Thursday, June 3, 2010

About Me - Part Two

This time it's all about me the scrapbooking version. (This post ended up way longer than I expected!)

A little background...

I remember the day like it was yesterday when my mom, my aunt, my sister, and I all sat at a table in Cheddar's restaurant and decided we were going to open a scrapbook store. My mom had started scrapbooking long, long ago. I had a family member find a scrapbook she had made my dad back when they were first married. It was amazing! She even made her own patterned paper with colored pencils! She tried quite hard to interest my sister and I in scrapbooking for a long time. I think it was two years in a row that she got us scrapbooking supplies for Christmas and we both laughed and proceeded to call it "crapbooking". Oh, how things have changed since then.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. My mom and my aunt Karin where both getting ready to retire from teaching and wanted to start a business and Mom thought a scrapbook store would be a great idea. It really happened quite fast and I remember celebrating the end to our first day open at that same restaurant that the idea Scrapbook Generation was born. I also remember enjoying the $100 I won for guessing, almost on the nose, what our first day of sales would be.


I didn't really get into scrapbooking until Drew was about 6 months old, about a year after we opened the doors at SG. My dad had died the month before and once I realized that I could count the number of pictures I had of him and Drew on one hand I started growing an interest in preserving my memories.


Things went really fast after that. I enter the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest and much to my surprise, was chosen as one of the 25 scrapbookers inducted that year. Not long after that I was picked as a Scrapbooker of the Year top ten finalist and after that was asked to be on the CK Dream Team. Being published was fun but I have to be honest and say that the last year I started to learn that it wasn't for me. I mean it could have been, but I was starting to feel... crap, how do I say this without sounding bitter or mean or hurt...used. Used and exhausted are the best words I can come up with. I felt like my designs and layouts where good enough but I wasn't. I knew when it felt as good as it did to walk away that I should have probably done it a long time ago. *I have to add that used is meant to explain my feelings. I'm not saying that CK took advantage of me.

Now I'm focusing on our store and our Sketches for Scrapbooking books. Scrapbook Generation is well on it's way to Scrapbook Generation Publishing.

My best advice when it comes to your passion, dreams, and goals...If you want something it's probably best to go get it yourself. And that's exactly what I'm doing! :)

On to the questions:

1. What techniques would you encourage a beginner to try?

When beginners walk into our store you can always spot the fact that they are just starting out by the scared look on their faces. You can see the fear and "where to start?" shadow over their heads. It can be such an overwhelming experience the first trip into a scrapbook store.

I always recommend starting out with small and simple techniques like inking the edges of paper, painting chipboard, using Stickles to add a little sparkle to a plain die cut, etc. These are products that I use often and feel that they are somewhat basic and easy to do, yet they can add so much to a page.

2. What is a technique that you love to use that you would recommend to someone that seems intimidated/hesitant to try new things.

Hand stitching would be one for sure. You can do so much with it. You can make designs with ease that are impossible or incredibly difficult to do with paper. Plus I think it adds such a lovely detail to the page.

Some others I want to add: Perfect Pearls, Glimmer Mists, Shimmerz, Distress Inks, and Alcohol inks. These can all be a little intimidating to someone who isn't a technique type of scrapbooker but they are so easy to use and can be used in so many different ways.

I would honestly recommend that each and every scrapbooker try new techniques every once in a while. With the demos that I do at Scrap-a-Palooza and with my classes at the store I am often forced (* insert sarcasm here* yeah, it takes a lot of force for me to scrapbook...) to try new techniques. Every time I play around with a new product I try to come up with and research several different ways to use that product. It's really made me step out of my comfort zone and given me a lot of new ideas.

3. Do you remember your very first sketch?

I don't remember specifically my first sketch but I do remember my first sketch book. I still have it too! It's so funny to look through and see me trying to discover my own style. Let's just say that it took a while and I don't scrap anything like the layouts in my first personal sketch book.

4. How did you get started doing sketches?

I actually started sketching layouts at the very beginning, when I first start scrapbooking. I liked having a plan and to see everything in place before I cut my paper or pictures. (It reminds me of my dad. He used to sketch out his race car design in the off season. A lot of racers keep the same look and colors year after year but my dad looked at his car each year as a blank canvas. I loved seeing his sketches and ideas.)

As for the Sketches for Scrapbooking books, my Mom was taking layouts that I had made and turning them into a computer generated sketch for Saturday activities at our store. Every sketch in the Sketches for Scrapbooking books came from a layout that was already made. The reason for that is I don't know how many times I've hand sketched a layout and loved it only to try it out and hate it. It's so hard when you are sketching, because it's done on such a smaller scale. So, in some sense, we kind of try the sketch out before it's made and put into one of the books.

5. How many hours a day do you scrapbook?

I would say 5 minimum and I've worked as many as 14. I look at those numbers while sometimes forgetting it's my job and think, "goodness, that's a lot!" but then I remember I'm one of those super lucky people that my hobby is my job.

6. Are you caught up in your albums?

Not even close! I don't scrapbooking in order, I'm all over the place. One day I'll do a layout with Drew's baby pictures and then the next layout will be pictures I took yesterday.

7. Do you print your pictures as needed or print a bunch and work around your photos?

Kind of both.

When I had to have 50+ layouts done for the DVD in a very short time frame I started making "kits". I would pick out my photos for specific layouts/sketches and print a ton of sets at a time. After I picked them up from the printer I would go home and pick out papers, embellishments, and other things that I wanted to use with a set of photos and put them in a 12 x 12 clear bag. I had, at one point, 40 kits. All I had to do was pick one that was calling to me and put it all together. When I was done with that one, I could do a little clean up and then move on to the next one without having to stop and pick out all the papers, embellishments, etc. It really made it an easier and faster process. I loved it so much that I use this system all the time now. I'll print 10 or so sets of photos at a time and put them into kits.

8. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I know everyone says this but...everywhere!

Here's my proof. About a year ago I was taking a bath and my eyes were drawn to the circle design at the top of these shampoo/conditioner bottles..



And here's the sketch I made that very night.



I also get a lot of inspiration from the photos I'm using. I love making my own embellishments and those ideas usually come from what's in the photos or from the theme of my layout.

9. Do you read other blogs?

Here are a few...Good Grief Blog, My Mind's Eye, my silly sister (I wish she would post more because she is hilarious! *hint, hint Stacey) I don't get many chances to read blogs and wish I had more time to do so. If you've got a must read favorite, let me know!

