Have you ever witnessed the absolute trusting faith of a child? I have. In my daughter. She is one of the most Spirit filled children I have ever met. She loves God, with all her heart, and is such an amazing testament of His love. She may not know it, ...

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"Katie Piotrowski" - 5 new articles

  1. Faith {of a child}
  2. One Little Word 2016
  3. How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 3 - The Cart
  4. How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 2 - Creating Layout Kits
  5. How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 1 - Planning pages
  6. More Recent Articles

Faith {of a child}

Have you ever witnessed the absolute trusting faith of a child? I have. In my daughter. She is one of the most Spirit filled children I have ever met. She loves God, with all her heart, and is such an amazing testament of His love. She may not know it, but she is a wonderful example to me of how a believer should live and love. Last year, she attended her very first concert. It was hosted by our church and she got to see a number of Christian bands perform. The smile has yet to fade from her eyes! She had a BLAST!!! Some of the artists signed her arm after the concert and I snapped a pic of her when she got home, which was the pic I used for this layout.


This layout came together quickly! I began with a piece of patterned paper for the background and layered a piece of black cardstock on top. I wanted to bring in the colors from my daughter's shirt so I added some bright colored banner pieces then mounted her photo on coordinating cardstock. The title is a mixture of some alpha stickers and the Want2Scrap Faith Fancy Chipboard Word. I simply colored the chipboard with my metallic silver Sharpie! Next, I did some hand journaling on a kraft tag and adhered it next to the photo. I finished the layout off by adding a few sticker embellishments and sprinkled some Want2Scrap Pink Enamel Dots and Want2Scrap Silver Baby Bling. Here's a closer view of some of the details...

I love the added dimension Want2Scrap chipboard words add to my projects!
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One Little Word 2016

For the past few years, I have chosen One Little Word to focus on throughout the year.  Sometimes I really feel like I'm on target with it and other times, well, not so much.  This year, my OLW is Joy!  I have come to realize that joy is a choice and I can choose it every. single. day. regardless of my circumstances.  I believe that my joy is found in the Lord and I can either let my circumstances stress me out and bring me down or I can choose to look to the Lord and find joy, even in my strugglesTh This is exactly what I am going to do this year.

Here's a layout I created that I will add to my focus board for this year.

I had a lot of fun creating this layout!  I knew I wanted to add some color and I really wanted to be playful with this layout so I chose to use my Silhouette to cut my OLW out, repeatedly, then I used the negative instead of the words I cut out.  I spritzed a piece of white cardstock with 3 different shades of Glimmer Mist and dried it quickly with my heat tool, then I glued my negative right on top of it. I layered up using a plain cardstock for the base, then the diagonal paper, which is from a digital pack I purchased on Etsy. Next I added my photos.  The 2016 was also cut with my Silhouette from the same paper as my background.  I added a OLW flair button from {A Flair for Buttons} and a few Want2Scrap Enamel Dots.

Do you choose a word for the year?
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How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 3 - The Cart

When I was traveling, I always loved landing in a city that had an Ikea.  That is seriously my favorite store to shop in!  In fact, many of the organizational pieces and furniture pieces came from Ikea.  During one trip, I ran across the Raskog Utility Cart.  I loved the color and thought surely I could put it to use, but the cheapskate in side of me told me to hold off, so I did.

After I had seen the cart in the store I began seeing it all over Pinterest.  Crafters everywhere were using it to store everything from stamps to pictures to Project Lift.  Well, in late 2014 I was in Sam's Club and low and behold I see a cart strikingly similar to Ikea's Raskog AND the price was about 1/2!  So, I couldn't resist and I purchased that cart!

Now, before I get into the details of what my cart houses, I will tell you this cart stays packed ALL THE TIME!!!  I have a mini van and it fits perfectly in the very back so it's actually really easy to transport!  But having these items already organized and at hand really helps to streamline not just my packing but also my cropping!

I use it to house my Project Life stuff along with punches, little embellies and stickers/rub-ons.  Here's a look at the entire cart...

As you can see, it's pretty full!  Now, let's take a look at each tier individually.  Here's the top tray...

Thankfully I was able to find a few baskets and even a wire mail sorter that all fit perfectly in this tray together!  In the back, I have my Want2Scrap chipboard alphas, Thickers and long stickers.  On the front left, I have a divided basket and in the front I have words/phrases, middle is alpha stickers and back is rub-ons.  Then, in the basket on the right I have mini paper pads, larger embellishments and Project Life type cards and things.  As my collection of PL style items continues to grow, I will most likely move the cards and such into a larger storage system and incorporate ALL my PL cards together.  But, since my PL stash is still relatively small, I can still sort it all this way.  And lastly, on this top tier, on the far right of the tray I have some glassine bags.  These are filled with the Swag Bags from Paper Issues.  I kept each month together and can just skim through them if I'm looking for something to add to a project.

