Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - Don't Forget About Mom!

TODAY'S TIP - DON'T FORGET ABOUT MOM!
Mother's Day is on its way! Don't forget to let your mom know how special she is. I'm fortunate enough to have my mom close by, so I can remind her more often how much I cherish our relationship. She's my rock and my best friend. She's picked up the pieces and put me back together on more than one occasion. We enjoy quality time together when we get to go off to scrapbooking retreats. We have lots of fun and a ton of laughs. 
I know some of you have lost your mom and Mother's Day can be very emotional. Honor your mom's memory and do something to make her smile as she watches over you. Take a moment to laugh or shed a happy tear over some good memories this coming weekend. 
I wish all the moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day from California Scrappin'! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interview with Christy Strickler


Welcome to the final part of my three part series on Design Teams. If you missed the first post all about the pros and cons of Design Teams, along with my survey results, you can find it here. For the second part of my series, I interviewed Ashley Horton about her Design Team experiences. You can find that interview here. To conclude my series, I interviewed Christy Strickler! I came across Christy through Simple Scrapper and I have been a fan of her work ever since. She balances a very busy schedule being a wife, mom, designer, podcaster and blogger. I thoroughly enjoyed her interview and learned a lot about her unique creative perspective when it comes to completing her Design Team assignments.

1) For my readers that aren't familiar with you, can you tell us how you got involved in the scrapbooking industry?
I started scrapbooking in 2001 when I attended a Creative Memories party. I loved it and tried to become a consultant. Sadly, I failed miserably at selling supplies that way. I decided to keep it mainly a hobby. Many years later, I joined Club Creating Keepsakes and was inspired by fellow message board friends to try out some challenge blogs. Over time, I got invited to guest and sometimes join a few of the design teams.It gave me the courage to keep applying and submitting my work to other venues.

2) What design teams are you currently on and how long have you been on them?
I am currently designing for three teams. I have been working with Layout a Week Challenge Blog since last September.I have been a member of the Simple Scrapper DT for about a year and a half. I have been with Get It Scrapped for the longest.It's about 4 years now!
3) From your personal experience, what are the unique advantages to being on a design team?
I always joke about it, but  what I am going to say next has a bit of truth to it ( sometimes I feel a bit greedy for admitting this). I initially joined the teams to take advantage of getting free stuff. In my earlier scrapbooking days, we were on a very tight budget and being on design teams helped me to get a few new supplies here or there. Over time, I found the real value behind being on the teams were the friendships I made. I have close friends around the world whom I might never have met. We feed each other creatively and continue to do so, even though we aren't always still on the same teams. 

Aside from the usual things most people mention (like gaining exposure for your blog or building your resume), I feel that being on a team pushes you harder creatively. You have to learn to be more confident in yourself. You learn what you do well so that you can more readily try new things without faltering. When you first start out on a team, you almost always feel nervous. I had a tendency to look at other team members and wonder how I was good enough to work alongside them. When it came to making the pages, I would often shuffle things around and second guess what I had done. I wanted the pages to be perfect. I had to learn not to compare myself to others and to embrace how I worked (mistakes and all). Being on teams forced me to look at my work flow process. I now know what I do when I make a page and how I like to do it. Having that understanding means I have a foundation to work with. It makes it so easy to build upon that when it comes to using new products or new techniques. It also means I can make pages faster. When I first started scrapbooking, it would take me days to finish some pages. Now I can do one in under an hour and still love it.

Being on a design team also means I am held accountable for making pages. I start off each month knowing that I will get X amount of layouts complete. It's not that I won't scrapbook on my own. It's more a matter of my needing that extra push to keep my mind focused. Prior to being on a design team, my record of having completed projects was quite sporadic.

4) From your personal experience, what are some of the disadvantages of being on a design team?
The work load can be hard, depending on the design team. It's really important to understand what a team expects of you before you apply. You also need to be able to judge how many teams you can handle at one time. If you start doing too much for a team, you can get to a point where you fall out of love with creating. I have a hard time saying no, so often, I would volunteer to help out when other team members were sick. At times, I would be doing so many projects on short deadlines that I was getting very little sleep. I would go in these long spurts putting my all into it and then, fall into periods of time in which I just could barely even scrap a page. When that happened, I would be  putting in the bare minimum of effort to make my projects. I was making very few things outside of DT work. I really had to learn to better balance what I was capable of producing with good self care. Self care isn't just about sleep. Creative self care is managing what you do so your creative energy doesn't burn out. It's about understanding the energy you have throughout your entire creative process so that you can learn to properly utilize it.

