Own a Cricut? Wish you did? JOIN ME at the first SWARM Event!!

Do you own a Cricut? Maybe you don't own one yet, but it's on your Christmas wish list. Everyone who owns, or wants to own one, should attend this event. First, because what you'll gain from the education is worth so much (including seeing me). And second, an insider source tells me the GOODIE BAGS alone will include product valued over $300...because it includes a GYPSY (my most favorite tool ever!) and so much more!!

It will be WORTH the price of your ticket to attend and you get TWO free meals!! 

Come join me as we learn about all the great Cricut products AND learn about other "hot tools" in the industry. Yes, I'll be demonstrating the i-top and i-rock tools from Imaginisce. I also hear other great manufacturer's and their tools will be there to share as well. 

Date  October 9, 2010

Time  9am to 9pm...12 hours of cropping goodness!! 

Location The Grand Hall at the Gateway (open air shopping mall...yummy location), 29 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 

Cost $135.00 Buy Now!

Provo Craft is proud to host the inaugural Swarm! What is a swarm? A place for Provo Craft enthusiasts to gather and work on cards, layouts and mixed media projects while enjoying the company of other passionate crafters. Provo Craft will have Cricut Imagines, Expressions, Cuttlebugs, and Yudus available during the event for everyone to use.

Awesome Giveaways
And we have amazing give aways—2 Scrapbox Storage Systems, 4 Cricut Imagines, Martha Stewart Cake Machines, Cricut Cake Machines, Cartridges and more!

Everyone will be taking all four classes during the crop. The classes are:

Provo Craft will be demystifying the Yudu Process. We will be showing everyone how to apply emulsion, burn a screen, rinse a screen, what ‘spidering’ is, the correct way to transfer an image to a transparency, using the new foil and flocking, the toddler platen, the sleeve platen, why you need a registration panel, and of course, screen print! We will have over 7 spooky Halloween images to pull on an item that you bring. Imaginisce will be on hand to blink out your pulled image with their i-rock tool!

Gypsy with Jennifer
Jennifer is the master at the Gypsy! She will be educating all on how to link a cartridge, updating your gypsy, how to delete a layer, converting a CDS file to a gypsy file, uploading a gypsy file, welding, and more! Jennifer will be providing Gypsy files after the class for all to upload! Oh, and if you do not have a gypsy, no worries—you will be getting one in your Swag Bag!

Cricut Imagine
Provo Craft will have Imagines set up for everyone to use during the swarm to enhance their cards, scrapbook pages, etc. We will have all the cartridges for you to play with during the event. The class will review all the facets of the Imagine product, especially how to incorporate regular cartridges with the Imagine!

Cricut Expression
Every wonder what the Center Point key is? How about the Line Return? Multicut? Autofill? Mix and Match? Portrait? Well this is the class for you! We will be reviewing all the keys on the Expression to enable you to use your Expression to its full capacity. We will also show you how to UPDATE your Cricut Expression!
  • Provo Craft will provide lunch and dinner at the Swarm from Le Croissant (YUMMY!)
  • Our Swag Bags are stuffed to the gills with a Gypsy, Custom Cuttlebug Folders and fun products from our partners.
  • Creative Xpress will have their store on-site for all your last minute needs and products for purchase.
Tickets for the Swarm are available on the Cricut.com Website under the Special Offer Section.

Hotel accommodations and travel are not included in the price of the Swarm. 

See you there!! 
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


My First Scrapfest...

Some of you have asked me what the heck "Scrapfest" was and why I was at Mall of America for three days....obviously these are my non-scrapper friends. Scrapfest is a three day event hosted by Archivers and held in the huge Mall of America in Minnesota. We don't actually "sell" product to the 10,000 attendees, but we do hold daily demos (also known as Make & Takes) and teach classes. Let me tell you, I explained how the i-top tool works so many times that I even dreamt about the tool!! 
It all started with a quick kids meal at Arby's once we hit the enormous mall...but my most favorite part of Scrapfest are the people, my friends from the industry and fans I've chatted with online but met for the first time!!

