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Archive | September, 2011

Trend Watch | Baker’s Twine

I’ve been scrapbooking long enough (and I’m sure that many of you have, too) to remember a time when “fibers” were all the rage. Whether brightly colored or muted, sleek or fuzzy, thick or thin, fibers could be found in almost any color and made with nearly any material imaginable. The fiber craze eventually gave way to the sleeker, more elegant ribbon trend, but recently a more sophisticated type of “fiber” has emerged as a new scrapbooking must-have: baker’s twine.

Baker’s twine can be purchased in massive spools (that are literally measured by the pound rather than by length) at baking and restaurant supply stores, but many scrapbooking and crafts manufacturers are producing this new staple product in both smaller quantities and a larger selection of colors to cater to those who need a bit more variety (and a smaller size) than, say a 10 pound spool of nothing but red and white twisted cotton string.

Some stores such as The Twinery have popped up in the last year or so and offer baker’s twine as either their only product or their main product. Twine from The Twinery is available in fourteen different colors with new additions occasionally being made (Stone, Buttercream, and Denim are the most recent new colors to join the lineup). Consumers have the option to buy The Twinery’s twine in either large 240 yard single-color spools or in a smaller sampler pack that includes all of the company’s colors in less expensive (and easier to store) 15 yard skeins.

Divine Twine is another all twine, all the time seller with a selection of twelve different colors. They carry both the traditional color/white twist variety of twine as well as a specialty “Air Mail” spool with a red, white, and blue color scheme. Divine Twine is only available in large 240 yard spools from their online store, though a search on Etsy turned up several sellers offering the colored strings in shorter length variety packs.  Continue Reading →

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Suzi Blu Moves To Stampavie

Stampavie has shared exclusively with Scrapbook Update that mixed media artist Suzi Blu has signed with the company to create a signature stamp line. Suzi Blu was formerly with Unity Stamp.

New Jersey-based Suzi Blu is known for her folk art based designs that feature portaits, and for her offbeat personal style. On the transition to working with Stampavie, she commented:

Something happens when two people get together that are meant to be together, that’s me and Heidi. More than a working relationship we are friends of a like mind, and enthusiastic to take the stamp world and show them what mixed media is all about! We foresee not just creating beautiful stamps to be used in traditional ways, but transforming the occasional crafter into an artist. Our stamp line is the starting place that will inspire the limitless potential that is inside each one of us to create unique and personalized works of art worthy of decorating walls. I couldn’t be happier about collaborating with a company whose vision is not just to get by but in essence, to change the world. Continue Reading →

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Noteworthy | 9.16.2011

The big happening this week is in Minnesota, where there are more of the craft industry glitterati (and ink-eratti?) gathering to teach, work at, or attend Archiver’s ScrapFest than you’ll see outside CHA. In fact, ScrapFest may arguably be the biggest consumer craft event happening in the United States this year. If you’re in the area – watch for your favorite craft personalities. Between ScrapFest and The Creative Connection event, the Twin Cities are crawling with crafters and industry leaders!

For those of us not at this weekend’s event, we have plenty to be excited about and check out. Here are this week’s noteworthy stories:

Tim Holtz announced that he has worked with Ranger on releasing a limited edition set of seasonal distress inks. The set of three fall colors (ripe persimmon, gathered twigs, and seedless preserves) will be sold together as a stacked set. Continue Reading →

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Paperclipping Roundtable #83: The 6×6 Paper Pad Show

Tammy Tutterow joined the Roundtable this week to talk about all things 6×6: why it is trendy, our favorites, and what to do with it!

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To listen to this 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:

Subscribe for free to Paperclipping Roundtable on iTunes

That link will open in iTunes and take you to the subscribe page, and then you can click on the “subscribe” button.