5) Take us through your creative process - Is it the same for each design team or different depending on the type of product or project?
Though I store my pages in the albums in order by date, I don't scrap chronologically. It gives me a lot of freedom in choosing the right photo(s) or story for the right project. I strongly believe in creating real pages with real stories for all of my creative team projects. I don't want to stage a photo or create a page just to create it. Sometimes, a creative team assignment will inspire me to tell a story I wasn't expecting to tell (another advantage of being on a design team). Generally, this means my process is going to be determined by the assignment or if I have a specific goal in mind for how to share that page. My creative work fuels a lot of my blog posts and articles.
 In some cases, I am given a product or products to use. I will go through my photos to find the ones that I feel work with the given supplies. If it's a product I am comfortable with, I might try to determine if there is something I can share about my process to help other scrapbookers better incorporate that product into their pages. If it's a product that doesn't fit in with my usual style or even the stories I generally tell, I have to identify how I can to use it. This could mean finding alternative meanings to a motif or identifying hidden or deeper stories within my pictures. For example, Last year I was on the Traci Reed Design team and she had a basketball themed kit for school sports.My son has no interest in basketball or school sports. I found photos of him playing with a ball and hoop as a toddler and instead told the story of how we just aren't a sports team kind of family. You can read about that layout here.

One of the reasons I like being a part of the Layout a Week Design team is that it encourages me to identify "problem" products that are sitting unused in my stash. In those cases, I search my stash, find a product and then build the layout with the goal of using it while observing my process as I work.

Some of my most challenging (and in many ways most satisfying work) has been done when I have a specific challenge to start with. This can be a journaling/story prompt ( as with Simple Scrapper) or a trend driven or design driven challenge ( as is often the case with Get It Scrapped). Both Simple Scrapper and Get It Scrapped have a wonderful way of sharing prompts that inspire story driven pages. They have taught me to take a simple photo and tell deeper stories. Get It Scrapped has taught me how to take a trend, product or page design and use it to fully support my story. The prompt is my guide and yet, it's open ended enough to allow me to explore how I implement it. The prompt guides everything: photo choice, page design,use of color, typography and the supply choices.

Not all of my layouts are made with deep thought involved. I love sketches. Over the years, I have worked with them often enough that I can make quick, detailed pages in short time frames. If I don't want to think hard and I just want to create, sometimes I will pull out a sketch and the first supplies I can grab that match the photos.

I often sit with a notebook by my side while I work. I can jot down notes to use for blog articles. If I am making a tutorial, I outline the steps before I begin working. I decide whether it's going to be just photos, a video or both. I try to gather all of the supplies before I start working so I have as clear a path as possible toward the end layout. Preparation is especially important when filming videos.

6) When it comes to deadlines, do you have your projects done ahead of schedule or do you work best under pressure?
I do a bit of both though, I often end up working under pressure. As each assignment comes in, I generally have an idea of how much time I should allot to it. Some I do right away and then I let them sit. I find when I come back to them, I can tweak things a bit for a better end result. Usually this is the case for tutorials or larger scale projects. Other times, I know it's a quick project and I don't work on it right away even though I probably should. In those cases, I can get easily distracted and may start working on non-creative team work. The next thing I know, I am near the deadline and I need to get working.

 I also have to take into account where I am at in the creative cycle. My energy seems to naturally ebb and flow during the year. I try to create more during high energy periods so that I can simply rest and share during the low energy parts.

7) Besides scrapbooking, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I play a lot of video games. In fact, both my husband and son do as well. We are often playing co-op style games together. I used to do a lot more bead work and drawing. I am trying to bring those back into my creative life. I hope to learn how to crochet this year too.
8) Have you ever been rejected from a design team? If so, how did that experience make you a better scrapbooker?
I have been rejected so many times that I have stopped counting. I have submitted multiple projects to magazines that were never chosen. In the early days, I would take it personally. As I became more experienced, I realized that it's not necessarily that my work is horrible. It might be any number of things like: my style doesn't fit the current trend or the particular style they need to fill on the team, I may have recently used a product  that competes with one of the team's sponsors (some can't hire you on the team if you have used or shared projects on your blog using those products within a certain time frame), they think I am too busy to devote enough time to their team's needs or they had an overwhelming number of applicants and I just didn't make the cut. In most cases, you will never know why they rejected you so you just can't dwell on it.

