Thursday, January 24, 2013

rAnDoM fabric, buttons and monkeys.

rAnDoM thoughts about fabric, clothes and buttons.

I’ve got fabric. LOTS of it. NOT from a store mind you. But from my closet. I can’t afford fabric, (maybe a few fat quarters here and there) because I’d want to spend the money on scrapbook supplies or coffee. So I’ve learned to hoard clothes.


In the process of TOO much clothes purging. I’ve accumulated about 4 garbage bags. 3 laundry baskets, and 4 other random containers FULL of clothes of some sort. Holy hell. AND note that the sewing area is the LAST to every get cleaned. EVER. Since it’s the last on my list of art to do, it’s often the dump room, and disaster zone.


Today’s project, and for the last few days is pulling OUT all that fabric, covering my washer and dryer in folded piles. AND putting on the shelves.

Now I need to go to Pinterest to find out WHAT to do with my kids adorable clothes I can not part with. How to create a blanket of my old t-shirts. What fun I can create with Ed’s 8 pairs of old corduroy pants and his 42 blue dress shirts.

I’ve taken the painful process of de-buttoning ALL the clothes. Men’s dress shirts have approx. 10 buttons per shirt. I’ve got a little glass jar, JUST for these things. For future mending! Brilliant I know. The fun kids buttons go to the scrapbook area.

I’ve got some fun pajama’s that have cute prints on them. I’m thinking holiday ornaments? Garland? Either the Whimsy Christmas trees or the monkey ones.

I did a post way back, “What do we see here” on cutting off the super cute (unstained) parts of kids clothes for scrapbooking. I’ve got a basket of those to cut up.


Stupid Sock Monsters were a thing I did a few years back. SUPER fun. I like to make ugly messy funny monsters. Alex STILL has his, and loves it. That weird red mess became Mia’s. AND I did make a super cute one (when I got much better at it) for my sister Susie’s 30th Birthday.





I have learned that I like to sew with reckless abandon. I think I learn best this way. And it helps that I’ve got 5 shelves FULL of clothes to cut up and tinker with. I’ve got to post some pictures here when I’m done organizing my sewing space. Here’s before… now this is somewhat clean. As in, I can sit in the chair clean.


It’s even cleaner then this now. I’ll keep you all on your toes and post when I’m all done! Oh, maybe a video tour!

JCat McGack

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scrapbook the Everyday


This video was shared to me by my mom. Who no surprise is my everyday inspiration. She’s the one who taught me to hold scissors, to love paper, to create. She’s the one 34 years later who still reminds me to find my inspiration in the everyday.

I have to say this 13 minute and 38 second video was At the 2:50 mark my jaw fell open and I said out loud in a room by myself “OMG. WHY haven’t I done that with my pictures?! A DRAWER!!”

With out giving to much more away, I’ll let you watch it. I will tell you it’s worth it. If you scrapbook, and your stuck. THIS is the video to watch. I know I’ll be watching this one over. And over again.

Be sure to let yourself forget how supplies are supposed to be used. Be proud of your craft, your hobby. Even if you teach Sea Monkey’s to jump over the toaster. And after you watch her video again, and again. Go visit her site at

I’m going to the art room, inspired and excited.

Happy Creating!!

JCat McGack

Thursday, April 5, 2012


"CUT a picture? You've got to be kidding!""Well those sure are cute pages. I'm not that creative." "You have IDEA BOOKS? Let me see.""I guess I'll need an album, some adhesives, and paper."
"Oh, and I'll also need some templates, stickers, die cuts, and one of those trimmer things."
"I can't get my page to look exactly like the one in the book!"
"You mean I have to write in my album? I will need some pens. What should I write?"
"I finished my first page. Do you like it?"
"You know I have a ton of zoo pictures, and Jr. needs his school pages done; I need another album and some more paper."
"You have printed paper? And precut paper? I'll take one of each!"
"NEW STICKERS? I'll take some!"
"NEW DIECUTS? I'll need those!"
"Wow - even bags and binders to get my supplies organized? I definitely need those!"
"Sorry honey, you'll have to make dinner - I'm off to a crop!"
"Clean socks are in the dryer!"
"HOLD IT! I HAVE to get a picture of that for the scrapbook."
"Would you please wear this shirt? I have the cutest paper to use in my layout and it will match perfectly!"
"YES, I came up with the idea myself."
"YES, That is my own handwriting."
"YES, I make time to scrapbook."
"Honey, we need to add a room to the house for my scrapping room."
"Life is crazy. I just need to crop!"
Tax Time: "Yes, scrapbooking in a medical deduction - it's my THERAPY!"
By Nicole Humphrey

Had to share it, I swear I KNEW going into scrapbooking I’d never be able to turn back. Happy I started, and I LOVE telling my families story along with mine.

