Free 8.5×11″ photobook from Snapfish!

My friend Jennifer gave me a heads-up about a great deal at Snapfish for a free 8.5×11″ photobook. It’s not just for new customers, either.

You only have until tomorrow to request the online offer, that’s by midnight PST Friday, November 14. You must use the coupon by midnight PST Sunday, November 16. All you have to pay is shipping.

I’ve not ordered any photobooks yet, but I’ve gotten prints and photo collages there and been happy with the turnaround time and quality. These will make great gifts!

Note: If you haven’t registered with them yet, let me know so I can send you a referral; you’ll get 20 free prints for signing up and I’ll get 20 free prints for referring you! I’ve been using Snapfish since 2000 and they’re terrific.

First cut with my new Cricut Expressions

First cut with Cricut, originally uploaded by gardenwife.

Yep, I’m a big old nerd, not that this is a surprise! My first word cut with my Cricut Expressions? Why Cricut!, of course! There’s an exclamation point, too, but it wouldn’t fit on the machine when I set up this shot. This is the Plantin Shadow font , one of two cartridges that came with the product.

I still need to get the hang of knowing what speed and pressure to use with various types of paper. My first test page was on plain copy paper and tore. My second cut was on cheap cardstock and it didn’t quite cut all the way through, so I had to clean up the edges of the letters with scissors. This third try, though, worked like a charm.

The picture’s lousy since it was taken in low light with a camera phone. But that just adds to the nerdy essence. 😉

Scrappers Gallery Zanesville and small businesses in general

Scrappers Gallery, the locally-owned store where love to crop with friends, has opened a sister store in Zanesville, Ohio! My friends Mary-Jo and Jen spent several hours at the store on Saturday, enjoying the grand opening celebration. Mary-Jo and I played with our respective projects while Jen just hung out with us and talked. We laughed a lot…And I mean a lot. It was a great day with friends.

While the new sister store just opened, the owners are gearing up to downsize the original store in Heath. The hard economic times have really hit retail, especially special interest/hobby type stores. The owners decided to be proactive and change things up a bit.

They decided to scale back their store in Heath, going from a 4-unit rental space to a single storefront, while at the same time opening the similarly-sized store in Zanesville. It will take some getting used to, but I know we’d all rather deal with a little less space and product than no space at all because the store’s had to close. Mary, the store’s owner, said that, across the country, 75 scrapbooking stores close every month. 75! None of us want to see Rick and Mary’s business become a casualty of this economy.

Anyway, it’s not like they’re downsizing to a shoebox. Each store still has seating for 12, and they still have the best assortment of unusual patterned papers and embellishments in town. And they still have a lot of solid colors to choose from in cardstock, too. They have albums, refills pages, adhesives, tools, and other items. They know their stuff and will special order items they don’t carry so people can have just the right touch for their projects. No, you probably won’t get the item for about a week, but hey. I can deal with that when it comes to the majority of my purchases.

Speaking of special orders, I made one on Saturday. My Christmas present this year is a Cricut Expressions automatic diecutting machine. It’s basically like a printer, only it cuts out shapes and letters with a blade instead of printing the shapes. I’d been hoping to get one and planned on getting it from Scrappers Gallery. I knew this would mean paying more than I could get it for online or from a mass *cough*wal* merchandiser *cough*mart*. But that’s okay. More on that later.

The cool thing is, Mary told me they’d decided to drop their regular prices on the Cricut line of products. They’d knocked a sizeable chunk off the product’s price, plus I also had a 20% off coupon good for that day only. Between the price drop and that coupon, the item cost less than I could have gotten it for on Amazon!

It was a win-win. I paid much less than I’d expected, and they made a sale. Happiness all around!

I love a good bargain like anyone. But my mind has been turning toward home — my home town with its businesses and the families that own them. Howie and I are trying to move more toward the adage “buy local, but buy less”. What I mean is, I would rather buy the majority of my “stuff” from local merchants, even if it means I pay more for some things. I will make up for the cost by buying less stuff. There’s nothing we really need, so why go out and blow money on a bunch of “bargains” to hoard when I don’t really need them? Why not hold on to that money and get some things I *really* want or need, but get them locally?

Anyway, buying locally from small businesses provides some intangible benefits for me as a customer. In the case of Scrappers Gallery, I receive personal service from people who know my name and know my scrapbooking style and the kinds of things I like. They provide a friendly atmosphere for me and my friends to gather and scrapbook together. Their store is a meeting place, a community center. They are good people. That means something, and I want to support that.

The same goes for Cord Camera, a chain local to our part of the country. The people at the Heath store have been there for years, and they know their stuff. They get to know their customers and can effectively advise them on purchases because of that. If there’s a problem with something I buy, I know I will not have a hassle when it comes to returning or exchanging it. I also receive free prints each month for a year when I buy my camera from them. And again, they’re good people.

