After 10 years of article writing, coordinating and publishing, it's finally time for me to step down as the editor and publisher at Scrapjazz and pass the job on to someone new. My new business Signs by Andrea has taken off and is demanding more and more of my time these days. After a lot of thought and consideration, it's a smart choice for my business and family.
When Ben and I launched Scrapjazz on April 1st, 2002, I never would have dreamed of where it would take us, the people we'd cross paths with and the experiences we'd get to have. It's definitely a notable milestone in my life to pass the torch. Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?
December 2001 - We purchased TheMemoryBarn.com for a mere $250 to turn it into our crazy idea of Scrapjazz - the scrapbooking megasite. It took months of planning and building, but we were young with no cable TV!
April 1, 2002 - We launched Scrapjazz.com to the public. That was also my birthday and I've had to share my day for the past 10 years! We probably should have re-thought that launch date since it often meant I had a lot of work to do on my birthday like changing out all kinds of sponsors, releasing new layout galleries and publishing new articles on the 1st of every month for years. But I digress...
October 2002 - We released our first product - the Scrap Tutor CD tutorials (which are now available for free online!). Holy jazz that was a lot of work. Just think! These days anyone can upload a video tutorial to YouTube! We were so ahead of our time. :)
Let's just say it was a huge relief when we were able to mail back all the contibutors' layouts. We were SO stressed that our basement would flood or the house would burn or something terrible would happen & ruin them all before we could send them back to the artists.
2004 - And then we released a second Scrap Tutor CD...I forget when. We were working so hard those days it's all a blur!
May 2004 - I quit my part-time job to work on Scrapjazz full time. Ben was already developing and working for SJ full time and it needed me there too.
September 2004 - Apparently, I wasn't enough. We hired a copy editor to double-check our work and edit all of our writers articles. Thank you Karina! Your work has been invaluable!
Over the Years - In addition to meeting all kinds of scrapbooking industry greats like Heidi Swapp, Cathy Zielske, Lisa Bearnson, Michelle Gerbrandt, Stacy Julian, and product designers from hundreds of scrapbooking companies, I was blessed to meet several of my "team" in person at scrapbooking events, conferences and chance meetings.
That was my favorite. All these girls have been such great friends to me over the years and I've loved watching several of them become huge icons in the industry!
April 2006 - And this was like the BEST. WEEKEND. EVER. Thanks to Monique and the Scrap Etc. girls!
June 2006 - We struck a deal we couldn't refuse. Our very good friends at Scrapbook.com were interested in buying Scrapjazz. We loved them. They loved us. And we had a baby on the way. Literally. I was having contractions during my my last conference call to to transfer my duties to Scrapbook.com and Ayla was born the next morning.
But that wasn't my last hurrah with Scrapjazz! :) While Ben moved on to other topics and ventures, I continued to be on the Blue Crew (design team) until January 2011 and manage the SJ Contributors, publishing articles and working with all the writers...until now.
March 2012 - I'm stepping down. Passing the torch. Moving forward. It's a big milestone. Huge really. Scrapjazz has been a part of my life for 10 years. And I've loved it. But it's time for me to focus on my next adventure.
I am so thankful to all who have played a part in my Scrapjazz world! Blue Crew members, SJ Contributors, product manufacturers, teachers, designers, and Scrapjazz members.
You have all been such a joy to work with and get to know over the years and together you have made such amazing contributions to the scrapbooking industry by sharing your talents, ideas and projects. Thank you so much for making my job easy and fun to do! I look forward to watching the life of Scrapjazz and the scrapbooking industry continue to grow and evolve.
I've made a few of these baby's first year albums for family and friends, and thought I'd post a quick little tutorial for how to make them. They make great baby shower gifts or even a good way to get an easy album for your own kids made before the baby is born! Plus, it's easy to fill in and keep up with!
Start with a 3-ring binder album. I like the We R Memory Keepers Faux Leather albums with a bookplate spine. This one is navy, though it looks black in the photo.
Next, pick a patterned paper collection to use throughout the book. For this album, I used the Basic Grey Oliver Collection. The collection pack comes with some alphabet stickers and themed stickers as well.
Create a front page. I like to leave a photo mat for a 5 x 7 photo. I like to think it'll be filled in with a newborn photo.
Each month of the year gets a calendar journaling page. I just made a template in Microsoft Word, added the correct numbers for the month, and then printed it on gray cardstock.
Once all the pages are printed, to make it a little more handmade I add a stamped month & year and a few strips of patterned paper. These pages are housed in regular 8.5" x 11" page protectors.
