Thursday, March 20, 2014

my five faves -- what i look for in a scrapbooking store

I live in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where we are very lucky to have a large number of excellent scrapbooking stores in or around the city. Each store has its cachet and I love to support all of them (as much as my budget allows... hmmm did I say budget????).  :-)

I'm often asked which scrapbooking store I would recommend and, to be perfectly honest, they're all great. There are five elements which I draw me into a scrapbooking store and keep me coming back.

Sometimes a store only has one of these elements. You'll know right away when they're so good at this one thing that it will become your go-to-place for scrappy goodness pretty quickly.

1. The owner
Selling scrapbooking supplies must be a tough business. I see owners working long hours and dealing with tough clients, but their passion always comes through. It's very contagious! If the owner is a scrapbooker, then I feel an immediate connection to them. When the owner is friendly and they want to hear about my projects, I want to stay in their store. When they are more than happy to help, offer advice and give guidance, I'll keep coming back.

My interaction with a scrapbooking store owner is the number one reason why I don't buy much of my scrapbooking supplies online. Yes, I could get these at the same price -- and sometimes cheaper -- online, but the owner makes the experience of going to their store worth the trip every single time.

2. Ordering
Ordering scrapbooking supplies from a scrapbooking store should be easier than trimming paper. It's probably a lot more complicated behind the scenes, but for customers, it really should be easy. All I expect from an owner is to talk me -- let me know the price, let me if you can't bring the product in, let me know if there's a delay, let me know when my order comes in. Most store owners do this naturally and make it so easy peasy for me that I keep ordering from them (sometimes it's too easy!). I do appreciate the planning, the organization and the time that the owner puts into ordering (some store owners will even ship your order to you!) These interactions are also important to keep me from ordering online.

3. The products
Each store offers something a little different. One store in my area specializes in mixed media products, one is a haven for Prima, while another is my go-to stop for Bo Bunny products. With these niches, I know what to expect from a store and where to go when I need just the right item to finish my layout or when I need to browse products and be inspired.

4. The classes
When a scrapbooking store brings in industry big wigs like Anna Dabrowska, Cari Fennell or Donna Salazar, you can bet that I'll be there! Not only do I get to learn from the best, but I also get to play with their products, which the store will carry.

Of course, not every class features a scrapbooking star; sometimes they feature their own design team; and sometimes the owner herself gives classes. Whether they are layout or technique classes, if I learn something new, I will be a big fan of the store.

5. The crops & retreats
Not every scrapbooking store has crops and even fewer offer retreats. Those that do go through a lot of work to bring something special to scrapbookers. I would even go so far to say that they build and strengthen a scrapbooking community. Scrapbooking crops and retreats have helped me make connections with some amazing women, given me the time and space to create and provided me with the time away from the day-to-day buzz.

All this to say that supporting your local scrapbooking store is so important. It's important because you'll get the best scrapbooking products and the best advice. It's important to help you keep on top of trends. It's also important for you to learn more about scrapbooking.

Happy scrapping!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

my five faves -- why i scrapbook

It must be the season to reflect on our work and hobbies. A friend recently asked herself why she bothered with scrapbooking.

I can understand the question. I don't think everyone understands how much fun it is. Plus, I'm sure they think it's very uncool.

That doesn't phase me much. As a sci fi fan, I'm used to the blank stares followed quickly by the I-have-to-run-away looks whenever I speak geek. I've learned to figure out who can stand to hear my excitement and see my face light up when I talk of all the "uncool" things that I'm passionate about. That includes scrapbooking.

Here are the five reasons I scrapbook.

1. Leaving a legacy
This is it right here.
I scrapbook for you.
2. Having a creative outlet
I have vivid memories of my grandfather Eric taking out his photo albums and telling great stories about each photo. I loved every minute of it. And I credit him for giving me the storytelling bug and a love of photography.

At my grandfather's funeral, it dawned on me that scrapbooking has allowed me to combine these two passions. He was also an artist and I may have inherited a bit of his artistic bend.
These projects continue to surprise and delight me.
3. Savouring the zen
There aren't many pictures of me scrapbooking. I think it's because I take most of the pictures! And because I'm often in the moment. You know it -- that moment where you get so absorbed by your project that you forget what's going on around you.

There's something very unique about working with your hands -- it's very soothing for the mind. There's something very powerful about revisiting happy moments -- it's very energizing for the heart. And there's something very satisfying about creating -- it's very beautiful  for the soul.

4. Enjoying the me time
Busy moms understand how hard it is to make time for yourself. It's hard to put yourself first. Scrapbooking gives me that little bit of time and energy and focus to work on something that makes me happy. Bonus: my kids see my passion, love all of my layouts and, sometimes, they get to join in the creative fun.
My space when it used to be clean....

5. Connecting with other women
There comes a time in everyone's life when university friends move away, you cocoon with your husband and babies, and your circle of friends becomes smaller. It's hard to make friends outside of work. Scrapbooking has allowed me to meet like-minded women of various ages and backgrounds. I've made so many great friends through this hobby not to mention the connections with the scrapbooking community at crops, retreats, classes, Twitter and Facebook.
A few of my favourite scrappy peeps.
I'm proud to say I'm a scrapbooker. I'm proud to share my passion for this hobby with those who'll listen. And I'm proud of the end results.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

my five (more) faves -- sneak peeks from CHA 2014

I've already posted five of my favourite new releases from CHA 2014, but you knew there would be more!

I find that some of the pictures from the new stuff doesn't reveal enough and it's too hard to fall in love with them. But I did manage to find five more things I really want to get my hands on.

1. Fat Roll Washi (Hazel and Ruby)
I once foolishly thought I had enough washi tape. Then, I saw these fat rolls and it was love at first sight!
Photo credit: Hazel and Ruby
2. Metallic Chalk Edgers (Prima)
The Prima chalk edgers are wonderful -- smooth and luscious. Now, Prima has released METALLIC chalk edgers. Wow! I want them all!!!
Photo credit: Prima
3. Mon Ami (Basic Grey)
Basic Grey is still one of my go-to brands. They did not disappoint with the Mon Ami collection designed by the fabulous Kelly Purkey. I love the whimsy, the variety and the loveliness. All the papers are here to show you how much you can do with this line.
Photo credit: Basic Grey

4. Homespun (Simple Stories)
I've never been a super fan of Simple Stories. Maybe the country girl in me took over, but I love their Homespun collection. I gotta get me some of that.
Photo credit: Simple Stories
5. Nature Walk (7 Dots Studio)
I ususally go for bright fun palettes, but there is something that is calling me to this collection. I think it would work perfectly with camping layouts, Scouts events and beach themes.
Photo credit: 7 Dots Studio
I've probably missed a few things. I would love to hear all about your favourites!