Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Country Living Fair giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Explore Gwinnett!

October is one of my most favorite months of the year. The weather here in Georgia is always gorgeous this time of year and we can finally get out our cute fall clothes! 
I also love October because fall festivals and craft shows are everywhere. Who can resist the call of handmade items (or more importantly, handmade food like funnel cake)?  But the absolute BEST show out there comes to Stone Mountain at the end of the month -- the Country Living Fair!

Photo creidt: Aimee Herring and Country Living Magazine

The Country Living Fair is amazing! It has the best shopping EVER, with 200 vendors from 29+ states, a Harvest Market area of specialty foods, and the Country Living General Store. There are also seminars, how to’s, cooking demos and you can meet the editors of the magazine. You can find awesome antiques, vintage goods, handmade soaps, jewelry, furniture, re-purposed items... the list goes on and on. I can't even tell you how much cool stuff I have purchased at this show in the past few years!

The Country Living Fair is being held this year October 24-26 at Stone Mountain Park, and I am excited to announce that thanks to Explore Gwinnett, I am giving away a pair of tickets to the show!

Just use the handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter! I will draw the winner on Sunday, October 12. 

Coming from out of town to attend the Country Living Fair? Be sure to check out Explore Gwinnett's extensive list of hotels to help you find a great place to stay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, September 28, 2014

Organizing the Easy Way!

This post is highlighting products I received as a Deflecto USA Ammbassador design team member.

I am in love. Serious, big time love... with my new Deflecto USA organization supplies.

I have serious problems with organizing my craft room. Usually it looks like some sort of storm blew through. I have way too much stuff and not enough room to store it all. I have tried to get a handle on the chaos with tons of types of organization, especially with my small items. I have used jars (cute but not really practical if you have lots of stuff you want to organize in groups), plastic storage boxes (but where do you put all of those once you fill them?), binders, bags... you get the idea. I was never super happy with any of them.

But wait? What's this?

These are the new Craft Tilt Bins from Deflecto USA. They come with different numbers of bins (these are the 5 and 6 bin models) and they interlock so you can stack them! The other cool thing is that you can even mount them to the wall.

I placed mine right on my worktable so I can easily access the supplies I use the most, namely inks and adhesives... and snacks. Yep, one bin just for my scrappin' snacks.

And yes, while putting stuff in those bins, I realized I have a real problem with Colorbox Cat's Eye Chalk Inks. There should be a 12-step program. ColorBox, I can't quit you.

The bins tilt out for easy access to your goodies. Isn't that clever? Each bin also has a place for a little tag to identify what's in your bins, but I left those out in case I get crazy and switch things up on the fly. :)

But wait, there's more!

Deflecto also makes these Stackable Cube Organizers. They come in different configurations: here you see the open bin (holding my large scissors and ATG guns), the X bin (which holds pens beautifully), and the 4-drawer bin (where I keep small tools, glue pens, etc.). These fit nicely on the corner of my worktable.

And that's not all...

How awesome is this? This is the Carousel Rotating Organizer. It has six 3" canisters and 3 6" canisters, each with snap tight lids, and the whole thing is on a spinning base! It's great for storing embellishments, washi tape, tools, and more.

These organizers can be used for so much more than scrap supplies. Take a look at our Deflecto Facebook page and the Deflecto Pinterest page for lots more ideas!

To learn more about these organization products and where to get them, head over to the Deflecto USA site. If you can't find these items in your area, ask your local craft, hobby, and office supply stores to stock them! Now go get organizing!

This is part one of my Deflecto USA Ambassador Design Team posts. Join me later in the week to see my project using Deflecto's magnetic craft sheets!
Monday, August 25, 2014

My First Deflecto Ambassadors DT Projects!

I am so excited to be a member of the very first Deflecto USA Ambassador Design Team! 

Deflecto has always been in the business of items like office organization, chair mats, and literature displays. But now, they are venturing into the arts and crafts industry with cool acrylic frames, magnetic sheets, craft storage, and more!