JCat McGack

Monday, February 27, 2012

4x4 caddy

4x4 caddyWell it’s about time I start to MAKE things that I love to pin on Pinterest.

I saw this, LOVED it, and said the famous crafters quote “I can make that!”

So I did.

I first followed the pin to the persons blog site to see the project, to find she wanted $11.99 for the template. Now don’t get me wrong, good for her for trying to make a buck. But seriously, easy peasy projects shouldn’t require a template.

Booya, I did it myself.

AND I’ll share it with you for one easy payment of a comment of what you think? Fair? I think so!

I took felt pieces, I had small pieces so we had a multi patterned look here. I cut the felt into 4x4 squares, you need TWO pieces for each side (one inside, one outside) I went with white for the inside.

I added these cute little pockets that are 2x4. If you want them to be divided sew that before you sew the 4x4 outside and inside together.

AND my inside and outside pieces have a 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 piece of cardboard inside for stability.

Sew it up. I hand stitched the sides together, and a bottom to it. I added a handle for carrying convenience. And wala after about 3 hours you have a cute caddy for anything from art supplies, to make-up, maybe a few office supplies, or toys.

This one went to a good home at my Mom’s the Queens house. She always does for me so I made for her!

Thinking for Easter I could make the kids baskets, and you can do this in whatever size you want, I just started with this and will go from there! Thinking dividers inside next time?

So what do you think?

JCat McGack

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Printed out photos in check.

Had to share, my newest art project.

Sure I blogged about how motivated I was to create, via coffee, dogs and sunshine. But realistically I started a project 2 days ago, and wanted to finish it up.

I worked on organizing my printed photos. Don’t freak out, it’s easy to do once you get a system and stick too it. For the most part they were about 80% organized. But it’s that whole ‘stick to it’ part I slacked on. Messed them up a bit.But 80% organized for me is impressive.

Let me tell you a few years ago I spent MONTHS organizing these pictures. And by ALL these pictures, I mean only since 2006 (when Tink was born) ALL the ones prior too, are in the cardboard photo boxes… semi organized as well.

Here’s my current system. I know we all have what works, but for those of you who are looking to organize your printed pictures fast and have easy access to them. Here you go.


I have two of these  cases, which each holds 6 of the smaller boxes, and each smaller box holds about 100 photos each.

If you buy the case, you get the 6 smaller cases included (about $15 and up. Go to JoAnn’s or Michael’s with your coupons for these)

The smaller cases can be bought separate  for $2.49 each (I’ve paid less, but they are SO worth it!) You can label them, so you can know exactly what you’ve got going on in each box.

If you buy more the one of these cases like I have they stack super nice too.


I’ve got one of the big ones as well. I saw where I was going with the smaller ones and finally got one big one.

These run about $30, and like a double of the smaller case. Again including all the little cases. For the money it’s like your buying all the little cases and getting the big one for free.

Oh DO NOT pick the big one up by that white handle to carry it!! That is for show only, or to pull it towards you if it’s on a shelf. It pops off… and the box falls… not broke. Just not really made for the weight of 1200 pictures I guess?

I had to do a bit of reorganizing like I said. Here is how I break down my pictures.

