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?'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!