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.