Monday, September 28, 2015

Interview with Tracie Claiborne from Scrap Gals!

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracie Claiborne from The Scrap Gals podcast. I had recommended The Scrap Gals podcast to a new friend and she ended up winning a spot in Tracie's new class. Through that connection, I had the chance to ask Tracie if she would answer a few questions for my blog. She graciously agreed and I was over the moon excited! If you haven't heard of her or her podcast, you are in for a real treat! I want extend a huge thanks to Tracie for her time and allowing the California Scrappin' audience to get to know her a little better.

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got into scrapbooking.
I am passionate about the art of storytelling through scrapbooking and creating clean and classic layouts that will stand the test of time. Because storytelling is so important to me, I define myself as a "memory keeper." In 2001, I saw an issue of "Scrapbooks, etc." magazine while on vacation and fell in love with the idea of merging my photos and stories with pretty paper and stickers. As I immersed myself in the hobby, it began to change my thought process. It was like putting on my first pair of glasses; everything around me came into focus. The trees were greener, the sky bluer, the birds sang a more cheerful song and my memories and everyday life moments seemed more precious. My whole outlook on life changed! I have always been a joy-filled person but scrapbooking made me realize how much I have to be joyful about. I can't imagine my life without it! I live in Nashville, Tennessee and love to laugh and have fun with my daughter, Caroline, and husband, Mike. I've been blogging since 2005, sharing my love of memory keeping, card making, hand lettering, artful memory planning, art journaling and organizing. You can find me at
2) How did the idea for the Scrap Gals podcast come about? Were you concerned about doing a podcast about such a visual hobby like scrapbooking?
After a couple of years of listening to podcasts, particularly ones about scrapbooking, I developed the desire to have a show of my own so I could make it exactly how I would most enjoy it. I've always had the gift of gab and after teaching scrapbooking for about 10 years, I was skilled at talking passionately about it to a captive audience. (I never worried about it being a visual hobby because talking about scrapbooking is just second nature to me and there were already multiple podcasts discussing it.) 
My husband is a professional musician and we have a mini-recording studio in our home so I knew a podcast was something that he could help me with. We kicked some ideas around but it was just a "someday dream." Then one day in January 2014, my friend Tiffany Lowder, and I were traveling home from a trip to Archiver's in another state and we got into a deep, philosophical conversation about scrapbooking and where it was headed. Archiver's was closing and we were concerned about the state of the industry. The conversation was so good that we joked and said we should have recorded it so other people could listen. Then came my lightbulb moment: I looked at Tiffany who was driving and said, "I want to do a podcast, would you want to do it with me?" She is the kind of person who's open minded and ready for fun so she agreed to give it a go. We talked about names and how we could identify ourselves as two friends who scrap and after going through a long list of possibilities, I felt strongly about the Scrap Gals and she agreed that it rocked. :) So the Scrap Gals was born! We recorded and aired our first show within a few weeks!

3) You're a scrapbooker, blogger, podcaster, social media maven, teacher, wife and mom. How do you balance it all? 
The homeschooling part is easy. We just started our 11th year and my daughter (in 10th grade) is self-directed by this point. I'm very good about scheduling my life but I'm not good about sticking to the schedule. I work best on a deadline and always seem to find myself staying up 'til all hours, getting it done at the last minute. I'm trying to change that about myself because I don't want to live in a cycle of stress! I quit my job in April to work full time on my creative business so I'm still finding balance but I've worked harder for myself than I've ever worked for anyone else!! My friend, Jen Schow, helps keep me on track. We are creative business partners in the sense that we share our ideas, help each other stay on track and motivated and we'll be collaborating on some projects together. Her support has been so instrumental in my success. I also have Tiffany to run my ideas by and my friend, Shanna Noel, has been a huge source of support and knowledge for me. You have to surround yourself with the right people! People who believe in you and your dream and want to help you achieve it but also people who understand the business that you're in. 
4) I'm a huge Disney fan like you and I love the Magic Memory Keepers podcast. What gave you the idea for a Disney related podcast? 
My first love is talking about scrapbooking and my second love is talking about, going on and planning a Disney World trip. I am obsessed with all things Disney. Almost every scrapbooker I meet has been to Disney but you don't find many Disney layouts for inspiration online. I really feel like it's an overlooked category of scrapbooking, probably because the designers who work for the manufacturers are scrapping other topics and that's who I turn to for inspiration. I started the show out weekly and intended on keeping it that way but I had to put it on hiatus for a few weeks while I worked on some other projects. A new episode will be out in October and going forward, the show will be once a month. The thing about podcasting is, once you figure out how to do one podcast, it's tempting to do more! 
5) Can you give us a sneak peak at your upcoming third podcast?
I'm waiting to announce it until I have my logo ready but I'll be talking to people who work full time in the creative industry. :) The first episode goes up October 22nd. 

