Scrapbooking: Evolution?

So yesterday I talked about the final days of Archiver’s and how much I’d miss them. I think it’s a symptom of an ever evolving scrapbook industry. Over the last few months I’ve taken a lot of time to think on how much the scrapbook world in general has changed in such a short time. I don’t think it’s “dead” as a hobby, but it is changing, and I’m not sure where it will go from here.

I know Archiver’s took a lot of heat for “putting the smaller stores out of business”, but I think that’s as much a casualty of a nosediving economy. Back in the day there were plenty of scrapbooking dollars to go around, and people had seemingly endless budgets. And then the economy tanked, and with it so went discretionary spending…

Scrapbook companies seen as pioneers in the industry started to go out of business; Rusty Pickle, Making Memories, Junkitz, Creating Keepsakes, Creative Memories, Scenic Route, Daisy D, Chatterbox, etc. There’s several threads on 2 Peas in a Bucket about manufacturers that are very missed. I admit to still hoarding a small handful of papers from some of those manufacturers; looking at you Scenic Route, Chatterbox, Rusty Pickle, Making Memories. Over time, other companies formed, others merged, some churned out so much product it was near impossible to keep up it seemed as though the industry was getting far too big (if you can believe that!), and there was simply more product than there were dollars to go around. It was becoming near impossible for the smaller local shops to keep up with the abundance of product, especially when some of the order minimums were so astronomical. Archiver’s had buying power as they were a larger outfit with multiple stores. Digital started to become an entity, and people were learning other new ways to preserve and share memories; facebook, blogging, Instagram, etc. And there’s another thought to consider, we are taking more and more photos and printing less and less because of evolutions in digital cameras and storage. I have over 10 thousand photos in my iPhoto and almost 2 thousand on my iPhone that haven’t been imported. Just think on that, years ago in the film era we were far more sparing of what we took, and of course, every photo got developed.

During the industry boom, Michaels, with their even larger buying power, expanded their scrapbooking section anchored by the star power and recognizability of the exclusive Martha Stewart line. They also offered deep discounts with their 40% off coupons, and the local stores further struggled to compete. Online stores started to open up all over the place, again offering discounts, free shipping and a wide variety of products as they didn’t have to worry about things such as the rent/utilities/maintenance of a bricks and mortar storefront, staff salaries, inventory shrinkage (fancy name for customer theft), and local business taxes.

What the local stores can and do offer is a community. A place for likeminded scrapbookers to gather at crops and classes. I still have many friends from my days when I used to go to crops that were always sold out on a Friday night, and the monthly Saturday crops had a wait list! But scrapbookers were changing, and starting to “collect” product. As fast as lines were being created, beloved lines were disappearing fostering a hoarding mentality.  Little Yellow Bicycle was one of the first to create small runs of product with a finite limit. In the process of local stores closing, online and big box stores ramping up, scrapbookers started to opt to stay home instead of going out to socialize and scrapbook. Staying home eliminated the need to pre-plan pages, pack up supplies, lug supplies (that are now bountiful) to the crop location and then anyone I know who has scrapbooked with a group has more than their share of “crop horror stories”. Some websites do offer online virtual crops and google+ hangouts, but I can honestly say I’ve never attended one. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Also in this time, scrapbookers got busier, opting to go the pocket page, Project Life, style of scrapbooking; a great way to preserve all kinds of memories in a quick and stylish manner. Kit clubs have also started to flourish. Again, as a time saving way for scrappers to get a variety of product, easily delivered to their doorstep, in a controlled monthly budget cost.

As I write, another local bricks and mortar scrapbook store has just closed their doors after several years in business citing rising rent costs as a big factor in the decision to close. American Crafts has just acquired another industry giant in Bazzill Basics Paper. What’s next? I have no idea.

Last summer, Nancy Nally of  Scrapbook Update shared her thoughts on how Project Life has revolutionized the scrapbook industry as we know it. Nancy is a great resource in the industry and definitely has her finger on the pulse. If you aren’t a follower of hers yet, you should be.

Ironically, last summer she also shared her thoughts on “Scrapbooking’s Identity Crisis“. We have similar thoughts. I’m curious to hear yours.

End of an Era

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Mid-January as part of my birthday celebrations, DH and I made a pilgrimage to Michigan to visit two Archiver’s stores before they closed for good on February 15th.

Other than some of the amazing mega-stores in Utah and Arizona, Archiver’s was absolutely THE scrapbooking mecca. Though I had heard the rumours for a few weeks, I was still very sad to receive the email from Archiver’s confirming the worst news that they were indeed going out of business. Archiver’s was my go-to for inspiration, for the latest and greatest, or rare finds, or staples in supplies as they had absolutely everything. I found the layout of the store well planned out and easy to shop. I found the staff to be always very helpful. Needless to say, I was an Archiver’s fan and could easily spend a pretty penny in their stores. Every. Single. Time.

So, of course I had to go to both Michigan stores to see what deals I could find, and if there were any items I should stock up on for a good price, or while I could if they were a tough find. I came home with two amazing bags of loot. I wanted to make a deal with myself to use up some items of my stash and replace them with the new, but that was short lived. Very short lived.  So here are my pictures of my unpacked haul from my last visits to Archiver’s. Yes, I now know I could shop online with them but it’s just not the same. I’m a girl who needs to see things live when it comes to scrapbooking.

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No doubt you will have seen some of those embellies on my pages that I’ve posted between now and January. And you’ll note the Tim Holtz goodies I managed to pick up for 40% off too!

There were tears. Possibly from me. Definitely from the staff – a job, a community, a livelihood, all going away. Thank you Archiver’s for the memories.

