Friday, January 16, 2009

Making Progress

I am really excited. Yesterday, I got off work earlier than usual and made a jaunt down to a furniture store called Home's. Home's is where Yusuke and I bought some of our furniture when we moved into our condo nearly 3 years ago, so I figured they would have the scrapbooking furniture I was hoping to buy.

Here is what happened. For Xmas, Shannon gave me the book The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker. It was on my Amazon wishlist, but I didn't think anyone would actually buy it for me. She is the best because she did! I read that thing cover to cover and completed all the pages in the workbook as well.

You see, when I put up my new Xmas tree last December, the only open space we had was right next to my scrapbooking corner. So, this cluttered looks-like-a-tornado-hit-it corner appeared in all the photos. Plus, when I started to wonder where potential guests would stay at our apartment in the future (no more staying in the "kids' room, I guess), I realized that no one would want to stay in a room with that much clutter. And, lastly, the computer/scrapbook room is in the center of our condo, completely open to the livingroom. I hadn't noticed until December, but the area had become an eyesore.

So, I made one promise to myself - to completely re-organize and re-design the scrapbooking area, and I was hoping this book would help. Not only did I realize some of the desires within myself regarding my future goals, but I also began to get a vision for what kind of scrapbooking area I would like. It wouldn't be just a simple paring down and cleaning up...or even a new basket here or there. I wanted something completely new and different.

The main change I decided to make was to buy actual furniture appropriate for working on photo albums and for storing supplies/products and albums. In the end, I decided that I wanted a new desk with upper shelves and a tall cabinet. I went around to 3 different furniture stores, researched in various magazines and websites, and checked out furniture catalogs before I made my decision.

As for budget, that was a tough one. How could I justify spending money on such a thing. Well, first were my reasons as mentioned above. My mom might come to Japan in the fall to meet and help out with the new baby, and she will need a decent place to sleep. Cleaning up that room will make her (and other guests) much more comfortable. Plus, I realized that I never actually do my scrapbooking at the desk I currently have. Why? Because it is so cluttered and certainly not inspiring. I usually worked on the floor, the coffee table or at our monthly Craft 'n' Chats. Finally, I just want our home to look beautiful, like someone who has some taste is living there. I have made improvements in other areas of our place, but I hadn't really touched the scrapbooking area since we moved in. By the way, the current desk is MIL's old dining room, underneath is a low table we bought from a cheap catalog when we first married, and above is an old particle board bookshelf turned sideways. Talk about being DASAI! (Dasai means "ugly" or "tasteless" in Japanese.)

However, I was kind of lucky about the budget. Last year, around this time, I decided to save up for a new camera. I wanted a fancy Rebel Kiss or something like that. I planned to have 50,000 saved up by October. However, in July, my husband and I won a new digital camera in a drawing. We didn't really need another point-and-shoot digital camera, but a couple weeks later, our old one broke and we needed to start using the new one. My husband suggested not buying a fancy type camera, but I contined to save the money anyway. Then, I thought "why buy a camera like that? I don't actually know how to use it. I would need to take a photography class to learn how to use it properly." (Creative Keepsakes offers a good on-line class that I will probably take some time down the road.). For now though, I wanted to use the money for something special...and I finally decided to put it towards the furniture. Some of the other money is coming from my CM acct which I will be closing. And, the rest will be from my savings. I might as well do it now, while I am still earning a paycheck!

I found someone who will take the dining room table and chairs, so I am glad to not have to throw out MIL's old table. I think Yusuke would have felt upset about that considering the fact that he seems to believe every object has feelings.

Up until yesterday, I was busy planning my strategy and new space. One big decision I have made is to let go of my Creative Memories Consultant status. Here, you have to spend 50,000 per every three-month period in order to remain active. This is easy if you have customers who actually purchase products from you, but most of my customers ordered very sporatically and their orders were small. No big deal because I did enough scrapbooking myself to justify purchasing products and supplies on a regular basis. Another issue I had was lack of time and space. With working full time, I simply could not offer workshops or have a lot of stock for sale.

