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 valuable...no, no cash or stocks or expensive jewelry. I have the truly priceless things in there...an 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 vendor...no 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.