Fun with Paper Piecing and Stitching – Trying New Things!

I must admit…I am OBSESSED with paper piecing and stitching! For the past four months I have watched video after video on YouTube about paper piecing and stitching on scrapbook layouts. Finally, I decided to give it a shot. So off to Michaels I went to purchase sewing floss and needles. I was bound and determined to give this try!

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Not bad for my first try! It’s not perfect, but I am glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

This layout features a photo of my baby girl that I captured on a lazy Saturday afternoon while she was napping. I think I have about 10 layouts of her sleeping, because she is so stinkin’ precious! I had a vision of creating clusters of floating clouds around the photo, as if to suggest that she was sleeping among them.

From the Silhouette Design Store, I uploaded a cloud cut file (there are several designs so it was a bit difficult to narrow my choices). I cut the clouds from American Crafts White Textured cardstock. (An alternative is to cut the clouds out of pattern paper.) At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use pattern paper for some of the clouds, but it became clear to me that using pattern paper would add more interest to the layout. I simply used some of the extra cloud cuts as a template, traced the cloud on a piece pattern paper, and cut them out by hand.

Once all of the clouds were cut, I used my We R Memory Keepers Paper Piercer and Piercing Mat to poke stitching holes around the perimeter of the clouds. Next, using white sewing floss, I sewed a backstitch on each cloud. To be honest, this process took me quite a while. I began this layout about 2 weeks ago, starting and stopping in between projects. Not my usual process!

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After all of the clouds were stitched, I positioned them in clusters around the layout. I added Fun Foam and foam squares behind the clouds for added dimension.

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To finishing the layout, I added a few die cuts and stickers to the cloud clusters, a title, and a bit of journaling. Overall, I really like this layout! I am glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried something new!

Page Ingredients: Elements used to create this layout are from the May 2017 Hip Kit Club Main Scrapbooking Kit.

Want to see how this layout came together? Head on over to the Victoria Marie YouTube Channel to see the process video for this spread. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – New Start Date and Extended Pre-Sale

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

New Start Date and Extended Pre-Sale!!!

Multiphoto Love – Fresh Techniques for Creating Multiphoto Scrapbook Layouts
A Self-Paced Online Class

New Launch Date: JUNE 28, 2017

Due to a few course production and technical delays, the launch of Multiphoto Love has been changed.

The class content will be available on: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For those who have already signed up for this course, please continue to take advantage of the FREE course deliverables, available for immediate access in the Multiphoto Love online class room! The full course content will be available on June 28th.

Remember, this is a self-paced online course. Once the content is loaded in the online classroom on June 28th, you will have access 24/7 and you can start, resume and/or retake the course anytime you want. The class will always be available to you. 🙂

EXTENDED PRE-SALE – 20% OFF!

To purchase this class go to http://www.victoria-marie.thinkific.com.

As a token of my appreciate for your patience, I am extending the Multiphoto Love Pre-Sale offer to July 4, 2017!!!

This offer includes:

+ 20% discount off the regular price of the class ($35.00 – now $28.00)

+ 10% Discount Code! Early Birds will receive an additional 10% discount code good toward another Victoria Marie Online Class. This code is available for immediate access once the class is purchased.

+ FREE Multiphoto Love Project Pages Sketches for Early Bird Enrollees – available for immediate download!

As always, thank you so much for your support and for your patience as I work out the “kinks” in this course. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at victoria@victoriamariescraps.com.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom on June 28th!!!

Multiphoto Love – Tips and Tricks: Why I Love Grid Designs

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Hello Scrappers!!!!

In just two short weeks my new class, Multiphoto Love – Fresh Techniques for Creating Multiphoto Scrapbook Layouts, will start and for the next several days, I will be posting my favorite multiphoto tips and tricks!  Want to learn more about this class? Head on over to the Victoria Marie Online Classroom.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Multiphoto Love 20% off Early Bird Sale, available now until June 16th! In addition to the discount, early bird enrollees will receive immediate access to the exclusive Multiphoto Love Bonus Project Pages PDF, a set of multiphoto scrapbook sketches that you can start using TODAY, and a 10% off discount code good for a current or future Victoria Marie Online Class!

Class will start on June 16th so make sure to mark your calendars!

