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P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! Is this exciting week really over? Say it isn’t so! While all good things must come to an end, we hope you’ve been inspired by the amazing sketches and projects we’ve featured this week. If anything, maybe it’s jump-started your creative battery and you’ve found yourself viewing sketches in a whole new light. Because let’s face it…the possibilities are endless! 

Like Jennifer mentioned yesterday, we do often get caught up in “magazine” time, which is usually 6-7 months ahead of “real” time. Being able to read your comments and see the blog traffic (thank you, by the way!) is thrilling for us because we get to relive the fun of putting together Go-to Sketches. And as you’ve seen from some of the behind-the-scenes photos this week, a good great time was definitely had by all! 

Speaking of “all”…we must thank our fabulous Go-to Gals for all their hard work this week. Someone referred to them as the “Go-to Geniuses” and I think this is an accurate description. (And if we ever get tired of the Go-to Gal title, we’ve got a something else to consider!) We’re gathering for another editorial board meeting in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to see my sweet GTGs! 

Okay, I’ve rambled long enough…you know it’s Friday, you know it’s coming…”What’s Kelly giving away today,” you ask? Well, I’ve got a special treat for all my Paper Crafts Connection peeps. On Moxie Fab World this week, Cath mentioned our exclusive Go-to Sketches sponsor: Doodlebug Design. In addition to creating some adorable ads for this special issue (in which they used their product to create projects from our sketches!), they took it one step further and are now offering the Go-to Sketches Card Companion Kit. This kit allows you to make ALL 18 Doodlebug cards that are featured in Go-to Sketches. And I’ve got three kits to give away to three lucky winners! PLUS, each winner will receive TWO copies of Go-to Sketches! One to keep and one to give to a friend! All you have to do is leave a comment naming a new blog you discovered from this week’s blog hop. All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Sunday, April 11.

Three lucky winners will take home this fun prize package!

Happy Friday!
Kelly 

P.S. The sketch fun continues on Monday when we spotlight the winners from our first ever Go-to Sketch Challenge! We picked two winners per sketch, so stay tuned to see which four projects really impressed us! And if you feel like participating in Cath’s Go-to Sketches Week Challenge, she’s accepting entries until midnight (MDT) on Monday, April 26. Click HERE for more details!

Jennifer Schaerer

Jennifer Schaerer

We try not to, but sometimes we get so focused on publishing our magazines that we lose sight of the final product once it’s “out there.” We’re so used to Christmas in July and Mother’s Day in December that we’re always well on our way to the next inspiring issue. 

That wasn’t the case with Go-to Sketches. From the very first moment we sat down to discuss the concept, we were giddy with anticipation. It all came together so perfectly, including the photo shoot that coincided with our annual editorial board meeting. As Paper Crafts Go-to Gal Teri Anderson said, it was an instant connection for our newly-minted Go-to Gals even though they had never been all together as a group before. 

Oh, the laughter! The teasing! 

And, of course, the primping. Since these six lovely ladies had to pose not only for their official headshots (the black and whites we use here and in the magazine), but also the colorful opener shots AND group shot for Go-to Sketches, you can only imagine the quick changes and hair brushing going on. 

Brian Smith of BPD Studios

Brian takes a test shot and looks back at the monitor to check the lighting.

Luckily, our intrepid photographer Brian Smith of BPD Studios is not only talented but a really good sport. He and Matt are the Dynamic Duo of girly stuff whenever a Paper Crafts issue heads for the studio. It might even bring out the best in him, but he’ll never admit it…right, Brian? Hee hee! He definitely brought out the best in our Go-to Gals, though.

Go-to Sketches group shot

One of many attempts at a group shot. Can't you just hear the laughter?

Then it was on to the individual shots for the section opening pages. Not only were there six boisterous Go-to Gals in the studio, there was also an audience of editors to help keep things lively. 

The audience

Is it any wonder there are dozens of outtakes for each one of these shots?

