Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How To Be Funny

People often ask me how I come up with all my funny writing on our packaging and advertising. Well, for me it really is just the way I am, but for others being funny is hard work. If you fall into the humor-impaired category, don't worry. If you're not sure whether you are funny or not.......... think fast -- you're at the local scrapbook store and the lady in line in front of you asks if they have any Buck Naked chipboard -- what do you say? Give up? Read on, humor impaired person, and learn the secrets of being funny.

Secret #1: Pain is the basis for all humor. It's a simple fact that if nobody gets hurt, it isn't funny. The only exception to this rule is when the pain happens to you. When you get hurt, it's not funny. It just hurts. However, other people will find your pain amusing, so be consoled in the knowledge that even though it hurts, people are still laughing at you.

Secret #2: When something happens that you do not expect to happen, that's funny. When you tell a joke and no one laughs, that's funny because you didn't expect that to happen. Unless you have had a lifetime of failed jokes, in which case it would be expected and not funny. But, the fact that you haven't given up yet could be unexpected, which would be funny. (See What Can Brown Do For You)

Secret #3: The truth is funny. It can also be painful making it even funnier. (See Album Envy)

Secret #4: Saying words in funny ways is funny. I'm not talking about puns because puns are not funny. Here's an example: If a guy is with his girlfriend, and he calls her "Cathy" when he meant to say "Tina," that's funny. But beware, this type of humor is often followed by humor involving pain. (See above.) (For more examples, see The Cosmo Sign Off)

Secret #5: Pick something funny to make fun of. For me, I don't have to look very far. I can always make fun of myself which everyone finds very funny. If I'm tired of Julie jokes, I always have Eric and Lindsay supplying me with more material than a funny person could ever use in a lifetime.

PS: Some of this writing was borrowed from David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard because I might not be as funny as I think I am.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cosmo Picasso: Charity Hassel

We found Charity on twopeas and loved her style (just look at these layouts). She has done so many Cosmo layouts, that it was hard to pick which ones to post and she told me she has two being published in MM 601 idea book. Now, I would say there's a girl who has earned her title! We love you, Charity, congratulations!

About Char
ity: I am 32 years old. I have been married to my honey, Brian, for five years. We have a 3 year old named Alexander and Audrey Marie who is 10 months old. I work one shift a week as a RN in the Surgical ICU at Mayo. Other than that, I'm a stay at home mom!
What makes you tick? Family, chocolate, bubble baths, diet coke, helping others.
Why are you so wonderful? I try to follow the golden rule, try to have balance in my life, stay thankful and laugh each day!

How did you become a scrapbooker? I have kept little scrapbooks since high-school, but really got into it after getting married five years ago. I started by scrapping a trip I had taken to India. After that, I was hooked! I kind-of taught myself by reading books, looking at online galleries and experimenting.
When you hit a slump creatively, how do you get out of it? I check out my favorite online galleries. Sometimes doing a challenge helps. I've also been known to check out the covers in bookstores, look at home decorating stores, etc. for ideas.
What’s your favorite thing to do besides scrapbooking? Spending time with my family and my girlfriends. My life right now is mostly about taking care of my family, especially my little ones. So, the time I get to spend just goofing off with the girls, having a date night with hubby or shopping with my mom is a fun change!
What tried and true technique can you always rely on? I love cutting patterns out of paper with my exacto knife.

What music do you listen to when you scrapbook? Well, I scrapbook at my dining room table which is part of an open floorplan at my house. So, I scrap to my husband's classic movies or sci-fi shows playing in the background.
What’s your most embarrassing memory (that you are willing to share) and did you scrap it? The one that sticks out in my mind right now was during a high school pageant. It was the first time I had ever entered something like that and I was so nervous. I walked out on stage in my evening gown, on the arm of a handsome young guy. My humoungous puffed sleeve got caught on the tensil curtain we had to walk through to the stage. I was REALLY stuck, but the guy with me didn't notice and kept walking. I almost fell and the tensil curtain about came down with me! So much for poise and grace! After barely averting disaster, I had to stop, stand there and pull myself free of the monstrous tensil beast! I haven't scrapped that lovely memory yet!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shack Chic

When you are driving between destinations in South Africa, it is not uncommon to see what they refer to as "squatter villages." From a distance these look like kind of like a town you would make from playing cards. These people have taken anything they could find, mostly cardboard and corrugated metal to build their "homes." What you would never guess is how beautiful these shacks are on the inside.

On our trip, Donna Downey bought this book. She had seen it when she was in South Africa 2 years earlier and had passed it up. She was so excited about getting it finally, that she showed us and Eric and I decided we had to have it too. It's eye candy for anyone interested in design.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Is it just me, or is hot chocolate the most wonderful thing ever? In fact, if I had to choose between living with Eric or my warm chocolatey goodness I would probably choose Eric, but I'm sure there would be times when I would wonder if I made the right choice.
I promised my new South African friends I would give them some recipes. Here is one that is perfect for children since it is very sweet, doesn't require any milk (mine was all used up this morning on bowls of cereal) and makes enough for a family. If you have milk, it does make it richer, but you will probably want to use more than 6 1/2 cups. Because this recipe is a little too sweet for me, I often add one or two cans of evaporated milk--- it also makes it creamier. If you like your chocolate a little darker, just add more cocoa.

