Sunday, December 30, 2007

Watch for New Stores to be Posted!

When I first was introduced to scrapbooking, there seemed to be a natural progression to get involved in rubber stamping. While I liked the idea of stamping, my first concern was that there would be nowhere that I could store all the stamps I wanted to get. That, and if I only got a few sets of stamps, you'd see the same ones throughout all my projects! So until recently, I steered clear of them.

But then it happened! I was introduced to acrylic stamps, and then not long afterwards, rubber "cling-on" type stamps! Some people have been very smart to discover a way that I can add many new items to my scrapbook area, and at the same time, be space conscious. I'm not sure if I should be thankful given that my wallet has become much lighter! But, I'm really not going to complain, as I'm seeing some wonderful ways to take my scrapbook pages to another level. That, and as I learn more about stamping and what can be done with it, I'm expanding my hobby into what I would call "paper arts" versus just scrapbooking. What fun it is!

As a result of this new-found knowledge, it became very clear to me that with this cross-over between scrapbooking and rubber stamping, there are a lot of stores that should be listed in Crop Across Canada's directory. Although many of these stores may have a stronger focus on rubber stamping than scrapbooking, those of you not taking the steps into the world of stamping will still find lots of little tools, gadgets and general supplies in these stores that would be useful for someone solely devoted to scrapbooking.

So ... have a browse through the store listings and plan a shopping trip for the new year. Support your local scrapbook store (and/or stamping store)!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Scrapbooker's Best Friend

If you use a digital camera, you know how difficult it can be to organize and sort through the pictures you want to print for your next scrapbook project. Not only can it be a frustrating process to actually find them on your computer, but also once you have found them, you realize a little fix would turn your great picture into a fantastic picture!

There are many choices available to you if you’re looking for photo editing software. Unfortunately, not only can some of these programs be fairly complicated to learn and use, some of them are also fairly costly. A great solution is Google’s Picasa. Not only does it allow you to effortlessly edit your photos, but it sorts them on your computer so you can easily find them, view them, and if you want to take it one step further, share them on-line with your family and friends! All of this at no cost! Yes, that’s correct – Picasa is part of the Google Pack and is absolutely free!

Here are a just a few examples of how you can use Picasa for your scrapbooking needs.

• We all have great photos, but unfortunately, the flash has caused red-eye. Fix it with a click of the mouse!

• Would your scrapbook project better suit a black & white photo? Convert it to black & white, or consider giving it a sepia tone look.

• Have you ever seen a wedding photo that focuses in on the loving bride and groom, and then gradually blurs the background? This effect can be easily added to any of your photos!

• Do you need to re-size your photo before you print it? Crop it so it better fits the layout you’re working with!

• Is your photo a little too dark? Adjust the contrast so your subject is better highlighted!

You can experiment as much as you need to in order to get the desired effect to your photos. And, if you’re not happy with the changes, you can revert back to the original at any time, so you never have to worry about losing the original format.

All of this and much more ... at no cost! And, since it's a Google product, it's completely safe to download.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Crop Across Canada has Expanded!

It took longer than expected, but we've finally expanded Crop Across Canada to include on-line Canadian scrapbook stores! It's been great fun doing the research, and has also been very interesting to see how many great shops there are, and what fantastic scrapbooking goodies some of them have chosen to specialize in! For those who don't have the opportunity to get out to a traditional "brick & mortar" scrapbook store, or if you're looking for a special item your local scrapbook store doesn't stock, these are a great alternative!

We've also added a "Helpful Information" section, and have posted our first two articles. Hopefully, many more will follow in the future.

We hope you enjoy the new additions to the site, and look forward to continually updating this to provide fellow scrapbookers with a great Canadian Scrapbook Resource!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Canada's Scrapbooking Crop for Kids - October 12-14

I don't normally show my support for any one particular event or store, but I find myself making an exception for Canada's Scrapbooking Crop for Kids.

I recently attended a class taught by the organizer for Edmonton's event ... the class was great and made even better since a portion of the proceeds were donated to Canada's Scrapbooking Crop for Kids! More importantly though, I was able to hear about this fantastic event first-hand, in particular what motivated these ladies from across the country to take on the incredible task of organizing an event of this magnitude. It truly is a huge undertaking.

Not only are the local hospitals benefiting from their hard work, but those of us who love to scrapbook are also seeing some great benefits! Take some time to browse through the registration options available - check out the classes being offered and the incredible instructors who are volunteering their time and efforts to teach them. What a great opportunity for scrapbookers to crop, learn (and shop!), and at the same time, support your local children's hospital!

Don't miss out! Visit the Canada's Scrapbooking Crop for Kids web-site for additional details on how you can participate.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Watch for the Checkmarks ...

As you browse through the Crop Across Canada's scrapbook store directory, you'll start to see check marks appearing for a number of the scrapbook stores. This check mark indicates that particular store also offers on-line shopping from their web-site.

At this point, you'll see the enhancements for the BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba stores. Take a look through to see the number of these great Canadian scrapbook stores that also provide this service. The rest of the provinces will follow soon.

