Monday, December 31

Looking back: 2007

My select projects from 2007:

Craft Room Update

Our furniture and the rest of our stuff finally arrived!!!  And that includes all my craft supplies from my craft corner back in Japan. 

And now, my planet's in chaos!  There are so many boxes to open and lots of craft supplies to  organize!  I honestly don't know where to start.  I was opening some boxes yesterday, and it felt like I was a kid opening more presents after Christmas.  It was so nice to see my Xyron sticker machine, my laminator, my other Cricut cartridges, my acrylic blocks for stamping, the rest of my cardstock, my punches, my heat gun, glue gun, Big Shot, craft mats, OTT Lamp, and most especially the albums that I have filled with scrapbook pages!  It's so nice to see each page again!  I wonder what else I will find in many other unopened boxes!  However, I did discover quite a number of junk.  Back in Japan, they were precious to me.  I was keeping everything, thinking they would have a good use in the future.  Plus, in Japan, everything is expensive.  But now, it seems my "perspective" has changed.  I was looking at them and I asked myself, "Why did I keep this for?"  They are junk.  I have to have a separate box to put my so called junk in, then maybe throw them away or RAK them to somebody.  I'm thinking now that I have my own craft room, I should have lots of room to put all my stuff in.  But it seems now there still isn't enough space.  Ah... I'll find space.  I'm just too overwhelmed right now.  Considering I have so many projects in mind and that I need to start with them right away!
Can somebody help me?!?!?  LOL

Monday, December 17

Digital vs. Traditional

OK OK OK!  I'm eating my word.  I said before I'll never be into digital scrapbooking.  But since having a dip into it, I can say that I like it.  But that doesn't mean that I'm saying goodbye to the traditional way.  My standing still leans towards the traditional scrapbooking methods.  

Like what Alice Koh said, digital scrapbooking is for people who just doesn't have the room to accomodate all those tools and supplies available in the market (She travels a lot too!)  It's also for those who doesn't have the time to tinker and ponder with each part of the layout.  Speaking for myself, one layout could take me days or even weeks to finish.  Unlike digital scrapbooking, you can do it with a click of a finger.  Don't like the looks of it?  Just click and delete away.  It's easier to rearrange your layout just by dragging with your mouse.  I have made a digital scrapbook page that looks quite complicated in less than an hour.  Unlike the traditional scrapbooking, making a page requires special planning.  Because if you make a mistake, you better be using repositionable adhesive or have the Un-Do handy.  If you make a wrong cut, you'll have to make a new one.  And yes, traditional scrapbooking is a lot more expensive.  You have to admit.  Scrapbooking is not a cheap hobby.  I love the convenience of digital scrapbooking.  If you have a laptop, you can do digital scrapbooking anywhere.  And if you're into all those software, you can make your own backgrounds and embellishments, all through your computer.  Plus, with all those freebies on the internet (Scrapbook Flair, for example), what else would you ask for?

Overall, I still like the look and feel of traditional scrapbook pages.  Especially the interactive ones with the hidden elements, flaps, zips and pulls.  Imagine, 20 years from now, the generations below you will be turning those pages and oohing and aahing over each one.  Because it would be so advanced 20 years from now, maybe they would even say "She didn't use the computer with this?  OMG!  Isn't that cool!"  The touch is a lot more personal.  It's like reading the book compared to watching the movie version or listening to the book cd. 

Sometimes, the traditional ways still weigh much more.

Thursday, December 6

Handmade by Joan Switalski

DH and I love after Christmas sales in the base.  We would go to those every year and just literally hoard on Christmas cards, lights, decor which were being sold at 70% off.  In our last after Christmas sale in Atsugi base, we bought a lot.  And I told DH that we won't be buying any more Christmas Cards for many years.

