Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Get to Know Rita

Please join us today and take a moment to get to know one of our Designers, Rita Shimniok a bit more!

1)Tell us about yourself and your family?
I've been married just over 20 yrs. to a wonderful husband and father, who supports my passion for scrapbooking and is a great encourager. We have two children, our son Kyle is 12, and daughter Abby is 7. I am the night owl in the family - and stay up too often into the wee hours of the morning scrapbooking. What’s great is that Kyle gets up early every morning, makes himself breakfast and wakes me up about 6:45 so I can shower, send him off to school, and get Abby ready for school and myself out to work. I wonder how many night owl moms have that luxury - but it sure is a blessing. If I have a deadline my family pitches in with cooking and laundry. We all love bird watching and enjoy nature hikes - our town has many trails, including the Ice Age Trail, which is an awesome national trail system, running through areas of our town. It's great!

2) How did you start scrapbooking?
My sister encouraged me to start when we adopted our daughter, Abby. I admit that I resisted her urging for some time as I was focused on designing and making quilts.

3) How long have you been scrapbooking?
In high school I enjoyed cutting out articles, and putting photos and school memorabilia into a memory book, but nothing was acid free or "pretty". Using "real" supplies I have been scrapbooking about 5.5 years. When Abby turned 18 mos. I realized I better get started before I was too far behind, and my son was quick to notice that I needed to do pages of his photos as well. Now both children have an abundance. (LOL)

4) What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Truthfully, I love to be home on vacation time. Some of my favorite vacations have been day trips to a state park or nature preserve, lunch with a view, and being in my own bed at night. Although most memorable was a train ride in Canada seven years ago, and I do have several dream vacation ideas, for the most part, I am a home body like the rest of my family. And I confess...I like to be near my scrapbooking supplies so I can play when everyone else is sleeping.

5) How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. I like curves, details that help tell the story, and enjoy finding or making the right elements. I love to play with paint, ink and/or sparkle mediums - it keeps me young. (LOL)

6) How do you feel about journaling? A lot, a little?
It's interesting how my journaling style has changed. When I began scrapbooking my "problem" was that I journaled almost too much, if there can be such a thing. I have always enjoyed writing, and sometimes would have to create little books or hidden journaling pockets to contain all that I wanted to share. Over the years I have really cut back on the amount I write, but for me - every page has to have journaling. Twenty years from now no one is likely going to remember the meaning or situation behind a photo. I don't want my family, future generations, to look at my pages and wonder what was going on. Having said that, my journaling is sometimes reflective - not necessarily telling why the photo was taken and where, but instead shares thoughts, advice, original poem, or scripture that I want to share with our kids. Someday they may look at these pages and perhaps what I have written will meet them where they are at with a situation they are going through in life. It is my hope it will help them out emotionally or spiritually.

7) Do you have a favorite color? Do you feel it plays an influence in your scrapping?
I have favorite color(s), and could not possibly narrow it down to one - but can say that I am especially drawn to bright colors. Even though I am drawn to gecko green, turquoise, red and orange - the photos I am scrapping will determine the products I choose. I will fully admit that I buy clothes for our daughter, and myself, to go with papers I am eager to use.

8) Do you have your own scrap space? Share a pic…tell us about it.

I'll be completely honest - my scrap space is currently a mess. My husband is nearly done building a custom cabinet, which he started before I was blessed to be on the BoBunny team. I have run out of organized storage, even though my space is in an unfinished basement of which I seem to claim more and more space. When the cabinet is finished I suspect it will become a BoB cabinet, with a few compartments utilized for my small bottles and pots of specialty mediums. I promise to show it off when it is done. Meanwhile, here is a glimpse of my space from 4 yrs. ago - making the most of concrete walls. I love the 12 x4 ft. conference table my husband bought for $20 when the company he is working for had a moving sale. It is very solid, and takes a lot of abuse and nearly killed the two men who had to carry it to the basement. (LOL) A friend, or our daughter, can scrap beside me as long as I clean up my mess.

9) What would be your ideal dinner or dessert? Or both! LOL
My favorite dinner is bulgogi, which is Korean BBQ (click that link for a recipe). Bulgogi is served with rice and wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves to eat. It is extremely delicious, yet doesn’t overly fill one up, which means…. room for dessert! In that regard - just bring on the chocolate in any form!

10) Share your favorite photo and tell us what makes it your favorite?