6) Where can we find your classes and what are your newest classes all about?
I just released my first online class. It's called "Easy Hand Lettering" and is available now at (click Shoppe). It shows you step by step how to do traditional hand lettering and an easy shortcut to making it look great. There are 10 lessons, 10 videos and 12 practice worksheets. It's almost 3 hours of instruction and is $20. On October 22nd, I'll be releasing my next class, called "Journal Your Life: 12 Strategies for Meaningful Memory Keeping." In November, I have a class coming up with Jen Schow ( about using sketches. I'm super excited about that one because I am her biggest fan so the idea of working with her thrills me. :)
I also have a class that was just released at Big Picture Classes. It's called "Start with the Story" and I contributed to a class on pocket page designs at Get it Scrapped! 

7) What advice would you give to new scrapbookers?
Start with your LEAST important photos. Like photos you took yesterday. Make a mini album about fall or things you love. Something simple with a beginning and an end so you'll feel accomplished. Don't buy a lot of stuff. Just buy what you need for that one project. Make that project and then make something else not important (in terms of photographs you cherish). Study the work of a variety of scrapbookers. Look to the blogs of manufacturers like Simple Stories, October Afternoon, Doodlebug, Crate Paper, American Crafts and study the work the designers do. Sketch out layouts that you love and use those as a foundation for your pages. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Scraplift every page and try a variety of styles until you find one that really resonates with you. After about six months of scraplifting, you'll start to develop a sense of what works for you and what doesn't. Keep scraplifting. Develop some "go to designs" that will help you have a starting point every time you scrap. Tell your stories on a page. Don't leave the journaling off. Don't let it intimidate you. Talk on your page like a friend is standing over you and you're explaining what happened in the photos - it's that easy. I could go on and on!! :) 
8) Where do you find inspiration for your projects, classes and podcasts?
Ideas for classes and projects are never the problem. Finding time to execute the ideas is the problem. I immerse myself in the online scrapbooking community so I'm constantly seeing people communicate their scrapbooking needs. I try to listen to my audience/customer and fill the need that they are telling me about. Not that they tell me directly but it's in feedback I receive from the show and just random comments on my social media. I have plans right now for about five classes but most of them will be next year because I just write it all down and then get to it as soon as I can. I rarely show my work right now because I have to hold it back for a class and that's one hard thing about creating classes: I love to share projects as soon as I create them but I just can't. For the Scrap Gals podcast, we try to keep our finger on the pulse of scrapbooking and what people are excited about. That might be Travelers Notebooks, making lists, planners or telling their stories but we have to be interested in it first or we can't talk about it. That's one reason people love our show, we only talk about what we're genuinely interested in. Our show is not for everyone: we have strong and specific ideas about scrapbooking and we're okay with knowing that everyone won't always agree with us. We love to connect with people who want to laugh, think deeply about the outcome of the time they spending creating and those who just like to listen in as we chit-chat about scrappy things. For those people, we deliver a fun hour each week. We say repeatedly, "there's no right or wrong in scrapbooking, this is just how we do things." I focus on taking beautiful photographs and telling stories. Tiffany focuses on having fun and playing with pretty products. Together, we have a good balance of ideas. For my Disney podcast, I just look online for Disney pages that I love and then try to convince the person who made them that it's really not scary to be on a podcast! :) For my new show, I'm interviewing the people I admire and look up to. This is the project I'm the most excited about right now because it's very self-indulgent. I'll be asking questions I need answers to. 
9) What has been your most memorable moment (good or bad) in your scrapbooking career so far?
I had just finished up my job and one week later, Big Picture Classes asked me to teach there. I was giddy with joy! Them asking me out of the blue was an awesome and fun surprise. A couple days later, Debbie Hodge asked me to teach at Get It Scrapped so I was on Cloud 9 the whole week. :) Then I worked like a crazy woman to get both of the classes done. Turning them both in, right on time, was a great feeling of accomplishment. I'm super happy with how they both turned out. 
10) Please share something about yourself that the scrapbooking world doesn't know. 
I'm still surprised when someone knows who I am or is interested in me (like you asking me to do this interview, Gina). One day, I was in a scrapbook store in Knoxville, Tennessee and someone came around the corner and said, "Are you Tracie Claiborne?" I said, "Yes I am!" She said, "I recognized your voice from your podcast!" It shocked me that anyone would recognize me! I receive e-mails and messages on Facebook almost daily with the most incredible words of kindness and love. I can't even describe what a blessing that is that perfect strangers take the time to be so nice to me! I usually cry and show my husband and he just shakes his head and says, "That is so awesome." I do not take one minute of it for granted. I cry daily because people are so wonderful to me. It makes me want to work harder, inspire more and dream bigger so I can be deserving of their kindness. When I get tired and want to quit, I think about all those people who have been so kind. Speaking of kindness, thank you Gina for this opportunity - I appreciate it so much! -Tracie

