Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Elle's Studio July Layouts!

I'm so excited to be able to share my July Elle's Studio layouts with you!

For my first layout, I pulled out the February Studio Calico kit, Candy Shoppe--loved that one!


As you can see, I received a stuffed hippo for Valentine's Day last year. Luckily, I think stuffed hippos are fairly romantic:)

On this layout, I used lots of Handmade Layers, included my most favorite date/place strips! Love those!


For my second layout, I tried something that makes me inordinately proud of myself. I used my Smash date stamp to stamp on the blank pennants! (Next stop: Harvard. Ha!)

This layout is about the delights of spending time with a good friend--we had a wonderful, connected weekend together and I didn't want to forget it anytime soon.

To top off my gallery, I whipped up a little "welcome tag":


I give out welcome baskets to new families in our community, so this tag was both fun to make AND will be handy when I give out new baskets today! I used more Handmade Layers and pennants on this little puppy--love all the color combos you can get out of this line!

And since I always love new ideas, what is YOUR favorite non-layout project to create?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Journey blog series--Stephanie Howell!

Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to the Creative Journey blog series! I'm so excited to introduce today's guest--she's talented, funny, and has some great insights on the industry.

Without further ado, here's Stephanie Howell!


I asked Stephanie some questions about her journey in scrapbooking and here's what she had to say:

I started scrapbooking when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Harper, so about 6 years ago. I attended a Close to My Heart party and decided I wanted to try. Then I picked up a CK magazine and I couldn't believe all of the fun ways that women were scrapbooking. It lit a creative fire in me!

About a year later, I decided to try out for a team. I had been lurking at the Two Peas in a Bucket Pub board, and I thought it sounded fun. The idea of being sent products to use just sounded interesting. What a way to get me out of my comfort zone, to encourage creativity! I tried for several online shops and manufacturers and had no luck. A friend of mine suggested trying for a small online community design team. So I did, and I got the spot. It was the perfect way to break into the industry. I learned about deadlines, a team dynamic, etc.

As the years passed, I started trying for more teams and submitting to magazines. I tried for several big manufacturers, kit clubs, websites.....and man, I experienced a lot of rejection! I remember applying for the Scrapologie kit club and the Scrap in Style site and not getting either and being pretty upset. Then I realized that was silly. I promised myself that the moment that scrapbooking made me feel bad about myself? Well, then I wouldn't do it anymore. The purpose of this hobby for me is that it makes me HAPPY.

So I stopped being so hard on myself and had fun. And in hindsight, I'm glad those gigs didn't work out. They wouldn't have been a good fit for me.

After submitting for about a year, Scrapbook Trends picked me up. They've been wonderful to me and I recommend them to any new submitter. They are fabulous. It took me about four years to get into Creating Keepsakes and Scrapbooks, Etc.

Right now, I'm on three teams, but my main priority is still having fun. If I stop having fun, I will no longer do the team thing. Life's too short:)

Stephanie also shared some tips for industry hopefuls:

It's all about sticking with it. I submitted for years to certain publications. YEARS!!! There's no reason that not being picked up for a few months should be enough to make you quit. That always baffles me. It takes persistence!

Have FUN with it. If you are doing something you love, authentically love...well good things come out of that. I blog because it is my sanity. And i LOVE it. And the fact that good things have come out of that??? That's just icing on the cake that's already pretty sweet.

Another great tip is that when you are looking at magazine calls, be original. If there is a call for "Mother's Day" layouts, submit a layout about "a mother's heart"- how you feel about being a mother - instead of a standard mother's day call. Or if there is a "summer" call, submit a layout about snow cones. Do you see where I'm going here? Do something different! Also, good photography and cropping of your layouts is a MUST!