Do I buy everything locally, from independent businesses? No. We still buy online and from big stores. We do try to find items from the little guys first, though. And if we see a truly phenomenal clearance deal on something, we’re not going to pay 75% more just to get the item from a mom & pop. There’s a balance to everything. We’re still finding it, and I think we’re doing pretty well.

I just want to encourage my readers to support their towns’ little guys, too. Remember, those business owners have families just like yours and they’re doing everything they can to stay open.

Another weekend scrapping

Critters06-Queen-Hattie

Critters06-Queen-Hattie,
originally uploaded by gardenwife.

Yay! I pretty much spent the whole weekend at Scrappers Gallery. As usual, I spent more time talking than scrapbooking. Still, I’ve done a few more layouts for my “Our Critters” mini album.

You can see the rest of the pages at Flickr by clicking the thumbnail of this Queen Hattie Cat thumbnail. The pictures aren’t very good since they were scanned on a flatbed scanner and the 3D portions of the layouts make for some blurry spots behind them. I will photograph the pages once the book’s done.

Crop for a good cause this Saturday

Love to scrapbook? Love scrapbooking and craft items? This Saturday, June 14, from 10-8, you can scrapbook and help someone at the same time. This crop is to benefit Mary-Jo Van Sickle, my friend and fellow design team member at the local scrapbooking store. Mary-Jo’s husband Jeff died recently as the result of an accident at work. Many expenses were incurred during Jeff’s 7-week hospitalization, and Mary-Jo’s friends at Scrappers Gallery stepped up to help.

You can read more about the benefit at Scrappers Gallery’s website.

I have posted some photos of the cool gift baskets available for raffle. E-mail me or the store for more information on purchasing tickets; tickets are only 50 cents each or ten for $5 and you can choose which baskets you want to play for. I could sell them via PayPal if anyone’s interested, but there is a service charge with them and cash might be better if you want to buy some (this last part is aimed toward local readers, of course).

The crop costs $10 and participants are requested to bring a potluck dish.

Here are some of the item descriptions. There are MANY more, so stop by and see them for yourselves if you’re in the area.

A Tisket a Tasket

This Longaberger Picnic basket with dual protectors contains the following:

  • Cutter Bee fine-tip scissors
  • Making memories 6×6″ album
  • Butterfly & dragonfly stamps
  • “Sammy” Bear Beanie Baby
  • Alphabet stickers
  • Note card set
  • Leather Corners
  • Ribbon spools
  • Snaps and eyelets
  • Glue stick
  • Simply Stated alpha rub-ons
  • Other embellishments

Muffins & A Movie

This goodie bag contains some of the ingredients that go into making delicious muffins. When the muffins are done baking, brew a cup of chai tea to accompany the muffins, then curl up and watch a great chick flick (Contains muffin mixes, chai mix, and a DVD of “What Women Want”.)

Scrap-Mania Basket

A Longaberger basket filled with tons of scrapbooking/papercrafting supplies:

  • Huge paper pad & page planner kit
  • Die-cut shapes, tags, alphas, etc.
  • Stickers and rub-ons
  • 12×12″ album
  • Stampin-Up rubber stamp set
  • Stampendous rubber stamps
  • 3-Paper Pizzaz templates
  • Fold-out mini scrapbook kit
  • Creative Memories layout books
  • Creative Memories 7×7″ refill pages
  • Creative Memories action pack
  • Creative Memories thank you packs
  • Creative Memories Simple Expressions
  • Creative Memories Journaltopia tool
  • 3 Creative Memories border packs
  • Cropper Hopper Embellishment Boxes
  • Amy Butler Card Kit
  • 4 Scrapbooking Idea books
  • Divided photo organizer
  • Value pack card maker blanks
  • Two 3×5″ bare picture frames
  • Misc. embellishments

Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and Sweets

  • Coffees: Jamaican, Raspberries ‘n’ Cream, Caramel Truffle, Cinnamon Hazelnut
  • Tea: Green Tea with Lemon & Ginseng
  • Sweets to Eat: Cream Wafer Rolls, Chocolate Biscotti, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate
  • Cocoas: Mint Chocolate, Raspberry & Chocolate, Supreme Chocolate, Butterscotch Chocolate
  • Plus a boxed stationery set & a clear glass mug.

The Happy Scrapper’s Pail

  • Fiskars butterfly hand punch
  • Fiskars 12″ trimmer with replacement blades
  • Provo Craft wavy scissors
  • Colorbok vellum phrases
  • Prima tiny flowers
  • StudioK metal tags
  • Making Memories swirl eyelets
  • Queen & Co. frills frames
  • Valentine clear stamps set
  • Starry night Stickles
  • 3 Ranger paint dabbers
  • 2 Marvy pigmented pens
  • $50 Scappers gallery gift card!

Shop Til You Drop!

This Brighton leather wallet “Emma” contains all the goodies to give you a great shopping day:

  • $5 gift card to Saturdays
  • $10 gift card to Bath & Body Works
  • $15 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery
  • $25 gift card to Kohl’s
  • Also, two hand-made bracelets attached

Hope to see you there!