Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Lady Huskies are Hot!

UCONN Women's Basketball... We love it, right? Well how would you like to win 2 tickets to see the ladies play at Gampel on Feb 4th? We've got the tickets and we're giving them away!

To enter bring in a project that shows just how much you love someone or some thing. It can be a card, a scrapbook page (any size), shadow box or other creative project using materials we sell at The Inspiration Station. Deadline for entries is Monday, January 16, 2006. A panel of 5 judges will score the entries based on creativity, neatness, and how well it conveys your message of love. Winner will be announced on Saturday, January 21st.

Goodbye 2005

Finally, I can say good-bye to this year. Of course, I will be up until midnight running reports for the business, but that's OK. Tomorrow we start a new year - a fresh start!

I am reprinting a wonderful article about organizing digital photos here. This article originally appeared in another store's newsletter and the author has graciously allowed me to share it with you. The author is Lisa Acosta, co-owner of Scrapbooks & Stuff in Miami, Florida. If you ever visit Miami, I highly recommend you stop in and visit.

Managing the Digital Photo Monster Lisa Acosta, Scrapbooks & Stuff (Miami, FL)
Do you have a ton of photos lost on any number of media cards and computer folders? If so, help is here!
1. The very first thing you need to do is get the photos downloaded in the first place, that way you can save and scrap the ones you love. Get them off your camera, free up those memory sticks and cards! Learning how to use your camera's software is very important and it should be pretty user friendly once you get the hang of it.

2. Once you have downloaded them, you need to organize them into folders and sub-folders. One of the wonders of digital photos, is that the camera should be stamping a date on them automatically. It may not be visible on the photo itself, but if you click on a photo's "properties" it should tell you the date it was taken. Use that date to sort the photos by year into yearly folders. I have folders for 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. Once they are in the yearly folders, you will then want to create sub-folders within each year for the events you shot photos of. A quick name for each sub-folder like "Parrot Jungle Jan 2005", "Mothers Day Tea May 2005", "Caitlin’s 6 BDay July 2005" are some of the sub-folders I created. I like to use the month and year in each sub-folder's name for ease of browsing. Each yearly folder I have has probably 25 - 35 sub-folders, it really depends on how many photos I took. You may also need to create a Miscellaneous sub-folder for those really random or single shots, you know the ones of the dog, or the single shots you took for who knows what reason.
There may be photos that you might not necessarily want to keep with your family photos, perhaps work related, or photos you shot for a friend that you want to forward to, etc. These may need their own folders separate from the yearly folders. I have additional folders for Scrapbooks & Stuff and for my husband's work. Needless to say, when all of this hard work is done, you will want to create backup disks for each year of photos. You may actually be able to back up all of the years onto a single disk depending on how many photos you have. Should your computer crash, or should you be forced to evacuate, the disks will be your lifesaver. Remember, photos are one of the things you can never replace once lost.

3. Once they are downloaded and organized, it is time to print. As a scrapbooker, you need hard copies! The photos will quite easily become ancient history if you never print them out. It does not mean that you have to print every single one out, but at least your favorites, the ones you want to be able to touch, feel, and scrap. One of the best things I found recently was If you go to their website you can actually download the photos from your computer files or a disk, order prints, and then pick them up at your closest Walgreens in about an hour. 4 x6 prints are just .19 each, you don't have to wait days to get them by mail, and you don't even have to pay until you pick them up! So easy, even with an ancient home computer like mine - although I would recommend it only with DSL access. No, Walgreens is not paying us to endorse them, it's just one of those good things you have to share!

4. Now you need to organize the hard copies! Place the photos in either photo albums or photo boxes. I prefer photo albums because I only scrap about 25% of the photos I take, but hey, I still want the other 75%! Keeping them in photo albums will keep fingerprints at bay, keep the photos in order, and family will still be able to look at photos no matter how long it takes you to actually scrap them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tying up loose ends

So there are only a few days left to this year (yay!), that means it's time for year-end inventory (boo!). I really hate doing inventory! We have well over 14,000 sku's in the store and just to print out the listing is 256 pages :( Counting all that stuff...ain't gonna happen.

We keep a running inventory in the computer and that should be fairly would think. We started by printing out just the paper sorted by manufacturer. Terry & I have been counting it for days and are amazed at the discrepancies. Some are obvious; papers that came in packs of 25 but were entered as packs of 50 or vice versa. Others are just frustrating, 5 or 6 sheets of each design missing.

The problem is that the more discrepancies you find, the more you have to count because it is obvious that we've made a lot of mistakes. I don't think it will EVER be 100% accurate, but I'm beginning to think our numbers could be WAY off.

I do know we have way too much inventory on hand. We decided yesterday that it is time to do some major purging. After kids camp tomorrow we are turning the classroom into "Clearance Central". We are just cutting the prices in half of what they are now and getting rid of them. A lot of stuff, especially the books, we are going to lose money on; but at least we will will get rid of it. I hope. If not, we will be making a major donation somewhere. I know I plan to take all the back issues of magazines and drop them at doctor's offices - I was in a place a few weeks ago and the most recent magazines they had were from 2004!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The end of 2005

2005 is just about over and I can honestly say I will be glad when it is gone. This year has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and I really need to get off!

We have had some very cool and exciting things happen at the store, the biggest being the opening of our EK Success "Shoppe within a Store" back in August. We were selected by EK Success as one of the 6 test stores for this new marketing and merchandising concept and we had a fabulous grand opening. That success did not come without work, however. The weeks of mayhem leading up to it had us all on edge and in need of a deep Margarita. Here is the result:

My personal life on the other hand was full of trajedy and I'm looking forward to better times ahead. The year began with my father in treatment for lung cancer and in April he lost that battle. I am truly thankful for my wonderful staff who made sure that I didn't have to worry about the business during that time. In August, we were stunned by the murder of a family friend, Anne Caro. Anne was killed in her home in Mansfield on her birthday and the case has yet to be solved.

So when I say good-bye to 2005, I will be very happy. Here's to the new year!


OK, I finally did it. I created a blog. Why? Honestly, I don't know, but everybody else has one so I guess that means I need one too.

Actually, I was looking for a way to keep my customers and friends updated on what is happening at the store ( without filling up their mailboxes everyday. I will continue to send out my weekly email newsletter but now you can check here whenever you want to know what is happening at The Inspiration Station.

So, let's get started...

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