Cards come home

When Scrapbook Inspirations ceased publication, I still kept in touch with Jenny, the editor, occasionally.  She carried on editing Papercraft Inspirations and somehow I was still getting copies long after my link with SI was severed.  Usually it was me seeing some really cool card idea on t’internet and sending her a link, saying This might be cool for the mag. Thing is, she usually liked the idea but nearly always tossed it back to me and asked did I want to do the article.  I would always try to squirm out of it, but in the end, at least a few times, I said fine.  Usually the agreement was because it was MY idea and not someone elses, because sometimes when my text submission appeared in the article I felt like it sometimes seemed, as edited, that I was claiming and idea I found “out there” as my own.  That didn’t sit well with me.  And when I would take great pains to seek out the ORIGINAL of what seemed to be a much copied idea (the STAR cards spring to mind) I worried if the URL of the original didn’t make it in the printed mag.

At some point I stopped getting copies of the mag (I assume the finally pruned their “freebies” list) so I sort of let it drop off my radar.  So I was surprised to get an email from one of the staff to say they had some samples to send back!  I had completely forgotten them. So I have no idea when they appeared and never saw the article in print.  But I do have the samples to share with you.  They were made from one of the dahlia printables but one that was a phrase across the five petals rather than a single word repeated. You can download that PDF here.

I am aware that I am all about showing the TECHNIQUE and don’t always follow thru with an actual project.  I’m trying to be better about that.

The first one was just scraps and NOT folded, the circles used to create a flower. It’s so bright and cheery it makes me smile.

The next was a bit more girly:

and the last made use of a printed design and had a window, with the dahlia inside.  Possibly my least favourite as it needed something MORE on the front and I was sure they would reject THIS one and they didn’t:

I had previously shared one of the rejects which ALSO used the circles as-is but as a strip – I liked it a lot more than the previous one:

And the original red and turquoise one:

Otherwise, today it is all about the cleaning because I find I am having to leap over things in my office to get from one side of the room to the other and I can honestly not find more than about 4″ on my desk mat to work on.  It is as bad as it has ever been, and all those now clean stamps need re-housing too. My lettering class has slipped.  I am finishing up a tutorial for an online site that I thought I said NO to back in December but with all my dodgy computer issues the word didn’t get through.  So when I got an email saying Nearly Done? Still OK for this? I was a bit OMG! and have been scurrying to sort that as I would be horrified to let someone down like that.  I will also, I think, be chasing the light around from window to window to try to get the best photo I can of something a bit tricky to capture.  More on that in…late August, I think.

So that is me for the day.  At least it’s a bit sunny so the laundry can go out.  Best grab the chance and it’ll be rain by the weekend I fear.



Smooch – last SI layout ever

Oh well.  Even when you KNOW it’s coming it’s still just that little bit sad.  After the first Scrapbook Inspirations idea book came out, and was sooooo lovely, there was hope that while the magazine had died, SI might live on in this new incarnation.  But the overwhelming feeling seemed to be the price was too high and I guess maybe that played a part in the decision by the publishers to stop after the second one (which I just got in the mail today and which is even better than the first one, IMHO, with lots of work by lots of different people, all clean lines and white space, and a real pleasure to flip through once fast, then slower) even though book 3 was well on the way to being complete and ready to go.

Along with the book was my returned layout.  Here it is – regular readers will remember some of the bits from past posts, but here they all are drawn together on a layout:

A sneaky photo my sister snapped at a family wedding, with more beading, the rif-on-Tim’s flower, and the fabric embellishments on interfacing, cut out and popped.

So bye-bye SI … it was nice to know ya!


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?