Also still to come ... the new section with Canadian on-line scrapbook stores!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's Coming to Crop Across Canada

There's nothing quite the same as meandering through a scrapbook store looking for the perfect papers or embellishments to complete a page or project, or just browsing to see what catches your eye. Unfortunately, many people don't have that opportunity. Whether due to time, distance or another reason, sometimes the best shopping alternative is through an on-line store.

With that in mind, we're busy compiling all the information so we can bring you a new section - On-Line Scrapbook Stores! In addition, since there are many "brick & mortar" stores that also offer on-line shopping, we're updating that section on Crop Across Canada so you'll know which of your favourite scrapbook stores have on-line shopping available.

Check the site often - we should be ready to launch these improvements soon!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Preparing for a Crop

Whether a few hours at a friend's house, a full day crop or a weekend retreat, preparing for a scrapbook session away from your regular work-space can be challenging. How much should you bring – pictures, tools, paper and other supplies? I have the tendency to over-estimate (by quite a lot!) on how much I'll get done, so I routinely bring too many pictures, too much paper and too many embellishments. Not only does it mean I have more than what my tote can hold, but I often end up spending more time flipping through everything trying to decide what to work on, than actually working on it! There is help for people like me, and all it takes is a little advance preparation.

1) Plan Ahead:

Taking time to plan ahead can make a big difference in what you accomplish. Prior to the crop, sort through your photos, pull out some coordinating paper and any matching embellishments you want to use, and create your own page kits.

If you’re scrapping at your local scrapbook store, don’t worry if you’re missing something - you can always shop as you crop and pick up whatever you may need to complete your pages. If you’re at a weekend retreat, the hosting store will likely have an on-site store set up. Remember, they can’t bring their entire shop, so it doesn’t hurt to check with them ahead of time to find out what sort of inventory they will be bringing to the retreat.

If you’re scrapping at a friend’s place or somewhere else that you don’t have the option of running out to your local scrapbook store, bring along some extra supplies, and suggest your friends do the same. The chances are fairly high that someone else will have that perfect colored cardstock, brad or other embellishment you’re looking for, and would be happy to exchange it for something you have in your stash. Scrapbookers are a friendly group, and I’ve never been to a crop where someone wasn’t willing to share or trade something for someone in need.

What tools should I bring?

Always bring the basics, including paper trimmer & extra blades, small scissors, adhesives (including foam tape or pop dots), ruler, pencil, art gum eraser and black archival pen for journaling. Consider including any other tools you routinely use, such as an eyelet setter, inks or chalks, etc. Always keep in mind that whatever you bring, you need to transport it to and from where you’re scrapping. That could mean a few trips to and from the car!

For any other tools, planning ahead will help you once again. If you’re scrapping at your local scrapbook store or at a weekend retreat, call ahead to see what kind of tools they have on hand for scrappers who are registered for the crop. Die-cut machines or other cutting systems may be readily available on-site rather than carting your own back and forth. Alternatively, if you’re attending with friends, arrange for each to bring different tools so you can share amongst your group.

Regardless of what you bring, make sure to properly label your supplies. Many scrappers have the same items, and while not deliberate, it’s very easy to pick up someone else’s tool thinking it’s your own.

Have fun!

Most important of all, a crop is a fun and social event! Don’t fret if you have some “scrappers-block”. Take that time to browse through some magazines or to admire the creative talents of your fellow scrappers. If you see something you especially like, don’t be afraid to ask how it was done. The majority of scrappers are proud to show off their pages, and are very willing to share a trick or technique. Remember, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and scrap-lifting is accepted and encouraged in the scrapbooking community!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Scrapbook Events ... What do you like?

It's great to see so many wonderful scrapbooking events being held in different parts of Canada. If I could, I'd love to attend as many as possible! Not only the charity crops, since they support such worthwhile causes, but also those great-looking getaways retreats at spa resorts! What a wonderful combination! A good productive session of scrapbooking followed by a relaxing massage or pedicure. For me, that's probably one of the best definitions of paradise that I can think of!

What's important to you in a scrapbook crop or retreat? There are some areas of the country with numerous event options available to choose from, but unfortunately, there are other areas with a limited number of these special events. I'd love to hear from fellow scrapbookers across Canada. What kind of scrapbooking events do you participate in, or what sort of events would you like to participate in? Please feel free to post your comments or send me an email. I'll summarize the results for everyone to see. Perhaps some of the store owners or event organizers will respond by setting up a special crop or retreat in an area close to your home!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Welcome to Crop Across Canada

Where it all began ...
As an avid shopper for all things scrapbooking, I have routinely tried to take shopping "road trips" with my scrapbook family and friends. My goal on these trips has been to travel to as many scrapbook stores as possible within a certain area, with a promise to buy something from each store I visit.
The shopping has always been the easy part! What wasn't always so easy was finding the stores and planning a route.
It was from the earlier trips that the idea of Crop Across Canada started to take shape. If my friends and I were struggling to find a resource for scrapbook stores in Canada, I realized it was quite likely that my fellow scrappers may also be experiencing the same problem. So, after much time and research, Crop Across Canada was launched at the end of February. The response I've received has been very positive, from both store owners and scrappers alike, and I look forward to continuing to build on an "all Canadian" scrapbook resource.