Guess what?  We don't have a single Christmas card with us right now.  They are all still in storage.  Little did I know that the basement won't be done till December!  And no, I won't buy Christmas cards in any store.  So now, I'm making a bunch of Christmas cards.  With a special "Handmade by Joan Switalski" mark in the back.  I'd like to especially thank HerHobbie from SplitcoastStampers for sending me the Stamp-a-ma-Jig, because it has been very useful in making my Christmas cards.  I'll be making a review about this product soon. 

I'm still in the process of making the cards.  And I'll definitely post pictures once they are all done!  Who knows, maybe I'll go to one of those craft shows next year and I'll sell my cards for a reasonable price.  Might as well make some money out of this hobby!

REVIEW: Stampin' Up's Stamp-a-ma-jig

Category:  Other
I've been wanting to have this tool for years. But everytime I have the chance to buy it, whether online or in the stores, I always have second thoughts, and ending up not getting it.

Finally, one of my "Secret GFs" from SplitcoastStampers (Herhobbie) sent me the Stamp-a-ma-jig. After learning how to use this tool, I kinda hit myself in the head for not buying this long time ago. It is very useful. With the Stamp-a-ma-jig, you can stamp on any spot you want, effortless. Aligning stamps and making designs with your stamps has never been so easy!

I didn't realize that the Stamp-a-ma-jig won't work without a partner. It comes with an imaging sheet where you temporarily stamp your image to help position the Stamp-a-ma-jig.

I'm really glad I have this tool now. It's one of the craft tools I won't be able to live without.

Wednesday, November 21

REVIEW: N.B.K. Digital Scrapbooking Freebies

Category:  Other
As you can see in my albums, I just gave digital scrapbooking a try. And I actually liked it! But I have to admit, I still prefer the traditional way. I chanced upon N.B.K. in Blogspot. She does really good digital stuff, if that's the right term, as far as my eyes are concerned. And the best thing is, she has a lot of her stuff available for download FREE! You can access her freebies at Enjoy!

Before I forget, hats of to Mabelle of for hooking a lot of us scrapbookers to NBK in her blog ( Thanks Mabelle! Mwah!

Sunday, September 30

Wish List

I haven't been to a craft store in months!  And I do miss going to Joann's and Michael's.  I'm actually doing a good job, that even when I go to Walmart, I don't buy any scrapbook stuff in the craft section.  Now, I do buy online, but only at because I'm a member of the Free Shipping Club, and only when I have the 40% or 50% coupon.  Check out Joann's Free Shipping Club if you live in the US, because it's worth it!  However, next year I'm going to step up my "craft shopping discipline" and I'll only buy with the 50% coupon.

Yesterday, my hubby gave me a nice surprise on the way to Saginaw.  We passed by this big craft store called Arnie's.  And he let me go in, look and buy a few stuff.  I only bought sale stuff.  But I had a blast looking at all those scrapbooking and craft items.  When my promise not to go to any craft store ends at the end of this year, I'll definitely go back and visit Arnie's!

I've been visiting a lot of craft websites lately.  And I ended up having a list of what I want to have.  They are:

When I'm going to have these is the big question.....  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 28


Category:  Other
I have been seeing posts about the Bella Stamps in various threads in the Splitcoast Stampers Website. I was like... what's with it??? Finally, my curiosity gave in, and I went to their website: The designs are really cool. Totally different. It's hip, chic... not like the usual stamps you see in most craft stores. So that's why these ladies were going gaga over these stamps! I decided to buy 4 stamps... and I tell you, I wanted more! They were Teachabella, Bridalpartybellas, Sistahoodbellas and Shopabellas. Despite it coming from Canada, I didn't have to wait long for it to arrive in the mail. I was a little disappointed because the stamps weren't mounted. If the stamps were clear, it would be fine. So I had to use an acrylic block to stamp. But oh well, the designs were still neat! I was browsing through their website and I was so surprised to see a Bella stamp designed after Imelda Marcos! It's called Imeldabella. Of course, the Bella was holding several boxes of shoes! I thought that was really cool! I wanted more of the Bellas, so I joined 2 Bella Image Swaps. I've received my swaps for the first one, and I was amazed at the beautiful designs. Now I can't wait for the next batch to come. Stamping Bella is a brand that would be surely nice to collect.

