Retail Store Closing

It’s been five years since I began selling retail products at crops and events around the state of Michigan.

It’s been five years of fun — I love getting in new product, setting up displays, making samples and meeting people who share my passion. I’ve even made a few friends along the way.

It’s been five years of bringing you products you cannot get in the big box stores — and some you cannot buy in specialty stores.

But, that time has come to an end. After months of debating back and forth, I’ve decided to officially close the retail side of my business. Candy Scraps will still exist, but it will be used exclusively for teaching, both online through my blog and YouTube and in person at stores and events around the state.

This decision was not made lightly, but there are several reasons for the closure.

  1. I began after independent stores closed because I wanted those customers to still have access to the products big box stores do not carry. As online shopping has become more prevalent, it is not as difficult to get those specialty products anymore. And, several independent stores I work with will ship products to you for a small fee.
  2. Candy Scraps had grown as much as it could without major investments, including a new truck, trailer, displays and a storage unit. I just don’t have the funds needed to become one of the big fish traveling the convention world, and I was maxed out on space.
  3. There aren’t enough events, with enough different people, to operate Candy Scraps as a full-time job. As much fun as I had in the spring and fall, I was essentially without income from December to February and all summer long. And, when I did go to a different crop every weekend, I was finding many of the same people. Since everyone is on a budget and can’t buy every weekend, sales plumeted and I was actually losing money.
  4. That said, I got a “real” job, that pays less, but offers a steady paycheck. I enjoy it, but it leaves me even less time to work on my retail business. And, it’s hard to come home from work and work at home until it’s time for bed. I can say, if it wasn’t for my amazing husband, I probably wouldn’t have clean clothes to wear or decent food to eat half of the time.
  5. I love to teach. I love to share new products and techniques. There is absolutely nothing more rewarding to me than seeing the lightbulb come on as someone understands what I am explaining. And, there is nothing more exciting than seeing them take what I have taught them and modify it or put their own spin on it. When my hours are spent ordering, pricing, making samples and paying taxes, I don’t have enough time to plan classes, which is what I really want to do.
  6. It’s time for Matt & I to do some of the things we’d like to do. Candy Scraps has allowed us to travel, but not sight see. We would love to bike through Boyne Highlands or kayak in Traverse City, but our time there is always too busy. So, we want to step back and be able to enjoy life before we become too old to do so!
  7. The two companies that are near and dear to my heart, Elizabeth Craft Designs and Mosaic Moments, often offer sales and low-cost shipping, so it is easy for you to get the products you want that way. And, several independent stores, including Bayview Scrappers in Traverse City, Paper & i in Marshall, and Scrappy Chic in Livonia carry some of these products, as well, and I am working on teaching at all of them. For those of you who enjoy shopping from me at crops, Bayview Scrappers will soon be carrying both companies on the road and I will be working with them teaching and doing demos at some of their events!

So, yes, it is sad to say goodbye to the retail side of my business. But, I am so excited to get back the few hundred square feet my store took up and to get away from the stress of researching and ordering products, filling orders, scheduling events and paying taxes. And, I’m looking forward to working on some of my own projects, rather than just samples, as well.

You will still see me … I’ll continue traveling around the state to teach. And I’ll still be at my favorite crops — I’ll just be cropping instead of running my booth.

And, maybe I’ll find time to post to my blog again — can you believe it’s been two months since my last post? WOW! Even I didn’t realize I had been that busy.

So, this isn’t goodbye … it’s just a new hello. With the stress of running a business on top of everything else gone, I am expecting the creativity to begin flowing again. Look for more classes to be scheduled soon!

Oh, and my last crop as a vendor will be this weekend at Camp Scrap at the Oakland County Fairgrounds. Stop by, stock up and say “hi”!

On the Road: Marshall, Michigan

I am so excited to take Candy Scraps on the road. I have always wanted to travel and teach and now I am finally going to do it. My travel trailer is another year in the making, but thanks to the encouragement of Els Van de Burgt, creator of Elizabeth Craft Designs, I am starting small and heading out to stores within a few hours of my house.

My first stop is the beautiful town of Marshall, Michigan, located near Battle Creek. If you have never been, it is worth the trip! This town is filled with historical and architectural landmarks, unique nationally known museums, and some amazing dining. (Win Schuler created Schuler Cheese Spread here!) Most importantly, it is the home of Paper and I, which is where I will be teaching. Along with papercrafting supplies, Paper and I, offers journals, stationary, greeting cards, unique gifts and kitchen items — a little something for everyone.

I am offering two classes Saturday, Aug. 19, along with a FREE demo. The first class will teach several techniques using Elizabeth Craft Designs Microfine Silk Glitter. This is NOT your momma’s glitter — trust me! It is soft,sparkly, smooth and silky and, once applied, does not shed. I’ll show you four different glitter techniques using dies, lace, masks and more.

