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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

We Pause for a Brief Commercial Message

Today I am in Promotion Mode.  That’s what happens when I have a lot of events and they aren’t filling up as fast as I want them to, or I just haven’t had time to take care of promoting them like I should.  Usually, I try to spread it out.  I don’t want my customers or my readers to be bombarded by emails and ads for things I’m trying to sell.  Some companies do that.  They’ll send out one or two emails every single day to remind you that it’s their annual “stock up on bath soap” sale, or “get extra points when you buy breakfast”.  It’s annoying.  I don't want to do that. 

Instead, I prefer word of mouth.  I want my customers and event participants to have so much fun at my events that they are eager to share with others and ready to come back and play again.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have to occasionally drop subtle hints, or post an occasional reminder on Facebook, and I send out roughly one newsletter email a month to let everyone know what’s going on, but lately, I have been so busy that I haven’t done any of that (or at least not much).  So I thought today I would do something I almost never do, and that is put it all in a blog post.  After all, I really don’t share all this stuff on the blog very often because the blog is more about crafting and projects, so you might not even know what’s going on.

Of course, a blog post with nothing but me hawking my wares would not be any fun at all, so today I’m going to kill two birds with one stone; I’m going to share some projects with you, and tell you how they relate to some of my events!

First, lets start with 

Cards (and other things, too!):






These cards were some that we made recently at our 3rd Wednesday Stamp Club meetings.  If you aren’t familiar with it, the stamp club is a gathering we have here at my house (aka Crafty Neighbor Studios) once per month.  We are led by Barbara King, a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator who prepares 2-3 projects for us to do each month.  It’s a lot of fun, and we’re definitely learning a lot of great techniques!  So if you’re in the DFW area on a 3rd Wednesday, please feel free to join us!  The first visit is free, after that, there is a $30 minimum order.  You can find all the details on Meetup.com.

Classes:


An example of our Perpetual Calendar

Recently, I’ve had a lot of requests for classes, including repeats of several classes I taught in years past.  My trusty side-kick and helper extraordinaire, Marion, and I worked up a schedule we thought would work for anyone, but I guess we were scheduling things too close to the end of school or something because we are still getting emails asking for different dates and times.  So here’s the deal…if you are in the DFW area and you want to take any of our classes, go to our Facebook page and find the post I made today about classes.  Give us your input about dates, times, etc.  We’ll use that info to come up with some more class dates – I promise!

Crops and Retreats:


I don’t have any public crops or retreats coming up any time soon.  I usually like to have one or two fundraiser crops per year, but I am not walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day this year, so no crop for that.  If you have an organization that needs to raise money, and you would like to host a Scrapbooking Fundraiser Crop, give me a shout!  I will be more than happy to organize one for you!  This is especially true in the DFW/North Texas area, but I will also help with crops in other locations as well.  It’s a great way to raise funds for your organization, and it works particularly well for schools, churches, and non-profits like breast cancer charities or social services organizations.  If you are interested, please send me an email.

Cruises:


I haven’t promoted them much here, but one of my favorite projects every year is our annual scrapbooking cruise!  The exciting thing about this year’s cruise is that we have two!  The full scoop is on our website, but here’s the skinny:

Crafty Neighbor Scrapbook LITE
Departing from Galveston, Texas
Carnival Liberty
October 3-8, 2016
Porting in Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico sailing 5 nights with “LITE” amenities, flexible crop times, and a more relaxed/fun environment.  Make your own schedule and work on your own projects.  Optional classes are extra.  Crafters and non-crafters of all skill levels are equally welcome.

Crafty Neighbor Scrapbooking Cruise
Departing from Galveston, Texas
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
January 8-15. 2017
Porting in Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Cozumel (Mexico) sailing 7-nights with FULL amenities, 24-hour open crop room, and lots of crafts, projects and demonstrations.  Participate in scheduled classes or work on your own projects.  All classes are included in the cost.  Crafters and non-crafters of all skill levels are equally welcome.

Here is one of the projects from our last cruise:

This simple layout was a make-n-take on our 2015 Scrap Cruise.
In all we had 4 make-n-takes, 1 interactive demo, 10+ hours of dedicated
class time plus games, contests, prizes, goodies and giveaways.

Garage Sales:


Last but not least, I’m sad to say I am still waiting for open dates at our Girl Scout facility for the semi-annual scrapbook garage sale.  They assure me that they will know the open dates by the end of May.  Keep your fingers crossed for a fall date.  If not, we may have to look at another facility, which would mean an increase in vendor rates, which I don’t want to do.

That’s it for now, thanks for your patience, and I hope you enjoyed the projects I shared as part of this giant advertisement! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Accidents Happen

Let me start with an apology.  I struggled a bit with Friday’s blog post (technical difficulties) and as a result, I got in a hurry and sent it out without checking for typos!  Oops!  I am usually much more diligent than that.  I did correct the errors, but for those of you who subscribe by email, I’m sorry….

We all make mistakes sometimes.  Usually it’s best to confess them and move on.  But mistakes in scrapbooking or other crafting can be harder (and sometimes easier, depending on your perspective) to deal with.  Just last week, my Aggie Mom friends and I were decorating some wooden picture frames to sell in our Parents’ Weekend Boutique booth and we accidentally decorated some of them upside down.  I had to get my dear hubby to drill new holes in the right place!  Ooops!  