  • Tink 1. Tink 2. Tink 3. My daughter is almost 6, and I consider 300 pictures to be pretty good. This is not counting what is in my done scrapbooks.
  • Buzz 1. Buzz 2. My son has just 2 boxes he’s almost 4.
  • Sophie. Maggie. Cats+. My obsession with taking pictures of dogs, has made it clear that I need one small case per dog. And the cats, and reptiles get one box.
  • My parents & family get 4 boxes. My sister gets a box. My in-laws family gets a box.
  • My best friend gets a box. And then I have a ‘Friends’ box for all my other friends.
  • I get 3 boxes. I’m not that conceited, I also count photos I take of my coffee cups, and random ‘Me things’ in these boxes.
  • I’ve got a home and garden box. This is all things home, painting around the house and gardening.
  • Then there are some events that are SO big, they get filed in boxes via event. We used to see this band ALL the time, so I have a whole box of just those shots. My 30th Birthday in Chicago, a box. And the P!nk concert is it’s own too.
  • Holiday. I’ve got one box for Christmas, Turkey Day and Halloween shots.

Now I have many boxes for specific people. But it’s not a hodge podge mess of pictures in those boxes. Let’s take my family boxes. They are grouped by family reunion, get together, birthday party. Sure there are some random shots, but mostly by event.

YES I’ve got all those pictures from before 2006, like I said in boxes. Some what organized. But I also have a HUGE bed comforter bag FULL of photos from when I was growing up. AND a HUGE bag of shots from my wedding (not professional. Those are in an album) Sigh. LOTS of organizing to do.

But being a scrapbooker, I had to quickly tell myself that I can’t go back and catch up on the last 33 years and expect to stay on top of my pictures now. I just can’t. I’d go crazy trying to do it.

I hope this was helpful. I’m always trying to find that ONE way to organize that works for me. This was it. Take the time to organize them. If it’s clear boxes, great.

If you don’t scrapbook, them frame your pictures. I have a wall going up my stairs I rotate out each year of the best shot of each of our family members. I do have albums from before digital.

Oh I could go on and on. Let’s just say I’ve got this much down for photo storage. I’m still working on digitally saving them. I’m trying to do less on my hard drive, and more on flash drives, I’d like to get one big hard drive and call it a day. But till then, I’ve got my flash drives, and my Shutterfly website.

JCat McGack

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunshine and coffee

The two things that can inspire and artist greatly. Sunshine. and a good pot of coffee.

It’s a chilly Sunday morning in Channahon. But while my husband works, and my two children play, I sit in the front living room. In the morning, when we first wake up we come down the stairs to open the front door and pull open the shades to let in the sunshine!

We eat breakfast, and Sophie who is KNOWN for being Solar Sophie, goes from her spot at the end of the king size bed, to eating her breakfast, and then to the oh so wonderful sunshine.


I choose the big brown leather couch. Never the brown leather recliner, while it’s nice and comfortable, it’s because it rocks. (I get motion sick in it. Yes I’m that sensitive)

Some days I like to curl up in the small green chair, with embroidered gold swirls. While cleaning out my Grandma’s home, my cousin and I both said we would like that chair, so she challenged me to a game of Rock Paper Scissors my paper beat her rock!

I love the front living room this time of day, it has no tv, radio, game systems. It’s books, puzzles, books and magazines… and more books. It’s a room to visit, to unwind from a day, or rest before a day. So in comes the flood of sunshine this morning!

I curl up on the couch, Sophie on her favorite dog bed (thanks neighbor Jill!)  My big cup of Starbucks (this week is Espresso Roast)


What am I reading this morning? Well SO glad you asked, for Valentines my mom bought me the February/March/April issue of Where Women Create. I LOVE to read on other artists, their stories, their form of art. Anything from knitting, sewers, jewelry makers, photographers, mixed media artists, fabric creators, drawers… all in one fantastic book. It’s more of a book, it’s big, it’s beautiful on my coffee table, it’s got the best cover, not glossy, more with a texture. Oh and yes I love it so, that I wrote this post back in August about it… which makes me want to go reread that copy! And yes it’s probably my best form of inspiration, this week I also got my copy of Scrapbook Etc., and Creating Keepsakes, but the best was this one! Talk about inspiration all at once!

It’s the reminder I need. To go create, to make things from shrinky dinks, to paper mache, make my ugly dolls. To create with paper, and glue and glitter, and draw, ALL the time.

It’s a good combination. It’s the coffee, the sunshine, a squishy couch or a green and gold chair won by chance, the company of a beautiful boxer, of an inspirational magazine.

