Wednesday, 8 September 2010

To blog or not to blog...

That is the least these days. I was thinking just this morning that I haven't really done a good job of keeping up my blog. But really, is it any wonder?

It's back to school time, and with that comes waiting at the bus stop at 8:10 and 3:30, , Karate, gymnastics, Pre-school potpourri, cub scouts, Daisy's...and that's just for the kids! For myself I have a yoga class, a new weekly Bible study, Mops and all the meetings that accompany Mops....

The business goes about the same. In addition to the two classes a month I teach here at the store, I'm working for a new school district this fall - a scrapbooking class once a month throughout the fall. And just this morning I finalized the location of a new fundraiser crop at a new location. The month after the charity crop will be the next Scrap with Shelby get away weekend, in which I teach several workshops throughout the weekend.Well, you get the idea.

One has to wonder where to find the time. Is it too much? With all of that, you'd think I'd be over-whelmed. But honestly, I don't see it that way. I like having something for me. My business. It may be small and a perpetual state of fledging, but it's mine, It allows me to create, to step outside the box, my comfort zone if you will, even if just for the hour or two I can devote to it.

I guess that's what scrapbooking is to a lot of us too, right? Sure it's preserving wonderful memories or a chance to get out with the girls... But it's also a chance to create more than what is ourselves. And that's worth making time for.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Boy's inspiration...

My friend, Zhanna, blogged about me today, so I figured I would put up the project I showed her for inspiration. In truth, I took this as a class several years ago at convention and never used the actual sample. However, it was an awesome class as I've used the ideas for several gifts to other boy mommies.

Anyway, the materials used for the class were all from the hardware store. To bind the book, we used zip ties instead of rings and window screening tied up as the "bows". For decoration, we used washers, hardware and dry wall tape in various forms and my favorite, foil tape originally designed for duct work. I love to cut shapes out of the foil for really unique embellies.

Check it out. you can spend $4 a yard on "scrapbooking mesh" or you can spend $7 on a roll and have a lifetime supply. Ink it chalk it, use it in masking techniques....there is no limit. To see the whole album, go to my forum. be sure to check out all the other ideas too!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Shimmerz Technique

This project is so very easy. I got the idea from the Oaks StampScrapArt Tour where I vendor called Just for Fun stamps was using this technique for cards. (If you are a card maker, check out their website for all their premade templates) They used distress inks, but I thought this was a perfect application for Shimmerz! If you like this, I am going to teach this in the August class. It will be great. Shown here is the feminine version. To see colors for the masculine version, go to the forum for the video link.

Any shape can be used with technique, but I chose vertical rectangles. Step one is to cut a template for yourself.

Use a 12 x 12 trimmer, and cut three rectangles. The margin is 1 inch at the top and bottom. Starting from the left, cut the first box 2 1/2 inches wide, starting at once inch in. The second box starts 4 1/4 inches from the left page and is 3 1/2 inches wide. Finally, the third box should be cut 8 1/2 inches in, and is 2 1/2 inches wide.

Step two. Lay the template over a fresh piece of cardstock. Gather several colors of Shimmerz spritz mists. I like to work on my Ranger Craft mat - it's a great way to keep your work space clean. Start to spray them over the template. I like to concentrate the darker colors around the edges with the lighter colors closer to the center. I then usually finish the entire project off with an extra shimmery color like Baby's Breath, Concrete or my favorite, Tuscan Sun.

Step 3 - After you've let your layout dry (usually about 15 minutes) keeping the template over the bottom paper, stamp several images all over the page. I think Staz on is the best. If you haven't tried stamping with Staz on, you will never go back! Nature stamps work beautifully for this, btw, but I could see birthday candles, different size letters or numbers, music notes... Really, there are endless possibilities.

And Voila! Remove the template and you are done! From there you have the basis of a beautiful layout. It's need only photos and some journaling, but stay tuned for next week. I 've order some of the trendy new stick pins. I'm going to finish this layout using some organdy ribbon, some lace, and those new stick pins.

To see a video of this technique, see the link in my forum here.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lions and tigers and bears.... oh my!

So I was sending a note to my meet up group this morning. Seems once again I was remiss and forgot to post the schedule to that particular calendar. I just want to smack myself sometimes...

But wait, is it really any wonder? In my note, I included all the ways to stay in touch with Scrap with Shelby. I mean, while the meetup group was once a wonderful thing for me (it immensely boosted my visibility in web search engines...) was it really worth the $150 a year I spend to keep it?

As I started posting the links, it was a bit astonishing..and more than a little overwhelming.

