Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Whoa. I guess I should blog more often. Google has totally changed Blogger. Let's see how long it takes me to figure out where everything ended up. Good grief nothing is where it used to be. I hope I can find all the bits and pieces.

Well, onto what I originally came on here to post about. So I have a weekend crop this weekend and I have been doing some major organization and serious cleaning of the old studio. Not exactly a great thing to be doing days before a three day crop....or is it?

This cleaning spree has me seriously thinking about what I'm bringing to scrapbook for those three days. I haven't been happy with the amount I've accomplished lately. I figured out why. I haven't been prepping at home!

Prepping at home? Yup, prepping at home. I decided today that I am going to do more work at home. This should help me purchase less at the store also. I won't confess to how much I usually spend at a weekend crop. Yes, triple digits far too often especially since I have to pay for my hotel, about $100 in gas, my meals, a meal to share, and the crop fee. Yes, it is an expensive weekend, but it is lots of fun and I see friends who I live four hours away from.

So normally I just grab a ton of bags of paper. Each bag is a zipper bag filled with one paper kit/pack/stack. They are all sorted and cataloged by theme. I normally grab whatever is in the bin that matches the theme. I can fill a large rolling tote with just these bags of paper. I have been bringing a second rolling tote filled with cardstock. Then I have a bag that holds my completed layouts, a bag that holds my paper trimmer and seat cushion, and a bag which has my photo box, adhesive, scrap-ma-bob (drink holder that screws onto the table), adhesive, and a few other do-dads. Oh and my purse and my 31 soft sided color bag.

This is far too much to drag to my SUV, drag into the crop space, drag back to my SUV, load into my SUV, and drag back into my house. It usually takes me three trips to my vehicle to unload at a crop. This is taking me too much time and my body isn't a fan of picking up what feels like 40 tons of cardstock. So I decided my madness and slacking off at home needs to stop.

Since I have been in cleaning and organizing mode, I decided to start packing today even though I am not traveling until Friday morning. So what am I packing? And how? Well, I have these zipper pouches that fit into a bag and I'm picking out coordinating cardstock for my paper. I'm not packing the whole paper pack. I'm only taking the sheets of paper from the pack that I want to use. This should seriously cut down on my luggage and the weight. I won't need a body builder with me this weekend to hurl my bags about.

I'm also hoping to crop my photos here at home. Lately, I've been doing that at crops as well. I can crop the photos at home while watching tv. With tropical Storm Beryl out there raining on us for the next day, I should have plenty of time. Don't worry. I'm safe from Beryl. I'm very far inland and it's rained on and off today from her. Nothing major is coming to my neck of the woods from her. The dogs certainly aren't thrilled with her visit. They're not fans of water apparently.

Until next time *

Have you organized your work space lately?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Road Trip Saga

welcome packet to crop on the cape 2012
Ever plan a road trip? A serious road trip? One over a thousand miles away from home that last for 13 days and you were attending to weekend crops? Crops that lasted seven days? Yeah, that was me last month. It was wicked awesome! Totally exhausting, but so worth it! I got to see friends and family I haven't seen in over a year and a half. Some friends I wasn't sure I'd ever see again since {Colorful Creations} closed, but all of the ladies came to Crop on the Cape.

the home of crop on the cape
Here's the kicker, after Crop on the Cape I was driving to North Carolina. I went to Scrapbook Traditions for a three day weekend crop. Talk about driving! I was really sick of driving by the time I got to Winston-Salem and I still had a four hour drive home, but I had a few days to prep myself for that one. Good thing because I sure needed it.
a view of the croppers

With so many cropping days and not returning home between crops, I worked on a major plan for my crop packing. I brought much more than I usually would even dream. I had two rolling totes with me which is huge since I bring my small one to weekend crops.

My plan was to finally finish my birthday trip to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. That trip happened back in 2011. Nothing like being speedy and up to date with my layouts. :D The other pile of photos was to finish scrapbooking my friend's son's birthday party from last fall. I had started his birthday, but barely put a dent in the pile. Interesting mix of paper I tell you!

