Class at Scrapbookers Dream

I'm teaching the Book of Us Tag Book I mentioned previously this Friday (June 24th), 7-9pm, at Scrapbooker's Dream in Independence, MO.  I just called, and SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE!  Here's the class description:

PaperloftfullJoin Book of Me author Angie Pedersen and learn how to create your own "Book of Us" tag album that celebrates friendships, soul mates, family, and more.  You'll complete a cute jumbo tag book with all the supplies provided, see album ideas, and get guided journaling tips on making the most of your most meaningful relationships.  We'll ink, tear, crumple, tak, and have fun!  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop straight from the source!

Here's what a recent student had to say:
"Angie's class was fabulous, as always... I need to get a tshirt made "Angie Pedersen's Official Groupie"!   We did an awesome tag book...I came away super pumped up and ready to work on some "Book of Us" pages---and not just for me and [my husband]!Smiling2

Call Scrapbooker's Dream at (816) 795-5450 to register for the class!

My Weekend in Houston

So I spent most of the weekend in Houston -- I taught a tag book class at two different stores: Friday night at Scrapbook Village, and twice on Saturday at Lone Star Scrapbook Co.  This was kind of an experiment my publisher cooked up with a local rep.  My books are distributed by F+W Publications, who employs local reps to make sales calls.  My publisher Elaine worked with Stacey with the rep group in Houston to set up a mini "store tour" there in town -- it's a neat idea, since the local reps know best which stores would be most interested in my coming to teach, and they get some orders out of the deal.  Elaine is so amazing about coming up with promotional ventures that help everyone involved.  She really is a marketing goddess.  But I digress...

All the classes went very smoothly, I'm happy to report.  I love teaching, but I still get so nervous before a class.  It's gotten better over these past five years -- the length of time that I'm nervous has shortened dramatically.  I used to get nervous a couple of days, even up to a week before a class -- just worrying about all the last minute details, worrying that I'd forget to bring something, worrying that I'd forget what I wanted to say, worrying that what I thought was pertinent and significant would come off as "yeah, so?" to the students, etc etc.  Now I tend to get a little fluttery as I'm packing, but that's a packing thing -- "now, what am I forgetting??"  I get the beginnings of nervousness about the class the night before, but then I get out my outline, and look over my main points, and it helps me settle. (It's absolutely crucial for me to have an outline -- well, not crucial, as I have definitely had to wing classes before, but having an outline ensures I get in all the material I want to give the students.)  Then the next morning I look over my outline before I leave for the store, and again before I start the class, and I'm good.  At least I don't generally feel like I'm going to throw up anymore, hey?

I taught this tag book project at CHA in February, for the launch of Book of Us -- that CHA class is still so much a blur for me, even several months later.  I was completely exhausted when I did that class, running on absolute fumes.  I had to prep ~90 kits for the class -- diecut over 1000 tags, and Sizzix letters, and put together the handout content.  I was also madly completing projects and outlines for the companion class CD -- 10 complete class kits to promote BoUs concepts.  Elaine and I also had the brilliant idea to do a 2nd class CD, focusing on the Bridal and Baby market -- another 10 complete class kits.  Plus formatting the content into eBooks, and burning the CDs for the show...honestly I'm not whining (well, maybe a little), just describing why I was so exhausted.  (And BTW, you can email me for more info on those class kit CDs, if you're interested.)

Anywho -- this is the same tag book I taught at CHA, but I tweaked the class approach to apply to "regular scrappers", rather than storeowners.  And I was much better rested, so I gave a much better 'performance'.  ;)  I love giving people concrete examples from my own life and scrapbooks to explain the concepts in my classes & books -- and I love it even more when people laugh in my classes.  Sheri, the storeowner at Lone Star mentioned she heard people laughing in class, and I just loved that.  The classroom door was closed, and she was out on the store floor, and still she heard it.  I'll admit, we were having a pretty good time.  ;) 

One of the stories I shared in class is a layout I want to do about the relationship between my husband and son -- I plan to title it, "GeekSpeak".  They spent a good six months very into a PC-Online game called World of Warcraft (or WOW, for those in the know).  David started playing it with a bunch of guys from work, and James was so intrigued that he was thrilled to find his own copy of the game under the Christmas tree.  So they both were very into this game, and I would often hear cryptic conversations between them, talking about getting through specific passages or campaigns in the game, or earning enough gold to buy a mount for their character, or "leveling up" at a particularly fast rate.  While I am familiar with the concepts of the game, their conversations made very little sense to me.  I just let it flow right over me.  But the point is...THEY understand it, and each other.  They share this passion for the game, gaming in general, and computers in general.  It's something they have in common, and something they enjoy doing together.  It helps them relate to each other, and gives James something that he identifies with his dad.  It's those key points of interaction, of bonding, of relationship, that I plan to highlight in my journaling.