10. Do you read magazines, window shop, watch commercials for ideas?

I don't really read scrapbooking magazines as much anymore but I love looking at non-scrapbooking magazines for layout ideas. This layout here...


*as seen in Creating Keepsakes, November 2007

was inspired by an ad in Vogue.

And yes, I have made layouts inspired by commercials. Like the next two layouts...


I don't remember what the commercial was or what product it was selling, clothes maybe, but there where these cool bursts of circles and flourishes that would go across the screen. I was drawn to the TV every time I saw it. For the scrapbook page I wanted the circles to appear as if they where kind of moving across the page just like they moved across the TV in the commercial.

The first one I made (The Talk), while I loved the layout it just didn't have the look I was shooting for. My creative brain was dreaming something a little different. So, I made this one.


It still didn't work out exactly how I pictured but you can't win 'em all. I was very happy that I ended up with two layouts that I loved.

If you see something non-scrapbooking that you like and are drawn to, always keep in mind that it can be adapted onto a layout.

11. Do you go with friends to crop together?

I wish! Crops never seem to be at a time when I'm able to go. :( I used to when I first started scrapbooking and I loved it. Although I was so bad about visiting and not getting any pages done, but that was also part of the fun of it!

12. What is your favorite supply?

Patterned paper. It is one thing that I can get the most use out of and I use it every time I scrapbook. There are times that I've made layouts with just patterned paper. Like this one here...


Okay, so technically it's not all patterned paper, the title is chipboard. That's still a lot on the page for only using a couple of supplies.

13. Have you made a layout from all your sketchbooks at least once?

Yes! I'm not trying to toot my own horn but I love each volume of Sketches for Scrapbooking. I love that the hard part is done and I get to spend my time with the fun "playing" part.

14. What do you use when you need some inspiration?

I browse through my personal sketch book or through my pictures. Usually there is something that catches my attention or gets my creative wheels spinning.

15. What other scrapbookers inspire you?

I remember the first scrapbooker that I thought was super cool and that was Tiffany Tillman. I remember reading an article she had done or was a part of where she talked about writing your journaling as if you were saying it. Like you were having a conversation with the person reading the page. She taught me that if you want your page to represent you it needs to sound like you too. My little tip for doing this: (Make sure you are alone. The huband or kids might think you're wacko.) Tell the story out loud like you were telling the story to a friend.

Brenda Arnall is another. Here pages are timeless. They are simple, yet detailed all at the same time.

Amanda Probst. She has such a fun and clean style.

Cindy Tobey. She has such a creative splash of fun on each page. She is so talented and her pages are always so fun to look at.

16. If you could only use 3 supplies to make a page what would they be?

• Patterned paper
• embroidery floss
• Thickers (I have a Thickers addiction)

17. Do you make mini albums?

Not that often. Not because I don't like them but mostly because I don't have anywhere to put them at the moment. I would love to have them sitting on my coffee table in a basket but I have two curious boys that would probably get into them too much.

Some random scrapbooking facts about me:

• I sketch layouts every night. (Right now in my current personal sketch book I have over 80 unused, ready to go sketches.)
• I almost always use white, french vanilla, and my new favorite wheat cardstock for my background.
• I misspell words on my layouts all the time and I don't change it either. Call it lazy, I call it being the real Allison.
• The idea for our Sketches for Scrapbooking books came from a customer.
• I once got a greasy, Cheez-it laced fingerprint on an almost finished layout. Covered it with a button and vowed never to scrapbook and eat together again.
• My biggest dream/goal is to have my own idea book.
• I couldn't live without the ruler I use for making sketches. I thought I lost it one day and was fully willing to give up my right arm in exchange for a new one. Of course my husband found it sitting right next to me.
• My eighth grade home ec teacher would probably laugh if she knew how much I love stitching on my layouts. It wouldn't be without good reason. I almost failed her class.

I will be surprised if anyone made it this far. Goodness that is one long post! If you did make it this far, I've got a little giveaway for a copy of Sketches for Scrapbooking going today. This time tell me five random scrapbook related things about you. I'll post the winner on Sunday.

p.s. Don't forget Sketch Week starts on Monday! :)


74 comments:

Brittany G. said...

1. I've been scrapbooking since 2001.
2. I'm dying to make a road trip to your store.
3. My favorite cardstock is Bazzill Licorice.
4. My scrapbook room is yellow.
5. I made 8 mini albums last year.

Pick me, pick me! Thanks for the chance to win!

Sue Bone said...

1. Never understood the love of kraft cardstock, but now I'm addicted
2. Don't like to wear green but use it on most layouts
3. Lost most of the photos I thought I took on our holiday this week as the camera was on the wrong setting
4. Don't ask me to share my 6' by 4' table at a crop, I do need the space
5. I only have one bottle of prima flowers and that was a kit freebie.

Anonymous said...

1. Got scrapbooking supplies as a gift when my son was born and they sat and collected dust for the first year.

2. I "USED" to have this obsession of scrapping in chronological order. At least my son's first year is complete.

3. My favorite scrapbook supply is eyelets. I love pounding the crap out of things. Helps with the frustration.

4. I took almost a 4 year hiatus from scrapbooking when life took a twisted turn. It was too painful to scrap family pics. I recently started scrapping again and it feels terrific.

5. I love using my own handwriting on pages.

6. And my scrapbook room is still a work in progress after 2 years. One day it will be done!

Candy Conner

Sonya said...

1. I have been scrapbooking since 2005 and my style has evolved over the years- and yet it still looks like "me".
2. I have a serious addiction to patterned paper.
3. I want to be a better photographer but don't have the patience to learn about aperture and ISO... all the numbers make my head spin.
4. I don't scrap chronologically but I am obsessive about my LO's being in order in the scrapbook.
5. I'm starting to see the appeal of mini books but my true love is a 12x12 page.

luvzenkm2 (Leea) said...

1. I love digital but am a hoarder of paper products.

2. While I have no kids, I have 4 nieces (1 more on the way) and 1 nephew that I scrap about/for.

3. My mojo for scrapping hopefully will be back now that school (work) is out for the summer.

4. My new scrapbook room (since Dec 09) has been sadly neglected due to life.

5. I made 3 mini scrapbooks for coworkers that were laid off this month....They cried...

Thanks for the chance :)

Denise S said...