Thursday evening we kick off Crop on the Cape! It was such a wonderful time. I had so much fun seeing friends and visiting. Yes, we chat on Facebook, it's just not the same neither are emails. Face to face conversation and hugs truly are the best!

melissa brought a typewriter...yup she uses
it for all her texting :)
we're such a fun bunch
even kermit joined us
So I am scrapping away and finish my Riverbanks Zoo photos. Ummmm....hello? How did that happen? I had planned on working on them until at least Saturday afternoon! Friday I had two classes. One was a card making class with the amazing Jenn Shurkus and my second class was about photography with the fabulous Sarah Kristiansen. Seriously, the best ever photography class! I learned from her in an hour and a half than I have in the last three years! I really want to go to Rhode Island and do her workshops!
the fun cards we made in jenn shurkus' class

Because of my classes I kind of figured Friday would be a sort of lazy day. I knew I would be leaving the resort to eat lunch and dinner and then we had an ice cream social that evening. I didn't plan on accomplishing much. But I have to tell you I accomplished too much! How can that be? Oh just wait and see. Great, now I sound like Dr. Seuss.

Friday I start going through the birthday photos. I printed 262 and had scrapped maybe 20 or 30 of them.  I started to really look at them and see what I really wanted to remember from the birthday party and weed out the photos that were duplicates or of people not looking so attractive. You know the photos with the mouth full of frosting while biting down on a cupcake and someone snaps your photo. That deer in headlights with the mouth open look. Yeah, we didn't need to scrap those. Pretty sure we all want to forget about those. I also try not to scrapbook people's rear ends. Faces truly are better looking.
more ladies getting their craft on

I must have thrown away over 60 photos. That was a lot! Kind of was beginning to wish I went through the photos before I wasted the time and money printing them. Uploading can be such a nightmare. Then I started cropping the photos and was like hmmmmmm this is what's supposed to last me the rest of this weekend and all next weekend? I don't know about this. Well, get scrapbooking and see.

Saturday afternoon panic sets in. OMG! I finished scrapbooking all of the photos I brought with me! Thankfully, I brought my MacBook and I have like a trillion photos on it that haven't been scrapped. Ok a trillion might be a slight exaggeration. A teeny, tiny one. I decided to see what photos I have that need to get out the computer and onto paper.

Sadly, it dawned on me. I've never scrapbooked my first nephew's first birthday! The little man - I can't even call him a little boy anymore - will be five - YES 5 - years old next week! What a terrible aunt I am!
this is the table where i scrapped
and i've actually been to oak bluffs

I start searching to see where I can get photos printed and picked up in the morning. Remember, I'm on Cape Cod and not in Winston-Salem. Cape Cod is limited on some things. Thankfully, there's no super centers or other scary things like that on the Cape. It would ruin the beauty of the Cape. So I check out the usual places - Wal-Greens, Wal-Mart, Target, nope not nearby. CVS....hey I've never gotten photos printed there, but they are nearby as in less than a half mile away. Ding ding ding ding we have a winner.

Thankfully, the CVS website didn't take days to upload. I didn't have to fight with it and call it names. Yes, I have had to call some photo printing service websites some names when the uploading just isn't working. If you've printed photos ever, you've probably been there. If you haven't, oh one day you will.

Not only did the upload go smoothly, I found a discount code online! I got 25 photos for free and then they were only 10 cents each. Sweeet! So this crisis wasn't so horrible after all.
yes the crop on the cape is practically on the ocean

One of the beauties of Crop on the Cape is that you can scrapbook 24 hours a day. The ballroom is open to us the entire time. Very few crops can say that. Because of this I decided to stay up late and make a bunch of layouts so I would be all ready to stick my freshly printed photos once I picked them up and cropped them. I did say I planned on staying up late which I was thinking would be like 2 am. Oh no 6 am rolls around and I decide I'm finally tired and I probably should get some sleep. I did need to shower, pack, and check out of our room by 11 am on Sunday. Yup, I just made it by like 15 minutes.
who wouldn't want to scrapbook with this
view around the corner?

