Monday, 6 July 2015

Scrapbooking 101 - Lesson 1 Part 2 - How to Win
Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams

*Scroll back to previous post for lesson 1. 
 Feel free to link up to me or share this post but as my content 
not your own as my blog content is copy written - thank you*

Well thank you everyone for your feedback!!  I can certainly see from my comments
& blog stats that this is indeed a conversation that interests many! 

 However, this article {Spread over this post & the previous one} are entitled 
"How to Win Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams" for those
 people who want to know, therefore what I'm sharing here is how to do it, 
based on my personal experience & what I have learnt over the 8 years 
that I have been involved in such goings on, not saying that you must do it. 

 By all means feel free not to do it if you can afford to scrap without 
sponsored product & don't thrive on being a part of a team or want
 to be more involved.  Everyone is different.  For me I love what I do
& only wish that real life afforded me more time to pursue it even more.

So let us continue...

11.  Follow instructions.  There is nothing more annoying for busy team members
 than coming across entries that are not linked to the actual blog post {scrolling away
 trying to find the correct post} or seeing a beautiful of-the-page project on a site 
that doesn't accept them.  If you can't link up to a challenge correctly & take time
 to read the simple rules companies & online communities put in place to 
streamline the comment & voting process they probably won't have the
 time to spoon-feed you through the process.  
You need to learn this yourself :)

12.  Take the time to learn a simple, free editing program like Picasa,
PicMonkey or Photoscape.  (Or an expensive one like Photoshop
if you like - BTW good luck with that!!) &  come up with your own 
"actions" - in other words - the same editing recipe for each photo.

Make your photos clear, sharp & popping.  That means accentuating the highlights
 & the shadows for something slightly more dramatic than the AUTO mode will 
give you.  It simply results in a more appealing photograph.  It's not cheating
 as you are not altering your creation in any way, you are simply showing
 it off as best as possible, like putting your make-up on before you go 
out on a date - you're going to look a touch improved from when you 
wake up yes?!?  

13.  Straighten your photo & CROP IT LIKE A PRO.  This will give you an
automatic advantage over any other projects not photographed to perfection. 
Practice makes perfect.  I have a link in the top of my right-hand sidebar HERE
for how to take decent photos of your layouts.  I taught myself so so can you!
 Take a decent photo straight on then edit it to pure perfection.  It's all about
 the skill NOT the camera!  In time you will learn how to get it juuuust right,

Before spending any more improving the standard of your scrapbooking 
take time to improve the standard of your photography because 
otherwise you cannot showcase what you do clearly online
 & your lovely work will not be shown off to it's full potential.

14.  Create a separate blog post for your challenge entries.  It's too confusing 
& time-consuming for people judging to have to fiddle about trying to work out
 which entry is for which challenge if there are multiple projects in a post.

15.  Learn to link up to a specific URL not your whole blog!!  GOOGLE IT.

16.  Put your main photo first.  Show close ups but make sure your main 
photo is first & is sized to XL.  That way it's easy to find & easy to see 
without an extra click.

17.  Even if you can enter as many other challenges as you like according
 to the challenge rules don't go crazy trying to increase your chances
 by entering every challenge out there at the same time.  This will just 
make you looklazy & like a chancer rather than someone genuinely
inspired by the challenge & interested in the community.

18.  KEEP IT SHORT, SWEET & TO THE POINT.  People have next to no
 time these days to read scrolls.  Your sick dog is something to share with 
your nearest & dearest & keep out of your opening paragraph. Sure,
 it is fun to know the person behind the blog & their personality but
 not fun to have to read a mountain of literature daily to keep up
 with the scrapbooking artists that inspire you.  

Blog at least once a week, even if it is photos of your working space, 
your favourite products etc.  Don't give people an opportunity to delete 
you off their blog roll because they wonder if you'll ever be back :) 
 On the other hand, don't overdo the posting so people dread visiting 
you for fear of how much they will have to catch up!!  
It's all about balance, like everything in life :)

20.  If you win a challenge or get a place remember to say thank you.  
You'd be surprised how many people don't bother & to the administrators
 it's heart-warming & MEMORABLE!!  It shows your character & appreciation
& when DTs are brainstorming over suitable future members could put YOU
on the list!!