If you want to see what Stamping Bella has to offer, go to

Friday, August 17

A Little Bit of This... And A Little Bit of That...

Blame it all on SingSnap!  I haven't made any pages this week because I was sooo hooked on singing.  In fact, I just finished recording "Hotstuff" by Donna Summer.  But I have so many projects to do!  And SingSnap has backlogged me a lot more.  My friends and family can attest, though, that singing is my first love.  Someone should kick me in the butt, so I can go back to my craft desk...

A few days ago, I was tuned in to QVC on TV.  They had their Craft Fair event for an entire 24 hours.  Thanks to my online buddy Tina from, I was able to catch the last 8 hours of the show.  They were selling all about crafts from scrapbooking to knitting, papercrafts, sewing and even electronic gadgets related to crafting like digital cameras, computer software and printers.  But I think the entire show was dominated by scrapbooking products.  I only bought two items:  the Memory Mixers II software and the Bazzil Cardstock Bundle.  I was actually proud of myself because I didn't buy so much, mainly because I already have a lot of what they were offering, and also because the other stuff they had didn't interest me as much.  But I really enjoyed watching how they demonstrated each product, and seeing the scrapbooking icons like Heidi Swapp and Lisa Bearnson.  I was really proud to see fellow Filipina Anna Cabrera there, demonstrating the Purple Cows Laminator (which I already have too!).  I did watch all the way till 12 midnight.  It just amazes me how a certain product would be sold by thousands in just a few minutes.  Makes me wonder how many scrapbookers and crafters there are in America.  All the more in the whole world.  Now I'm thinking, maybe if all the scrapbookers and crafters will come together, we can have a country.  That would be fun!

Before I was hooked on SingSnap, I've been submitting my pages to magazines and online contests.  I really want to get published.  And yes, I would love to win a contest.  But there are just sooo many creative people out there.  It's funny when I finish a page, and I would be so happy about it thinking it's great.  Then, I go online and see other's work, and they're usually way a lot better than mine.  It's not frustrating to me at all.  It is amazing how people can be so creative.  Then you would say to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that???"  I go to craft fairs and I see how these people think of something.  Simple ideas I tell you.  But they look really cool.  And what's more, they're making money out of it.  I was like:  "If I had thought of that, I would have lots of money now!"  Calling all of my muses, if I have even one!  Where are you????

So, why do we scrapbook in the first place?  It seems to me, that with all the scrapbooking trends in the past few years, people scrapbook to be recognized.  I admit, that's one reason why I want to get published.  This wave of new scrapbooking tools and supplies is very overwhelming.  I know a lot of people who would like to buy and hoard.  And it ends at that.  I was like that at first.  When I was just starting, I just loved to buy and look at other people's work in magazines and on the internet.  Last year, I met this Creative Memories consultant in the military base we used to live in.  She was having a crop in one of the party rooms.  She had on display all the albums that she made.  They were a lot of albums.  I mean A LOT!  But her pages weren't like those you see on the scrapbook magazines.  They were simple layouts, using simple embellishments and a lot of journaling.  I wasn't impressed at that time.  I thought to myself, she's not all that good.  But isn't scrapbooking supposed to be just that?  To preserve those memories and events you captured with your camera?  That's exactly what she did, and I'm pretty sure she still does.  She wasn't scrapbooking for competition.  She wasn't scrapbooking to get praises from other people.  She was scrapbooking to keep every special moment in her family's lives.  She was scrapbooking for her family.  I salute her for that.