I’ve made some doozies over the years.  Some I try to fix, and some turn out to be happy accidents and I leave them be.  Here’s a few I’ve dealt with over the years.  Can you spot the changes in this first layout?


After I completed this layout, my son informed me that the dates I used were wrong.
Changes made:  replaced the file folder, including all stamping and journaling.
After I completed the "Night Ops" layout, my son came home for Christmas and informed me that I had the dates all wrong.  This meant I had to retype all the computer journaling, re-stamp all the images, and hand journal the rest.  Oh, and I had to cut a new folder because I had already ruined the other side AND it had staple marks, rendering it unusable.  I couldn't remember which die cut I used, so I tried ever die and stencil I had on hand, but they were the wrong size.  It wasn't until months later that I remembered I had been at a retreat when I cut the folder, so eventually I was able to go back and cut another one to finish the page.  This turned out to be a "happy accident" because it allowed me to do a better job of stamping the "For Your Information" stamp, my handwriting looks better, and I got to re-stamp "URGENT" as well.

I don't have pictures of the original "mistakes" on the rest of these, but the captions explain what went wrong:

This was a page I made when I first started scrapbooking.  I originally made it with a
manilla background and pastel tags in an assortment of colors.  I hated the way it turned
out, so after discussing it with several "pros", I decided to make it a dichromatic page
instead.  I love it so much better now!

That mustang wasn't on the original layout.  The journaling has changed, too.
Originally, I had a cute picture of "Fred the Fish", the unofficial mascot of the
high school swim team.  Unfortunately, my daughter informed me that the
team adopted Fred the following year, and that he was not part of the 1998
Homecoming float.  To fix it, I replaced Fred with a mustang die cut and I replaced
all of the journalling.

This layout is an example of a page I did not fix.  As you can see,
when I stamped "October 3", my blocky stamps gave less than
excellent results.  I didn't have any more of the sparkly white paper,
so I just decided to leave it be.



How do you deal with your mistakes?  Are you a leave it and forget it?  Do you turn it into a Happy Accident?  Do you fix it somehow?  Do you tell others about it?  Share your scrapping mistakes in the comments…we’d love to hear how you dealt with it!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Everything's Coming Up Aggie!




You may have wondered why I haven’t been posting as much lately.  I blame my son.  He just had to go off to Texas A&M University, an institution that some may claim is a cult.  Well, sure enough, I drank that maroon Kool-aid right off the bat, so I am just as indoctrinated in that culture as he is, and I’ve been volunteering with the Denton County A&M Mothers Club ever since.

The Aggies have a funny saying, “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it.  From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.”  Texas A&M and the Aggie Spirit have a way of grabbing you and making you feel like you’re home…like this is the group you should have always belonged to.  You wonder why it took you so long to find it.  And if you’re lucky enough to be born into it, you can’t imagine ever belonging anywhere else.  The Aggie network is a brotherhood and sisterhood of all Aggies.  They recognize each other from across the room and they are drawn to each other to share their love for that little school on the Brazos.  It’s not so little now, boasting some 50,000 students, but it still feels like home.

One really unique feature of Texas A&M is the Aggie Moms clubs.  The first club was started in 1921 when the mother of one of the students decided there was no female influence on the young men attending what was then an all-male, all-military school.  The mom’s club started by bringing some welcome home-cooking to the cadets and staff, and has since evolved into a far-reaching organization that supports the school, provides thousands of dollars in scholarships every year, and so much more.  I’ve met so many wonderful ladies through this organization, many with children who graduated long ago.  That’s why I signed up to help with the Aggie Mom Boutique four years ago, and I’m still at it!

This past weekend was  Texas A&M’s annual Parents’ Weekend, where the school invites the Aggie families to spend a few days on campus touring classrooms, attending banquets and awards ceremonies, and, of course, spending money that helps this fine educational establishment.  One of the things parents spend money on is the Aggie Moms Boutique, a craft show to end all craft shows featuring none other than…you guessed it…everything “Aggie” that you can imagine.  Picture two huge ballrooms full of maroon – it’s hard to imagine!



As the Co-Chairs of this year’s Boutique for Denton County, my partner, Alisa, and I were responsible for filling up 5 tables with assorted products of our choice, which you can see below.  Alisa and I made some of these items, and some were purchased or were donated by other Aggie Moms from Denton county.  In our booth we had etched glassware (a huge hit!), decorated picture frames, some altered windows, hand knitted items, sterling silver charms and other jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and, of course, fliers for our Fundraiser Cruise.




So why did I share all of this with you today?  Well, for inspiration, of course!  Maybe you’ll be inspired to check out Texas A&M University for yourself.  Or maybe you can start one of these unique clubs for your school to raise money for scholarships.  You might even be inspired by some of the crafty things we’ve made – you don’t have to make them maroon!

To get an up-close peek at some of our crafty projects, visit our photo album here.

P.S.  If you or your organization is interested in participating in or organizing a fundraiser cruise, please contact me at Crafty Neighbor Travel!  I would love to help you with a cruise, or you are welcome to join ours!