Over time, I have developed a thick enough skin that I can just shake it all off when I don't make the cut. I learned that there is a positive way to compare your work to others and a negative one. I don't view another scrapbooker's work as better than mine, just different. For the teams I don't make, I analyze the styles that comprise the team. I look at how they photograph and display their work. I also look at their blogs. I ask myself what they are doing differently than me and what I can learn from them while still hanging onto who I am. I have certain quirks that are not always desirable to some of the teams. For example, I know my penmanship and sometimes my crooked pages bother some people. I have made  peace with the quirks that make up my personal style.They are a huge part of me and at the end of the day, the people who will value my pages are my family. It's so easy to get lost in the need for producing a finished project for a team rather than creating for yourself. 

9) You're also a co-host of a podcast called the Digiscrap Geek, how do you balance doing that along with your design teams?
I really don't always have myself all put together, though sometimes, from the outside looking in, it may seem that way. I do my best to prioritize my life. My first priority is to my husband and son. I have to place commitments to design team work after family along with the podcast (both on equal level). There are deadlines associated with those and people who expect me to follow through. The blog comes last because really, I have no commitment to write or publish something other than what I choose to share. I do my best to remain consistent, but I also realize that not publishing a post every Tuesday at a set time hasn't hurt my blog growth. I am fully aware that all the blog gurus recommend consistency, but I also know that stressing myself out for not getting an article published isn't worth it. It's an area I have allowed flexibility.  I am also learning to place my health and self care as a higher priority.

 I have had a hard lesson regarding balance and flexibility over the past year.  It was a lot easier to maintain balance  when we lived in the Bahamas. My life was a lot quieter and there was very little fluctuation to our weekly schedule. Last summer, I found out we would be moving to Abu Dhabi and I knew I was going to have to learn to let some things go. This is very hard for me as I really want to do so many things.

Starting last summer, I began stepping down from some of the design teams when the terms ended (at one point I was working on six teams at the same time). I wanted to continue but I also knew that staying on would have meant not producing the best work I could for them. I knew trying to keep the deadlines and the quality of my work up would stress me out.  Early last year, my blog was thriving. I was publishing to my blog and website quite frequently. I thought I had planned ahead to accommodate the move, but it turned out, I didn't have enough extra content ready to publish. We planned for my move with some time off from the podcast, but then my move happened almost two months after the scheduled break. At times it was stressful and I definitely wasn't balancing things well. Sometimes you just don't. The move was exciting but even the positive emotions I was experiencing were wearing me down.

 After we settled into our new apartment, I went through an extreme burnt out period in which, for several months, I wasn't motivated to create much of anything. It was like the creative part of my brain was numb or crippled. It's a normal part of my creative cycle, however, I had not anticipated it this time during the excitement of the move. It made it that much harder to get myself back into a good creative habit.I bought a craft project to do with my son for Christmas and then, we never made it. Often, I would feel guilty about not blogging or making pages. I even felt guilty about buying that craft, telling my son we would work on it and then never bothering. That guilt was a huge obstacle that I had to move around first before I could even start back to being balanced.

I'm very happy with this new chapter in my life (Abu Dhabi is an awesome place to live), but I am also figuring out how a faster paced lifestyle fits in with creative life. I have moved past the guilt stage and now am constantly evaluating everything I am doing so that I can find the balance between my blog, design team work, the podcast and family life/ homeschooling my son. Some days I succeed and feel balanced. Other times I am failing miserably. 

The key to balance seems to revolve around understanding what is most important to you, being flexible and being willing to drop projects that might cause you stress or less joy. You have to realize that you have a set schedule with what is sometimes a small window for creativity. Focusing on how little time you have or that you aren't making things only serves to paralyze you. It can force you into a growing cycle of inactivity. It's easy to say this but not always easy to remember or move past, especially when you are in the middle of that numb,non creative guilt part of the cycle.