Friday, July 13


Ok, ok!  I wrote a few weeks ago about my pledge of NOT buying anymore scrapbook stuff until the end of this year.  And I'm proud to say up to this point, I was doing a good job.  Actually, a great job!  I snobbed the scrapbook aisles in Walmart, and Joann's and Michael's too!  I'm giving 2 big thumbs up to my hubby for keeping his promise of keeping me away from those stores.  In fact, there was this scrapbook store that I really wanted to see when we were in Saginaw, and he held my hand and walked me away.

But finally, I gave in to temptation.  Creative Express was and is having a really good deal on a lot of their items, especially the scrapbook albums.  Who can't resist an 8 x 8 album for $1.50 or a 12 x 12 album for $3???  And I tell you, these albums are really cool!  They are not generic albums because they carry the Provo Craft brand name.  Totally brand new and really good quality.  Check them out here.  They are even selling the new Cricut Expression for $369.99 which is a really good price compared to the market price of $499.  But I'm not going to buy that.... yet!  (You can actually get the Cricut Expression at Costco for $349, but you have to avail Costco Membership for $50).

So why am I writing this?  To share with you this opportunity to buy dirt cheap scrapbook albums.  Check them out at Creative Express.
For the record, this is the ONLY exception to the NO MORE HOARDING RULE. 

Thursday, July 12

So Many Ideas... But What???

Yeah, yeah, yeah!  I have TONS of projects in mind.  LOTS!  But the ratio of those projects to the ones that I have done has a big difference.  And the number of projects in mind has the bigger number.  I have all the tools and supplies I need.  All I need is to just freaking start!    I used to work a lot before we moved to the States.  And yet, I still found time to do my crafts.  Now that we have moved, and I'm what you will appropriately call a "home maker," it seems I'm not creating much more.  I should be able to do more pages, cards and projects.  And it's frustrating!  Arg!  But you have to admit it, making one project takes a lot of time.  And when I'm in the process of doing one, I feel guilty because that's what all I do in one whole day.  I feel guilty that my husband is out there working his butt off, and I'm at home just scrapbooking or crafting.  But it's not JUST scrapbooking, right?  If it's not just scrapbooking, then what is it to me?  Scrapbooking is one of my many ways of expressing myself.  It relaxes me.  It preserves memories.  Many years down the road, when my kids and grandchildren see those pages, I want them to be glad that they're able to see those expressions.  I don't want to be just a mother or a grandmother who just kept the house clean and cooked meals everyday.  I want to be a mother/grandmother who is creative.  I want to leave a family legacy with those pages and other works of art.  Something for my kids and grandkids to pass on to their own kids and grandkids, and so on.

Let me start working on something.....

REVIEW: Sakura Quickie Glue Pen

Category:  Other
I first discovered this glue pen in Yuzawaya in Japan. I didn't know what it was at first (because it's all in Japanese), but then I figured it out. It's the best glue pen I've ever tried. It's best for adhering thin die cuts (especially letters) and other intricate paper cuts. When you apply it, it just flows smoothly, and the tip doesn't clog at all! Because it actually looks like a pen, I like the fact that the cap is shaped differently, so you'll know right away when it's in the same location as your other pens. Plus, you can use this for other things aside from gluing stuff. You can write with it, and sprinkle glitter on it, or even emboss with it. This just proves that Japanese products are always of high quality. I'm really glad that it's available in the States. This would be one of the scrapbooking supplies I can't do without.

Thursday, June 28

REVIEW: 9-Rod Ribbon Rack

Category:  Other
I bought this from Dek Development -
In their website, the features of this Ribbon Rack were described:

"This ribbon storage rack holds lots of spools. Your stack of spools would have to be over ten feet tall to need more storage than this. Nine rods each 17" long. That is 17 rolls of the 1" wide ribbon or 34 rolls of the narrow ribbon. You can cut ribbon directly from the ribbon storage rack.... It has a unique Anti-Rotation feature that allows only the spool you work with to unroll. Only one spool will dispense ribbon at a time. Spool ribbon racks come ready for painting, staining or, stamping."

