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July 26, 2007

in my next life...

...maybe I'll be a graphic designer. That would be fun, wouldn't it? But since I can't wait until my next life to do some design projects for simplify 101, maybe you know someone who is a graphic designer in this lifetime and might have the time and inclination to do some design projects for simplify 101. Maybe it's you?

Here's what we're looking for:

A passionate and fun graphic designer that has a simple and clean style. Knowledge of scrapbooking is a definite plus...although it isn't necessary to have designed for the scrapbook industry. (Just looking for someone who understands the market.) Experience designing for the web is another plus.

If you know someone (or if you are that someone) contact Jay with examples of work (links are fine), availability, and rates.

Thanks for your help!

p.s. In this life I'm a professional organizer, who, on this day sent an organizing ezine about Organized Travels. If, in this lifetime you haven't signed up yet, do so today by going here. ;)

July 24, 2007


Last weekend I went to CHA Chicago for the third year in a row. It’s an interesting tale of three years of trade-showing … so I thought I’d share.

Year 1 - CHA 2005:
I made the 4-1/2 hour drive from my home in Southern Illinois to Chicago. I was in the process of writing "the happy scrapper" and thought the show would be great research for my book-in-process. But even more motivating was the chance to meet Wendy in person. In the spring of 2005, I received an email from her. She was looking for a professional organizer to help her set up an inspiring and organized scrapbook studio / home office in her new home. Wendy found my site (loved it), saw I was a scrapbooker (loved that) and emailed me to see if I had people in Utah that could help her on her organizing mission. I have no people in Utah (or any other state for that matter) but I do have a coaching program. So we started working together creating the space of her dreams. Our meeting at CHA resulted in a Wendy-guided-tour of the CHA show floor for me and an Aby guided-tour of IKEA for Wendy to look for things for her space. Stacy joined us for the IKEA adventure for a tour of the store and a Swedish Meatball dinner.

Adventure? Yes, that's right. Our jaunt to IKEA ended after an unguided tour on the streets and interstates of suburban Chicago ... an unguided tour that lasted for over two hours. (No joke!) It was then that Wendy and I knew for sure we were destined to be great friends ... after all it isn't everyday you can get seriously lost and have seriously great time in the process!

Fast forward to year two...

Year 2 - CHA 2006:
Wendy and I created many things during our time working together on her space. A great friendship. A collaborative partnership. An inspiring and organized space for Wendy. And the desire to share everything we learned working together with other scrapbookers, because we were quite certain that Wendy’s desire for an organized and inspiring scrapbook space was not a unique need. “Let’s write a book!” we thought, one that will help scrapbookers figure out what organizational and storage solutions will work for them. Let’s write a book that that will show them inspiring spaces of other scrapbookers…scrapbookers who have figured out what works for them and can share their wisdom with others. Let’s include a workbook so it will be easy for scrapbookers to take action on the material in the book. Let’s include some fun, inspiring and simple projects that scrapbookers can use to add a creative touch to their space. And so at CHA 2006 we pitched our book idea to Lin Sorenson. She loved it ... and the journey to our new book began. Our trips to IKEA year 2 were focused on finding ideas for the book. No Swedish meatballs and no getting lost thanks to MapQuest reverse driving directions.

Fast forward to year three...

Year 3 - CHA 2007:
The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker is no longer a dream. No longer an idea. No longer simply the reason for lost sleep and late nights. It's a book! And it's here! (Well almost here.) At CHA Chicago I got to hold in my hands for the first time the culmination of two years worth of collaboration, ideas, cell phone calls, emails, painting projects, altering projects, organizing sessions, editing sessions, Swedish meatballs, and random "oh, wouldn't it be cool if we did this?" thoughts during miscellaneous showers before bed. There it was ... in one tidy, little package. Our book.

I am truly blown away at the job the team at CK Media did on this amazing book. Sure, Wendy and I get our names on the front cover, but one look inside shows that it was a team effort. And I want to say thanks out loud to the team: Ali Monson, Angie Lucas, Stacy Julian, Rachel Gainer, Elisha Snow, Carolyn Jolley, Jenny Webb, Claudia Daniels, Cathy Zielske, Marin Barney, Brian Smith, Symoni Johnson, Dana Wilson and a big thank you to Lin Sorenson. Thank you also to Stacy, Renee Pearson, Beth Proudfoot, Kelli Crowe, and Kelly Jeppson for letting us share your beautiful spaces and inspiring approach to scrapbooking on the pages of The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker. I'm sure there are many others who had their hand in helping create this book ... and I thank you, too.

July 16, 2007

while I was away...

the Creative Organizing blog was featured here at Today's Creative Blog. What a fun blog is that? Thank you, Kim for featuring my blog! 

And scrap scene featured "the organized + inspired scrapbooker" last week, too. Check it out here. Thanks, Angie!

ideas for using mini clipboards

I recently received this email from April about mini clipboards:

Hi Aby,

I have followed you all over the place it seems and really enjoy your tips for organizing.  I recently purchased 1-12x12 and 2-4x4 clipboards through Oriental Trading Company (because they were too darn cute to pass up).

