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Why I Quit My Kit Club

Earlier this spring, I made a big decision.

Cue dramatic pause.

I cancelled my subscriptions to the Studio Calico Scrapbook Kit and Project Life Kit. I had subscribed to at least one kit almost-continuously for the past 4 years.

Studio Calico was my introduction to modern papercrafting, helping me discover my scrapbooking style and define my own approach to "simple". I love this company's aesthetic and enjoy feeling challenged to try products out of my comfort zone.

Subscribing to a kit has saved me time in coordinating supplies and freed my imagination to focus on the stories first. While I wish the kits included more products from other manufacturers, I've been a happy customer overall.

So why did I quit? They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so my answer is this:

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and worse, this:

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I love pretty new supplies as much as anyone, but I'm also a big believer in roughly matching your shopping rate with your making rate. In other words, I try not to buy much more than I can use. By keeping my stash small I can avoid feeling overwhelmed by my stuff.... in theory.

The thing is, I had found myself stuck and not practicing what I preach. The guilt began to mount and honestly, I felt embarrassed that the kits were piling up. Since I'm not the most prolific scrapbooker, I had to make a change on the other end of the equation.

It wasn't easy, though. I had to wade through the murky waters of FOMO, dealing with a certain degree of anxiety about no longer getting the latest and greatest. Without being a subscriber, what deals would I miss? What if that next Project Life kit had a filler card with that perfect sentiment I've been waiting for?

Then I told myself to get a grip. Even though this hobby is serious business for me, it really only is paper and stickers.

As I let go, I began to feel calmly confident in the decision as well as a renewed excitement for my scrapbooking. Here's what I discovered from the process:

1. FOMO isn't real. There will always be more. Today's scrapbooking supplies are so evergreen and non-thematic that it's really only the color palette that changes month to month. What seems like a "must have" this month will be quickly upstaged by the next "must have" coming down the pike.

2. I can still buy one-off kits. Once I stopped being so dramatic about the decision, I realized that not subscribing doesn't prevent buying. While I personally chose to take a temporary spending hiatus, I'm glad I have the option of purchasing the kits that I love the most.

3. Less mail means less pressure. For some, receiving a new kit is the best day of the month. They're ready to dig in and make more pages. But if you're like me and not especially prolific, that new kit can represent added stress. We create enough of our own anxiety that there's no need to have supplies be a part of that.

4. A backlog can be like Christmas morning. There's little difference between an unopened kit that arrived yesterday and one that's six months old. Our industry doesn't change that much so new is new, even if it's old. I'm excited to shop my stash, and at my own pace of creating.

5. Stash busting feels like a fun challenge. Since my stash is overly abundant at this point, I feel a sense of challenge to make a dent in creative ways. While I don't desire to be wasteful, this stuff is meant to be used. I'm excited to tackle the backlog with the freedom of a kid in a candy store.

6. The money is spent. On top of having unopened kits, subscribing to a kit means that not everything is a winner. I could spend time regretting my purchases, but instead I choose to let it go. That means I'll be focusing on the products I really dig and actively decluttering the clutter. Life is too short to keep supplies that make you feel bad.

For some, quitting is easy. For me, it took some thoughtful deliberation to make what was the best decision at the time. If you're feeling guilty or stressed about unopened or unused kits (but can't imagine canceling), perhaps my experience can offer some encouragement to take the leap.

Are you like me, tired of feeling that constant pressure to buy more? You might feel at home in the membership at Simple Scrapper. Our members include paper, digital, and pocket page scrapbookers who enjoy receiving tools and support to tell their stories with what they have. You can save 20% on a 6-month membership through May 31, 2015.

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May Free Sketch & Template

Each month our members receive new sketches and companion layered templates, plus a digital magazine featuring these tools in action. This year I'm giving away a sketch and template set from our membership library every month on the blog.

This month's freebie is a 1-photo, 12x12 layout with plenty of space for journaling. There are more than 225 sketches and templates instantly accessible when you become a Simple Scrapper member.

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See it in action...

Here is Jennifer Wilson's layout which inspired the sketch and template:

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Here is an interpretation from Shannon Morgan that puts a slight twist on the numbered journaling spots.

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Here is an interpretation from Kimberly Kalil that honors the original sketch but also adds a number of fun and whimsical elements.

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Here's an interpretation from Delanie Wood that alters the canvas size to 8.5 x 11 and shifts the block slightly to the left.