Hope you all enjoyed Tracie's interview and will subscribe to her amazing podcasts, Scrap Gals and Magic Memory Keepers. We'll all be anticipating her new podcast and her upcoming classes too!

Stay tuned for more exciting news, events and scrapping tips here at California Scrappin'!

Monday, September 21, 2015


Here are just a few updates to keep you updated on the newest events here at California Scrappin'!
I enjoyed a wonderful weekend scrapbooking at Hayes Mansion in San Jose, CA. I met some fabulous new friends and got to catch up with some old friends too. The accomodations were comfortable and we all ate very well. This crop was hosted by Scrapbook U Creates. Monica Martinek is an awesome hostess and her crops are always very relaxing.
In between all of the socializing and snacking, I actually got a lot done! I worked on layouts from my previous scrapbooking trip to Arizona and I also worked on a mini album. Overall, it was a very productive weekend!

My Creativity Series guest posts are being featured on the I Answer To Mom blog on Tuesdays for the month of September. I've written posts on "The Process of Memory Keeping", "Recycled Projects" and "Pocket Scrapbooking". My next post on how to get kids involved with memory keeping will be up this week.

From October 1st to October 10th, I will be hosting a 10 Day Use Your Stash Challenge on Facebook. I have created an Event Page for it, so if you are interested, please message me on Facebook and I will send you an invite. We already have 127 eager crafters who have RSVP'd! There will be 5 challenges over the 10 days. You can do as many challenges as you want. Those that complete all 5 challenges will be entered into a prize drawing. COME JOIN US!

Stay tuned for more tips and techniques coming your way, along with more giveaways!
Lots of fun things ahead here at California Scrappin'! Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Don't Forget To Stretch! - 7 Steps To Keep You Energized While You Scrap

I spent this past weekend at a wonderful scrapbooking retreat. It was such a relaxing time. But, I spent a lot of time sitting in my chair, hunched over my layouts and getting up to stiff knees, achy shoulders and a very angry lower back. My wonderful boyfriend sent me periodic text messages reminding me to get up and stretch, especially since I just had knee surgery. These reminders got me up and out of the building for a climb up and down the stairs and a walk around the grounds where I was staying.

As scrapbookers, we tend to forget that scrapbooking is a very sedentary hobby, which means we don't move around much when we're doing it. We spend hours and hours sitting and pondering our projects and we tend to forget how long we've been in the same spot. Time to get up and move around more often!

