Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking Magazine - a celebration of inspiration

How does one even begin to express their gratitude to Paper Crafts magazine for the YEARS of inspiration they have provided to the paper crafting world? It truly is a shame that this veritable gem of the paper crafting community will no longer exist. But "good-bye's" just aren't my thing... I would rather celebrate!
Thinking of the end of the magazine has caused me to reminisce about my own paper crafting journey and compelled me to attempt to express how deep my gratitude is to Paper Crafts for this journey, a journey that begins with and truly is courtesy of Paper Crafts magazine. Now, before you think, 'Oh great, an "all about me" post..... please, bear with me... I owe •every•single•ounce• of my paper crafting development and accomplishment to Paper Crafts magazine, and am paying homage to their overwhelming involvement in every step of my paper crafting journey as I tell my story. I hope that you can respect the angle with which I chose to express my thanks and appreciation.

A very looonnnngggg time ago (2004-2005?), I discovered an online paper crafting site called "Paper Crafts". I was VERY new to paper crafting, a fledgling card maker, if you will. I was enticed by their message board, and their swaps, and their gallery, and their gallery challenges, and soon became an active participant. It was such an amazing feeling to have a fellow paper crafter leave a comment on a card that you posted to the gallery, and to leave a comment of encouragement on someone else's work was even more rewarding! This community instantly felt like home... it was an amazing group of artistic, thoughtful people who shared the same hobby as I did... incredible!

I soon started feeling confident enough in my card designs to start entering their 'gallery challenges', and was overjoyed when my cards started being recognized! What an amazing feeling of pride, and accomplishment, to have your work recognized by your peers. This served as a catalyst to want to create even more! I credit these early Paper Crafts gallery challenges with teaching me to think outside of the box when it comes to card design, with encouraging me to try a new technique, or to try a new color scheme... the foundation to my card making today.

It was also thanks to the encouragement of the folks on the Paper Crafts website and message boards that I entered my first Gallery Idol contest in 2007. To my absolute surprise, I ultimately made it to the Top 10 - what an exhilarating experience this was.... the turning point in my paper crafting journey, really. It was at this point that I realized how much I truly enjoyed creating with paper, and being challenged, and sharing my work with others.
How about a flashback... (can't believe I found this file!) here is the card that got me into the Top 20 in 2007...

In 2007 I also attended my first CKC - Creating Keepsakes Convention ... LOVED it! I took a few Paper Crafts sponsored card making classes taught by Nichole Heady.... yes, THE Nichole Heady who would soon go on to establish a little company called Papertrey Ink...I remember driving home from Nashville with my head in the clouds... I was in love with paper crafting!
Still rolling on the exhilarating 'high' from the Gallery Idol experience, I decided to try submitting to a Paper Crafts magazine publication call. After a few rounds of rejects, one day I experienced the absolute best feeling that a card maker can feel.... an acceptance email informing me that that Paper Crafts wanted to publish three of my cards in their March 2008 magazine!!!
Here is my very first card published in Paper Crafts magazine in March 2008:
So, for as long as it lasted, I participated on the (old) Paper Crafts website... playing in gallery challenges, reading their articles and having fun leaving silly comments on their posts, and getting to "know" the ladies at the magazine... Megan Hoeppner, P. Kelly Smith, Brandy Jesperson, Jenifer Martin, Cath Edvalson, Stacy Croninger... and eventually Susan Opel, and Jennifer Schaerer.
As time went on, the website evolved, the paper crafting world evolved, the product evolved, the styles evolved, and the inspiration kept growing, and growing.... the hobby just kept getting better, and better! I loved playing along with challenges in the Moxie Fab World, and reading the great articles online in Paper Crafts Connection... 'connection'... the essence of what Paper Crafts did for all of us across the globe.
Along my journey, I entered another Paper Crafts Gallery Idol contest, in 2009, and to my surprise, actually won - talk about an overwhelming, shocking, jaw-dropping experience... truly the highlight of my paper crafting journey. This was the ultimate experience in creativity, each round challenged me like I had never been challenged before... it was such an educational experience, in so many ways!

Winning this contest told me that someone, somewhere, actually liked what I created. My goal from this point on was to work very hard to try to inspire others, as so many had inspired me - I was eager to share my work, and my ideas, and continued to submit to Paper Crafts, and to other publications, but being published in Paper Crafts always brought me the most joy!! During this time, I also applied for design teams, and had the pleasure of working with a few over the years - another part of my journey that I credit to Paper Crafts magazine, for having given me the confidence in my design abilities to even consider applying.

Another highlight of my paper crafting journey was the opportunity that I had to attend CHA Chicago in the summer of 2010. This is where the paper crafting people who 'lived in my computer' actually came to life!! I felt like a 'star-gazer' in Hollywood, seeing and meeting such AMAZING designers, so many who had inspired me for years!!! And to see so much new product up close and personal.... drool!!!
But meeting these ladies from Paper Crafts... the highlight of my trip... genuine, real, fun ladies .... what I wouldn't do to turn back time and head right back there to give them a great big hug right now!! Working alongside them in the Paper Crafts booth doing make & takes during the SuperShow was a dream come true!!

Paper Crafts magazine has created friendships across the globe through this hobby we call paper crafting...
thoughtful, generous, creative, like-minded people who I am grateful to call friends, whether we have 'met' or not!!!
We are connected through this great hobby we share - the hobby that Paper Crafts promoted and brought into our lives.
Just looking at the photo be surrounded by so many talented people is an amazing feeling... there are product designers, company owners, Go-To-Gals, design team coordinators, and designers who's work inspires us all!! Truly blessed to have been a part of this history. My own personal involvement in the paper crafting community may have waned over the years, but I still look on from afar, at all of the talent that exists in the paper crafting world, and the inspiration that comes from so many different design types and styles... and I am inspired all over again. To simply say 'thank you' for their years of bringing the paper crafting world together the way that they have will not suffice. I have no words, really, to fully express how much Paper Crafts has meant to me... their absence is a void that will never be filled... but I will be forever grateful for the memories and I will cherish them always.
Paper Crafts... thank you for the memories, thank you for the inspiration, and thank you for the friendship.....
Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine and friends.... this card is for you... you will be missed.... xoxo... rae

Many others are honoring Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine today as well... you should have arrived here from Piali Biswas' blog, and from my blog please head to Jessica Witty's blog.