And here’s your insider secret for the day: although the final shots in the issue are just beautiful and appear effortless, each one was meticulously arranged and checked on the monitor. 

Checking the monitor

Matt, Brian and stylist Claudia Daniels check the all-white set on the monitor.

It was only after their shots were complete that the Go-to Gals remembered to have a quick bite to eat. After all, we literally whisked them straight from the airport right to the studio and then ordered them to smile pretty. 

Maren and Jess taking a break

Maren, is that a little lettuce between your teeth? Just kidding!

This has truly been a fun and fulfilling journey bringing this very special issue from early concept last August to the newsstand a few weeks ago. Your other insider secret for the day: we’ve got something else up our collective sleeves for later this summer, so you might want to hang around and find out more. Shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, though. 

If you haven’t already gotten your copy of Go-to Sketches, you can check out our sneak peek HERE. (Psst…today’s the last day for the 20% off plus free shipping offer! Just enter the promotion code “SKETCH20” HERE.) 

I’m sending heartfelt thanks to our fantastic group of Go-to Gals for making this week so much fun with all the blog hopping and exclusive new projects using some of the sketches from this issue, because we sure couldn’t have done this without the group effort. You ladies are the very best! 

And since our readers are the very best, too, I’ve got three more copies of Go-to Sketches to give away! Leave a comment telling me your favorite aspect of this promotional week (so far!). All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Friday, April 9. 

Jennifer 

P.S. The fun is just beginning! Hop over to Moxie Fab World as Cath talks about stretching a sketch to suit different styles, purposes, occasions, holidays, gender, age, etc. And the Go-to Gals each take a single sketch and turn it six different ways to create six unique new projects!

Jennifer Schaerer

I admit it — I struggle to write the editor’s note in each issue. Not because I’m ever short on words (just ask my long-suffering husband), but more that I want the message to be useful and relevant since that page is some pretty valuable real estate. I’m sure it would be better used on featuring a project or three, right? 

When I started doodling the figures for our newest special issue, hoping the numbers would tell me a story that translated into something worthy of this spectacular publication, I realized that the issue is really beyond the term “special.” 

It’s turned out to be what we hope will be a true collector’s item – a collaboration between 6 Go-to Gals, who each created 11 sketches, which were the inspiration for 60 other contributors that resulted in 282 magnificent projects. So, my sketchy math says that 6 x 11 + 60 = 282. 

So now you have 282 great reasons to get yourself a copy of Go-to Sketches

Get your own copy of Go-to Sketches at http://www.ShopScrapAndPaperCorner.com today!

There’s fun in every page, and talent at every turn. There’s more to come (you DO know that we like to throw little promotional parties here and on the Moxie Fab World blog when we have a new special issue, don’t you?) so I won’t reveal everything, but I will say that we had an absolute blast at the photo shoot for this one. The giggling, preening, teasing, and overall friendship between this energetic group of women was something to stand back and soak in. Getting a group shot was…well, probably as challenging as you imagine it would be. 

The good news is that we've got PLENTY of outtakes for future use!

We’ve heard that the issues are on the newsstands and in your LSS already, so run (don’t walk!) to the nearest one to get yourself a copy. You know I’ve probably got one to give away, right? And that I’ll probably ask you to leave me a comment for a chance to win it, right? And that you need to do that by midnight (MDT) this Thursday, March 25, right? 

Guess what? 

You’re right. 

Stay tuned for more fun to come,
Jennifer

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Magazine Monday! Is everyone getting excited for St. Patrick’s Day? Make sure you check back with us on Wednesday for Kim Hughes’ Groovin’ with the Go-to Gals post. She’s designed three cards using three different shades of green and will announce some fun challenges for anyone who wants to play along.

Since we’re in full St. Patty’s countdown mode, I thought I would share some of the cards we made at our last card group. I gave everyone the option of making either St. Patrick’s Day cards or cards of a different theme. The only catch…they all had to incorporate glorious green!