1. I started scrapbooking in 1998.
2. I love patterned paper, buttons & ribbon.
3. My scrapbook room is a racing theme. I made my curtains to match the different flags. I was a big Dale Earnhardt Sr. fan.
4. I've been known to get up in the middle of the night to sketch a layout idea.
5. I love to write. I practice different techniques to put on my pages.

Linda said...

1. My favorite time to scrap is early in the morning.

2. My favorite embellishment is ribbon.

3. I LOVE/AM ADDICTED TO sketch books.

4. I don't scrap chronologically.

5. My favorite color combo is red and light blue.

Heather said...

1. I started scrapbooking when my first son was born- that's almost 7 years ago.

2. I can never get enough blue.

3. Sewing intimidates me but I would love to use it more

4. Sketches are how I scrap my pages most often.

5. I love to scrap with friends, but often have to do it by myself.

Can't wait for sketch week to start.
Heather

Tiffany said...

Love the post!
1. I never scrap in order. I just do what seem fun at the time.
2. I love ribbon! I use it all the time!
3. I couldn't scrap without my Slice.
4. I am really into divided and differnt sized page protectors in my 12x12 albums.
5. I dislike brads and eyelets-with a passion!

Kelly said...

1. I don't scrap in order... I usually pick the paper (usually so new purchase) and pick the photos from there.
2. I often coordinate my DD & DH's attire to work with certain pp's:)
3. My scraproom in purple.
4. I love thickers!!
5. I probably use WAY too much bling, stickles,glitter but I don't care! It's very ~me~!!

Christina said...

1. My first scrapbook was one of those old Lisa Frank spiral deals-I pasted movie stubs, pictures, and things with regular glue. My journaling was with a Bic pen. (Gasp!)

2. I started really scrapbooking (the acid free version) when our twins were born in 2001. I used a lot of Winnie the Pooh stuff-I secretly want to re-do all of those pages.

3. I love going to crops, but I have to make up all of my kits the week before. Otherwise, I forget what I had planned to do.

4. I love Bazzill cardstock and hoard it in a ridiculous way.

5. I use at least one brad on 90% of my layouts. I have a brad addiction.

Anonymous said...

LOVE your style and sketches!
*I've been scrapbooking for over 10 years--in reality even longer b/c I was scrapbooking b/f it became a cult craft phenomenon!
*I was on the first PaperKuts Magazine design team--I'm so ashamed that I can't remember what they called us....hmm I'll have to look into that or it will bug me all day! LOL!
*I also won an HM in CK Hallo of Fame once upon a time as well as Memory Makers Masters contest.
*I think about paper crafting A LOT and wish I had more time to actually create.
*I still struggle with my sb style after all these years! LOL! Maybe one day I'll find it!
Melisa
mwthornton@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Okay so I said it would bug me--it was the PaperKuts Power Team:)
And I made a couple of typos--should be CK HALL of Fame--not Hallo;) And should have also clarified that I won an HM in the MMM contest!
Just wanted to fix my mistakes and solve the name mystery! LOL!
Melisa

Christina said...

1. I must have my ipod to listen to when creating a layout, a Dr. Pepper and some candy.

2. I'm obsessed with buying scrapbooking supplies.

3. My papers must match the persons attire or the colors of the object in the picture. I've been known to buy an outfit for my son just for the paper I purchased at SG because I loved it so much.

4. I refuse to scrapbook a layout without one of your sketchbooks.

5. I love taking pictures with my SLR, but desperately need to take a photography class or even a course on Photoshop.

Christina Hoffman

LJ13 said...

Fun to read more about you.
Here's my fandom five:

1. My new favorite go to color of cardstock is kraft.

2. I started scrapping about 10 years ago, right before my oldest son was born.

3. I don't scrap chronologically.

4. Except for some random pics, I hadn't had pics printed in over a year and last month placed a huge order at Costco.

5. Some of my favorites include Making Memories and My Minds Eye.

LouAnn

Colleen said...

1. Almost every layout I do is based on a sketch or layout I've seen. I have a terrible time figuring out where the pictures should go on my own.

2. I keep a spreadsheet of every layout I want to do. It's depressing to look at how many I have listed, but feels so good when I cross one off.

3. After looking at your different layouts from sketch week, I've been inspired to do more hand-stitching, and I absolutely love it.

4. While road tripping through Missouri last year, my BF and I stopped into your store (though didn't know it was yours when we walked in. We were just killing time). It was AMAZING, and wish I lived so much closer to it.

5. I have never scrapped with a pink piece of paper, though I just had a daughter, so that's about to change!

Anonymous said...

When what you are reading is interesting, it isn't long & your post wasn't long. You gave us great insight into your scrapbooking world.

1. I've been scrapbooking 5 years.

2. I used to live in Springfield, MO & shopped at your store. It was my favorite store there & I still come to shop whenever I'm in town.

3. My favorite scrapbooking buddy is my 16 year old daughter. Whenever we get the chance, we like to scrapbook together or go to crops.

4. I'm a die hard sketch lover. I use sketches for all my layouts. And love sketch books! My favorites, yours of course!

5. I love pattern paper. Some of my favs are Basic Grey, Fancy Pants, Bo Bunny, & My Minds Eye.

Have a great weekend!!
Stacie in OK

Michele Mc said...

1. My husband made me a "scraproom" under the stairs when he finished our basement last year. It's not fancy or large enough to work in, but I'm finally organized!
2. The number of Cricut cartridges I have outnumbers the amount of times I have actually used it. (Shhh... don't tell DH.)
3. I had a Studio G clear stamp obsession for awhile and now have two binders full. I still look for them occasionally.
4. I have trouble using the really pretty supplies that I just want to take out occasionally and admire.
5. Last night I started two layouts using my Sketches book - one for which I have the photos picked and another one that was just completely random with some pretty papers I liked. A little out of my comfort zone but exciting nonetheless!

Loved these past posts! Looking forward to another amazing sketch week!
Michele

Luv2talk said...

1. I got into SBing at a CM party

2. I debated whether or not to get a SCRAPBOX (mostly because of the expense), but LOVE LOVE LOVE it with no regrets.

3. I have sold personalized 'pre-scrapped'(just add pictures) ABC albums to friends and friends of friends.

4. I am a mini album addict! LOL

5. I have given away more albums than I have kept for myself.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading all the fun facts about you. I can relate to the ruler story. I have my favorite too. Here are 5 random scrappy facts:

1 - My favorite two scrappy lines are MME & Crate Paper

2 - I have a memo board that I list what layouts I want to work on, papers I intend to use, sketches or ideas for the layouts to keep organized

3 - I prefer to create alone rather than in groups (its the only me time I get)

4 - I love to be in my scraproom even if I don't feel scrappy.

