Thursday, October 18, 2007

Texas 2008: GASC vs. CKU

This year, CKU-Houston is scheduled for the same weekend as GASC-Arlington. So why does this matter? Well, I'm in Houston. The big show every year is the GASC in Arlington, just outside of Ft. Worth. It's one of the largest shows and I've attended every year since I discovered scrapbooking. My parents and my sister live in Arlington, so the June event has been my busman's holiday for years. I can't pass up free room and board and babysitting!

GASC, which in now owned and run by F&W Publishing, is getting head-on competition from the other major player, CK Media. Texas will be torn in two. The Rubber Stamp & Scrapbook Expo , usually the second week of June in Houston, is switching venues and seasons. It will be in Conroe, north of Houston, in October for 2008. But Texas scrappers may find themselves torn between the two early summer events.

The difference is in the offering. GASC is a traditional trade show, with a vendor hall plus classes running all three days. CKU is education-focused, filled with celebrities and lots of sponsor product. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scrapbooking's Image

Marianne shared how she would like to see scrapbooking portrayed in the media:
Scrapbooking is so often ridiculed because of the following it has created. Realistically, scrapbooking has been around for many years, in fact centuries, in one form or another. [We take] pride in our works.
I agree. Scrapbooking shouldn't be portrayed as a separate lifestyle, but simply as an extension of our lives. We're already taking photos; we're already making memories. Scrapbooking is a way for us to showcase and share them. Focusing solely on the creative aspect alienates newcomers. Scrapbooking is a great gateway to crafts, but it's not where it starts. It starts with a memory. And scrapbooking helps us appreciate the moments that become memories.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another day, another attorney

Another $5,000 retainer quote. Imagine the scrapbooking supplies $5,000 would buy?! I don't want to think about it.

The thing with all this? There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I mean, the non-custodial parent stops paying child support at some point. In many situations, boom, responsibility is over. Turn eighteen, get the diploma, whatever. There is an end in sight to the responsibility, the "duty."

But for those of us who do the day-to-day parenting (especially those who do 100% of the parenting), it's like laundry: there is no end. We will always care. We will always give. We will always worry. And we will always put our child's needs above our own.

Scrapbooking supplies are a need, you know.

Wish me luck, tomorrow and always.

Long Live the King! the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.

I remember when the King died (ahem, I will not disclose how old I was, but I was young enough to not know who he was). It's one of those vivid childhood memories in addition to being a milestone memory, like "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" or "where were you when the Challenger blew up?" and, of course, "where were you on 9/11?"

When Elvis died, my family was having a small reunion at my parents' house. My parents had over-stuffed, dark brown Naugahyde sofas and linoleum flooring in the den. I remember my aunts and uncles spinning yarns about Elvis, debating the earlier hits and the "fat years." It was one of the first times I remember wanting to hang out with the adults to hear their conversation instead of playing with my younger siblings or creating Lite-Brite designs. If memory serves me right, I was wearing my pink, square-framed Coke bottle eye glasses. Eww!

Where were you when Elvis left the building?

P.S. A local restaurant, Chuy's, has several shrines of Elvis, built on their customers' love of the King.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What Memorytrends said...

Here's what Beth Hess, editor of Memorytrends Magazine, reported as trends and hot products from CHA summer (my notes in orange):
The Craft & Hobby Association Summer Show provided an array of new product collections for crafters of all kinds. New yarn textures and colors are likely to inspire papercrafters. So, too, are artist materials. One of the hottest new scrapbooking products of the show is the IOD Paintables collection from Prima. These 12"x12" sheets of cardstock feature outlines of swirls, flowers, and more and are designed to be colored in with paints, markers, color pencils, chalks, or any other color medium. Co-creator Josie Celio says, "I forget how much fun coloring is until I started with this line. It's a form of expression many of us haven't used in a long time." Judging by the crowds watching the demos and placing their orders, others agree scrapbookers are ready to incorporate more of their artistic self and products they already own, like ink pads and pens, in this way. (Watch for more about artistry in journaling and scrapbooks in the September issue of Memorytrends Magazine.)