Here are some tips to get you up and moving while you're at a crop or retreat:

1) Set a timer on your phone for 45 minutes. When it goes off, get up and do some simple stretches to get the blood flowing. Take a walk to get a fresh beverage. Take a trip to the restroom, if only to wash your hands. Take a short walk out to the parking lot or around the property where you're cropping.
2) Take the stairs, if you can. This weekend, I was able to unload all of stuff in the crop room via the elevator, then I was able to take the stairs for the rest of the weekend to reach the crop room. Just that little jaunt gave me the chance to stretch and move around.
3) Don't forget to stay hydrated. Sore and cramped muscles are also a sign that you need hydration. Be sure to drink a lot of water. We tend to get lost in our projects and forget to take care of ourselves.
4) Don't forget to eat. Your body needs fuel to keep going. Munch on healthy snacks and fruit in between designated meal times.
5) Step outside to call your family/friends. Take a short walk outside and let your family/friends know that you're having a great time. They'll appreciate hearing from you and you'll get a break away from your table.
6) Stand up while you're scrapping, if you can. Standing up while you scrap can be a viable option to keep you moving around. I've seen a few scrappers use shelves on top of their tables to create a stand-up station for their crafting. Totally genius idea!
7) Be aware of your posture. Scrapbookers tend to have the worst posture because we hunch over our projects. Take the time to be aware of your posture. I know it can be hard to scrap and sit upright, but we're not doing our backs and shoulders any favors. Using the Scrap N Easel helps some scrapbookers be able to see their layouts directly in front of them, instead of leaning over them. I've also seen some scrappers bring their own chairs or chair pads that help them to sit up better.

Hope these tips get you thinking about your scrapping routine! We have to keep the energy flowing to keep the mojo going. We can't do one without the other! Don't forget to stretch while you scrap!

Monday, September 7, 2015

There's A Ribbon In The Sky....

...and on the floor and hanging out of too many drawers! There's ribbon everywhere! It's time to get the ribbon monster under control. Gather up all of your spools, bit of cardboard, plastic packages and loose pieces of that gnarly ribbon and let's get to it!

There are many different ways to store ribbon and you need to find what's right for you.

You can wind loose pieces of ribbon around popsicle sticks or tongue depressors and secure the ends with tape. Store these in a box or container where you can easily sift through them.
Clear containers are always a good idea, so you can see what you have and you can easily get to what you want. Big jars are good for those loose pieces that always seem to end up everywhere!
Spools of ribbon can be kept in open boxes for easy visibility. I use the photos boxes that seem to always be on sale at Michaels and JoAnn's. They stack well and I can just easily reach for them. 
A creative way to store your loose pieces is on a jewelry stand. I found this mannequin one at Ross and it's perfect to display in my craft room! Easy visibility and easy to grab what I need. 

How will you store your ribbon? Leave a comment about your ribbon storage below for a chance to be entered in this week's giveaway. For a BONUS ENTRY, head over to the California Scrappin' Facebook page and post a picture of your ribbon storage. Deadline is Friday 9/11 at midnight PST.
As always, thank you for your support!

Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Steps to Button Up Your Organization!

Button, button, who's got the button? If you're a scrapper, you probably have a collection of buttons. If you're a hoarder/collector, you probably have a BIG collection of buttons. This week, I'm challenging you to get your button stash under control & organized.

Step 1. PURGE
Gather up all of your buttons - every single container, pouch and package that has loose or miscellaneous buttons too. Dump them all out on a table, flat surface or the floor. Yes, you read that correctly. Dump them all out. The first step to purging and organizing is seeing exactly what you have. 

Go through your pile and pick out all of the broken buttons. You'll probably have a small pile. Throw those away. Yes, I said throw them out - in the garbage. Gone. Take all of your excess buttons out of the miscellaneous packaging, pouches, etc.. Throw out all the trash. Gone.

Choose how you will sort your button stash - by style, by size or by color. You need to choose a system that will make getting to your buttons easier from now on. A messy stash wastes creative production time. An organized stash keeps you motivated and keeps the mojo flowing. 