What’s your combination to be inspired?

JCat McGack

Feisty Orange Peel Mustache 2011

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I give up… here’s some wall art!

I’ve given up on walking into a spotless art room every time. Silly me, so this New Year it’s resolved. Much less days cleaning, and organizing my room. More making.


And speaking of making… well this isn’t too far out there on the creativity reach there. BUT I did think up to tear this out of Better Homes and Gardens, (BHG magazine does this where they put a very cool image with a quote in it. I’ve got a Halloween one to do as well) mat it on Chocolate and Summer Sun paper (by Stampin’ Up!) and frame it.

I’ve got it right in my kitchen, and it’s nice to read every day. And to treat every day as such.

THIS next project is ALL over Pinterest. I made it for Ed for Christmas, and I didn’t say what it was. I just wrapped it. Gave it to him, and was pleasantly surprised at how much he liked it.


Looks like a big frame of numbers, and, well that’s what it is, but it’s our numbers… his birthday, mine. Our first official dating date, the day we were engaged (yes 5 months dating!) Married is the red number, and Mia and Alex’s birthdays.

All those dates are what made us. Us.

Easy peasy. If you’ve got a Cricut cutting machine, or a die cut machine. glue them down to white paper, mat it, frame it!

I’ve been tinkering with some clay, that’s a first in over 10 years, thinking that tomorrow will be an art room day with me and Alex!

Happy Creating!

JCat McGack

Sunday, January 1, 2012


My art room… is NO art room.

It’s a cluttered, cat hair covered, throw it all in there for the Christmas Eve party, wrapping paper, photograph disaster.

It’s almost depressing to go into. I’ve got my sewing nook that is clean and cleared. My laundry area is all good too. And I’ve managed to find a 2x2 little counter space on my main desk to work… sigh.

I have been going online to Pinterest to search ‘Craft Rooms’ to see what my room used to look like, colors lined up, glitter bottles lined nicely (before my cats knocked them all over)

I’ve started part yesterday, and tried again today to really get some cleared space. I’ve got SO much table space, and counters, it almost works against me. Because the more space I’ve got the more crap I load up on there.

Thinking about hauling half of my stuff to Gigi and my booth to sell. I’ve been doing well selling my old Stampin’ Up! catalogs, and some older stamps.

I NEED a clean room to be inspired to create, so I can create so I can SELL! Needed to blog this out of my head. I’ve got the house back to normal after the Holiday’s, now it’s time for my creative dungeon to get back to it’s normal self!

Happy Creating, or organizing!

JCat McGack

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catching up

Yikes it’s been over a month! Sorry I had Bronchitis and was a hot mess all of October!

What’s new…

Well the art room that you all remember from this post back in January that was a tour of the whole room… well through that one out the window. I spent ALL last week dedicated to resetting my art room.

The reset is something this room needs… I originally had my dad build me a table so big (it was built in the room it was so big) so I could seat 6 comfortably for my card making classes. Awesome, but after 6 years of teaching, I no longer need THAT big of a table in the center of my room. It’s a room just for me. (and sometimes the kids!)

The fact that I’m not teaching in here, the functionality and the flow of the room, well they just were not working for me. I went to Better Homes and Garden’s website, they have this really cool ‘Arrange-a-room’ feature, that you can use, for free. To plan out how a room will work. I mean these tables in here JUST fit… while I seem to be a bit of a fan of moving rooms around just by guess-timating the fit this one was going to be tight!

While moving the room around, looking for what should go where, I had a genius ‘AHA’ moment, and I mean I yelled “OH MY GOD! I HAVE THE. BEST. IDEA. EVER!!” followed by a running man dance combined with some walk like an Egyptian and butterfly moves. (scaring my cats to their cat tower, and my children to flee to their toy room. Dancing sometimes works wonders that way!)

The AHA moment… well I’ll just have to have you wait till it’s done… (cliff hanger!)

AND, since I’ve been moving ALL my desks, tables, and art supplies ALL over, I had to stop. Pack them up. And take them to a crop!