In the afternoon, we will work with Elizabeth Craft Designs’ dies and Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks to create two cards and a small gift/candy box. I’ll show you how to make your own stencils, give you a few tips on die cutting, and show you a few different ways you can color with the inks.

After that, I will demonstrate how you can use Copic markers (or any alcohol-based marker) to color on ECD Glitter. The demo is free for anyone, whether or not you take the classes. Paper and I will, of course, have all of the products for you to buy. You can even preorder the products you want to make sure they don’t sell out before you get there.

Oh, and did I mention there will be giveaways??? All class participants will have a chance to win a few fabulous prizes … Those who take both classes have a chance to win a bonus gift, as well. It’s my of saying, “thank you.”

I am really excited for this new opportunity and I am so thankful Audrey, owner of Paper and I, is allowing me to teach at her store. I would love to have a few friendly faces in the group as I take on this new venture. So if you are at all able, please contact Audrey and sign up, shop or stop by. I cannot wait to see you!

For complete details, visit Paper and I, here. Or call Audrey at  (269) 781-8200​.

On the Horizon

Another Great Lakes Mega Meet has come and gone … and this one was the best yet!

For those of you who don’t live near, GLMM is a papercrafting convention where manufacturers and retailers set up mini stores. Ladies come from all over Michigan, Canada, Ohio and Wisconsin to the show — I even met one who flew from California just to attend — the show is that good! Attendees can shop, take classes, do make-and-takes, meet their favorite designers (including Tim Holtz and Wendy Vecchi), catch up with old friends and see thousands of amazing creations to get their creative juices flowing.

But this year was extra special for me, since I got to meet, and work for, Els Van de Burgt, owner of Elizabeth Craft Designs. I started using, and teaching with, Elizabeth Craft Designs’ products many years ago. For a few years, I was even on ECD’s design team, so there are lots of posts using their products. Naturally, when Els asked me to help out in their booth, I gladly accepted. I’ve done that for several companies before, including my own, so I thought I knew what to expect. Boy was I wrong.

Els and her husband, Joep, took the time to get to know me, offered me some advice and told me what I’d been doing wrong. By the time the weekend was over, I had regained my confidence, found opportunities to possibly teach at three new stores and was inspired to give Candy Scraps another go. (And she didn’t even comment on how dirty my car was because I don’t have time to clean it!)

I believe the scrapbooking trend is returning and I’m ready to ride the wagon for a bit! I came home with a huge bag of ECD products to get me started (and an apron!!). And I signed up for a crop at a friend’s house, so I can design without the distractions of kayaking, playing with baby turkeys, watching the chickens, planting flowers and cleaning my house.

I’m going to be expanding my ECD line by bringing in colored glitter … in 21 flavors to start … along with the tools to make it work. And, I’m gearing up to take my classes on the road. So, if you see Matt, remind him that he needs to build Candy Scraps on Wheels, please.

Take care and let me know if there is a crop or store near you that would welcome my classes!

 

Back from Boyne Highlands

I’m back from Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. It is one of my favorite events of the year and is by far the largest … there were 389 women this time! I’m there to work, not crop, but I’ve made dozens of friends and I love spending time with them. The rest of the time I was shopping from my favorite vendors (my purchases are still in their bag), having my traditional Thursday night dinner at the bar (grilled whitefish and sweet potato fries, all made gluten free), and teaching others to use Elizabeth Craft Designs and Mosaic Moments products. It’s tiring, but wonderful and it always goes way too fast.

Last fall, one of my customers-turned-friends asked me to make a page kit showing some of the resort. I used Mosaic Moments Grid paper and dies to create the layout and sold every one — including my sample. Fortunately I have the photo so I can make another for myself!

Matt has taken over many of the make-and-take duties during the event — especially since I had so many classes this time. While demonstrating how to use a transfer sheet to use the leftover stickers, he came up with a few new techniques. (Well, either he did or customers did … I never did get the answer, but I came back to this)

And this …

And this …

and this! I was quite impressed.

Another customer worked up an idea with Silk Microfine Glitter that I helped her implement. I thought I took a photo, but I must not have. I will be making a tutorial to show you how she did it soon — it’s that fantastic.

This time, I taught classes for Bayview Scrappers, a new store in Traverse City, Michigan, in addition to teaching my own. One of the classes I taught was on using rubber stamps from Art Impressions to create watercolor art. I was so impressed that even I could watercolor that I came home with several sets of stamps. Stay tuned for more!

I also taught a Mosaic Moments class and worked one-on-one with others showing them how easy this system is. It amazes me when ladies learn and then come back and show me their first page … yes, this is her first page! I love the mix of detail and distant photos and how she mixed in family pics with scenery. This one is going in a frame on the wall in her family’s cottage … she plans to do one each year. What a wonderful idea!

