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Tag Archives | Doodlebug

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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In With The New – And Keep The Old Too!

Over the last few months I have been working on purging my craft supplies. As I dig down into the oldest items in my stash (in the time before I was a mom), I’ve discovered something unexpected and wonderful.

Despite all the change, all the constantly evolving trends and new paper lines, there are companies whose products from several years ago are not only still viable but that also still coordinate – and can be updated with – their newer releases. While you might think this would make them stale, instead I believe this gives these products an increased value. I also believe that products from these companies will continue to coordinate and work with future releases. Having a longer shelf life in stores and keeping products relevant in my personal stash is a great thing for companies – and I’d like to take a moment to mention each of them:

The first company I noticed this about was Jenni Bowlin. I still have stickers and papers from years ago that remain just as useful and wonderful as ever alongside her current releases. Not only that, but I sometimes purchase her older products even today because they truly don’t go out of style. Thanks to her signature vintage style, consistent color palette, and ability to create products that are useful and coordinate together so well, I am still just as in love with my older products from Jenni Bowlin as with the newer ones. Jenni Bowlin made the Scrapbook Update Top 10 Hot Picks list for this last CHA show, and it’s no surprise to me. Her products remain timeless treasures.

At the other end of the design rainbow is the always bright and colorful Doodlebug. Known for bright colors and whimsical designs, Doodlebug continues to reinvent the very definition of cute scrapbooking supplies. By staying true to their adorable roots, and continuing to produce products like the above pictured alphabets and buttons, they continue to add onto their lines and create coordinated products that aren’t trend dependent. They base themselves on a core set of colors and a cute aesthetic. By continuing to market fresh product designs with great packaging, Doodlebug manages to stay popular with a wide variety of scrapbookers – from those who simply enjoy their colorful embellishments, to those who appreciate the whimsical designs of their sticker and paper lines.

Finally, we have another CHA Top 10 Hot Pick pick from Scrapbook Update to talk about. I purchased the woodmounted stamp pictured above years ago, and I was delighted to see that this new batch of releases from Tim Holtz included that same image in both paper and sticker form. This is just one example of how Tim continues to keep his ever-growing line of products fresh, while not discarding past designs. You’ll see a lot of browns and creams and kraft, as well as metals in his idea-ology line. The colors not only make it easy to mix and match products from various releases, but also make them perfect to customize to your own preferences.

I like unique releases that stand alone as much as the next crafter, but these brands are ones that have stood the test of time here in my stash, and not only survived my purging efforts but also amaze me with how they still coordinate the older product with the new.

While I feel they are too young to say for sure, I believe there may be several other companies who will choose to follow this path of keeping older product relevant and somewhat coordinated with newer product. Specifically I have my eye on Studio Calico and the Girls’ Paperie, as I’ve been able to mix & match all of their releases so far. There are also companies like KI Memories and American Crafts that continue to release alphabet and general embellishment products that are not tied to any one paper line. This too is something special, as these products are easily mixed with whatever you have on hand or wish to use them with.

I don’t believe that every company can (or should) make coordinating products flow from each new release, but it is a welcome discovery for my budget, and my stash when a company produces coordinating lines. Knowing that some will, and that I’ll be saved the time and energy of trying to find coordinating things for their older products is a lovely thing indeed.

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Organization: The Small Things

The littlest pieces of our scrapbooking stash can often be the most time and space consuming when it comes to storage and organization. Paper, stickers, brads, photos, and buttons – scrapbookers have dozens, if not hundreds, of these items they need to keep someplace. Today I am sharing my thoughts on storage and organization of these small items.

Perhaps one of the most debated topics in storage is patterned paper. By color? Style? Manufacturer? What’s the best way?

I believe vertical storage to be best, both for keeping paper from being damaged and for the ease of sorting through and finding what I want. Depending on your goals and what kinds of papers you keep, your needs for storage can vary greatly. Once upon a time I relied on a paper taker by Crop In Style for all of my paper. I have kept my cardstock in vertical storage by color for several years now, and I like the ease of use and being able to see when I’m running low in any given color at a quick glance.

While I like sorting my cardstock by color, I prefer to sort my patterned paper by brand. I find the vertical paper holders by Cropper Hopper to be phenomenal. Some of the ones I use today are the originals I purchased over five years ago – I’ve yet to replace any. To keep things from sliding around I keep them in a milk crate. This also allows me to store random papers between the files.

I used to keep my paper by color and patterns (polka dots, stripes, etc). However, I found that method to be a lot more work, and in the end more time consuming. When I would look for coordinating papers from a specific line or brand, I might have to look through all of my paper to find them. As you scrapbook, think about what would make things easier for you, and let that guide you in how you organize your supplies.

Next, let’s talk about stickers.