Subscribing in iTunes is one of the best ways to support Paperclipping Roundtable. Using iTunes is free, and subscribing is free. (If you don’t know how to use iTunes to subscribe, you can watch a video here that shows you how.) Continue Reading →

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Combatting Creative Burnout

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you just didn’t have the creative energy to sit down and make a scrapbook page. Is your hand up? Because mine definitely is! If we were all in a room together, I’d tell you to take a look around, because you’re in good company – I’m willing to bet that almost all of us have raised hands at the moment (and you can put them down now, by the way). No scrapbooker ever feels 100% like scrapping all the time. Sometimes we get creatively frustrated, sometimes we’re tired and stressed out by other situations in our lives, and sometimes we just get a serious case of the “I don’t wannas” for no reason whatsoever. It just happens, and there’s no reason to think that you’re alone or that it’s the end of your scrapping world when it happens to you. Instead, take a deep breath and read through these five ideas for helping combat your creative burnout.

1. Take a Class

If you’re tired of constantly having to come up with your own layout and project ideas, then maybe it’s time to let someone else take the driver’s seat in that regard. Project-based classes, whether taken in person or online, usually provide a pre-planned project (often with step-by-step instructions) along with an instructor who helps and coaches you along in completing the assignment(s). They are also often accompanied by a kit or list of pre-selected supplies that take all the guesswork out of  your selections. Classes are also great way to gain exposure to new ideas, learn new techniques, interact with other scrapbookers, and, most importantly, get projects done! In a nutshell, project classes remove all the parts of scrapbooking that may be sapping your energy right now by taking care of those things for you, letting you focus on the fun part – simply enjoying making stuff!

Check out your local scrapbook store to see what classes they offer. Mine hosts a variety of project workshops each month ranging from layouts to cards to mini albums, with a few home decor projects also thrown into the mix. If you don’t have a local scrapbook store, don’t despair – there are a huge number of online classes to choose from, and if you look around a bit you’re sure to find one that’s the right fit for you. Some of my personal favorites are:

  • Big Picture Classes: They offer a wide range of both “live” workshops and self-paced instant download classes from a variety of instructors covering a huge range of projects and topics.
  • Get It Scrapped/Masterful Scrapbook Design: Debbie Hodge is the driving creative force behind these sites. Get It Scrapped offers a number of classes for both paper and digital scrappers along with some great photography courses. Masterful Scrapbook Design is Debbie’s monthly offering, and each “issue” covers a different scrapbooking topic in depth and includes video, audio, webinar, and PDF content put together by some of the industry’s top talent.
  • Got Sketch/Got Crafts: Got Crafts is the home of Valerie Salmon’s scrapbooking classes, including the popular “Got Sketch” programs. Some of her projects and older “Got Sketch” classes are available as instant downloads, and from time to time you’ll also find live Got Sketch classes in session, as well.
  • Ali Edwards: Ali Edwards began offering downloadable project classes on her web site about a year ago, and I’ve found them to be reasonably priced and stuffed full of content. Her “Scrapbook On the Road” class is one of my personal favorites.
  • Shimelle Laine: Shimelle‘s classes are one of the best values I’ve found in online scrapbooking education. Each one is filled with so much content (her writing is superb) that is emailed directly to you in PDF format and also includes access to an online forum for students to interact.

There are many, many other options available for online classes, and I encourage you to take some time to look around at all the offerings. I’ve also got a post on my own blog that shares some advice on choosing online classes and may be helpful when considering your choices.

2. Organize Something

If your brain hurts just thinking about making layouts, then stop thinking about it! Focus on an organizing project in your scrap space instead, and leave the layout planning for another day when you’re feeling more up to it. This is a great time to work on a “mindless” task such as sorting through your paper scraps, cleaning off your scrapbooking work surface, or putting stacks of previously completed layouts into albums. If you have a little more creative brainpower at your disposal, you could also use this time to sort, edit, and print photos to have on hand for the next time you do feel like making a page.

This could also be an opportunity to evaluate whether your current storage and organization methods are the culprit behind your lack of creativity. Is the mere thought of digging into your supplies to find what you need for a project what’s holding you back from scrapping? If so, take some time to consider how your organizational process could be revamped to better suit your creative needs. Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvey have authored an excellent book on this topic, The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker, and you can also find literally thousands of photos and ideas for organizing scrapbooking spaces by browsing blogs and scrapbooking forums where your fellow scrappers are more than happy to share what does (and more importantly what doesn’t) work for them.