For our first project, the team got to work with some of Deflecto's new acrylic frames. The frames come in tons of sizes, from 1 1/2" x 2" all the way up to 12 x 12. The frames also come in different types, including magnetic, stand-up, and hanging frames.

I was so excited to make something with these frames that I made TWO projects!

The first is a Disney countdown calendar. The best part of this calendar is that it's a dry erase calendar so you can easily change the days as your vacation gets closer. Dry erase markers work amazingly well on these frames!

I edged the sides with washi tape from Queen and Co. and the top and bottom with Queen and Co. ribbon. The interior of the frame is scrapbook paper embellished with letter stickers and a die-cut. Since the days are written in with a dry erase marker, you never have to move the paper inside the frame!

The second project is a Disney frame (featuring me and my wonderful husband on one of our Disney cruises). I started with a 6x9 black-edged frame and then embellished it with Plaid Mod Melts! (If you have never seen Mod Melts, check out my posts about them here and here.)

These Mod Melt letters are so fun to make and can be adhered easily with glue dots.

The balloons and the banner are also Mod Melts that I painted with acrylic paint, embellished with twine, and adhered with glue dots.

These Deflecto frames are so much fun to work with! You can use them for so much more than just picture frames too. For more awesome ideas, please go check out our design team Pinterest page!

Dry-erase calendar materials used:
Deflecto 8x10 hanging frame
Ribbon and washi tape by Queen and Co.
Embellishments by EK Success
Die cut by EZ Lazer Designs
Patterned paper by Sandylion
Cardstock by Bazzill
Alpha stickers by The Paper Studio/Hobby Lobby
Adhesive by Thermoweb

Embellished frame materials used:
Deflecto 5x7 frame
Mod Podge Mod Melts embellishments by Plaid
Baker's twine by Jillibean Soup
Acrylic paint by Craft Smart/Michaels
Adhesive by Thermoweb
Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick Craft Project - Magnets and Memo Board

Sometimes, as a crafter, I get stuck for inspiration. Today, I took "getting stuck" literally...

I decided to make some cute magnets and memo board!

 I started with a metal sheet from my craft stash, ribbon from DoCrafts, magnets from The Magnet Source, and fabric-covered buttons from Traditions "Explorer" collection that I got on clearance (y'all know I love to save money!).

First, I punched holes in the metal sheet with my Crop-A-Dile Big Bite. The metal is thin so punching was no problem. I then chose an ivory ribbon and put it through the holes, double-knotting it on the back, to make a hanger.

Then I got to work on the magnets. The buttons I used were actually found in the beading/jewelry section! They had a shank on the back so I cut those off with a shank remover.  

By the way, if you don't have a shank remover, do yourself a favor and get one. I love using buttons on my scrapbook pages and other crafts, but I don't want the big shank on the back. This tool cuts them off easily.

I then put magnets on the back of the buttons. These magnets from The Magnet Source already have adhesive on the back (so handy!) so no glue is required.

And that's it!

And you can make magnets out of just about anything. I started sticking magnets on all sorts of items.

I put one on a Maya Road wooden bingo chip and another on a cute little Prima Pebble!

This quick craft project would be great to hang almost anywhere -- in an office, a cubicle, or a teen's room. 

Hope you enjoyed this post and can't wait to share more with you!

Since the project uses magnets, it is not recommended for small children.

Thanks to The Magnet Source and DoCrafts for supplying the magnets and ribbon used in this project. Though I received these products for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CHA 2014 Recap -- New Mod Podge Products!

One of my favorite booths as CHA every year is the Plaid booth. They always have such fun products, especially in their Mod Podge line. Last year, they debuted their Mod Melts (which are AWESOME!), but this year, they really outdid themselves. 