Cosmo Cocoa
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1 1/2 t vanilla
6 1/2 Cups Hot water

Stirring constantly, mix everything but hot water together in large pan over warm heat. Gradually add hot water, stirring to make smooth. Heat to desired temperature~ do not boil.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

South Africa

We had so many amazing experiences in South Africa: the lions, the elephants, the coast, the fact that competing manufacturers took a trip together as friends. Who said the scrapbooking world was cutthroat anyway?

A Special thanks to South Africa Scrapbook Convention and all our new friends!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back from South Africa

After 38 hours of conescutive travel time (flights, layovers, car rides) I am back from S Africa. It was a long trip, so I will try to give you the Reader's Digest version:

Day one and most of two: The first flight
From Salt Lake to Denver to Washington DC, than a 15 hour direct flight to S Africa. The plane was arranged with 2 seats together on either side and 4 together in the middle. Eric and I had the 2 together, but because Eric is 6'5" tall he left me for an exit row seat. It is completely amazing, but I managed to fold my 5'10" self up onto those two seats and was able to sleep horizontally most of the flight.

We had a wonderful dinner after our arrival at what had to be the loveliest home in all of Johannesburg.

Day three:
Shopping, sleeping, eating.

Day four:
First day of conference. I am presenting a class with two projects designed by Retha van der Walt who has a store in Johannesburg named Scraptifity. Let's just say that the first class was a bit rocky as the computer wouldn't work at first, everything is done in centimeters instead of inches, I am still jet lagged and not quite into my groove. But, as the day goes on each class gets better. South African scrapbookers are very daring, talented and not easily intimidated. By the end of the day I was feeling like we were all friends.

Day five:
Second day of conference. Classes are rockin' at this point. We are having a lot of fun. I have learned a little about the culture and the language. Although we both speak English, at times you would never guess it. Here is my American to S African English dictionary:
Traffic light = Robot
Ketchup = Tomato Sauce
Chips = Crisps
French Fries = Chips
Swimsuit = Costume
Emergency Room = Theatre
Give me a call = Give me a tinkle
Go night night = Go doo doo
Flashlight = Torch

Day six and seven: Madikwe game reserve
When we get there we see four elephants 30 feet from our room cooling off in a mud bath. While on the drives, we see two lions eating an antelope, lots of elephant, two rhinos, zebra, giraffe, a lion pride with 6 lions, buffalo, hyenas, kudu, impala and more. We decide we need to broaden our vocabulary when it comes to words like amazing and awesome.

Day eight:
Travel to Capetown

Day nine and ten:
Capetown! We collected sea glass on Clifton beach, did some shopping, took a boat ride, went up to the top of table mountain and saw dolphins, whales, and penguins.

Day eleven:
The thirty eight hour journey home. I actually washed my hair in the Dulles airport bathroom with pink hand soap for shampoo.

I will update this blog with photos a little later!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cosmo Picasso: Emilie Ahern

I met Emilie Ahern at CHA in Chicago and we had an instant bond as two women who know how to use sunless tanner (this is a long story). While at the show I exchanged a Dutch Girl paper crafting kit for more beauty tips (did you know that you can have your eyelashes permed?) and a promise that she would promote Cosmo Cricket as much as she could. Well, a couple weeks later I was on scrapbook.com and there were three awesome Dutch Girl layouts that Emilie had done (one has since been removed for publication........ way to go Emilie).

Here's a little bit more about Emilie Ahern:
What makes you tick? The color orange, anything crafty, classic literature, loyal girlfriends, pedicures, the smell of books.

Why are you so wonderful? I am genuinely happy for others’ successes.

How did you become a scrapbooker? I made my own small album of my first trip to Europe when I was 19. It was pathetically made and is falling apart, but is still a treasured keepsake.

When you hit a slump creatively, how do you get out of it? I look to scrapping magazines, online galleries and my own art inspiration journal for ideas.

What’s your favorite thing to do besides scrapbooking? Cooking (and consequently eating), reading and shameless reality television about fashion (Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, etc).

What tried and true technique can you always rely on? True journaling. Whether it’s funny, sad, or quirky. I feel that the more genuine the journaling, the better the layout…no matter how you chose to embellish.

What music do you listen to when you scrapbook? I keep a rotating music list on my computer of songs that get my creative juices flowing….this mostly consists of Indie music like “Belle & Sebastian” and more recently “Nouvelle Vague”. You can check out the song list on my blog for the tunes that get my creative juices flowing these days. http://aherncentral.blogspot.com

What’s your most embarrassing memory (that you are willing to share) and did you scrap it? When I was a teenager I got stopped during rush hour in the LAX airport by the airport metal detector. The officer made me step aside and made the line wait while they put the metal wand over me. It went off like a siren when it was held in front of my chest. My underwire bra had set it off. Being a “Busty LaRue” I was already self conscious of that area and to have it pointed out was very embarrassing, especially when the line began to clap and cheer when security finally let me through. I have not yet scrapped this moment, but maybe it’s time. Hmmmmmm……