Next, for each month, I make double-sided journaling tags, and fill in the spaces of a 2-up photo sleeves page protector. Each tag gets a journaling stamp & some patterned paper details. Later, the tags can be filled in with journaling information about the photos that are added from that month.
The last page for each month is a printed "milestones" page to record important details like height, weight, eating and sleeping habits, etc. This page is also printed on gray cardstock with patterned paper details. I made the template for it in Microsoft Word. For this particular album, I used my Silhouette to cut the numbers for each month as well.
All that's left is a "one" page at the end of the book. Again, I left a photo mat for a 5 x 7 photo to be added later.
It's a pretty easy-to-make, assembly-line style album and can be completed in a couple of days. Since it's handmade and can be personalized to match the decor for any nursery or with the baby's name, etc., it makes a special gift.
Here are some other versions of the album that I've made before:
A few months ago I finally caught up on a few of my annual scrapbooks. Specifically - the pages for Paxton's year-by-year album to match Ayla's.
I love these books. They only require that I make one two-page spread a year, but show a great collage of photos of the kids from each month of the year as well as highlight some of the milestones and big events. Simple, and do-able.
His album is an 8" x 8" book by American Crafts.
Also...a good reminder of how miserably hard his first year was...
and how sweet and fun he became about 1/2 way through his second year...
And while I was at it, I finished up Ayla's next two pages too:
Felt good to do a little bit of scrapbooking. :)
I'm an annual one-page-a-year-scrapbook kind of girl. Just look at my past albums, and you'll know it's true:
And especially now, since I'm no longer making a yearly scrapbook album, it was time for me to get a few more of those one-page-a-year albums up and running -- starting with Halloween, my favorite holiday! I wanted a simple little album that we could pull out each year with our Halloween decor that showed off all the kids' costumes throughout the years.
I used a 6" x 6" American Crafts D-ring album that had a plain chipboard cover that I could customize. I decorated it with patterned paper and mod podge to "wrap" and cover both the front and back of the album. I believe the papers I used are by My Mind's Eye, but I know they're from several years ago, so they may no longer be available.
The first page of the album is a themed-out title page, with black mesh and typical iconic Halloween embellishments (spiders, bats, etc.)
On the rest of the pages, I made sure to include a photo, the year, and a costume description (in case one day we can't tell what they were supposed to be!). For Ayla's baby and toddler years, each page was dedicated to one year...
And when we added Paxton to the family, each child got a page in a facing spread. Plus, I added an insert between the two pages for a photo of the two kids together in their costumes.
Here's a look at the back cover of the album. Something simple, easy to keep up, and a great little Halloween decor piece to boot. :)
For Ayla's 5th birthday she requested (okay I might have suggested - instead of a princess or Dora theme) a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. Though she might have been slightly guided in her choice, she jumped on board and was very excited about it! She helped me with all the planning, looking for ideas, shopping for and making decorations. We started by making an idea board in Pinterest:
And though we didn't use all those ideas, they got the creative juices flowing. So here's what we DID end up with - a simple, low-key playdate birthday party for six little girls.
I fell in love with the design of these Hello Kitty Simple Sign invitations from Tiny Prints. I ended up making my own instead of buying them, primarily because I had all the materials at my desk the day I wanted to make them, but buying them wouldn't have cost much for the 6 I needed. If I had been making more than that I would have bought them. I also personalized each invitation for the girl we were sending it to. :)
We kept the decorations fairly simple and only decorated in the dining room -- streamers, balloons, a handmade banner and a blue plastic tablecloth. I did buy some Hello Kitty themed plates, but stuck with light pink colored dessert plates, hot pink napkins and hot pink cups.
I made the "Happy Birthday" banner using the same technique as I showed in this handmade birthday banner tutorial using patterned paper and cardstock. Then I added some handmade Hello Kitty paper dolls to the ends of each banner, which I cut using this Hello Kitty font and my Silhouette.
Our party was from 10am to 1pm, so we served lunch. Ayla's menu request - pizza & pears. I added in pineapple and popcorn for a very simple lunch (all starting with P's). I had planned to do a semi-homemade cake by buying a round white cake from the store and drawing a Hello Kitty on top of it, but my VERY talented friend offered to make me the dream cake I'd been eyeing (see it up there in my Pinterest board?). She did an AMAZING job:
This is where I'm weak in the party-planning department. It's just like when I was little and my siblings wanted me to play Barbie with them. I liked to set up the house, get all the dolls dressed up, and then just look at it. I forget that everyone else wants to PLAY. But I did diligently look for activities (with Ayla) that we could do with 6 little girls at her party. We considered making necklaces, or paper dolls, or doing a bingo game, but keeping time, resources & money in mind, here's what we settled on:
Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty - I drew a Hello Kitty head on Ayla's easel and cut paper bows out of patterned paper. Then we used a scarf as a blindfold and ended up with a pretty silly looking kitty.