3. Become a “Creative Consumer”

By suggesting you become a “creative consumer,” I don’t mean that you should run out and buy a new stack of scrapbooking supplies (though I do think that an infusion of new supplies or a generous dose of window shopping from time to time is a wonderful creative pick-me-up). For me, being a creative consumer means gazing upon the lovely creations of others without any guilt whatsoever associated with the fact that you have no intention of actually making anything based on what you’re seeing. So go ahead and soak it up! You have my permission to browse Pinterest, peruse scrapbooking galleries, and read magazines to your heart’s content! My only rule is that during this visual feast you are not allowed to put any pressure whatsoever on yourself to actually do anything with the items you’re browsing. Now, if you see something that jumps out and you and screams that you simply must act on it, then by all means go ahead. But if you find that you spend two hours browsing and are more than happy to look at a project, say, “oooh, pretty,” and then move on to the next one, then that’s perfectly okay, too!

I don’t know where the idea that it’s bad to collect more ideas for cards, layouts, and projects than you will use originally came from, but it and the guilt associated with it seriously need to die right here and right now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time to read magazines, surf scrapbooking galleries, and browse Pinterest with absolutely no scrapbooking-related agenda in mind. I firmly believe that anything creative that passes from your eyes to your brain is beneficial, whether you choose to sit down immediately and make something inspired by what you’ve seen or you simply let some or all of it sift into your creative tank to be pulled out later, possibly in some very different form than the one that it came in as.

4. Change the Canvas

If you’re feeling like you’re in a creative rut, it’s possible that all you really need is a change of scenery. Sure, 12×12 layouts may be your forte, but if you’re not feeling inspired to make them (or whatever your creative canvas of choice is) lately, why not break away from your usual crafty rhythm and try something different? If you usually make 12×12 layouts, try an 8.5×11 page or even a mini album. Or try switching from layouts entirely and make a few cards or tags – the smaller scale canvas may be just the thing to get your creativity going again. You may even discover along the way that you enjoy the new format and want to make it a permanent part of you crafty repertoire, or the opposite could happen and the difficulty of switching gears to the new size could send you straight back into the arms of your beloved standby. You’ll never know unless you try!

5. Shake Things Up With A Different Craft

I don’t know a single scrapbooker who hasn’t indulged in at least one other crafty hobby at some point in their lifetime. In fact, most scrapbookers have stashes of non-paper supplies hidden somewhere in their house: the remnants of half-finished cross-stitch samplers, partially completed quilt tops, or palettes of abandoned paints and pastels. Some of these projects and items may be years old, long forgotten and shoved into crates and bins in the deep recesses of attics or basements. If your scrapbook mojo is all locked up, then perhaps it’s time to revisit one of these lost loves. Spend some time getting reacquainted with an old crafting flame, and you might just find that your scrapbooking creativity flowing again too.

If revisiting an old craft project doesn’t appeal to you, then how about stretching your creativity by trying an entirely new one altogether? I have a long personal list of crafts I’d love to learn some day – knitting, crotchet, and beading, just to name a few – and I’m willing to bet that you do, as well. Why not shake things up creatively and try one of them out? It doesn’t have to be an expensive or all-consuming endeavor – just seek out a class or a local specialty store and buy only the supplies needed to complete one project. The simple act of making something – anything! – may be just the kick you need to get your scrapping in gear again, and you may also discover a new crafting love along the way.

If you’re feeling like you’re in a creative rut, I hope that some of these ideas will help you to either move past it or even learn to enjoy your scrappy life as it is right now, even if your creativity isn’t currently at its highest point. In the end, scrapbooking should be enjoyable and not feel like work, so focus on the fun of it and parts that you do enjoy and leave the rest for a time when you’re feeling at your crafty best.

Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest scrapbook news?

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Trendwatch | 6×6 Paper Pads

One of the latest trends to take over the scrapbook world is actually small in size: 6×6 paper pads. These little items are becoming almost essential items for inclusion in any new paper collection release in recent product cycles.