5 - I started scrapping when my boy was 6 months old to preserve memories for him.

Thanks for the chance again. I can't wait for sketch week.

Amy S (Texas)

Lori G. said...

1. I flew from Minneapolis to Denver for a scrapbook retreat when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. No wonder why she likes to scrapbook so much.

2. I finished the graduation ABC album for my nephew in less than six weeks. I will give it to him this week-end.

3. I can't wait to go visit my parents in Springfield so I can go to Scrapbook Generations. I still remember the first time I road-tripped it by myself with the kids and my folks let me come over for a crop night and I got to meet Allison. My mom actually was excited to meet you this year on National Scrapbook Day.

4. I use your sketch books to scrapbook all the time! I've gotten my 11 year old daughter hooked on them too. I might need to get her a set of her own. In addition, any time I crop with them in Minnesota, everyone always asks where did I get them from.

5. I would really love to scrapbook as a career. Everyone that I know says I should. Unfortunately, I don't have the support at home to do it.

dawn said...

I loved reading about how you got started in scrapbooking believe me we will not be bored reading about you. Even if it's long the more the better I say. I also have that fall layout and the grow fast one right here on my table to scraplift, love love them. Thanks for letting us do this with you so much fun reading all the comments.

1. I've been scrapbooking for 6 years after being dragged to a CM crop and made a mini disney album for us. I was hoooked in 15mts of being there.

2. I was a CM consulatant for year and half, it wasn't as much fun as I thought.

3. It takes me forever to make a page but on a rare rare day I've been known take pictures and print them and do a layout all on the same day and those are my favorite.

4. I don't scrap in order whatever strikes me at that moment.

5. My favorite supplies are paper, word stickers, my pen

Sorry have to include this one
6. About six months ago I've decided I'd rather meet my favorite scrapbookers then any celeberity, it would be so much more fun and inspiring and yes you are one of them Allison.

I will not forget about sketch week. I can't believe you do sketches everyday no wonder you have so many books. Love the picture of your dad and drew. have a great weekend see you Monday!!

Janelle H. said...

1) In 1998, I saw a small scrapbook my cousin had done and thought "who has time for that!" In 1999, a LSS opened 2 miles from my house, I took a beginners class, and have been hooked ever since!!

2) I still primarily scrap 8.5x11 (Gasp!), with an occasional 6x6 or 8x8 thrown in. Thus, I've become good at adjusting your 12x12 sketches to work for me!

3) I usually manage 4 scrapbook weekends per year, when I get my most of the pages I do done.

4) I do not scrapbook in order - more by what I feel like doing or what I want to get caught up in (like numerous sporting seasons with 2 boys....)

5) I love to shop for scrapbook supplies and could probably only buy adhesive for the next 10 years - I have enough of everything else to scrap any pictures I have!! But where would the fun be in that!

Can't wait for sketch week!

Mary B. said...

Allison, I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one with a Thickers addiction!! I wonder if there is a 12 step program for us?? On second thought, forget it,I don't want to give up my thickers.....oh, yeah, I don't correct misspelled words either as they will give my family a good laugh at what "Mar Bear" did!!

Here are my five things:

1.I have been scrapping since 1999 after our family's trip to Walt Disney World.
2.Always use cardstock as a base.
3.Just moved my scrapbook room to a larger room in my house.
4.Current favorite paper lines are MME, October Afternoon and Cosmo Cricket.
5.Am obsessed with Glimmer Mist.

Cannot wait for Sketch Week and love you blog....thanks for the great inspiration.

CodyandTraci said...

1. I have been scrapbooking for about 15 years.
2. I love paper, and have been using my stash to make home decor.
3. I am working on my 5th baby album.
4. I have never used glimmer mist or stickles. ( I would like to try one day.)
5. I finally got my own scrapbook room last year. (It is still unorganized, but much used and loved,)

rosegarden - Laura Fiskateer 5939 said...

Five random

1. I started my first scrapbook in 8th grade - 37 years ago

2. I'm still trying to find my style

3. I love vintage and epherma but don't use it enough

4. I thought I couldn't scrap alone but found out I can

5. I also found out that I'm more creative than I ever gave myself credit for. It's just different than other people's creative. and that's a GOOD thing.

Amy from KC said...

Loved the post - could read tons more about your scrapbooking history and thoughts! Is anyone else out there dying to get a peek at those personal sketch books?!!! Seriously, if I ever win another giveaway I'm going to ask you to photocopy that one and mail it to me. :) And speaking of giveaways, I've won one recently here, so don't include me in today's drawing. (Let's spread the happy, so to speak.)

Ok, so here are my 5 random scrapbook confessions - I mean facts!

5. I must have a drink with a straw when I scrapbook. My favorite is Sonic iced tea. They had blackberry a couple of summers ago, but I make do with peach now.

4. I also have many Thickers. I have a clip it up FULL of them. I buy multiples, just in case. My husband thought I won a display from the store...it was humiliating to admit that I had not.

3. Related to #4, when Thickers first came out, I did not like them at all. What was wrong with me?

2. I like to have tv on dvd playing in the background when I crop, or I listen to WDW Today podcasts. I do that more than music on my ipod, I don't know why. Most recently, I've been watching Army Wives episodes, and do you realize how many Ally McBeal seasons there were?! I think Netflix is fabulous!

1. I actually started planning a trip to Disney World because I saw some really cute Disney products at the store and wanted a reason to buy them. More humiliating, my husband actually asked me whether I wanted to go to WDW because I wanted to buy new scrapbooking products! Ummmm...no, 4 is the perfect age to take a child for the first time! Oh, and now my husband is looking for a timeshare down there, and we are going again this year to see all of the Christmas stuff. Turns out 4 WAS a perfect age to take our son, in fact any age is a good time.

Looks like I am going to need more scrapbook stuff...

I only follow 3 blogs: this one, touringplans.com, and Enjoying the Little Things at kellehampton.com. I seriously recommend that last one if you are not familiar with it. It is very inspirational on a personal level, and her photography is phenominal! If you check out her blog, make sure to read Nella's birth story. It is powerful, and you need to read it as it provides imnportant backstory to the rest of the blog.