I’m Alive!

Hello blog hiatus, nice to meet you.  I’ve been creating a bit, but I’m not ready to share those layouts yet. That being said, any finger crossing you can do for me would be appreciated! ;)

I do have an old ScrapMuch? sketch challenge I did create, but again didn’t submit to their linkup in time.  It was created mostly with the Simple Stories Vintage Bliss collection. I’m becoming a very big fan of a lot of the Simple Stories products. I don’t have a lot of scrappy time, so anything that can make my life easier, while keeping my layouts (and mini albums!) beautiful is great in my books. Another bonus is, so many of my other embellishments work so well with their papers, so it’s helping me put a dent in the proverbial stash.

The layout takes me back to one of my last times at Aventura Spa Palace (now Hard Rock Riviera Maya) when we finally got the VIP treatment. Let me tell you, it was fantastic (and  big reason why we bought our membership in the first place). I even went pop culture with a hashtag!

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Thanks for popping by! I promise I’ll have more layouts to share soon enough!

Missed Deadlines

I scrapped with the best of intentions but didn’t get to posting them up for the sketch challenges for January. You know what they say about the road to hell… Part of the delay in posting is I was busy living life. And part of it was when I started to evaluate if I was taking on too many sketch challenges and just not loving what I was crafting – maybe the end product some, but not so much the process, or the reason.

Where do we go from here? Well, I’m going to take part in less challenges, and give more of a try towards pocket page scrapping for starters. Pocket pages (aka Project Life) totally suit my love of mini albums, and taking and printing far too many pictures, as well as keeping a multitude of ephemera, and I can still use my sizeable stash of paper. Onto that – I was scrapping and also buying a lot of new product when I have shelves full of old. I found myself getting caught up in wanting to use solely current, and stick within as few manufacturers as possible per layout and that doesn’t help both my hoarding and buying problem. I’m not going to stress about getting “perfect” pictures of my layouts. Heck, the ones I’ve posted today are quite imperfect, and that’s ok. I’m not going to stress about keeping a list of manufacturers and materials used. And at the end of the day, I embrace that these pages are first and foremost for me, and my enjoyment – both in the process and the end result. I’ve made great strides in actually being willing to post and share, and that’s just fine.

So, even though they can’t be put in for draws, or ezine pubs or whatever else, they’re still getting posted. Two of the sketches are ScrapMuch? sketches, and two are Let’s Get Sketchy. The LGS ones are first followed by the ScrapMuch? ones.

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February Stuck?! Sketches

Just a quick post for now to get my two February layouts for Stuck?! Sketches submitted just under the wire. There isn’t much time left to play along with these, but a good night of creativity like I had last night and you can get in on it too! I’ve taken a new look at how I approach these challenges and it’s making me personally feel good. I’ve also streamlined which sketch sites I will play along with, and to quote Ali Edwards, “It is ok”.

So here is the February 1st sketch:

And here is my take on the sketch:

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Most of this layout is from Simple Stories 24/7 line. Wood hearts are Studio Calico; flower and feather are Bella Blvd.; button is American Crafts; heart pin is Little Yellow Bicycle; playing card was from a Williams Sonoma Christmas cracker (yes, really!); stamp is Tattered Angels and ink is Stampin’ UP! Chocolate Chip.

And here is the February 15th sketch:

And here is my take on the sketch:

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I returned to my stash for the bulk of this layout and it felt great to use papers I’d been hoarding for the “perfect” picture/sketch/whatever. The patterned paper is all Graphic 45 Steampunk Debutante (circa 2010); title stickers are Basic Grey with a Pink Paislee @; washi tape is both Tim Holtz and Bella Blvd; flower is Bella Blvd.; chipboard medallion, quote and sequins are all Teresa Collins; brad is Amy Tangerine; pearls are Melissa Francis; white pen is Signo roller ball. What I love about this layout is how I was totally comfortable to mix lines, manufacturers, old, new, essentially everything. I was scrapping for so long trying to keep in same line/manufacturer/new.

It felt good to be in my room playing again. I even finally threaded my sewing machine and stitched on my second layout! And now I want to sew on EVERYTHING!!!! I do have some layouts to post that I didn’t get uploaded in time for old challenges, but I still like them, so I’m still going to post them. They were all created in the last month while I was re-evaluating just what I wanted to do with my craft. I’m pretty satisfied with the answers I came up with.

Thank you Laura for 2 great sketches and the opportunity to play along! I’ll be around to catch up on blogs and comments soon!

With Thanks

First and foremost, thank you to all my friends and visitors for all the support in the Let’s Get Sketchy Cover Girl search. I was not selected and I’m ok with that. There were a lot of great layouts submitted, and congratulations to the winner (it has not been announced yet who/what layout won). I’m genuinely thankful for the opportunity to participate, and am proud that I went out on a limb and tried anyway. That was a huge bold step for me and who knows what the future holds. This I know for sure, I am better off for having made the attempt in the first place.

In all my scrappings this week I created a layout to go with the Let’s Get Sketchy January Week 2 sketch. I don’t love my take on it, but I got to scrap some pictures I wasn’t sure how I was going to, and I got to use some fun papers I thought I’d never have the chance to use on a layout. So, here is the sketch, and my take:

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It’s far too busy for my liking, and I have no idea why my cam decided to make this worse in pic than in person. Anyways, go, play along, link up, lather rinse repeat!

That’s it for this girl for one night, both blogging and scrapping. I was at a crop today and I’m not sure I could glue another piece of paper if I tried right now. And we won’t even discuss my atrocious sleepy typing skills. Buenos noches amigos!