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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet and Scrappy

Life has been quite the whirlwind lately!

In the past few weeks, I've hung out with a relative from Israel,

and discovered my new favorite spot in all of NYC......Sixteen Handles. (That's right--handles, not candles. I was highly confused by this at first.)

It's a frozen yogurt place with 16 flavors and countless, countless toppings--everything from gummy bears to cheesecake bites to chocolate covered pretzels to fresh mango! And (gotta love New York), it's all kosher!

Here were our debut yogurt selections:

Is it just me, or does the first one look way better? Not that I'm biased, of course:)

And since I'm in a sunshiney mood, I want to show you this mini album I created for Write. Click. Scrapbook a while back. It's full of random bits and pieces and lots of my favorite products, and just makes me happy to look at.

For the cover, I used one of my most favorite Elle's Studio journaling tags. Love this one so, so much.
The album is filled with random people, places and things that I love. I pretty much had fun and varied the design a lot!

Hmmm--food seems to be making a lot of appearances in this blog post. Oh, well:)

I created the front and back of my album by using binder clips and cardboard covers to keep it sturdy.

And that's probably enough images for one day! I will be back soon to pick some WINNERS though, so stay tuned:)

So tell me--what's YOUR favorite treat this summer? (Not that I need new ideas.....ha!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Creative Journey Blog Series--See who our first guest is!

Today is an exciting day because I get to share one of the little secrets I've had up my sleeve for a little while now!

I've talked on my blog before about how hard it can be to break into this industry. Even though I've been fortunate in my opportunities, I've definitely been rejected more than I've been accepted, and definitely struggled with the insecurity, questioning, and "why am I trying this anyway?" feelings afterwards.

The one thing that's always made me feel better is hearing stories from other scrappers who are very successful in the industry about how long it took them to get where they are, and how many rejections they dealt with on the way. If you're trying to break into the industry and struggling--you're not alone. And hopefully this blog series will be a good reminder of that!

Our first guest in this Creative Journey blog series is the fabulous Jen Jockish!

Here's what Jen had to say about her experience in the industry:

I began scrapbooking in 2004, after finding twopeasinabucket.com through a web search. I was completely in awe of most of the layouts I saw, and would frequently read the Pub message board. I was so impressed with all those women being published regularly and designing for manufacturers and companies. While I thought it would be fun to be published, I didn't think for a second my work was worthy. About a year after I began scrapbooking, I decided to submit some pages. I thought it would be a kick to see my pages in print. I figured the worst that could happen was they wouldn't be picked up, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. I began by submitting to Scrapbook Trends and Creating Keepsakes. After about 6 -8 months of fairly regular submissions, I got an e-mail asking for a page from ST. Needless to say, I was over the moon. I had a few more pages picked up by ST over the course of the next few years. Not once did I hear a peep from Creating Keepsakes and I was fairly regular in my submissions to them. I also applied for a few design teams and was rejected. There was one team that I was so excited about and thought my pages were a great fit for the company. That rejection was crushing to me, and it took time for me to regain some confidence.

Around 2007, something clicked. Until then, I was constantly looking through galleries and seeing page after beautiful page and feeling my work did not measure up. I would browse and instead of feeling inspired, I would feel dejected. Instead of creating pages from my heart, I was creating them from my head. I was trying to live up to what I thought editors and design teams wanted. I was constantly searching for ways to break the mold to create new and innovative pages. Really...it's paper and glue and it can only be done in so many ways. I was wearing myself out trying to figure out what other people wanted. I was just trying way too hard. So I stopped. I'd become so caught up in the frenzy of wanting to be published or on a design team that it was no longer fun. I stepped back from the on-line world of scrapbooking and began creating in my basement just doing what I wanted with no rules or expectations. I fell back in love with scrapbooking and with the simple joy of making something with my hands. I didn't question if the pages were good enough. They were good enough to me and that was what mattered. I began to tell myself frequently that "I made it - it's mine and it will be beautiful no matter what." Because to me and my family it was beautiful. I was creating by my rules and stopped looking for validation. I just had fun. Shortly after that is when the calls started coming. CK finally called and then kept calling. I am blessed to have had great opportunities in this industry. I firmly believe that they happened when I was finally able to let go and enjoy the ride.

Keshet asked me to share tips on how to break into the industry. While I am in no way an expert on this, I am an expert on my own journey and am happy to share my experiences. A few things I've learned -

Don't try to anticipate what editors, design teams or companies want. You have no idea what they're looking for. It could be something very specific or just a general design sensibility. If you're not chosen for something try to remember how subjective this all is.

