I have been blogging for 11 years (!), but my entry into the professional crafting world started three years before that. Shortly before Trevor's second birthday, I was hired by a local scrapbook store called Remember When. In spring 2008, the owner (Brenda) was looking for both designers to create projects for classes and the teachers to teach those classes. Oddly, employees could only be one or the other. If you designed projects, someone else taught the classes to make those projects. If you taught classes, you were teaching someone else's design, using yet another person's lesson plan. (One employee wrote lesson plans and put together all the class kits and could neither design nor teach.) I'm not sure what the logic was of dividing the work this way, other than some sort of checks-and-balances idea. Anyway, I applied for both open positions and when I was hired, Brenda gave me the choice of designer or teacher. I'd been a classroom teacher for 11 years and had absolutely no design experience, but I selected the design option. It sounded more fun and would definitely be more of a challenge. But most importantly, the hours were flexible, which they wouldn't be if I were teaching classes. I loved the job.
Each month, I was assigned a few layouts and/or cards to design to fit a particular theme, material, or skill. One of the first layouts I ever made was this Lady and the Tramp themed project called 'Bella Notte.' My job was to create a simple, beginner-level, multi-photo, two-page spread featuring Jolee's stickers (which were all the rage in 2008).
As you can see, the page used silver, light purple, and dark purple cardstock, grey ribbon, vellum, and the Jolee's. The class consisted of cutting things to size, tying ribbon, using adhesive, and adding stickers.
This is the only lesson plan I ever received (since I never wrote nor taught my designs). I found it recently when I was cleaning out files, along with this:
It's very interesting to me to read back over the guidelines, particularly the Page Expectations. My biggest challenges were #1 (I had to remind myself to measure and write everything down); #3 (I hated incorporating 3-D items then as much as I do now), #7 (I struggled mightily to use all the embellishments in a pack or all the stickers on a page), and #8 (when making the pages at home, it was hard to know what there was a lot of in stock or what was leftover from past classes, so I had to take a lot of notes when I was in the store).
None of my projects were ever rejected (#7 on Creative Team Expectations) and it was amazing being paid to make layouts and cards, even if I didn't get to keep the finished items. It allowed me to stretch myself creatively and explore product and themes I wouldn't have used in my own scrapbooking. Most importantly, it started me along the path to where I am now.
Sadly, my time at Remember When was very short. Brenda decided to relocate (and thus close the store) about six months after I started. It's crazy to think how that small job led to the next and the next and the next. It's a good reminder to jump through a door when it opens, because you never know what's on the other side.