I mean, there is of course, this blog. Then there is my facebook page, the meetup group, the website with the classes and crops page, and of course my favorite, the forum. I didn't even list my you tube videos and apparently, I have a twitter page that my husbands plays with...

I would post the twitter link, but as you can see, I can't get in to even my own page

Do I have a point for writing all this? No, not really. I guess I am having some fun laughing at myself. In H.S. I took "Basic" as my computer course. It was cutting edge, and I remember struggling to just write that basic loop little character off, and it just wouldn't work.

Fast forward 23 years and I am blogging and facebooking and managing my own website and forum, and still trying to get everything in the right place. So in a way, while technology has changed dramatically in all that time, it still seems, to a degree, that I am still stuck in that loop.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Learning from my students...

So last Sat was National Scrapbooking Day. Yes, there really is such a thing, and it's usually the first Sat of May or so. I was already having a crop, but to maybe boost attendance and sales, I offered two extra hours of cropping, prizes, free technique demos and of course a special sale.

I was pleasantly surprised to have three new scrappers to the house in addition to some "regulars". Now with the regular crowd, it's a bit easier. I know their preferences, skill levels and how much they do - or don't - like demos and lessons. But with new folk, you just have to tread carefully, try not to get on their nerves and hope they like it enough to come back.

So after lunch time, I started a free demo and had some interest. I was working with SCAL with is a new program for me. I honestly told everyone I was learning too, but that I would cut anything they liked. So it went pretty well, and we continued to cut some more throughout the day, me learning as we went (can you weld them together? Can you find me a cupcake? etc etc) I still have a lot to learn, but wow, what an awesome program!

But then it got even more interesting. I noticed more and more that as I answered technique based questions about using Shimmerz Mists or stamping, more and more people would get up and come over what I had to say. What great fun! A teacher loves nothing more than willing and interested students.

But as I taught, and students learned, an interesting thing happened...As people showed me their creations using the techniques they learned, I learned more about the very techniques I was teaching.

Tammy learned that when she used paper to cover elements she didn't want misted...she could use the same technique to create a layered effect. She cranked out this gorgeous page:

So using that same idea, I took a hand cut template and layered Shimmerz for my own pattern. I just laid it down on white cardstock and sprayed with colors like rock-a-fella blue, plum passion, 4 leaf clover, and sea foam. At the end of most projects, I also tend to add a layer of tuscan sun to help blend it.

And Rachel, who was learning to stamp, reminded me how versatile stamps can be. Rachel was working one of the challenges from the Scrap with Shelby forum. Let's hope she posts the finished product soon in Rachel's Gallery

Sure you can stamp a flourish in the corners of the pages...but I forgot how stamping off the page can completely transform the page. Using the same stamp and color she did (because I loved what she did so much) I created my own background paper from shimmering lilac cardstock:

I guess that's one of the fun things about owning a store and being a teacher. Learning myself. No matter how much of an expert you become, you just never stop learning, and really, why would you want to?

I am already working on my new background pages to turn them into layouts. When I do, I will be sure to post it on the Scrap with Shelby Facebook Fan page. (Be sure to become a fan today so you don't miss any updates!)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Teaching classes - Challenges and joys.

Class last night was just fun. Had another new student, and she was so excited. I love those moments, when you see the delight in their faces as their pages unfold... So cool. It's what makes this business worth doing. Helping people make their pages - it's just a great feeling.

We did masking and Shimmerz in white on black.(I told you I was into Shimmerz these days...) I found the idea on the Shimmerz Blog and did a whole class around it.

I showed everyone how to make their own mask using cardstock on the Cricut (Use the Plantin schoolbook cart circle set at 3/4 inch, with 6 spaces in between each circle. ). Even if I was able to still get the discontinued circle masks, for each student to have their own would have added $3 per person. Using the cardstock cost about .04 cents per person. It's a challenge to keep that cost down, but important to me. I want everyone to be able to afford to come, especially in this economy. We even shared the shimmerz amongst the whole class. I stocked the 1 oz bottles for those that wanted to purchase as I am confident they will sell on their own. But no need to jack up class costs un-necessarily, right?!

Challenging...that's a great way to sum up what class can be. One of the biggest challenges is finding pages that are gender neutral enough to appeal to "boy mommies" and "girl mommies". Then their are of course, the grandmoms, the singles...It's a hard job, but one I enjoy. I've been teaching classes now for close to 5 years and still love coming up with new ideas to teach.And like I said, it's those moments with student when the walk out happy with completed pages that make the challenges worth it.