21.  Advertise for the manufacturer or challenge site.  You know the saying
 "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have"?  Same goes here - 
act like you're on the DT already if you want to get onto it!  Share their 
challenges & sing their praises, let them & others know that you are a big fan!

22.  ASK!  If you feel you have prepared the way already & done the ground work.  
Send off an email to the owner expressing your interest & linking to your CV.
Keep it short & to the point but friendly & positive. Be bold & go 
confidently in the direction of your dreams! {But don't expect a reply LOL}

23.  Grow a thick skin.  Let rejection wash off you like water off a duck's back,
because unless you are mega-talented & immediately social media savvy

24.  Keep a record of your highlights.  ie, any challenges you win, teams
you make, etc, & keep it updated.  This is your CV that you will link up to
when required.  

25.  Be tenacious.  EVERYONE has a lot of NOS & disappointments
that they often don't share.  Make a plan of action & stick to it but
don't count your chickens before they hatch. You may take several 
applications to the same team to get what you want or you may
 decide to change course altogether  & pursue different teams.
Just know that you are in this for the long haul.  You should
be doing this because you love to do it, so that nothing you
expend your energy on will you consider to be a waste.

26.  Stay hungry but keep things in perspective.  Do what
you love because it feeds your soul.  That is what being a true
artist is all about.  Not many of us get to feed our families off it.
Sad truth.  So make it fit into your life & remember it is not the
be all & end all of your existence & you are not defined by it.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Scrapbooking 101 - Lesson 1 Part 1 - How to Win Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams

 Feel free to link up to me or share this post but as my content 
not your own as my blog content is copy written - thank you*

Hello everyone!  Welcome to a little 101 lesson on what we all want to know!
The answer is not easy nor is it short but I'm in the mood for sharing whilst I 
drink my tea so here goes.  This is a much more complex topic than you
might imagine.  There are many factors involved, from personality to
 location, it's not all to do with inborn talent, in fact very little of it is.

1.  You need a blog.  Work out how to do it.  It's not rocket science.
Nor is it easy if you are as computer illiterate as I was when I began,
but where there is a will there is a way & if you want to be involved
in the scrapbooking community online you need a blog & you need
a good one.  Get some nice blog wear to dress it up or get a digital
designer to help you out.  Not too cheap but not totally unaffordable
either.  Your blog needs to be bold but simple & easy to navigate.

2.  Spend some time online looking through Design Team pages of
manufacturers you like or challenge sites you enjoy playing at & follow
their Design Team members whose style appeals to you & check out
their blogs for the format.  Things like set-up are important so make
sure you add all the sidebar gadgets & pages you need without
over-cluttering. Lesson 2 next week will be all 
about setting up a blog, blog design & what to do & not to do.

3.  Once you have your blog set up get your social media game on.
Set up a Facebook Public Page for sharing your creations.
I share a lot on my personal page because most of my FB
friends are bona fide scrapbookers but it's essentially scared
away my real-life friends & I don't blame them.  I actually tell
them not to friend me on Facebook because 90% of what I 
share is scrapbook related, so start out with a Facebook page
 just for your scrapbooking - it's the best way to go.  

4.  Get an Instagram account.  Only once you are on there will
you realise there is a huge & buzzing scrapbooking community
inside there & if you keep your feed as focused as possible
with the right pages to follow you'll be giving yourself a free
scrapbooking/art lesson daily & the inspiration will make you
feel alive & ready to create as soon as you can!

On the other side of the coin you will be getting your work out there
&  noticed if you hash-tag & link up correctly.  Just get going with it
as that's how you learn.  If you keep posting regularly you'll get
 the hang of it & start building a following if you keep your account
focussed on what it is all about - it is not 'social networking' like
our kids do - it is 'industry networking' like our peers do!!