Draw Hello Kitty - I gave each girl a 6" x 6" piece of white cardstock and asked them to draw their own version of Hello Kitty and decorate it with stickers. We put each girl's page into a small scrapbook that we'll add photos to for Ayla to remember her birthday party.
Hello Kitty Tattoos - I bought a 24-pack of Hello Kitty Tattoos at the party store, so each girl got 2 tattoos. They all enjoyed that and they got to practice counting to 30 each time we applied a tattoo. Look at all those tan little feet. These girls have been swimming this summer!
Play - These girls are 4 & 5. They played together most of the time in Ayla's room. :)
Movie - After lunch and presents, while we waited for their parents to arrive, the girls sat on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and watched a 30 minute Hello Kitty episode on Netflix.
No party is complete without favors. We raided the Target $1 bins and came up with pencils & erasers and notebooks for each girl. Plus of course, the felt Hello Kitty hairbows that I made and which were a big hit.
And...finally, I couldn't resist buying Ayla this SUPER adorable Hello Kitty t-shirt from Target to wear to her party:
There you have it. A super-pink, super-easy, super-cute Hello Kitty birthday party.
Remember that Week in the Life project I did a few months ago? Well...it took me about a month to get the pictures printed & put into an album and then another month to finally "embellish" it, but I finally got it all finished up. I took the ULTRA simple route this time...nothing fancy, nothing complicated (and admittedly not as cute as the last time I did a Week in the Life project) - just pictures, handwriting, and my handy-dandy Silhouette did most of the work.
First...the pictures & the project in-progress (in case you have no clue what I'm referring to!):
Then, after all that photo-taking of the mundane intricacies of our days...it was time to put it all together.
This time, instead of creating daily collage prints, I decided to print 4 x 6 photos for each day so you could see more of the details....which after 7 days of photo-taking left me with a VERY large stack of prints that I managed to whittle down to about 180.
I used a standard 2-up photo album (like I did for our Disney Vacation Album) with tabs for each day of the week and a window in the front cover for a title. On the inside front page, I left two spots open to make a title page - which I cut completely from black cardstock on my Silhouette. Man I love that thing! Totally worthwhile purchase.
At the beginning of each day, I cut the day of the week from white cardstock and mounted it on corresponding colored patterned paper (to match the tabs for that day):
And, as you can see -- I kept the journaling VERY simple and basic and just hand-wrote captions telling what was going on in the pictures, what time it was, where we were, and who was pictured. Stuff I *think* I'd remember...but then again I forgot my grocery list at home today as I stepped into the store...so I tend to forget stuff. That's why I write it all down.
And there you have it. A finished album, showing off a regular-old week in our life in the Spring of 2011. If you're interested in doing a project like this, Ali Edwards is where I got my inspiration, and she's at it again, doing another round July 25th through July 31st, 2011.
You can read more about her approach and suggestions here. It's hard work, but I highly recommend it. The kids love looking at these albums. :)
I'm pleased to be guest posting over at Craftaholic's Anonymous today, showing off my crafty office space.
Perhaps you've seen it here before.
Now you can read a more detailed description of how I organize my supplies and keep everything under control in my center-of-the-house office space.
Welcome to any new visitors & thanks for stopping by!
Why, yes! As a matter of fact, a customized printable version is available of the Dated Wall Art I posted yesterday! Thank you for asking.
See all of my Dated Art options.
Day 7. Sunday. Today was another completely abnormal, totally quiet day by myself. I even hid in our bedroom when Ben brought the kids home tonight so he could put them right to bed to avoid riling them up too much. I did however, go back to my to-do list. And did some stuff. What can I say? I like lists.
And I'm spent. Both times I've done this project, by the end of it, I'm exhausted and feeling like my life is extremely boring and mundane. Maybe next time I'll spread it out over two months and do one day a week so it's not quite so intense. Just a thought. Now I get to decide how I'm going to put it all together in an album....
- 29 photos saved to my hard drive. 22 shown here. It got a little ridiculous just taking photos of myself this weekend. Maybe when I'm 60 I'll be glad I did.
- Notable differences about today compared to every other normal day - I was by myself all day again. And I didn't go to church, even though it was Sunday.