Crystal aka Caitlynsmommy said...

Wow what a fun and interesting read! I Loved it!

Random scrapbooking things about me:
1. I almost ALWAYS use KRAFT cardstock as the base of my layout, have for years now.
2. I love love buying stamps but need to use them more!
3. I love sketches and almost always start with one, but usually dont end up like the sketch!
4. I cannot scrap when it is quiet, something has to be on, the Tv, radio etc.
5. I cannot scrap in a messy environment. I must clean up each and every time before switching to another project and at the end of the time!

joel & ginny said...

Yeah for Sketch week starting Monday!
1.I started scrapping in 1998.
2.I took some classes on digital scrapping in 2008.
3.Now I do paper and digital and a combo of both.
4.I want to improve my photography skills.
5. Lately, I love using felt on my pages.

budletsmom said...

What a fun idea:
1. I have been scrapping for more than 10 - started out stamping and doing cards and it evolved to scrapbook pages.

2. I used to be mostly a shopper but that has changed in the past couple of years and now scrap more than shop.

3. I don't scrap chronologically.

4. I love sketchbooks - really improves my pages.

5. I love to make my own embelishments.

I am really looking forward to sketchweek next week.

Patti Akers

Samantha T. said...

1. I'm a sucker for pretty paper
2. I love unique embellishments (cork, metal, felt, vinyl, etc.)
3. I started scrapping about 1 1/2 years ago.
4. I used to make the worst locker signs in High school, so no one from back then would probably believe I'm a decent scrapper now :-)
5. Sometimes I get a little jealous of people who get to scrap girls (I have 2 boys)...they get to use all those flowers and sparkly embellishments!

Mandi said...

1. I started scrapping in 2001, but didn't get really serious about it until I joined a scrapbooking message board in 2008.

2. My Mind's Eye is my favorite manufacturer.

3. My favorite place to shop for supplies online is acherryontop.com .

4. I struggle with wanting recognition for my pages and the fact that gaining recognition is not what scrapping is supposed to be all about.

5. My new favorite journaling pens are Bic Mark-its.

Amy Powell said...

1. I LOVE cosmo cricket!

2. I just started machine stitching on my layouts and I love how much it adds to the page.

3. I mainly scrapbook about my two boys. In fact, I only have 2 pages in my book, and they were both from classes!

4. It's kinda hard to share a table with my mom at crops. She's a bit of a table hog :)

5. I love that I got my mom into scrapbooking!!!

LeAnne Smith said...

1. I have paper that I love so much that I haven't been able to cut it up.

2. I'm going on my first overnight crop weekend getaway next month with some new found scrappin' friends... better tell them I snore!

3. I've got lots of beautiful pages made (thanks to your sketch books) that I haven't put pictures on.

4. I hide lots of my purchases from my husband... hee, hee!

5. I read way too many blogs on a daily basis when I should really be scrapping so I can stop saying I never have time to scrap!

Thanks for sharing your great idea for "kits". Over the next month, I'm going to do that so I'll be ready to actually put together some pages at my weekend crop next month!

reen said...

1. Also dying to take a roadtrip to your store.
2. Can't leave a scrapbook store without buying adhesive, I've a fear of running out. (Huge stash in my supplies).
3. LOVE pattern paper, but scared to use it much.
4. Can't seem to do a layout without a sketch. (Love yours btw).
5. Planning to scrap some of my babies pictures this summer. Youngest baby is 25. Never scapped any of them though. Wish me luck.

Amy said...

Loved reading your post!

1. I am a die-hard chronological scrapbooker!

2. Because I scrapbook mainly at crops, I make a page kit for every layout I do.

3. I pre-planned all my layouts while traveling in the car. I write it all down in a notebook, complete with title & embellishment ideas, journaling notes and scraplifting/sketch ideas. If I ever lose this notebook it will be catastrophic!

4. Love stitching on layouts but am either too lazy or intimidated to attempt it.

5. I am still searching for the perfect adhesive (after 12 years of scrapbooking!).

Kel said...

1. Started in 2001 in MN with a couple other coworkers. My SIL had been encouraging me to start waaaaay before that.
2. I Love to ink edges w/ distress ink
3. Fav scrap moment: scrappin' with friends in MN and one of them spilled her wine on the table... I yelled "Save the E!" after spending a LOT of painstaking time cutting out my letters with that darn Fiskars cutter and plastic template.
4. MME is my favorite paper line.
5. I LOVE using coupons for as much scrappy stuff as I can!

Kim M said...

I love reading and getting to know how your creative mind works and getting to know you better as a scrapbooker and as a person. Thanks for the glance into your life.

Five random scrap related things about me.

1. I never eat/drink while I scrap.

2. I always must use pp on all my layouts, usually at least 3 different sheets.
3. My middle child is the one who got me started in scrappin.
4. 9 times out of 10 if I use a sketch, I must follow it exactly, I am sooo OCD, even when it comes to scrappin.
5. I love to scraplift, it takes all the thinking out of it for me and really helps me to relax.

Michelle Dorland said...

1. I got my scrapbook room when my daughter graduated from highschool and went to college and furnished my room for $31.50. :)

2. I love stitching also. Just the smallest stitching details add so much.

3. I love looking at other peoples ideas. Seeing how other peoples idea give inspiration when sometimes you need a starting point.

4. I would have never thought of keeping sketching book? Wow! Ali what a great thought! That forsure is a ah haw moment!!!

5. I love pattern paper too! I have a truck load! That would be my addiction!!

Scrapthat said...

That was a totally fascinating read Allison!!
Five random scrap facts eh?
Hmmm...
1. I often stick to the rule of threes or thirds..if I can't cut a piece of PP I turn it over to the least liked side and cut a 4" strip out of it.
2. I like using new techniques whenever I find something that inspires me.
3. I'm a little addicted to punches, hand made flowers, and mists at the moment.
4. I am constantly on the hunt for embellishments in non scrapbooking places.
5. I've recently been using some of your sketches that you have posted and have found that they make a ho hum set of pictures into a LO that is much better than I expected looking at the pictures....So Thank you!!!
:)

Anonymous said...