It was a much needed break, and to get out with the girls. My mom, the Queen and I love to do these scrapbook weekends, she’s not so much a scrapper, but she does ATC cards (Artist Trading Cards) and paper crafts as well. We had our good friend Pipe, and Lisa go with, stayed at a local hotel (it’s a 45 minute drive back home) and took over the local Archivers! (if you’ve never been be warned. It is addicting. It’s full of fun things, glitter, shiny, and pretty things, all that will make you say ‘ohhh… I want that’)

Archivers Crop Nov 11 12 2011

(This is Maureen and I, she’s an employee there and treats me like an old friend. So much of the staff at the Orland Park, IL store are so great!)

We showed up at Archivers at 10 am (doors opened!) on Friday, and stayed till they kicked us out at 11 pm… went to the hotel, and were back again on Saturday for another 13 hours of paper crafting heaven!

It was awesome to get out, and get some work done, I sadly only did 12 layouts. I blame the dinner out to Buffalo Wild Wings, and Texas Road House, and the shopping around us well… there is also the fact that I LOVE to chat with all the other croppers… I mean counting us each day there were close to 40 women in the work rooms. And being the social butterfly I am… sigh, THIS is why I try to do most of my cropping in my art room, alone with my music so I can focus!


My good friend, Lisa was smart she brought ALL the stuff to work on her trip to Florida… I don’t have that kind of attention span to work on the same project for two days, little alone 2 minutes.


Above is pictured my stuffs I bring. OH it’s a whole lot of everything. I have to say I am pretty organized, I know where EVERYTHING is that I brought…


Here is my work space, this was my last page (not quite done yet here)


My mom got a hold of their die cutting machine, and never sat down! They have a WHOLE wall full of dies to choose from, and 3 machines, and they were always busy!

She found a box die cut, and was cutting them out for a party favor (she needed 60+ of them!) Not to mention all the other cute one’s she found!


I have to tell my mom there is a new rule with taking pictures together… she slouched down, and I was sitting up super straight! Bah, I look silly! Either way the two of us had a blast together… as always. We make our own fun and have the best time we possibly can!

Oh and not pictured is Piper… I’m just learning to accept that some people refuse to have their picture taken… as much as this annoys me for the sake that my ONE friend is not documented… I am trying to respect the fact that she just doesn’t want to be seen on camera. (now my husband Blue? He doesn’t get that pass… it’s not an option)

So I’ve been busy, trying to heal from my bronchitis, from my foot issues (planters warts removed) and finally getting to the art room. I will be posting when I get the room all done, I am SO close!

Until then you can read about my daily ramblings at Unconventional Randomness! Hope your all doing well!

JCat McGack

The kids? What did I do with them these last 3 days?My beautiful babies were with my In-laws from Friday morning till today! (Sunday, lucky me!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Arts... or crafts?

While at a meeting last night with the Art Council, at the new Art House, discussing big plans for the 'Art Show' fundraiser coming up in 11 days. They brought up the topic of an older women coming to the art house saying she loves to do art. She crochet's potholders, and makes those eggs with designs in them that you can see through. They said that is wonderful but after the women had left, some of them said no way.

They say 'NO that is crafts. It's not art'...

This offends me, and I know they meant no harm to me, but to realize that 'artists' who draw with pen and paint consider themselves better? Then crafters? What makes the difference between art or a craft? See I do both.

For 4 years in High School I took art classes. And during summer I'd take drawing classes where I could. So sure I consider myself an artist. I doodle, I paint, I love paper mache, and clay.

But I was raised by a genius crafter. My mother is a sewer, a card maker and just into ATC (artist trading card) making. She has always called herself a crafter. And I've been so proud that she's as talented as she is.

I crafted as a small child, grew into pencils, paper and art. I've never loved one more then the other. I love to do what I do. Depends on my mood. I'm in an artsy mood one day, or a crafty mood the other. Doesn't make me more or less of an artist on which one I choose to do.

Is a craft a kit you buy in a store? An Art is something your born with? I personally think everyone has a bit of an artist in them. Some are just more willing then others to tap into that inner resource. I mean sure painters are artists, but then what about a paint-by-number kit? That's art to me, but not to some? Is it because your being told step by step how to do art? Still turns out pretty right?

I scrapbook almost daily but sometimes one page, covering one photo will take me 4 hours. I paint, doodle, and make it my art project for the day. So is that art and the scrapbook pages that take me 20 minutes are those crafting? I personally don't see one over the other being a better page.