I also grabbed some of the plastic hanging organizers from Ikea.  These go with the rail systems but I found that they hang on the side of the cart perfectly.  And, they were only 99 cents each!

I have one cup for my Crop-o-Diles, one for sharpies and Wink of Stella pens, one for basic tools like scissors and piercer and ruler and such, and the last cup holds my labeler.

The second tier is where I have my Stampin' Up! Project Life cards and coordinating stamp sets, PL cardstocks and my We R PL card punches...

I like keeping my SU! stuff together for now, but again, as my PL collection continues to grow I may look at incorporating these with the rest.

And here's the last tray...

This tray has quite a bit of miscellaneous stuff in it.  The black bin on the right (also from Ikea) has punches in it.  Then there's my roller stamps and ink pad and wipes and then in the back there are two organizers...the smaller on in front with the jars inside holds my sequins and the larger one in the back holds open embellies like flair, clips and veneer pieces.

Well, there you have it.  That's how I pack for a retreat!  I also have my big Thirty One bag that holds my Silhouette, Ott Light and cords.  Do any of you go to retreats?  Do you have any other tips or tricks to packing for success cropping?
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How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 2 - Creating Layout Kits

This week I'm sharing how I pack for a retreat.  I feel that I have really found a system that works well for me and helps me to really stay focused and actually accomplish something when I'm at a retreat.  In case you missed it, you can view my Step 1 HERE.

So now that I have my pages planned, I can go through my supplies and start packing for those pages.  I purchased a few packs of page planners from Hobby Lobby.  If I remember correctly, they are HL's Paper Studio brand.  The inside is one large pocket that will fit 12x12 paper and stickers then there are some pockets on the outside as well.  I also have some 2 gallon zip lock bags so when I run out of these I can use the zip locks as well.

After I review the sketch and/or photos I want to use, I began pulling the supplies from my stash.  I will grab everything from paper to Want2Scrap Overlays, to embellishments...anything I think I might use on that particular project.  Once I have it all gathered up, I put it all in the pocket and the pocket goes into my crop bag.

Sorry for the glare, but I wanted you to be able to see how it all fits together inside the pockets.

I know it sounds like it is time consuming, but it really isn't.  Like I said, I do all the page planning in my free time like when I'm waiting at the doctors office, or cooking dinner...anytime I'm just playing around on my phone.  Once I have the sketch and pic chosen, the rest is easy.  :)

In addition to my planned pages, I take a SMALL variety of regular cardstock.  I also throw in some extra patterned papers or collections just in case.  Here's a peek inside my crop bag...

That's it, no rolling tote for me!  This is the only bag of paper I take along.  Planning the pages has really helped me pack what I need and not take everything I own with me!

Join me again on Friday for the 3rd and final pieces I pack to take with me!  See you then!
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How I Pack for a Retreat : Step 1 - Planning pages

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend retreats on a quarterly basis.  At that time I did not have a dedicated scrapbook room so all of my stuff was stored in travel/rolling totes.  Because of this, when I did attend a retreat I took EVERYTHING.  More often than not I used 25% of my supplies, if even that.

In 2010 I quit my 8-5 job and began traveling with Scrap-Mart full time.  On average I was gone 21 weekends a year for 5 years!!  That's a LOT of travel.  I loved it, however, due to the fact that I was gone half of the weekends a year for work I stopped going to retreats.  I could not justify being gone from my family for another  weekend, especially when it was just for fun.

In 2012 we completed our garage renovation.  It became my home office/scrapbook room.  Over the course of the next few years I perfected my storage solutions and tweaked things as my stash continued to grow.  Because I worked from home when I wasn't on the road, I still didn't scrapbook near as much as I thought I would.

Fast forward to now, I have returned to a "regular" 8-5 office job and am no longer on the road.  In 2015 I attended my first retreat in years.  I spent weeks preparing and planning and packing.  I have since attended two other retreats and feel I have perfected my packing for maximum scrapbook efficiency.

The first and most important thing I did was plan my pages.  I began by browsing and pinning sketches and layouts I liked.  I also took a screen shot of each sketch I intended to use.  I have the Collect app on my phone so I would upload the sketch into Collect and add the pics I wanted to use for that particular sketch.  I would also add any journaling or thoughts as well as what products I wanted to use, if I knew that at the time.  Here's a peek at what my Collect calendar looked like at first glance...

I had 23 layouts planned before I ever packed a single thing!  And, I did all of this in my "spare" time when I would have been playing on my phone anyway.  This is something you can do on a regular basis so you always have a plan of something you can work on!  Trust me, if you're like me and you are strapped for time but get the urge to scrap the last thing you wanna do is go sit at your desk and browse sketches and photos and try to decide what to do.  If you keep a calendar of ideas going you can get right to work when you have the opportunity to sneak off for a few!

Join me again on Wednesday when I share how I pack and prepare to complete these pages!

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