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Lucky, lucky me!

Scrappers are such a lovely lot.  A while back I posted about chatting to Sanna after doing some printables for Shimelle’s blog, and her very kindly sending me a sample magazine from her home in Austria.  One of my comments on that post was from Jennifer Rogers, who offered to send me a couple of magazines from South Africa.

Well, it’s been a while, and I kinda, sorta forgot all about them.  But what dropped onto my mat today?  Two, yes TWO new mags.  One, Scrap Affairs, is in English.  The other,  Scrapbooking & kie , is in English and Afrikaans.

  There are some fab projects in both of them, and a few products I’ve not seen before.  One of them is a Family Tree die-cut that is just lovely.  The company that seems to produce it is called Celebr8 but the website has no real info and the die cut isn’t one of the sample images.  I’d scan the page, but am wary of sharing the layout from the mag without an OK.  Try though I might I simply cannot find an image online,  Is this the Filter Bubble in action?  All I know is I have Googled and Googled and nothing is coming up. It’s very swirly, with big open circles for photos, and just sweet as can be.  Typically I prefer the one NOT totally in english, but there are some good photos for most things which is enough to play along.

It’s interesting to see how scrapping differs, country by country, and it does differ a little but not so hugely as you might expect.  One thing that is immediately noticeable is how few single-photo layouts there are.  I counted TWO in scrap Affairs, in more than 50 layouts.  Scraping & Kie has more, but they all seem to be on the couple of pages with small images of their Charity Scrap Challenge – 16 layouts and by far the majority (12) are single pagers. It also has a free paper, again, not the slickery paper I’m used to seeing in UK mags, but proper cardstock.  Scrap Affairs has a column by Clive – yes, a MAN!  Just the one issue, so no idea if he is regularly featured or not.  And his layout is really nice – it’s actually a bi-fold tray with a layout as the top.  Very vintage and Tim Holtz-y.

So, if I can track down that email, I owe Jennifer a big thank-you. I’ve had a long lunch, flipping thru them, and really enjoyed it.  Of course my desk is still a huge mess, I have UKS business stuff scattered hither and yon, and windows pen all over my desktop trying to sort out a template for someone. Ah well…..



Scrapping mags

You may recall I did a little set of printables for Shimelle’s blog a few months back. There was a small prize, a set of printables for the random winner, and through that I made contact with Sanna, a scrapper in Austria.  We had a little to&fro via email, and she kindly offered to send me a copy of her  scrapbooking magazine, one she contributes to.  Well, it arrived, and even without being able to read a word of the text, I can see that there are some lovely projects in it.

It is just loaded with layouts, art journal pages, mini-books, how-tos, and more.  Luckily for me DH lived in Germany for a few years and still retains some of the language.  He managed to get us around Austria and Germany when we visited a fair few years back so I’m hoping he can translate the jist of anything I am really curious about.

There isn’t a lot of “white space” in this mag, but I think the fact I can more or less ignore the text makes that not an issue – I haven’t counted the layouts, but goodness me there are a ton of them.  One article has seven larger layouts and eight smaller ones on the topic! And I am guessing that the project called RAM BOOK is pretty much like a SMASH book?  Or is that simply a linguistically logical but actually wrong assumption, given the spine is an old circuit board?

There are also a couple of sheets of scrapbooking paper to tear out, but oh! how different to the ones in the UK mags.  These are on proper cardstock – thinner, to be fair, but matt, not slick, one double-sided patterned and one with a pattern one side, coordinating tags and labels the other.  Very nice.

It makes me anxious for Scrap 365 – where I can actually read the text LOL! and it makes me wonder about the scrap mags in other countries.  I’ve seen US ones, obviously, and Aussie ones, but other language mags, not so much.  Wonder what I am missing…..


Finally, a layout!

Had a lovely crop on Saturday with Julia from WOYWW and the gang.  What a lovely buzz it has, everyone creating madly, giggling about movies and kids, sharing supplies and tips….I only wish it were closer.  Poor DH – as we only have the one car that I can drive (automatic only license, I’m afraid) and it’s the same one that can fit more than 2, he needs it or is trapped at home with the kids with the creaky and slow internet, his 20 mb office connection tantalizingly out of reach.  Kindly, there is the offer of a lift from the station at Andover so next time it will be smiles all around, I think.

Anyway, I managed a little 8 x 8 flip book, constructed and decorated minimally for Maddie (all pink and girly) and a layout!  I KNOW!  Gasp – I did wonder if I would even manage to actually scrap LAYOUTS again. I don’t know what makes me think of them after other sorts of projects, because every time I do make one, I am so stupidly please with myself.

