Archive | August, 2008

2009 Memory Makers Masters Announced

The winners of the 2009 Memory Makers Masters contest have been announced on the magazine’s website forum:

Melissa Blair (Dover, AR)
Christine Drumheller (Zeeland, MI)
Kim Frantz (Oxford, PA)
Summer Fullerton (Tigard, OR)
Veronica Jennings (Waldorf, MD)
Amy Martin (Colorado Springs, CO)
Gretchen McElveen (Helena, AL)
Anabelle O’Malley (Hockessin, DE)
Ronda Palazzari (Thornton, CO)
Jaime Warren (Rentz, GA)

The contest’s runners-up have also been announced:

Lisa Andrews (Chandler, AZ)
Rebekah Compton (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
Lesley Cooper (Waitakere, New Zealand)
Joscelyne Cutchens (Honolulu, HI)
Anne Jo Lexander (Kleppesto, Norway)
Jing-Jing Nickel (Roseville, MN)
Emeline Seet (Singapore)
Revlie Schuit (The Netherlands)
Kayleigh Wiles (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
Jacqueline Yeo (Singapore)

Congratulations to all of the winners!


[Digital Pick] Shabby Princess modish GIRL BlogWear

Does your blog need a makeover but you don’t have time to create banners and buttons? Shabby Princess has the answer for non-commercial sites – BlogWear.

_sp_blogwear_modishgirl_previewBlogWear sets include two banners (865×300 pixels, png file format) ready to have your site’s title added to them, along with buttons (jpg) waiting to be customized with text labels.

The modish GIRL collection features stylish pink and black prints with floral elements, but collections are available in a wide variety of color schemes and looks. And at a price of only $2.50 per set, you can change your blog decór more often than you change your clothes!


[Business] Stores come and they go…

The past few weeks have seen a lot of change in the availability of scrapbook products in my community. It’s exciting and bad for my budget. But I also learned about the closure of the store that was once the closest scrapbook store to my house – unusual news since my area has actually been seeing a lot of scrapbook store openings lately, not closings.

First the good news! In the past several weeks my town has gotten a new shopping center with a SuperTarget and a Michael’s in it. Previously the only place in town with any scrapbook supplies was Walmart’s sad offerings, and the nearest Target or Michael’s was 20 miles away. It is about the same distance to the nearest scrapbook store.

I was actually more anticipating the Target opening than the Michael’s. I’m rarely excited by any of the scrapbook offerings at Michael’s, but that one small aisle of products at Target always seems to suck my wallet dry. Target seems to carry the best items from some of my favorite manufacturers (Autumn Leaves, Making Memories, K & Co/Marcella by K) and a few others that I also like (EK Success, KI Memories). Whoever does their buying certainly has hit me on the head as a target market. Pun intended.

My level of interest in the new Michael’s did go up exponentially when on a return trip to the store after my initial scouting mission there I discovered that some paper racks that had previously been empty had been filled with Bazzill cardstock by the sheet! It has been 7 years since I lived this close to a source of my favorite cardstock by the sheet and that one small item (along with the adhesives I like that aren’t carried at Target) will probably ensure that I am a loyal customer of the store.

Of course these openings followed closely on the closing of my local AC Moore in Daytona Beach, 30 miles away. And then this past weekend I made another sad discovery – the scrapbook store that for a long time was my closest LSS (if you can call it close at 60 miles away) has closed.

This store, which was large and had been in business for seven years, had taken a tactic to dealing with the struggling scrapbook market that at least one other store in this area has also taken: combining a scrapbook store with a food service operation. This store added its espresso bar and ice cream shop in 2005. The other store in the area opened a short while ago as a combination scrapbook store/ice cream shop. Apparently for the first store this wasn’t enough to keep them afloat and the store is now closed. (I’d be curious to know if this is something that is being done in other areas of the country as well? If you know of other stores doing this, please let me know in the comments.)