I bought my first one about two years ago, and I’ve accumulated quite a few now (and these were just the ones in my stash that I could find easily). They’ve become one of my favorite ways to buy and use paper.

Continue Reading →

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Noteworthy | 9.09.2011

As the first full week of September comes to a close, it seems education is a big theme this week. Not only are the kids back to school, but new craft classes are popping up all over the place! This week three very different classes make my noteworthy list, as well as some great tutorials and a sale that you don’t want to miss.

Christy Tomlinson announced that she has a new workshop coming this fall: She Art Workshop #2.

 In this workshop, I delve more into the smaller details on how I make my She Art girls, including their hair, face, clothing,plus some really fun technique to make those even more unique!  PLUS I will go into how to create simple faces on your She ARt Girls!

The class begins November 7th, and registration is just $35 when you sign up during September. There is also a discount for those interested in signing up for this new class and the first She Art class. More information and registration is available on Christy’s blog.

Designer Digitals is having their quarterly sale – and with the entire store priced at 30% off, it’s noteworthy indeed! Shown above are just a few of the 39 new items just posted that are of course included in this weekend’s sale. With a lot of new product from Ali Edwards, and with such a huge selection, both digital and hybrid crafters do not want to miss out on the opportunity to save big. The sale ends at 3am EST next Wednesday (9/14) morning.

Get it Scrapped! announced a brand new digital scrapbooking class with Jana Morton called “Blending and Beyond”:

Jana  Morton has a passion for preserving memories, and she pursues this passion with a unique and appealing style. Jana breathes new life into everyday photos using the tools available in Photoshop. In “Blending and Beyond” you have the opportunity to look over her shoulder while she works and, thus, understand the techniques and artistry that are a part of her signature style.

Students will have an “over the shoulder” view of Janna as she creates six digital layouts over six weeks. To see the class schedule, get more information, and to register for this $65 class ($55 if you register before 9/16) visit the Get it Scrapped website.

The Crafter’s Workshop templates are hot – they made Scrapbook Update’s top 10 for CHA, I did a video post about them, and they are popping up all over the place! Scrapbook.com is having a buy two, get one free sale on them right now, and that’s not even the noteworthy part today! The real exciting news is that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is doing a series of tutorials on her blog that focus on her templates with the Crafter’s Workshop. “Stencil-a-palooza” looks to be a great resource and chance to see get new ideas for these stencils.

Welcome to Stencil-a-Palooza!  Several days a week for the next month or so I’ll be featuring one of my eighteen stencil designs for The Crafter’s Workshop!  Each post comes with a giveaway.  Leave a comment answering the question-of-the-day and you might be the winner of that day’s featured stencil in both 6×6 and 12×12!

With videos, loads of project images, and the added bonus of give-aways this is the start to an amazing series I am really interested in. So far she has done a Chevron post, and a Herringbone post, both of which are exceptional. Watch her blog for more!

There is a cool tutorial up on the Ormolu blog this week, showing how to make this unique hybrid scrapbook page. Creative team member Kaitlin Sheaffer shares the how-to as well as some tips and her inspiration behind the page. Her design process as well as combining digital and traditional into her title is really neat.

Jenny Doh announced that she is bringing back her first on-line class “crafting my best life” this fall.

Crafting My Best Life, Class of 2011 is the same quality content that the founding class experienced, being offered to a brand new group of students. The curriculum helps us get real, dig deep, and explore the answers to these questions which are complex and multi-layered. It’s a curriculum based on a belief that in order to be the best that we can be, we have to roll up our sleeves, and work hard to deliberately face who we are, and to identify our values, so that we can map out our best life strategies.

Class begins October 3, and the $98 fee includes a kit that is mailed to students upon registration. For more information, to see Jenny’s video about class, and to register visit the Crescendoh site.

Shimelle is known for her informative posts on her blog, and her Camera School series is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Rather than making my head hurt with technical lingo, she breaks down information in a format and style of writing that makes sense and is helpful.

I promised I wouldn’t make this technical. I promise to keep that promise. And that’s because my entire process for taking a picture is about stripping away as much of the technical as I can. Basically if you can totally figure out just a couple basics, then the rest gets really easy.