Here it is – ancient supplies, a real mix of oddball stuff, but I think it came together in the end. The side elements were a bit forced due to a large family group with pushchair draing the eye on the right of the photo, but I think I hid them well enough.

I am thinking I want to add a couple of rub-on letters, probably M & J, by the heart on the right, but after that I am calling it DONE!

It’s been ages since I’ve made a two-pager, so that has to be on the cards for next time!

Now, I saw a cute mini, a variation on a squash book, on a blog that I featured on the UKS Home Page BlogBits this week.  It seems to use the basic idea of the round squash book pages but stacked rather than overlapped (see the PDF right) and I want to experiment with it to see if my thinking is correct.  That should keep me a bit busy today.  I also have printed out the perpetual calendar from the Canon site from yesterday, but find I only have two blocks that are one size and three that are another but not 4 all the SAME size.  Not sure what I am going to do about that, but at least I can experiment with the stand structure, which I quite like.  I cleaned A LOT over the weekend while DS had band practice (my head is still throbbing from listening to the SAME SONG about 20 times as they perfected i and already did the grocery shopping for the week, so I feel well entitled to a crafty day!  Yippee!



Two versions of a layout

One of the (few) things I am quite happy about in not having to be concerned with when making a layout nowadays is the fact that I have complete free reign. There are no magazine issue to be concerned with, I just make them as I want. No specific papers to use, no technique to be created for step-by-step photos, just a layout.

I thought I would post two versions of one today – one is the one I made originally, and one is one that appeared in Scrapbook Inspirations, with a supplied set of papers. I like them both, and honestly can’t decide which I like better. What do you think?


This one was made on two 8.5×11 pages. It was rejected only because of the size – the mag is geared towards a 12 x 12 or two 12×12’s and the odd sizing created problems. I was then sent the Fascinating range of papers (which I have to say I love) to make a new version as a single 12×12. This is what I cam up with, using some of the same elements.


I think the contrast is higher in the second one, with all the black, but also like the softness of the first and the “white space” allowed by the slightly larger format. For me, it’s a coin toss. I’d be happy with either one of them in my albums. I did love threading wire thru the hollow ribbon (from a GoGo kit, I think) to let me shape it and will definitely do that again, as I have a lot of hollow ribbon in my stash, maybe even surrounding a page or making flower petals, I’m not sure.

I love seeing multiple versions of the same layout and thought others might as well!



SI bye bye – The last issue landed

It was all a bit poignant really. The final issue of Scrapbook Inspirations landed on my doormat the other day and as I flipped thru the magazine the overwhelming feeling was that it was a great issue. Lovely layouts, good overall design, lots of fresh new faces, but no mention of the issue ending, just no “In the Next Issue” page to hint that it was the last.

When Scrapbooking Memories & More (who remembers that magazine!?) had the plug pulled by the publisher after only a few issues, everyone who was involved with the magazine was angry that it never seemed to have the full backing of the publisher and had never really been given a chance. Because of my involvement with UKScrappers, and a project I had done for Design Eye ( who were part of Quarto Publishing, who also did Creative Scrapbooking in it’s first iteration) I had already been approached by the publisher asking me to get involved with the magazine. I had steadfastly refused, partly because of the SM&M work, partly for my own reasons. I was also, at the time, working on a scrapbooking book project for Design Eye and Reader’s Digest with Shimelle (which came to nothing in the end, after all the work had been done, again, because of a publisher decision on the market at the time) and just didn’t think, along with UKS, that I would have the time.

Things change, as they do, and when SM&M ceased, and a timely call from the publisher at Quarto came, I broached the subject, letting him know that I was free to submit, as were the other team members and he said “Did you know Future is publishing a scrapbooking magazine?” He said he would be happy to get submissions, but if a regular gig was what the team wanted, he thought Future was the way to go. Serendipitously, Jane, CJ, Shimelle and I (along with Anne and Vanessa) were all booked into a Centre Parcs weekend with some scrapping friends. We had plenty of time to chat about the death of SM&M and the state of scrapbooking publications in the UK and decided we would compile a presentation about us to present to Future and see what happened. We did, with our scrapping credentials and samples of our work, and practically as soon as it hit Future we got a call to come to London for a meeting. This was just after the launch issue came out, after issue 2 had been planned, but with issue 3 still in progress. So those of us that could make it toddled off to London to meet.

What I remember from the meeting is first silence as the editor and overall editor looked thru our work. I can remember wondering if they thought it was crap because they were quiet for a while as they flipped thru albums and looked at minibooks. Then there was a wave of relief when they all burst out with delight, saying they loved everything they saw and that we would be an asset to the magazine. Phew. From then on it was just talk talk talk talk talk, with all of us tripping over ourselves to get out the ideas we had, the editors outlining their thoughts and the team sharing theirs. A few layouts were selected then and there, a few more meetings followed, and soon we were in the swing of a regular publishing schedule.