The best way to organize small embellishments, like buttons, is to be able to see them. Again, we're organizing to keep the creativity flowing. When you want to use buttons on a project, you want to be able to see what you have and make a quick decision to reach for the right container and get exactly what you need.

Place your organized containers in a specific space that is easy to get to in your craft area. It's all about simplifying the creative process when the mojo is in motion! After you get your buttons to use on your project or when you clean up your project, put the container back in its place!

DONE! See how easy that was to do! Organization isn't that big scary monster anymore. If you break down the task into these small steps, then it's not so overwhelming, right?

Now, I challenge you to tackle your button stash and then comment below that you have completed it before Friday September 4th at midnight PST. I'll drop your name in a hat for a scrapping goodie. I believe in rewarding my readers for a job well done! Hope these tips have helped you. More to come!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Getting Things Done!

Since I've been recovering from minor knee surgery, I've been a little behind on some projects. Yesterday, I set my mind to getting them done! I put together a fun goodie package for my giveaway winner, Ali Biorn from Home Crafts by Ali. Thank you all for all of your comments regarding your creative struggles. You'll be seeing blog posts with some solutions soon!

Another project that I needed to finish was creating three tags for a Summer/Vacation themed tag swap. I started with some plain manila tags and reached for my basket of mists. I love using mists to create backgrounds. I used Glimmer Mist in Jack O Lantern and Yellow Daisy, as well as Perfect Pearls Copper to create the shimmering background. I dried the tags with my heat gun before I got out some rubber stamps from Unity Stamp Company.
Both stamps, the sun and the "Go.See.Do" quote are from Unity Stamp Company. I used Close To My Heart Autumn Terracotta ink for the sun and Memento Tuxedo Black ink for the quote. The ribbon came from my personal stash and I think that it matched perfectly. These tags took me about 20 minutes to make. I was able to cross this project off my list and get them mailed out on time.

We all have unfinished projects on our long To-Do lists. The trick is to pick ones that you know that you can finish in a short amount of time and just get them done! Instead of indulging in another episode of your favorite show, put the finishing touches on that layout and get it into your album. Finish the journaling in that mini album and display it for others to enjoy. Put those finished layouts in their respective albums and clear off a corner of your craft table or a shelf in your craft closet. The little things don't take much time at all once you tackle them head on. Trust me, you can do it!

Choose one or two small things on your list and get them done! Leave a comment here on what you accomplished and we'll all cheer you on. I'll put your name in a hat and send one lucky person a congratulatory gift for getting things done! Now, let's get to it!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Raise Your Hand....

We've all been there. That feeling of being not good enough creeps in and stops us from being our creative selves. You know it when you heave that big sigh, look at your project and just close your eyes with defeat. Too many hours on Pinterest. Too many hours peering at blog after blog. Too many hours flipping through magazines. I'll never be that good. So, you just get up from your craft table, shut the door and wait for another wave of inspiration. Right? Am I getting warm?

Raise your hand if you've ever thought or said the following - Don't worry. No one is judging you.

1. I wish I had more creative talent.

2. I wish I had a better craft room. Then, I would get more done.

3. I wish I was good enough to get published.

4. I wish I was good enough to get on a Design Team.

5. I hate that I was rejected by that Design Team. I know that I'm better than that.

6. I wish I had more time to get all of these projects done.

7. I wish my friends/family understood my hobby.

8. I wish I had a group of friends near me that scrapbook/craft. I feel so lonely.

9. I wish that I had extra money to buy more supplies, like everyone else seems to have.

10. I wish I was more organized. Then, I would get more done.

I know that I hit home with each of you with at least two or three of these. If you raised your hand to more than four, then this blog is the place to be. I'll be helping you bust through these obstacles! It's my mission to help scrapbookers and crafters get their mojo back and stop the comparison syndrome. WE ARE ALL UNIQUE IN OUR OWN WAY! DON'T FORGET THAT!

I would love to hear which of these statements resonated with you. Are you stuck in a creative rut? Are you struggling for scrapping time in between life's responsibilities? Let me know!
If you share your struggles in the comments below, I will throw your name into a hat for a FUN GIVEAWAY! I have some scrapping goodies to share if you're willing to share!