that got along together, and could tolerate dogs. It would help if they were affectionate and large. She thought for a moment, then disappeared through a door. Moments later she reappeared with two sets of paperwork and began to describe two cats.

"They were part of an animal rescue. The conditions were awful, and the person who lived there is being held for trial for animal abuse for the horses they had. It seemed though, that the cats and dogs living at the home were treated well, as they came in with very few health issues and no signs of physical abuse, or malnutrition."

I was leary when I heard the circumstances. I mean, who knows what strange things went on and how the cats will behave. Unfortunately animals can't tell us in words what happened.

When she showed me their photos, I knew I had to meet them. So I visited with them until the shelter closed. I went home cat free, and called my husband who was out of town. He was not thrilled, to say the least, but knows losing my two cats recently has been very hard on me, and agreed that if I thought this was the right situation for them and us, to go ahead with it.

So I brought them home the next day. They have adjusted well to the new surroundings, including our bouncy ball-of-energy black lab. They are very affectionate and curious, and I have a feeling they will be plenty of trouble.

The black and white is Olly (short for Oliver), and the blue and white is Buck.


The World's Gone Digital

Canon announced that they will no longer produce new models of SLR Film cameras. They will continue to produce their current models, as supply demands, but we will cease to see any new technology from Canon in film cameras. Canon follows Nikon's announcement of the same information earlier this year.

An article from Yahoo News stated "Japanese camera makers sold a combined total 64.77 million digital cameras last year globally, compared with 5.38 million film cameras, according to industry figures." Article

It is obvious where the industry is headed. Digital is easier, and appeals to the NOW attitude so prevalent today. People want instant gratification. I'll admit, seeing my photograph seconds after I take it has a definite appeal to me. And yes, I was one of those 64.77 million last year.

But could this be to the detriment of the fine art of photography? There are still those die hards who steadfastly stand by their film methods and claim there is no match in the digital realm. Is that true? With all the recent advances in digital? Could even the trained eye tell the difference between a photograph taken by a digital vs a film camera? Perhaps. But it's getting ever more difficult, and technology is a freight train that cannot be stopped.


Dearly Departed...

I'm feeling very sad today. During my trip to Jamaica, my kitty escaped to the big wide world. I'm afraid he has not returned. I fear that the local coyotes have taken another prize. This comes just 7 months after losing my other kitty to the same sad demise. I'm just heartbroken. How does one become so attached to a furry critter? I guess it doesn't matter how, but that I was. And I miss them both so terribly.

I can't help but feel guilty for bringing them out to the country, where terrible things could happen to them. And yet, I know how happy it made them to prowl in the grass, chase bugs and mice, roll in the dirt and bask in the sunshine. My only reprise is that they had a good life, and were happy with us for their time here.


Paradise Found!

Well, the wedding is finally over, and so is the honeymoon. (large, collective "awww")

Jamaica was incredible! What an amazing, and much needed, trip. We were pampered like royalty. Great food, plenty of fattening pina coladas, massages, scuba diving, beach lounging... Paradise.

Here are just a few pictures of our fabulous trip.


The Tutorial that Saved My Life!

well... not literally, but this tutorial and site have saved me many a time. And after putting Layout Blueprints in the works, and seeing/hearing how many are afraid to stitch layouts, I realized I HAVE to share this with everyone. So here it is. Please, read it, learn it, use it. It will make your life so much easier. And if you don't use Photoshop, they have other fantastic tutorials for other software programs. Just search the site.



Addicted to Submitting?

I have been




I am now just two weeks away from my wedding, and all the little details are about to drive me insane. Seriously, they will have to commit me to the funny farm after this.

What I've noticed in the past few weeks, is that my focus in other areas of my life has caused me to sacrifice scrapbooking, and in turn, submitting. As calls go out for all the Design Teams, and magazines, and contests, I feel my heart sink slightly. Oh, I'm excited for those who got the call, but it is also a reminder of what I'm missing and how much I NEED to scrapbook.

Yes, NEED. It has gotten to that point. And that is when I realized.... I'm a scrapbooking, submitting, addict! Oh my gosh! Between that and the digital photo addiction... I'm desitned for an intervention. Let me tell you, though, nobody will stand between me and my scrapbooking!

