Happy Friday Sweet Shoppers! February is a busy birthday month for me – my daughter, sister, father-in-law and grandma all celebrate birthdays this month, as well as Sweet Shoppe Designs! Have you been playing along with the Party Game-A-Day celebrations in the forum? It’s not too late to start and complete all 29 challenges to win your wishlist or a $100 gift card. Check it out and come have some fun with us!
Today we are also debuting a new Featured Designer, the amazing Tracie of Tracie Stroud Designs. Tracie’s designs have a fantastic art journal flair, with a mixture of traditional scrapbooking elements thrown in there for a perfect mix to create your pages. Tracie has created this kit, A Love Story for our new Featured Designer kit, which is yours FREE with any $10 purchase from now until the new releases go live on February 23rd. This kit is so amazing, and such a great example of Tracie’s signature style of painty goodness, for all your pages about Love.
Tracie also created A Love Story Add-on Bundle, that coordinates perfectly – add it to your cart and get the whole set to create some amazingly beautiful pages!
And now to learn more about Tracie.
Tell us about your journey with digital scrapbooking… How did you find out about it? Did you start with paper first? How did you get started designing? Where was your first shop? How and when did you end up at Sweet Shoppe Designs?
I found out about digital scrapping in baby due date forums. I was an active paper scrapper until my oldest was born in 2005. Then life was too busy and the paper and supplies were too messy and took up too much space. I started digital scrapping after our middle child was born in 2007 and absolutely loved it immediately.
I started playing around with making a few elements and papers soon after, and that morphed into a desire to design. I opened my first store in 2009, and made my way to a few different stores over the years. It feels like I’ve been a part of Sweet Shoppe Designs for ages. SSD was my first digital scrapbooking home way back in 2008 or so. I joined my first creative teams here and even enjoyed a time as a Sugar Babe before life took me in other directions for a little while. I applied to a couple of designer calls over the years and finally opened my shoppe here in November 2020. It’s been a wonderful adventure to design here and to be part of the team of amazing designers and staff. Robin is such a supportive and encouraging store owner, and her leadership has helped all of us be more successful.
How do you define your style? What does that style include? How has your style changed over the years?
My style includes lots of mixed-media art and painty elements and papers. It’s not full-on art journal style, because I want my designs to be usable to more traditional scrappers as well, but it definitely is more of a messy, artsy style and less “clean”.
How long does it take you to put a collection together from start to finish?
It can really vary depending on the project, but it’s usually at least a couple of weeks. That includes any hands-on mixed media art that I create and then scan and digitize, which can take a while. I’m definitely not a quick designer.
Do you use your own art in your kits? Show us some of your favorite original illustrations.
I do! I create quite a bit of mixed-media art with paint, stamps, thread, tape, pencils, ephemera, etc. and then scan that in and alter it digitally. It’s a fun but sometimes exhausting process! I was unable to do physical art for several years due to then-undiagnosed severe cervical spinal stenosis, but I had spinal surgery in September 2022 and have since regained a lot of my mobility, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting out my physical art supplies again. I also draw and paint many of my papers and elements in Photoshop with a digital pen and tablet.
Is there anything you don’t like about designing?
The most difficult part for me has always been the behind-the-scenes administrative tasks. Loading products into the shop, making sure the back end of my shop is correct, posting on social media (I have a lot of social anxiety and that often spills over into my business social media presence), making newsletters, things like that. If I could just create, paint, and draw all the time, I would never do anything else.
What brings you joy?
My family is truly a source of joy for me. My husband and I will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary this year, and we fall more deeply in love every day. He is truly my soulmate and my best friend. We just “get” each other in a way that I don’t think I could ever experience with anyone else. Neither of us had been in any other relationship before we met, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have three teenagers now, and I homeschool two of them, so we spend a lot of time together. I love hanging out with our kids, geeking out to similar interests, watching them develop their own passions, and seeing them grow into the adults they will one day be. My faith is also one of the first things that always comes to mind. I’ve always considered myself a Christian, and our family became Catholic in 2017. It has been an amazing journey for us, and I feel like every day I discover a new incredible facet of my faith that I was unaware of before.
If you’ve looked into your family history, can you share a funny story about an ancestor?
So I was always told as a child that our family was directly descended from King James Stuart of Scotland and England. My grandfather’s name was actually James Stuart, and the name had been passed down through the generations. He used to get invitations (but was never able to attend) to Stuart family reunions in Scotland, which was always such a fun thing to see as a kid. In 2016 I began doing some serious genealogy investigations and discovered the stories were true! I found connections to many royal families in Scotland and England. About that same time, my family and I were in the process of converting to Catholicism, and I chose St. Margaret of Scotland as my patron saint, due to my genealogical ties with Scotland and the fact that she is also a patron of educators (I’m a former public school teacher and currently homeschool two of our children). At that time, I had only traced my family line back to the late 1500’s, and she lived in the 1000’s. A few months after I chose her as my patroness, as I was continuing my genealogical research, I discovered that she was in fact my direct ancestor, a many times removed great-great-great grandmother. It was such an amazing discovery, and it really felt like a sign from God that He had led me to choosing her as my patron saint.
What’s the last really great book you read or tv show you watched?
I’m currently midway through The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve always been a huge fan of his more famous works, especially Lord of the Rings, but I decided to give The Silmarillion a try this year. It’s very different, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and taking time along the way to listen to some university lectures and podcasts on it so I can fully understand and appreciate it. Along with the physical books, I highly recommend the Andy Serkis audiobook versions of it, the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings trilogies.
I’ve recently gotten into audiobooks and I’m going to have to check out Tracie’s recommendation. Last but not least, check out these great pages that the SugarBabes have created with Tracie’s new kit:
That’s it for today – come back next week to find out which 15 products Tracie has chosen to put on sale for her Featured Designer 15 sale on February 20th. Until then, keeping on scrapping!