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October 2005
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December 2005

Scrapbooking Idea: What's in your fridge?

Inspired by the Flickr: The whatsinyourfridge Pool --

Take a picture of the contents of your fridge, as well as the outside door decorations.  You might even go a step further and take pictures of your cupboards/pantry.

Fun and easy way to document a little "slice of life" -- you can journal about some of your food choices, how long you've been buying certain foods, who eats which foods, who introduced you to certain foods or brands, etc.

Have fun!

P.S. See also:
What's in your bag?
What's in your closet?
What's on your desk?
Shimelle Laine's "Pure Luxury" layout on page 18 of The Book of Me

Book of Me Backstory

backstory: the history behind the situation existant at the start of the main story

I was talking with someone about Book of Me recently, and she asked me (basically) why I wrote it.  This really belongs on a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) because it's probably the question I get most often.  And I realized that, even with all the interviews I've done over the past several years, I haven't really "gone public" with how the book really came to be.

My publisher Elaine always rolls her eyes and gives me a bit of a shove when I give my usual answer -- I started working on a Book of Me scrapbook in 2001, and in the process, shared it with friends at crops.  They told me they had never done a page about themselves. As I was gathering resources to work on my own album, I decided to put it all together in one place and write a book. I researched the book proposal process and sent one out to several publishers.  That is how it happened, but a very condensed version of the story.  My publisher Elaine doesn't think my Reader's Digest version of why I wrote the book really does the real 'backstory' justice.'s the Real Story.

This backstory could have the subtitle, How A 30-Year-Old Mother of Two Saved Her Own Life With Scrapbooking, because that's basically what happened.

After staying home with my children for six years, I began to have an identity crisis. Or what I now refer to as an “anti-identity crisis”. I felt like my life could be summed up in my roles of wife and mother. That’s all there was to me. Period. 

Do you ever feel that way? Like you’ve lost track of who you were “before”, and who you are now?

As I went about my days, I found myself thinking about all the tasks and chores and errands I did. I wondered if there was anything special about the fact that I was doing them. I felt like we could hire someone to do the dishes and the laundry and the cooking and running errands, and I wouldn’t even be missed. I felt like I had failed to make a mark, and I could easily be replaced. I even thought about taking my own life.

I can vividly remember one night, laying in bed, crying uncontrollably, and thinking about going to the store to buy sleeping pills.  But I couldn't stop crying long enough to go get them (and didn't figure they'd sell sleeping pills to a hysterical, crying woman, anyway).  It's strange now to think that not being able to stop crying may have saved my life.

But instead of ending my life, I decided to scrap it. 

Instead of abandoning my husband and two kids, and taking myself out of their lives, I decided to share myself with them more fully.  I decided to give them the gift only I could give -- My stories.

I started working on a scrapbook about myself.  It became a tool to showcase what made me unique, and all that I valued about my life.  And it quite literally saved my life.  Because right there in front of me, created by my own hand, was proof that my life was worth living, remembering, and celebrating.

As I showed this album to my friends, I saw that they were almost startled -- so many of my friends had never thought of doing a page about themselves, let alone actually done one.  Just like me, they were also absent from their own albums. 

As much as I enjoyed the process of creating my Book of Me, and when I recognized how healing the process had been for me, I realized other scrappers might be searching for ways to create such a book for themselves.  I wanted to help them by providing a roadmap for them to follow, compiling all the resources I had drawn on. 

I became absolutely passionate about helping other women tell their stories -- about helping them not feel replaceable, helping them not feel invisible in their own lives.  I didn't want other women to feel the same emptiness, the same hopelessness, the same feeling of being lonely even surrounded by loved ones.  I wanted to help them work through that -- not just past it, but THROUGH it.  And if you've attended any of my classes, you'll know that passion is still there, and that I care deeply about the stories of each of my students -- because their stories are much the same as mine, and I see myself in them.

So, this book was born

And now you know the Real Story. 

I bet you have a Real Story, too.