We were lucky enough to score the Archiver's classroom which made it much easier to get personal and really work one-on-one with all of our amazing ladies. Thanks for reminding me why I love teaching so much!!
Sometimes you have to get a little goofy...this was after a long, long day of working!

I did all the shark pictures because my daughter has a recent fascination with sharks...so these are for her.
Yes, when you have a few minutes to eat your banana then you have to take it!!
So Sunday was the only day we didn't have an early morning and we were VERY excited to sleep in. That was until 6:30am when the fire alarm in our hotel went off and we all had to evacuate. One plus...gorgeous sunrise!
Here we are with all the evacuate-ees of our hotel...we later found out someone was heating up their bagel in the microwave in their room and over cooked it. The smoke set off the smoke alarm!!
We ate at a couple of fun places while in Minneapolis area. Our co-workers Nicole & Matt Holmes (Matt grew up in the area) took us to Fat Lorenzo's...favorite local spot for pizza and it was yummy!! It was my friend time trying Gelato and all I can say is ..."why did I wait so long...yummmm!"
We had so much fun eating out at Twin City Grill with Julia Sandvoss (Glue Arts) and Madison Parker (Echo Park) the first night we hit town. We laughed and laughed and the food was amazing!!
I had so much fun! I forgot how much I LOVE teaching consumer classes and working a consumer event...loved everyone I met and cannot wait to return next year.

I posted more pictures over on the Imaginisce blog as well...check it out if you want to see more!

Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Taking the Holiday Card Challenge!!

A couple of months ago I challenge my readers to start thinking about their Holiday cards...start early to elevate the stress of doing them late (like I do most times). Then again, earlier this month my cute friend Heather Carpenter posted over on the Imaginisce blog about taking the "Holiday Card Challenge."

So I wanted to show that I started working on some ideas for Christmas cards this year. I haven't settled on one yet, but here's the first a a few design.
The cute title for this card was created using my Cricut Expresison. The "Merry" is from the Christmas Cheer cartridge and the "Christmas" is from the Simply Sweet cartridge. After cutting those from the backside of one of the Cottage Christmas papers from Imaginisce I coated the paper lightly with glossy accents from Ranger.
I have seen this cute "banner" technique in a few popular magazines and have wanted to try it for a while. They're just circles folded in half over a string. I then added rhinestones on the title with the i-rock tool. 

Now girls, are you ready to get busy on some Holiday cards?? 
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


On Location: Playing at Oh My Crafts

I've decided I'm a lazy photographer when it comes to documenting my adventures. What I mean by that is, I tell my friend Amy to take the pictures with her twin camera she has...seriously why would "both" of us need to take pictures when we can just email them back and forth. However, she gets busy and I start feeling like I'm nagging her for the pictures. So until she has time to download me the pictures from Scrapfest, I thought I'd post pictures from one of our adventures earlier in the month.

We were invited by Oh My Crafts to come check out their gorgeous new warehouse and classroom space in Orem, Utah. Our team was there to teach a preview class for their upcoming Discovering Possibilities event too!

But I had more fun drooling all over their Copic Marker display...seriously a girl can dream right?? 

Then the very cute Amy Cottle (family owns OMC) shared with me one of their products when she saw us playing with our Gypsy's. Notice the little stylus "wrapped" around my finger? It's called a Typsy and they sell them on their site. Normally they retail for $7.99, but their on sale right now for $1.99. I keep find that mine is missing since my daughter thinks it's for her...but I think I'll be buying a ton of these for my Gypsy toting friends for Christmas...it rocks!! 

I'll post Scrapfest pictures hopefully tomorrow!! Enjoy!

Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Using my i-top to make a Button Bracelet

I should be going to bed after packing to go to Archiver's Scrapfest at Mall of America in Minnesota tomorrow morning!! But instead I am up playing with my i-top tool and making a charm bracelet. The black & white and hot pink felt pieces are i-top Button Daddies I covered in fabric. I then added them to a charm bracelet using jump rings. My cute friend gave me the other charms to add to the bracelet. It's not quite finished...I want more fabric covered buttons. 
Did you notice I added some clear rhinestone bling with my i-rock tool to the felt button?? So fun and I loved how it turned out!

Playing with the new "snap daddies" that allow you to create a topper with a snap on the back. It snaps into a ring or hair bobbie. I want to try this with some photos or pattern paper, but until then I'll just use some fabric I have! Sorry the photo is blurry!
Medium Snap Daddy w/ Ring

If you don't know what the i-top Tool from Imaginisce...check out this youTube video.  One of the best investments I made for paper crafting, home decor and now jewelry. 

Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Stress = Cankers

"Some physicians feel that people with a high degree of stress may be more prone to canker sores. Like acne breakouts that appear with stress, canker sores may also be caused by periods of intense stress."

So let's talk about how stress can take a physical tole on a body and I know from personal experience. Ever since about high school my mouth would break out in cankers...inside my lips, all over my tongue and down my throat. At times it had gotten so bad that I couldn't eat (not always a bad thing), talk (always a bad thing) or swallow very easily. However, as I've gotten older I realize when I'm hitting my max point for stress and start over medicating with Vitamin B and L-Lysine. Also I bump up my workouts to give me some sort of outlet. 

I do remember though my senior year it got so bad that my mom was taking me to oral surgeons and all sorts of specialists. One doctor had me breaking open tetracycline capsules into luke warm water and doing sort of a mouth wash and then SWALLOWing. Let me tell you...it was like drinking the nasty stuff you've ever tasted...ever! Then another doctor prescribed this thick pasty syrup that deadened my mouth so I could at least try and eat...that was unpleasant, but didn't have much a taste so it was tolerable. 

In my adult life the most pain I remember being in was right before I was going to be teaching 16 classes at the scrapbook convention in Arlington, Texas about 12+ years ago. I was excited to teach, but it was my first big event with the manufacturer I was working with and the stress got the better of me. My tongue was on fire because of the pain and I could barely smile without tears. I'd talk/teach all day long and smile so no one knew.  I'd suffer through dinner with my co-workers, barely able to swallow and then go back to my room in tears each night. So glad I'm over that...and believe me teaching does not stress me out anymore! 

But sometimes the pressures of home, church, work...life in general do work really hard on a person.  So how do you better manage stress?? Not sure, always working on that and sometimes (like now) when I'm not feeling very well it's much harder to head off before it gets worse. I can tell those stinking little cankers are trying to make an appearance this weekend...but I will NOT let them win. Regretfully the only cure is typically SLEEP...and who has time to sleep!!
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Back to School 2010-2011 Year!!

A couple of my friends don't have Facebook so they told me that I needed to remember them and post pictures on my blog too....so sorry if these are repeats. And of course my kids will not be happy with me, but oh well...isn't it a mom's responsibility to embarrass her kids?? 

Well here's my handsome son on his first day of 9th grade. He is slightly thrilled about the new year, but who didn't love their 9th grade year?  He's taking Spanish again this year and drawing, which he loves. 

Now this is the girl that is going to be ticked when she sees I posted these cute pictures. But how could I not share how gorgeous she is. My cute daughter started 8th grade this year and is very excited to have more time with her friends. 

She's taking her first year of Spanish and is very excited to be in Mrs. Heath's class (she's a hoot). She's also a Peer Tutor this year and very excited for this opportunity.