MY FAVORITE TIPS – Grid Designs

I am a sucker for a grid design! It is an easy way to add lots of photos to any scrapbook layout and grid designs are super versatile! The size of a grid design will be dependent on the number of photos you want to use. Grids can be enhanced by adding embellishments, elevating photos with pop dots or foam tape, or using fun pattern papers or journaling cards in place of a photo. We will explore grid designs in more detail in the upcoming Multiphoto Love class!

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Layout from Multiphoto Love – “Spirit Week”

Try This!

Next time you make a grid design (or if you are making one for the first time), try these easy techniques:

  • Go Small! Resize your photos to 2×2, 3×3, or 4×4 – smaller photos allow you to maximize the space on your grid design. Mix smaller photos with larger photos to create a unique design.
  • Add Interest! Mix photos with embellishments such a die cuts, journaling cards, chipboard stickers, etc., to create an interesting look with lots of texture and dimension.
  • Black, White, and Color! Use both black & white and color photos – the mix of both adds an interesting look to any grid design!

Grid designs are super simple to create and can easily become a “go-to” design for any scrapbooker!

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Add fun embellishments to enhance a grid design!

Be sure to check out Multiphoto Love – Fresh Techniques for Creating Multiphoto Scrapbook Layouts and take advantage of the limited time Early Bird Sale! And stay tuned for more Multiphoto Love Tips and Tricks here on the Victoria Marie Blog and YouTube Channel!

Happy scrappin’!

 

Pre-Launch Sale! Save 20% off “Multiphoto Love” – A New Online Scrapbooking Class by Victoria Marie Online Classes!

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Class starts June 16, 2017!

Go to www.victoria-marie.thinkific.com to take advantage of the Pre-Launch Sale!

I am so excited to announce my latest online class, “Multiphoto Love – Fresh Techniques for Creating Multiphoto Layouts”, starting June 16, 2017!  This class is chock-full of content and techniques that will surely inspired you to make stunning multiphoto layouts. In this class we will cover:

  • Basic multiphoto layout design using my Story+Photo+Design process.
  • Resizing and cropping photos using digital and manual tools to create photos of various sizes to use on a multiphoto layout.
  • Explore design techniques to include: Collage Design, Grid Design, Pocket Layout Design, Playing with Photo Size, and Exploring with Photo Shapes

This course includes:

  • 5 Instructional Lessons
  • 10 Instructional Process Videos
  • Full Color Project Pages PDF that features the layouts created in this course using my Story+Photo+Design process!
  • Full Color Instructional Guide PDF for each lesson
  • Full Color Photo Orientation PDF to help you plan your multiphoto layout designs
  • Access to the private Multiphoto Love Facebook Group where you can share your layouts and hang out with others from the class!
  • Access to the course discussion board – ask questions, share ideas, and discuss topics featured in this course.
  • 10% Course Coupon Code to use toward a purchase of a Victoria Marie Online Class. (Available after purchase, cannot be used on Multiphoto Love course or toward any other offer.)
  • Email access to the course instructor!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PRE-LAUNCH SALE STARTING TODAY!!!!!

When you purchase Multiphoto Love during the Pre-Launch sale, you will save 20% off the regular class price of $35.00 AND you will receive a FREE Bonus Project Pages PDF which includes my exclusive multiphoto sketches with design instructions. Use these sketches as a warm up for the class! Also, anyone who enrolls in this course will receive a 10% Discount Code to use toward another Victoria Marie Online Class (exclusions apply). Once you purchase the class, you will have immediate access to the FREE Bonus Project Pages and 10% Discount Code.

The Pre-Launch sale ends on June 16, 2017 11:59 pm CST!!!!

Cost: $35.00 (after June 16th)

Pre-Launch Sale: $28.00 (save 20%)

Go to www.victoria-marie.thinkific.com to take advantage of the Pre-Launch Sale!

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom on June 16th! 

Check out the class promo on the Victoria Marie YouTube Channel!

1 Year in the Biz Update – Looking Back and Moving Forward

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2016 Just getting started…

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2017 I made it! Yay! 