!. I love border punches
2. I started scrapbooking the Creative Memories way. But as soon as I read a scrapbook magazine I had to have all the neat embellishments in the marketplace
3. I scraplift a lot.
4. So far I have only scrapbooked my grandchildren, Hoping to get to my kids, my husband and myself some day.
5. I've had lots of hobbies but this is my favorite.

Kathy R

goldyfish said...

1. I am addicted to buying supplies and am currently making myself use some of what I have.
2. I am pretty new to this and have only done a few LO's, but have made several cards.
3. I am addicted to blogs and youtube. I love watching what everyone is doing. The worst part is I don't get much done watching everyone else.
4. I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I used one of your sketches on the Fiskateers website and at first it made it hard. I was trying to do a Allison Davis LO. When I decided to use the sketch as a starting point for my own, man was it ever so much better.
5. I don't have a sketchbook, but sure want one. I think now that I have learned to use it as a starting point instead of copying, it will be very useful.

sandyh50 said...

1. I am a random scrapper not chronological, I find pics and then do a layout. Or I do a layout and then find pics!
2. I have seriously been scrapping for almost 2 years.
3. I really like have a group of gals at my house once a month to scrapbook, eat, talk, and laugh.
4. I already took the recliner out of my living room to have more room for tables for my friends.
5. I am seriously thinking of taking the entertainment center out of my living room too!LOL

nanapatty said...

1. One of my favorite things to use is Thickers. I, too, have a bazillion of them.
2. I mainly do 2 page layouts, almost always using a sketch.
3. I like to lay my finished layouts on my treadmill in my scraproom (since I don't walk on the treadmill often enough).
4. I don't journal very often on my pages.
5. I love to scrap with my daughter (I am the table hog!)

Anonymous said...

1. I've been scrapbooking since 2002 when my mother-in-law gave me "starting" supplies for my birthday.
2. I love my circle punches
3. I can't cut a straight line to save my life
4. I had 2 girls and then a boy and man am I struggling with boy pages . . . I always want to add a flower or a butterfly!
5. I hope my kids one day look back through their books and feel like they had an amazing childhood!
6. (oops)I currently use scrapbooking as therapy! My husband is in Iraq and I find that I'm happiest after I scrapbook. That's why I get up at 4:30 to do it!

Thanks for the chance to win!!
Barb M.

tobybaldwin77 said...

1. I recently stopped by your store on my way to Oklahoma (I live in Illinois), I loved seeing your layouts in person. They are beautiful and I was able to purchase a couple of the sketch books. I'm exicted about having them.
2. I use a lot of black and white CS when I scrapbook.
3. The colors I gravitate towards when I scrapbook are the ones that my house is decorated in. That's a little funny to me.
4. I'm in a creative rut at the moment, can't get motivated to scrapbook for some reason.
5. I like those little jellyroll pens that make everything sparkle.

Anonymous said...

1. I have enough supplies to open a store (ok.. a little exagerated).
2. I stop at your store on my way to Arkansas to see my daughter/family.
3. I also like Brenda Arnall.I agree her pages are timeless.
4. I mostly scrap about grandchildren.
5. I have "covered up" many mistakes.

Linda from KS

Beatrice said...

1) I love pattern paper and can't stop buying more
2) I almost always scrap 2 pg layouts with multiple photos
3) I love mini albums and always have at least one in progress
4) I still have the first album I made 12 years ago using construction paper and markers- boy has my stash grown since then lol
5) I finished my husband's "All About Me" album before my own- it went so fast because I had him do all the journalng for it...still trying to finish mine 3 years later lol

Melanie said...

I'm so excited for sketch week!!

1. I started scrapping after I saw my cousin's mission scrapbook.
2. I've been published a few times.
3. I quit scrapping for about 4 years until my first son was born (the pages got a bit boring of just hubby and me)
4. I don't own an electronic die-cut machine.
5. My 3 year old likes to scrap with me (okay he just likes to cut paper and use my punches too)

holly b said...

1. I have been scrapping since 1998.
2. I love patterned paper too!
3. I am not very creative so I use sketches a lot.
4. I spend too much time on one layout.
5. My favorite manufacturer is Basic Grey.

Anonymous said...

1. I have a huge ribbon obsession. We're talking jars upon jars and I still never seem to have the right one for a project sometimes.

2. I use buttons or brads on every page I make.

3. My favorite cardstock colors are Bazzill Parakeet and White. Yes, I said white.

4. Over a year ago, I bought a sewing machine to use on my layouts and haven't figured out how to use it yet. Oh, the shame... My sister used it to make curtains though so I guess it wasn't a total loss.

5. My husband says that if I scrapbooked from today until the day I died, I would never use all of the supplies that I have (and he's probably right - LOL!).

Thanks for sharing your random facts and for the opportunity to win your book!

K in PA

Melanie said...

What fun to read about your scrapping history :)

1. My 5th child has almost as many pages as my other kids in their albums--he is only 18 months!

2. I love to buy stamps but rarely use them on my pages.

3. I have yet to find the perfect album.

4. I love to sew on my pages.

5. I dream of going to MO and KY to visit your store and an online friend.

Have a fabulous weekend!

AndreaFriebus said...

1.My favorite color is pink, but it is the color I use least in scrapbooking.
2.Somehow, mini brads end up on almost every layout I make.
3.I have a serious idea book addiction.
4.I really wish I hadn't bought all those paper slabs from Michaels all those years ago.
5.My favorite supply is patterned paper!

I would so love it if you did an idea book! I really love your work and you have helped me with my double page spreads so much! If the book becomes a reality and you need contributors, I'm available!;)

Steff said...

I enjoyed reading about your scrapbooking history! Thanks for sharing! Now it's my turn:
1. I used to cut my adhesive tabs in half to conserve $---now I know the importance of using enough adhesive the first time!
2. I LOVE to use sketches, but I don't sketch myself---there is so much wonderful talent out there to borrow!
3. I, too, have a Thickers addiction.
4. I can't stand not having things straight or evenly spaced when thats the look I'm going for---I will remove and re-adhere until I get it right!
5. I like a fairly tidy scrap space and will put things away as I go so as not to "clutter" my creative process.

Christel said...

Wow, I can't believe next week is Sketch Week already! Yea! :)

1. I used to think it was stupid for people to spend money for pretty papers, etc. to put their pictures on and couldn't understand why scrapbooking supplies took up so many aisles in JoAnn Fabrics. Putting pictures in a photo album and calling it done was much smarter and economical. Boy, have I changed my thoughts on that! lol!