5.  Sign up for a Twitter account.  I can't stand Twitter & find
the whole concept completely narcissistic but don't throw the
baby out with the bathwater, just push your Instagram photos
through to Twitter & do the same with your blog posts.  That
way you'll maintain a presence there without even having to 
log on!  Score!!  Why is all this important?!  Because you are
branding yourself.  You are focusing on your passion & you 
are letting people know this is you, this is your life & you are
serious about it & serious about making a name for yourself.

6.  Start playing along in challenges, you've got to be in it to win it!
Visit the other player's blogs & get to know some people online.
Online relationships are fab, don't let any cynics tell you otherwise.
I've met handfuls of online friends who have all been more wonderful
in real life than they are online.  Start searching for your tribe.  Those
people who are like you.  They share your passions, your hopes,
your dreams.  They are your soul sisters.  They may be decades 
younger or older & their lives may be very different to you but when
it comes to your all-important lifestyle passion, you speak the same 
language.  Even if you don't end up winning any challenges or
getting onto any Design Teams I can promise you awesome friendships!

7.  Make friends.  Don't ever look at networking like a waste of your time.  
Just learn to control the habit!!  The saying 'It's not what you know, 
it's who you know' has a certain truth to it.  Companies & communities 
like to know that you are aware of who they are & what they stand for
 so make sure they know your name.  Very rarely does a complete 
outsider make a team - that would be down to pure talent & most
 of us don't have the sure confidence to rely on that alone in
 this very competitive industry.  Get online & the first thing that 
strikes you is how far you have to go!

8.  Follow the blogs &  Facebook feeds of the challenge sites & manufacturers
you aspire to (the ones whose teams you want to be on or whose challenges
you want to win).  Look at their designers & their winners each month.  Study
what they have in common.  If all the winners & designers have a particular
common thread then that gives you some clue as to what they are looking for.

9.  Make sure you have a chance before expending a lot of energy in the 
wrong direction.  For example, if, like me, you are an international, your
chances of making an American Design team will be 50 % at most.
That is just a sad reality.  Postage is expensive & time-consuming
& companies need a fast turnaround on trade show samples, etc,
so if you don't live in the right region & you want to make the team
be prepared to try long & hard as it could take years. 
 Your game is going to have to be strong!!  

Look at their team - do they have international designers at all? 
 If not you are barking up the wrong tree.  Do their designers
 create in a style you like?  Some companies take on a varied 
bunch but alot prefer the same style & if you don't like it there's 
really no point in pursuing a place on the team.  For example,
there's an American company whose products are really nice,
that I've admired for years, but they don't take many international
designers & even more significantly, although their products are
pretty spot-on they prefer their designers to use them in a very
CAS {Clean & Simple} way.  Result?  I gave up buying from them
many years ago.  Extreme?  Well not if you want the end result
of your journey into online scrapbooking to be using as much
sponsored product as possible, which is what I am after, due
to the fact that it's the most affordable way to scrap!!

10.  Make sure your entry is amazing!!  Judging challenges is HARD
& the entries that stand out are the ones that are super special.  Not
necessarily because they are full of complicated techniques, in fact
that's often not the case at all.  They are usually fairly simple, but
vibrant & cute pages.  SOMETHING about them makes them stand
out from the crowd.  It could be a really amazing photo {keep your
less than perfect photos for leisurely scrapbooking not competitions}
or it could be great photo taking & editing of your project.  Look
at the 'spec' {the sketch/mood board, etc} & think of something
unique & different to do with it, not necessarily the first thing that
comes into your head.  At the same time don't overthink it!!

