Andrea's blog

5

Scrap Etc. 2008 - Recap

Ever wonder what it looks like to have 600 scrapbookers in one room? Very pink. And slightly intimidating. But, by the end of the weekend, I think maybe I spoke to every single one of them!
 
Scrap Etc. 2008 was exhausting, fun, exciting, inspiring, and then even more exhausting. I was a group leader of one of the 4 groups of ladies who attended in the event. So, let me shout out to all my Group A girls...they were patient, friendly, silly, cooperative, and all so talented. But I could not have led them at all without Molly, Carol and Tracy, who kept me on track and were absolutely indespensible.
 
 
 
We enjoyed classes by Heidi Swapp, Gretchen McElveen, Jenni Bowlin, Monique McLean, Vanessa Hudson, Wilna Furstenberg, and Angelia Wiggington. I came home with a small truckload of scrapbook products and kits to make all kinds of fantastic projects that these ladies shared with us.
 
 
I ended up not having to present my 7 Gypsies class on Saturday night, because we ran out of time, but I did stand in front of that massive group of people and show them the finished project. But by that time, I'd been to every table answering questions, handing out kit products, and it felt like I was talking to an old group of friends. It was no sweat at all... So maybe I'm ready to become a convention teacher---hmm...maybe not quite yet.
 
 
I won't bore you with every detail of the weekend, because, let's face it, if you weren't there, it can't be recreated. But, I will leave you with a list of 30 things I learned while at Scrap Etc. 2008.
  1. How to make a paper accordion flower (thank you Jenni).
  2. That a class will go on, even if everyone's rub-ons are faulty.
  3. No matter what it is, food tastes fantastic when you are starving.
  4. I can function on only 4 hours of sleep...but it's a little foggy!
  5. The next time I take a creative class, I want to be the "rebel" and make the project my own...those turned out the coolest!
  6. I like being in charge of people and organizing activities.
  7. Tennis shoes are much smarter when you'll be standing and walking for 17 hours a day.
  8. Microphones aren't as scary as I thought they were.
  9. Trying to give 600 people instructions at one time in one large room is VERY difficult...note to next year's planners---give handout instructions for the layoust on SNL night and let everyone work at their own pace. Then they can socialize as much as they want.
  10. 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch and dinner is too short when you have also get ready for the next class.
  11. I want to learn sign language--for real. We had two deaf ladies and two interpreters in Group A and I loved watching them "talk".
  12. Amanda Hudson is a great singer.
  13. I still love Gretchen McElveen's crisp scrapbooking style. So "me"...okay not me, but what I want my style to be. :)
  14. Wilna is adorable. Her accent and teaching style kept us laughing and on our toes.
  15. Jenni Bowlin and her family really impressed me. Love her down-to-earth attitude, she's so talented, and was just a joy to be around.
  16. Vanessa Hudson is remarkably talented, so creative, and still manages to be over-the-top organized--and she always looks great.
  17. I'm proud to have played a part in introducing Monique to scrapbooking (through Scrapjazz) which eventually led to her store, then the events.
  18. Heidi Swapp did not dissapoint and brought us plenty of pink, bling and fun.
  19. Angelia was one of the sweetest women I've met...and I'm so glad I finally got to meet her after enjoying her layouts in magazines since I first started scrapbooking years and years ago.
  20. Bonds are always created during stressful situations...I loved getting to know the other Scrap Etc. girls...and it was my main reason for helping out with the Event--to spend time with all of them. I really enjoyed our Thursday night pow-wow at the Irish pub. :)
  21. The little bird on the t-shirts, bags & aprons were so cute...even if they weren't as "round" as they should have been...it's okay Jennifer...no one noticed that the t-shirt folks stretched your image!
  22. Sometimes, you just have to make a decision and go with it. It's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
  23. Scrapbooking vendors are so generous with their products and time.
  24. I shared a room with a former "Kelly Taylor"! (only you 90210 fans will be excited about that).
  25. A $6 McDonald's lunch seems like pennies after a weekend of eating at the Opryland Hotel. A muffin for $4? Really? That must be some muffin. I'll stick to my granola bars.
  26. Scrapbooking is fun...it still is.
  27. The amount of money people are willing to spend on products for their craft is unbelievable.
  28. I love my Scrapjazz girls! It was great to see Ashley, Trish, and Amanda!
  29. I'm tired of butterflies.
  30. Phoebe (from Friends) is right. There is no selfless act. No matter how many times I went out of my way to help someone, no matter how exhausted I was, it felt so good when I was able to make something "right" for a person. I hope I was able to make everyone's experience as great as it could be.
I'm sure I could go on and come up with 100 things, but I'll stop there. If you went to the Event and have pictures to share, please send me a link! I didn't have my camera out nearly enough!
 
 
0

Wing Zingers


Today*, my husband Ben launched a new web site called WingZingers.com. Wing Zingers is a very cool website dedicated to finding quippy political t-shirts from both ends of the political spectrum. Rather than selling shirts, WingZingers.com collects the best-of-the-best from a selection of various online t-shirt stores so you can shop and compare the design options and "zingers". You can even Teebate the shirts by voting for your favorites. With the upcoming election, this site is bound to draw interests from all sorts of "parties".

