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Archive | May, 2010

Organization Talk: The Big Picture

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Organization Week on Scrapbook Update! This week we will be bringing our readers a whole series of articles on scrapbook organization. Today, we are starting out with May’s discussion on the basic philosophy of how she chooses products and systems to use that are right for her.

I have been crafting for a very long time, and struggling with organization and storage for nearly as long. From pulling supplies out to sit at a TV-table to having my own space, odds are I’ve crafted in nearly every way possible in every home I’ve lived in. This week, I will be sharing a three part series with my thoughts on craft storage and organization.

Whether you have a dedicated room or a shelf in a closet, a small or large stash of supplies, every crafter knows the need for storage and organization of supplies. I have three rules I believe in strongly when it comes to this stuff:

  • Simple is always best. While highly specialized products are visually appealing, the more simple methods are more versatile, and will serve you better over the years.
  • Be OK with change. Over the years, I have changed my style, needs, and way of creating (not to mention the space I craft in) too many times to count. I understand that change, re-organization, and re-prioritizing is not only OK, it’s part of the process.
  • It’s only good if it works for you. I will give a number of suggestions of items that have worked for me, but that doesn’t mean my way is the only way. Items are only useful if they are useful to you. Don’t jump on a bandwagon just so you’re not left out – do it your way and create happy.

To start off, I’m going to talk about the big stuff. Before you get into detailed organization and how you store ribbons and buttons, it’s important to think about how you’ll work, and what pieces you’ll need.

A wheeled tote may be just the solution for all your needs if you have a small stash and need something portable. For crafters who attend a lot of crops, or for those using dining room tables or other family areas for crafting, this can be a great product. I recommend MiMi brand to anyone looking for a great wheeled tote or bag of any kind. I’ve been really pleased with their products.

For a much less expensive alternative, I suggest a plastic milk crate. They can be purchased at any number of stores (Target, Wal-Mart, office supply chains, etc.) and are a great tool so long as you can lift them. I have been using this method for at least ten years, and not only is it budget-friendly, but as a basic container they are versatile and can hold any number of items or smaller storage containers.

What if you are fortunate enough to have space for a dedicated table or desk? My top suggestion is to go for a work surface that is both wide and deep to give you plenty of working space around your layouts, not just space for the 12×12 paper you may have out in front of you. I found the desk pictured above at Ikea, and it’s worked as everything from my scrapbooking table to printer and computer holder to kids’ art table. The desktop is adjustable and can be raised or lowered a great deal – something I’ve taken advantage of over the years to change it from standard seating height to bar stool/standing height. The single shelf above as well as the adjustable square shelf have made this a great piece in my studio.

Remember: A simple design that can suit your changing needs is a good thing.

My second suggestion, when it comes to tables and desks, is to look outside the craft zone. Crafters aren’t the only ones who need work tables. I found this heavy duty workbench (similar to this product) at Costco. Because I needed a long, narrow piece to fit my space, I purchased it. The height, which is great for standing scrappers as well as keeping little fingers off my stuff, is a huge benefit to my needs, and thanks to its simplicity it will work in any number of capacities as needed.

Important to remember: While plastic-top tables may be less expensive, keep in mind that some craft techniques demand a harder, less flexible surface such as wood and won’t work on softer, more flexible surfaces.

Finally, don’t forget to look around your own home, garage sales, and extended family for used items that are no longer needed. I have a desktop set of shelves and my children’s former diaper table both in my studio. I actually purchased the diaper table with a future sewing table in mind, so it’s nice to finally have it to myself!

Shelves like this by Doodlebug are adorable, and no doubt useful to as any variety of supplies can be stored on them. The price tag of such specialty craft items can be unfriendly to the modest budget though, and so before splurging I believe in making sure it’s the absolute perfect item for you. While much less attractive, I’ve found a number of simple shelving units (both wall and floor units) from hardware, bed & bath, and department stores (like Target) for a fraction of the price.

Bottom line: Let your needs, usage, space, and budget determine what you use – not trends or what looks cool!