And it's specific anecdotes like that which help people understand the concepts in my classes.  I love that.  I get to talk about stuff I already know (like my family), and my students get examples of ideas they might not have previously considered.

Aprilangiejune2005sm_1Another highlight of the weekend was the approximately four hours I got to spend with my friend April.  I met her when I taught at Scrappy's (sadly now a defunct store in Dallas) Celebrity University in 2003. I've seen her only a handful of times since then, but we've become pretty good friends.  When she found out I was going to be in Houston this past weekend, she begged her husband to drive her in from Tyler so she could attend.  Such devotion!  It was so good to see her, have her in my class, and then enjoy dinner and dessert after.  God, we laughed so much!  It's funny, because she said her husband said "I seem 'confident' and 'trusting' when [Angie's] around. she just does that to me. she's a magic bean, i tell ya!!" That's funny to me, because I noticed confidence in myself when I was with April -- I was confident enough to just let go and be myself (that would be my sarcastic, snarky, smart-ass self, right, April?)  Whatever that "magic bean" might be, it definitely took root, because that evening was a wonderful break from the ordinary for me.  Read April's account of the evening here.

Another thing I enjoyed about the weekend was hanging out with the local rep Stacey.  She's quite the sarcastic smart-ass herself!  (Which meant we got along quite well.)  She had the dubious pleasure of squiring me around Houston for the two days -- from Hobby airport, to Missouri City, to the Woodlands, and back to Hobby. (that doesn't really mean that much to me, either, not being from Houston, but trust me, it was HOURS of driving!)  But all that car time was still good, we chatted about tons of stuff, and while I'm not terribly big on Country music, she did introduce me to a fine theme song -- JoDee Messina's "My Give-a-Damn's Busted".  Crack me up!  Granted, the sentiment doesn't apply for me personally, but it's got "Theme Song" written all over it!  You can listen to a snippet of it at Amazon (scroll down to Listen to Samples).

All in all (and this has been a LOOOONG all, ain't it?), a good weekend!

Update to Houston Class Schedule

This just in...

Saturday's 3-5pm class at Novel Approach has been CANCELLED.

But wait!  You can still take this Tag Book class!  A class has been added in the afternoon at The Lone Star Scrapbook Company!

Here's the revised itinerary:

Friday, June 17th: Scrapbook Village, 6:30-8:30pm (281-208-5251)
Saturday, June 18th: Lone Star Scrapbook Co, 10am-noon AND 2-4pm (281-296-2296)

Spaces still available!  Call the stores to sign up!
Hope to see you there!

Edited to add: Yea!  My friend April's coming!

My weekend in Atlanta

I spent part of Memorial Day weekend with the people at Matte Magic in Atlanta.  I taught three classes on Saturday (described here).  It often strikes me, at the last minute, as I embark on another teaching gig on-the-road -- even with the multiple emails exchanged getting a travel appearance set up...I'm still headed off to spend the weekend with "strangers".  I'm often asked if that feels weird at all, for me.  I suppose it should -- I often joke with my husband, "Well, I'm off to scrap with a bunch of strangers, in a city I've never visited before!"  But I've yet to have a bad experience on one of my junkets.  Scrappers share a common bond in the love of the craft, as well as a love for their families, and documenting their stories.  So, even if I've never met a particular group of scrappers before, there's still a sense of comforting familiarity.