I love the idea I came up for for one of June's classes. I am using some older Bella Blvd paper I found at the back of their catalog. Half the line was sold out, but the bright colors and subtle patterns just spoke to me. Shown here is the feminine version. To make it masculine, class goers will simple swap the blue and pink for the more dominant color. Pretty fun, right?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Scrapbooking Life

So it was a rough weekend business wise. Went to a crop and it just wasn't a buying crowd. It can be frustrating only because there is so much work involved in setting up for a crop. It takes me about 2 hours to pack up, 2-3 hours to set up, the crop intself (in this case, 9am - 8pm which is 11 hours, then an hour to pack up, and two hours to unpack it back into the store. So for this crop, altogether I worked about 19 hours. I only made after costs, about $40 after costs. So that's $2.11 and hour....

Definately not getting rich in this business...

But there are always silver linings. I talked to a couple of new people who were interested in coming to crops. New customers are the back bone of staying open so that's good.

I practiced a demo with the new Shimmerz. I want to demo those next month down in Ocean City for the convention there, and that' s just plain fun. And I was able to complete some layouts.

I've been focusing less on milestones, and more on scrapbooking life. Those little details I want to remember, like blowing bubbles. For this one, I used the Scrappin Sports rub ons, Shimmerz,(LOL, can you tell I am loving this new product?) Crafter's Workshop Templates and of course my beloved white unibal pen. What would I do without that pen?

Want to do the same thing? I used Bo Bunny Kitchen Spice in Cinnamon (the blue side), and Shimmerz in Sea Foam and Rock-a-fella blue. To get the white circle, I used the Crafter's Workshop dot dot template with the white Unibal. I'm wondering now, if I should even add one more layer of the Shimmerz in Baby's Breath to give an extra layer of shimmer? hmmmmmm...

Next life event I'm thinking of scrapping? Eggs. That's right, eggs!

No, it's not an Easter thing... For some time now, we've been eating all natural foods, cutting out preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors. It's a challenge, but very doable, with a little homework. Now we are going for organic produce and hopefully soon, meat. For about the same price we pay now, we joined a growing co-op through a local farm that's not even 10 minutes away.

Today, I picked up local honey to help with my son's allergies to trees, weeds and grass (some believe the local bees pick up the local pollen and help with this. The stuff from the grocery won't help, it has to be local to what you're exposed to). I also bought some great looking fresh eggs. Did you know brown eggs simply come from brown chickens? It's becoming a new way of life for us, eating all natural and organic, and a part of who we are and what we believe in, so why not scrap it? It's life.

Friday, 16 April 2010

People are good

AS hard as this business is, people are good. I am bringing the store to the Phoenixville Senior Center tomorrow for a benefit crop. No big deal, it's something I do all the time. However, Josh's baseball schedule was released a week ago and yep, you guess it! His first game is tomorrow.

Josh has been waiting a year to play baseball. He announced last June that he wanted to play, but the season here goes from April to June. He had just missed it. I figured he would forget all about it. But ever new session at the YMCA, he would ask, "Is it time for baseball yet?"

So far, he loves it. He's learning all kinds of things... For instance, he learned yesterday that the first base was called First base, not second. I am, however, still trying to convince him that there are still only 4 bases, not one for each kid on the team. LOL

So thank you to those that offered to watch my booth tomorrow. It's nice to know I wasn't going to have to shut it down, because baby, it's baseball season!!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

I need a Back up back up

So I thought I was really with it. I had a great back up system. I burned my photos to dvd and stored one copy at home, and one in my bank vault. Yes, I have a bank vault just for storing my precious, no cash or stocks or expensive jewelry. I have the truly priceless things in invitation from our wedding, the hat Josh wore home from the hospital as well as his binkie, Katelyn's Chinese documents, and lots and lots of photo DVD's.

Enter the external drive. Isn't this a great idea? Just copy everything over to this 4 x 6 inch box and no more stacks of DVD's right? Great idea...until you drop it. Yep, doesn't like to be dropped, or in my case, pushed off the top of my too small desk.

Well, I am heart sick. Of course it never stopped working and never recovered the data. I have been more than anxious to get it back. It has all the pictures of Noah in the hospital in them, as well as the first few months of his life. There are precious few pictures of him in the hospital, you see,because he was so sick. Hour to hour, we didn't know if he would need open heart surgery, intestinal surgery or what. He spent most of his time hooked up to machines and in the special care nursery. I spent my time in a rocker when I wasn't allowed to hold him, or trying to figure out how to nurse him with 6 feet of wires dangling all about.