For the most part stickers and rub-ons get put into either a drawer or a small plastic tote (standing) where they’re easy to sort through. Lately though, I’ve been putting sticker sheets onto binder rings (available at any office store) and hanging them for storage. Being able to flip through the sheets quickly is a bonus, and I’ve found it to be a great way to keep new product out where I’ll see and use it.

The down side of the binder rings is that often you have to keep the stickers (or other items) in original packaging or punch a hole yourself. My solution has been to move them off of the binder ring and into a drawer or bin once they’ve been used a few times or no longer stay put well on the ring.

What about all those little bits? Rub-ons, tags, journaling papers, and other paper bits that need a home? To be honest, I’m not entirely happy with where I am at on this particular area of organization, but what I have for now is some very small drawers.

They are divided into small tags, journaling papers, and rub-ons. What I like about this is that it keeps things orderly, but I do not find digging through everything to be convenient for creating. I would consider either plastic bags (bound together with hole at top for binder ring) or perhaps a shoebox-sized container to keep the tags and papers in at this point, but I have hesitated because I’m not convinced either of those will be a better solution.

(Important to remember: Here in the real world, after the photos are taken, things are going to get used. Messed up. Worked with. Just because highly organized systems sound good, doesn’t mean that they work well.)

Next up is photos, and for me this is an easy one. I keep (fairly chronological)  Cropper Hopper Photo Cases full of my photos, as I choose to print any photos I want to keep. I consider digital files of my photos to be a back up, rather than my primary storage solution.

There are photo boxes of so many sizes and shapes, and some like the Memory Dock one pictured above come with a number of dividers to allow you to further organize your photos. While I like this concept in theory, once upon a time I tried to do this and found the set-size plastic photo holders to be too limiting. Sometimes I needed just a portion of one section for an event and then what? Do I add another event in? Leave the space blank? I wound up frustrated and wasting space. I like index cards in between events/dates in my photo storage boxes because they fit right in while allowing me to customize the amount of space taken by any given event.

I also keep a smaller box filled only with photos I’m wanting to scrapbook. Divided or open like the Martha Stewart box pictured above, it is a great way for me to keep photos grouped by layout, and access them quickly.

Finally, what about all those tiny items? Brads, buttons, pins, charms, photo corners, and other little bits can be frustrating because if they’re not stored in a easy-to-use fashion, you’ll spend a lot of time looking for that one special item. My first tip to you is something I learned from Tim Holtz: take stuff out of its packaging! By removing product from it’s packaging you’ll not only save space, but when you go to look for something it’ll be easier to find an item that will work for you.

Storage by type or by color are both equally effective in my experience. Stacy Julian has an excellent video blog series on her color storage system going on that I highly recommend watching to see embellishments stored in that way.

If your space is limited and you crop a lot, I cannot recommend the Urban Stamp Tote by MiMi enough. I purchased mine when it was brand new, and I’ve loved it ever since.

Don’t be put off by the name – I find it to be more useful for tiny bits than stamps of any kind. It can be kept open at home, then folded up, put in its tote, and hauled off to a crop. I consider it one of the best splurges I ever made in craft storage and organization.

Another choice for more compartments and a more permanent solution are boxes like this one by Craft Design. They are fantastic for tiny items, especially because keeping them in a shallow drawer makes them easy to access. Before you purchase a crafting one, though, visit your local home improvement store and look in the garage storage area. Storage boxes for nails, drill bits, and other small home improvement items are often a fraction of the price of crafting items if you don’t mind utilitarian colors like gray. Here’s one from Home Depot. Another great place to look is fishing or outdoor supplies. Tackle boxes are fantastic!

I keep color drawers for buttons, and I also put random bits and tiny chipboard by color in these drawers as well. What I love about a container like this is that the drawers come out. So if I am needing a number of green buttons, I can pull the drawer out and work with it, then return it to it’s spot when I am done. I choose not to organize everything by color though. I keep pins, charms, brads, and many other items according to item type. It’s a personal choice, and it works for me because all of my small bits and pieces are kept within my set of drawers here.

Jars are another great storage option for small pieces. Doodlebug has a series of jars available. I use some glass jam jars (purchased at the grocery store) that are wonderful. If plastic is a better option for you just look in the storage (or kitchen) departments of any store like Target. I keep my flowers in a plastic tub and dig through it when I want some, and I have used small jars for sequins, beads, and other small accents as well.

The bottom line? Personal preference, space, and style all need to be considered. Keeping things simple, and easy to both use and keep organized is key. One final tip I have to share is that I suggest avoiding lids. For some items in jars I think they’re fine, but in my experience when I use boxes, totes, or small containers with lids I end up throwing them (the lids) out. Why? I want ease of use, and for me sliding drawers or items with no lid is a step easier.

I will be sharing a third article on Friday covering the miscellaneous bits and pieces of my stash, along with a number of posts on my personal blog this week as well. If you have questions or comments I welcome them here, or I can be reached at may@scrapbookupdate.com

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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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