Shimelle Laine's Journal Your Christmas class

As mentioned on Scrapability, is Back, as are the Courses.  My friend Shimelle Laine has been teaching online classes for a while now, with great success, apparently.  I've heard wonderful things about her Art Journal classes, in particular.  So I decided to give myself a little Christmas gift and signed up for her "Journal Your Christmas" class, which starts December 1st. 

From the class description:

what's involved:

the course runs for 37 days, starting on the 1st of december and culminating on the 6th of january to include the twelve days of christmas.  each day, you'll receive a class email to prompt a daily entry in your journal.  each class email will provide a writing prompt along with techniques and ideas to help you along the art journalling path.  with speedy techniques borrowed and adapted from a variety of art forms, you'll have the opportunity to try something new without investing in extra supplies or spending hours only to be frustrated.

you're free to create in any form you feel comfortable: you might be an experienced art journaller, a painter, a scrapbooker, or a perpetual diary keeper.  every idea can be customised to your tastes.  you might be absolutely new to all of this.  that's fine too.  but there's no how-to-make-this-step-by-step to produce clones.  things to try, certainly.  things you must do?  never.

Shim has such amazing, innovative ideas, and perspectives -- I'm really looking forward to this.  I'm proud to say I really did know her "way back when" -- we actually met on a local Kansas City scrapbooking YahooGroup list in 2000, 1999 maybe?  She grew up in Kansas City, then moved to England, and started studying and working there.  I arranged to meet her when my husband and I traveled to London in 2000, and we've kept in touch since then.  It's amazing, and awesome, to watch a friend move forward in the career of their choosing, and do wonderful things with it.

Edited to Add: Just got this note from Shimelle:

i cut the sign ups after december 3rd, cuz it's pretty hard to catch up if you miss more than that, but i will add people up until then! prompts start on the 1st. :)

Getting Past Bloggers' Block

Darren has been posting various tips ProBlogger on Battling Bloggers Block.  As usual, he has some solid, specific, very do-able tips.  Here's #14:

Use Your Archives as Inspiration
After you’ve been writing on a topic for a year or more it’s normal to get to a point where you feel like you’ve said everything that needs to be said on a topic.

While you might have covered your topic fairly comprehensively it’s worth remembering that most of your readers will not have read everything that you’ve previously written - and if they have they are unlikely to remember it all. I’m constantly being asked by readers about topics that I’ve already covered which proves this point.

There’s no rules against having two or more posts on your blog on the same general topic.

Go back over some older posts and tackle some of the topics you’ve written about previously again.

[Read the rest of this post here.]

Other useful ideas:
Start with a Need
Collaborate with other Bloggers (I'm always open to this idea -- so keep me in mind!)
Comment on others' Blogs

My First Audio Report!

I did it!  Through the marvels of modern technology (a laptop, a headset, and Audacity), I have successfully created a fully-functional mp3 file!  It's just about right at 8 minutes long, and just under 7.5MB.  I recorded and edited it in Audacity, all thanks to the tutorial I mentioned in my previous blog post.  Whohoo!  Yea me!

As I explain in the sound file, for my first piece, I decided to go easy on myself, and just read an article I recently did for a trade magazine.  (You may remember the links I posted related to that article.)  I didn't sign a contract giving away any copyrights to the piece, so I think I'm ok to read it for my own blog.  (If you're a copyright lawyer, I wouldn't mind some clarification on this!)

Click the enclosure link below to download the file, and enjoy!  I welcome your feedback!


(you might need to right-click and Save As...)

Angie Coming to an iPod Near You?

Thanks to a link on Heidi Miller's Talk It Up! blog, I now have everything I need to create audio "special reports" (which basically means I'm not going to commit to a regular podcast schedule, but might do little audio bits every once in a while).  I am so stinkin' excited!  (Ooooh, is that *my* inner Geek showing??)  Heidi gave a link (which she got from Shel Holtz's blog) to a Podcasting Tutorial that completely and totally ROCKS.  I feel totally empowered now to get started.

