Monday, February 25, 2008

About productivity

I love to craft, but I don't feel the need to invent the wheel every day. Part of my morning ritual is to sit down at my computer with a cup of black coffee. After I do the important things like checking email, I let myself wander for a bit.

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is SplitcoastStampers. This huge, active message board is a visual all you can eat buffet. I love to stamp, and I love to create cards, so the gallery at Splitcoast is phenomenal for checking out new stamps, papers, and embellishments. When I need a little creative jolt, though, I check out the challenges in the forums. Each week, a card sketch is posted. It's just a little map to get you going, and it can unleash a lot of creativity without the stress of staring at a blank sheet of paper.

Along the same lines is Sheetload of Cards. It's a cheeky name for a brilliant concept. Not only is there a sketch, but there are cutting diagrams for all of your layering papers, and completed samples too. With the Sheetload pdf, you can whip out 6-8 cards in under an hour. I tried the concept for the first time last month, and I'm hooked!

This card uses DCWV Spring Stack roses and XO paper, Stampin' UP! red, black, grey and vellum paper, and Stampin' UP! gingham ribbon. I can't decide if I like the pierced or torn edge better on the red panel. Faux milagro heart is simply embossed in silver on the grey paper and attached with PopDots.

Finally, if you're interested in scrapbooking but have never given it a try for fear of staring at a HUGE sheet of blank paper, you might be interested in Club Scrap. When you join the club, you get a pizza box full of paper and embellishments delivered to your door each month. I can't say enough about the quality of the kits. The cardstock is top of the line, and the different textures and color combinations are just lovely. The kits are so well designed! But the icing on the cake is the Assembly Line ScrapBooking (ALSB) directions posted on the website. When your kit arrives, you are treated with a mini magazine full of inspiration and information. There's also a code you can enter to download the ALSB instructions. Similar to Sheetload, these instructions give cutting diagrams and layout photos for 12-13 pages each month. I spend just under $41 for my kit which includes an embellishment pack and extra "Pound of Paper." Worth every penny, and more for the outstanding quality!

The assembly line instructions allow me to put together the kit's blank pages in about 90 minutes. I know building blank pages sounds silly, but when I am faced with a stack of paper and embellishments and a stack of photos, time stands still for me! Having an "almost finished" layout allows me to be creative in completing a page with appropriate pictures, embellishments, and journaling without the headache. I just hate it when I spend 3 hours on a 2 page layout, have to quickly put everything away to get dinner ready, and then wonder at where the time went! If you do decide to give them a try, please let them know I sent you!