Be consistent. I don't think that I am in any way the best designer out there but I am consistent. I'm consistent with my designs and am consistently on time. I believe a big reason why I've been given some great opportunities in this industry is because people know what they will get with me.

Be professional. That means no whining, no gossiping, no complaining. If you're looking to break into the industry and have this be more than a hobby, treat it like what you hope it to become - a job.

Be persistent! It took me 5 years of regular submitting to break into CK. Don't give up and just keep on pushing.

Find your niche and stick with it. Figure out where your talents lie and how they can best be put to use.

You will make mistakes. I've learned a few lessons the hard way and you likely will too.

Be yoursef and you will shine.

I love Jen focuses on keeping the love for scrapping, and being consistently and authentically YOU--wise words.

Here's a gorgeous layout that shows off Jen's beautiful style:

Jen lives in Central Illinois and is married to Brad. They have a 4 year old daughter Ayla and an almost 1 year old, Nora. When she's not scrapbooking you can find her curled up with a good book.

Jen has been scrapbooking for 8 years and has been fortunate to have been published in BHG Scrapbooks Etc., Scrapbook Trends and Creating Keepsakes as well as numerous other publications. Jen was a 2010 member of the Creating Keepsakes Dream Team and currently designs for Two Peas in a Bucket, Studio Calico and American Crafts. Check out her blog at http://www.gingergrace.typepad.com

Friday, June 24, 2011

Winner, winner take 2--and a guessing game!

First order of business: a new winner for the giveaway!

My random.org # was 33, and the winner is......(drumroll please....)

Ann said...

I purged just 2 weeks ago. I've got a stack of 200 sheets of paper and a box of everything else to donate to a local charity.


Congratulations, Ann! Shoot me an email at keshetstarr@gmail.com, and I'll get you all sorted out!

Second order of business: I have a fun little surprise I'm putting together at this blog starting Monday? Can anyone guess what it is?

Closest guess gets a little prize pack (again, US only unless you don't mind paying shipping!)

Have a fabulous weekend, friends! Do YOU have any exciting plans?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My triumphant return....and a layout!

Whew! That was a longer break than I expected. Me and the new computer (after Lisa asked me its name on twitter, I decided on "mackie") are starting to get to know one another, and although my fingers are very tired from clicking and saving documents all day, I'm really enjoying being back in Mac land. It's a good place:)

To (hopefully) make up for my absence, I have a layout to show you:

I made this one with the April Studio Calico kit, plus some items from my stash.

The journaling reads:

You already have an instinct that you'll have fertility problems, and you are right. It will be harder than you can imagine, but you will find enough strength to bear it. You will have more love than you bargained for, an d the home you always dreamed of.

This layout is a letter to my younger self--the photo was one of my senior pictures. It's always so interesting to compare what you thought life would be like at 17, to what it's shaping up to be at 25, or 32, or 48.

And a little side note--when I say "home" I mean it in the figurative sense, about love and warmth, not hardwood floors! Although if you've seen my Pinterest lately, you would know that I do love my home decor. One day:)

Have YOU ever written a letter to your old self?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Be back soon!

Sorry for the blogging interruption these days--getting my old PC to hand over the torch to my new Mac is proving a little trickier than I expected.  Hope to be back blogging very soon!

Also, giveaway winner, you have until Wednesday to email me! If not, I'll have to pick a new winner.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We have a winner!

Thank you all for entering my little giveaway! I can't wait to send those goodies off to a good home.

My random.org number was 47. (I normally do a screenshot, but since Madam Computer is not a happy camper tonight, I hope you'll forgive me:))

And the winning comment is: 

TenSGal said...
I purge about twice a year...we have a great scrapbooking/paper craft consignment sale so my trash becomes someone else's treasure! Great giveaway! Thanks! And I'm a new follower...  
Congrats, TenSGal! Shoot me an email at keshetstarr@gmail.com, and I'll get you sorted out:)

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the web!  I have a lot of fun scrappy stuff to show you in the next few days!

Photo credit:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/69196423/recycled-map-prize-ribbon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Fun--Scarlet Lime June

Hello friends!  First off, thank you for all of your sweet comments on my giveaway post--they are all cherished and so very appreciated!
Summer has officially arrived here in New Jersey.  Let's just say I'm recovering from heat stroke by sitting on my swivel chair, drinking water, and trying to limit my activities to things I can swivel to. 