On June 1, 2016 around 9:30 am,  I became a brand new entrepreneur. The “doors” of Victoria Marie Designs officially opened for business and I had no idea what to do or where to start. Overcome by the enormity of my decision to quit my full time job and forge ahead with starting Victoria Marie Designs, I sat in my studio trying to convince myself that I made the right decision and everything will be okay.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first draft of this blog post I have written about my first year in business. The initial post sounded too generic – I want to be completely transparent about my adventure thus far in hopes of not only inspiring those of you who want to set off on a similar journey, but to also underscore that sometimes, this entrepreneur thing is hard and life gets in the way, forcing you to make decisions that you didn’t think you would make in order to stay afloat.

So, here goes…

THE GOOD

  • I achieved many things during my first year of business. To date, I have produced and launched 5 classes, garnering over $20k in sales (not too bad).
  • I hosted the very first Victoria Marie Scrapbook Retreat in Weatherford, TX.
  • I am currently on the Clique Kits Design Team.
  • I have guest designed for Felicity Jane, Cocoa Daisy, and later this year, Maya Road with more opportunities in the works.
  • I have been featured on the Scrap Gals Podcast with Tiffany and Tracie and Live Inspired with Tracie Claiborne.
  • I’ve taken on 3 private custom scrapbook clients (I do custom work occasionally.)
  • I design scrapbook sketches for the April Lilli Shop!
  • My YouTube Channel grew from 4000 subscribers to over 6200 subscribers; the Victoria Marie Facebook Group now has over 2000 members!
  • I have over 1400 Instagram Followers, up from 100 at the beginning of the year.
  • I received my first offer to teach at a scrapbooking retreat in 2018!

Overall, not too shabby for my first year in business. There are so many things that I wanted to do but I quickly discovered that being a staff of 1 limits my ability to “do all the things”. I had to learn to focus on my main goals and allow myself the space to work on other projects down the future.

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VM Headquarters

I have thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility that comes with being an entrepreneur. However, I have learned that “flexibility” means something completely different when you are running a business (more on this later). Nonetheless, working for myself afforded me a lot of time to travel, pursue my interests, and to spend time with my family. I love the fact that I was able to attend all but one of my daughter’s school field trips as well as dropping her off and picking her up from school. Occasionally I would pop in and surprise her with lunch, which she loved!

Last summer were able to go on an impromptu trip to Denver, CO – we had a blast at Estes Park and at the Downtown Aquarium. This was the most relaxing vacation…we didn’t have to worry about rushing home or using vacation time. We just hopped in the car and left – talk about freedom!

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I was being super productive on this day!

My everyday work life has been great, most days. I like that I can start and stop projects when I want to, take a coffee break at Starbucks (the barista know me by name), rearrange my workflow as I need to. There is no one commanding my time and I only answer to myself. Everything I do is of my own creative ingenuity and I love taking calculated risks without receiving push back from others.

Can you tell I love being an entrepreneur? 🙂

I recently found that I needed to connect with other creative entrepreneurs so I joined a collective called CoCommercial and I also mastermind with a friend and fellow entrepreneur once a week. We keep each other accountable so that we stay on track with our goals and projects.

THE CHALLENGES

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Life sucks sometimes. 

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t talk about all of the challenges I faced during my first year. Again, I want to be completely transparent and realistic.

Sometimes projects fail: As I mentioned earlier, I launched 5 classes within an 8 month period with over $20K in revenue. This isn’t a bad number and the classes did very well…except 2 of the classes. For each class I create a projection, or in other words, I make a goal to sell x number of enrollments over a certain period of time based on my initial launch.  Sadly, two of my classes did not make projection – not even close.

The first time this happened, I was completely crushed. I thought I had did something wrong. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that I needed help with marketing.  I had to figure out how to create a sales funnel to retain my current students and attract new students to my classes. Recently, I started the Teach What You Do program by Debbie Hodge. OMG what a difference! The information I am receiving through this class is long overdue. I have so much to do but I am confident that I will learn the necessary skills needed to become better at marketing my brand and my products.

At times, I was not a good boss or employee: My mastermind partner and I recently talked about self-accountability and productivity. We both admitted that early in our business journey, we failed to be both good bosses and good employees. We call this our “beta year”.  If you can imagine spending most of your time working for someone else, then you start working for yourself…the flexibility is almost too much to handle!