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If you use this design concept to inspire your own layout, please come back and leave a comment sharing your page. I can't wait to see how you make this your own!

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Fun and Distraction-Free Scrapbooking with Kathy Skou

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Kathy Skou with her simple tip.

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What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

The best way for me to simplify my scrapping is to limit the amount of supplies I allow myself to use on any one project.  I originally got this idea when I was packing for a weekend crop.  Since space was limited, I couldn't pack up my whole scrap room.  I created page kits for each layout I wanted to complete.  I now do this for all my projects and DT assignments.  I pick papers, embellishments and photos, sometimes sketches and put them in a sleeve.  When I'm ready to scrap, I just pull out those items and get working.

What problem does it solve for you?

I am not a fast scrapper.  By kitting for each project, I can concentrate on the design instead of spending time trying to decide which papers or embellishments to use.  I would spend hours trying to decide what collection, embellishment, etc ... there are so many goodies out there, it got overwhelming!  Now that I limit myself, I spend less time trying to pick what to use, and more time scrapping.  Obviously I occasionally add to the original kit, when inspiration strikes, but for the most part I stick to the plan!

Why do you think it works so well?

I have a lot of scrapbook supplies.  If I just worked freestyle, I'd end up changing my mind 100 times, trying out different variations, papers, embellishments.  It would take me forever to complete anything.  By pre-planning and limiting myself to a particular collection of items, I am less distracted and more focused on the project at hand!

How can others get started with it?

Start by figuring out what pictures you want to scrap.  Print them out and then work on choosing what you want to use to scrap.  It might be an entire collection from a certain manufacturer or it might be more random ... for instance, if you're scrapping a picture of your kids playing outside, you can put together items that work with that theme.  Put papers, stickers, embellishments, pictures (and maybe a sketch) into a sleeve or bag and limit yourself to those items.   It will allow you to focus on the actual scrapping and less on all of the supplies!

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.

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Design Pages Faster with a Color Scheme with Natalie Elphinstone

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Natalie Elphinstone with her simple tip.

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What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

I stick with a colour scheme to scrap my layouts. I tell myself before I start that I'll only use grey, pink and green for example and then I'll use that to form the basis of my page. A few little bits of other colours might sneak in, but I'll make sure they don't distract from the main focus.

What problem does it solve for you?

Having accumulated quite a few scrapbooking supplies over the years (haven't we all?!) I find I can waste so much time sifting through it all to find "something that will work" for my page. At the end of that process I might have unearthed 5 different sets of brads in all the colours of the rainbow, when all I need is one. If I limit myself to a certain colour scheme before I start the hunt then I'll stop after I find the first pink one because then I know that will be perfect.

Why do you think it works so well?

Having a predetermined colour scheme means my pages come together in a cohesive fashion. It means they are more pleasing to the eye, especially if you stick to the design principle of gallon/quart/pint which means using one very dominant colour, one accent colour and one for small highlights.

How can others get started with it?

There are many ways to chose a colour scheme. Some of the common ways I use is to stick to scrapping with just one collection or a kit, or take part in a colour challenge or Mood Board challenge which can be found on many blogs. Find a photo that includes similar colours, or print one in black and white so it doesn't clash, and then start scrapping!

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.

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May Story Starter Challenge

For the past four years I've been releasing new storytelling prompts to members every month. This year, we're celebrating each month's theme with a Story Starter™ Challenge. You're invited to create a layout and submit it for a chance to win a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass.

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How to Participate + Win

Step 1 (optional) - Download this free story discover tool to brainstorm story ideas and make a plan for your layout.

Step 2 - Create a new layout, pocket page spread, or mini album related to this month's theme: Leisure Time

Step 3 - Submit a photo of your completed work in the comments below by 11:59pm on the 30th of this month.

This post will be updated on the 1st of next month announcing the winner of a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass. The winner will also be contacted directly with instructions on starting her membership.

Three Ideas from the Creative Team

Each of these layouts from our creative team uses a sketch or layered template from the membership along with one of this month's twelve new Story Starters.

You can get instant access to a library of more than 400 Story Starter™ prompts when you become a member at Simple Scrapper.

This layout from Kelly Sroka tells the story of one of her family's favorite things to do together - play a game!

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This layout from Lisa Corbin-Polak tells the story of the different ways she spends her free time.

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This layout from Melanie Ritchie tells the story of how some music transports her back in time to when she was passionate about music.

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Now it's your turn! Upload your layout by 5/30/15.

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