Right now, I am analyzing my energy levels along with the tasks I have chosen to undertake. I am trying to build in extra time so that my schedule is more adaptable. I have set goals for myself and as a team, my co-hosts and I have been looking at where we want the podcast to go. On a personal level, I know I can't get caught up with worrying about the balance. I just need to keep moving forward, making realistic goals for myself along the way...not letting my failures or a bad day get to me. Balance will come back. Remember that everyone falls out of balance every now and again.

10) What is your absolute favorite thing about scrapbooking? What is your "why"?
It's hard to pick just one thing or one "why". I guess overall, my "why" is just because scrapbooking makes me happy. There are aspects of each part of scrapbooking that bring me joy. I love the process of buying or getting new things. When I get something new, I love to shuffle the products around, thinking about their potential. I also enjoy putting them into kits or placing them in their respective homes in my scrapbook. Putting stuff away makes me feel grateful for having the supplies. I love sorting my photos and rediscovering things I have forgotten. Then there is the process of creating. It brings a different kind of joy. I get a lot of satisfaction from the process itself...placing each element, overcoming mistakes, and then, finding that I am content with the page and stopping to admire what I produced. Finally, there is that moment in which my family wants to see the pages, or we take down an album and look back on old memories. In those moments it's not about how I placed each element on the page,but rather, just taking time to enjoy our story and reconnect.

Big thanks to Christy Strickler for taking time out of her busy schedule to let us get to know her better. You can check out more of Christy's designs on her blog, "My Scrapbook Evolution." I hope you enjoyed this series all about the pros and cons of Design Teams. I enjoyed gathering all of the different opinions and learning about all of the ins and outs from actual team members. Design Teams are an integral part of the scrapbooking industry. Designers make the products come to life with their creative imaginations and we all benefit from it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SAVE THE DATE - National Scrapbook Day Online Crop!

SAVE THE DATE & JOIN US ON MAY 7TH!

We're having another fun Online Crop at Our Happy Scrappin' Place for National Scrapbook Day! Join us for scrappy challenges, fun photos, prizes and a few surprises! Everything takes place in our group of super fun scrappers! Come on over! JOIN HERE!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - How to Stay on A Scrappy Budget

TODAY'S TIP - HOW TO STAY ON A SCRAPPY BUDGET
Admit it. You're one pile of patterned paper away from hoarder status. You have enough ribbon to circle the moon...twice. Kits are taking over your craft space. But, those sales keep calling your name. That coupon just can't wait to be used on the latest and greatest thing that will gather dust on your shelf months later. We all do it. We just can't help ourselves. But, yet we can. 
Here are a few suggestions that I personally use to keep myself on a scrappy budget:

1) Delete or unsubscribe from all of the "steals" sites and store newsletters. 
Trust me, this one works. Out of sight - out of mind. If you can't see what's on sale, you can't shop for it! This approach has saved me hundreds of dollars every week!

2) Start a countdown of days without buying. 
The higher the number gets, the better you'll feel. Cross days off on a calendar to give yourself a visual reminder of how well you're doing. 

3) Limit yourself to only buying what's necessary.
Buying adhesive and printing photos are the necessities for me. Everything else can wait!

4) Take a non-scrapping friend with you to the store when you're going for necessities.
You won't be tempted to roam the aisles if someone is reminding you that it's an "in and out" trip.

5) Give yourself an ultimatum or incentive.
Use all of your old stash of whatever (paper, flowers, ribbon, etc.) before you allow yourself to even think of buying more! If you blow it, then you have to give up some of your stash to a fellow scrapper. There has to be a consequence in place that will hurt your hoarder status! LOL!

Hope these tips help to keep you on track to use your stash and on budget to save your cash!

