Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Fab Discoveries!!

But first...I want to shout out a WOO HOO! Memory Makers requested an "I Wish" theme LO for the January 2008 issue. It was my original idea for the Masters contest, but then second guessed that everyone will "wish" for their children, so I created another for the contest. Hope I made the right layout choice for Masters!

Today I want to introduce The Paper

Sunday at CHA I had no agenda...I just wandered around. In the far back room I came upon this row of fancily decorated tables... it was apparently a deisgner showcase of party tables with themes - the settings would put Martha Stewart to shame.

I get done checking out the tables and come around the corner to what must be the most remote booths in the entire trade show...and there on the end was a collection of papers that stopped me in my tracks - designed by Lisa at the Paper Element. Boy stuff, girl stuff, any where you go stuff... every single sheet of paper was totally delicious and I could easily be inspired and scrap with every one! As a designer, that was the big thing I noticed about CHA - I was either inspired by new product, or not. I will say that the mojo flowed very readily with some of the newer CHA discoveries. Without further a-do -check out The Paper Element. I love it all, but totally am drooling to get my hands on Coffee, Fruits, and Sweet. It's even better IRL - gotta get it now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Best Kept Secrets of CHA


Sunday I had no agenda...I decided to wander around and see what I missed. I think everyone gets so caught up in the new releases of the BIG names in the industry...that there are little gems out there with a treasure of products to offer. We can easily miss out on some of the best product out there when we walk around with blinders on.
One of my first discoveries on Sunday was My Little Shoebox, products designed by a very talented Helen Chu. Helen is all about details. Her embellishments remind me of some of the things I do when I am playing with product. She tops the glitter on her chipboard letters with glaze to ensure it stays put, she layers her large flower embellishments and adds glitter around the edges, her tag stickers not only have the option of a message on either side - BUT WOW - the sticker tags have holographic properties!!!!! This blew my mind - holograms are so fun to look at - my kids love holograms. I really think Helen's sticker tags are a breath of fresh air in the industry.
Take a look at her papers - aren't they beautiful!? Gorgeous papers with complete lines of coordinates. Alphabet stickers, epoxy stickers, treasure compacts with brads and buttons (and the compact itself is totally alterable when emptied) - Helen really has it all. She and her friend Tricia were a delight to talk to. I think I loved Helen's products so much because she really has thought of the little details - and if you know my style, I am all about that. For anyone who loves the look of detailed layous, but only has 30 min. - you can achieve that with Helen's products. For people, like me, who enjoy spending a couple hours on a layout - there is so much to play with, layer, cut out for a unique design.
Are you a teacher, or do you have a store that offers classes? Helen has project kits that have EVERYTHING in them and prepared for a class. I gave up teaching at the LSS as preparation was SO time consuming. Helen has done all the work for you in her project kits. These kits would be great for kit clubs as well. So please check out My Little Shoebox - the link has been added to your right - you WON'T be disappointed!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Surviving CHA!!

Well, I made it back...but I had to wonder if I would survive the last couple of hours in Chicago Sunday evening as the GPS system took us down North Cicero to go to the airport. (ummm, wrong airport!) Let's just say the doors of the car were locked, I could not read the signs or names on the shop fronts, and I felt very blessed and rich living in a 1,000 square foot home. I wasn't afraid of dying on Cicero...that came a short time later as we were speeding down the interstate trying to reach O'Hare in time for a flight. But enough about that...I am sure you will be able to learn more of "adventures at CHA" from my friends Stephanie, Melissa and Lynne at Homegrown Scapbooks. I just pray Lynne has made it home today. I know she did not make her flight, and I caught my nearly filled bus JUST in time! I haven't prayed that hard in years! (LOL)

Because friends had told me what to expect at CHA I did not feel overwhelmed. I went prepared with a new pair of Ryka walking shoes and Aleeve. My chiropractor was very impressed this morning that I needed little adjustments - we are chalking this up to the new Rykas. Thank you RYKA! The worst was having to lift my small wheeled suitcase onto my lap Friday evening at the end of the show day to allow the bus to completey fill. I knew I threw my back out, but returned to my room to rest a bit, take more Aleeve, and prayed it would go away. I felt great Sat. morning.