As terrifying as it was, it was also special to me. It was just me and him, although now he was out of my body. But it was a special time of bonding for us. I was worried if I could bond to a third child after not bonding to my second. During this time, it was impossible not to. Rob spent much of his time trying to take care of the other two, and getting the drs to make sense. I will forever remember my quiet easy going husband challenging the the CHoP drs full force, protecting his own...both me and baby Noah. So while bitter along with the sweet, it was sweet none the less.

It's going to cost about $1000 to get it back if they even can. It's the "if they even can" that makes me so heartsick. I don't have the $1000 to spend on something like that. So now that I have the quote, I will have to save up for it. I'm guessing it will take me a year of "saving my egg money" to get there, and another year of being patient to see those pictures (no, I never even got to see many of them - what newborn mommy has time to sit and look at pictures?)

So lesson learned...Even if you have a back up, make sure you get a back up for your back up.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Turning over a new leaf

I wonder how they do it. You know, those amazing people that always have new layouts on their blogs and brilliant things to say. How do they do that?

Do they work at 2am?

Do they have a nanny and cook?

Do they not sleep?

Or I guess the better question is, why can't I? Why has it been so long to update my blog. It sure hasn't been because I took a vacation. (OK, I did take a little trip to Orlando in Feb, and then get snowed out of PA...but that's besides the point).

I started this blog because a) I wanted to answer all those questions about what it's like to run a scrapbooking store. So many people thing it's so cool, that I wanted to bring to light what it's really like. Also, b) I wanted to promote the store...simple as that. Get a following who would like to shop with me too.

But I fell into a trap. I didn't want to post about the bad stuff, the hard part of it. I didn't want people to see the struggle stuff because that would be a bummer, right? In these hard times, who wants to read about the hard part of life...I mean we read blogs to escape all that, right? So I was going to be one of those brilliant people who had awesome new layouts all the time, and brilliant things to say (how is it that they do that again? There must be some secret....).

I wasn't going to write about getting turned down for the Ranger school or how I almost decided to close my doors in January, or how a big crop in the area turned me away as a one wants to hear that, right? No one wants to hear about what bums me out, nor I guess do they care.

But then it wouldn't be real. And I am here to write about real.

So I am going to write it how it is. I am not going to let Manufactures pressure me to take things down off the blog because it's less than flattering to them (yup, done that), and I am not going to sugar coat how much "fun" it is working with scrapbooking every day. I'm going to tell it like it is, complete with the good the bad and the ugly.

BUT, and this is a biggie... I am also going to share my passion. I've been in business close to three years now, and it's been harrowing to say the least. I recently joked, I am a stay-at-home-mom by day and a scrapbook store owner by night, and wondwe woman in between! I have three kids under 6, a husband and household to take care of and a business to run. A business that requires technical skill (website) business knowledge (taxes anyone?) teaching skills and artistry. Sunday I had 21 people for Easter dinner. Yesterday I balanced keeping my 1 year old happy while completing a new sample layout that was needed last week for a class I am teaching down in MD. Today I was crawling all over the floor building a geotrax train layout and tonight I am going to take another stab at the business taxes I've already invested about 16 hours into....

So maybe Harrowing is not the right word....."Karazeee" might be better! But one of the things I've learned is that people don't start this kind of business to get rich, it's because they are passionate about it. They simply love what they do, and so do I.

So I am turning over a new leaf. I may not have new layouts to show you every day... (seriously, how do they do that, somebody tell me, please) but I will share my passion with you.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Using Gel medium on a layout

Hi Everyone. Don't forget about the Basic Grey monthly program with free album mentioned in the last post. The sign up link is on the web.

In the mean time, a couple of new how to videos have been added to the forum. For those of you that couldn't attend the very popular Nov class, I've show the techniques on masking and gel medium, as well as some new stamping techniques. Very easy!

Part 1 is here:

And Part 2 is here

Friday, 8 January 2010

Looking For Basic Grey Participants

OK, I want to take part in the Basic Grey kit of the month. It's only available to retailers, so you won't find in a local store somewhere. Here's what you get:

  • Double Layout kit each month

  • Sketches: BasicGrey will continue to include layout sketches for every month.

  • Simplified, improved full-color instructions: instructions will be more basic and easy-to-follow with a large image of the layout for reference.

  • Techniques: each month, your students will learn one new tech- nique to incorporate in their scrapbooking.

  • New generic themes: your students will have different themes to choose from, with different journaling prompts so that they can scrap about whatever they want—and let their imagination and creativity soar.

  • FREE EXCLUSIVE ALBUM at the end - only for those that do this kit!

  • It will use new product instead of past lines

  • Can be done here at the store, or sent out as a kit - I will split the shipping with you.