If you have more tips to add, please free to comment.
I'd love to hear from you!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Interview with Ashley Horton

Part Two of my three part series on Design Teams continues with interviews with amazing designers. I have long admired the creativity of Ashley Horton and I was really excited when she agreed to be interviewed. She is an artist, a mom, a business owner and a member of five Design Teams! I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

1) For my readers that aren't familiar with you, can you tell us how you got involved in the scrapbooking industry?
I began scrapbooking in 2006, when I was invited to a crop by a friend.  At the time, my husband and I had our first daughter, and I thought this would be a great way to do something other than a typical baby book for her.  I fell in love with the idea of scrapbooking at the crop, but was a bit clueless about it all.  The crop I attended used Creative Memories products, which I thought were cute, but not for me.  I found out that local craft stores sold scrapbooking supplies and I didn't look back from there!  All of my first layouts HAD to be double page spreads that mirrored one another exactly!  As I got involved in more online scrapbook communities and subscribing to scrapbook magazines, I slowly started refining what I liked and didn't like about my pages and designs.  I drew a lot of inspiration from designers in Creating Keepsakes magazine at the time, especially Kim Watson and Megan Hoeppner.  It took a while, before I felt comfortable creating my own designs, rather than scraplifting or using a sketch, but I think both of those things helped me in finding my style and how to balance my layout designs.  I am very goal oriented, so once I felt I had a chance with Design Teams, I started to apply here and there.  I started out working on some great challenge Blogs, and eventually several Kit Teams.  Love My Tapes, which sells Washi Tapes, was actually my first ever manufacturer Team that I started with in 2012.  Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with several manufacturers, teach classes, and have layouts published in multiple magazines.
2) What design teams are you currently on and how long have you been on them?
My current Teams include:
Crate Paper - I started in February 2016.
Pink Paislee - I started in February 2016.
Hip Kit Club - I have been with Hip Kit Club since February 2014.
A Flair for Buttons -  I have been with A Flair for Buttons since June 2014.
The Cut Shoppe - Owner and designer since May 2014.
3) From your personal experience, what are the unique advantages to being on a design team?
Obviously one of the most awesome advantages of being on a Design Team, is the gorgeous product you receive to work with, as collections are released!  But I also love working with other Designers and seeing how we all use the same product in so many unique ways.  It's also a great opportunity to connect with so many people around the world, through Social Media.  I love that I can talk or chat with so many other ladies that are just as passionate about what I love doing.

4) From your personal experience, what are some of the disadvantages of being on a design team?
I would say for me, one of the disadvantages sometimes comes in the form of having an idea or wanting to create something, but having a specific theme or product you have to use for the Design Team.  I always try to stay balanced, by being on a Team, that may not require using specific product.  For example, in the past I loved working on Sketch Design Teams, because you still had the challenge of working with some type of product...in this case a sketch...but you could work with any paper and embellishments that inspired you.
5) Take us through your creative process - Is it the same for each design team or different depending on the type of product or project?
I try to approach each assignment with the same process, but that process may vary here or there.  Once I receive an assignment, I start by choosing products from the collection that fit the assignment and inspire me for what I am creating.  Sometimes I will choose a photo that I know coordinates with the collection I am using, and other times if I don't have one that fits that collection, making it black & white is always a life saver!  I typically get a base going for my layout design.  If I am working with a cut file or something like hand stitching, I work on that first.  Next I decide what title I want to use and where I want to place it.  The photo usually comes after this point and then I finish by adding embellishments until I feel the layout is balanced or I like the look of the design.
6) When it comes to deadlines, do you have your projects done ahead of schedule or do you work best under pressure?
I am a first-born, Type A kid!  I am all about having everything finished early!  There are always things that come up during the month, and I feel that being responsible with assignments is one of the most important parts of serving on a Design Team.  Being close to a deadline...and that could mean a week out for me...makes me nervous!  HA!