I had no set schedule at CHA, so could meander and stop at booths at will. I was so happy to meet Sharly at PageFrames, Deb, Stacy and Wanda from ScrapTalk, Tami at One Heart...One Mind, Jamie from BusyBee, and Laura doing MNTs at Your Pictured Memories. I actually ended up meeting lots of "avatar familiar" faces Saturday - it was fun! I did very few Make N Takes and focused on finding potential product for our kit club. I took very few pictures...can you believe it? I had so much to carry, etc. that I just couldn't do everything. It's funny how mfrs. either blew me away, or completely did not...there were "uknowns" who TOTALLY blew me away with product. My plan for the next week or two is to reveal the "Best Kept Secrets at CHA" on this blog, with some photos and links of newer companies that I really think will knock your socks off.

I was hoping to meet the editors of several of the magazines, but only Creating Keepsakes had a schedule posted of when you could "great and meet" the editors that I was aware of. I enjoyed meeting Cath Evaldson of PaperCrafts, who recently requested my Selah layout for an upcoming issue. I love that CK is launching severeal new magazines. ALso, I was thrilled to meet Brittany Mellen, CKs Creative Editor and show her a project that Lana, associate editor, had requested on the Thursday evening before leaving for CHA. We discussed the project and then I set out on the CHA floor Sat. afternoon and Sunday morning to obtain some vendor products that would work for the ideas we discussed. As luck would have it I learned moments ago that my project is too similar to the December challenge. Oh well...

My other BIG thrill at CHA was meeting the talented Wendy McKeehan and fabulous Miss Kitty Foster at the Memory Makers booth. I had them sign my own personal copy of "Finding Your Groove" - don't forget to check page 94! (LOL) Aren't these gals the cutest? I just loved the t-shirts that Wendy's sister had made for them...even if they did have a hard time catching their breath. (LOL)

Stay tuned...I plan to share and post more in between some project deadlins!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Growing up too fast!

This is what Jesse and I tell ourselves as we are watching our children mature this summer. Both are getting taller, but growth is showing up in their behaviors, too.

This morning Abby reports to me in an exasperated voice..."I NOTICED my brother doesn't like to help me, so I will JUST HAVE TO DO IT MYSELF! Uggg!" All in reference to the fact that she wanted to play Madagascar on Kyle's PS2 and he did not want to go downstairs to put it in for her.

When I told Kyle this he said, "yeah, you should have seen her...she comes to me with hands on her hips and accused me before she even asked!" Can you see the man and woman of the future here? I can. It seems a little frightening right now for a future husband for Abby, but hopefully she will change a bit! (LOL) BTW - Kyle did go put the game in for her when I asked. I admit, Abby demands more than she remembers to say the magic word in a nice tone, the latter of which usually gets some results.

Kyle has been enormously helpful this summer. Now that the pool is up he is the official water bugs and other debris out of the pool before we all go in. He is also very good at noticing plants in need of water and helps me with that - woo hoo!

I leave for Chicago in a few more days - Craft and Hobby Association Show...for all my family and friends who have no idea what CHA stands for. I wanted to be so organized with lists and charts..but so little time left. On Friday I will pretty much be on my own. I will be dropping of sponsorship letters for the Scrapbook Playground. Wendi is not able to disappointed I won't be able to meet her. I look forward to making some follow up contacts for the DT. I also plan to scout product for Selah Scrappers.

Then on Saturday I hook up with Stephanie Fearn for Selah, and it is my hope to lead her to the booths with product that I feel we must have, or totally inspired me on Friday. I even altered a pretty little notebook to write down kit ideas, sketches, product mixes and coordinates - so hey, even if I don't know what I am doing perhaps I will look like I do. (LOL)

I am really looking forward to meeting friends from the boards. Especially Deb from Scraptalk, Kitty, Kim, Crystle, Kelli and others I have noted on a chart as to where they will be when. I am really counting on my new Ryka walking shoes to get me through the three days, and plan to just stay on Aleve the entire time so my hip doesn't act up and put me out of commission. Prayers for my bod to make it through CHA would be appreciated. (LOL) ALso, please keep Jesse in prayer as he plays mom and dad for several days. I don't expect the house to get cleaned, but I do know he will play with the kids and feed them. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father of my kids - thank you Lord!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Color - You Are What You Wear, Right?

