Archive for the ‘Scrapbooking’ Category

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Check-In

February 6, 2013

My new gauge for how hectic/stressful a week has been: whether or not I can remember which side gets the shot this week! And, in case you’re wondering–I can’t remember.

So I’ve been busy. It’s not a bad thing. It just means I haven’t posted on here in what, a week?

I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. The Chief is still at sea. The daughters are doing well; the dogs are getting into trouble but enjoyed a trip to school. I’m in the middle of scanning 300 photos and tagging all them, so that I can make a digital album for my siblings and me. I am scanning those distant relatives baby pictures but I will probably not include them in the final album and just burn them to a disk.

I’ll try to post a bit more later. I have so many ideas!

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First Attempt at a Poll … I need your answers!

January 31, 2013
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Writing Workshop: Scrapbooking Weekend

March 22, 2012

5.) What was the occasion? Write about the last time you stayed in a hotel.

One of the reasons I have been MIA is that it was that time of year for my annual scrapbooking weekend. I believe this is my 7th year at this particular hotel. Nothing big, just a Comfort Inn. But they take care of me and my customers.

            I’ve been asked why we go away and why to this particular city.

            Scrapbookers want time away. We want a weekend of uninterrupted scrapping time. Honestly we’d do this every month if we could but schedules and finances prevent it. So if we are going to go away, to get the feeling of “going away” the distance needs to be more than an hour’s drive but less than two. You know, just in case the husband cannot survive without you for 48 hours.

            Initially I held my scrapbooking weekends in one historical town a little under two hours away to the east. I was so new to this (only going on my third year as a consultant) so I followed my upline’s lead and just got a contract with the hotel she was using for her crops. It was a small room but we were a small group. Breakfast was not included with this hotel chain so we had to provide a continental breakfast for our customers (I had a downline in on the gig with me). But it was a clean hotel and the location was great.

            Year 2: one month prior to our scheduled crop, both my upline and myself got a call from the hotel saying because they made no money off of us, they needed to bump us for “paying events” (i.e., weddings or some such). They actually sent our contract to a dilapidated sister hotel in another part of the city.

            I will give this hotel props for attempting to make this as painless as possible but the facility was awful. Poor lighting, not handicapped accessible, cockroaches, broken hot tub (that we were all looking forward to), and not enough value for our money. I left them a huge list of suggested improvements if we were to return. The most important was handicap access—not only for my customer who needed it, but have you seen what a consultant has to haul to an event like this? I easily bring twice what my average customer brings. When the elevator is five steps below the conference room level and you have to haul everything up those 5 steps (and down again) because the lift is not working is unacceptable.

            Needless to say I was stunned both the lift and the hot tub were still not working the following year. AND the hotel was being commandeered by a branch of the military for an out-processing center before deployment.

            In Year 3 we also had the problem of different consulting style and different clientele. In order not to say anything disrespectful or rude about my downline, I’ll just say I prefer “No Frills Crops”. Please, I just wanted to provide a table, a catalog, and some music! And her customers? Her customers arrived when the consultants did and they took over twice as many tables with one to a table, circled them up, and left my customers and my other downlines with having to double up. Her customers wanted everything neat and pretty and therefore she had taken two tables to “display” all her inventory. I leave my boxes on the floor and my customers look when they want to.

            Needless to say even though we were in agreement not to ever grace the threshold of that establishment again we could not agree on what type of venue or where to hold the event in Year 4. I toyed with BnBs or retreats. I toyed with several locations within that magical “distance”. When I floated the idea of an all-inclusive retreat like my downline was organizing, my customers baulked at the price tag. I think the thought of that lump sum even though all meals, the room and the crop fee were included just intimidated my customers. Additionally, they liked the freedom of doing a Taco Bell Run at 1 a.m.

            I’m really not sure how I found the website. I just double checked to see if it was even still active but it currently says “under construction.” Who knows how long that message has been up. So in my search I found “Bid My Event . Com” and I thought I’d give it a shot. I picked another historical town about an hour and half to the west. I got two responses with my requirements. One was a fancy hotel that just couldn’t come down in price and the other was a Comfort Inn.

            We’ve been there ever since. My contract has changed as has the event. No longer do we officially start on Friday night but we can use the room if it is available and we stay longer on Sunday. We also go out as a group to a restaurant on Friday night that a local recommended. Comfort Inns have great continental breakfasts (yeah waffles!) included in the room price so I don’t have to include that as a business expense or in the crop fee. I’ve only had to raise my crop fee once last year.

            I don’t like sharing hotel rooms, especially beds, so I am usually on my own. I had the room to myself this year. It was nice and quiet.

            I go to scrapbook. I was pretty productive this year, getting September and October of 2009 completed and November started. Having substituted the two days prior to the event left me drained (Note to self: never do this again even if the teacher is begging you!) so I did not stay up till the wee hours of the morning like I usually do. I have customers who will stay late but they usually take two or three-hour naps in the afternoon. One year I had one customer who really just slept the whole time. I guess catching up on sleep was what she really needed and who am I to argue with that as long as she pays her crop fee?