I use 'craft' supplies in my art, and for sure use art supplies in my craft. I spent 6 years (2004-2010) selling, demonstrating, and loving Stampin' Up!'s rubber stamps, scrapbooking supplies, and all the card and scrabook, 3D paper crafting, and mini books I could get my hands on. It's for sure an art, the amazing things I've seen women create.

So while writing this out, I look over and see the Disney Family Fun Creepy Crafts book I just got at Target. Now sure these projects are focused on milk cartoons, pipe cleaners, tie-dye pumpkin shirts, and tissue boxes. Crafting? Yes.

BUT. Those are everyday things you find around your house right?

So when an 'artist' takes a pile of paper plates and cuts and glues and make a BIG 'art' piece, that is now art? But made with the same everyday tools found in this craft magazine? I'm confused what now makes this an art project and no longer a craft.

I mean I've seen my best friend, destroy a styro-foam cup and make art with it at meetings. Just using her hands, and the nearby pen. So again it's art. But if she had seen directions on step-by-step how to destoy a cup with your hand and a pen does that make it a craft project?

I've seen talented painters copy right from a magazine, and I've seen talented crafts copy from a magazine.

Please weigh in, because I'm in defense of both
is this art? Or a craft? Isn't your art your craft?

So to hear these other artist laugh about the lady with the potholders and the eggs saying that they need fine art makes me wonder who is the judge who says what is fine art, what is a craft, and what makes it then art?

JCat McGack

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Your Own Worst Critic

I read this today from my friend Sass's FB page, and I swear she was in my head. I think I've told you, if not I will about my Sock Monsters. They are amazing little creatures, I make them out of... socks. And odds and ends. Like ribbons, or buttons, and bells, bells are fun inside tails.

They are something I can create, and have made about 7 so far, and I like them. I'm getting better at them, and even the one that I TOTALLY messed up (he has not tummy, I cut his legs up to his neck. But it was my 4 year old daughter at the time who said "Finish it Mommy. I'll love it"  See when your an artist of ANY kind. From paint and drawing, to journalist, gardening or a baker, it's all an art and as my teacher told me, and I think every teacher should tell their art students.

"You will ALWAYS be your own worst critic"

So true. It reminds me to ask others, to walk away from my project. Come back later, maybe a day, week, or a month later. You might just look at it from an outside point of view. And the quote above, from Sass, is what I need to read over and over and over again. I quite when it gets to hard for me. I won't lie. I know I try to take the easy way out. And when it's your own project you can quite. Easy. But for me those projects are still remembered as things I wish to finish. Try harder.

See there is scrapbooking. And I do it well, very well, I can rubber stamp and create with paper easily. Cards, stationary, boxes, I can do it. BUT it's the other things I love, sewing, painting, paper mache and clay. THOSE are things I haven't done in years, but wish to get better at them again. I just need to keep tinkering with them!

I was once at a seminar for Stampin' Up! a wonderful rubber stamp company. I did demonstrations at people's homes, I mostly focused on classes in my home. So at this seminar, I was sitting in a business class, and we were told, if you look on our business side of the website we could see on a map how many demonstrators were out there. And scary enough how many were in our area!

I live in a small village but there was at least 10 of us in just a 10 mile radius! Imagine if you lived in a bigger city! I mean it's selling rubber stamps, it's NOT exactly a home staple, and NOT that many people do paper crafts in my little town! But they said the percentage of those that are demonstrators, so few actually PUSHED their business like they should. YOU could be THAT person that is the stand out demonstrator. THAT is what stuck with me. With my life, with art. That I could be the stand out artist.

I do need to keep sewing, painting, gardening, and creating. All to better my craft, to be amazing at what I do. Sure I rock at paper crafts I've been up to my eyeballs in paper and rubber stamps for the last 8 years straight! I need to balance my arts, so I get to enjoy them all.

On this not I will leave you with a great quote I heard on Glee last night. I mean talk about loving art! Theater and music have always been a favorite of mine, so what better show to quote from?