Just two more weeks... no, wait... THREE! Aaaagh! I have a honeymoon to go on, too! Oh no. I don't think I can make it that long. I seriously need some alone time with my supplies. I'm craving it. I need it to keep me sane. Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day!



I seem to be doing a lot of animal related layouts lately. Maybe because they are like kids to me. Maybe I just need kids! haha These are two of my favorite most recent layouts. They just happen to both use primarily 3 Bugs in a Rug papers and products.

Meet Dusty. He's my future Mother-in-law's horse. He never gets ridden, or brushed, or anything. And it just breaks my heart (being the horse-loving Montana girl). He's just like a dog. He'll follow you anywhere, loves to be pet, and acts silly to get attention.
Meet my special needs child, Indy. My fiance's black lab. He's a handful, but a good dog, and loves to have his picture taken (if he can sit still long enough). I usually get nice blurry action shots of him.


Self Promotion: Tip #2

Last time we talked about putting a resume together. Second in the self promotion series and perhaps even more important is Tip number 2.

Set goals. Without a clear goal, you will be floundering in the industry with no direction, throwing your work at anything that moves. This is both unproductive and inefficient. When you set clear goals, you have a destination. You have something to reach for.

Let's say you decide you want to be on a Manufacturer's Design Team. That's a lofty goal, but attainable. So, what steps do you need to take to get there? You should try to get on a LSS team, or an online store team, and gain some experience. Set goals to meet the requirements of your larger goals.


That Photo Bug

I just love taking pictures! I always have. But since I got my Canon Digital Rebel, I can't seem to stop.

I love zooming. I'm addicted to it, really. I just love the look of those close-in shots. My favorite close-in shots are the candids - the ones they didn't know you were taking. THAT is why I love my zoom so much. I can be the stealth photographer, lurking in the shadows. SNAP! SNAP! Another hapless victim to the crazed digi chick. Mwahahaaa!

My poor nephews will never again see my face. It will forever be hidden behind the lens. At least they are old enough to distinguish that it is only a camera, and not actually a large penetrating black eye protruding from my forehead at them. Whereas if they were younger, they may never recognize that fact.

*SIGH* Hello, my name is Amy. I'm a digi-addict.


Wedding Histeria

Yes, I've finally entered it. I have 33 days left, and it's just now hitting me how fast that will actually go.

I have so much to do, and so little time. There are so many demands on my time this month. Holy smokes. I'm so relieved that I don't have any Design Team work this month. Boy did I time that right! haha.

Well, better get to it! I'm a busy lady!


Why I Love This Art

This is a freeing artform. Truly. It allows me to indulge so many aspects of my creative being. From my love of writing, to my love of color expression.

This is not a new realization for me. Not by any means. Rather, this is a reminder that came out of a fun little project I did recently. I had such a great time putting this little faux purse together, and realized that I really need to work in 3 dimentions more often. I've been too constrained to that 12x12 paper lately.

3 Bugs in a Rug papers, L'il Davis Key, Architexture rivets

Self Promotion: Tip #1

This is a tough industry to break into. So I've decided to offer a bit of help to those struggling to get that foot in the door. Not that I'm an expert, but we can all grow together, right?

So Tip number 1 is:

Put together a resume. Yes, a resume. If you don't have any published work, write a bio and add some of your current work, your best work, to it. You can include things that are relevant to your goals. If you want to be on a design team, include experience you have that's relevant. Like a job where you had to meet deadlines. Explain the relevance (important, because some may not understand why you listed your experience as a paralegal on a scrapbooking resume).

Try online resume services like www.scrapbookresume.com, or sign up for a free Blog, or build and host your own page. But make sure to link to a gallery of some kind so that people can see your talent and what you have to offer them.

Finding Your Style

Can you look in a magazine or online gallery and recognize certain scrappers work by their style? Have you ever wondered what “your style” is? Me too. Sometimes I feel so eclectic that I can’t put my finger on a particular style. Maybe it’s because I’m too close to my own work.