I know, I have plenty else going on in my life right now.  I'm working on an e-workbook of Book of Me Challenges, an information packet for setting up Virtual Book Tours, reworking the copy for my book website, and writing articles for various magazines, plus that whole mom-wife-family-home thang.  But I just have the feeling that it's important to get a handle on this whole podcasting thing.  That if I get myself up to speed, and knowledgeable about what it's all about, and how to do it -- that'll be really valuable for me to have.  I have some ideas on what I'd like to do with podcasting in relation to the scrapbooking community/industry -- I just need to get all the pieces into place to show me the way.

Do you ever feel that way?  Like it's important for you to research something, and get moving on something, because it's a crucial step in what's next for you?  How did it work out for you?

Self-Portrait Photography Tip

As you may know, I teach Scrapbooking Basics at Barnes&Noble University.  One of the topics we discuss in that class is, of course, scrapbooking about yourself.  Students frequently comment that they don't have many pictures of themselves (sound familiar??)  Once of my current students, Twila Die, shared a neat tip to get around that obstacle:

When I travel, I go by myself. I do not like handing my camera to a perfect stranger on the street, so I have devised a few ways to include ME in the photos.

1. The most haunting picture I have taken is my reflection in the gold doors of the elevator to the top of the World Trade Center.

2. The most fun picture I've taken was me standing in line at Disney World being reflected by a building. It was fun to find me in the crowded line, since I used a wide angle lens.

3. I often find a way to capture my reflection in glass, mirrors, and even shiny (reflective) statues.

There are always reflective surfaces around. It doesn't take long to find them and the results can be very fun (and show what you wore that day).

When I asked her permission to post this tip in my blogs, she followed up with this comment:

I like to take reflections of old buildings from new building windows. The contrast is always so spectacular.  One time I accidently got myself in one of the pictures and that's what started me thinking of ways I could add me to my travels.  I try to do it in as many unique ways as possible.  Any reflective surface becomes fair game.  I always spotlight me and the reflection.  I don't try to add too many other things in the picture because I don't want it to detract from the main subject (me).

Great tip!  My thanks to Twila for letting me share it!

P.S. The current session of Scrapbooking Basics at BNU is winding down, but I will be teaching it again in February!  It's not available for registration yet, but I just wanted to give you a heads up to look for it after the holidays.  I'll post a reminder in my blogs to register later.  Did I mention this class is FREE??

Who Wants to Skype Me?

I just downloaded and installed Skype, and am dying to play with it.  Anyone out there registered with Skype and wants to chat with a real 'scrapbooking celebrity'??  Email me and I'll give you my Skype user name, and we'll set it up!

I'm hoping to get this all figured out so I can record some interviews to podcast!  Sweet!

Ten Teaching Tips for Scrapbooking Instructors

Here's a sneak peek inside one of the craft trade magazines -- CNA has posted a PDF from their "Scrapbook Insider" issue, an article by Sara Naumann, Marketing Director for Hot Off the Press: Top 10 Teaching Tips.

Some of the tips she offers:

  1. "Build a reputation and promote the reputation... Establish your niche, then promote your store and your classes that way."
  2. "Promote your hook."  Offer clean pizza boxes to take class projects home in, or offer M&Ms in every class.
  3. "Suggestion sell...'For those who want to make a double-page spread, here are the supplies you need to make it.'"
  4. Charge a class fee AND a materials fee.  "Use the class fee to cover the teacher's time, while the materials fee covers the cost of materials."

Read all 10 tips at the CNA website.

Scrapbooking goes digital - Nov 25, 2005

Way to go, digi-scrappers!  TWO mentions in the Associated Press in the last two days!  Very impressive!

Digital scrapbooking step-by-step - Nov 24, 2005 - Scrapbooking goes digital - Nov 25, 2005

Further kudos to Margie and Amy, founders (respectively) of DigitalScrapbookPlace and, mentioned by name in the articles.  Well done, ladies!