Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NEW! From Provo Craft... so awesome!

This is the newest product from Provo Craft and should be hitting store shelves soon. {Or at least, I hope soon. °Ü°} Your Story is a product that create personal albums, scrapbooks, journals, you name it! It will bind AND laminate. The possibilities are endless with this product! I would personally use it for family history books and recipe books, too. It laminates up to 12x12, how great is that?

Here is what the machine looks like:

For full details and photos of all the products that coordinate with this line, check out http://www.provocraft.com/products/index.products.php?cl=yourstory

I know I will, but will buy this product? °Ü°

Friday, August 8, 2008

Understanding the Cost of Custom Work

This is a hard post for me to write, BUT, I really feel like it is one that needs to be written. I hope that it is taken well by all who read it and that there is some understanding on the part of any readers.

I get emails for custom work all the time. I would say, that on a weekly basis, I get at least 2-4 emails requesting specific themes. I love hearing from everyone and truthfully, I am honored that there are so many of you who love my designs, style of scrap booking and work so much that you would love to make it apart of their memory albums. The part I find frustrating and sometimes hurtful, is that when I reply to these emails and give pricing, one of three things happens: 1) I never hear back from the person 2) I get an email back arguing price and saying they won't pay it unless I drop the price 3) A sweet apology that they can't do it right now (this would be the rarest of the emails).

I understand that in today's economic world, that scrap booking pages and albums are truly a luxury purchase. I also understand that everyone is trying to get the most for their money. Don't we all? Here is the side I would like you to try to see.

I am a crafter by trade. I scrapbook for fun and I scrapbook for a living. I need to be home with my family taking care of them and our home and this the working relationship that works best for us and our family's needs. Although I get to be home with them, I still spend 30-40 hours a week designing, planning, cutting, hand-cutting at times, and piecing together pages, albums and projects. Pretty much a full time job. Sometimes, ALL of that time is spent on just one album. Sometimes all of that time is spent on just 4-6 pages. When it comes to my work, I DO NOT CUT CORNERS! I only buy the best papers, metal embellishments, adhesives and so on. I take my work seriously, I go over every detail and I know I am not the only crafter who does this. I am simply just one in many who are in this "crafter's boat", if you will.

What is minimum wage these days? I honestly do not know. From what I see and know, is it about $7 perhour. I don't know, maybe it is not even that high. Maybe I should look it up... okay, according to US Dept of Labor, the minimum wage is $6.55 hour. The average person making M.W. makes $262 for a 40 hour work week BEFORE taxes, etc. Wow. that doesn't leave a lot for the bring home amount, does it?

The average spread, (2) 12X12 pages together, takes me 8-12 hours to design and put together. {There have been a handful that have taken me closer to 16. I keep track for how long it takes to make each.} So let's say I am in "The Zone" and get one done in just 8 hours and I charge $6.55 per hour. That is $52.40. That doesn't even include the materials cost for that spread, that is just my time. Keep that in mind. I actually charge a set fee of $45 for a custom spread. There is extra time and steps that go into each project, like custom names, dates and details. Now, divide $45 by 8. I am making about $5.63 an hour, and then, not even that much because that doesn't include the cost I have already paid for the materials! That is JUST my time. At the end of each custom spread, I am only making about $2-$3 per hour. (REMEMBER, that is only if it took me just the 8 hours, any longer than that and it brings my hourly wage down even more.) That is not a lot for my time, for my design and hard work when it is spelled out that way. What do you think?

Please keep these things in mind when shopping sites like Etsy.com, Ebay.com and personal websites. We crafters put our all into our craft. Each design, every piece is a part our personality and we take a lot of time to put it all together. I think that everyone, no matter who you are and what you do, wants to have their work appreciated and they don't want others to make them feel that what they are paid for their time and talent isn't worth it. I think my time and talent is worth what little I ask for it.

Remember that when you see hand crafted items, time, talent and effort was put into each project. Think about how much time it would take you to do something like that if you were to personally make it, think of professional crafting as some one's career and think about how truly little, the time making it is actually charged for.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Birthday Scrapbook Pages for August's Class

I gotta tell ya, I am proud of myself... I got these pages done for a class nearly 4 weeks away! °Ü° I am trying hard to keep a bit a head of myself with school starting soon and the holiday season just around the corner.

Next up in the class line-up, are Birthday pages. I really fretted over the paper for these. Most of what is available is either super girly or rough and tumble. Not a whole lot of middle ground birthday papers. I guess I could count on BASIC GREY to come to the rescue. The paper is their Cupcake Collection and the colors couldn't be more perfect for girl/boy birthday pages. The background is Bazzill textured card stock and has a shimmer to it. I went back through the album and we really didn't have a true blue background in the album yet. I also added red, yellow, green and white textured card stocks for accents and dimension. I really do like the way the pages came out. I was fearful they were taking a sadistic clown look, but I think they are festive and fun for boys and girls alike. {The coloring in the photos is horrible. It is overcast today and so the true colors are really not coming through, sorry.}

So here is the spread breakdown:

The entire spread
"Celebrate, Party, It's your day"
Just plain ol' Happy Birthday seemed boring.
Notice there are 9 photo mats total! I think that is the most I have ever squeezed into one spread before now.

Page 1
Of course everything was cut with my Cricut, thank goodness...saved me a bunch of time hand cutting cupcakes, balloons, frames and letters.

CELEBRATE. Yes- That is 34 red circles all inked and glued down to border the yellow strip of card stock!

4x6 mat holds a 7" journaling tag for writing guests, gift lists and birthday specifics. That is a circular paper clip and brad on the tag.

2 of the 3" squared photo mats

the other 3 incher

I love cupcakes! Had to add some...

Page 2

a 4x3.5 frame

More cupcakes!

I love how they sit on this frame

another 4x6 photo mat

(3) 3.5" squared photo mats

small circular photo clips accent the triplet frames

Of course, the kit comes with the Lipstick Red Colorbok Cat Eye Ink Pad. Ladies, bring your green ink pads from March, if you like. That is the one I used for green card stock. I have 3 yellows I will bring for anyone who wants to use them on their yellow card stock, otherwise, red looks pretty good.
You can't really tell from the pics, but the word Celebrate, the yellow balloon, It's your day and all of the cupcakes and their flames are pop-dotted off the page using 3D dots. You will have a sheet of them included in your kits.
Next up for September, School Days...


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