Then I needed to go to CVS to pick up my prints hot off the presses! The said they would be ready at 11 am. Well, guess what. My photos were printed by 9:38! I wish I had known they were done early. Why? I don't know. I had this crazy idea in my head that I could have gotten them earlier and I could have gotten less sleep as if four hours of sleep really was enough. Oh did I mention that my husband gave me a cold a couple of days before I left South Carolina? A lovely parting gift I tell you!

                 Cold + No Sleep + Crop on the Cape = Holy Cow! Are You Crazy? 

save the date
On Sunday, I cropped a bunch of photos and popped them onto the layouts I made the night before. I made 12 and figured that would get me through the day. I finished them all by 2:30. In about three hours, I cropped and adhered the photos to all 12 pages. YIKES! Good thing Crop on the Cape ends at 3 pm so I had a good excuse to start picking up and packing up and getting those last few photos in! Have to document everything don't you know? And I needed to work on the mad skillz I learned from Sarah.

This was my crazy Crop on the Cape experience. Would I go again? Heck, yeah! I'm already planning on attending Crop on the Cape 2013. It is St. Patrick's Day weekend. If you want to check out a pub for St Paddy's Day, that is an option or if you want to scrapbook with me until 6 am that's available, too!  

the goodies i won!
Oh and I won a door prize! Jayne gave away tons and tons of prizes. I was super excited to win mine. It's mostly Ranger embossing powders and they are ones I don't have. I have a little addiction to Ranger and all things Tim Holtz. The bag also included a Pet Eye Pen from American Crafts, a cute little house mini book, and a few other trinkets I gave to my sister-in-law. Lots of good great things happen at the Cape!

Until next time *

Good times. Good friends. 19 1/2 hours to get there. Priceless!

PS No, I didn't scrap all of the photos I printed at CVS. More to come on that saga soon! Remember, I went to North Carolina the next weekend to scrapbook!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Accomplishments Part 2

Remember yesterday's post? Here it is if you missed it. This post is a Part 2 because it was getting very long. Well, it seemed very long to me and maybe not others. Back to the packing for cropping chat!

Ok back to cropping! I had to get out my two cents about saving digital photos. So maybe it was more like 45 cents. Before you pack, think about what you want to accomplish at the crop. Are you social butterfly and like to chit chat more than crop? Then don't take everything you own with you. Plan a few small projects and pack for those.

If you are someone who spends half the crop shopping, think about that. Is the store close enough where you could spend some time the day or week before shopping? Are you shopping for the project you brought with you? Think about what you really need. Start a list and do all of your shopping at once. This will save you precious time. You won't spend 30 minutes wandering around the store hoping something jumps out and says, "Stick me on your page!" and then another 30 minutes two hours later and so on. I've done this and been incredibly frustrated by how much time I wasted.

Are you the serious cropper? That's me! I go in with a plan and what I MUST accomplish. If I fall short of that, then I get really annoyed with myself. Yup, I have scrappers OCD. Here's an example of my nerdy, OCD self:

I went shopping before a crop which was held at a large store, but I knew that they didn't have what I was looking from since I have been there numerous times. I went through the photos I had with me to scrap, the ones I had just gotten from my sister-in-law of my sweet nephews, and the ones I took on my trip. I knew I was not going to scrap all of the photos I had printed at CVS, but I don't have a scrapbook store anywhere near me. The closest store is about two and a half hours away and it's not a large store.

Unfortunately, I have to do the majority of my shopping online which does have some downfalls. You can't see or touch what your buying. Sometimes I'll order stickers online and when receive them, they are glittered which may be fine sometimes, but I am really not into pink glitter on boys layouts. That's just my thing. I do know a lot of scrappers will use pink, flowers, or glitter on masculine pages. I'm just picky and I know it.