And that is it for now!  My tea is cold & I have a project that needs
making!!  Please let me know if this has helped you & any ideas
you may have for future 101 lessons Thanks for swinging by again :-D


Please bear in mind that this is part ONE of a series so does
not contain a conclusion nor my final thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Challenge 7 up at Studio 75!
Sister Goals - Love Collection

Hi everyone!  Happy weekend to you!!
I have decided that no matter what happens in my life I will enjoy it.
So I am looking upon my recent VERY BAD NEWS as no more than a hiccup!
Yes it means that I will not have the same amount of time to scrap & some of my 
personal ambitions  will have to take a back seat for a while but such is
life - I will just do my best - no-one can do any more than that after all...

Today I have this layout up on the Studio 75 blog HERE.
It is using their lovely Craft Love Collection that you can see in store HERE.  
This is my Design Team Contribution for their LATEST CHALLENGE - 
BUTTERFLIES!!  Isn't that easy?!  Just use one of more butterflies
on your project.  Click into the link for the challenge rules.

The paper collection is the colour of pale craft, which is so much nicer that the 
very deep shade I think.  It all has various different, printed & patterned  textures
 & simple elements, making it another great & versatile Studio 75 Collection.  

I started off with a mix of white acrylic paint & Prima Color Bloom Sprays, 
onto some plastic in swirls then placed my paper face down into it -
it's a cool way to get a good start to your page & I learnt it from
 Riikka HERE.  She's a great girl full of bright ideas!!

I had fun with my layers - using various papers from the same collection, 
Prima flowers, 2Crafty Chipboard & the Studio 75 Butterfly stamp, which
 I stamped onto Craft Love paper first then glittered them up & fussy-cut
 them out.  This was a quick, free-flowing page to make & I love the

Friday, 3 July 2015

A Mini-Tutorial & Closer Look at my Art Journal Page
Celebrate Everyday Moments for Scrap Around The World

So I REALLY enjoyed making this art journal page for Scrap Around The World's
 July Mood Board HERE.  Hubby tells me it's "horrendous" but why I worry so much
 about hubby's opinion I do not know, since he knows nothing about art journalling :-p

I took a few photos along the way - hoping to make a tutorial - but as often happens,
I ended up getting so into it I forgot to continue :/  Drat.  Sorry about that...

So for the first time I created straight onto the page.  Up until now I have always 
worked on a piece of watercolour paper that I've then adhered to the page. 
 This worked out fine.  I guess my confidence with art journalling has grown.

Next I had fun with mists (finishing off all the oldies before my new Prima Color Blooms arrive - lucky me :-D)  Alot of people fear the unpredictability of mists but that is what I love about them.  Wet mist manipulation (with a heat gun) is the funnest thing ever in my world.

Next I blobbed on the Modeling Paste around the edges to set the microbeads into once I had recoloured it with more mists.  I also added embossing powder for SHINE DELUXE!!

 As you can see in the above photo I masked off the other side of the page
 with a blank sheet of cardstock which I have kept to use for a future mixed 
media project.  (In order to keep the opposite page nice & clean).

Next I added some stamping with black & white ink.  There is actually quite
 a lot that went on to create this page but somehow it doesn't really show :/

I sealed my entire page with Gloss Gel Medium & as
 you can see above it made it awesome & shiny!

I added my favourite metallic thread as well as some Prima bling jewels
 (see above photo) to hold down the thread in strategic places.

The chipboard butterflies are from Pink Paislee & are resist so I swiped
 them over with a blue inkpad then varnished them up with some nail varnish.  

Art Journaling to me is also all about testing out new techniques & mediums 
& seeing how things work & react for when I'm working on other projects 
like layouts & canvases that are more on show. 
 My art journal at the moment is just for me  :-p 

 Lastly I sponged over the edge work with a sponge dipped in white acrylic
 paint, just to soften the look as it WAS starting to get rather gaudy LOL.

I also added some old silver rub-ons.  Rub-ons are PERFECT 
for art journals because they add visual interest without any bulk.  

 As you can see I couldn't stop taking photos LOL

My sentiment stickers come from 7 Dots of course.
Illumination Collection.  One of their most versatile for sure...

I used clear embossing powder on some of the flower stamps
 (see above) that came with my Faber Castell gelatos.