2. I resisted the urge to "start a new hobby" since I was already an avid cross stitcher and have a ton of supplies/patterns for stitching. The only speck of interest I had in scrapbooking was to possibly make a recipe scrapbook someday. Until one morning when I was in a bargain outlet store and they had a ton of beautiful albums, stickers, etc. for sale for cheap. There was another mom there saying her son had just started school and now would be a good time to scrapbook his baby pictures. My daughter was 6 at the time and I said I already cross stitch and don't "need" another hobby. I decided to look through the supplies on the table anyway and the wheels started turning in my head. Before you know it I came home with a ton of stuff (including a beautiful 12x12 baby album - lol!), checked out every book on scrapbooking at the local library because I wanted to know how to use all this stuff - and what the heck do you use brads for anyway?? lol! I read each one cover-to-cover, read everything else on scrapbooking that I could get my hands on, including the internet and soon scrapbooking grew into a full blown addiction for me. Now here it's a little over 1-1/2 years later and I can't remember the last time I picked up a needle to cross stitch (which I used to do every evening). Now how did that happen?? lol!

3. I love border punches and use them all the time.

4. I love learning new (to me) techniques and using them on my layouts. I love how this hobby is never boring and there's always something cool and new to learn. I'm not a fast scrapper because I enjoy the process. I love inking my edges, stitching (of course), and painting/glittering chipboard.

5. My next scrapping endeavor is going to be - mini albums. I've been watching tons of vids on YouTube these past several months and look forward to making them myself. I love how you can get lots of pics in a small amount of space. They look like alot of fun. :)

Kari D. said...

1. I have a huge house and I don't like to clean...yeah, it's a little bit messy right now.

2. I have a huge family and I love the noise they make when swimming in the pool all summer.

3. I have two amazing sisters (in laws) that make me feel like I have real sisters.

4. I love my full time job teaching first/second graders so much I never have to set an alarm to get up in the morning.

5. I love steak but hate the way cows/all animals are treated when being raised for food. My heart is vegetarian; my stomach is not. conflict!

9isfine@sbcglobal.net

kirstendrew said...

1. I love patterned paper more than you ;P
2. I don't like purple, in general, on my LOs.
3. I hate my handwriting, but am lazy enough to use it occasionally on a LO.
4. My DD gets more LOs than her 2 brothers just because she is so willing to have her photo taken.
5. I own 3 Ott lights!

kroller said...

Allison,
I love reading your posts...no matter how long. I also started making sketches a long time ago but never really put them to paper (don't tell anyone, they are all sitting just waiting to be used in some (gasp) UN-organized box) LOL I am always amazed at what you come up with and can't wait until MONDAY!!
Amy

Robbin said...

1. I am addicted to white cardstock!

2. I have been "scrapbooking" since 1991, long before I really knew what scrapbooking was! My first scrapbook was made with rubber cement, and construction paper :)

3. I usually only scrapbook during the summer, while I am on school vacation.

4. I just found my style last year, after 8 years of scrapping!

5. I use double sided photo tabs for adhesive, I have never understood the tombo, ATG, and other fancy thingies :)

Thank you for another peek into what makes YOU...well...YOU :)

wendy said...

1. I hardly ever get my pages journaled. I do the layouts at the crops and say I'll journal later and it never happens.
2. I've made more albums for gifts than I currently have for myself.
3. I've never used thickers, stickles, or the mists. But I want to.
4. I have a scrapbook room but do most of my work at the dining room table.
5. A lot of my tools have been birthday and Christmas gifts from my mom.

mmspiker said...

Thanks for letting us see the person behind the designer. It helps us to connect with you on a personal level.

1. I could never buy another piece of paper and still have more than enough to last my lifetime. I think I am addicted to paper, cheaper than shoes.
2. I just discovered doing layouts from sketches and it is like opening a door to a new world.
3. I started in stamping and didn't think I would ever cross over. Now the stamps are untouched in the closet.
4. I read the scrapbooking blogs alongside my husband who is reading the Mac and tech blogs.
5. I go to scrapbooking conventions with my sister as mini-vacations and learn new techniques there and have bonding time.

I wish I lived closer and would totally attend your Saturday classes and Scrap-a-palooza.

TerriB said...

1. I have been scrapbooking for several years, but it seems that I have very little done.
2. Sometimes i forgot that we don't have to scrapbooking everything.
3. But I am afraid of forgetting all of the wonderful memories that our family has (my great grandmother has alzheimer's and no longers remembers who we are)
4. I need to get better about using patterned paper.
5. I tend to me a little OCD with my organization of supplies and my need to plan everything.

kate said...

1. I think creative memories albums are the best.
2. You can never have too much paper.
3. I really want to try some copics.
4. Some paper I buy, I try and save for the "perfect page," but isn't every page perfect in one way or another.
5. I probably put too many pictures on one page, but I like to use them all. I am getting better at being more choosy.

Marti said...

Loving reading about you, Allison! Thanks for sharing!
Mine:
1. I am obsessed with Kraft CS- I love to touch it and smell it everytime I use it.
2. I prefer handwritting my journaling- I wish that I had more of my mom's handwritting to me, so I hope my kids will appreciate it someday.
3. I have to have Sprees or Sweet-tarts candy around me when I scrap (no other food product!- I lol about your cheez-it mishap- so been there!)
4. I scrap late at night- the only me time I can find lately. Yes, I lose sleep, but I love my creative outlet much more than sleep!
5. I dream of doing this hobby full time- I want to be able to spend 5 hours a day scrapping, too!

Alison said...

1. I love to finish the last of something and throw away the packaging.
2. I love Thickers.
3. I like to scrapbook everyday and am disappointed when I can't.
4. I love to sew on los with my machine.
5. Red is one of my favorite colors to use on a lo.

Tracey said...

You asked for it... I'm a perfectly neurotic, committed scrapbooker and I have the facts to prove it....

1. I purchased everything in the Creative Memories catalog (it was just about the only game in town in those days!) when my son was born in 1998. I couldn't wait to get started but there was never enough time... At 5 months Jack was hospitalized with Encephalitis and our lives changed forever. My dreams for my son were shattered (or so I thought) and time stood still. Jack was blind and his overall prognosis was grim. One day my husband asked, "Why aren't you scrapbooking Jack's baby album?" What a great wake up call that was! From that moment on, I SCRAPBOOKED AND JOURNALED every moment of Jack's little life. What a gift it was. It provided a much needed distraction, scratched my creative itch, put things in perspective and documented a truly miraculous recovery. Jack's life has been a crazy journey, but suffice it to say that he not only SEES his baby scrapbooks but he READS them too. Thank Goodness my husband cared enough to "kick" me into the scrapbooking world!