Here's one of Stephanie's recent favorite layouts:


Growing up with a ridiculously artistic mother, Stephanie tried and abandoned many crafts in frustration before she finally stumbled onto scrapbooking and fell in love. She made a few scrapbooks (in the loosest sense of the term) when she was in college, but truly became obsessed when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Scrapbooking is her therapy and has gotten her through seven of her husband’s overseas deployments.
Stephanie has been published in Creating Keepsakes, Simple Scrapbooks, Scrapbook and Cards Today, Scrapbooks Etc., Memory Makers and Scrapbook Trends magazines. She designs for Studio Calico, Sassafras, and Jenni Bowlin Studio.
Stephanie lives in Savannah and is married to Jimmy, who is a Major in the army. She is also a stay-at-home mom to Harper Elizabeth (5yrs), Sadie Caroline (3yrs), and twin baby girls, Lucy Claire and Catherine (Cate) Bennett (6 months old). In her spare time, she loves blogging, antiquing, taking zumba, and watching reality tv (her dirty little secret). She dreams of learning to sew, embroider, knit, quilt, and cook (well). But most of all, she loves just being together as a family, and she relishes those moments…as they are few and far between.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Memory

I wasn't going to post tonight, but I just found out some terrible news and I can't help but write it out--as it still hasn't hit me yet.

This beautiful, funny, talented woman, Chris Hertel, lost her battle with breast cancer and passed away several days ago. I didn't know Chris well, but her thoughtful and clever comments on this blog always made me laugh and spread a little bit of sunshine. Even from our brief interactions, I can tell what a beautiful person she was.

She will be so very missed. Things just aren't the same without her.

Friday, July 22, 2011

CHA Fun and a WINNER!

Hi everyone! Sorry for that loooong hiatus. Between running around like a crazy person at CHA, having a little tiramisu emergency yesterday, and racing against the clock to make 8 challahs today, things have been a little--er--disorganized.

I have some fun CHA stuff to show you, but before I get to that, we have a winner for the Ella Scrap your Single Years giveaway!

The random.org number was 13, and the winner is VERA!
___

Vera said...

I'm still single ;) so being able to get up and go at the drop of a hat is wonderful!

____

Yay Vera! Shoot me an email at keshet.starr@gmail.com and I'll sort you out:)

Now back to what you REALLY want to know about. . . . . .CHA!

This was a fun, fun trip. I was looking at scrappy stuff and hanging out with scrappy folk until past midnight just about every night, which is normally way past my bedtime, but it was so much fun I couldn't resist! Looking forward to lots of sleep and recuperation this coming weekend:)

The week started with a delicious dinner with friends:

(Special thanks to Jenni's husband Todd for driving us everywhere!) Check out Jenni's blog for more photos of the dinner and the meaning of our new vocabulary word, "poshers":)

There were so many fun things made out of paper to see at the show:

And lots of gorgeous tablescapes:


The Smash booth had this fun photo prop! I want one for home!


Not to mention these UBER-attractive glasses..... (ooh la la, right??)

SO many great new supplies out, like these Pebbles clothespins:


And can you believe this fun embroidery in the Amy Tan booth?

I had fun running into Nik at the Studio Calico booth!

Lots of pretty floral paper--YUM!

And as an end to the day, drinks with Elle (of Elle's Studio!), Jenny, Jenni, Linda and Cindy!


Whew! Quite a random little mishmash, huh?

And just to add to the random--the Elle's Studio July Inspiration Gallery is up, so go check it out! I'll be back to share my projects soon!

Tell me--What's YOUR favorite part of traveling??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Creative Journeys--Meet our Next Guest!

This is an exciting week, scrappy-wise, with CHA just around the corner! But before we get started with the CHA madness, here's another entry in the Creative Journey blog series.

First off, I have to thank you all for your kind and thought-provoking comments about my last post. I'm newly resolved to focus on what I DO have in life and not what I don't. A hard thing to attempt, but a necessary one.

On to today's guest--meet the talented, fabulous Helen Tilbury--all the way from Africa!


Helen had some wonderful things to say about her journey in the industry:

I started scrapbooking in 2003 in Harare, Zimbabwe, after my daughter attended a holiday workshop & brought home a simple layout that captured my heart! For a couple of years I attended weekly lessons at a really basic studio using simple products & none of “the latest stuff” as it simply wasn’t available. For the first 2 years of my journey all I learned were the basics as I had no time to scrapbook at home and had no idea that there was a whole new world waiting for me online.
In 2005 we emigrated to South Africa & I took a break from scrapbooking for a year while I was adapting to my new environment. 2006 came around and I started attending weekly lessons at my new local scrapbook shop. Now that all my kids were at school I began scrapbooking every morning. I discovered Creating Keepsakes and it was the first scrapbooking magazine I’d ever seen! I became an instant fan of Ali Edwards & finally the cogs started turning and my mind-set regarding my hobby began to shift to a more serious mode 4 years down the line, with that my excitement for scrapbooking started to grow exponentially.