I finished off with some beautiful cobalt blue applied with a paint dabber.
Creating this was certainly a treat for the soul & great therapy ♥

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Celebrate Everyday Moments Art Journal Page
July Mood Board at Scrap Around The World!

Hi everyone!  This is our glorious new mood board up at Scrap Around The World HERE
& as usual there are 12 AWESOME PRIZES TO BE WON!!  Just look at what is on offer
this month!!!  Thereafter I have shared my creation - an art journal page for a change {see below}


Each month we offer 10 MERIT BASED PRIZES, one random prize & one
 follower's prize {see first paragraph} so 12 PRIZES PER MONTH!  

We also offer our 
FIRST PRIZE WINNER plenty of EXPOSURE through a Guest Designer
 Position the following month, together with an exclusive side-bar badge!

To be eligible for our random prize you need to share your project to our Facebook
 Wall & LIKE our Facebook page HERE. You are welcome too, to follow us on
Instagram HERE & we'll follow you back if you upload your entries to 
Instagram & link up to us with @ as well as # hashtag us as

You can also find & follow us on PINTEREST HERE.



OVER $50 worth of product from 7 Dots Studio!
{exactly as shown below}


7 Dots Studio was born from dreams & for dreams. 
We are a European scrapbooking manufacturer of high 
quality scrapbooking products – paper, stickers, die-cuts,
 collage sheets, 6 x 6 pads, collection kits & chipboard.

Our collections are created by amazingly talented artists - 
from clean, graphic designs to mixed-media, grungy collage look. 
What you can always be sure of are high quality & thickness
 of our papers, which makes them perfect for all kinds of media.

 Among our products you will also find clear stamp sets coordinating 
with our collections to make them even more interesting & versatile.
We are amazingly happy & feel very blessed to see how much
 our products are loved by crafters & artists all around the world!

If you would like to see more awesome inspiration from our design team,
please visit our blog HERE, our Facebook page HERE & follow us on
Twitter HERE, Pinterest HERE & Instagram {7DOTSSTUDIO}.


$40 gift certificate from Creative Embellishments

Creative Embellishments is a family owned company created by Michael

 & Nicolle Kramer, a husband & wife team who design & manufacture unique, 
high quality chipboard, wood, rubber stamps & flair products. We have been
 in operation since September 2013. 

It is our mission to offer fun & inspiring products that can be added to any project
 to bring out your inner creativity! In the near future we will soon be expanding
 into other mediums such as acrylic & stencil embellishments.

We also custom cut for individual orders & have a wholesale store for retailers, 
kit clubs & classes. Do your shopping HERE! If you own a store, register for our
 wholesale section HERE. Be inspired by our blog HERE & follow us on
 Instagram HERE YouTube HERE.


$30 worth of product from 13@rts

{image below is for illustration purposes & is not exactly what you will receive}

13arts is a Polish manufacturer specializing in scrapbook papers, 
embellishments & artistic mediums. See our store HERE where
we ship worldwide!  Our blog HERE is full of inspiration & we
 have a monthly challenge where all our welcome!

Follow us on Instagram HERE, Twitter HERE & Facebook
 HERE & remember to follow us on Pinterest HERE too!!


$25 worth of product from UmWowStudio

{image below is for illustration purposes & may not reflect exactly what you will receive}

UmWowStudio is an innovative embellishment company located in
 Las Vegas, Nevada.  With chipboard, flair & stencils currently in
 our product line (& more fun things on the way!) we span across
 all bits of paper crafting, including memory saving, card making,
 tags, stamping, mixed media, art journalling & more!

Shop with us HERE, follow our blog HERE & LIKE us on Facebook
HERE!  Follow our boards on Pinterest HERE & YouTube HERE!