The new milk glass Mod Melts

 This year, they introduced Mod Melts in a harder material with a milk glass finish (see photo above) and a Mod Melts melter (made especially for your Mod Melts -- no more using a glue gun). But by far, their hottest product was the new Collage Clay! This stuff is A-MAY-ZING! It comes in what looks like a cake decorating bag complete with a rosette-type tip. Just squeeze the bag and out comes this fun, puffy material that even looks like cake icing but it's a clay!

I covered the top of this little acrylic heart box with the Collage Clay in the pink color called "Strawberry".  I then added some bling and a cupcake Mod Melt that I painted with acrylic paint. It's so easy -- just lightly press your embellishments into the Collage Clay. 

Can you imagine the fun projects you can make with this? I would love to do a cell phone cover (which only takes about one-third of a bag of Collage Clay)!

The clay does take quite a while to cure so this is not a product that you can use when you need something finished right away. When it dries, it's not a completely hard; it still retains a slightly "squishy" feel to it, but it still holds tight to any embellishment you may have added to it.

I am fired up to see this product in stores! It will be a fun new item in my crafting arsenal!

Side Note: Thanks to watching my mom decorate cakes for 20 years, I actually did a really good job on the piping, but if you are new to using a piping bag and tip, you may have to practice the "kiss and release" method a few times to get rosettes like these.

Me with the super-talented DIY gurus Steve Piacenza and Cathie Filian!

And me with Glossy!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CHA Round-Up: We R Memory Keepers

One of my favorite companies is We R Memory Keepers. I love their paper products and their tools are phenomenal. They have come up with some of the best tools on the market, including the Crop-a-Dile, the Envelope Punch Board, the Lucky 8 punches, and more. With all that in mind, I had to go to their booth at CHA2014 to see what sort of new fun things they have this year!

New wood die cuts -- the pictures don't do these justice. They are beautiful and you have to feel them to really know they are wood!

New "Jet Set" collection - we travel a lot so I really like this one!

New "Game Day" collection

Love the beautiful colors in the "Indian Summer" collection!

This year, We R Memory Keepers is also introducing new album and page kits. I love album kits, especially for gifts, so these made me happy.

Another new papercrafting item this year are the perpetual calendar kits (made to use with the Cinch binding machine).

Do you love your washi tape? We R has a new storage solution. They debuted the washi tape carousel last year, but this year they debuted the spindle so that you can connect two carousels!

New Sew Easy templates

LOVE the new bags!

With the success of the Envelope Punch Board, We R is now coming out with the Flower Board, the Gift Bag and Gift Box Boards, the Candy Box Board, and the Pillow Box Board.

And for you "pocket scrapbookers" out there, the coolest thing was the new storage system for journaling cards and sheet protectors.

It was great to see so many new products -- there were many more items that I didn't get pictures of! I can't wait to get my hands on some of these goodies!

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Favorite New Paper Collection at CHA and a Giveaway

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I just returned from the Craft and Hobby Association's Mega Show in Anaheim, CA and it was phenomenal! I spent 4 whole days learning new crafting techniques and taking in all of the new products. And it was my last day of the show brought the paper collection that absolutely I fell in love with.

It's called "The Sweet Life" and it's available from Melissa Frances. The designers of this collection are Jenny Heid & Aaron Nieradka and they are the people behind the blog Everyday is a Holiday.

The collection is full of cakes, vintage signage, bunny rabbits, cupcakes, and polka dots, all in beautiful pastels. But the most amazing part of this collection is that everything was drawn and painted by hand (while most papers and embellishments are designed by computer) so that it all has a hand-made feel to it.

What's even more awesome is how cool and humble Jenny and Aaron were. You could tell that they were genuinely excited about their new products and their book, Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny and Aaron. Another cool thing? Jenny's adorably pink hair that matched their products perfectly. ;)
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I have been poring over their book for days, just loving the projects and getting inspired. It's chock-full of art journaling ideas and great projects; I especially love the mini donuts made out of air-dry clay -- they look so real! All of the projects in the book have detailed step-by-step instructions that are really easy to understand and follow.