Here is something I have found to be helpful in “finding your style”. First, cruise online galleries, take notes on things you like or don’t like and ask yourself WHY you like or don’t like them. Write it down. Thumb through magazines and do the same thing. Now, sit down with your own scrapbooks, and try to look at them objectively with the same eyes. Take notes. Write down what you like and don’t like. See if you can find some of the same elements in your work that you liked in the work you reviewed in galleries and magazines. You might be surprised at the results!


Tired Titles

Do you ever get tired of seeing the same old titles for scrapbook pages? Personally, I'm worn out on the "*fill in the blank* Fun" titles. Water Fun, Summer Fun, Pool Fun, Beach Fun, Snow Fun. Though I've been known to use them, there are several "tired titles" out there. So what can we do to become more creative with our titles, so that we don't see the same things over and over again in the magazines?

1. Dig deeper. We can see that you were at the pool, and it was fun. Can you dig a little deeper for us? What was the thing that stands out to you, that you tell everyone when you show them the photos? Was it that your child loved playing with those silly foam "noodles"? Well, then let's get a little more creative:

- Wet Noodle
- Water Skipper
- Wet & Wacky

2. Use a song as inspirtation. How many wonderful songs can you think of that have key words in them that will go with your page theme? Summer, for example:

- Hot Fun in the Summertime
- Summertime, and the Livin' is Easy
- Summer Breeze (and the list goes on)

try this site (and many others) for song titles that inspire http://www.allbutforgottenoldies.net

3. Take inspiration from quotes, poems, and stories. I'm not saying you need the whole quote, poem, or story on your layout, and it doesn't even have to have anything to do with your layout. Just take a piece, any piece, that fits your layout's mood. Sometmies just hearing certain words put together can inspire.

- From Shel Silverstein's "Rain" ; Slishity-Slosh (great for rainy day, mud photos)
- I know you little, I love you lots - from Shel Silverstein's poem of the same name (great for new baby)

I hope this offers some ideas to help you gather inspiration for your next page title. Good luck in your title endeavors!


Lessons Learned

In going through a recent book publishing effort, I came to this realization: When you submit for publication, but don't get your layout picked up, it is not necessarily because they "didn't like it". What I noticed repeatedly happening in the choosing process was that layouts we DID like didn't make the cut due to things like, page space, too many of that particular theme already, maybe we'd seen too much of a particular paper line already, and so on. It was numerous things. But what I learned from that was; Don't let it discourage you. Keep submitting, and your work WILL get picked up. It just has to hit the right person at the right time for the right article/subject/book.

What an interesting industry this is!

Relief is a Completed Invitation

Several months ago, I got engaged. Since then, planning this cockamamy wedding has been one big disaster after another. I know, I know, every wedding is difficult to plan, but I'm telling you, this is a nightmare.

First, the place we decided to host the wedding sprung a new "agreement" on me that was not included in the contract I signed. And this "agreement" was so poorly written that it was left open to interpretation by the horrible woman who worked there as the event coordinator. So, long story short, she made it impossible for us to host the wedding there. And I moved on to Plan B with only 4 months left to plan this wedding, and no PLACE to have it.

Now, this meant also that I had to put everything on hold because I couldn't very well plan other things if I didn't even know where the wedding was going to be. (I'm talking, I didn't even know what state it would be in.)

In the meantime, our florist went out of business, two caterers backed out on me because of the awful woman at Place A, and our honeymoon destination got wiped out by a hurricaine.

So I plodded forward with this "special needs wedding" as it came to be called. I checked in on my Plan B. The gal I spoke to initially had left, and I had to speak to someone new. Turns out they changed the policy about weddings, and had decided, much to my dismay, that if we were to host the wedding ceremony there, we'd have to rent the ENTIRE hotel, all 78 rooms of it! I cried, right there on the phone.

Now what? I moved on to try to find a Plan C. Plan C materialized rather quickly, but when I got the initial contract from the place, it was written under the assumption that I was hosting the reception there as well. At $95 a head... I don't THINK so! So I made them aware of the changes I needed to have made, and they informed me that I no longer took priority because they weren't making as much money off me. So the contract would go out when they got around to it. At that point, I was only 112 days away from the Big Day. They put me off for another 3 weeks.