Every time I see this photo of Jesse taking Abby into his arms for the first time at O’Hare International Airport I relive her “gotcha day”, and the huge wave of emotions we were all riding on. It still tugs on my heartstrings, and tears, seven years later.

11) What or where do you go for inspiration?
I am most often inspired by photos or product, but have been known to sketch an idea and jot some words during a Sunday message at church. A lot of times ideas will pop into my head while I am in the shower (I believe it is because the running water shuts out all other distracting sounds), or into my head during the night. If the latter happens, I need to get out of bed and make notes or I won't be able to return to sleep.

12) How do you start working? Sketch, supplies, photos..
Supplies and/or photos, but never a sketch. I am drawn by either photos or product at the beginning of a project, and once that is determined I go from there. I store my photos in 3 ring binders, with 4x6 in storage pages by Avery; and I use 8.5x11 sheet protectors to store enlargements. Sorted by season, holiday, or portrait - it makes finding the right photos an easy process.

13) What’s your favorite Bo Bunny layout or project?
I really love the crossword puzzle layout I created for last week’s "14 loves" challenge - in part because it was an interactive layout to create with and for my family. If I have to pick one all time favorite, however, and this was a tough choice - it is "Bee-ing Around You Makes Me Smile", which I use on Facebook as my avatar. I love the bright colors of Love Shack and the fact that I am surrounded by my family.

14) What is your favorite Bo Bunny product to work with?
I love BoBunny products because everything I need to create a great project is available. Now, with the new releases - it is even better! But if I had to pick one it would be the patterned paper - paper can be turned into embellishments, title letters - just about anything with a craft knife, punch, die-cut system, glazes and other mediums. BoBunny paper designs are always a perfect fit for my style of papercrafting and storytelling.

15) What other crafts to you enjoy? Or hobbies?
Through the years I have crafted much - cross-stitch, flower making, ceramics, sewing clothes, welding functional garden art with copper pipe, and just prior to scrapbooking, I used to quilt. I hope to someday finish the quilt projects abandoned when I began scrapbooking, which started about the time my sewing machine broke. Fortunately many of my previous craft supplies can be worked into scrapbooking. I inherited an old pink Singer from the 1950s that allows me to stitch on my pages. I do enjoy flower gardening, and especially enjoy nature photography. I also do a bit of digital scrapbooking, and work in hybrid projects now and then as well.

16) Any advice to someone who is just starting scrapbooking?
Be true to yourself. When I began scrapbooking I did as I was instructed and did not enjoy the creative process. I decided to throw out the rules and play to my heart’s content, and scrapbooking has become my mental therapy. If you like a trend, embrace it, but don't do it because Jane Smith is doing it. Don't scrapbook to impress others, but to leave an impression of who you are as a person. In fact, I think that is a good way to live life, and one of the keys to happy creating.


  1. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your creative process. You are a wonderful inspiration on Bo Bunny's blog and I always look forward to seeing what you make next.God has blessed you with a wonderful gift,thank you for sharing it with us all.
    A big Rita fan,
    Donna Polley

  2. Wow it's really great to meet Rita!

  3. It was so interesting to learn more about you, Rita! I love your LO and favorite photo, and I will try that recipe. You are such a great inspiration!

  4. Congrats Rita! I love your shorter 'do...course it's been ages since we've met, huh?

  5. Thanks so much for sharing a bit more about yourself with us today!! You're a welcome addition to thr team!!

  6. Love reading more about you Rita... you have such an interesting life! You are a complete inspiration! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me!

  7. It's so nice to get to know you better Rita. I've always been very impressed with your creativity! TY for sharing.

  8. Rita --What a treat! It's so nice to hear about you and your family! So often we see DT Members--but you never get to find out much about them! You are very talented -- and I agree about loving the Bo Bunny patterned paper! I am so anxious to purchase the new 2010 products that I can hardly stand it!

    Thanks again for the inspiration!
    ~Sharron Bennett

  9. enjoyed learning even more about you Rita!!!!

  10. what fun to read all about you! thanks for taking the time to share with us!

  11. Hi Rita. I enjoyed your article and learning more about you.

  12. Hi Rita,
    I really love the crossword puzzle layout you did last week, very creative! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Rita - always love your work and of course finding out more about the girl I talk to. You are such an inspiration, and I so proud of all you've accomplished!

  14. Cute, Rita! Nice to see your pretty layouy, too!