Cool features! Back in Japan, I was storing my ribbons according to color in wood bins.  Since I'm in the process of putting together my craft room, I decided to buy this product.

Shipping took 3 days. Kudos to Dek Development for that!

When I saw the box, I figured I will have to do some assembling. After looking through everything, I was disappointed. First of all, the wood they used seems to be low quality/cheap wood. Second, the directions for assembly was very poorly done. There was no step-by-step illustration on how to do it. Although looking at it, it does seem to be easy to put together. And third, the nails included are too short - not long enough to hold the parts together in a sturdy fashion.

However, I do like the fact that I can alter this with paint or special paper. And that it can hold so many rolles of ribbon.

The big question is, if I fill this ribbon rack with so many spools of ribbon, can it actually hold the weight???

REVIEW: Crop N' Style Snap Bin Paper Storage

I bought this from Joann's because I was looking for a good paper storage . First of all, a big salute to Joann's for a speedy delivery. Assembling it was really easy. And the way it snaps and stacks on top of each other is really awesome. However, I wouldn't have bought this if not for my 50% coupon. It's original price at Joann's is $29.95. This is just one of the Snap Bin Series. And if you're looking for good organization for your craft tools, I recommend this product.

Monday, June 25

REVIEW: Zero Hero Centering Ruler

Category:  Other
This is the best ruler I've ever used for my papercrafts. There are 2 grids - one for centering, and one for measuring. Also it has five 1/4" lines which you can use for matting. I also like the holes across both ends (half inch apart), which you can use for marking/placement for brads or other embellishments. This centering ruler would be one of those tools that I can't start a project without.

Sunday, June 17

REVIEW: HP Photosmart A610

Category:Computers & Electronics
Product Type: Other
Manufacturer:  HP
I'm a scrapbooker, and no road trip can make me stop from making pages. So while on the road, I decided to buy a portable printer to print pictures. And I saw the HP Photosmart A610 at Walmart for about $98. I thought it was a good buy considering it's from a reliable printer product. The body is sturdy, it seems to me that it's not made of cheap plastic. I like the fact that it can read memory cards of different sizes. What wowed me was the USB Port where you can plug your USB Data Sticks or print straight from your camera. You can print 5 x 7, 4 x 6, panoramic, 2.5 x 3.5, 2 x 3, and even smaller prints 1.25 x 1.75 and 1 x 1.5. It is very user friendly. Just plug it, and insert your memory card, choose and/or scale the picture you want to print, then push the print button. The print quality isvery good, and dries instantly. The printing time for a 4 x 6 takes more than 39 seconds (HP claims in 39 secs.), but I don't care because I love the print quality. I can always do something else, like assembling my pages and embellishments while waiting for it to print.

Thursday, June 14

No More Hoarding!!!

And I'm not kidding!  I know for a fact that I have all the tools and supplies that I need.  But I still keep buying scrapbooking stuff.  Yeah, I know...  shopping for scrapbook supplies is overwhelming and exciting... but too much is not very practical.  

Today, I made a decision, and I asked my darling husband to be with me in it.  I won't buy any more scrapbooking materials till the end of this year.  Sounds unrealistic?  Yes.  But I'm dang serious about it.  I told my husband to keep me from going to Joann's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklin, or any other scrapbook store, and that includes the scrapbooking sections in Walmart, Target, etc. etc.  He just laughed at me.  I looked at him straight in the eye, and I told him I was serious.  And with that, I'm expecting to make more scrapbook pages and projects, so I can use up all the supplies that I have.  Scrapbooking is supposed to help keep those memories alive, and that means creating things.  Not hoarding supplies.

Now, I'm praying really hard that I will live up to this promise.  And I will do my best.

Ask me again tomorrow, a week and a month from now, and at the end of the year.