$20 worth of CHIPBOARD from 2Crafty Chipboard

{image below is for illustration purposes & may not reflect exactly what you will receive}

2Crafty Chipboard is an Australian owned & operated manufacturer & wholesaler 
of laser cut chipboard products, located in Sydney, Australia.  We have been
 in operation since October 2006 & have more than 1 000 designs on offer.
We pride ourselves on quality products that are versatile & up to date with 
market trends, as well as offering unbeatable customer service, 
with quick turnaround of jobs large & small. Visit our website HERE.

We are happy to quote on personalized jobs, whether it be a single title for a 
customer, or large jobs for retreats, classes etc.  If you are a retail business 
& would like to stock our range of unique products, please contact us
 for more information.  Please see further details on our blog HERE!


15 Euros worth of product from Scrap-Unlimited

{image below is for illustration purposes &  may not reflect exactly what you will receive}

Scrap-Unlimited is a craft supplies manufacturer from The Netherlands,
creating & selling the most amazing selection of embellishments for the
crafting industry.  We offer shabby chic, vintage & steam-punk inspired 
embellishments, ribbon, flowers, metals, mini-books & mini novelty items.  

Check out our online store HERE for SO MUCH MORE!  
LIKE us on Facebook HERE & follow our highly
 inspirational blog HERE & our Pinterest board HERE.


$15 gift voucher from Mixed Media Place

Mixed Media Place is a treasure chest of different media for creative minds,
carrying a wide variety of embellishments & tools to get your projects going. 
The world of mixed media is a place of limitless possibilities - we are here
 to help you to spread your wings & fly!  Find our blog HERE, LIKE us
 on Facebook HERE, follow our boards on Pinterest HERE
 & do your shopping HERE!


17.50 Euros worth of products from Danafix, France. is an online store 100% dedicated to all 
Copic products. All Copic products made & assembled by the European
 importer are available in stock & we offer fast, international delivery!


$15 worth of product from Studio75

{Image is for illustration purposes only - you will receive a random selection of product}

Studio 75 is a Polish manufacturer of scrapbooking papers & items 
such as chipboard albums, notebooks, spiral bindings & magnetic sheets.  
We have our own online store HERE, a bustling Facebook page HERE
 & a highly inspirational blog HERE!  Come & visit us - let's connect!

10th PRIZE

Over $25 worth of scrapbooking supplies 
from NEW DESIGNER Yasmin Tölche {Norway}

This generous prize includes a Prima Finnabair Elementals stencil, Prima resins
& flowers, Marion Smith Designs flowers, stamens & faceted rhinestones!! ♥


Scrapbook kit from Scraps of Elegance Kit Club

{The random winner usually receives the previous month's kit
 from Scraps of Elegance, valued at $36.95} although if the
kit gets sold out you may receive another lovely kit instead!

Scraps of Darkness & Scraps of Elegance are monthly scrapbook kit clubs
 that cater to scrapbookers who are looking for an alternative to what other 
kit clubs offer.  Our kits are designed for artists who wish to take scrapbooking
 to a level beyond.  We strive to include the latest & greatest items on the market
 that will enable you to create not "just a layout", but a work of art. 

Visit our blog HERE,our Store HERE & sign up for our kits HERE & HERE!
Please LIKE us on Facebook HERE, follow our boards on Pinterest HERE,
subscribe to our YouTube channel HERE & find our tutorials HERE!

We would LOVE to connect with you!!!


$50 Gift Certificate from The Dusty Attic

The Dusty Attic is an Australian owned Laser Cutting business that designs 
& manufactures craft items & embellishments for the paper crafting market.
We began in July 2009 & are located in Perth, Western Australia. 

We are proud to be able to make our mark on the scrap booking & craft 
industry new designs. We love seeing the creations our customers have
made & also love to hear your feedback, as this helps us with new ideas. 

We have an on-line store from which you can get all of your Dusty Attic
supplies. If you are a retail business & would like to stock our range 
of unique products please contact us to apply for a wholesale
 account or for more information.


The deadline for this challenge is Friday 31st July 2015.

I will share close-ups & details on how I created this project tomorrow!!
Thanks for popping in for a visit :)