I'm thinking about using the 12x12 either to hang on my wall within a collage of frames to display my latest scrapbook page, or to stick magnets on the back and use it on my fridge with calendar sheets.  Any ideas?

I am totally stumped on a use for the 4x4.  Stacy Julian posted a great use for hers on her blog (chore lists) but I don't have any children.  Can you help?

Thanks so much and keep up the great work everywhere you go!


Thanks, April. I love mini clipboards and use one for my grocery lists. Mine is a bit bigger at almost 9" x 6". But let's see what ideas we can come up with for your 12 X 12 and 4 X 4 super cute clip boards.


For the 12 x 12 I really like the idea of using it to display your latest scrapbook creation. You could hang it on the wall like you said or you could look for an easel and use the clipboard as a desktop display. I haven’t tried this, but you might also try painting it with magnetic paint … then it could be a clipboard and a magnet board all in one. You could use it as a design board (like decorators use when they decorate a room) for your scrapbook projects. It would be like an inspiration board that you use on a project by project basis. Again, if you did that and used it with an easel, you might be able to prop it up and keep your supplies in sight while you scrapbook. Again … this is an untested idea but seems fun, I think.

For the smaller boards, you could use them for errands lists or as a place to capture scrapbooking ideas or quotable quotes. You could put one in your laundry room, kitchen or anywhere that you happen to be when ideas strike. Another thought would be to use the smaller ones with a table top easel and use it as a picture frame for new photos—another fun and changeable display, like the 12 x 12 scrapbook page layout idea. This could be particularly fun for photos you love but aren’t sure how you want to scrapbook yet. Seeing your photos randomly at different times of the day might help you come up with scrapbooking ideas as you go about your other business.

Here are a few more ideas:

- in your scrapbook space: create a list of all the goodies you need to pick up next time you hit your favorite scrapbook store or create a master project list for all your scrapbook projects you plan to start!

- by the telephone: just add a note pad and you’ll always have a place to jot-down important phone messages.

- in the kitchen: hang your clipboard in your cupboard or pantry. Add items to your grocery list as you run out of them.

- in your car: to keep dry cleaning coupons handy.

How do you use your 4 X 4 clipboards? Any other ideas to share?

this pretty much sums it up...


My Mom ... headed to look at the stunning views on San Juan Island. Simply amazing. So beautiful. So freeing. I think this shot of her captures the essence of our time together in Washington. Once in a lifetime. Truly special.

And now ... back to reality ... a wonderful reality but one that happens to consists of 49 unanswered emails. Yep, a bit of a backlog. So ... if you're waiting on a question, it's in queue.

Here are two quick answers from prior comments / posts. I got the bag in this post at TJ Maxx, for a bargain. I've seen them at Linen's and Things before, too. And here it is (for full price) at the Container Store.

About the Making Memories travel line ... I got mine at Archiver's so I know the line is available, but I'm not sure if anyone is selling it on-line yet. Have any of you found it anywhere? The binders are (conveniently) available from simplify 101. ;)

July 11, 2007

organize your dorm room

I recently received this question from a blog reader:

I just turned 18 and I am getting ready to move out of my parents house and attend college. The dorm rooms are smaller than the normal space I am accustomed to living in. Therefore I was just wondering if your could give a few tips on how to store all my clothes without cluttering everything. Inside the dorm there are two chest of drawers one for me and one for my roommate.

Thanks for your question and congrats to you! College is such an exciting time and with a few simple organizing strategies up your sleeve, it can be an organized time, too. Keep these two key principles in mind to keep your dorm room clutter free.

Principle 1. Make the most of the space you have. Add storage solutions that take advantage of all the available space. Take advantage of unused vertical space by adding a set of tall storage cubbies and canvas drawers. Make the most of your closet and hanging space by adding hanging organizers to make more space for sweatshirts, sweaters, tees or even shoes. Or, take advantage of the space between your hanging clothes and the floor by adding storage drawers to tuck in below your hanging clothes. You could also look for space under your bed using an under-the-bed storage system, or add hooks or an over-the-door-shoe organizer to take advantage of the space behind your door. Once you’ve gotten creative and stretched your storage space, it’s time to embrace principle 2.

Principle 2. Don't pretend you have more space than you do. This is the tough one … if you have space for ten sweaters, only keep ten sweaters in your dorm room. Trying to fit more into a space than will fit results in clutter! You can still have variety in your wardrobe by changing out items when you go home to visit … which you do plan to do, right? Take your very favorite things to school, keep the extras at home and change out items when you go home.

Good luck to you!

July 10, 2007



...I think I've found heaven on earth. This is the view of the sunset from where we're staying in Seattle. The weather is unbelievable...sunny and warm but you can actually feel the air move. And what's even better, you can breath that air...unlike the humid, very sticky and unbreathable air where I'm from. It's simply amazing.

Spent the day here at Pike's Market and down on the water front. So fun. Just went wherever we felt like going and did whatever we felt like doing. Ahhhhhhhh....