Seemed like a good reason to go shopping, so if you don't believe in that statement keep it under the rug. (LOL)
Aqua blue has long been a favorite of mine. Chocolate brown is another color I love on my scrapbook pages. As much as I have loved these colors for the past several years they have not been present in my wardrobe. Until today...
While all the manufacturer's are releasing sneak peeks of their new product lines, here's my sneak peek of some new additions to my wardrobe! Aren't they wonderful? What I would do to get my hands on patterned paper in these colors and prints!

Ok - call it vanity, but I am going to CHA in a couple weeks. My first scrapbook industry related tradeshow. I looked in my wardrobe... I haven't bought anything new this season, nor last I am pretty certain. The fabrics of my print tops have lost that smoothness that new clothes have - did I want to attend CHA as a designer wearing slightly shabby chic? That's not my style... or I would.

I love color - I love bold greens and pinks, black and red, and dark chocolate brown especially with shades of blue. I am always attracted to these combos when it comes to scrapbooking supplies. Well, today I went into my newly discovered "made for me" store - CJ Banks - and found these colors. I have never worn the color hair is brown, my eyes are brown - monochromatic is not me when it comes to clothing.

I have not splurged on myself in the NEW clothing department for years. Yes, I did buy 2 pairs of crop pants this spring...and a tank on clearance, but sometimes it's necessary. I have just melded into the world of CHOCOLATE - I love brown in my pages, but always avoided it in clothing. Now I wonder why - I just discovered I look GOOD in brown! I splurged, but in the most sensible way. $85 total and came home with a pair of crop pants, a black skirt with white floral print (and I have been in need of a nice black skirt for years - never found what I had wanted before). I found my FAVE color combo - chocolate and turquoise/aquas for a couple of tops, and a fab kiwi green printed T - and when I put that on my face really lit up. It's all about color -on the pages and on my bod. (LOL)

So hey - I just wanted to share my happiness in finding colors I love to wear. The best part is my greeting card sales can pay for it. If I can only find a red top to go with that black/white skirt I found today... (LOL)

Monday, July 2, 2007

First Week in July - Preparing for CHA

As I type this I am listening to some old recordings Jesse made of Kyle leaving messages for him at his workplace. Kyle must be 5-6 years old, and the messages are just cracking me up. It is amazing how his voice has matured. In one message Kyle is asking his father questions..."what does divided mean", and "what is toothpaste made out of?" So cute!

It is the first week in July. It is going to be a hectic work week -always is with a holiday or vacation involved. Tuesday the kids and I are going to visit my sister's family for the 4th celebration. My folks are driving us - which is so very sweet of them and alleviates any worires Jesse has about our old car. We look forward to the parade, fireworks, and time in the pool.

Speaking of fireworks, it's the first year Abby enjoyed them. We watched fireworks at Jesse's sister's home Saturday night. Sure, she covered her ears, but she was yelling out the colors as they burst in the sky and clapping along with everyone else. I love going to Nola's to celebrate the fourth.

Freedom. What a gift we have in this country. I came across a photo of Kyle in his grandpa's army jacket and cap for Halloween. It is interesting how one can have a plan for a photo, but months later the plan changes. Perhaps it is because Independence Day is soon to come, and I know that freedom is never free. Kyle prays for the soliders every night before bed...and that is going to be the focus of this layout. I wish I had time to get it down and share before Wednesday, but that won't happen.

My cards are selling really well at the Crossroads Coffeehouse on Main St. in Cross Plains. In fact, I was quite surprised Friday night to see the inventory is under a dozen. My next two weeks will be focused not on creating layouts, but making and restocking my card inventory!

I am also preparing for CHA - the big tradeshow for all things scrapbooking in Chicago in two weeks. I still have to review the schedule and get my tickets booked for Van Galder bus lines. I am not sure how I will ever find Stephanie Fearn, of Selah Scrappers, in the convention crowd without a cell phone. But God will bring us together no doubt! Steph told me to create a portfolio on a CD. I have spent the weekend gathering up my layouts, and am ready to burn CDs. Not sure that I will really be able to go around to the manufacturers and "sell myself". That is SO outside the box for me. I am really looking forward to meeting people I have only "talked to" on the message boards in person. I am so excited to meet my "sister" Stephanie, in person. I can't wait to meet Deb from Scraptalk, and Wendy from the Playground. Sure hope I am able to meet with these ladies and more! Have a great July 4th everyone!