This is the list of what I was looking for:

hamsters - zhu zhu pets
legos - with the uncle
ice cream

This piece of paper is well traveled and pretty ratty looking at this point. I did get some papers and embellishments at that store I was shopping at and at the one I was cropping at. One night when I went back to my hotel, I went to my favorite online store - A Cherry On Top (don't worry the link opens in another page so you won't lose your place here - and did a little shopping. The order arrived a day or two after I got home. I had forgotten all about it. It was like Christmas!

I still am hoping for a few more items so I have to search my other favorite places. But here are a few things I found that I am totally in love with!
  • Playground Kit from Echo Park - it's a 12x12 paper pack with 2 sheets of stickers and 12 sheets of double sided paper. Super cute and works for both boys and girls. 
  • Lego Brick Stickers from Creative Imaginations - who does love Legos?
  • At the Park Stickers from Reminisce - these are super cute a must have for photos from the park! 
  • Dinosaur Brads from Eyelet Outlet - I have yet to meet a little boy who doesn't love dinosaurs. I will get a lot of use out of these critters.
  • Playground Stickers from Sticko which is EK Success - totally perfect for playing in the backyard.
  • A Boy's Life Kit from Echo Park - totally perfect for the big boy - not a baby or toddler paper - in your life. Your big boy will be sure to tell you that he's not a little boy. This is made for him!
  • Ice Cream Brads from Eyelet Outlet - perfect after stopping for ice cream and snapping a few photos.
I didn't think to take a photo until I put everything away. Yup, I'm a slacker. Ok I promise to do better next time, but you can see the goodies on A Cherry On Top's website plus the other pieces that coordinate and what the prices are if you're interested in a little shopping.

Anyone know where I can find me some paper or nice stickers with a hamster or two? This Zhu Zhu Pet mania has struck my nephews and I must scrap their pets with them! 

Until next time *

Make a plan even if your not a planner. You'll feel like your accomplishing something!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Much Have You Accomplished While Cropping?

You will notice I have changed my Crop Counts around. What's my Crop Counts? It's where I keep track of how many layouts and photos I scrap at crops. It's located on the left side on the bottom.

It's interesting to see how much I accomplish. I can definitely tell which crops I seriously prepared for. Lately, I haven't been cropping my photos before the crop and that is a HUGE mistake. It's a total time killer at a crop! I spent about an hour a day cropping photos. That's way too much time. This is something I do occasionally while watching tv at night. I need to do that more often.

I've also noticed that instead of matching up my cardstock to my papers before I leave my house I am getting a lot less accomplished. Yes, it takes me about two hours at home, but I pack for about 60-70 layouts this way. I also don't have to drag around the rolling tote full of cardstock and another one full of paper. I felt like He-Man the last to crops. I needed some serious muscle power to left those totes up.

Where am I going with this? I was kind of bummed over my counts until I realized the numbers were dropping like a rock because I was being a slacker. Then while cropping in North Carolina I decided I needed to stop thinking about how many layouts I made.

I have been using anywhere from three to eight photos on a two page spread so why was I so hung up on getting fewer layouts done? When I was scrapping Cape Hatteras, it was all two 4"x6" photos on each page. In my world, it was B-O-R-I-N-G! Now, that works for many people and that's great! We're all different and unique. I would love to figure out how I can crop my ocean and beach photos without them looking like a three year old got a hold of the scissors. If you have any tips, PLEASE share them!

 So I started thinking about how many photos I was actually scrapping. And my numbers have really gone up! I may not come home with as many layouts needing to be embellished, but I am working through that mountain of photos that need to be scrapped. That is more important to me.

Here's my challenge to you.....stop thinking about layouts! Instead focus on how many photos are now scrapped, preserved forever, and no longer living in your computer. Watch your photo pile shrink over a weekend. It's very liberating.