From left to right: Tracy's Luck Card, Rox's Green Clover Card, Beth's Celebrate Card and Andrew's Just Keep Swimming Card.

From left to right: Becky's Thoughts of You Card, Brenda's Green and Groovy Card, Brady's Thank You Leaf Card and Kalyn's Hello Tree Card.

From left to right: Jennifer's Masculine Birthday Card, my Love Helps Card and Megan's Graphic Hi Card.

Once again, we gathered around Jennifer's dining room table for a night of crafting.

Since new momma Brandy was at home with her new little man, she sat out last month’s card group. Which means…I just happen to have an extra set of these lovely green cards. Leave a comment telling me your favorite shade of green and I’ll pick one lucky person to take home all 11 cards! All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Tuesday, March 16.

Happy Monday!
Kelly

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of my Luck of the Irish post!

Jennifer Post (March 12, 2:03 p.m.)

Congrats, Jennifer! You’ve won Little Yellow Bicycle’s Lucky Me collection. I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Jennifer Schaerer

We’re a tight-knit team around here, and because of that we all feel like we’ve just had a baby.

Okay, not really.

But ohmygosh…we were so excited when Brandy let us know it was finally our turn to meet Cooper Kaleb Jesperson! Yesterday was the day, so we swung by a local restaurant to grab Brandy’s favorite meal and headed over to her house for lunch.

We were so enthralled with this little man that we almost forgot to eat.

Hi everyone! Meet Cooper!

Do babies get any sweeter than this?

Prying him away from Cath was the challenge of the day. Auntie Cath just loooooves babies!

Cooper loves him some Cath time!

Cooper was a great sport about being passed around, which is a good thing because the line of cradling arms was growing impatiently.

Ah, the experience of being a mom to three. Brenda swaddled Cooper and snuggled him right up!

Kelly in a focused moment with Cooper, trying to find the exact right spot for that binky while Brandy takes a break.

Hunger calls, though, and Cooper let us know when he was more than ready for Brandy to be back on duty.

Hey, you're not my mom.

So Brandy, in her deft and impossibly comfortable way, let Cooper join in the lunchtime occasion. And boy, can he ever mow through a bottle!

If someone can be a natural mother, Brandy is it!

Although we would have spent the entire afternoon at Brandy’s house, just admiring her little miracle and getting our Brandy “fix” until she returns to the office, we still had the small matter of a few magazines to produce.

So, we did what tight-knit teams do and grabbed a quick group shot with our new #1 little man.

Cooper and his harem of admirers

I spent the visit at a distance to protect Cooper from my late-season sniffles, but just being with Brandy and absorbing her happiness as a new mom was more than enough for me.

Since it really is the season for babies (and brides, too!), if you’re inspired to join the fun during our Babies and Brides Gallery Challenge, please do!

Basking in the baby bliss,
Jennifer

Jennifer Schaerer

It used to be that we only got a peek into the craft rooms of our readers via the survey we circulated once each year. That information was, and still is, like spun gold to us.  

The reason? It’s important that we bring you a series of regular issues and special interest publications showcasing just what you want to see, exactly when you want to see it.  

That right there has always been our challenge, mainly because we work about six or seven months in advance to orchestrate the perfect symphony of new products, trends and paper crafted projects that come together in a way that’s music to your ears.  

But now with this blog, Facebook, meet-and-greets at trade shows and very engaging message boards, we hear what you think on a much more frequent basis. And sometimes? We get feedback within minutes. Minutes.  

One thing we know for sure: you are STAMPERS.  

Lots of stampers swung by our booth at CHA to celebrate the release of Stamp It! Cards.

According to our most recent survey, 85% of you use stamping most often. Naturally, right behind that on the list of techniques is inking and aging, heat embossing and coloring images with markers. You stamp alphabets and backgrounds, but mostly it’s more like images and sentiments.  