2. I meticulously track my scrapbooking progress (yes, I used to be a "bean counting" accountant!) and I have the excel spreadsheets to prove it! They really are too embarassing to share but they do exist. Can you say "Obsessive Compulsive?"

3. My daughter was born in 2001. We weren't a "digital household" yet, so all of her hospital photos were on 5 precious rolls of film. As soon as I could, I dropped them off at Long's to be developed. When they were ready I raced over to pick them up. I ripped open the envelope at the counter and found lovely photos of some stranger's graduation! Needless to say I had a heart attack. The people behind the counter simply shrugged and said, "It happens sometimes...." I swear I stopped breathing. How could life go on with out proof of Jessica's first moments of life?!? It was a VERY bad scene.
I called my husband and he thought someone had died... I did the only thing I could, I sent my 6'5", 300+LB, attorney husband to Long's with very clear orders... "Do not return without the photos!" He was too scared to argue. Miracles do happen and he returned an hour later with my photos. To this day, I do not know how he made it happen but I sure can conjure up the panic and despair of contemplating life without those pictures. It would not have been pretty!

4. I love clean lines and lots of color - making Scenic Route one of my all time favorite scrapbook companies. At an Expo my girlfriends introduced me to Sarah Milne as her "Stalker!" It was very embarassing, but many months later I received a small note from her letting me know that I was her very favorite stalker. I was very pleased.

5. Lastly, my scrapbooks are really more about the album than the page. I have managed to create some beautiful layouts (if I do say so myself), but what I really treasure is the completed album and the story they tell. My poor husband (I do love the guy!) has clear orders.... If the house is burning down go get the kids, my daughter's blanket (I'm sure all you mother's out there undestand!) and my scrapbooks. Everything else can burn to the ground!!!

Amy Alvis said...

1. I've been scrapbooking since 1998.

2. I haven't scrapbooked in almost a year because I've been too busy with teaching a new grade level this past year. I hope to get lots done this summer!

3. I create a layout for almost every layout that I complete.

4. I'm a very simple scrapper.

5. Love geometric pattern paper.

dawn said...

Thanks for letting us know Allison, I hate it when the computers don't work for us. What a bummer, I will TRY to wait paitently. Can't wait to see your new sketch!!

Cindy Leggett said...

Been a scrapbooker for as long as I can remember, but barely have any albums completed.

Introduced to scrapbooking at a CM Party. I still love their albums.

Don't scrap in order but pages must be in order.

Not gotten into all the new techniques.

Love sketches. Can't scrapbook without them.

Amy from KC said...

Thanks for letting us know, Ali. I logged on, and thought I had an internet issue. Nope, everything checked out just fine. So then I checked the blog to see if it wasn't this week. Nope, the last thing you wrote was Sketch week on Monday. Then I checked the SG blog. Cool news on the Wise Guys, but no mention of sketch week. I was just sitting here thinking about calling the store to make sure you, the kids, and the fam. were all ok when I saw there were new comments...phew. Blogger down is inconvenient, but not a disaster - much better than a sick kid, injured loved one, fire...

Suffice it to say I'm glad you are ok. DON'T STRESS about the sketch week thing. We love it, we want it, but we can wait until it posts. Cue the music..."I will survive, as long as I know how to love...hey hey." :)

dawn said...

I agree with Amy, at first I was worried too but saw your new message right away. We can wait Allison no worries, it's always worth the wait. I'm so busy with these 3 kids and babysitting cousin too so whenever is ok.

Jannie McGibbon said...

1. I'm a proud Auntie of five and most of my scrapbooks are of those precious kids. What I love is that when they look at they books, they see themselves and/or the event, not the color of paper or font I chose. My goal is that they feel loved and celebrated.
2. I'm wife to a patient man who works 12 hour days, rides his bike both ways most days, and still comes upstairs when he gets home to see what I created when I ask him to.
3. I'm a dog mommy to the sweetest boston terriers and they have no idea how many LO's their pictures are made part of as they snooze peacefully under my scrapping table.
4. I'm a former quilter who finds each LO a quilt of sorts. However, scrapbooking offers far more instant gratification!
5. I have bunches of great rubber and clear stamps that I adore but NEVER use. How goofy is that?

Honestly, I have filled more than 6 scrapbooks this past year and I could never have done it without your sketches, Allison. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us.

GaMtnScrap said...

I have enjoyed reading about you and how you got started. And I know exactly how you feel about pictures of your dad and Drew, I'm in the same boat. My dad died when my son was only 9 months old, and I only have one picture of them together. So, I know how you feel!

Here's my 5 sb'ing secrets about myself:

1. I actually started sb'ing when I was 14, but didn't know that's what I was doing or what it was called (it was before the hobby as we now know it took off).

2. When the sb'ing craze first took off, I was introduced to it by a friend, and I snubbed it! Now, I can't get enough of it! Glad I came to my senses!

3. I didn't mean to get started in sb'ing, I was only going to do "just this one project" with pictures from my (2nd) wedding. Famous last words.....

4. I'm obsessed with shopping for sb'ing supplies. It doesn't matter what store I'm in, even the grocery store, I'm looking for things I can use in my sb'ing!

5. Sometimes when my husband is telling me about his day at work, all I'm really thinking about is sb'ing...like how that pattern or color of his shirt would make a nice sb page background, etc. Shhh....don't tell him I'm not really listen.....

GC said...

1. I did my first scrapbooks when I was in grade school - more than 50 years ago - and I still have two or three of them.
2. My daughter got me started on "modern" scrapbooking in 1999. That year, I did two albums as I was spending six months in England. Talk about supplies being hard to find. Back then and over there, they were nonexistent.
3. Now my daughter, my 15-year-old granddaughter and I love to scrapbook together - although with all their school and church activities, I get to do more of it than they do.
4. There are fewer photos of me in my scrapbooks than anyone else. But I plan to do a ME book and rectify that, at least for that book.
5. Some of my best friends are scrapbookers, and some of my favorite times are when we all crop together. Always good times, good food and good fun. And chocolate.