In September 2007 I entered the then only (now non-existent) national scrapbooking competition and came second out of thousands of entries. I received nothing, there were no sponsored prizes for second place (as most scrapbooking products sold in South Africa are imported) & no design teams to get onto as there are virtually no local manufacturers. No recognition followed as there was no-one to recognize me! The scrapbooking industry in South Africa is almost non-existent, not even any local scrapbooking shops to teach at as the few that exist teach the classes themselves as they are so few customers. Even the one and only local scrapbook magazine that was set to print the finalists’ layouts closed down the month after the competition & retrieving my layouts turned into a year-long nightmare.
The disappointment spurred me on to find a solution as I realized at this point that there were no local opportunities & I would have to get online in order to get anywhere with the hobby I was growing to love more and more by the day. There had to be a way I could indulge my passion and succeed despite my location. I kept hearing the word “blog” &had no idea what it meant but gathered that it was some type of personal online interactive website.I just knew I needed one but had no idea how to go about getting one – having never been online! September 2008 & I had never surfed the web!! I began fighting with my kids’ computer when they were at school & in October the same year my blog was born.

I love how Helen's growth in the scrapbook industry also involved finding and "clicking" with an online community--this was very true for me as well!
I spent hours online, learning the ropes, started commenting a lot – I figured someone was bound to notice me eventually if I just kept at it and after a year I had a small readership.I discovered just how excellent so many scrapbookers were in the online world and I remember feeling like I could never “get there”, but the more I saw the more desperate I was to learn& to eventually succeed at creating layouts just as good! I lost my way a bit as I fell in love with blogging & ended up blog-hopping more than I was scrapbooking - I certainly made up for all my years offline as I was so excited to broaden my horizons & learned so much about the world beyond Africa, that I had lost sight of my dream of becoming a well-known scrapbooker whose work spoke for itself.
I have always been a competitive person and it just came naturally to want to go all the way with something I was so passionate about. I was determined I didn’t need a national competition to succeed – I was aiming higher than that anyway – I wanted to take on the world! Towards the end of 2009 I started my online education in earnest. Less blogging & more studying. I poured over layouts by talented designers from all over the world & tried to emulate them. I gave myself an 18 month intensive online “course” in scrapbooking by studying successful scrapbookers from all over the world, whose work I admired & used as my inspiration. I was struggling to find my own style though & not sure of what I liked & disliked. I was trying too hard & doing too much – I was all over the place!
Trying too hard--definitely an issue I've noticed and experienced! How about you?
Towards the end of 2010 (2 years since I started my blog) it dawned on me that I was never going to “get anywhere” if I didn’t release myself from the confines of my blog and “get out there”. I began taking part in challenges, joining forums, adding my work to galleries and I had various successes along the way. Definitely more failures than successes but finally I felt like something was happening. In 2010 I started to apply to various design teams & faced rejection upon rejection. By Christmas 2010 I realized that I couldn’t go on & needed to reassess what exactly I was doing! Or at least trying to do!! I prayed to God to please give me a change of heart, so that I was able to apply for design teams then forget all about it (as opposed to keep checking my inbox for the e mail that never came…only to see the DT advertised on their blog!). I cried my heart out then went away on holiday! This was the turning point for me. The next DT I applied for when I returned accepted me! And the one after that, and that, and that, and that, and that!
Six design teams in six months & definitely more successes than rejections. The tide is finally turning. I feel I have worked for everything I have but at the same time I want to give all glory to my maker for giving me the stamina and attitude needed for this harsh game. Scrapbooking is sweet and lovely and nurturing and healing, but competitive scrapbooking? Welcome to the School of Hard Knocks! Want to give it a go?! I hope my story has encouraged you & that, if it’s what you really, really want (as the Spice Girls would say) that you’ll go confidently in the direction of your dreams. I love finally having a real audience, feeling like my work has a greater purpose& getting a “wow” once in a while. I am striving to be the best I can be &looking forward to the rest of this wonderful journey. I still have a long way to go (I have my first CK publication this month but it’s actually a photograph – check out page 99 of your latest issue) & I’m still not on the DT of any “major” scrapbooking manufacturer, but I am in it for the long haul & I’ve always believed I’ll make it eventually.
I LOVE how Helen really believes in herself--so hard to do but so important!
I do think that it is definitely harder for an “international” (especially an African) to make it in an American dominated industry – mainly because it takes a month to receive any product & I have to make all my scrapbooking purchases online from the States – but I don’t think it is impossible – you just have to be fantastic – and that’s what I’m aiming for! My advice – count the cost. There is a lot involved, and that’s the honest truth. You need to up your game on all levels if you want success. You need to work long & hard. You need to meet deadlines. You need to be 100% reliable. You can’t blog about the bad day you’ve been having if your DT has it’s reveal that day – you’ve got to put your happy hat on & encourage everyone to play along. You need to comment on all the entries & in some cases judge the winners, and that is really hard! But along the way you will have a wonderful, exhausting time!
You’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful affirmation of your work (and you’ll make some enemies along the way who despise you just because they’re jealous so you’ll get the occasional nasty comment too!) Toughen up & let it slide off you like water off a duck’s back. Just keep your eye on the prize! If you’re prepared to work for it it can be yours – you can live the life you’ve imagined!!