    Here are some samples of the kinds of layouts you might do. You will not get these layouts - these are actual classes from last year's club:

    Go to this forum post if you are interested, or Email me directly. I only need 6 people to run this...
  • Tag #1 step 2

    OK, let's talk about color. What papers do you want to use? What "icon" will you use? Start thinking about color choices when picking paper.

    For the base, I will show you another techniques to get a similiar effect to the distress ink. I will also show you some options to do the distress ink technique but with inks you have on hand, and if you don't have a craft mat.

    So get your paper ready, include a relatively blank base like white or cream carstock, and a supply of inks or paints in colors that complement your color selections.

    Tuesday, 5 January 2010

    "12 tags" conversion contest - Tag #1

    We all loved the tags of Christmas from Tim Holtz, but admittedly, many of us didn't have the time to try it. Or if we did - who wants to give these works of art away to be thrown out with the wrapping, right?

    OK, so what I will do is have a "tag" contest of my own where I will tackle one tag each month (12 tags = 12 months) and talk about converting it into a layout of any subject. I will (or any of you!) to talk about how to use existing materials you may have if you don't have the arsenal of Ranger products Tim has at his fingertips (bless his heart - oh to have his awesome talent!).

    I can also talk about the products he uses if you do want to invest in them. If I get enough orders for say, the rock candy distress, - I usually have to buy in 3's or 6's, I will offer a 20% discount on it. Or if you are into the distress inks or the non stick craft mat (which is awesome btw...), but can't find some of the more popular colors, I can order those in at the same discount (did you know there is a whole new batch of colors coming soon?) Sounds like fun? If it's not on the web - just ask for it!

    OK, here's the first tag:

    For today, start with what theme you want to use. Holidays? Seasonal? Birthday? Just a good hanging around shot?

    Thinking ahead theme wise, You will need either a stamped shape that you like for the swirl and the snowman. Don't have a stamp? How about a Cricut or Sizzix shape? Don't have a die cut system? Go online to Clipart and print out a generic shape on whatever printed paper you like.

    I've done this and it works well. I once needed a dolphin embellishment for a layout, but didn't have one in my stash or in the store. I went online, found a children's coloring page and printed on paper that matched my layout. I cut it out and used pop dots to attach and it was perfect. You can do the same thing here.

    OK, will post more tomorrow the next step

    Note, challenge will be due Jan 31st entries can be posted here as links, emailed to me or posted on the forum. You will have to register first to post on the forum, but not to look. (Approving people before they can post cuts down on spamming signiifcantly!)

    Monday, 4 January 2010

    Remembering Christmas - Final thoughts

    Well I never made it back before Christmas - know why? Cause I chose to drop everything and spend 10 days dedicated to my family - no work. It was awesome!

    But alas, it's time to return and I find myself although incredibly swamped, excited at what the year has to bring. But before I move on, I'd like to finish up just a little bit about remembering Christmas.

    So some final thoughts.

    How did you do? Did you let the holidays get to you or did you stop to take the time to remember them? Here's the biggest question of all. While you scrap those photos, and pass those albums on to your kids, how much of you is in them? Is it all the rest of your family or are you there? While it great for them to have pictures of themselves, don't forget while they are your albums now, eventually they will be their albums.

    You put the pictures that important to you in your albums, but what pictures will be important to your kids - and their kids?

    Let's compile a list of pictures to take with you in them.... That way you will have the list ready for next year - I'll make sure I re-post it come Thanksgiving 2010. I'll start, but please add on with your own traditions or ideas for pictures:

    1) Getting your tree (at a farm, stand or down from the attic) and setting it up

    2) Decorating your tree or house

    3) shopping or wrapping presents

    4) a tradition - maybe it's the turn over of holidays...for me it's typically Thanksgiving weekend. I put away the fall stuff and take out the Christmas. I figure if I go through all that bother, might as well have them up for awhile

    5) Baking cookies or a traditional holiday fare (We make home made ravioli on my Italian side... Rob's mom makes a seafood chowder every Christmas eve for which I still need to track down the recipe)

    6) Ornament shopping

    7) opening presents

    8) Putting cookies out for Santa (We also go outside and leave reindeer food)

    9) Family time as you go visiting... who is the big host?

    10) Reading the Christmas story

    11) Christmas pageant

    12) Those wonderful home made decorations that come home from school "wrapped" for Mom and dad

    13) Your favorite gift - mine was a cheap $3 "The best Mom" coffee mug Josh bought at his school holiday shoppe. It came from his heart, so to me it's might as well be made of solid gold!)

    Next year we can talk about how to fully depict the traditions these pictures represent and what you can do during the season to record those memories

    For now, please add some other picture ideas!