7) Besides scrapbooking, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Does eating out at restaurants count??!!  Seriously, I do love food and cooking is another hobby I enjoy.  I grew up as a VERY picky eater, but as an adult I've been a little more adventurous with what I eat.  I am a Food Network fanatic, and I love to try new recipes from some of my favorite chefs or recipes I find when searching on Pinterest.  I also love to read.  I was always the nerdy kid that spent the summer reading, not because I had to for school assignments, but because I wanted to.  I like to wait until a book series is finished before starting to read it, because I read so fast, and I am too impatient to wait for the author to get their next book out!
8) Have you ever been rejected from a design team? If so, how did that experience make you a better scrapbooker?
Yes, definitely!  Honestly, my initial reaction was being hurt.  I felt like I was just as good as those that were chosen for the Team.  But over the years, I have learned that many things go into choosing designers for a Team.  Eventually I used the rejection, to motivate me to improve my overall layout designs, photography and social media presence.  I really enjoy the creative process of scrapbooking and the memory keeping, but I am also one of those people that enjoys the "work" side of it too.  I love having assignments through Design Teams that push and challenge my creativity.  So I think it's important to look at rejection, not as the end of what you want to do, but as motivation to improve what you do and continue to work toward your goals.
9) You're also a Designer and owner of an Etsy store, how do you balance those creative endeavors with your design teams?
I am a stay at home mom, and in May 2014 I decided to open The Cut Shoppe Etsy store as a way to contribute financially, while still being at home with the kids.  I was creating cut files to use on my personal layouts and eventually started sharing some of the designs on my Blog.  Opening the Etsy store to sell what I was designing, seemed like a great fit.  Like I said before, I like to work ahead and I am an organized person, so it's not hard to work in what I do for The Cut Shoppe, on top of Design Team assignments.  I work on cut file designs for the store anywhere from two weeks to a month ahead.  I like to have the designs available for the ladies on my Design Team, so they can work in advance.  I've also had some amazing opportunities to collaborate with many of the Design Teams I am on, and participate in product swaps with them.  I also love to use my cut file designs on Design Team layouts, because it's almost impossible for me to create a layout, without using my Silhouette Cameo in some way.

10) What is your absolute favorite thing about scrapbooking? What is your "why"?
There are a lot of reasons I love scrapbooking, but I would say my favorite reason is the creative outlet.  I LOVE playing with paper and putting all of the different scrapbook products together to create my own little work of art.  My albums could end up who knows where one day, but I love creating pages for me, whether anyone else appreciates them or not.  Scrapbooking isn't a fad or passing hobby for me, but a part of my life style.  I may run out of room for all of my layouts one day, but I think they would be great for wallpapering rooms in the house, if it comes to that point!

Huge thanks to Ashley Horton for taking the time out of her busy schedule to be a part of my Design Team series. You can see more of Ashley's wonderful creations on her blog, Ashley Horton Designs.

Stay tuned for Part Three of the Design Team series...
Next week you'll get to hear from another creative designer - CHRISTY STRICKLER!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tipsy Tuesday - My Top Five Sources for Creative Mojo

TODAY'S TIP 
MY TOP 5 SOURCES FOR CREATIVE MOJO
When my creative mojo has left the building, I look for sources of inspiration to bring it back. These are my Top Five go-to sources for creative inspiration and motivation:

1) Scrapbooking Blogs - I scroll through the latest posts of my favorite designers and let their creations spark new ideas. Some of my favorites are Bella Blvd, Jennifer McGuire, Gossamer Blue, and Stephanie Ackerman - just to name a few. My list is growing all the time.

2) Podcasts - Listening to podcasts about scrapbooking can be a great source of inspiration. Hearing fellow crafters talk about our amazing hobby can get you back into the creative groove in no time! Some of my favorites are: The Scrap Gals, Live Inspired, Magic Memory Keepers and Paperclipping Roundtable.

3) Facebook groups - Search Facebook for groups related to what you're interested in. Join a few and take a peek at their creations. You'd be amazed at what you can find in a group. 

4) Magazines - Most of us have a dusty collection of crafting magazines somewhere. Dig them out and flip through them. Seeing older layouts can give you ideas for new ones.
Even fashion and celebrity magazines can be sources of ideas for layouts (color schemes, using shapes and titles in a unique way, etc.)

5) You Tube - There is a You Tube video for everything! Try a new technique and use it to create a whole new project that you would have never tried to do on your own. If you're a neat and tidy crafter, step out of the box and try a messy mixed media technique. Broaden your artistic horizons!

Where do you go for your creative inspiration?
I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Design Teams

