Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012

It has been a very busy past few weeks.  After our Belgium friends went home, we had a week to clean house and get ready for the next wave of relatives. A younger sister and her two daughters came up from California for a visit.  We used to see them every April when we traveled to San Francisco area to do a show, but since our retirement, we haven't seen them in two years. It was great to see them again! (Hubby could not come with them due to work.)

They were here for five days. They visited friends my sister hasn't seen in years, other relatives and weather permitting, we all went shopping and to the park. I also created scrapbooks with the girls to give them something to do.

Vivian and Charlotte with their scrapbook pages before binding, about 15 pages each.  Took two days to get these put together, but they both enjoyed it.  Vivian is 5-1/2 and Charlotte is 11.

Charlotte with her completed scrapbook containing photos of their trip.

Vivian with her scrapbook. They both did very well.  Next time they visit, I will teach them how to do greeting cards.

Here's a big question I'd like to pose to all my readers -- what has the past decade of economic recession done for your card making hobby?  I know we have lost quite a few scrapbooking stores here in the Puget Sound region of Seattle, Washington, USA.  One closed due to retirement and the daughters who grew up working in the store did not want to take it over.  The other closed due to the passing of the owner and the daughter not having the same passion to continue the store.  So in my local area, there is only one scrapbooking store open, and Brooke is working hard to keep it open. She has expanded her stock in order to make up somewhat for the loss of the other two local stores.  She has wonderful classes scheduled on a regular basis.  To go to any other store, I have to travel 20 minutes or more. (Yeah, I'm spoiled with previously 4 stores within 10 minutes of my home.)  When Jan came over for a visit in late May, I took her to Urban Scrapbooker and she spent almost her entire allowance there.

After visiting Urban Scrapbooker, Jan and I went to Stampin' in the Rain.  I have not been to this wonderful little rubber stamp store in a long time.  When we walked in, I was not prepared for the shock of what I saw.  The store shelves were not as full as I bragged to Jan about.  Stock was pretty slim.  I asked the owner Kim what was up.  She said sales are way down and have been for about a year.  She was barely hanging on.  I felt terrible!  I've been wanting to come to the store for so long, but haven't been able to due to a family emergency this past year.  Kim said she is staying afloat due to special events and classes -- customers come out for those and buy, but not so much during regular business hours.

So I'm putting my pitch out there to everyone -- if you can, support your local scrapbooking and rubber stamp stores!  Once they are gone, they are gone!  If Kim goes out of business, for me to go to a dedicated rubber stamp store, I would have to go to Issaquah or Bellingham, both an hour away.  (I think a West Seattle store is still open, but then again, still a distance to travel.)  Urban Scrapbooker does have some rubber stamps, and Brooke has expanded her line, but there is nothing like walking into a store totally devoted to rubber stamps!  Michael's, JoAnne's and Hobby Lobby is no match for a devoted rubber stamp store.

So tell me, readers, what stores have gone out of business in your area?  Is it the recession, retirement or death of the owner?  Do you shop more on-line, or do you try to shop in retail stores if at all possible?  Drop me a line and let me know!  If you have a great scrapbooking and/or rubber stamp store you love in your area, let me know; I will check them out and blog them (credit to you, of course!).

If you have friends in the Puget Sound region of Seattle, Washington, send them to this blog and let them know about these two wonderful stores I've mentioned today.  We need to keep Stampin' in the Rain open.  Urban Scrapbooker at this point is not in any danger of closing, but we want to make sure she stays around.

Thanks for your part in supporting our local scrapbooking and rubber stamp stores!

PS -- I received lots of scrapbooking/greeting card materials for my birthday in late May. I just finally got my working table cleaned off and the goodies sorted and put away, so now I can get back to making cards.  Won't be today as I'm babysitting my 3½ year old nephew. Have a good weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A personalized birthday party invitation for my 50th Birthday Party.  This is to my husband, so he could receive it at the last minute (and I could make it at the last minute which happens).  I actually waited to work on this card for a specific reason, but it is now finished. You've seen the other invitations for this party that I created earlier in May.  Then we were off to celebrate the party at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Wow -- has the zoo changed a lot in the past decade since we were last there.  On the card, the bright spot between "You're" and "Invited" is a silver bling that did not photograph well.

As an added bonus, I am entering this in a blog challenge sponsored by Perfect Sentiments.

Our Belgium friends arrived a couple of days after the zoo party, and we spent two fun days together. They always bring us goodies from Belgium, including Belgium chocolates! YUM!!  This year, they also brought scrapbooking stuff from a store that has good sales over there.  Some of these items we cannot get here in the US, or not that I've seen.  I mean, fringed paper ribbon?!  Their dazzles are a little different than ours, but will still be fun to work with.  I will enjoy creating cards with these wonderful Belgium goodies!

One of my younger sisters is coming up for a visit with her two daughters (husband staying home to work).  They will be here for awhile, so once they return home and I get caught up on emails and such, I hope to get back into the craft room and start making more cards.  Younger sister Jan also made sure I received some scrapbooking stuff for my birthday, so I will be using those as well in my card making.  Those cards will show up here eventually.

I am not really a scrapbooker, but I will make a scrapbook of my birthday.  After all, you hit 50 only once!

Stay tuned as I hope to get back to the blog to write about two wonderful rubber stamp retailers I adore.

Till next time!