Like most scrappers, I enjoy buying products for my hobby. Listed below are some which have proven to be sound investments for my precious scrap dollars:

Becky Higgins & Rebecca Sower
These are my absolute favorite authors of idea books, especially Becky’s “My Creative Companion.” Both of these ladies have practical advice & tips for creating attractive, meaningful, and not-too-complicated pages. I have “Scrapbooking Life’s Little Treasures” and “Scrapbooking Life’s Little Moments” by Rebecca and “Scrapbooking Secrets,” “Creative Lettering,” “Creative Sketches for Scrapbooking” and “Creative Cards” by Becky all spiral-bound right above my art desk; “MCC” sits right next to them, ready to grab when I need instant inspiration! (I’m proud to live in the same state as Rebecca and spent time with her at conventions and a weekend retreat.)

Coluzzle & EZ2Cut ShapeMakers
My friend Karen Moffatt is responsible for getting me hooked on Coluzzle & EZ2Cut templates, although it’s an addiction I’m happy to have! They are easy, versatile, and very portable (perfect for a scrapper on the go). I have several shapes, alphabets, and frames from both companies. Sadly, neither company is still in business.

Crop in Style
I love Crop in Style’s organizational products; I think they’re some of the most practical and most durable bags on the market. I have the CIS Paper Taker, which holds all my pre-cut mats and shapes, perfect for taking to crops (I also had the Jr Shoulder Tote when I used to travel with my supplies more often, and before my collection outgrew it).

Cropper Hopper
Cropper Hopper, owned by Leeco Corporation, makes quality storage products designed with scrapbookers in mind. I have the Class Tote, two Supply Cases (one of their first products), and a Photo Case, and they still look new even after more than 20 years of use! Their newest storage products are some of the most innovative on the market.

Everything Mary
My latest new favorite brand is Everything Mary. This great company, created by mother and son, makes attractive yet practical organizational totes and bags. I have the Desktop Organizer on my desk and it holds all my adhesives, scissors, hand punches, craft knives, and a few other tools, all easy to grab when I need them!

I have been a “Fiskars girl” for as long as I can remember, ever since my mother bought me my first pair of left-handed sewing scissors. I trust Fiskars for all my hand cutting tools, from straight and decorative scissors to hand punches and craft knives. I recently switched to a paper trimmer from We R Memory Keepers, but previously used only Fiskars for my paper trimming needs as well.

Memory Makers ScrapBook Club
I joined this club soon after its launch in 2003, and I’ve never regretted it. Their introductory offer was a great deal (3 books for less than $20) and I bought many useful books and tools at very reasonable prices. Their books are still some of my favorites, especially “How to Organize Your Scrapbook Workspace” (co-written by my friend Kathy “Rockester” Aho!) The magazine and the book club are, sadly, no longer in publication.

North Light Books
I love North Light Books; their “how-to” format, clear directions, and sharp photographs make learning new projects easy! Their best book is “Texture Effects for Rubber Stamping” by my friend Nancy Curry.

Prismacolors are the best colored art pencils on the market. Their creamy texture and bright colors set them apart from the pencils you used in grade school. They are sold in sets or individually, allowing you to customize your collection based on your needs.

Sakura & Marvy
I enjoy these companies equally: Sakura has their wonderful Pigma Micron and Gelly Roll pens for journaling; and Marvy has the best Artist, Brush, and Calligraphy markers for creating titles and embellishments. Marvy Markers are featured in my friend Debra Beagle’s book, “Hand Lettering Made Easy.”

Scotch Adhesive Tape Glider
I was introduced to refillable adhesive dispensers at my very first crop in 2000, and it was a match made in heaven; no sticky mess from glue and no annoying blue backing papers from traditional photo splits. I used Hermafix for years until I discovered the popular hot pink “ATG gun.” It’s huge, but it works like a dream (and the refills last forever!)

The ScrapRack
At the 2004 Simply Scrapbook & Stamp convention in Nashville, I took a class that changed the way I organize my scrapbook embellishments. It was called “Get Organized, Go Organized, Stay Organized” and it was taught by Tiffany Spaulding, creator of The ScrapRack. Her 4-part system of organizing made sense to me, and the products are high-quality, so I starting stocking up on pages that same day. I now have a rack holding over 40 pages of themed embellishments, and the travel binder.

Simple Scrapbooks
Stacy Julian wrote the book “Simple Scrapbooks” when she was still an editor at Creating Keepsakes magazine; it became such a hit that she eventually launched her own magazine with the same title! SS Magazine offered practical solutions for getting pages done simply without sacrificing beauty. I have several of their books as well, my favorite of which is “A Simple Guide to Designing Scrapbooks” (a great primer for using color, shape, and design like a true artist!) Like most scrapbook magazines, it is no longer in publication; however, Stacy has launched her own website (linked above).

I’m a fairly new “convert” to this personal die-cutting system; being such a fan of Coluzzle, I didn’t really think I needed a Sizzix (even though the peer pressure was strong because “all my friends had one”). However, once I succombed, I discovered how great these dies are. I have the original machine, the smaller Sidekick, a few big dies and many of the thin Sizzlits dies. I’ve also discovered the ease and fun of the Simple Impressions embossing folders – just run them through and even the most intricate pattern is instantly embossed!

Stampin’ Up!
Stampin’ Up! was one of the first home-sales companies for rubber stampers and scrapbookers, and they still remain one of the best. Their stamps are mostly sold in sets of several stamps that coordinate (usually a few images plus a greeting or quote that corresponds, perfect for avid greeting-card makers). They also have the best ink pad design, which allows the ink to be stored upside-down even when the case is right-side-up (to keep the ink fresh).

Stamps by Judith
I met Judith, Larry and Heather at the 2004 Simply Scrapbook and Stamp Convention in Nashville, and was priveleged to work at their booth for most of a day. Judith spent the convention doing demonstrations of her interactive stamps; so I got to watch her and was instantly hooked on these versatile tools. (She also sells a video for those who haven’t attended one of her demos.)

One look at my art studio and you’ll know that I like Sterlite storage products. I have two sets of their drawers which hold my individual stamps, four “Show Offs” that house my stamp sets, and a number of lidded shoeboxes, just to name a few. They are attractive and economical, two qualities that spell L-A-U-R-A!

Tim Holtz & Ranger Industries
Tim Holtz is rubber stamping’s “it boy,” and for good reason….he is extremely creative and has an excellent eye for color and design. I love his DVD “An Altered Journey,” and his Distress Inks & Alcohol Inks, both part of the extensive Ranger line of rubber stamping products.

We R Memory Keepers
This company has consistently created some of the most innovative products in the crafting industry. My first purchase was their Crop-a-Dile hole punch and eyelet setter tool, followed by the Corner Chomper corner rounder, Score Board scoring tool, and most recently the Magnetic Twist Trimmer and Magnetic Cutting Mat. This trimmer finally lured me away from my beloved Fiskars trimmer with its ease of use and unique design.

My Xyron machines are great time-savers. They are also the best way to get perfect “edge-to-edge” adhesive on things like punched pieces, photo mats, and vellum. I could never have created an altered book without my Xyrons; they give that “stay put” confidence even without a page protector. I have owned several different models, finally graduating to the 900 when a friend gifted me hers upon downsizing for a move. (I even bought a “No Limits” Xyron 250 for my classroom for hanging borders when I taught preschool!)