Other Products that stood out:
Other Trends Spotted:
  • Birds, Trees flocks of owls, bird-shaped chipboard mini-albums from Piggy Tales & Maya Road, penguin Christmas paper from Imaginisce
  • Swirls, Paisley
  • Calendar projects Karen Foster, Flair, and others; getting ready for Christmas gifts
  • Unique shapes in mini albums, board books, spiral journals, etc.
  • Storage, storage, storage - this category just keeps growing (and becoming more fashion-forward and in-line with today's decorating trends) I'm guessing that this product line offers a high return for both manufacturers and retailers, hence the flood

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cards with Piggy Tales

Loving the Piggy Tales double-sided cardstock! Makes it uber easy to make cards!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hot products to warm up our winter

Here are some of the products and trends I think will be hot coming out of CHA-S. What do you think?
  • More of the warm, rich colors from January's CHA plus brighter blues (mentioned here)
  • Texture and more texture - flocked, glitter, embroidered, stuff that screams "touch me!"
  • More felt, velvet and lace, especially in rolls and ribbons, but also in flowers. Look for it from Queen & Co., Prima, Maya Road and others
  • More interactive projects - see-through pages, flip books, hide & seek flap book and barn doors from Piggy Tales
  • Anything transparent, like acetate, film, acrylic - the digital layered look goes beyond paper
  • Home printers and multiple ways to use them - think hybrid and transparencies
  • Glue Arts' Glue Glider Pro, which won the Art Materials Magazine Most Innovative Product Award - this is a must-have for serious scrappers
  • Prima - with a special eye on the new Printables - something very different for scrapbooking (let's cross over to the art material aisle and grab some water brushes for our distress inks!)
Come back for more as I add to the list!

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Mother and Child Reunion

This Simon & Garfunkel song has been going through my mind all weekend. Today my DS and I are reunited after his two weeks+ at summer camp. Of course he had a wonderful time, and I enjoyed my break, but we both are anxious to be together least until I have to remind him of his chores :-)

I have a layout already designed in my mind. I think I'll get him to help me on it.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hands-Down favorite

I'm thumbing through the August/September Memory Makers. (ACK! September?!?) Word is out that this is a phenomenal issue and that the new Memory Makers is on track to be an all-around great scrapbooking magazine.

I did my initial scan-through and immediately felt compelled to share with you my pick of the issue. Hands down his layout, "Hands-On Mom" by Linda Harrison (pg. 76), is my favorite.

Hands-on Mom by Linda HarrisonThere are so many reasons why this layout works, plus it's a PERFECT example to show beginners the basic rules of design and how they can successfully scrap that pile of photos. Do you see what I see?
  • Rule of thirds (the photos on the right axis; the title on the top axis)
  • Visual triangle (pink accents)
  • Great use of older photos (those square black and white prints have the processing date in the white border)
  • Poignant journaling - short, meaningful, heartfelt
  • Effective title - sums it up and draws the viewer to read the journaling
  • Good use of patterned paper - just one sheet of a tone-on-tone graphic
And if you look closely, you can see the repetitive use of circles inspired by the patterned paper: the hyphen of the title, the brads in the visual triangle, the rhinestones in the flower, and don't forget, the round blow-up pool in the photos.

Great job, Linda, and thank you Memory Makers for showcasing this layout.

I'll get to read in detail the entire issue, but I still see something missing -- from Memory Makers and the other consumer publications - - that could really help the scrapbooking industry. Can you guess what it is?

P.S. On a personal note (without any bearing on my decision to highlight this layout), Linda's page also is a comfort to me -- a single mother doing all I can to be a hands-on mom.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tell me something I didn't know

Beth Mauro, editor of CNA Magazine, reported from GASC in Chantilly. Here are some quotes of note:
No matter what your crafting niche I highly urge you to attend consumer shows whenever possible. There is nothing better than seeing the industry through (these) customers' eyes. When crafting is your business there is a danger of getting jaded when it comes to products and projects. A short trip to a consumer show is like a shot of adrenalin.

My favorite part was seeing scrapbookers of every age, color, size and level of expertise. We saw three generations of scrapbookers visiting the show together and plenty of new moms looking to start a baby book. The crops were packed. Over a three day period, hundreds of scrapbookers dragged all their stuff in for the fun of scrapping with friends and soon-to-be-friends.
Digital Scrapbooking 101 classes were full as were sessions on getting photos off of your digital camera (I should take that one) and photo retouching. The fact that that attendees that come to this show are hardcore scrapbookers should prove that traditional scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking can co-exist under one roof. Will next year be the year of Hybrid Scrapbooking classes?
It boils down to this:
  • Always remember the customer
  • Scrapbooking is for everyone
  • Never underestimate the passion of a scrapbooker

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Don't let them define us

We need to take a stand against the antiquated mindset that scrapbooking is "dowdy" or "saccharine". There is a sexy side of scrapbooking, and we don't need (nor do we want) Martha Stewart to prove it for us.