My leisurely mornings consisted of taking my kid to school, coming home for a cup of coffee, watching YouTube videos, eating breakfast, finally getting dressed and eventually start working around 11:00 am. I would work for a couple of hours then say to myself, “I need a break.” So off to the living room I went to watch Gilmore Girls and to have more coffee. This was my “schedule” for a good 3-5 months. Victoria the Boss allowed it and Victoria the Employee enjoyed every minute of this awesome “schedule”.

Yet, work was not being done…at least not in an efficient and productive manner.

My friend and I called this our beta year because we made lots of mistakes and we had to learn from them. The first lesson: If you want to make money, you have to work. And the second lesson: Flexibility doesn’t mean that you can screw around all day and at times, you have to say NO to things that are not moving you and your business forward. You have to set limits.

MIND…BLOWN!

So, I spent some time evaluating my goals and setting up a workflow process that allowed me to get work done. I learned how to batch my work (a term I gleaned from Miss Trench Coat, a productivity professional and YouTuber) and to set reasonable timelines for my major projects. Victoria the Boss stepped up and Victoria the Employee began to follow through. Sadly, because of my initial behavior, I didn’t realize some of my revenue goals…this was a hard lesson to learn.

It’s okay to bask in the land of flexibility, but you still have to show up and work.

Speaking of revenue: So, it takes a long time to actually make a profit when you go into business.  Including my classes, this is what I pulled in:

  • $20,000 in class revenue (includes sales and new class enrollments)
  • $2,500 in contract work (private clients, other assignments)
  • $200 in YouTube Ad sales (I’ve only been doing this for 3 months)
  • $500 in profit from the Victoria Marie Scrapbook Retreat (minus expenses)

So, my total revenue for Year 1 was $23,200.  This doesn’t account for expenses and taxes. This number seems rather low…because it is. Again, my revenue would have been much higher had I took time to develop a few marketing strategies and if I were a bit more productive in the beginning. Also, I quickly learned that there are projects that I wasn’t able to execute right away, such as more scrapbooking retreats (mainly due to the upfront costs needed to book a venue).

But, you live and learn. Now that I know better, I will do better. I have to keep reminding myself that I went into business for a reason. While I will not become a millionaire, the potential to earn a decent living is well within my reach. I have to work hard for every penny…

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Coffee and slay baby! Get to work and do this! Stop screwing around!

And then life happens: The worse thing that can happen while starting a business are unforeseen life circumstances. While my spouse and I tried hard to prepare and set aside emergency funds before I quit my job, we quickly learned that we did not save enough. There were a myriad of events that tugged at our purse strings: a car accident which resulted in a totaled vehicle (we are still paying on this car – no gap insurance), a lengthy hospital stay which resulted in costly medical fees, and fluctuations in my spouse’s salary that serves as our main income while I get my business off the ground.

As an entrepreneur, you are spending a lot of time establishing a consistent monthly income. This will fluctuate greatly which also means that you have to be a ninja at budgeting your finances. My spouse and I began to see that we were hemorrhaging money left and right and something needed to be done quickly.  Conversations about me returning to work full-time and pulling our daughter out of private school caused a great deal of stress. We admitted that we should have made more changes to our budget before I left my job – hindsight is 20/20.

To say that we were stressed out is an understatement.

There is nothing worse than doing a totally awesome cool thing like starting a business and being stressed to the max about money. So, I started looking for part-time and full-time work, convincing myself that I can work outside of the home again and maintain my business. To be honest, I was not happy about this prospect.  I began to weigh all of my options. My spouse and I decided to withdrawal our daughter from private school (this ate me up the most because her school is amazing) and we began to cut our budget.

Then a series of events happened:

So, I needed to find a way to earn extra money while I continued to work my business. I contacted my daughter’s school, which is supported by a non-profit that hosts leadership excursions for elementary students. They needed someone to help with administrative and trip preparation tasks. The pay was great, they only needed me for 20 hours a week, and I made my own schedule. PERFECT! So for 8 weeks I helped pack school trips and enter data. No brainer.

While working there I was approached by the director of this program who offered me a semi-full time position as a school communications coordinator. Essentially, a liaison between the program and the schools, booking trips, confirming dates, etc. All stuff I have done before during my non-profit days. I told the director I would think about it and get back to her.