Last week, I called and cried to the contract lady that I only had 80 days, and that I couldn't plan anything else until I got the contract from them so that I knew for sure where my wedding would be. I also threw in that if I did not get a contract STAT, that I would take this as a sign, and consider myself UN-marriable and decide to live in sin for the rest of my life! (That seemed to get her attention)

I received the contract last week, and finally was able to get around to making my invitations (which, 6 months ago, I had plenty of time to do!). I recruited my future mother- and sister-in-law to help, and we completed the main part of the invitations this weekend. It's such a relief to have that done, and know that, after 6 months of frustration and not being able to plan anything, I am finally on the home stretch.

Thank God for small miracles!


Of Fish, Chipmunks, and Divas

I was so excited this past Friday to be leaving for Eugene, Oregon and a weekend-long retreat with my wonderful scrapbooking group, the ScrapDivas. I embarked on my merry 2 hour drive with a song in my heart, and layouts in my head. Little did I know what was to come.

I arrived at my retreat just in time to take a lunch break. Good thing. I wouldn't want to be too productive. Then I unpacked my stuff, and proceeded to "scrapper stare" for about an hour. Finally I got out some photos. More scrapper stare. This proceeded, without much progress, for about 4 more hours. Finally, I declared I was hungry, and set off with 3 other Divas to dinner at a fish house.

Dinner was good, but during my meal I got a strange scratchy feeling in my throat. Hmm. Seemed a bit strange, but I plodded blindly on. When our meal was finished, we returned to the retreat just in time for my massage. Whew. I wouldn't want to miss that!

During my massage, I started feeling funny. I peered through that tiny face hole thinking to myself, "My face feels funny." I determined it was due to the tiny face hole, and thought nothing more of it. When the masseur had me roll over, he was quite taken aback at my appearance, and asked if I was OK. I assured him I was fine, and had no idea what he was referring to.

So I finished up and proceeded, in my ultra-relaxed state, downstairs to inform the next massagee it was their turn. When I entered the room, all the other Divas seemed surprised by my appearance as well. In fact, several of them expressed concern and asked if I needed to see a doctor. Surely they were joking!

I reached up and patted at my face. My heavens! I was all puffy! What on earth had happened? I gladly took an antihystemine from one of the other Divas, and excused myself to my room. Well, when I glanced in the mirror, I was greeted with the reflection of a chipmunk! I burst out in laughter and could hardly control myself because I looked even sillier laughing than I had before.

All said, it took about 18 hours for my face to return to normal, and I got very little done at the retreat. But at least I got to hang with my Divas! And now... to figure out what exactly I am allergic to...


CK Hall of Fame Hopefuls Unite!

The road has been long, and riddled with excuses, but I have finally submitted an entry for the CK Hall of Fame. It has been since the very first HOF contest since I've entered. The industry has changed, heck, the RULES have changed. Has anyone seen that list of assignments and rules? Talk about intimidating. Not to mention the sheer pressure of it all. It's making me sweat just talking about it!

Sorting through the many innuendos, subtleties, and interpretations of said rules was probably the most difficult part. And people seemed to read way too much into those rules. My goodness. When they say no larger than 6"x6", that's pretty much what they mean. I don't think they meant exactly 6x6, but just not any larger. Don't read too much into it.

Now that I've waded through the muck of the rules and all the panicked and stressed out competitors' message board posts, I'm feeling confident that indeed, I've done my due dilligence, and I've sent my package off. Hopefully to the right address... Great! Now I'm stressed about that! Ha!


Artistic Awareness - The Meaning of it All

Sounds like a noble cause, right? It's not a cause at all. It doesn't have a ribbon, or a bumper sticker. Although if it did, I'm sure it would be a colorful one.

Artistic Awareness is the feeling that you've got artistic talent, and knowing that you're "good enough" to break that seemingly impenatrable ceiling of the Scrapbook publishing world.

I know it's hard sometimes. We're all so hard on ourselves and so wrapped up in what others are doing. This is my statement to the world that "I'm good enough, darn it!" And so are you!