            So we will return next year. I will leave notes though that their trainees looked at me like I had two heads when I tried to explain the coffee service I have in my contract. They need to be better prepped to handle that.

We usually go my birthday weekend but this year it was booked. It was actually kind of nice to go after the time change—arriving late while there was still light, going to the restaurant while it was still light, and leaving in daylight made a huge difference. I will have to look at the calendar and pick early this year.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Describe an outfit you LOVED wearing.
2.) Share your idea of the perfect Spring Break family vacation.
3.) A lie you told.
4.) Pinterest Challenge, find something you’ve pinned, TRY it and share it. Was it worth pinning?
5.) What was the occasion? Write about the last time you stayed in a hotel.

For more information on Mama Kat’s world-famous Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there….

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Writing Workshop: SAHM

January 26, 2012

1.) Return to work after baby was born or stay home? How did you make your decision?

In case you haven’t figured it out, I am a stay at home mom. I have not worked a full-time job since I was 36 weeks pregnant with T1.

DH and I approached the decision rather logically. We took into account how much I made and how much would be spent on childcare. Of course we wouldn’t need childcare when DH was home, but that would be very disruptive to the child and not too many daycare facilities would hold a spot open like that. When it came down to it my salary would be paying for someone else to take care of my child–there really wouldn’t be anything left over. It just didn’t make sense.

My immediate boss–the art director–asked me point-blank if I was returning as soon as I announced my pregnancy. Because I knew he’d want a say in my replacement, and plenty of time to find one, I told him I would not be returning. I kept it from my other bosses until I was 6 months along, hoping three months would be enough to hire the right person. (Sadly I believe it took two attempts before they found a good fit.) I took the time during my pregnancy to pay off my college loan and left with that taken care of.

I became a Creative Memories consultant when I was pregnant with T1. I know there are women out there that can make 5 figures and cover their mortgage… I am just not one of them. But I am still a consultant and I still hold crops.

I worked part-time for the job I left to get them through a big project. I’d occasionally bring T1 with me when I couldn’t get a sitter. That made a stink. I was like, “Seriously? She’s under 6 months old–she sits in her bouncy seat and plays with a squeaky toy. And I’m only here as a favor to you guys for 6 weeks maximum.” My bosses told the bigwigs to let it go.

I also freelanced for them, writing and editing. My “contract” ended right about the time we decided to move south.

It was another two years before I was contacted by my very first employer to edit an online journal and they’d feed me some book contracts as they came in. The journal was not very hard to do–though I felt like I had lost every bit of editing knowledge I had, especially when drafts would come back from the managing editor bleeding red. But he kept sending me work so I guess I was doing an okay job.

The first book however was a different story. I couldn’t work on it solely after the children were in bed. I had to use daylight hours. I felt like the children were just sent to veg in front of the TV. DH was home only part of that time. We made the decision that I wouldn’t take another book project until they were both in school.

That “contract” lasted about 2-3 years but when I had to start implementing a late fee for failure to pay on time (and ask to have that put in my contract agreement) I knew something was up and I never renewed the contract.

I then threw myself into volunteering. But I still wanted to be able to contribute financially somehow, or at least pay for some of my frivolous things. I’ve said before that DH has never asked me to work or shamed me that I don’t. I try very hard to let him know I appreciate the sacrifices he makes so that I do not have to. I am trying to teach the girls to be grateful for all the extras they enjoy–scouts, soccer, music, camp, clothes galore, etc., etc.

So with T1 in 5th grade and T2 in 3rd, I became a substitute. I sub when I want to and I only sub at the elementary school. I will eventually sub at the middle school but not yet. I have no desire to teach full-time. I never wanted to teach. But this allows me some flexibility and gives me a little bit of cash. I felt no guilt when I ran away with my friend to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in November–I had made sure I had worked enough days since the beginning of school to pay for the whole trip and not touch the family account.

I won’t make it rich subbing–not as sporadically as I do–but I know that if push came to shove and I needed to work as much as possible I could change gear and do so. I’m not sure I’d ever want to go back into editing full-time. I can’t stand people who cannot meet deadlines and I firmly believe that the more little letters after one’s name (i.e., PhD, LCS, MS, etc.) the less they know how to write a correct bibliography or proper footnotes. (I spent the bulk of my time correcting just their references!) And they aren’t nice about it either.

Perhaps this is why that ghostwriter gets 6 figures.

The more unstable I think the economic future of this country is becoming, the more I do want to stock more away. T2 only has one more year in elementary school. My days of volunteering will draw to a close (except for scouts) so perhaps I will sub more and save more. DH is keeping an eye on things and again, says “No pressure.” He feels I work enough holding down the fort for him while he is at sea.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Return to work after baby was born or stay home? How did you make your decision?
2.) Write a poem about inspired by the word: Storm
3.) You know the stories that are retold a million times at family gatherings? I call them Life Stories that you just never live down. List your Top 10 Life Stories. Example here.
4.) Describe a time you saw someone getting picked on.
5.) Write about one of your childhood heroes.

For more information on Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, click on that top trophy over there…

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