However, now with the new baby on the way and me having take another year of maternity leave, I have to face facts that I won't be able to do as much scrapbooking. So, I won't need to buy so much product, and since I can't seem to get rid of stock easily, the unsold products would just sit their taking up more and more room. And, in reading this book, I realized that I want to take my scrapbooking in a different direction. Someday, I would like to write articles or books about the subject. I want to use other companies' products rather than using 100% CM stuff. Don't get me wrong...I do love CM products, but not enough variety is offered in Japan, and there are many things that CM does not sell. In all the magazines and books I read, CM is never mentioned. I don't know if there is a licensing problem or advertising laws related to this, but how can write articles if I only use CM stuff? I decided that my money should not have to go for only CM stuff anymore. I want more variety...and I want to expand my creative skills.

So, Kirsten, a good friend and fellow consultant who is doing quite well with her business, will be taking on my stock and my customers. I am so grateful to her, and I know my customers will love her. I am also glad to have more space to work with as well.

Meanwhile, here are some of the things I am preparing for my new space:
An inspiration board - this is a bulletin board filled with lots of things that inspire you. I decided to divide the board into 8 parts, and each part shows a color combination that I like or find inspiring. In each part, there is a photo or postcard representing those colors.
1. Blue and Green - an old postcard of some cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is actually a replica of a painting, and I have had this postcard since I was 16 when I bought it at an art museum in southern Japan. I had written on the back of the card, "I want to come here someday." The color scheme of our dining area is blue and green.
2. Orange and Beige - a photo of the sunset view from my the one at the top of this blog. The color scheme of our livingroom is also orange and beige.
3. Blue and Yellow - a photos of our bed quilt, which my mother made for our wedding. These were the colors for our wedding as well. I like this combination because to me, it represents the sun and water, two life-giving elements. I would like our bedroom to be this color scheme, but I have not made that much progress yet.
4. Red and Green - Who does not love Christmas? I find the Xmas season with all its lights and decorations so inspiring. For Xmas this year, Yusuke gave me a red card with a Xmas scene cut into it like lace. Inside was a note telling me what a strong wife and mama I am. I'll include the note in this mini-layout.
5. Multi-colors - One of my favorite things is stained glass. I love the color combinations, so anything from sun catchers to panels to lamp shades really catch my eye. I found a picture of a nice one on line, resized it and printed it off on photo paper for this section.
6. Color Combinations - first I thought that one of my favorite color combinations, pink and brown, should go here, but then I realized that there are several other really amazing combinations out there...and I often forget about them. Cathy Zielske, in her books, explains about some of the most effective combinations for scrapbooking, and that was the first time I saw pink and brown together. I am going to a mini-layout hightlighting some of the combinations.
7. Inspiring people - there are several people out there, Cathy Zielske and my friend Kirsten included, who inspire me in little ways every day. Kirsten is extremely talented in art and photography. She has a great sense of design for not only her scrapbooking room, but also for her pages and other people's pages. Cathy is the Art Director of Simple Scrapbooks magazine and the author of two books. Her books changed my entire approach to scrapbooking. My mom inspires me because she was the ultimate working mom who also is a talented quilter. Pictures of these 3 as well as some others who inspire me will go here.
8. A quote - I am looking for a good motto to put here, but one of my favorites so far, goes like this:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body...but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand - martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a ride!"

Other little projects:
Label all my albums
Create a journaling kit (in a basket)
Put together an inspiration binder
Put together a binder of lay out ideas


Lulu said...

Wow, sounds exciting!!!

I love crafty things and have done some papercrafts before but not much scrapbooking (except a highschool scrapbook & one from my first year in Japan- they are pretty pathetic though! hehe!) so it all sounds pretty inspiring to me.

Also, I love inspiration boards. Did you know you can also make them online now? is a good site for that. I have made a couple wedding related ones when I was working on colour schemes etc.

When does your maternity leave begin?

Shannon said...

I can feel your enthusiasm about organizing your space. I can relate - did I ever tell you how much I love organizing things? I really like the idea in yourlast posting about making a year long goal list. Are you going to publish yours? I ask because I like the idea but need some inspiration. It seems as if all I can see lately are the little things. The big picture escapes me. Did you find the kind of desk you wanted?