The scene is with Mike Chang, who has just received what they call an Asian F, an A-. His father wants him to quit the Glee club to study harder, and Mike is torn about it, being that Glee is what he loves more then anything. After fighting with himself, over to keep doing what he loves or make his father happy he says this...

"It's what I love to do. It's NOT a waste of my time" 


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shopping at Scrapbook Expo!

If you’re a scrapbook, paper crafting, rubber stamping junkie like me. If you LOVE new supplies, and to see new ideas, tools and all the great things that come with two days of shopping and cropping then the Scrapbook Expo is where you need to be. It’s a traveling wonder of paper crafters heaven!

Yesterday I attended the Chicago Scrapbook Expo with my fantastically creative mom, and our good friend Piper. We love to go VIP style, buy our tickets online so we get that extra hour of shopping before they open the doors to the public.

Sooo… with out any more chatter from me, here is what I bought with my $100 budget…

Starting out we had to register when we got to the Expo, and when you did you received an shiny new pack of these Glue Dots, already played with them, and LOVE them! 


I bought the Smash tape, black with white dots (at Archivers later that day with my 30% off coupon) now Smash books are ALL the rage, and I LOVE the idea. NOT a fan of their books. Disappointing that out of 5 themed books I couldn’t get attached to any of them! But not to say I didn’t get attached to their other Smash products (more to come!) and the Tombo adhesive dots refill is always a staple in my art room!


LOVE these Smash pads. They are 10 different journal tags, 3 of each kind. Now I am able to admit, journaling tags are a HUGE thing for me. I LOVE them. LOVE them. And unlike the Smash books, these tags were JUST my style!




These prompt you SO well to scrapbook about what you love most! Everyday stuff!

Halloween is hands down the easiest holiday for me to scrap. It was tough to decide on doodle fun Halloween, or vintage style Halloween. I went doodle-y!


Check out these awesome Martha Stewart strips, peel and stick, and AWESOME! My mom found these, there was 5 different per pack, and 3 of each kind. So she was super generous and gave me one of each! Wee!



(too cute my daughter saw them and she LOVED the dripping red paint! LOL!)


LOVE these winter ones she gave me too. She bought each pack for a DOLLAR!! OMG, a STEAL!

Speaking of steals, I bought these chipboard sets for $1.50 each, I just thought there was some letters, um no. The Berry Sweet had strawberries (glazed!) mushrooms, and tons of fun dots.

The Wild Saffron set has flowers with rhinestones, both sets had some super cute accents with! $1.50 each!?! DEAL!


Sorry I couldn’t get better light on this next shot, it’s some fun clear embellishments, fun flowers, glittered, and transparent. LOVE it! Those were $1.50 too. Then the Fall/Halloween chipboard was from Mellissa Frances, go to her blog, she’s SO Shabby Chic it’s insane, RIGHT up my mom’s alley. Mellissa Frances was actually AT the Expo yesterday. Very cool to see an artist right there selling their product. It was on clearance for $1, again I missed it, but she bought me one!


MORE tags! These were some fun summer one by Little Yellow Bicycles another company I LOVE so much.


These were a big hit, .49 cents each, buy 4 get the 5th one free. I heart my dad, I got two, one for a card for him, and one to scrapbook… or two to scrap, one for me, one for the kids?!

Have some old Vegas pictures to scrap, I know Ed would like to have NEW Vegas pictures to scrapbook! They are just die cut tags, BUT puffed up, like someone dry embossed details on them




BIG bag of buttons for $2. Wish they had more variety. Only saw purple (my fav) lime green, blue and red, blue and white or orange…




Two Copic markers. Sigh… I want to get into these, they seem great. BUT at $5 a marker, my collection is starting SLOW. So far two green, and two brown… well now I can just color lots of trees… I HAD two blue, and two pink in my basket too but I put them back because of…



Smooch paints. OMG love them. Or otherwise known as ‘Pearlized accent ink’ $3.19 each at the Expo, $4.99 at Archivers! They originally started out with just 8 colors, but have expanded greatly. Like my Stickles (glitter glue tubes!) I do think I need them ALL!