Remember the Panty Journal?

How about Scrap City?

Consider some of the scraponistas out there and their cutting edginess.

Here's me looking down my nose at the Wall Street Journal article. Dowdy? Pfh.

We missed out when we failed to own our own definition of scrapbooking. And we're still explaining that it has nothing to do with doilies.

Mike Harnett warns us of stereotyping the category. And we need to heed the warnings across the board, especially regarding product development and usage. Not every scrapper wants the latest/greatest.

The only stereotype I want scrapbooking to have is that it's an activity for everyone. Scrapbooking is so personal and personalized that it can be whatever you want it to be. But the common denominator remains: memories.

So don't let some Wall Street know-it-all or high-brow hot shot define your passion or label your look. Besides, I'm quite sure the writers of both articles saved clippings of their printed stories, even before their first by-line.

So, what are your thoughts? Got any proof to the contrary? What image should scrapbooking have? Let's create it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Let's get real

I'm pointing out the "reality" trend that has emerged in scrapbooking (perhaps a response to all those reality shows?). The trend has been looming, I mean, how many single photos layouts wallpapered with flowers can inspire Suzy Scrapbooker who only wants to organize and preserve her 3x5 snapshots of her teenager's ninth birthday?

To draw your attention to the recent surge, take these examples:
  • Tara Governo's Imperfect Lives (F&W) tells the kind of wonderfully human, less-than-glorious stories that often go untold. Its pages are full of honest, edgy, quirky, humorous layouts about real life
  • Tasra Dawson's Real Women Scrap and t.v. for busy women
  • Memorytrends April 2007 cover story "What Women Want...and how scrapbooking gives it to them"
  • The handful of blogs attacking and smacking celebs and wanna bes (and no, I won't provide the links...stay here and finish reading)
Here are some other observations. The number of inquiries for information for LSS business plans has decreased significantly. More hobbyists are waking up to the reality that operating an LSS is 99% retail and 1% scrapbooking. Real life (i.e., kids, the mortgage, aging parents, insert "any daily stress" here) or lack of business skills, foresight or critical thinking has pushed retailers to close their doors, and the predictions are realistic. Industry politicos worn of the impending doom; the number of LSSs in the US will be down to 800 by the end of the year; this vendor is not exhibiting at CHA-S, and that vendor is not going to Memorytrends.

All this is reactionary and old news in this cyber-fast world. What we really need is to be pro-active.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It’s raining men

Creating Keepsakes has announced its new editor. Replacing Tracy White is Brian Tippetts. Yep. A guy. He joins a handful of men making their way into the female-dominated world of scrapbooking. The guys have always been here; but now they’re getting face time.

CK started with Don Lampson. David Venable works side-by-side with Lisa Bearnson at QVC. And the first male Hall of Famer, Mitchell Kraft, was named in 2007.

F+W is doing it, too. David Pyle is now Group Publisher, formally held by industry matriarch Jeanne Wines-Reed. Steve Smith’s column, "Manly Memories," appears regularly in Memory Makers Magazine.

This sprinkle of men is just the beginning of the summer storm. There will be a gully-washing this year in the industry, brought on and carried out by the “guys who get it.” Are you ready to ride the winds of change?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My precious Winnifred

Today, my beloved Winnifred died. She was my shadow. I miss her. I mourn her. I have spent the day crying. As much as I loved her, she loved me more. She taught me what it meant to love.

When I told my nine-year-old son that Winnifred died, he responded in a way that touched my heart. He's been keeping a notebook in which he's outlined letters to spell out his classmates names. He quietly brought me the notebook and showed me the names he has done so far, one per page. Then he turned to the next blank page, slid the notebook to me, and said doing Winnifred's name would help me. So I drew her name and together Joseph and I colored in the letters. Purple was Winnifred's color.

I added a few recent photos, and this make-shift memorial was created:

I've been working on a layout of Winnifred for some time now. I've scheduled some time on Friday to finish it and will post it as soon as it's done.

Pets is a hot theme in scrapbooking, now more than ever. And because of Winnifred, I know why.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Gift of Scrapbooking

It's finally Friday, and I'm relieved to wrap up a really crappy week.