Thank you for sharing, Helen! Here's a layout that shows off Helen's vintagey style:

Check out more of Helen's beautiful work on her blog here!


Helen lives in Durban, South Africa, with her husband & four kids – Chelsea (18), Jack (16), Reilly (13) and Cami (11). She is a keen photographer & when she’s not taking photos, scrapbooking or blogging you can usually find her in the car, rushing up & down the freeway with kids off to dancing lessons, soccer matches or sleepovers!


Tune in next Monday for another edition! And let me know if there are any questions YOU'D like answered about publications and DTs!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A layout and a giveaway!

Hi bloggy friends! I'm popping in from the most. stressful. friday. of. all. time. Let's just say I decided to forgo my weekly trip to Dunkin Donuts (where I indulge in a French Vanilla latte and bring home some treats to share with S) because it would be too stressful. Clearly, things are not good.

To take my mind off that to-do list, here's a layout I created a few months back for a Write. Click. Scrapbook post:


The photos here are from the first day of our Disney trip, when we went to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted to echo the sheer excitement and fun we felt on that day.

Can you spy the stamps on this one? They're one of my absolute favorite Studio Calico sets!

And while we're at it, as much as I love to scrap my married adventures, I'm so glad I have albums upon albums full of my goings-on as a single gal. Whether you're currently or formerly single (hopefully we all fall in one of those categories!) this Ella ebook would be absolutely perfect for you.

Would you like to win a copy? If so, please leave a comment below telling me a fun memory from YOUR single years! (I will choose a winner next Friday)

Wishing you all a happy, stress-free weekend with lots of summer fun:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I have my eye on.....

Even though CHA is still a few days away, I'm already compiling my "loves" list!

Here are some of my fave items from all of the new releases (and warning: this post has WAY too many photos. I just couldn't narrow it down any further!)

The new Elle's Studio release is full of delicious, summery goodies:


Here is one of my favorite new tag sets--can't wait to play!

Veering over a bit, American Crafts has some delicious new products, including this delightful paper from the Garden Cafe line:

And these wonderful loopy thickers!

I'm also loving the cute apple tags from Bits from the Daydream collection.
And this has been the talk of the town, but I adore the Amy Tangerine/American Crafts line! The motifs are so fun and whimsical!

I'm probably going to need 25 sheets of this paper:

And only around 10 packages of these thickers: (did you hear that? That was the sound of S gasping in the corner. Ha!)
These Crate Paper buttons from Farmhouse are definitely going to make their way to me one of these days:


Studio Calico's Memoir line is rocking the jewel tones:
And I can't wait to try out this cool ampersand mask!
Well, there yo have it--some highlights and things I'm coveting. Think my pocketbook is about to get a bit lighter!

What are YOUR favorite items from what you've seen so far?