My studio is in no way magazine perfect, or the vision of vintage shabby chic loveliness that I wish it could be. I choose to be OK with this because it’s the most useful, productive space I could imagine within my limitations of space and budget, and for that reason I am happy. Whatever your budget, style, and space restraints, making the most of existing furniture and purchasing pieces that will be useful to you in a number of ways is the first place to start.

Want to hear more? I will be posting two more organization posts here this week, as well as posts on my personal blog about my studio and organization as well.

Preorder the new edition of The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker from Amazon.com for only $11.43!

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And the Cricut Circle is…

Provo Craft has put up another splash screen promoting their new Cricut product called Cricut Circle, and it leaves little question that the Circle is not a machine…

It appears that the Circle is going to be some kind of membership club with benefits including exclusive cartridges available to members. And with “Charter member invitations coming in June,” Cricut fans won’t have to wait until CHA Summer to find out what it is all about.


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Paperclipping Roundtable #21: The Sum Of Our Stories

Paperclipping Roundtable #21 with me and Jessica Sprague, Ana Cabrera, Noell Hyman, and Izzy Hyman is now available for listening! This week we chatted a lot about scrapbooking as storytelling.

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To listen to this week’s episode, you can use the player embedded above, right-click on this link to download the file to your computer, visit the Paperclipping Roundtable web page or to make things easy, you can use this link:

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Show Notes:

This episode of Roundtable is sponsored by Big Picture Scrapbooking! Click here for a promo code for Paperclipping Roundtable listeners to use to save 10% on any class at Big Picture Scrapbooking!

The Panel:

Picks of the Week:

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CKC-Nashville Canceled, New CKC Locations Added

Creating Keepsakes has announced that CKC-Nashville, which was to take place Aug. 27th-28th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, has been cancelled for 2010:

As you may be aware the location for CKC-Nashville, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, has suffered severe damage from recent flooding. In working with our contacts at the Gaylord Opryland, it was determined that the facility would not be ready for CKC-Nashville and so we regret that we are cancelling the 2010 CKC-Nashville.

Since no alternative location was able to be secured in Nashville, in lieu of the cancelled Nashville event Creating Keepsakes has announced that it is adding two new locations to the CKC schedule for 2010:

Paula Kraemer, Creative Crafts Group VP of Events, told Scrapbook Update about the changes:

I was heartsick about the devastation to the Gaylord Hotel and the adjoining Opry building.  We have been going to Nashville since 2003 and I have many friends that experienced major flooding.

Kraemer and her staff are working with the affected vendors to transfer deposits to other events or refund them if necessary.

Registration had not yet opened for the canceled Nashville event. Registration for the new events in Cincinnati and Virginia Beach will open Wednesday, June 2nd.

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Review: Simple Stories by MemoryWorks

MemoryWorks is a rapidly growing direct sales scrapbook company that I first learned of a few weeks ago. They sell many top brands. I was impressed by the lines they sell – many of the trendiest items on the market today are in their catalog. Simple Stories is new for them, a product line designed by MemoryWorks with the intent to simplify scrapbooking and take it back to its roots. The debut kit “Life Documented” is now available.

I was intrigued by the premise of this kit the moment I opened the box. I have noticed a rise in the trend of using page protectors that are divided into various sizes, not to mention a movement toward encouraging scrapbookers to do their own (guilt free!) crafting. I think that is a great thing. I can simply stick photos from a vacation into 4×6 divided sleeves and add them into my album – less work, faster results! This isn’t a new idea, because these kinds of page protectors have been around a long time. However, it’s great to see it rising in popularity again, and I like that MemoryWorks is focusing a product line on simple, fast to put together scrapbooking.

They sell the bundle of 10 page protectors shown above for $5.50, as well as a variety of other page protector options. The Life Documented kit of supplies is priced at $16.99, and includes a variety of 4×6 journaling cards, as well as larger pieces and strips to go in the various sized dividers. It also contains patterned paper, a sheet of stickers, and six photo overlays. Note that all of the pieces (with exception of stickers and overlays) are provided as part of 12×12 sheets and you will need to cut them apart. This is actually nice – you can further customize or decide what and how you’re going to use the products.