This is another first-time page, believe it or not. Although you can’t see it very well in the photo, she used different depths of dimensional foam adhesive on different squares in the photo. The effect was amazing!

I will admit to helping her decide between lavender and navy grid paper and showing her how to use the Mosaic Moments At-a-Glance-Guide to make sure she didn’t cut the sun, but otherwise, it is all her! An amazing idea I plan to steal and a truly beautiful page.

Each year, there is a layout contest as part of the fun. Ladies submit their favorite works and the other croppers vote on them. I was pretty proud to see three Mosaic Moments pages registered for the contest. And, even more proud to hear the winner of the contest was one of them! She did photos of her trip to Ireland.

We also gave away an Ott-Lite and a box of stamps, inks and card bases. Of course, I forgot to take photos of the winners with their prizes. Going to have to change that for next year!

The ladies totally spoiled us while we were there. They came with hugs for us both (I even heard one of them calling Matt, “honey”) and tons of gifts. My friend from Marquette brought me these dish cloths with the UP knitted right in. I’m not sure how she knew blue was my favorite color. She also brought me jam and Matt the Yooper version of biscotti. yumm

A mother and daughter from Northern Michigan brought Matt and I each a birdhouse filled with candy eggs. And they brought me a “Take-and-Make.” They gave me a great tip for using my tweezers to thread the ribbon and quietly fixed my bag when I did it wrong. lol. I love these ladies!

My friend from Ohio who keeps me laughing until I cry, gave me a copy of this beautiful picture she took last fall at the resort. I told her I was going to put it on my fridge and wanted to show her this proof that I did!

And, my wonderful friends from Canada brought me this adorable chicken to welcome everyone to my house. I love it and I love them!

These ladies make this trip so wonderful for me. I come back with new ideas and techniques and lots of inspiration and I think I actually learn more than I teach. It is such a wonderfully uplifting event. I cannot wait until fall when I see them all again.

West Coast (Michigan) Classes

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I’ve been neglecting my blog … I apologize for that. March is one of my busiest times of year (just behind October). Getting ready for all of the classes and crops means February is also very busy and I can’t seem to keep up with my blog …

One of the reasons I have been behind is a new venture in Muskegon, Michigan.

I’ve teamed up with Bayview Scrappers (a new papercrafting store opening in Traverse City this month!!!) to bring classes to one of the best west Michigan crops — Krop Around the Klock March 10-11. Bayview has rented a classroom at the Holiday Inn in Muskegon and we will be offering classes all day Friday and Saturday.

The classes (and shopping) are open to the general public, so if you want to sign up, just drop me a line, or stop by and say, “hi.” There is a limit of 12 per class, so be sure to contact me for prices, supply lists and reservations.

Of course, I am still behind, so I can only show you a few of the classes, but here they are …

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This one features products from Pink Fresh Studio. I’ll show you a technique to get perfectly stamped images, and a couple ideas for using washi tape. As an added bonus, you get an entire package of Pink Fresh paper to make additional pages!

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Next up is a pair of layouts from Echo Park. Except for the photo mats, these pages were made entirely with the products from one mini kit, which sells for less than $7! I’ll show you how easy it is to work with these kits and Bayview Scrappers will have a variety of them for sale.

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Of course, I will also be teaching Mosaic Moments with this two-page layout featuring summer strawberries and picnic baskets. I’ll show you how to cut by hand and with the dies.

img_3644Card makers will enjoy this class which uses Elizabeth Craft Designs stickers and glitter, along with alcohol ink markers. We’ll also learn the transfer technique so you can put a little bit inside …

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I am also teaching a shaker card class using a new ocean die from Memory Box (I am so into fish right now!), but I don’t have the sample finished yet. However, this technique will show you how you can make a shaker card with any die or punch … no special kits or products needed.

Lori, from Bayview Scrappers, will also be teaching card classes and some of the other vendors will be offering classes as well — some of which are free!

Since I will be teaching much of the weekend, Matt will be on hand to do demos and make and takes with you at the Candy Scraps booth. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would be a crafter, but when left with nothing to do but play with my “toys,” his creative side has come out and he is quite good. He’s also good at diagnosing problems with machines, cutting tools, cars and even GPS systems during crops. (It’s amazing the things that can wrong …) So if you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask him.

I hope you get the chance to stop by, take some classes and explore all of the wonderful new products that will be available! Happy cropping!

From Boyne Highlands

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Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, MI is one of my favorite places to visit.