My boyfriend's dog and faithful companion of over 15 years passed away on Wednesday after several days of seizures and constant care. Kiltie meant the world to Eddie, and I am humbled to be the one to comfort him in his deep loss. I plan to print off the many pictures I have of Kiltie and make a simple album so he can remember her and record his feelings for her. As a scrapbooker, I take lots of photos.

This week my child support case was elevated to a custody case and now involves lawyers. So far I have fought this battle alone. I have journaled my thoughts and fears as a way to express my frustrations. Journaling encourages me to search for the meaning of what’s happening in my life and to record my feelings at the time. As a scrapbooker, I journal.

I teach that scrapbooking is the creative preservation of memories using mainly photos, journaling and memorabilia. I truly feel that scrapbooking will help get me through the struggles of this week, just as it helps preserve the joys and celebrations of my life.

You know what I think? I think scrapbooking makes me a better person. Not a better person in comparison to other people, but better than I would be if I didn't scrapbook. It is times like these that I am so thankful for the gift of scrapbooking.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The week of "the call"; RIP Irv Rubens

Today is the day scrapbookers around the world (at least in the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), England and Wales) who entered the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest anxiously await a call from founding editor Lisa Bearnson. She makes "the call" to all 25 winners. If you get "the call," it most likely will change your life forever.

Scrapbookers that make the Hall of Fame go on to contribute to the magazine on a consistent basis, design the hot products we will lust for a year from now, and get book deals that feature their special style or approach. Some accept the HOF as a pinnacle and go on to reach other life goals, scrapbooking-related or not.

There will be the drama...of waiting for the call, watching the boards, counting the number of secret toots, hearing the disappointments, then the jealousies. It's the same every year.

And every year I am blown away by the winners - and the honorable mentions - and their ability to inspire and touch scrapbookers of all levels. Their pages are very powerful. And everyone who enters a competition such as the Hall of Fame pours forth their best and newest work. Just entering the contest and meeting the required assignments can be self-satisfying.

Congratulations to everyone who entered, and especially to those who get "the call."

P.S. I just received notification that the founder of Pioneer Photo Albums, Jason ("Irv") Ruebens, passed away at the age of 99. Born in New York, he started Ruko Camera Cases in the early 1940's and then moved on to California in 1960, eventually creating the nucleus of what is today Pioneer Photo Albums. Pioneer Photo Albums continues on strongly with his work ethic, and is still run as a privately-owned company by the family members who will greatly miss his presence.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

ScrapbookING, yes!

Here's an article that warns us that we --as a market/industry-- have gone overboard and scrapbooking is now alienating consumers. Perception has crossed from overwhelming to down-right frightening. From the author:
Scrapbooking is everywhere...There is even a television show about it, which I watched one time simply out of sheer disbelief.
Upon leaving the store, I had the urge to down a whiskey to counterbalance the act of purchasing scrapbooking supplies on a Friday night. But since I don't drink whiskey, I settled for a raspberry martini, which took the edge right off my uncomfortable foray into the world of scrapbooking.
It seems my old method of sitting down biannually with five photo albums and a shoe box full of pictures no longer cuts it.
...scrapbooking highlights my inadequacies in the craft department, takes too long, and makes my fingers and my neck ache.
It makes me sad, because there is only one rule in scrapbooking: If you're having fun, then you're doing it right. The author of the article was not having fun. And I don't know who looses more: that we loose a customer, or that she looses confidence in her capacity to creatively preserve her memories.

Scrapbooking is not about getting excited over the latest and greatest products. It's about finding and embracing a way to integrate memory preservation into our lifestyle so we become more passionate about our life.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Expanding the Passion @ Sea

I caught this article from the Detroit Free Press...

Some people's greatest legacy is the memories they bequeath their children and grandchildren.

That's one reason for scrapbooking, a hobby so popular that a Google search reveals more than 850,000 Web pages devoted to the pastime.

Identifying a niche, Princess Cruises recently launched a maritime first, Scrapbooking@Sea. The scrapbook curriculum offers a regular series of onboard classes and a specially created kit with themed pages. Currently available on select ships, scrapbooking had proved so popular in field tests, says Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales, that the line now expects to roll out the program across its fleet of 15 vessels by early this year.

"In a cruise-ship setting, where passengers are on vacation and have spare time to try new things," says Princess spokeswoman Karen Tetherow, "scrapbooking is the perfect opportunity to pick up a new hobby."