Your favorite projects to make are cards, followed in distant second place by scrapbook layouts and then by gifts. If you were in charge of the magazine, you’d be sure that projects were more plentiful than anything else but techniques would be the thing that gave project count a run for its money.  

Here’s what we like best, though — you look through our magazine and decide to make a project you’ve seen because you’re inspired by the style. It’s an added bonus if you have the supplies on hand already.  

So I’m going to make it easy on you, and be sure that you’re both inspired by the style AND have the supplies on hand. How about some bright and cheerful stamps from American Crafts?  

Could you, perhaps, be inspired by the Herbs collection of clear stamps from American Crafts?

And since you’re all about heat embossing too, maybe you need some Zing:  

Meet the color Leaf -- it will be joined by friends Rouge, Wave, Apricot and Silver!

All you have to do is tell me what your stamp style is. Are you more fun and cute, clean and graphic, classy and elegant or shabby chic/vintage? I’m going to snag three of you who comment and send you not only the stamp set and Zing colors I mentioned above, but also a copy of Stamp It! Cards and one of our super duper extra special Stamp It! Cards buttons from CHA Winter. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Wednesday, Feb. 24.  

Maybe you’ll be inspired to the highest level and find your next project on one of our covers, just like Lynn Ghahary did with Stamp It! Cards.  

Cover Girl Lynn Ghahary with her very first showing!

Happy stamping, my friends!
Jennifer  

P.S. It’s time to hop over to the Moxie Fab World! I hear the Tuesday Trigger this week comes directly from the pages of Stamp It! Cards. Paper Crafts Go-to Gal Kim Hughes gains inspiration from one of Kimberly Crawford’s 12 gorgeous cards. There’s also an opportunity for two commenters to win four different Gina K Designs stamp sets!

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! Has this week flown by or what? Here at the office we’ve been busy with concept meetings, submissions judging meetings and a few product previews. There’s always something brewing, and that is most definitely a good thing. 

If you’re stamper, then I’ve got a very good thing coming your way! Stamp It! Cards Week officially kicks off next Monday. Our goal is to entice you to fall in love with our new special issue Stamp It! Cards. If the love fest is already going strong, then we hope you’ve been inspired to stamp some amazing cards of your own! 

Not only will we have a ton of stamping fun here, but we’re partnering with creative editor Cath Edvalson and her Moxie Fab World blog. Both sites will be doing designer spotlights, showing projects from the issue (as well as a few new ones!) and giving away some amazing prize packages. I think between Cath and I, we’re giving away over 50 stamp sets! 

Click on the cover image to reserve your copy today! Enter the coupon code "STAMPIT20" at check out and save 20%.

Next week on Paper Crafts Connection

Magazine Monday – Designer spotlight on stamper extraordinaire Kimberly Crawford. She has 12 (count ’em, ladies!) gorgeous cards in this issue and get this…her very first project was only published a year ago – in Stamp It! Cards 2009. How’s that for inspiring? 

Tuesday – Our fearless leader Jennifer Schaerer will give you highlights from our Stamp It! Cards promotion at CHA. She’ll also dissect our most recent reader survey and give you data on one of your favorite paper crafting techniques. Can you guess what technique I’m referring to? 

Wednesday – Miss Kim Kesti will show off her Beautiful Birds card from the “Tips from the Go-to Gals” section of Stamp It! Cards. She’ll talk about how she achieved the gradient stamping look and illustrate it with a brand new card. 

Thursday – New momma and managing editor Brandy Jesperson will spotlight some diverse projects from the “Stamp It! 3 Ways” section. Then the Paper Crafts Go-to Gals will show you how diverse they can be with their own Stamp It! 3 Ways challenge. Three gals were given one stamp set; three gals were given another. Stay tuned to see the results! 

Freebie Friday – Not sure if I can top last year’s jackpot of a giveaway, but I’m sure going to try! The Big One generated more comments (763!) than any other blog post…to date. Will Freebie Friday reign supreme again? 

