Some of it is bittersweet.
I joined Stampin' Up! as a demonstrator in May of 2001. I remember this like it was yesterday - honestly. That first party I was "dragged" to by my friend Kris - I only went to be nice, with lots of internal eye rolling. I'm sure many of you got started the same way.
Then I squealed for 3 hours and spent like $400, and the rest is history.
But shortly after that, my life changed with the rest of the world on 9/11.
I remember what felt like years of silence in the months that followed that.
I don't know why I remember the silence, but it was like a lot of snow fell, and everything was quiet for a long, long time.
It was a long time before I remember laughing and having fun without a sense of guilt.
I was desperate to do something - anything - to make anyone feel better. Or to make myself feel better. Or to make it less quiet and sad everywhere. I felt like stamping had taken over my life at just the right moment.
So when SU came out with the God Bless America stamp shortly after 9/11, it was a huge creative relief. I probably made 300 cards with that stamp. It was just something I could do. It was a happy and sweet image with a simple message and it was just right. Here's an image of the stamp from an Etsy listing.
Anyway - fast forward to convention 2008.
At this convention, they made a small number of the mag plates for some retired stamp sets available to demonstrators at Memento Mall. I knew what I wanted and was holding my breath as we waited in that long line. I found and grabbed the following: Architectural Elements, Botanicals, Branch (one of my faves ever), Citrus And Such, and...
They all came with these.
So I found these today and set them up where I can see them from my desk. And it's sweet.
Now, my room is still in chaos. I haven't started moving back in yet. I just finished my paper storage today. But I at least can work in the chaos now, which makes me happy.
While I was waiting for the spray paint to dry on the platform for my paper storage today, I did a little ARTING.
I decided to carry on in my art journal, using the A Happy Thing set again. I'm determined to make everyone want this beautiful set.
I documented some of the process here in this Instagram video.
I like doing this because it shows you that at some points along the way, your stuff is really UGLY - but it improves if you keep at it.
I kept the same layout - notes on the left (I had to leave that big hog from the book untouched), and sketch on the right. What I love about this process is the end result doesn't have to be finished, really. It's just practice, so it doesn't have to be perfect.
You'll see that I used almost the identical colors I used here, but much paler and with a different result.
I stamped the bird first in So Saffron, and then just painted over him. Then I added some details back with a pen. I like wrapping up with actual drawing - you lose those skills if you don't use them, and I don't use them enough. The stamp makes it hard to get this part wrong. I left a lot of the text peeking through.
Sweet little birdie.
In case you're wondering about this magical book full of hogs that I'm using for a journal, it's called the Biggle Swine Book "Much old and new hog knowledge, arranged in alternate streaks of fat and lean."
Quite a hoot.
Back to the grindstone for today - I will spend my time outside work this week trying to put pieces of my room together. I can't wait to show you the finished space. I can't wait to BE in the finished space. The kitties are pretty excited too. They show their excitement by sleeping. All day.
God bless America.