CHA: Making Useful Buys

Retailers shopping at CHA to stock their stores are searching for the best, the items and lines that will sell the best. But what as consumers should we be looking for? It is easy to get caught up in the hype and the glamour of fresh new product, but it’s important to stop and look at what will be useful, vs. what will look good in your stash. A few months ago I wrote an article about maximizing your budget, and today I will share some tips for what to look for in new products to help you pick items that will be useful and add something good to your crafting.

1: Beware cute packaging.

This one gets me every once in a while, but I try to be good! Sometimes the marketing is just brilliant and things are packaged up so incredibly cute that I can’t help but buy them! The downside? I get home, remove the packaging that was so adorable and I’m left with average product that I wouldn’t have otherwise bought. This isn’t true in every case – but before you buy that adorably packaged item, ask yourself what is inside that package, and if it’s worth it without the great wrapping.

2. Ask yourself how you would use the item.

This is key! Whether it’s paper or a new tool, ask yourself how you envision utilizing it. If I can’t think of at least three situations I’d use it in right off the bat, I don’t even consider it. If your answer is “oh I don’t know but it’s just so fabulous!” then step back, and do not buy.

3: What does the item remind you of in your own stash?

Sometimes, you’ve already got something that is similar, or that could be substituted out for this new product, and it wouldn’t actually add anything unique or special to your crafting supplies. If this is true, then you can skip it and go to something else. Unless of course, it reminds you of a product you’re constantly running out of, and the fresh look will be welcome!

4: Useful papers vs difficult papers

Paper is a big thing in scrapbooking (ahem, it’s the base of all my pages!), and if I ask most any paper crafter, it’s paper that they have more of than anything. It’s important! It sets the mood, it should enhance your layout and photos, and so much can be done with a sheet of paper that it’s arguably the best value you can get! That said, the cutest pieces of paper are not necessarily the best choices. Papers that look more like they should be framed, that you can’t envision cutting up or covering with photos should be left behind. I love a good busy paper filled with elements and bold design – but it’s not easy to use and I don’t use them often. Small patterns, repetitive motifs, and papers that have fewer colors are much easier to make work into projects that I love.

5: Easy on the themes.

I know…I get excited about themed product. Show me a stack of new Halloween product, and I’m squealing and grabbing. But wait! Just how much theme product do I need, and what should I choose? My first article here on Scrapbook Update was in fact about picking holiday supplies, and I also have a new series of articles planned soon that will showcase getting the best of the crop of themed supplies coming this fall!

My top tip for you though, is to look at the projects you’ve been doing. What “must haves” from 2011 that you purchased have you been using, perhaps even re-purchasing? What patterns of paper, colors, designs, and looks work for you? Also take a minute to look at the projects you’ve made recently and see what direction you are going in. While you might love a trend or look, will it work for you and your paper craft projects? Staying true to your own style and making projects that are uniquely you are the biggest trends in the papercrafting industry at the moment. And isn’t that great? Not only are the choices exceptional right now – but you’re also encouraged to do be your authentic self.

15 Responses to CHA: Making Useful Buys

  1. Denise July 17, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I’m going for kraft and cream as my base pages and building what I need from there. Of course I do lots of pinks with a little DD. I’m mostly looking for inks and Christmas items for my Christmas Journal, so that will be my main focus. I’ve already decided on getting Graphic45, BoBunny, and Echo Park papers as my main pp purchases. 🙂

  2. Cindy deRosier July 17, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Well said! I agree with every point. I’m definitely guilty of #5- show me a cute Halloween or Christmas line and I’m all over it, even though every year I only scrap a few pages for each (not to mention, I already have enough paper for those two holidays to scrap at least the next decade or two…)

    • Laura July 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      Lordy!! I will second that statement!! Such a sucker for Halloween stuff, I don’t take near enough pictures to use up all I have AND my kids are almost too old to dress up and go out trick or treating.