Tuesday, June 12

REVIEW: Scotch ATG 700

Category:  Other
I can never live without this product! It's the best adhesive tool for any kinds of craft from scrapbooking, framing, mounting, to attaching flaps or covers. Making cards and invitations are a snap with this tape gun. It also saves a lot of time in putting together my scrapbook pages. You can buy the optional 1/4" tape adapter to use the 1/4" double adhesive tape. I'm guilty, I bought 2 guns so I can have one for the 1/2" tape and another for the 1/4" tape. I highly recommend this if you're a serious crafter/scrapbooker.

Monday, June 11

Craft Room in the Works

Ok, I know I haven't made any new updates for quite a while.  I do have an alibi (excuses, excuses... right!) 

We just moved to our location, and just bought us a house (woot!).  And the good news is, I'm going to have my very own craft room!!!  (woot!  applause!  woot!)

It's now in the works.  It's a nice size office, with a big window.  The walls are all white, with a nice shade of green carpet.  I really don't like having a carpet in my craft room, but it's new, so might as well use it.  I have just finished phase one, and still have a lot of other stuff to do.  I'll be posting pics of the developments, promise!
Break a leg for me!

Saturday, March 24

Craft Heaven

I love the States already. 

Everywhere I go, there are craft stores.  The craft products that I used to see and ogle only on the internet, are just in arms reach.  I can still remember exactly how I felt when I first went to Joann's in Washington State.  OMG!!!  Then Michael's...  and Super Walmart.  I've been to the ones in Fallon (Nevada) and Yuba City (California).  Everytime I go to the craft stores,   I don't know where to start looking!  I'm glad my husband patiently waits for me while I look at every aisle of the store.  I just had to see everything!!!

Now, I have enough craft stuff with me in our "road trip."  I was able to buy 2 Cricut cartridges at very cheap prices ($32.50 and $40).  I got enough stickers, vellum, embellishments, adhesive, paper and cardstock to last me till we move to our own house.  I have my scissors, paper cutter and a Crop-a-Dile.  I have them all in my scrapbook rolling tote/bag.  I even bought a portable HP Photo Printer, so I can start making a scrapbook album of our road trip.  I also have enough stock of yarn and cloth for my crochet and sewing crafts. 

I'm good to go for now....

Tuesday, February 27

Bye World... Hello Universe!

Yep, yep, yep....  it's time to leave Japan after 5 years.  That means everything has to go, including my craft room.  What are you talking about?  Of course, every sheet of paper, every strand of thread up to the very single brad and eyelet will go with me.  Heck, I'm not leaving anything from my craft corner!  It's funny, because when the movers saw my craft corner, I can tell they just didn't like the sight of it.  They knew it's going to be one hell of whatever to pack all those things.  Even I was a little embarassed, because I know for them, most of my craft stuff are junk.  Well, not for me.  They are my precious....  haha!  Needless to say, I had to help them pack stuff from my craft corner.  Who else can give my craft stuff TLC but me!

What excites me a lot is the thought that I will have my very own craft room after we move in to our new home.  Although we don't have a house yet, just the thought of having my own craft room is really thrilling.  And I must have my own craft room.  It doesn't have to be big, but just enough to put everything and do my crafts.  I keep on imagining how it will look like..... where the cardstocks will be, where the embellishments will be, the craft table, the computer...  What color scheme will I use?  What's my layout going to be?  Man......

Now, my craft corner is nothing but space.  I can see the dust that settled on the walls.  The many hours I spent in there to do my scrapbook pages, albums, cards, swaps.  When I'm sitting in that area, I'm just in another world....

I guess when I have my own craft room, I'll be having my own universe :)

Sunday, February 25

REVIEW: Popcorn Pens

Category:  Other
I chanced upon these pens in Yuzawaya Craft Store in Yamato, Japan. I didn't understand it
at first, but when I saw the pamphlet that came with it, I understood how it worked. You just write with it on any surface, heat it, then the ink just puffs out. Way cool!!!