Princess' Scrapbooking@Sea kit contains decorative papers, stickers and rub-on emblems along with instructions on how to build five vacation-themed pages. The pages can be used to create decorative backdrops for photos from typical cruise activities such as welcome aboard events, days at sea, shore excursions or formal evenings.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fiction story tells the truth about scrapbooking

Author Rebeca Seitz provided an interview on about her new scrapbooking fiction book due out in early March. Prints Charming (WestBow Press) is about four women with very different life paths bound together by their love of scrapbooking. The book will be available at book stores everywhere and on Rebecca is doing an extensive tour to scrapbooking shows and local scrapbooking stores to promote the book.

I had the privilege to pre-read the book and provide a quote for the cover. Prints Charming demonstrates the "power scrapbooking has to develop and strengthen relationships," and that story -- even in fiction form -- needs to be told. Prints Charming's distribution will be wide-spread, and many readers, who have never been exposed to scrapbooking, will have a positive and non-threatening introduction to our passion: fiction lovers, Christian book readers, crafters, etc.

Friday, February 2, 2007

So you can see

Here's a list of companies and products I reviewed on the Diva Craft Lounge from CHA:

Theme: Quality through rich, luxurious textures

Paper Elements
Daisy Bucket
Luxe Designs

Felt: Tinkering Ink, Queen & Co.
Velvet: De Ja Views, SEI, Imaginisce
Chipboard: My Mind's Eye embossed chipboard; Magistical Memories food quality chipboard
Film in the PageSage press kit

Karen Russell Journaler's Notebook (MT release)
Graph papers: Scenic Route, Dream Street

Black & White

7 Gypsies punch
Bind It All
The Slice
Karen Foster's Scraparatus
*Purple Cow's Freestyle

Clip It Up
*KFD's Scrap Apron
*ScrapEze vertical paper holder (MT release)

Give the Gift of Scrapbooking:
Love Books
My Book
Speaking Up
*SEI's Minute Memories (MT release)

The asterisk indicates the companies/products that deserve mention but I didn't talk about because of time or because Diva Danielle and Jan covered them.

Of course, there are many other wonderful finds at CHA, and I would love to hear about your favorites!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

CHA: I felt the felt!

I'm recovering from CHA, so here's a quick summary. For a more detailed report, listen to my segment on the Diva Craft Lounge.

The theme of this year's show was Quality -- my guess, a tactile reaction to the fast-growing digital market. Look for lots of luxurious textures in paper and embellishments like 80 pound text double sided patterned papers, embossed chipboard, and textiles like velvet, felt and corduroy. Reoccurring color themes were in black & white, teal with everything, and rich plums, burgundies and ivories.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Think outside the box

EK Success announced its launch strategy for the new Martha Stewart Crafts™ line of paper crafting, scrapbooking, and storage products, begining with limited retail distribution in May to all Michaels stores, followed by distribution to EK Elite independent craft and scrapbooking stores later this year.

Today...I highlighted this tidbit of advice offered to independents by Rob Krieger, president of Checker Distributors, in the January 2007 issue of Craftrends, page 34:
The strengths independent shops can use to their advantage...are their unique product selection, classes, and individual attention (emphasis

and he advises retailers to...
"Find suppliers who are directing their total sales and marketing efforts to make independents successful. Why depend on a supplier who is doing all they can to help chains be successful at your expense?"

Krieger goes on to encourage independents to "think outside the box" and lists suggestions like using the Internet to attract younger customers, choosing the right supplier ("Make every attempt to buy products and brand names that are not in the chains."), keeping up with trends, and offering unique classes.

I can't help but think that EK Success released word of the launch schedule as a way to avoid a communications fiasco a la Provo Craft and the Cricut. They're making sure everyone knows that the box stores will have Martha's product before they attempt to ship it to their "elite" customers. Thanks for the warning, EK, especially before you have thousands of independent reltailers decend upon you at CHA.

Independents need to think outside the box or the only place to shop for scrapbooking supplies will be inside the box stores.

Friday, January 5, 2007


Here are some photos from some of our holiday festivities...

Out on the town in a dress that's been in the closet for some time. Something E picked up for me at Syms, I think.

For the Junior League Holiday Ball, I wore the BCBG silk black halter dress that I wore to Momus.

Eddie's parents hosted a party with yummy pork tenderloin. The eight-foot flocked tree in the background was decorated with all gold.

Here I am Christmas Eve wearing one of my gifts from Eddie...a beautiful white sweater from Cache...we refer to as the Bjork top.