Go to a crop with a plan. Figure out ahead of time what you want to scrap and only bring those items with you. Count up your photos when you pack for your crop. Write it down and put it with your photos. Just before you pack up to go home, count up the photos you have left and the photos you scrapped. Remember, every photo doesn't need to be scrapped. It's ok to throw away a printed photo. I do all the time....blurry ones, kid's picking their noses (ummmm I don't need to treasure that moment in time), etc. I also don't need five photos of the exact same thing at the exact same angle so those get pitched as well. Don't panic! You still have the digital copy or the negatives if you're using film.

Whatever you do, do NOT EVER delete the digital image!!!! Save a backup somewhere just in case! I say this because I know someone whose house burned down and she didn't keep backups. She printed and scrapped everything. She was up to date and current with her albums. Man, I wish I knew her secret! But she lost everything when she lost her home. She felt she didn't need to have a backed file of her digital images since everything was scrapped. I am not sure which she felt worse about - losing her house or all of her photos. She beat herself up pretty bad about the photos.

So for this reason alone - if you can't find any other - please keep a copy of your photos on dvds, an external hard drive, a cd, on a cloud (a digital cloud like Me from Apple), etc and keep a copy in a safe deposit box or at a relatives house. That way you will always have your photos no matter what happens in life. Yes, it's more work, but it's work you can walk away from. You can let your photos copy while making dinner, doing dishes or laundry, walking the dog, tucking the kids in bed, taking a shower or a bath, watching American Idol or The Bachelor or whatever fancies you, getting the mail, washing your car (please come was mine when your'e done! :D), dusting (wait, do people really do that?), playing with the kids outside, etc. You don't need to babysit your computer while it does the copying.

Until next time *

Pack light! Your back will thank you!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cat's Out of the Bag

I can now let the cat out of the bag and tell you what's up! I had to take a mini hiatus from paper crafting. Shocking and hard to believe, I know. But it's true.

You see, I was gearing up to go on a road trip and go home for a quick visit after I went to Crop on the Cape (which was wicked awesome!). I had to bring Christmas presents with me.....ummmm two years worth. Yeah, I am not a huge fan of this shipping gifts to family. I like to see them open them!

There were three lap quilts on my list of things to finish before I went to New York. Thankfully I did finish them all. I finished the last one the morning I left.

I finally got to take the long arm machine quilting class at my local quilt shop. I machine quilted one of the quilts on my sewing machine and it's not fun. I quilted the other two at the end of my class and wow was it speedy! It would have taken me hours on my sewing machine and it took about 30 minutes to set up and quilt each lap quilt. Zoom zoom baby!

First up is my sister-in-law's quilt. She likes pink just a tad so I went with chocolate and pink fabrics for her quilt. All three quilts are the same pattern except I made hers larger by adding an additional row. Sure made some good times for me with math. Math and I don't get along. Oh remember, you can click on the photos and the will open in another screen much larger.

Next up is the quilt I made for my oldest nephew. He likes baseball just a little bit. His face was priceless when he unwrapped the quilt. The back of the quilt is all stars. He loves stars. Every night he looks for stars with his mom. I didn't know that and was totally taken aback by the excitement. I knew he'd be excited about baseball, but he was much more excited about the stars.

The photos we took really don't capture the excitement in his eyes. Seeing that was priceless and well worth the 15 hour 17 minute drive to his house. His reaction made the trip totally worth it. I didn't even need to go to Cape Cod after that. My trip was made.

The last quilt is for my youngest nephew who's still a toddler. The last time I saw this little guy he was only six weeks old! My goodness he is getting big. He's walking and talking now. Oh and he blows kisses. That was just adorable when I left my sister-in-law's house to go to North Carolina for my next crop.

I've called this nephew "My Little Linebacker" since he was born. He was a very big baby especially since my sister-in-law is a very tiny girl. The Linebacker was also excited about his quilt and kept pointing to the large squares and talking. I have no idea what he was saying, but he was one happy little dude!