It’s a ski lodge and features some of the best golf courses in the state, but I go to work — and relax. The place is truly magical. Less than four hours from my house, I feel like I am in another country every time I visit. The buildings have a Tudor vibe and are covered in ivy. Inside, the decor is quite Scottish — which I absolutely love. There are rustic log tables in the lobby, vintage Scottish posters in the halls, and lamps with antlers in many of the rooms. The hotel has a tower, although I still haven’t gotten my Rapunzel photo from it, with beautiful stone, spiral staircases. The bar has amazingly comfortable chairs to relax in and the carpet is red tartan. The rooms have robes to borrow and the hot tub and heated swimming pool are open the entire time we’re there. Every employee — from the front desk to the cleaning staff to the security staff — is polite and happy and they will go out of their way to do whatever you need. In the fall, you can ride the ski lift to look at the colors — more on that to come later. There are many other amenities to enjoy, but we never have the time to enjoy them.

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I love this place. I feel like a fairy princess living in the castle with a beautiful room I get to call my own for 3-4 days, twice a year. Honestly, I never have to make my bed or my own coffee and wine is available by the glass or bottle. What more could a girl ask for?

candyscraps_boyneThis year, we got to go three times, since they added an additional Girls Just Wanna Crop weekend, the weekend following the traditional fall one. For me, these two October weekends were monumental.

candyscraps_boyne3On a professional level, I developed a new business plan limiting my products to Mosaic Moments, Elizabeth Craft Designs and my unique page and card kits. My husband built me some new displays to showcase my new lines and Boyne was the first time I got to try them out. I also worked out a deal with another vendor while I was there (you’ll see more about this later). And, I taught Mosaic Moments, in the form of a two-page layout, for the first time to a group of 15. The class sold out quickly, I had to turn many away and I was very nervous … but the ladies loved it. (Of course, I forgot to take any photos the entire first weekend)

candyscraps_boyne4As usual, I did free make and takes to show new techniques throughout the weekend. Here’s a card one cropper made after learning to use Elizabeth Craft Designs glitter and peel-off stickers.

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And a pair of sweaters my new Canadian friends made with the Elizabeth Craft Designs Sweater Die.

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Another created this amazing page with Mosaic Moments … the empty spot will be filled with a photo, once it is reprinted. It suffered a slip of the knife …candyscraps_boyne5

And, in the last few minutes of the second weekend, Sandy Wilkinson and Tami Migda came to show me these amazing pages they made … They liked them so much, they bought frames from another vendor and framed them! (Naturally, they were the only ones I managed to remember to take a photo of and get their name … you would never know I was a journalist for decades.)

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I did not get a photo of a winning layout … one customer bought one of the Mosaic Moments dies from me and then created a two-page layout. During the crop, they have a contest and her layout was voted the winner! I had nothing to do with it, other than showing her how to use the die, but I felt pretty darn proud!

On a personal level, the second weekend at Boyne was also monumental. I drove there by myself — the longest drive I’ve ever done alone. And, on the way home, I drove with a custom-designed rack on the back of the car to hold all of my products. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was something I had never done before, so it made me feel pretty good.

For the first time in my life, I got out of the hot tub and pool without feeling self-conscious. This was a huge moment for me in my personal growth. I was so calm going from one to the other — even with others around and all of the hotel rooms looking onto the area — that I didn’t even notice I wasn’t uncomfortable until the third time I did it. I guess I’m finally learning to accept myself for who I am — well, and losing 75 pounds doesn’t hurt either.

Finally, I actually rode the ski lift to see the fall colors. I was scared to death — especially before we figured out there was a bar we could pull down in front of us. I held onto that bar with white knuckles, but I didn’t have a panic attack and I did manage to take pictures. (I have yet to download them, but I’m hoping the stabilizer on the lens combated the shaking in my hands.) From someone who a few months ago couldn’t climb up a step ladder, this was a HUGE deal! Thanks to the guys operating the lift for slowing down and even stopping it so I could get on and off.

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So now I’m back down below the 45th parallel and getting special orders ordered and shipped, restocking my inventory and getting ready for my next crop … I have lots of samples I made for Boyne to share … stay tuned!

Alcohol Ink Class

alcohol ink cardsI had a wonderful time teaching some easy techniques using alcohol ink and Yupo paper at Scrappy Chic last night. I loved how the students mixed up and changed their cards. They were so beautiful, I had to take photos and share …

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The tree die I had used on the sample card, quit cutting. I’ve never had that happen after so few cuts before! In fact, I’ve only had two thin-metal dies quit cutting on me — and they had been cut more than 100 times!

Anyhow, I made a couple of substitutions that they could choose from …

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I love how different each card is …FullSizeRender (5)
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I’m offering this class at Boyne Highlands during the Girl’s Just Wanna Crop event in October. There are two weekends being offered this year and there is still room in the second weekend. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send you the info.

I’m also working on a follow-up class for Scrappy Chic … stay tuned!