Okay kids...the embarrassment is over (for today).
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Swiss Days Craft Fair Review & Favorite Finds

Every Labor Day weekend begins one of my favorite events, Swiss Days. This is held every year in Midway, Utah. The festival offers lots of fun entertainment, parade and local events...but it's the craft fair that everyone flocks to Midway to enjoy! But you have to get there early, I've seen many booths sell out of hot items before 10/11:00am the first day. In fact, one booth mentioned that women were there waiting to buy from her booth as early as 6:45am...not me, we arrive around 9:00ish every year and are done by lunch.

I had hoped to make a few purchases when I go home by visiting vendor websites, but crafty people are spending more time making their products then focusing on how to sell them to the masses. So many of my favorite finds do not offer online purchasing options (so sad)...so you'll have to join me next year if one catches your eye!! Enjoy....

Heather Castillow Jewelry Designs
I've seen the number of jewelry booths increase over the years at Swiss Days and this year did not disappoint. However after a couple of watch band purchases and my mom going a little crazy in a few jewelry booths we happened upon Heather's booth. Let me tell you the quality of her WORK was amazing. She makes every bead and sculputured wire and I loved her tiny beaded necklaces and soooo much more. But since I'm on a budget I refrained from going a little crazy in hopes that she would have more available to purchase online....regretfully that was not the case, yet another vendor that doesn't have their products available online...YET. She promises to contact everyone via email when she gets her site up and running and also lists some local stores that carry her creations. She is one I will save up for so I can buy it all in person next year!

Vinylicious Designs
The other day I stopped in to Pebbles in Provo and was surprised they were selling sheets of vinyl. Couldn't figure out what I'd do with it. But then at Swiss Days I came to the Vinylicious booth and was so excited. I loved the covered composition books they had and how you could swap out the book once you've used it up and keep the vinyl cover. Too cute!! Here's a link to their site, but it looks like if you're interested in purchasing from her, you'll need to hit a store in Salt Lake. One day these vendors will get a clue and have the same items available for purchase online some how...go figure!

Photo Boards
Regretfully the website for this product is still under construction, but this was one of my most favorite finds I found at Swiss Days this year. These photo boards from Timeless Woods are totally my style and the wood slats have tiny grooves in them so you can slide your 4x6 photos into it. Easy to change out and keep up to date. Some of the board designs would allow both landscape and portrait orientation for the photos. Some were plain with no titles and in different colors. These are manufactured in Orem Utah and beautiful in person. I didn't purchase one because I couldn't get in the booth and this year I didn't want to carry it around. 
Twin Stitchers
I'm a big fan of stitchery patterns...actually do them sometimes (that's another blog post). But I happened upon this cute booth that was selling these cute stitchery patterns called Twin Stitchers

Wicked Sole
This was a booth a desperately tried to get in to...but only because a friend in passing showed me her purchase. The Wicked Sole booth was filled with these darling witches boots with varied themes, but it was the hair clips that I was drawn to (occupational hazard). The flower clips were made from felted wool, etc and soooo yummy. However, I could barely look in the booth let alone go inside and check it out. Again, I asked for a business card or website. Regretfully their website is only a small sampling of what they offered with promise for more later (soooo frustrating).
Can't wait again for next year...but I'm thinking I need to be there before 8am. Remember, Swiss Days is always the weekend of Labor Day. The craft fair portion runs all day Friday and Saturday of that weekend! And maybe one year I'll actually decide to stand in line to get one of those darn SCONES...never get one because the lines are toooooooo long! 
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Customer service seems to be lacking these days...

Now I'm not typically a complainer, but I feel very strongly that if I use my blog to recommend places to shop, do, eat at or things to purchase that on occasion I should also use my blog to share some of my less then good purchases and/or services. But I typically don't jump to this at first. I always try to reach the company that I have issues with in hopes to make them aware of their problems and hopefully end with a good customer service experience. However the following two landed no where near "good customer" service for me and I felt the need to vent and/or warn you all about them.