They are like a liquid eyeliner. They are a light paint, with a hint of glitter. These are my newest 7. IMG_2613


Frosted Aqua






I have the Grape Soda, Sassy Pink, Kiwi and the ever so awesome top coat Illuminate. These are great for SO many projects. Mostly shown to color in stamped images. BUT I love them for outlining a picture or a journal tag in a scrapbook, lots of different surfaces outside of paper too.

S.E.I had these ‘Jocelyn’ 12x12 scrapbooks on clearance for $5 each! Mia needed a new book!



Some paper for me. I thought the cassette tape paper would be good for my all about me Smash book I’m creating. Talk about how back in the day how we’d tape off the radio, over and over again. And the yellow cloud paper was super cute, that’s just one for anyone… maybe Sophie in the sunshine?


I love to find new cat and dog papers. The cat paper was shimmery, and I’ve already cut apart all these cute cat and dog tags to put with my papers.


Have to say these chipboard cat and dog embellishments were the most pricey individual thing I bought. BUT at $5.99 each but breaking it down it’s about .49 to .59 cents each. Worth it, and I do 8x8 pet albums so these will last!



I swear if you add glitter to ANYTHING we paper crafters flock to it.

See this Adore page?! It’s covered in a yellow/gold glitter. I found an accent tag that goes with it, and can just PICTURE my babies on this page…

See the tag below?! PERFECT. Shiny, and beautiful.




Not only is this message adorable, but the just right amount of green glitter to go with! AND again I found paper to go with, thinking our bike adventure to the Locks with the kids will be PERFECT!






Picked up some adorable school papers, I love this style, and the more regal shades for school then the bright ones. Going to use an old 6x6 BoBunny chipboard book to put these sheets in. Make her a book from Preschool through 6th grade for Mia.


This next sheet may not excite you, but It’s a 12 month calendar. I’m going to cut it up, decorate it, and make a flip calendar for next to my desk. I do each year, and this is the start of my 2012 one!


Sooo that was our adventure, my loot, and each year we learn what to buy and what not to waste our time on. This is what we’ve learned…

1. Go early. Get the VIP, you can wizz through the free make-n-takes (I am NOT paying $5 for a MnT project) then hit the bargain booths, because the lines get SUPER long. I mean 15 minute wait to check out!

2. As much as we love to sit down in one of the nice restaurants there at Pheasant Run Resort, it was 45 minutes for them to COOK our food! Waste of time. I would have been fine getting a hot dog at the vendor stand by the banquet room. Or save money, and pack a lunch!

3. Bring ONE comfy back pack, or shoulder bag. I have one I bought at the Expo 3 years ago and LOVE it. NO roller carts allowed!

4. Don’t bring babies, or toddlers unless you have ZERO options otherwise and are desperate to go. Tweens and teens if they want to go, I think would be a great bonding experience.

5. Go with friends BUT don’t expect to shop together. I say this because if we 3 shopped together the WHOLE time we’d still be there. Do your own thing and meet up. We called each other if we thought one of us got lost in a booth somewhere.

6. Don’t buy it. Yesterday for me was the $29.99 glass tile set. Came with two glues, 20 GLAS tiles, images, and the metal charm to make it a necklace. Great deal BUT a third of my budget. I set it down, walked around thought about it. HAVE to have it? Go ahead. But just remember that you can probably order it online (unless it’s a rare ‘Expo special only deal’) I didn’t get it, and glad I didn’t for that would have been my Smooch Paint budget!

7. I make one FAST round, seeing where things are, before really buying. Seeing if there is a booth I MUST see first. Some booths I don’t even look twice at, some I want to curl up in and refuse to leave!

8. Be prepared to be tired, have sore feet, knees and backs! It’s an exhausting day, but I ask for Expo money for my birthday and save it till then. It’s my big day to spend birthday money on what inspires me and makes me happy. I not only got buy great things for my stash, but I was able to become inspired to scrap, stamp and create!

A wonderful day full of laughs, giggles and much needed girl time! Till next year! Happy Scrapbook Expo Day!!


JCat McGack


In the mail I got my new Creating Keepsakes, PERFECT timing. PLUS I got a $15 credit for my local scrapbook store from my punch card filling up at Scrapbook Junction in Minooka, IL… can’t wait for our 7 hour crop there at the end of September! (more giggles with mom and Piper!)