support: pretty paper. true stories. {and scrapbooking classes with cupcakes.}

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handmade cards by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
As a child, I never answered the question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ with ‘a scrapbooker’. I actually answered that I wanted to be an astronaut who owned a dance studio, but that’s beside the point. The point is imagined I would make a full-time living with crafty stuff. I regularly wonder if this is all some strange sort of dream.

After university, I became a secondary school teacher and was eventually Head of English at a school of about a thousand students. I loved teaching. I adored the classroom. I did not enjoy the politics and pressures that take the focus away from quality learning and student development. Eventually, I needed a break. I decided to take a year out from teaching at school and focus on sharing my love of writing and creating with crafters. That was in 2007. I’m still here, scrapbooking every day.

I am so grateful to be able to share creativity as my job. Although there are certainly things I miss about more traditional teaching, what I do now is so rewarding. I love working in a field that encourages women to value their memories in a way that makes them happy. My favourite moments are when readers tell me they have started to enjoy writing or feel better about themselves or made a friend through this craft. And so I feel it is worthwhile working full-time at this funny little job that is hard to explain to a stranger. Frankly, it would be a lot easier to explain being an astronaut who owns a dance studio.

I try my best to provide a range of content here that can be enjoyed for free, and I develop more in-depth projects you’re welcome to join for a small fee, and I aim to keep my rates as reasonable as possible at all times. But of course we all know how this world works and I have to pay my bills like everyone else, so there are things that support this site and make this all possible. Here’s how you can help, if you would like:
Take a class. All of my classes are available at any time and include permanent access. You can sign up any time you want and I’m always here by email to answer your questions if you want to talk, and all the classes include message board access as well.
Click before you shop. I participate in affiliate programmes with a few retailers who pay me a small commission for referring you to their store. You pay exactly the same, but a part of your purchase price will come back to shimelle.com to pay for guest artists, prizes and other happy things. I always aim to pay those affiliate earnings back to the shimelle.com community, so they quite literally keep this site running. If you’re going to be shopping there anyway, I would always appreciate your click to Two Peas in a Bucket, Blurb, Amazon, My Favourite Magazines, Photobox UK photo printing, York Photo US photo printing, Ella Publishing, and Modcloth.
Order the Best of Both Worlds kit. This is a new way to shop that combines the idea of a monthly kit with the freedom of substituting different things for your style or taking something out of the kit because you already own it and don’t need a duplicate. I pick everything in the kit and will use those supplies in various projects you’ll see on my blog. It’s something brand new for 2013.
Shop from Glitter Girl’s shopping lists. One last bit of shopping: if you’re shopping at Two Peas, you can support Glitter Girl by adding things to your bucket right from the list included at the bottom of each post. Just click to add and when you check out and complete your order, purchases made from that particular page work as a bit of a vote in favour of that project, making the series more likely to continue. This goes for anything you see at Two Peas – if you want to support your favourite scrappers there, shop from the lists at the bottom of their projects to cast your vote.

I realise all of those options are shopping in one form or another, and that’s not always possible. I really understand and there is no way on earth I expect everyone who is reading here to go shopping in the name of shimelle.com! But if those are purchases you might consider anyway, and you would like to help, then maybe those links will come in useful. However, you can certainly support for free by sharing this site with others. Share a link, tell a friend, pin a favourite post – whatever you prefer. This entire site was built on telling a friend – my very first class had eighteen participants and my second had thirty-seven because everyone told a friend (or two). Thank you so much for telling a friend.

While we’re discussing all this, I’ll share a few things that are important to me that may or may not interest you in the slightest. First, all guest bloggers on my site are paid for their contributions as free-lance artists. I don’t work for free and I don’t work for paper (paper is fun but it doesn’t keep the lights on) and I don’t ask them to do that either. I’m so happy the site has grown to a point where it can support three paid contributors every week this year, and I hope it can continue from there. Second, I don’t sell advertising space. There are no ads in the sidebar and I don’t accept the (often random) requests I get to pay me to paste something into my posts or make a claim like ‘I would only ever consider using this particular brand of flour because it’s the absolute best’. It’s probably possible that by now I could sell sidebar ads, but it’s just not right for me. I want to keep things as calm and pressure free as possible, so that means no selling advertising here. Third, the reason I am so delighted to work with Two Peas and have stuck with them so long is because I have the freedom to choose my products from their entire store. So you are always seeing me use what I want to use, not what I was told to use. It keeps me happy creatively and I hope it also helps you realise that all my work here is real. Which brings me to the final point: I only do real work. For many years, I scrapbooked for magazines and editors would send very specific assignments. Topics, photo styles, writing angles, and products were often dictated and it seemed completely reasonable since I was taking each assignment as a job. After a few years and working for some editors who were far more empowering and creative than others, I realised those pages were not useful or rewarding for me. How could they be useful or rewarding for you as a reader? So I drew a line in the sand: I don’t take assignments like that. I do contribute here and there to magazines and other websites, but every single project I share in any form has been something I wanted to make and made in my style. It means I turn down some opportunities and maybe I will have unknowingly missed something amazing, but I feel confident this is the right decision for me.

If you read all this, I thank you, and I owe you a cupcake.