My recent Best Buy experiences have led me to believe that although the store is called "Best Buy" that does not translate to "best" service, "best" selection, "best" website or "best" employees. Last weekend I was on the hunt for my new Bamboo touch tablet and it seemed with my travels taking me to Utah County that I would have plenty of chances to hit one of these stores to make my much anticipated purchase. The first store in Orem/Provo was disappointing to say the least.  Aside from the fact the store smelled of BO (weird I know...probably because it's filled with men and boys), we continued our search for our item or some help.  At first, we couldn't find the item and when we asked an associate of the store we were waved over to the end of the isle and told "it's down there, but we're probably out of them" and he walked off. Now how hard would it have been for him to walk us 10 feet that direction and then offer to locate the item at another store (I have to pass three going home). But he disappeared and no other employees asked if we needed help. We left the store a little annoyed.

We returned to my friends house to search the Best Buy website to before hitting another Best Buy to make our purchase. Their site showed that the store in Sandy had what we needed and we headed that way on our return home. We made it to the store with only 15 minutes to spare and after following a very confused associate around for 10 minutes. He was eventually able to find where the item should be located, but that they did not have it. He informed me that their website was not always accurate but that he would look at the other stores inventory in "their" computer system. He assured me that another store on our way home carried many of the item, however, they would be closed before we could reach them. So we continued home very frustrated and unsatisfied. Sure I could have returned to my search after the weekend, but with AMAZON, why bother? We made our purchase online, free of sales tax and shipping charges and it was delivered to us by the end of the week without fail. So the moral of this story...skip running around town and just buy from Amazon, because they're the "best buy" around!! 

My next misforturnate experience with bad product and/or customer service was with Clickinks.com. I purchased a set of 2 black and 1 color refurbished ink cartridges from them at the recommendation of a friend. I hate spending so much on ink, but I so desperately need it. Although I liked the price of my order and fast delivery of the item I have to say I was not very impressed with the quality. My first black cartridge maybe printed 20 black and white copies before drying up, so I opened up my next to complete some printouts before church and was met with a package filled with ink, which got ALL OVER and a cartridge that couldn't print. I tried contacting clickinks.com to tell them of my defective product, but that was a week ago and I have yet to receive a reply. So my recommendation to all, don't buy from clickinks.com or buy refurbished or refill your carts at the office supply stores...nothing good ever comes from these purchases (at least not for me). 

Hopefully you'll have better luck with your customer service experiences this weekend!! 
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts


Favorite Finds: Photo Ideas, Home Decor & Flower Cupcakes

I always love being able to share my finds with all of you...thanks for stopping by!! I'm going to Swiss Days this weekend, I'll try to post pictures of my favorite finds afterwards! If you're local join me at Swiss Days...you won't regret it!!

Bubble Chalkboards
This idea has to be one of my all time favorites and I can't wait to create some of these for fun! This was posted over at one of my favorite creative sites,  Make & Takes. And they show you how to create your own...by the way it's made form foam core...how easy is that?? I give this a huge thumbs up for such an original idea. 

Check Your Pockets Laundry Room Sign
Loved this idea I saw over on Love Stitched blog. She created this to put in her laundry room so her family members could empty their pockets out before their clothes were washed  (and shows you how to make it) . Definitely a problem at my house....almost washed an iPod or two!! 

The Twinery Baker's Twine
Who doesn't love pretty, colorful string? Well for me these totally caught my eye and I couldn't resist sharing a link to The Twinery website. Their twine is made from 100% cotton, it's eco-friendly and made in the USA. Great for gift wrapping, crafting or typing up baked goods to give to a neighbor...these yummy colorful baker's twine is the perfect finishing touch. But for me, I'm buying some to use on some cards and scrapbook pages! The Twinery's blog has some darling ideas too!

Ribbon Rose Cupcakes
Start with these fruit rollups...

To create these...

Check out Confessions of a Cookbook Queen blog to learn how to make these darling cupcakes and ribbon flowers!!
Allred Design, mommy blogger, scrapbook, paper crafts

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