Someone asked me how long I'd been a demonstrator with Stampin' Up! and was surprised to hear that this spring it will be sixteen years. Sixteen years is a long time to do anything. To me, it seems like it all just started last week.
It started for me like it started for all of us. A coworker's wife was having a party, and so everyone in the office got invited. I loved her, but I didn't want to go (surprising, since I had been stamping already for 15 years at that point) - but I didn't know what it was about and that it was actually a craft-focused gathering. I just knew it was something I should do for a friend.
I went to her party, and after the food and drinks, our demonstrator (soon to be my team leader) grabbed the Posy & Vine Stampin' Around wheels, some Green Galore and Pink Passion ink, a white lunchbag - and that was the moment my life changed forever.
I squealed for the entire rest of the demo, all the way through the Make & Take, and if I'm not mistaken, I placed a $700 order.
Yes, you read that right. I was FREAKING OUT. As is my custom, I did not read one single thing that she gave me - I just wanted STAMPS. I signed up to have my own party (that ended up being a $1500 workshop) in the conference room at my work, and I infected a lot of people - all of whom are STILL my customers and team members - with the stamping bug.
I signed up after that event, and have been to 15 conventions, every regional, Leadership and OnStage - I've never missed an event.
I have always had a very demanding full-time job - and stamping - since my early teen years - has always been "just" my weekend art love. I just love paper and color. And over the many decades I've crafted, I've been a loyal customer of many companies - my first loves - Magenta and Hero Arts, and then A Muse, Starving Artistamps, Ranger - and the thousands of stamp companies I've bought from in the last decade or so - I love them all. I have been, and always will be an artistic omnivore and I'm so grateful the industry thrives today. Every purchase I make is so exciting, and I love that we are always seeing new stamp companies, new tools like the MISTI - just great things from great people.
But Stampin' Up! has given me a lot more than stamps. As a matter of fact - I'd say that's the smallest portion of what it's given me. It's given me my best friends, many travel adventures, cherished memories of trips that were filled with laughter and hugs and love from start to finish. It's the core of my larger stamping tribe, and it's brought wonderful, sweet treasures into my life that I honestly don't think I could live without - including you - your sweet comments and encouragement. It's why I haven't burned out, and why I go to sleep at night designing and wake up designing.
It's given me my incredible team community - people who make me laugh every day - inspire me with their projects in our Facebook group, and who are always willing to help each other and me, and send a card to a friend.
When I got asked about how long I'd been doing it, I realized I was unable to remember my life before I started - what in the world did I do for fun? I honestly can't remember. I've always been a papercrafter, but before Stampin' Up! it was a solitary sport, and I think that's true for most people. I love that now I have a community that truly circles the globe, and that we are all the same kind of crazy.
I signed up in May of 2001, and in September, that felt like fate. I had an outlet to deal with what we were all dealing with - and as helpless as I felt - I knew there was one thing I could do - and that one thing was make cards. I made and sent cards for months - to firefighters, to the White House, to city leaders in New York. I received thank yous from every single one. It gave me hope and it gave me a small break from worry and fear.
Since the day I signed up - I have never used one dollar of my day job paycheck to subsidize my hobby - and I'm extremely proud of that. It has been a self-funding enterprise from the get-go - and if you've been to my house - you know that's worth a lot. :) #fullsetsyndrome
So while it's one of many crafty brands I love - it's also a lot more than that. The people in my life who would get on a plane in the middle of the night if I needed them to be here came to me through Stampin' Up!, and those types of friends continue to come into my life through my classes, or on my team, or on my blog or at my retreats.
So yes, it's been sixteen years, and yes, it's been great. Now you pretty much know everything about me, except the Arkansas story, which as I told you in this post - I'm STILL not ready to tell.
NOW. Let's taco 'bout TACOS!! If you cut an Austinite open (which I don't recommend) you will find their bodies are completely made of tacos. Tacos are a holy thing here. People when they get to the word "taco" in a sentence immediately change their tone to a reverent, almost romantic one. A faraway look may appear in their eyes as they speak the most beloved two syllable word in Texas. Tahhhhhco.
So when I saw one of the Sale-A-Bration sets WAS A TACO TRUCK - I MIGHT have screamed a little. I might have screamed a lot. It may or may not be preserved on video.
So today, while waiting on my internet guy, I decided to make a quick video with an appropriately reverent taco card.
links to supplies
I used the MISTI to stamp the tacos in a straight line, and then colored and masked the center taco. Then I created sun rays around the taco and stamped the sentiment. A few tips for lining things up in your MISTI in the video.
If love this set and the other goodies from the Occasions Mini, or you want to see what it's like to be part of my online community of stampers from all over the country - think about the starter bundle. For $99 you get up to $200 worth of anything you want from either the Occasions or the big catalog. $125 in merchandise plus two free stamp sets of any value during Sale-A-Bration. It's a great way to buy a Big Shot if you don't have one yet. And for that $99 you know what else you get? No strings. You don't have to sell anything, you don't have to have events - nothing. You will enjoy a big discount on everything until July 31st at a minimum and you can have fun with us in our group - I have lots of challenges, and a weekly Facebook live with projects and tips for you. Here's where you can join.
I would love it if everyone had the experience I've had over the last sixteen years. If you'd asked me then how long I'd be a demonstrator - I would have said "maybe three months." I wouldn't trade it for the world. Not even for a delicious taco.
Well - maybe a brisket taco. No - no, I wouldn't. :)
I have my winner from Seasons Givings - so sorry I'm late - I just haven't had time to do a blog post this week! I LOVED all your comments - I read every one on every post, you know. I loved how many of you had grandchildren as your favorite moments, and some sweet stories of reconciliation with loved ones. They were a joy to read.
My winner is Margaret.
I will draw again if I don't hear from Margaret by January 20th at noon Central.
I head off to CHA (Craft and Hobby Association show) next week, so maybe I will see some of you there!
As always, thank you for being part of my stampy world. I really appreciate you.