I looked back – the first layout was in issue 3 and I did the cover for issue 4 (stock photos not my own kids) and we went from there. We got tied to an exclusivity contract in the UK, which was fine as we had little desire to work for any other UK magazine, although we were still free to submit to any US publication, and had the book come to fruition that would have been ok too. I had already been published in US mags and books, CK, MM, PK, so didn’t have any burning desire to submit to them. I wanted my work shared in the UK because I had made the UK my “home” so was happy to focus my energies there. And so we became THE SI TEAM, with a couple of layouts in every issue, work apportioned on a rotating basis. The editors were happy that we were almost always on time and it was rare for work to be commissioned then rejected as not good enough (another phew – they seemed to like what we did and the ABC report confirmed SI had the highest sales figures in the UK so the target audience seemed to like it too) It was exciting to see work in print and in some ways stretched me as a scrapper, doing pages about things I may not have otherwise, using paper that were not always my first choice, and trying to make pages for an audience that was not just my family.

And so it went.

There were grumbles on anonymous sites about the team being old hat, that being published was down to cronyism and moans about the same old kids over and over again. The mag was deemed for the beginner by some, some who obviously didn’t get that in order for scrapbooking to thrive it needed a fresh influx of scrappers on a regular basis. A magazine, an impulse buy on the news stand, was a perfect way to ensure that. Advanced scrappers are already scrappers. They don’t need to be caught by the hobby. And would the smaller number of self-proclaimed “advanced scrappers” really pay for a subscription or would they just scoff and say “You call that advanced? Pah! I’ve been doing that for YONKS!” and “I can see all I want, immediately, and more current, in blogs and elsewhere on the web.”? Who know really what part that played in the planned redesign and an expansion of the team? Perhaps some, perhaps none, but the reality is that the scrapbooking industry is experiencing a bit of a downturn at the moment, partly due to the credit crunch, perhaps partly to the quick explosion of the craft, which was always going to be difficult/impossible to sustain. I know from UKS that we are gaining members every day, lots of newbie posts about how they are “new to scrapbooking” and lots of emails thru the Contact Us link asking for info, where to take a class, can I make an album for them, yada, yada, yada. Subscriptions were strong, or I’ve been told they were, but advertising was just not what it needed to be.

Looking at my US magazines it seems clear what part of the problem might be. Firstly, US magazines have many many more pages of ads for manufacturers – tool makers, paper makers, supplies of all kinds. The UK mags seem to depend more heavily on small shops to advertise. During a downturn, many must wonder if spending the equivalent of a full years advertising on UKS, with the chance to update on sales and special every day, for a single print ad is the best use of their money. And the big manufacturers would have perhaps felt that their money was better spent in the bigger markets (US, AU, SA). Personally I would have preferred SI to go the way of TSBM and drop to 6 issues a year rather than cease regular publication, but that is just me. Even when I had stuff in the magazine, and even when I had seen most of the team work already on our team site, I still did a little dance of joy when the magazine landed. I loved seeing it all put together, loved the Reader’s Gallery stuff (which we didn’t usually see in advance) and just liked the feel of a magazine between my fingers.

I do fear the death of the print media – as someone who always reads magazines and books, I would cry real tears of loss if I could only read magazines online, or books on a e-book reader. SI is another casualty of the print v net war, I think, and wearing my UKS hat that makes me feel a little bit to blame, as I have stood for a long time with one foot in each camp.

But there is an upside, those of you who are still reading, although only a personal one. I am freed from the tyranny of the step-by-step! Every month when the assignments came I cringed when I knew my layout needed the SBS of a technique. It was never that I was lacking in ideas, I had them every day. But knowing that it had to be an interesting technique that could be communicated in a couple of photos made it hard to strike a balance between a cool technique and the space allowed. Those layouts were never allowed to be just a really nice page – there had to be something to “teach” abut nothing so complex that it would take up too much space. Perhaps that is part of what caused the complaints about SI being too beginner. But people forget, don’t they? that they were once beginners too. And that goes back to the point about “advanced scrappers” and would they buy an “advanced” mag, even if we could agree on what that entailed? But back to SBSs – OK, so maybe I just decided one day to slit along a pattern on some lovely patterned paper and tuck the photo underneath – no fanfare, no EUREKA! moment in my head, it just made sense so I did it. I liked the effect so I did it again, maybe getting a bit more complicated in my cutting the next time, or cutting a second sheet to layer over the first for a dimensional look. But not everyone thinks like that and I have had more than one person say “I never thought of that!” while flipping thru my albums, just like I often look in the UKS gallery on at a blog post or a layout in another magazine and think “Wow. Wish I had thought of that!” So I think we all tried to make the SBSs useful, interesting, and if not always “new” then at least new to someone. And now I am also freed from the need to use new papers or supplied to me papers on all my pages and it was sometimes mentioned that “muddy” colours didn’t reproduce well so I know I tended to lean brighter than I might have chosen otherwise. Older papers (which we ALL have a lot of) can now be used without worrying can they hunt up a stockist now?