Since I do love my Freebie Fridays, I’ve got some great prize packages today! Stampin’ Up! recently came to our office and left us some sweet stamping goodies. Leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to stamp: focal images, sentiments, backgrounds or all of the above. I’ll pick three lucky people to win Stampin’s Up’s Vintage Vogue stamp set, a stamping block and a charm and necklace set from their Simply Adorned collection. And a little inspiration to go with it…a copy of Stamp It! Cards and our fun CHA button. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Sunday, Feb. 21. 

Three lucky winners will take home this stampy prize package!

Happy Friday!
Kelly 

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of Jessica’s The Little Letter Sheet That Could post! 

Kimmie (Feb. 17, 5:56 a.m.) 

Congrats, Kimmie! You’ve just won a fun set of Thickers from American Crafts! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Jennifer Schaerer

Motherhood has been called the toughest job you’ll ever love, the most rewarding journey you’ll ever travel and the happiest time of your life. (With two little ones of my own, I wholeheartedly concur.) 

For those who’ve missed the past nine months around here, Brandy and her husband Dave are six days from bringing Baby J into the world and we’re almost as excited as they are to meet the little guy. 

Brandy and Dave in the home stretch!

There’s no doubt she’ll take on the challenges of mothering in the practical and organized way that is her trademark, becoming a pro in no time at all. 

Kinda like the way she handles her job here as managing editor. 

A job I’ll be doing for the next 12 weeks while she’s on maternity leave. 

Help. 

Truth be told, Brandy has even been so organized as to…well, organize the next 12 weeks of work I’ll need to cover. She’s gotten all the kinks out of our production schedule, she’s given writers all their deadlines and she’s even sent me appointments reminding me to set appointments. 

Now all I have to do is final edit all the writing, map the pages for each issue, create a list of all the project photos for the studio, compile the contracts for our writers and project contributors, get projects organized and delivered to our studio for photography, review first, second and final design proofs, review the final page layouts before they go to the printer, write a few columns, come up with headlines for our covers and organize our post-mortem meetings. For three months. 

Nooooooo problem. 

If you see our next three issues in your mailbox and on the newsstand, you can thank Brandy. I’ll be the one over there whimpering in the corner. 

Brandy, we sure will miss you while you’re gone but we’re so excited for you! 

Laughter, adorable baby clothes and lots of cupcakes at our shower for Brandy.

With my respect and appreciation for all you do around here, and love from all of us,
Jennifer 

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of Cath’s CHA Winter 2010: Trends by the Dozen post! 

Debbie Seyer (Feb. 9, 10:58 a.m.) 

Congrats, Debbie! You’ve won Cosmo Cricket’s new Material Girl collection! Kelly will be contacting you next week to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Susan R. Opel

In the last year, we’ve shared all sorts of crazy Paper Crafts fun with you. If you scroll through the last 12 months of our blog, you’ll see that we work really hard, but we also have lots of good times, too. Having a great job is all well and good, but when you can call your colleagues friends, that’s pretty stinkin’ cool.  

Kelly recently called me the team cheerleader (ooh, I like that title!), so I’ve gathered a synopsis of the silly, mundane and cool things that we’ve done since this blog’s inception.

Can I get a Go! Fight! Win! Paper Crafts

This is one of my favorite pictures of the Paper Crafts team.

We’ve had six interns in the last year, and each has brought her own personality to our team. I always loved seeing their blog posts with their impressions of what it’s like to work in our office. I think we’ve turned a few of them into paper crafters. But really, how can they resist? 

Thanks Courtney, Brynn, Lindy, Nicki, Melinda, and Sarie!

You also got the chance to look into our daily lives with meetings, an office tour, photo shoot preparation and us just generally loving each other. We keep busy in our offices and cubicles bringing you the magazine, but we take time to chit-chat sometimes, too. 