Can you believe these morel mushrooms? $30 a pound ... and worth every penny if you ask me. Yum-o.


Having fun taking in the sights, breathing the fresh air, playing with my camera ... and spending time with Mom...and taking some goofy self portraits. I think we're going to do a self-portrait-a-day...just to see if we can get any better at it. Well... just because it's fun.


Just wanted to say hello from the road. More soon...maybe even an organizing post!

July 04, 2007

happy 4th!


How are you celebrating the fourth of July? I hope you're having a great day. Are you going to see any fireworks? We're headed to a local display in a neighboring town tonight. I like the small-town fireworks...smaller crowds, less waiting and you get to be closer to the action. I love it when I can sit right under the fireworks. No matter what size the feels *huge* because you're literally right in the middle of it all. I can't wait! (Keeping my fingers crossed for great weather!)

I also love packing some fun things to pass the time before the fireworks start. Here's my bag ... packed and ready to go.


blanket. I LOVE this blanket from Crate and Barrel. Got it three years ago and it's been on a zillion outings with us. One like it is on clearance now at C&B.

bug-spray. because darn it, I live in a place ripe with pesky mosquitoes!

sparklers. and some handy gear like a lighter, small citronella candle (to light sparklers), and small bucket with sand (to safely collect the hot ends of the sparklers.)

light sticks. just one buck for a whole lotta' time passed. Do your kids love these things, too?

bubbles. a perennial favorite of my daughter.

simple snacks. peanuts; in the shell because they're yummy and opening them up passes yet more time. Grabbed another one of my bucket buddies to corral the shells. Add a few Recess Pieces and some napkins, and we're all set for a light snack before the show.

I'll add some ice cold bottled water and we'll be all set!

Heading to a BBQ now ... taking coleslaw and this refreshing treat.

So...what are your must haves to take to the fireworks? And what's your go-to favorite to take for BBQ's and picnics? I always love a good recipe if you have a tasty favorite, please share! I'd love to hear from you!

Hope you have a terrific fourth!

July 02, 2007

travel planner...

In less than a week I'm leaving on a jet plane for the wonderful state of Washington. Seriously, I can't believe this trip is here. Already! We've been planning it for over a year and yet it's catching me by surprise that it's here! Already! Yippee!!!

My brother, sister and I are each taking my Mom on a leg of this once-in-a-lifetime-dream-vacation. This trip was her 70th birthday present (and Christmas present, and Mother's day, and every other holiday since she turned 70. I think this was even her 71st birthday gift, too!) So it's a big deal vacation.

Anyway, my Mom and my brother (and his family) are in California right now and then on Sunday Mom flies to Seattle to meet up with me. Later in the week we'll spend some time touring Washington with my sister and her husband. (I hope to check out some of the sights you all posted about! Thanks again for that, BTW.)

This is truly a once in a lifetime vacation. Not just for my Mom. But for me, too. So I want to be sure to capture all my memories of being together and traveling in a state I've never been to before. So I put together this little binder. It will serve as a planner and a journal during the trip, and then a scrapbook when I get back home.


I used one of my favorite organizing friends the Russell & Hazel mini binder. Then, as luck would have it ... I happened upon Making Memories new travel line on a recent trip to Archivers. Have you seen it? It's totally darling. I was seriously giddy when I saw these products. The ribbon says "together" and that is exactly what this trip is all about: being together ... my Mom and me together for a whole week. Ah yes ...something you scrapbookers out there can all relate to: finding perfectly appropriate ribbon and getting giddy. My sister on the other hand was completely confused by me and my overly excited reaction to these products ... but THAT's another story.

Back to the binder. On the outside I used some of the MM super cute chipboard letters. I sanded the edges a bit ... just because I love a good excuse to use these tools from Basic Grey ... and, well, I thought it would look cool.


On the inside I added some Avery sheet protectors and slipped each day's agenda inside. The agenda is printed on scrapbook paper and embellished with rub-ons from the MM travel line. This agenda will serve as a useful tool while on the trip...housing essential info like hotel confirmation numbers, phone numbers, and so on.


But I've also left space to jot down things I want to remember each day. I'm going to add a map of the area of the state we'll be in (cut to fit inside the protectors) as well as a few MapQuest travel directions. I've left a blank page opposite each agenda where I've tucked in a tag ... again from the MM travel line. I plan to add photos or more journaling or even some ticket stubs from our whale watch or other interesting memorabilia I collect along the way. And because it's a three ring binder, I can rearrange things when I get back to accommodate the photos I want to add.

I'm sure I'll make some full page layouts about this once-in-a-lifetime vacation, too ... but I know the rest of my life will kick into high gear as soon as I get back. (CHA anyone?) So I'm super excited to know I'll have a place to capture my reflections while they're happening on the trip and a great reason to print some of my photos as soon as I get back home!

Thanks for letting me share ... I hope you enjoyed the tour of my travel planner and can adapt some of these ideas for your own summer travels.

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