So I figured what better time to show you the layouts I created with the Scarlet Lime June kit!

Here's the fun main kit:

I was in a CHA mood  evidently, since half of my projects are CHA-based.  This first one is an ode to my CHA roomie, Jenny, who was (a) fun to hang out with, (b) tried on mustaches with me, and (c ) went on an epic adventure with me to find kosher food in LA one night (which was less epic-fun and more epic-irritating when you're hungry).  Love ya, Jenny:)
And a little close-up:

My next project is actually a repeat of a design I've used in the past--I just love the quilty feel of it so much!

{excuse the photo.  My computer has been having MAJOR issues--let's just say she breaks out into song randomly. It's not good. So I'm trying to make do on my netbook:( }

And check out the fun colors in the Frugal Fab kit:

My first layout is just about some of the small details I enjoyed at CHA. Rows and rows of letter stickers on the wall? Yum!

And this last one is a wedding layout, with one of my favorite photos of my Mom at my wedding. The design is pretty simple, but it makes me happy:)

And a close-up on the fun journaling sticker:

So that's all the fun I have planned for today:)

In other news, I'm trying to think of a fun, beachy, not-too-expensive to retreat to for a few days--any suggestions? What is YOUR favorite relaxing vacation? 

PS: Giveaway below is still open! I will choose a winner tomorrow evening.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's almost 11 am on a rainy Sunday morning--clearly time for a giveaway!

My giveaway box if overflowing and I need one of YOU to take it off my hands:)

There are some delicious papers:

And some fabulous idea books and embellishments that I happen to have doubles of:

If you look closely, you can see an exclusive Studio Calico stamp and some bluegrass mist!

A few caveats:

1. Internationals are welcome to enter as long as you don't mind paying shipping. Just too expensive otherwise!

2. I will try to send everything shown above, but there's so much stuff I can't guarantee what will get in there!

To enter, please EITHER
--become a follower of this blog or
--leave me your email

Otherwise, I can never find you again! If you are a follower already, you're fine.

So tell me--when was the last time YOU purged your supplies?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun news!

Shavuot was fantastic--aside from a twenty-minute long walk in 100 degree heat, but I've recovered from that--I *think*. Ha! I'm now in Shabbos prep (aka crazy) mode, so I'll keep this short and sweet:)

I'm so excited to be part of the Elle's Studio design team!! Being on this team has long been a dream of mine, and I really couldn't believe it when I received that email.

So that's Part I of my exciting news:) Parts II and III should be coming shortly!

What's the best piece of news YOU received this week?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Holiday Fun!

I know what you're thinking--man, there are a lot of holidays lately! So true. This is quite the busy time of year on the Jewish calendar.

Tonight, I'm going to be disappearing for two days to celebrate the holiday of Shavuos.

What is Shavuos, you may ask?

As a Jewish holiday, Shavuos sometimes gets the shaft, since it's in the summer and beyond the reaches of Hebrew school.

Shavuot is the anniversary of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Not to be confused with Simchas Torah, which is about celebrating the Torah. I happen to get them confused fairly often--it can get embarrassing.

A few fun tidbits about Shavuos:

1. As the story goes, back at Mount Sinai, the night before the Torah was given, the people fell asleep. Not exactly a high mark of enthusiasm. So to kind of "make up" for that, it's a custom to stay up all night learning Torah on Shavuos. I've never actually made it all night--I think a veeeery sleepy 4 am Torah class was my peak--but I do like to spend a good few hours studying! And S plans to go all night, so we'll see if he lasts:)

2. Cheesecake. It's a custom to have dairy on Shavuos, and luckily cheesecake has become the embodiment of this custom. In my kitchen, I have a 16-piece cheesecake sampler where each piece is a different flavor. This giant cheesecake is also for a meal of only 3 people--oops!

3. Ruth. On Shavuos, we read the Book of Ruth. Easily one of my favorite Biblical stories. I took a six week class on it years ago where we really delved into each sentence, and it gave me a lifelong appreciation for the Book of Ruth.
3. Flowers. Because Mount Sinai blossomed with flowers the day the Torah was given, it's also a custom on Shavuos to have flowers in your home and in the synagogue. (flowers + cheesecake -- can you see why I love this one?)

So those are some highlights of this holiday:) The next two days should involve lots of social time, reconnecting with G-d, staying up late chatting with friends, eating through my cheesecake sampler, and remembering why I chose to live a life revolving around Torah all those years ago.