Getting the job done, Paper Crafts’s style

But we’re not confined to the office, no siree! We’ve been out in the world together on many occasions. A crew of us visited Disneyland, four of us saw Celine Dion in concert, the whole gang painted plates at a do-it-yourself pottery place, many of us participated in card group and we even had a field trip to the Making Memories office. 

We work and play hard!

As a card making magazine, it probably comes as no surprise that we LOVE to celebrate every little holiday possible. From Halloween (oh, those polygamist brides of Frankenstein!) to St. Patrick’s Day (any reason to dress in a theme) to the Super Bowl (don’t let that Steelers jersey fool you – Go COLTS!). 

Give us a holiday, and we’ll find a way to celebrate!

And what would we do without our friends? We love having visitors stop by, and when they do it’s hugs all around. When are you going to stop by? 

We love to grab a picture when friends stop by.

So what do you want to see in the upcoming months from the Paper Crafts team? I’ve got three new Imaginisce collections and three of our Betty t-shirts to give away to three lucky commenters. Leave a comment by Friday, Feb. 5 at midnight (MST), and you might just win! 

Your Paper Crafts cheerleader,
Susan

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner from Brandy’s A Year of Giving Back post!

Jess (Feb. 2, 8:53 a.m.)

Congrats, Jess! You’ve won two prize packages! One for yourself and one to give to a friend! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Jennifer Schaerer

Jennifer Schaerer

The energy wave from CHA is still rolling through our world, and we really enjoyed being able to connect with you in real time right here on our blog, on our Facebook fan page and with Twitter updates (Paper Crafts Go-to Gal Teri Anderson sure was busy with her tweets, wasn’t she?). Cath was updating the Moxie Fab World fan page on Facebook as well, so we hope you felt like you were at least right there with us in spirit. 

But spirit isn’t touchable or wearable, now is it? It sure would be nice if you maybe had something of your own from the show to make it all better, right? 

Shhhh…don’t tell anyone…I was just a little bit sneaky at the show and told a few teensy weensy itty bitty white lies about being out of certain buttons and t-shirts. And I also tucked away some card kits from our workshop…you know, just in case I might need them for something…something like a share-the-CHA-love giveaway right here on the Paper Crafts Connection blog! 

Whaddya think? Should I? 

Okay! Let’s do it! I’ve got t-shirts: 

Paper Crafts t-shirt

The shirt that advertises your priorities for all to see!

 I’ve also got some of each button we handed out: 

It's definitely time to get stampy!

Not now honey, I'm reading my Paper Crafts

Just in case the t-shirt doesn't say it all for you!

Paper Crafts Connection blog

Your home for all things paper crafty -- the Paper Crafts Connection blog!

And, to bring you right into the touch-it-feel-it part of CHA, I’ll also toss in the five card kits from Kim Hughes’ workshop so you can whip up some of your own: 

That's a custom sentiment drawn by Go-to Gal Kim Hughes!

Such a sweet gift card holder!

A quick and cute hello -- with another custom Kim Hughes drawing that you can color with markers!

A fun card using Cosmo Cricket's Early Bird collection

This card is simpler than it looks!

If you want one of these yummy CHA care packages, just let me know. Raise your hand and yell “Me! Me! Me!” or whatever it takes to get my attention. Leave a comment by midnight this Saturday, January 30 (which also happens to be the deadline for our 2010 Reader Survey — have you completed it yet?) and I’ll pick 10 random winners

Enjoy!
Jennifer 

P.S. Cath is featuring Kelly as an Editor’s Choice over on Moxie Fab World blog today. Click HERE to read all about her secret love affair with buttons! (And, yes, there’s a button giveaway!) 

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners of Teri’s Stamptastic Storage Solutions post! 

1. Jan B. (Jan. 20, 7:54 p.m.)
2. Diane S. (Jan. 21, 4:05 a.m.)
3. Shelly Abbs (Jan. 20, 9:55 a.m.) 

Congrats, winners! You’ve each won a copy of Stamp It! Cards! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

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