So, pass it on! Tell your friends. Post about it on your blog. And heck, buy a shirt if you want to--it's hard to resist when you find your favorite zinger....

* - We have a tendency to piggy-back holidays and big events in our family. My birthday is April Fool's Day, Ben's birthday often falls on Thanksgiving, my dad's is Christmas Eve, my mom's birthday is over Spring Break, etc. We even launched Scrapjazz.com on my birthday in 2002 (and incidentally, it made every birthday while we owned it kind of cheated in my opinion). But, I digress. With this obvious pattern we've established, I'm not at all surprised that Ben chose to launch his new website, WingZingers.com, on what else, but Tax Day!

2

Opryland

Guess where I'm headed tomorrow afternoon? Nashville, TN to the Opryland Hotel. I'm lucky enough to be working at the Scrap Etc. Event put on by the lovely ladies from the local scrapbook store here in B'ham. We've been prepping, kitting, and talking about the event since September (at least I have....Monique has been living and breathing it for longer than that), and it's going to be so much fun!
 
With several big name scrapbook industry teachers on site such as Heidi Swapp, Jenni Bowlin, Wilna Furstenberg, Angelia Wiggingon, and Danelle Johnson, it should definitely be an inspiring weekend. Not to mention the incredible in-house talent of Vanessa Hudson, Gretchen McElveen and Monique McLean. After seeing bits and pieces of the projects for the past several months, I can't wait to see everyone's finished classes.
 
I'm really looking forward to a weekend away and what better way to spend it than in a fancy hotel with 600 scrapbookers? Okay, maybe there are a *few* better ways to spend a weekend away (whisked away to a tropical island or pampered in a fancy big city), but i'm looking forward to this one anyhow! I hope to have photos and stories to tell when I return (since, after all the theme is "Tell the story only you can tell").
 
Oh...and wish me luck.  I may be leading all 600 ladies in step-by-step instructions for creating a layout on Saturday night.  Holy stage fright.
 
4

Organized

I just got back home from a MOPS meeting and it was all about organization and the home office and it got me all warm and fuzzy-feeling inside.  I just get so excited about having things organized and "in their place."  It was good stuff.  Everyone had some great organization ideas, so I thought I'd share a few of them here:
 
=================
Problem:
papers, mail, bills, receipts, etc.  The "STACKS"

 

Suggested Solutions:
  • The 2-minute rule (If it can be taken care of in less than two minutes, do it immediately)
  • Have appropriate disposal bins handy where you read your mail (trash, recycle, shred)
  • Use a by-date separator to know when to pay certain bills
  • Have an "inbox" and go through it daily (or weekly)

=================

Problem:
Scheduling, calendars
 
Solution Suggestions:
  •  Family Calendar with room for each family member's activities for the week.
  • White board calendar in the kitchen
  • Sync up your PDAs, Outlook Calendars, etc.
  • Keep a perpetual birthday, anniversary calendar
=================
Problem:
To-do lists that are way too long
 
Solution Suggestions:
  • Keep a long-term (this month/year) and short-term (today/this week) to-do list
  • Categorize your to-dos.  A work-related to-do, a home related to-do, a kid-related to-do, etc.
  • Make a next-action list (Ben got this from the book Getting Things Done.  It has a fantastic system that we use occasionally...not religiously)
=================
Problem:
Toys everywhere!
 
Solution Suggestions:
  • Each kid gets a bin and they're allowed to put as many of whatever toys they want to have in the bin, but the lid MUST close.  All other toys are stored in bins in the basement/garage/etc.  Every month or so you give them the option to go "shopping" for a new round of toys.   (Alison gets total credit for this idea--which btw my MOPS group thought this was genious!)
  • Buckets with photo labels of the contents. 
  • Toy "check out" and "return" policy from shelves.  Can only have 3 items checked out at once before they need to be put away. (I don't actually know anyone who does this, but it might be an interesting experiment to see if kids are willing to go along with it...)
=================
Problem:
Kids' schoolwork and artwork 
 
Solution Suggestions:
  • Boxes, folders or bins divided by school year.  Label with child's name, year, teacher's name.
  • Portfolio divided by year
  • Hang recent creations from clips on a curtain rod to create your own kid's art gallery
  • Go back 2-3 years later when you aren't so emotionally attached to *every* art piece and quiz and purge, keeping the best and most special.
=================
 
Funny story:  Tom (Ben's dad) asked me once to make him a top 10 list of how to stay organized.  Immediately I looked for some paper and a pen and came up with a list of 6 things and handed it to him.  He always jokes that #1) he was shocked that I did it instantly, and #2) that I only needed 6 "rules".  Proof of my tendency towards efficiency I guess.  I'll try to remember them here, but he may need to correct me if he still has the original list:
 
  1.  A place for everything and everything in its place.
  2. If it can be done quickly, do it immediately.
  3. Clean out your closets/desk/etc. every 6 months.  If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it, you probably don't need it.
  4. Put things away every night before you go to bed. 
Darn...i can only come up with 4 now....does that mean I'm getting more efficient and organized?  Or just tired and sloppy now that I've got a kid?
 