The book is available at most book retailers (including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) and their paper crafting collection will be available soon.

But I love this book so much that I want to share it with y'all -- so I am giving away a copy!

Just enter here through Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, January 5, 2014

Archiver's Closure - A Symptom of a Dying Industry?

This past week, Archiver's made the announcement that they were closing all of their remaining stores. For many in the industry, this came as no real surprise after Archiver's declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed 11 of their 44 stores. Of course, in their announcement, Archiver's blamed their demise on the changing industry. This, in turn, has made many scrapbookers question the hobby. I have heard tons of people ask over these last few days, "Will scrapbooking survive?"

In my opinion, it is less a changing industry and more on bad business practices that put Archiver's in this position.

I met the CEO of the company at ScrapFest in 2009 and he said that he had headed other companies before, but not a craft company.

This worried me, even all those years ago. In my book, you have to know your business to grow your business. If you don't know your industry, you had better do one of two things: learn it quickly or surround yourself with people who do know it. I was hoping that he would do one of these, or even better, do both of them.

However, as the years progressed. I saw that that was not happening. I saw Archiver's jumping onto what they saw were "hot trends", devoting lots of advertising money and shelf space to what their buyers had thought would be the "next big thing". Unfortunately, the buyers often missed the mark and many of those trends never caught on with consumers, leaving Archiver's with lots of products on their shelves that weren't being sold.

When products sit on store shelves, it takes up room for new merchandise. If you don't get in new merchandise, consumers will go elsewhere to find it. Therefore, you need to clear that space wasted on slow-moving items. The most common way to do this is to put it on sale. However, for some reason, Archiver's rarely put these items on sale, or if they did, the discount was minimal and never increased. Common sense tells you that if something isn't selling at full price, mark it down. If it still isn't selling, mark it down further until it does. But so many times, I went to Archiver's and saw the exact same things sitting there on the shelves that were there last month or even last year at the same price. I often thought that this was just me, but it was confirmed this weekend when I shopped at an Archiver's store near me. As I shopped, I made note of the older products I saw. Basic Grey collections from 2009, tools long since put on clearance at other stores, Crop In Style rolling totes that had been sitting there so long that the fabric was actually discolored -- all of these items still at full price. It was further confirmed by an employee who had worked there since since the store opened; she said that there was product in the store that had been there since opening day in 2007.

When you aren't selling product, you aren't making money. When you aren't making money, you can't pay your suppliers. When you can't pay your suppliers, they stop selling to you. This happened on a large scale with Archiver's. In their bankruptcy filings, you can see that Archiver's owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to their vendors. This kind of debt caused many vendors to scale back or stop selling to them altogether, further lessening the amount of new product coming into the stores.

Finally, the last hurdle that Archiver's never cleared was their lack of advertising. If you want people to shop at your store, they have to know about you. But unless you were a fairly seasoned scrapbooker (or a newbie who knew a seasoned scrapbooker), you probably didn't know about Archiver's. They only sent out coupons to established customers and only advertised in industry magazines. Existing customers can only sustain a business for so long, especially with an ever-changing trend like scrapbooking. To grow, you have to attract new customers, and Archiver's didn't do this on the scale that they could or should have.

With all that said, I love Archiver's. I was lucky enough to have two stores within 45 minutes of my house and I have shopped regularly at both of them. I am truly going to miss them at what they brought to the industry. However, this situation should serve as a lesson to other retailers in the craft industry. Maybe this closure will make other stores better.

Is the scrapbooking industry changing? Of course. It always has and always will. But is it dying? No. Only when it ceases to grow and change will it die. There are too many of us memory keepers out there to let that happen.

 JANUARY 6 UPDATE: Many people have disagreed with this article. I admit that this article is my opinion. I am not trying to act like I know things that I don't. I am just stating my views.This was strictly a blog post about what I saw were the problems with Archiver's. Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting and correcting me when it was needed. 


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