When I first started scrapbooking, I got it into my head that I wanted to be on a Design Team. I tried out for quite a few. Some were a success (see sidebar for my list of former Design Teams) and others were just a list of rejections. I enjoyed being able to create for a blog or small independent craft business and showcase my work. But, there were times when I hated creating under the pressure of a deadline. Time management was, and still is, hard for me since I work full-time. But, I wanted something that would "force" me to get into my craft room, if only to keep me sane! After committing to several Design Teams for a number of months, it eventually took a toll and wasn't fun anymore. I ended up fulfilling my commitments and then stepping down from all of them. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed my time, but I also learned a lot about the boundaries of my creative zone.
To this day, I still envy more than a dozen designers as they post about getting their box of goodies for their monthly projects. I know it's not feasible for me to apply for a team, so I'll be doing a three part series all about Design Teams here on my blog! I'll be sharing my survey results in this first installment. Then, I have two AMAZING interviews with designers that I truly admire. I can't wait to share them with you in the coming weeks!
A few months ago, I conducted an anonymous six question survey all about the pros and cons of being on a Design Team. I had one hundred and thirty one people respond within the ten days that I had the survey open. The results Since the responses were anonymous, the survey participants had the freedom to speak freely about their experiences - both positively and negatively. I enjoyed reading the responses and summarizing them for the first part of my blogging series.
The first question that I asked was: "How many Design Teams are you currently on?"
32% were not currently on a Design Team
60% were currently on 1-5 Design Teams
6% were currently on 6-10 Design Teams
2% were currently on 10 or more Design Teams

Next, I asked "How many Design Teams have been on in the past?"
6% said that this experience was their very first Design Team
52% had previously been on 1-5 Design Teams
22% had previously been on 6-10 Design Teams
20% had previously been on 10 or more Design Teams

Here is a list of the advantages of being on a Design Team (summary of survey responses):
*It's a great way of showcasing the artist's products before anyone else sees it
*You get to play with new products and meet new friends.
*More exposure for the Design Team member's blog and social media
*A way to help improve your own crafting skills in the process
* The ability to get real feedback from your fellow crafters
*The chance to do something out of your "comfort zone"
*Being inspired by other members of your Design Team
*Being compensated with free product or direct payment
*Taking part in challenges and blog hops
*Creating new friendships that last beyond the Design Team commitment
*Getting discounts on the specific products
*Opportunities to demo new techniques
*Having deadlines as motivation to create
*Gaining a sense of credibility and name recognition
*Being able to have your work shown in catalogs, magazines and places like CHA.
*Being able to inspire and motivate others
*Being able to ask the manufacturer directly about the products
*Building up your Design Team resume

Here is a list of the disadvantages of being on a Design Team (summary of survey responses):
*The time crunch of a deadline - whether you have creative mojo or not
*Not being able to create what you want
*Having to stick to a specific set of instructions
*Working with product that you aren't motivated to use
*Having to buy additional supplies to complete the project
*Having a busy "real life" schedule
*Drama and /or favoritism from other Design Team members
*Not enough compensation for the amount of time put into creating the project
*Anxiety over judging your own work against other team members
*Losing your creative passion
*Unorganized Design Team schedules
*Using the same products over and over again
*No monetary compensation
*Having to post in forums or on social media multiple times a day
*Not having enough product to produce the expected amount of projects
*Having to vote on submissions from other team members
*Poor communication or support from Design Team leaders
*Having to write blog posts and comment on other Design Team members' blogs, in addition to creating several projects per month
*Other Design Team members not fulfilling their responsibilities to the team

The fifth question was "Were you compensated for your time?"
69% received some form of compensation for their time
31% did not receive any compensation of their time

The last question asked what type of compensation was received for those that answered "yes" to the previous question. The summary of responses was as follows:
*Free digital images or cutting files from the Design Team sponsor
*Free product or kits
*Free publicity for the Design Team member's blog
*Voucher for future Etsy purchases
*Discounts on product
*Monetary compensation if projects were published in blogs/magazines or used to create classes
*Vouchers for future classes by the Design Team sponsor
*Free crop time at the sponsoring store location
*Percentage of the student fee if the project was offered as a class
*Quarterly stipend for time commitment

I think the survey results showed quite an array of answers regarding the pros and cons of being on a Design Team. I want to thank all of the participants who took the time to fill out the survey!
*used with permission from Tracie Claiborne
While I was writing up this particular blog post, I came across Tracie Claiborne's recent post about never wanting to be on a Design Team. You can read it here. She gives five reasons why she could never be on a Design Team. I enjoyed reading her perspective and I wanted to include it in my post to show the flip side before I post the interviews of actual Design Team members in the coming weeks. I feel it's important to delve into both sides of such an interesting topic in the scrapbooking industry!

Stay tuned! Next week will be my interview the awesome ASHLEY HORTON!