Meanwhile, I was preparing myself to speak to the executive director, who is also the head of the school, about withdrawing our daughter. I waited a long time to have this conversation because I was holding out hope that we could figure out a way to keep her enrolled but I knew it just wasn’t financially feasible.  I finally ripped the band-aid and initiated the conversation. However, before I could finish explaining why we decided to pull our daughter out, she said, “Well, you can afford if you work here full-time. And full-time for us 30 hours per week. Think you can manage that with your business? We offer a very generous reduced tuition rate for our full time employees. Surprise! See, it all works out!”

My heart sank.

I told her I would think about it.

That night my spouse and I had a long talk – we discussed all of the possibilities and the fact that taking this job would solve our most immediate needs: increased income, an extremely reduced tuition rate, and I can still run my business while working a job that I am completely qualified to do. Additionally, I would get every school holiday off including summers.

God looks out for babes and fools. And lord knows I am a fool!

So, I did the responsible adult thing…I took the job.

I start this fall. 🙂

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Always believe in yourself. 

Now, I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand I didn’t expect to return to work EVER after I left my job last June. On the other hand, I know that financial stress (any stress for that matter) is not healthy and if I have a way to ease the burden in the short-term, I would be foolish not to take it. Plus, being a business owner is a lot of fun…but not when you are constantly worrying about money.

So, there you have it…the long and short of my first year in business. Today, I am celebrating all of my successes and my failures. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be apart of this community, to have the support of so many who watch my content on YouTube, hang out with me on social media, enroll in my classes, and attend my retreats. There is so much that I want to do and I am learning to pace myself and set realistic and doable goals. Also, there is so much that I need to learn as I continue on this journey. The most important lesson I have learned is that it’s okay to be humble, admit when you need help, or change course when things aren’t going in the direction you once planned. My eyes were certainly opened during this past year and I am thankful for the journey.

Despite some recent changes, Victoria Marie Designs will continue to grow. There will be more classes and events to come, and more free content with tons of inspiration!

Thank you for standing by me and for cheering me on. Your support, kind words, and energy mean so much to me!

Here’s to year two!

Let’s do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool for the Summer Scrapbook Crop – June 17, 2017!

LOGO Cool for the Summer 2017

***THERE ARE ONLY 20 SPACES AVAILABLE!! RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY!***

Just $39.00 per scrapper – CLICK HERE to register!

All payments are accepted through PayPal! Read below for payment information.

Register by June 10, 2017 at 11:59 pm CST!!!

Come join me for the June 2017 Cool for the Summer Scrapbook Crop, hosted by Victoria Marie Designs! This event will be held at the beautiful Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Denton, Texas on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm!

This fun and laid back 1-day crop will include:

  • 1 six-foot table and 1 chair for each scrapper
  • 11-hours of creative time to use as you wish from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm!
  • Free Wi-Fi access
  • Scrappy Swag Bag
  • 15% off Victoria Marie Online Classes!
  • Catered lunch and complimentary water, soda, coffee, and tea
  • Fun scrapbooking challenges and prizes!
  • Hang out with other fun scrappers!!!

COST: $39.00 per scrapper  (*non-refundable; price of the crop only)

Holiday Inn

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LOCAL CRAFT AND HOBBY STORES

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Denton is conveniently located by:

DISCOVER DENTON!

Want to stay for the weekend? Check out all that Denton, Texas has to offer! Go to Discover Denton to learn more!

Staying Overnight: If you wish to stay over night, you can book a room by going to Holiday Inn Express and Suites. All lodging must book separately and is NOT included in the cost of the crop registration fee.

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RESERVE YOUR SPOT AT THE CROP TODAY!!!

To reserve your spot, you will need to do the following:

Once you have completed the registration process, you will be sent a confirmation email from Victoria Marie Designs.

REFUNDS*

All participants will need to remit a $39.00 non-refundable registration fee for this event. If you need to cancel your registration, contact Victoria Calvin at victoria@victoriamariescraps.com.  Also, “no-shows” will not be refunded.

In the event that the crop is cancelled for any reason by the crop host, all registered participants will be contacted and issued a full refund of $39.00 via PayPal. Please allow 5-10 business days for this process. NOTE: This event will be cancelled if registration numbers are low. 

Questions? Contact Victoria Calvin at victoria@victoriamariedesigns.com!

I look forward to seeing you at the crop!