The classes went very well, and were enthusiastically received.  Always a bit of a relief for me, as I still get twinges of "performance anxiety".  Well, actually that's not accurate -- I know I'll always give a great teaching performance (I put on a pretty good show! *wink*), but I do often worry how the class projects will be received.  I tend to be a pretty simple scrapper, personally, and teach class projects at the lowest common skill level, knowing that more advanced scrappers can always "foof it up" as desired, but it's hard to "foof down" projects for novices.  The feedback from students in Atlanta told me that the projects were good.  People seemed to really like the Little Book of Me paper bag book -- I even saw one woman clap her hands to herself, she was so pleased with her results.  Made my heart smile.  I also heard two ladies commenting to each other that they were surprised by how easy and cute the books turned out, and that they wanted to stop on the way home to pick up more lunch bags.  That's always a good sign -- when someone takes a class, and can apply the knowledge at home.  You know you've done your job as a teacher then.

The 10 Memories of Us accordion album was also a little nerve-wracking for me -- it had six different hidden journaling 'techniques', which required a lot of "personal consultations" to explain the mechanics of each piece.  It was the first time I had taught the project as a class, and I realized once I started explaining it, how much I had to play around with each piece to make it work the first time.  But everyone was quite patient, and it ended up working out fine.  I make a conscious effort to be fully prepared when I teach, but I (like to) think that when I have to work something out on-the-fly during classes, it shows people my thought processes, and that even "famous" scrappers have to figure things out as they go along.  That's a lot of what I want this blog to do -- show bits and pieces of a published writer-and-scrapper's life, and all that goes into taking on this industry as a career.

One of the highlights of this trip was meeting Cristina Blomberg.  I first became aware of Cristina's work through an announcement on the Promos4Digiscrappers' list, regarding her Me, Myself, & I Workshop at Scrap Outside the Box.  I checked it out, and was BLOWN AWAY by her Challenges.  They send my mind reeling with possibilities, as I mentioned in an email to her, which she later posted in the Challenge thread.  During my Virtual Book Tour stop at SOTB, I mentioned I would be teaching in Atlanta, and Cristina called the very next day to sign up, even though it was a three-hour drive away for her. She attended all three classes, and was just a doll.  I was a little intimidated to teach with her in the class, since I was already so blown away by her innovative and insightful Challenges, but then I remembered... Hey wait!  I'm FAMOUS!  And it was all ok.  LOL  I felt like I basically got to spend the day with her, since she was in all three classes, and also came out to lunch with me.  Then she so very kindly offered to take me to the airport in the morning, with a sidetrip to Starbuck's first.  She introduced me to Sugar-Free Vanilla syrup for my Caffe Latte -- I must have ordered smoothly because she seemed to think I was already going to order that!  LOL If we just lived closer, I think Cristina and I would hang out a LOT. We instantly got along, despite never having "met", and found many things in common (especially our Geek husbands).  You can read her blog entry to get her take on the weekend.

Another highlight of the weekend, outside of the classes going well and people being just generally nice (can you say, "Southern Hospitality"??), was the food!  Two sisters, Darlene and Sylvia, took Cristina and me to lunch on Saturday at Sprayberry's BBQ, a Newnan, GA original.  I had a chopped pork BBQ sandwich -- quite good.  VERY different from Kansas City style BBQ, to which I am most accustomed.  (Hayward's is my favorite here in KC).  The sauce was much thinner, and sweeter.  Still a very good sandwich.  And the company was fabulous -- Darlene and Sylvia about made me pee my pants with stories from their childhood.  Something about their dad farting in the family Cadillac, and rolling up the windows to torture them -- I just about died, then encouraged them to scrap the story, of course!

For dinner after the last class, store owner Rose and her husband ("Mr. Rose") took me and a few loyal customers to a fabulous steak house -- the key selling feature of which was that you could eat peanuts from buckets at the table, and "drop the shells right on the floor".  'Mr. Rose' seemed quite excited about this, and off we went.  The food was fabulous.  A perfect steak -- and that's saying something, coming from a girl from Kansas City!  They also served these amazing fresh rolls with cinnamon butter --- AWESOME!  I must have eaten like four of them!  I think it was called maybe Stone Mountain Steak House?  I'll have to get that info from Rose.  Anyway, it was a lovely dinner.  I always enjoy that time with store owners and other scrappers -- the time outside of the classroom, when we get the chance to just talk and laugh.  I get to know them a bit better, and they get to know me.  Whenever I get the chance to share a meal with someone during one of my trips, I almost always come away feeling like I have another friend in the world.  That's a good thing.