So I made a layout yesterday. I forgot how fun it could be, just grabbing a few photos that had been crying out to be scrapped, shopping in my stash for stuff that worked, pushing the photos and embellishments around on my workspace, and then sticking it all down then thinking “I like that well enough for it to go in my albums” rather than “Will that look good in the mag? will people like it?” It’s nothing special, but it tells a story, captures a moment, and the kids, coming home and walking past my desk, both said “I remember that day!” with a smile. In the end, that was ALWAYS what scrapbooking was about for me.

That went on for far too long.

So here is the layout. Like I said, it’s nothing special, it won’t win any contests, there are no earthshaking or innovative techniques, but it’s a nice page and it made my kids smile. Who could ask for anything more than that?



Scrapbook Inspirations is no more

SBK59.coverI just got this in my inbox (and did get the all clear to post it publicly):

“Following a review of its performance over the past year, we have taken the difficult decision to close our craft title Scrapbook Inspirations. Its last issue will go sale on 13th November, however a series of special Scrapbook Inspirations bookazines are planned for 2010, with the first one hitting newsstands in February.

The decision has been made as part of the ongoing management of the craft portfolio, which has seen the launch of The Knitter in January this year and some strong circulation performances from the rest of our titles. Declining advertising revenues and shrinking newsstand sales meant Scrapbook Inspirations, craft’s smallest title by circulation, was no longer commercially sustainable as a monthly title.

The four staff working on this title are currently in consultation regarding their roles.

Group Publisher Kerry Lawrence comments: “Scrapbook Inspirations catered to a very specialist market which has unfortunately declined significantly during the last year. We’re really disappointed to be closing this magazine but it’s important we respond to what is happening in the industry. Moving to a model of publishing occasional bookazines will allow us to keep the Scrapbook Inspirations brand alive in a format more suited to the current market. I’d like to thank the team for all of their hard work and dedication during their time on Scrapbook Inspirations.”

That is the official word. From me? Sad news for me personally, as I loved working with the team, and maybe sad news for UK scrapbooking. But I don’t want to dwell on it – I’ve seen many UK scrapbooking magazines come and go (Remember Scrapbooking Memories and More? The 12 x 12 Scrapbooking Magazine? Creative Scrapbooking? and a few others…..) While I am saddened that there is now only one truly “home grown” scrapping magazine that is left (The Scrapbook Magazine) and a few pages of poorly reproduced layouts by UK scrappers in the UK edition of Scrapbook Trends (to be fair to ST, I am going on the posts made on UKS and other places – I’ve yet to see an actual copy of the UK version, but have been told the magazine does not ask for the actual layouts, only a digital photo or scan of the layout and prints that in the magazine) there are, of course, many, many blogs and galleries online. The fact that SI was the best selling scrapbooking magazine in the UK according to the offical ABC audit made no difference in the end. It was recently said to me that the future of scrapbook publishing is online. Hummmm….

While I live my life online, spending waaaaaay too much time logged in to a plethora of sites and blogs, I don’t like eating my breakfast or lunch in front of the Mac (I shower, so no dilemma about reading in the bath, which is the first thing anyone says when a digital magazine is mentioned) so while I am happy to read the US Scrapbooking Trends collection of magazines online I was always glad to have a print magazine I could depend on getting to flick through and feel the paper under my fingertips. I’ll mis that and will be looking for something else to replace it

Oh well. On the bright side at least my kids won’t have to worry about the camera lens trained on them every time they move. And I can scrap only what I want rather than to assignment.

A couple of last words – firstly to Rosie, Cara and Jane. You gals were the best to work with. I haven’t had much experience with magazine editors but I’ve had the odd bad experience, which only made me appreciate you three all the more. To the team – I never had much chance to work with the newly expanded team but have visited most of their blogs and saw very inspiring work on show. Shame I won;t be seeing it every month, but will hope to see much in the bookazines. To the original team, what can I say? You guys still surprise and inspire me with your work. Next, if you have work at the mag I’ve been assured all work will be returned. Once I know where to send you for info on what happens with subscriptions, I’ll let you know, here and on UKS.