As you all know, 13 is my lucky number, so I'm hoping that this special anniversary means I'm in for something fantastic this year.
I have been with Stampin' Up! for THIRTEEN YEARS!
I joined on May 10th, 2001. In many ways, it feels like yesterday. I remember that first workshop I went to and squealing when my demonstrator and later my upline made a lunch bag with the Posy & Vine wheels in Pink Passion and Green Galore - you would have thought I had just witnessed the birth of the universe. Seriously - a lunch bag. Cracks me up to this day when I think about "wow bags".
A lot of big things happened in 2001, of course, and so it's a year that is very much present in my mind. I remember vividly how stamping helped me deal with 9/11, as it was really the one thing I felt like I could do for people during that time - send cards. I still have the fundraiser flag stamp that SU came out with that year and I love it - I'll never part with it.
I went to Australia in February of that year as well - also a life-changing event and one I'd like to repeat. That was long before Australia became part of the Stampin' Up! family.
I was a low level Rising Star at the next convention - and sweet Glenda Travelstead was #1 that year - we were in the incoming class together - what an honor.
A year after that convention, a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and her husband started Splitcoaststampers for her downline to connect through, and I never would have dreamed that down the road, that site would have become my employer, and complete that work/life circle in a wonderful and fulfilling way.
I don't know that I could have predicted that I'd still be planning for convention 12 Julys later - to me it's flown, but it's about a quarter of my life!
It has been a constant source of blessings to me, bringing me a group of my very best friends in the world, who I can't wait to see at each event. It's divided my years into neat sections - the period between Convention and Leadership and the one between Leadership and Convention. It brought me a fantastic job with talented and fun people.
It has taken me to cities I love, and has evolved my artistic style so much. Not for one second in those 13 years have I ever considered not having this in my life - and I know that that is a rare prize. I know that for various reasons, people come and go from their hobbies, but stamping and art are not my hobbies - they are the center of my being. Every day I still can't wait for the quiet moments when I can finish what I need to do and make something pretty. Or not all that pretty, but most definitely fun. Or even if not fun, at least educational on the way to the trash. I have learned in 13 years that what I truly love is the process of making art. Both the supplies - oooh, supplies - and the finished product are fun, but not as fun as the process. I will never, ever do anything or commit to anything that does not leave time, space or permission for me to create.
The people who work at Stampin' Up! are the nicest, sweetest, kindest and creative people I've ever known. I can't imagine my life without them. They all have servant's hearts and a genuine love for what they do.
It has been a fabulous 13 years, and I hope there are many more. I'm so grateful to those of you who read my blog who Stampin' Up! has allowed me to meet - it's been so fun hugging all the friends who don't just live inside my computer. I remember the first time someone came up to me and said "You're Blue!" and it just made my year. :)
When my mind wanders - I think of stamping.
So this little card is perfect for wishing myself a happy anniversary.
The scene is on watercolor paper. I masked off the edges with artist's tape and then watercolored the skies, grass and the house, which is a sneak peek hostess set called Life's Adventure. I used Koi watercolors. After it dried, I fingerpainted the clouds with white and black acrylic paint. The sentiment is from Bloom with Hope.
Thanks for being a part of this thirteen years with me - I've loved the people part of it most of all. The stamps are just what is sticking us all together. :)
I'll leave you with two of my favorite SU highlight reels. The first, is a video I took of my beloved Dana Keith, whom I adore, that Stampin' Up! brought into my life so that I could humiliate her when she fell asleep at convention.
The second is a video I made for the commercial contest for Convention last year. I didn't win, but I love it anyway. My friends are in it and some cherished memories.