Press Release Announcing Stamping Destroyed My Life
Chapter Two -- A Match Made in Heaven
Got to the address Gina gave me a few minutes after seven. There was a big wreath made out of stamped flowers on the door with the words "Get Down With Stampin! Workshop -- Happiness Starts Here" in the middle. Guess I was in the right place.
A couple of kids wearing matching t-shirts with red and blue stars opened the door. They said in unison, "Hi, come right in. Our mom stamped these t-shirts and you can too."
I stepped in and told them, "Well, they are darling. Your Mom must be a very good stamper!"
"Oh she is," said the older one.
"That's nice, " I said, as I started to look around.
Then the little one piped up, "Yeah, my mommy stamps so much we have to sleep on the sofa now. Daddy says her crap has taken over the whole house."
Kids are so funny! How much space do you need for a few stamps and ink?
I walked into an L shaped living room/dining room combo. A long portable table was in front of the fireplace and off to each side were displays with dozens of handmade cards. Order forms, pens, magazines (?), and a bunch of things that were stamped were piled on another table in front of the bay window. Sneakers? You can freaking stamp sneakers?
I spotted Gina K. She was clearly the star of the show, chatting and introducing folks. She was wearing a red checked apron with GDWS on the pockets over khaki slacks and a black turtleneck. As I walked up to her, she ran over to me.
"Oh, I'm so glad you came!," Gina exclaimed. She was so nice.
"Thanks for inviting me," I replied.
Gina continued, "Francie, come here. M, this is Francie Mrkich. Francie, this is M. Francie is living it up Big Time in the the Big Apple. She's visiting her sister, Tricia, and is using Tricia's lovely home to host tonight's workshop."
Francie was a little slip of a thing, cute as a button, and was wearing a kilt! And a black velvet headband. I was still in my jeans and suddenly felt drab. There should be a rule that every invite comes with a description of what everyone else will be wearing.
Francie extended her hand, "Welcome! So glad you could make it."
"Thanks," I replied, shaking her hand. "This is all so new, but kind of fun. So you live in New York?"
"Yes I do. I run the library at We're Ivy and You're Not University.
Could Francie could get Buffy or Garrett into her university?? File that.
"Wow, that's impressive. And you still have time to stamp?" I asked Francie.
"Absolutely. I haven't cooked a meal in years."
And then she continued, leaning in to me a bit conspiratorially, "I stamped this kilt! But, enough about me. The cattys are over there," she said pointing to a pile. "Take one and start browsing. The show should start in a few."
Cattys? I wandered to the table with the stamped sneakers and papers and saw the pile of materials labeled Get Down With Stampin! 2001 Idea Book and Catalog. Ahh, this must be what Francie meant by catty.
I grabbed a "catty" and went to look at the display of cards. Lots of flowers, bears, and Christmas trees. Ooh, one of them looked embossed! I reached out to touch the embossed tree when some woman slid up to me and said "Hands off honey! We look but we never touch." I flinched and she immediately introduced herself.
"Hi, I'm Sarah, Sarah Moore. First time?"
"Oh goodie, a virgin stamper. Just remember. It's cheaper than therapy! In fact, it's my birthday today so I'm treating myself to an extra session!"
Before I could respond, Sarah sat down. Gina stood in the middle of the living room and announced:
"Ladies, ladies, let's get started, shall we? The room settled as the women took seats near Gina.
"I'd like to thank Francie for being our hostess tonight. You all should have your cattys. If not, grab one 'cause I swear on my pile of background stamps, THIS IS THE BEST CATTY EVER."
And Gina went on, talking and demonstrating some new products. Then, she asked for a volunteer to try out a new technique.
"I'll do it!" I sort of shouted. Folks laughed but I couldn't help it. This stuff was amazing!
Up I went, and Gina showed me how to use a little paint roller called a brayer. I ended up rolling it on a multicolored ink pad over and over and then rolled it on some glossy paper. Wow! A shiny rainbow effect. And then you stamp a sentiment on it. The paper is so shiny it looks wet, but it is bone dry. What rock had I been living under that I didn't know about all this?
Gina went on to showcase some new products and pointed to some samples. We played a little game and I won a small smiley face stamp and a little cube of Berrylicious ink!! I can stamp little notes to John! He'll love it.
Then the workshop portion ended with a message from Gina about the critical importance of color matching -- she pointed out that green in particular was almost impossible to match unless you purchased supplies that did the matching for you. I loved that idea, having painted our living room three times before I got the shade of green I wanted. The thing was, I had no artistic talent and I knew it. But if the company took some of the guess work out of it, I could do this!
Then Gina suggested that we sign up to be a hostess or a demonstrator. She explained that if we did, we could get a lot of free stuff, but more importantly, it was a way to make connections with people in a meaningful way. File that.
Gina came by and asked if I needed any help placing an order.
"Yes! I want it all!"
Gina sat down with me and stated, "Let's make a list of the basics. To be honest, there is an initial up front investment in some high quality tools. But these tools will last you forever and you'll never have to spend this amount again. And, have you seen the cost of greeting cards? Hallmark is making a killing! Since you won't need to buy them any more, in the end you will be saving money."
I really appreciated her honesty.
Gina wrote down the following:
Dye Inks (pick one color family) and Versamark
Paper (get white and same color family as inks)
Stamps (pick an image set, a background, and a sentiment set)
Stamp Scrubber and cleaner
Gold Embossing Powder
Tape dispenser and extra tape
Scissors to cut out the rubber stamps
Scissors for ribbon
Brads (pick same color family as inks)
Hole punch for brads
That doesn't look bad, I thought. I didn't really know what a brad was, but if Gina included them they must be important. Plus, limiting myself to one color family was a relief.
"Ok, I'll do it!"
Gina showed me how to fill out the order form. I chose the Bugeyed Brights color family. Picked out a stamp set of cute flowers, a scribbly looking background, and set of sentiments to cover all occasions. I'd never need another sentiment set again!! Perfect. But I had to have the brayer and some glossy paper too, so I added those to the order form.
This really WAS fun. The other ladies WERE nice. Everyone was filling out their orders, sipping wine, and chatting about their kids and school, and husbands, and stamping. Several introduced themselves to me and suggested we get together to stamp!! I could do this forever.
I gave my order form to Gina and she added it up. It came to $585. And then she added tax and shipping.
That's ok, I thought. It was an investment and I'll tell John he doesn't have to get me anything for my birthday or Christmas. He'll be thrilled!
Gina asked if I wanted to host a workshop in the future. "It's a great way to get to know people and earn free supplies. People love to go to workshops!"
Well, why not? I could ask all those neighbor ladies, and school moms, and some church folk that never pay any attention to me. Then I could get to know them better. And I'd have an excuse to get together again with Gina. I could almost taste the salt air near the beach house our families would be sharing. I hope we choose the Cape. There's something so special about breathing the same air as the Kennedys.
"Sure," I said. "I'd love to host."
"I'll call you tomorrow to set a date," said Gina.
GINA IS GOING TO CALL ME TOMORROW!!
I said my goodbyes and left. My feet barely touched the ground as I walked to my car. I love my husband and I love my kids. I'd die for them. But this was different. It was just for me.
Note to self: Buy a black velvet headband, t-shirts for the kids, and white sneakers. Be nice to John. Get Francie's number from Gina.
Next: Chapter Three