The price seems fair market value for what you get, but not a value price point in my mind. The paper is a good thick quality, and the patterns are really pretty. Now, for me the patterns and styles do not match up with my idea of ‘quick and easy scrapping’. They are bold, some I would consider complicated to work with, and with all the pink accents and flourishes it’s a touch more feminine than I’d like in a ‘life documented’ kit (even as a mom of two girls). Ultimately, this isn’t a problem for me. I do really like the product and (as I would any kit) I knew I would find ways to utilize it in my own way.

I did have one issue with the stickers not being sticky and falling off my projects, but I’m told that this was due to the product I received being an advanced sample. [Editor's note: I played with the stickers from a second kit that I have and the adhesive seemed fine in that kit.]

It’s a really fun kit – especially if you’re into the grungy and distressed look. It includes an idea sheet and on the MemoryWorks blog there are also free digital (PDF file) downloads that compliment this kit.  I tried several times, but was not inspired to create using the divided protectors. I will be keeping this product in mind when I do try my hand again at that style of scrapbooking. I think I just don’t have the right photos to pair with the product in the divided protectors without converting images to black and white. Since I don’t use black & white photos usually, I’ll instead be sharing traditional layouts made from the kit. (Do be sure to watch for a future article with divided page protectors though!)

Here is the first layout I created with the kit. I added in some Basic Grey brads as well as a Prima Flower and three buttons to complete a “fast & easy” page. I put my focus into “get the story told, do it quickly” as the product line is intended to be used. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the product all comes together.

Next I tried something a bit different. I pulled out some cardstock of my own and scrapbooked a candid shot of my daughters.

(additional supplies used: Prism cardstock; Prima flower; Martha Stewart Punch; unknown thread and buttons)

I would strongly recommend this kit to anyone that enjoys the distressed look and likes to work with coordinated kits of supplies. As someone who doesn’t often use whole sheets of patterned paper I appreciated all the bits and pieces I could pull off and utilize. I will be watching for future product from this line, as I’m both impressed with the designs and loving the inspiration behind it.

If you’re looking for product that you can use with divided page protectors, this would be a big winner for that as well. In fact, MemoryWorks has provided Scrapbook Update with a kit (and set of the page protectors as pictured in this article) to give away to one lucky reader.

How to Enter:

All you have to do to be one of the lucky winners is leave a comment on this entry before Midnight U.S. eastern time on Monday, May 31st. Make sure you include your email address in the line reserved for it on the comment form (for your own protection, don’t put it in the text of the comment, where it will be visible to the public – just in the line labeled “email” in the form where only Scrapbook Update staff can see it). We will need it to notify you if you are a winner. Winners will be drawn by random drawing from all eligible entries. One entry per person.

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Lots of Changes at Creative Memories

A couple of recent St. Cloud (Minn.) Times articles have detailed a series of events at Creative Memories that seem to indicate the company is still working on recovering from its bankruptcy last year:

  • Asha Morgan Moran, the last remaining member of the Morgan family to hold a position with the company, resigned as the company’s Global President & CEO last month after the board of directors decided to replace her as CEO and offer her a different position. She was replaced by Chris Veit, who joined the company as COO after the bankruptcy.
  • The company announced May 11th that it was cutting 30 jobs, 6% of its payroll, mostly in its St. Cloud offices.
  • Sales from Nov. 2009 to April 2010 “suffered” in the recent words of Veit to the St. Cloud Times.

In other key statements to the media recently, Veit indicated that the company plans to release new products in August, and also acknowledged that the company cannot rely solely on growth in digital product sales to rescue the company.

In a related matter, although it doesn’t directly involve Creative Memories, former employee shareholders are still involved in a lawsuit against various individuals and firms that the suit blames for the loss of the employee shareholders’ pension value in the company’s bankruptcy. The only progress that has been made in the case since Scrapbook Update’s report on it in January is the denial of a motion by one defendant to dismiss the case. Lengthy litigation likely remains in the case.

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