I'll leave you with a photo of my favorite room of our house...my office. 
 
3

Itza Pizza

After nap today, Ayla was playing in her playhouse and she said something about pizza.  Which reminded me that I've been meaning to make her some pizzas for her playhouse.  So, Ayla helped me "cook" them up this afternoon.  She even blew on them because they were "hot" (aka...the glue was drying). 
 

0

The Long Way Round

Ben and I just finished watching a 7-episode mini-series documentary called "The Long Way Round".  Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorgman are two best friends and motorbike enthusiasts (they also happen to be actors) that decided to go on an adventure together by riding motorcycles from London to New York -- going east -- all the way around the world.  
 

Their adventure is unbelievable, astonishing, painful, breathtaking, stressful, enlightening, remarkable, eye-opening, and so many other powerful adjectives that I can't come up with right now.  The two of them are hilarious and determined to succeed in their adventure as well as enjoy it as it happens (which sometimes was very difficult).  They meet all kinds of interesting people from the most unique places and remote places you'd ever imagine, traveling through Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, and finally across Canada and the United States.  
 
I absolutely recommend you pick this up at the library, video rental place or download the episodes from their web site.   It was like going around the world and seeing things we'll never likely get a chance to see--because very few do!  Do you know many people who travel the Road of Bones in Siberia?  
 
I see now that they've done another adventure together called The Long Way Down where they go from Scotland down through to the southernmost tip of Africa.  I'll be looking out for that one to watch next time! 
3

Playhouse

 
Ayla's playhouse arrived last night....and so did Noni. We spent an hour or so fixing it up with curtains, house numbers (616--her birthday), flowers, a tree, an American flag and even a framed photo on the wall.
 
 
 
 
 
We thought the rolling toy looked like a good little lawn mower for her front lawn. It's a good thing it's pretend-world, because the stove and microwave and table are all outside!
 
 
 

I love the little shoebox shelf above the sink!
 
 
 
 
 
Already, she has to duck to get inside...she's getting tall!
--------------------------
And, I thought all my northern friends would get a good laugh out of this weather that interrupted television shows last night several times with winter storm warnings:
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is what they call a snowstorm in Alabama.
 
6

Home is a Four Letter Word

My pictures came in the mail today, so I was able to fill our four frames in the kitchen--FINALLY. You guys got me thinking about four-letter words, and then I ran across this article I had written a while back for Scrapjazz, and I thought, "duh! I'll do a word collage!" How easy is that? So I took some photos of letters around our house, cropped and enlarged them to 8" x 10" and hung 'em up!

 

 

I'm likin' it. It wasn't on purpose really, but I like the black and red thing I've got going with them too..

Now, for a special pat on the back...who can identify where each of these photos was taken in our house? I guess this only works for those who have been here....

3

Deals

I made it home, which means I must have had a successful shopping trip....(this makes sense if you read my "Today I am..." ticker. Today's says: Today I am not coming home until I have purchased a new pair of tennis shoes. My current pair is 6 years old...I bought them in Searcy, AR! (3/4))

 

 
The most crucial purchase of the day, from Dicks Sporting Goods (on sale for $39.99):
 
 

 
 

 

And, while I was in shoe-shopping mode, I picked these up at DSW (also on sale for $24.26):
 

 

 

 
 

 

But before we went shoe shopping, Ayla and I walked the aisles of the Kids Market & Mom consignment sale. I was not in the mood to shop for kid clothes...they were way too overpriced for consignment, so we took a look at the toys and picked up these gems for only $2 each:
 

 

 

 

Then, I spotted this for only $25 (usually $80 new), which I've been eyeing for a long time at various consignment sales. It's a little big for her now, but Ayla just HAS to have her own scrapbooking and craft desk. And it fits just perfectly right by mine! Now we need to find a chair and stuff to fill it up with. Some little artist has sharpie-d the dry erase board, so I'm going to try and clean it, paint it (maybe with chalkboard paint), or replace it.

 

 
 
 

 

Nothing feels better than snagging good deals on things you "need".

 

0

U23D

This afternoon, Rachel graciously offered to watch Ayla so that Ben and I could join Josh, Zach and Janel at the theater for U23D. We'd planned to go a couple of weeks ago for Zach's birthday, but it kept getting bumped back because of Hannah Montana in 3D...I guess she's more popular around here. Especially since there were only about 10 people in the theater this afternoon...including the 5 of us!

 
Regardless, it was pretty cool. Kind of like having a box seat to a huge concert. I was never a big U2 fan and actually I used to tease Zach because as long as I'd known him, I'd never known a conversation with him that didn't somehow come back to Bono or U2. A couple of years ago though, he showed us a DVD of a U2 concert in Dublin. I was so impressed with their talent and ever since I've considered myself a fan--although not anywhere close to as big a fan as Zach is!
 
But now I can say I reached out and "touched" Bono's hand at a concert....and it'll be virtually true...
 

 

Syndicate content