  3. Judy Webb July 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I have a moratorium on buying paper….until I use my stash. Single best advice I would give to newbies: Do not buy paper on sale unless you have immediate use. Styles change so quickly, and so do you. Unless you are artist, blending papers can really be a challenge. Yes, to cream and kraft. Another piece of advice, remember, we are saving memories, not making a statement about art.

  4. Gab July 18, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Thanks May. I love your idea of asking yourself can you use it 3 times or in 3 ways!

  5. Sandi July 18, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    This is excellent advice!!! I must have a inch and a half high stack of Fourth of July paper and a ton of embellishments, and one layout to show for it. Not to mention, Christmas etc.I was a total theme junkie, About the packaging, sometimes it is so darn cute you almost want to put it in your cart before you know what is in it. lol Thanks for the great article May.

  6. Tricia July 18, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Great reminders of how we can live within our scrappy budget and still have the best of the newest products.

  7. Judy L Dickerson July 18, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I so agree with all u ladies …I started scrapping probably 10 yrs ago.. and was working had to have every paper,now we are on social security and money is TIGHT , so I use what I have ..we are not putting stuff in a gallery and chances are only close family and friends will see this unless u enter in a contest ..its to keep memories safe for our children and in 20 yrs ..who cares? they’ll say ‘ oh, look how I looked then and probably not pay attention to the lay-out u slaved hrs over…so think before u buy and u won’t have a stack of 4th of July papers to use up ..sell them at a crop or such.

  8. Jennifer Wilson July 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I’ve definitely found that what I’m attracted to most is not what I end up using in my pages and projects. I love brighter colors and bold patterns, but they can be hard to combine with your photos. More subtle papers (clean lines but in toned-down color palettes and in simple patterns) tend to be what I reach for most often. I think this is why I appreciate the Studio Calico kits so much. The items, on their own, aren’t always things that would pop out for me, but together I can see the harmony and most importantly, the pure utility for my scrapbooking.

  9. Vicki J July 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    As an empty nester — I learned awhile ago that the cute holiday papers lasted way to long… I think you paper junkies would be shocked to know that I have been using the same holiday (Halloween and Christmas) papers for over 4 years now! This year I might actually need to pick up something!! But trust me find 2-3 peices of paper is more than enough— Don’t need the entire line! (boo hiss I know!)

  10. Stephanie Medley-Rath July 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m finding that since I’ve severely cut back on my scrap shopping I know better what I use, don’t use, and what my actual needs are. For instance, I popped into Hobby Lobby last week and the stickers (i.e., Thickers) were 50% off. Old me would have bought 8 packs in various colors. I left with two. I knew I needed a red (not maroon or brick red, but red) set of alpha stickers and I also knew I have been using a lot of turquoise, so I picked up a set in turquoise, too. I am a big fan of using your stash and I think the best reason might be because you then have a better idea of what you need (versus what you want) when you go shopping.

    • Jennifer July 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

      thickers were on sale? Darn, I missed it!! (lol!!) seriously, though, I am guilty of the “it’s on sale so it’s a deal and I should buy it” thing… especially with paper! and as slow as I scrap, I really don’t need any more paper. But it’s so cute!! I have found, that my style has evolved over time, but hopefully not so drastically that I can’t incorporate some of my older supplies into what I’m doing now– if not, I’ll use it some other way, or donate it. (some of my pages have come about strictly because I had a fun piece of paper paper, though, so I won’t ever stop gravitating towards pretty paper; I just need a bit of restraint!!)

      • Stephanie Medley-Rath July 27, 2011 at 11:10 am #

        Oh yes, at Hobby Lobby, if their stickers are half off, that includes Thickers. 🙂

  11. pegg July 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    You make some great points!! I just started scrapping and realizing the papers I love to buy (fun colors) don’t work with my photos. I also love cutesy things but don’t have kids. These mfgs keep coming out with beautiful products. I don’t have enough time to craft to keep up with the releases.

  12. Jo July 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    This article is excellent. Cute packaging, i used to be a sucker for it …
    at this point of the game if i find a line I love and i have used it in many situations, i will go out an purchase extra pages, especially if i still have embellishments on hand … instead of my previous practice of just going out and buying a whole new line with new embellishments.

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