I love the idea of scrapbooking. The act, however, is another matter.
I’m a photo junkie. I finally joined the digital age a few years ago, and found that my little pocket-sized Canon takes great pictures when I need action shots of my nieces and nephew (which, at this age, is all of their shots) or when I’m trying to take pictures in the car. Generally, though, I’m pretty old school. I have an old 35mm camera and I like to shoot black and white. I wish I had a dark room, because I love the process of developing photos by hand, but I’ve settled on an amazing independent photo lab about 30 minutes away that does an outstanding job.
The trouble is, after all of the above, by the time I get my pictures and hurriedly flip through them, I’m about spent. They get filed in a box or drawer (or, when I’m feeling especially adventurous, an album), and I always mean to do something with them, but that something doesn’t usually happen. I love scrapbook stores – the rows of pretty papers, dainty ribbons, and scads of pens and markers, stickers and doodads – but after spending a fortune on the aforementioned embellishments, I just look at my stack of stuff, think “now what?” and put it away to gather dust. I think the problem is organization. When I see scrapbooked things that I really really love, they’re sort of meticulous – well planned, strategized, and executed. As much as scrapbooking is an artistic endeavor, the words “planned” and “strategized” do not ever fit into my personal artistic process. That’s true of any of my artistic pursuits – my photographic impulses are always just that, spontaneous impulses; my writing is usually mulled over, but procrastinated until the last moment and then moltenly formed in artistic fury (that’s how it feels at least, I’m sure the visual is far less poetic); I usually paint without much structure or plan (I have the finished products to prove this). For me, art is abandon, and when I apply that process to scrapbooking, the results are disastrous (evidence available on this as well).
My Aunt Tina (my neighbor and second mom) is a crafty lady (in the good, non-sneaky sense). She can sew or embroider anything (she made me the most amazing beaded evening bag for my graduation this weekend, I’m still stupefied), and she also scrapbooks, stamps, and makes the most lovely and ornate handmade cards. I was resistant to this idea of handmade cards at first – I have worked at Hallmark in two stints, for what seems like an eternity; it was actually my first job at the age of 14. So, the point is, I have seen a lot of cards and given even more of them. I believe in cards - I think they’re a fabulous way to brighten someone’s day, celebrate life’s milestones, and even share in its sorrows – but I had been so indoctrinated into the social idea of getting cards that I felt you had to buy them – handmade cards were for little kids or gag gifts. If you really cared, you went to Hallmark, right? (Brand loyalty also gave me serious issues with giving and receiving non-Hallmark cards, which I have since worked through. )
I celebrate stationery. I love receiving handwritten notes and letters. So eventually Aunt Tina converted me – little glitter details, hand painted or die cut details, three dimensional layouts – those were treasures. I still buy most of my cards, but years of reveling in Aunt Tina’s little gems has steered me to a new card-buying strategy – she spends hours and hours on her well-wrought masterpieces, and they’re a private affair, only for the closest friends and family, but it turns out there are others out there with similar gifts that take pity on the scrapbooking-challenged masses like me and sell their little wonders.
I first discovered this and many other things through the wonder that is Etsy. For me, and many others, Etsy has been a shopping epiphany. Not just because you can get all sorts of fabulous things and make custom orders from your laptop whilst in your pajamas, but because it shows that if you want something, odds are that someone, somewhere is making that something. So you can find exactly the right gift and support an independent artisan in the process. And again, not have to get out of your jammies. A few years back, I started ordering stationery, notecards, and the occasional occasion card from Etsy and my sister and her family have gotten some of the cutest personalized stationery as a result of my modified card-buying.
Now, where in the name of all that is holy, am I going with this? Stay tuned, I’m almost there. I had a job awhile ago – it was one of those things where leaving was one of the best decisions I have ever made – but I had amazing clients and some truly terrific coworkers. I was blessed to be connected with some wonderful people that are still a part of my life, one of these awesome people is Sarah, who just happens to be a scrapbooking, card-making, phenom.
Sarah went through some crazy life stuff in the last year (seriously, ca-razy), but she just keeps plugging, and smiling, and in true Journey fashion, hasn’t stopped believin’. Sarah is one of those turn-those-lemons-into-lemonade-type gals, and instead of losing her marbles, she got down to business, and started one – Sarah’s Memory Makers. Sarah makes all sorts of really lovely goodies – including invitations, cards, scrapbook pages and shadowboxes. She must have some sort of scrapbooking gene that I missed, because she is somehow able to make these lovely things without a master plan. But wait, there’s more! Sarah’s products are so reasonably priced, that with shipping, it’s STILL cheaper than going to the store! Why would you even want to bother with a card store? (My guess is, you won’t.)
So maybe you don’t really care what the card you pick up for Steve in Accounting’s birthday happens to look like, but you probably would like something special for your best friend’s birthday or your brother’s wedding. So I encourage you to scroll down, meet Sarah, and check out her inventory. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, get in touch with her (email@example.com), I know she’d love to work with you!
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I’m currently unemployed, and I’ve been scrapbooking since high school. It’s a real passion of mine, so I thought: why not turn something I love into a business?
What are you most proud of about your business and why?
I’m most proud about the fact that it’s completely mine. All of the ideas, layouts, designs, everything, come from me. I do all of the work.
What concepts or ideas are important to your business?
Hard work and time. A business isn’t made over night. I didn’t just develop these skills in the last month. It’s something I’ve learned over years of doing something I love. You have to work at what you do, even if it is something that comes naturally. Not everything comes out the way you want it to.
Where do you get inspiration for your products?
I honestly don’t know. I usually pick a topic, like “wedding,” then pick a piece of cardstock, and go from there, piecing everything together. I don’t lay everything out beforehand, or sketch anything. It just comes together as I go, and if it doesn’t look right, I throw it out of the mix.
What is the best part about being indie?
You get to be yourself.
The most difficult?
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started?
Which types of products were going to take off and which weren’t. And that craft shows really are a big hit.
Tell us something about Sarah’s Memory Makers that people may not know.
While my products are so neat and always put together, my workspace is very messy and haphazard. I work best that way. I always know where everything is though. I never misplace a certain piece that I wanted to include in a project. And no two items are ever the same. All of my items are individually handcrafted and unique.
What is a business that really inspires you and why?
I typically get my supplies for Michael’s or Joann’s. They have a lot in the way of your normal embellishments and paper. But, if I’m looking for things that are unique and things that I can’t find at either of those places, I go down the street to a Scrapbook store called Scrappy Chic. It’s usually the last stop because it has the ability to inspire me to become creative even when I don’t feel like it that day. I typically find little gems I’ve been looking for, or don’t know I’ve been looking for to incorporate in that frame, or card, or special project. It’s a little haven I could spend hours in.
How does your personality come through in your products?
I’m very colorful, and even in my pieces that are black and white, they aren’t dull pieces – they always have a lot of life in them. I think that accurately portrays who I am.
What is coming soon for Sarah’s Memory Makers?
I’m thinking of starting pre-made scrapbook pages. Greeting cards are my biggest sellers right now, so I am looking into doing things that don’t take too much time away from focusing on those.
Sarah is also participating in a really cool fundraiser for the American Cancer Society on June 2, it’s called Shop & Crop, and you can get more info from the flyer below. Keep scrolling down to see some samples of Sarah’s work, make sure to “like” Sarah’s Memory Makers and Indie Maven on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out Sarah’s Etsy shop, which has pages and pages of goodies!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll take your next card up a notch
(Fabulous font in the lovely pink header is MTF Cupcake from Miss Tiina Fonts. Check out her fun fonts!)