What is YOUR favorite holiday?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Q & A: Scrapbooking, Steak, and everything in Between

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope this past week was a productive and happy one for you. I had several doors open this past week, which I can't wait to tell you about.

In the meantime, I have some Q & A for ya today!

Question : How did you get started scrapbooking?
It's actually a fun story! My dad is a business consultant, and he consulted for a scrapbooking company back in the day. The company gave my dad a bag of product, which he put in the basement. I was hunting around for a photo album in the basement when I came across the bag of scrappy stuff. It included everything you need to get started--paper, cardstock, stickers, trimmer, adhesive, scissors, etc. I was immediately hooked, and the rest is history!

Question: How/why/when did you get started with design teams?
Well, I actually have a little surprise up my sleeve related to that:) But the short answer is that since I found scrapbooking on my own, I never had friends who shared my hobby. So once I discovered the online scrapping community, I was thrilled and wanted to get involved. I wanted to be on design teams partly to get some validation for my work (if I'm being totally honest!), but also to make connections with other scrappers. It took me about 6 months to get published, and around 1 year to start getting on teams.

Question: Do any of your friends scrapbook?

I have some "real life" friends who dabble in scrapbooking, but they aren't at all involved in the industry side of things. And thanks to design teams, blogging, and message boards, I now have a whole group of scrappy buddies!

Question: Is there a short explanation for the no dairy-meat mixing?

Short? Not so much. But I'll do the best I can! The origin of the prohibition comes from several verses in the Torah that say you can't "cook a kid in its mother's milk." (if you're in the looking-things-up mood, the verses are in Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21).

Now here's the tricky part: Orthodox Judaism believes that there are two parts to the Torah--the written Torah (aka 5 books of Moses), and the oral Torah (the Mishna and Talmud). Certain things that are mentioned in the written Torah are explained in the oral Torah. For example, the written Torah says "remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy," but how exactly do you do that? Sing a song? Do hula hoops? Have a scrapbook party every Saturday? (that, actually, might work for me:)) The oral Torah explains the "how." Orthodox Jews believe that the oral Torah was also given to Moses at Mount Sinai, to explain how to live the precepts in the Torah.

Now that you've heard my long background, the quick answer is that the "kid in its mother's milk" part is in the written Torah, and the rest of the milk and meat in general being separated comes from the oral Torah.

Now did that work, are you just more confused?

Question: What makes kosher salt kosher?

Another aspect of keeping kosher is that we can't eat blood. Since kosher salt is coarse, it tends to draw the blood out of the meat more effectively (or so S is saying while we're getting read to leave the house). Really any salt is kosher, but that's why kosher salt is called what it is!

Question: Where did you get the dresser you use for paper?

It's actually a TV cabinet from Ikea! I added 3 extra shelves and legs to make it look more "furniture-y," and there you are. I had been looking for something like this for a long time, and even called a scraproom furniture company who quoted me $900 for it (!!), so I was very pleased to find this option:)

And now a question for YOU--what's the question you get asked most frequently?

Hope all have a happy healthy Sunday!

[Image sources: http://scrapbooking.cc/, http://www.sweet-meats.com/, http://www.etsy.com/listing/71512637/pinch-of-salt]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WCS June (and a birthday!)

Today is not only the day of the June gallery reveal over at Write. Click. Scrapbook, but it's also the website's second birthday!

( Can you find me in there? I'm the one who clearly did not write her letter thick enough. I really need to work on my letter-collage-participant skillz.)

Not only that, but WCS has a new site design, and FIVE new members! They are Alexandra Sirugue-Macleod, Claudia "Clouds" Shadler, and some of my near and dear scrappy buddies--Christa Pastenbaugh, Lisa Kisch, and Marcy Penner.

The challenge for June was to get inspired by a previous WCS post of some sort. I love the Sunday photos + words feature, so I went with that.

Here's my inspiration piece:
And here's what I did with it:

I loved the quote, and the simple design of the original image, so I kept the layout of my page fairly similar. I used lots of layering and bits and pieces behind the photo to add some va-voom.

And a little close-up:

I have a new obsession with closeup, sneaky images--they just look so pretty!

Check out the rest of the WCS gallery here.

And that's all for tonight! S is at work late for what seems like the 8,654th day in a row, but whose counting. I, on the other hand, am keeping excellent company with the Real Housewives of Orange County, New York, and possibly soon New Jersey. Good times:) I also have plenty of upcoming blog posts to keep me busy, so stay tuned!

Question: Do YOU like seeing close-up images, or just the main layout? If you blog/post layouts online, do you do one or both?