Sorry there won't be any photos of the boys and their mom posted with their quilts. I don't post photos of children online. There are just too many crazy people out there! If you are family or a close friend, email me and I will show you the photos. Some people don't like this rule of mine, but you never know who's watching or reading and I would like to keep the kids safe. Their safety is much more important to me than complaining grown-ups.

Back to the quilts. I made two of them in two weeks. One quilt I need to complete. They all were in different stages of completedness. Completedness? Did I just make up a new word? Hmmm....it's been one of those days. The toddler quilt was started back when he was a baby. The baseball quilt took me forever to find all of the fabric. I searched for well over a year. Who knew I would have such a hard time with something as common and simple as baseball?

There will be much more to come! I have lots to tell about my very long trip. It was a wonderful trip and I was sad to go home. Leaving New York was very difficult, but I didn't cry leaving my sister-in-law's house which I am very happy to report. I won't tell you how much I cried through New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia though. It was probably a bit easier leaving her house with my nephew in school and the other one blowing me kisses. I've now lived in South Carolina for 2 years minus a week and the homesickness definitely has not gotten better. It's making me rethink this whole living in South Carolina thing!

Until next time *

Miss someone? Tell them! You never know how happy they will be to here it. They miss you, too.

PS If there are some typos, please forgive me. My one eye is swollen and feels like something bit me. Things are a tad fuzzy visually today. I tried to catch everything, but if I missed something, please go easy on me. I have ice on my eye as I type this one handed and one eyed. No easy feat I tell you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Organization 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

Yeah, that's how I've kicked off 2012. I spent several hours planning and researching the internet for just the right storage pieces. My studio has lost the warehouse look it once had. Can't say that's a bad thing.

Once my research was complete and I had come up with an affordable plan, it was off to Ikea, Target, and Lowe's. Ikea is 2 1/2 hours away from me so I really had to have trip all planned out. I walked in with a list and somehow managed to find everything. I even found a few items that weren't on my list that were perfect for my newly redecorated studio.

Photos and details will be forth coming. I'm putting everything away first. It looks like a paper factory exploded in my dining room right now.

Once everybody has a new home, it's onto my super nerdy organization project. I am making a binder that lists every marker, stamp, Stickles, ink pads, re-inkers, etc I have so I stop buying dupes. I'm also making a list of my paper packs so I can match up my embellishments with them.

Yup, I'm getting all nerdy about organization this year. I feel like it's time.

Until next time *

When was the last time you could see the floor in you crafty space?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Long Time No See

Sorry for my absence. I had finals a huge project in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign due just before Christmas. Some students finished in two hours. I took a week. This project was my grade in two classes. Those two classes were 10 credits! I was freaking out!

The good news is I passed! Not only did I pass, I passed with flying colors. I ended up with a 4.0 GPA. I was shocked and ecstatic.

Then Christmas and New Year's came and went. Tons and tons to do then! Strangely, winter has never arrived here in South Carolina. It's been warm. The drought is still here and not getting any better unfortunately.

My quilt guild is doing well. I've got lots of quilting projects going on. I even became the Chairperson of the Quilt Show and the guild's scrapbook. Yup, a little on the crazy side I am!

Not much paper crafting going on unfortunately. Hopefully, next week that will pick up! My crop schedule has diminished to just about nothing sadly. The store I cropped at every other week closed just before Christmas. It was just over an hour away, but it was the closest place. Now, there's nothing. :(

I did just spend a fabulous weekend cropping away in Winston-Salem. My next crop isn't until March and then I have two of them. They're about a thousand apart though. I'll get to see my friends on Cape Cod and scrapbook with my sister-in-law like the old days!

I've also become addicted to Pinterest! Oh it's the coolest thing. Let me know if you need an invitation.  On the right hand side, you can see my account and you can follow me.

Until next time *

Get your craft on!

PS. Ooh for Christmas, I got a new super spiffy DSLR Canon camera! It's my birthday present, too. It's purdy!