Her lesson 2: let ISO set you free post that she posted on Thursday is a great installment, and I look forward to more. All of her Camera School posts are listed here.

Finally, in new and exciting product news, Simon Says Stamp has all of the new Tim Holtz stamps (wood mounted and cling!) as well as some of his new idea-ology products and some seasonal die cuts in stock now. Over at Scrapbook.com the much anticipated new Studio Calico lines are in-stock this week as well.

“Noteworthy” is a new regular weekly column at Scrapbook Update. Have something new & noteworthy to share? Feel free to leave a comment, or if you have something you would like considered for next week’s column, email may@scrapbookupdate.com with a link or press release.

Check out May’s latest class at Big Picture Classes:

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Trendwatch | Old West

With vintage inspired products being so popular, it comes as no surprised that products that are reminiscent of the old west have been seen popping up lately around scrapbook stores. From cowboys to horses, boots to bandannas, all kinds of products are available in a wide variety of styles. In fact, while researching this article, I’m finding that not only are cowboys and the wild west popular, but there is also an increasing presence of prairie and farm life themes as well.

The Tim Holtz stamps, Creative Imaginations “Wild Spirit” lineMelody Ross stamp, and Fiskars punch shown above are just a few of the offerings I’ve found recently.

What I like about the products available is how useful they are. The old west products being put out could be anything from a general kid layout to pages of a county fair or pony ride. They are also good for layouts of being out camping or in the wilderness, or just a general “moments” page as well. The aged look and classic patterns of the old west give a great feel and mood to projects, without forcing the western theme.

Here is a card I created with the new Webster’s Pages line “Western Romance” :

Supplies – Patterned Paper: Webster’s Pages (Western Romance – Country Fresh). Ink: Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Victorian Velvet). Die Cut: Making Memories Slice (Happy Trails). Alphabet Stickers: Glitz Design (Teeny Alpha Wood Grain). Misc: white card, green thread.

What I really like about the Webster’s Pages “Western Romance” line is that it is soft, feminine, and feels very romantic. The patterned papers all have one side that is very neutral, and the embellishments could be used in any number of ways. I can’t get enough of this new line – it truly is, as the name implies, a beautiful Western Romance.

Looking for something more bold and lively, more man-friendly? Then watch for the new Sasparilla line coming soon from October Afternoon. With a more playful approach, and lots of fantastic double sided patterned papers, I think this one will be a hit with scrapbookers with boys, and those who just want a fun western feel.

I made a gift tag with a piece of this comic-style patterned paper from the line:

Supplies – Patterned Paper: October Afternoon (Sasparilla). Die Cut: Making Memories Slice (Happy Trails). Ink: Distress Ink (Brushed Corduroy). Paint: Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint (Rock Candy). Embellishments: Tim Holtz idea-ology (Metal Foliage), My Minds Eye (Lost & Found 2 – Sunshine brads).

October Afternoon also has a line coming out called Farmhouse, which has the feel of vintage farm life. I believe we will continue to see more vintage western and farm inspired products in future releases as well. Jenni Bowlin has always had a country vintage vibe, so check your stash for inspiration and products to use for a western look.

shown above: Graphic 45 Domestic Goddess – Farmers Market paper, Crate Paper Farmhouse – Farmer’s Market paper, Jenni Bowlin Homespun – Chicken Feed paper, GCD Studios bandanna paper.

Want to bring more of the wild west into your stash? Use brown papers, pens, and inks and don’t be afraid to crumple, stain, and otherwise age your products. Look for fabric in western motifs, add in bandanna or denim as well as gingham and other classic patterns as well. Play up the metal too- get out your metal brads and photo corners and play.

The best part about this trend is that it is not gender specific – the look works for all kinds of themes – and while new products are coming out, it is possible you may already have some great older products from companies like Cosmo Cricket, Jenni Bowlin, and more. What’s old is new, and I’m holding onto my hat for a wild ride into grungier, western-inspired pages in my near future.

If you would like to see my favorite “grunge-i-fied” technique, I invite you to visit my blog today for a tutorial.

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