I hope that these arrivals here in town invigorate the scrapbooking community here, which has had to rely on home parties and the internet – or long car rides – to get supplies until now. But at the same time it was discouraging to learn of the closing of a long-time store…


[Digital] Is digital scrapbooking the answer for budget scrapbooking?

Lots of paper scrapbookers are talking about trying to scrap on a budget: using their stash, simplifying their style, using less expensive embellishments in favor of techniques like paper piecing. Could this new budget-savvy scrapbooker be a boon for digital scrapbooking? Scrap Girls thinks so.

The digital scrapbooking website recently did some publicity promoting digital scrapbooking as a budget-conscious alternative to paper. “Materials can be reused over and over, thereby increasing the customer’s return on investment,” Scrap Girls CEO, Rozanne Paxman said. Scrap Girls’ materials also said that “Undoubtedly, cost savings is the most significant advantage of digital scrapbooks. Online materials are not affected by skyrocketing fuel prices, nor do scrapbookers have to use their car to purchase supplies; everything is available right at their fingertips.”

Does digital scrapbooking provide a low-cost alternative to paper scrapbooking for hobbyists in a strapped economy? It’s an interesting question.

It is certainly true that basic supplies, like paper and embellishments, are inexpensive and sometimes even free as a lot of sites have promotional downloads. But there are other expenses that can add up pretty fast.

The first expense is needed before you can even start digital scrapbooking: software. It can easily cost $100 for a program like Photoshop Elements. This compares easily to the beginner’s kit that is needed for paper scrapbooking of items like a trimmer, scissors and adhesive. It may even exceed the bare basics for paper scrapbooking in price.

So the paper and digital scrapbookers may be about equal on their basic equipment, but digital comes out ahead (cheaper) on supplies, right? Well, that depends. Digital comes out ahead probably – if you don’t ever plan to actually print your digital layouts.

If you plan to print your digital layouts, the cost comes out the same or more than a paper layout. For instance, my favorite photo printing site Shutterfly, charges between $5.59 and $6.99 to print a 12×12 layout depending on how many prints you order. Printing at home is also expensive after investing in a wide-format printer and the cost of ink and paper.

A less expensive way to go would actually be printing digital layouts as a photo book. Shutterfly charges $54.99 for the first 20 pages of a 12×12 photo book. That comes to $2.75 per layout or page. If you can live with the permanent placement of the layouts in the book (as opposed to individual layouts that can be moved around in albums), that might be a good budget way to go.

One definite advantage of digital scrapbooking is the ability – even if you intend to eventually print your layouts – to participate in your hobby but delay a significant part of the expense if you need to. Right now, when a lot of people are experiencing temporary job loss, or the pinch of high gas prices, the ability to scrapbook but put off the major expense – printing their pages – until they can better afford it may be very appealing.

I think ScrapGirls has it half-right. Digital scrapbooking (if you intend to print your pages) isn’t all that much cheaper. But it does allow you the flexibility to choose when you incur a large part of that expense – and that could be very appealing to a lot of people right now.


[Bookshelf] The Art of Pregnancy Photography

art-of-pregnancy-photographyOne of the things I wish I had done was take more pictures of what I really looked like when I was pregnant with my daughter, instead of just the few “standing sideways belly shots” that I took at milestones throughout my pregnancy. A lot of women feel the same way and are starting to want to celebrate and remember how their bodies look pregnant. Maternity photography is a fast-growing segment of the specialty portrait market, and is a market that deserves exploration from Scrapbook Update readers who also run photography businesses.

The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George may be a good place to start exploring that market. This book seems to cover all the basics for portrait photographers looking to move into the maternity photography segment including specific poses and composition, and lighting and marketing techniques specific to this type of portrait. The excerpt I read does seem like it may be a little heavy-handed talking about the psychology and practical issues of working with pregnant clients, but this could be because the author is assuming that the vast majority of her readers would probably be male (and therefore have never been pregnant themselves).

If you are a freelance photographer who has been looking for a way to expand, maternity photography is a hot market. This unique book is leading the way (it’s the top seller for its keywords on Amazon) in explaining how to do it.