Feb 26, 2016

Concord & 9th Wildflower, Version 2

Yesterday I posted a few cards made with Concord & 9th's Wildflower set.  After I saw them online, I decided that they didn't have the look for which I was going.  So, I made these -- one soft, and one bright, and used sentiments from Hero Arts.


The top one was colored with Copics.  The next one was watercolored.


MOOD WHEN DONE = Now I'm happy.

Feb 25, 2016

Concord & 9th Wildflower

Gold and Black:


Black and Pink:


Concord & 9th's Wildflower set is a fantastic floral set. There are so many out there, but this one speaks to my love of the hand drawn look.

So, I kept creating and paired each card with a sentiment from Altenew's Label Love (much happier with this set now that I have the MISTI to get a clearer image) . . . .

Blue and Red:


 and Green and Black



MOOD WHEN DONE =  These "simple" cards created the biggest mess!  Why does that happen??

Feb 22, 2016

Sending Love



I've seen some awesome black and white cards lately, mostly from the awesome Aga.  So, I decided to try one with the Hero Arts Antique Rose Stem.

It was as easy as it looks -- stamped 3 times, did some loose masking, speckled with some black paint, and popped up the sentiment.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!

Feb 21, 2016

Stamping Destroyed My Life: Chapter 15

To start this story at the beginning, please go here and follow the links.  And thanks for reading!

Chapter 15:  A Lifetime Guarantee

My Totally Tan MAN arrived late Thursday.  I was anxious to use it, but decided to wait until I was home alone.  Just last week, Garrett had said at dinner, "Hey, Dad, guess how many times the brown truck came to our house last week?" John wasn't amused.

So, I resisted the impulse to open the box.  Instead, I dragged my MAN into the basement and brought it out on Friday afternoon, after I had taken care of a few chores.  Both kids were going to friends' houses after school and wouldn't be home until Saturday morning.  Perfect.

I lugged the MAN upstairs, one step at a time, and pushed it to my craft room.  I took it out of the box, moved a pile of stamps and inks and card stock scraps, and set it up on my craft table.  It was so beautiful.  There's something special about being one of the first people to use a new product.  It made me feel special.  Nevertheless, it was much larger than I thought it would be.  It took up half my table and the cord couldn't reach the electrical outlet.  I went to the basement and returned with an extension cord.  Luckily, I was smart enough to buy the "bundle," which included the MAN, directions, a couple of gallons of liquid glue, some cardstock, and sheet after sheet of dimensionals.  I set everything other than the MAN on the floor.

I read the directions twice.  The front of the pamphlet had a picture of a woman smiling and holding up a multi layered card with a perfect quarter inch border.  How hard could this be?

I followed the diagram and assembled the MAN.  It took almost an hour to assemble and by then, it was almost 4.  I should have stopped then, but I couldn't resist.  I filled up the tank with the adhesive, and set the gallon jug of adhesive back on the floor.

I plugged the MAN into the outlet, and, as directed, let it heat up for about 5 minutes.  I realized that I needed to clear some space on the other side of the MAN so the layers would have room to come out of the machine.  To make room,  I moved some jars of embossing powder, my precious heat gun, scissors, and a few containers of buttons on the floor.  

I inserted my cardstock layers, one on each platform, hit the "permanent liquid adhesive" button, and pressed "on."  My MAN started making a low grumbling noise. The directions didn't say anything about noise and the ads for it mentioned "whisper quiet."  But a lot of machines make noise at first so I wasn't really concerned.

Nothing happened.  I added more glue and carefully put the jug back on the floor.  I glanced at the buttons and embossing powder and briefly thought about putting the lids on, but then the MAN starting moving.  The platforms were moving in the right direction through the MAN!  Ha ha!  No more scotch tape.  No more kindergarten glue sticks!  I was adhering like a professional!

Within seconds, though, the platforms stalled again.  I waited.  I figured that the MAN needed more glue, so I filled it to the top.  The directions said to stop at the line, but since it wasn't working, I figured more glue would kind of grease the wheels.  Finally, I could hear the adhesive being applied and the platforms were moving again. 

Then, my MAN half coughed/half exploded.  Suddenly, glue was everywhere, bubbling and gurgling and spilling out of the top and out of the platforms.  It slithered onto my table and then onto the floor, adhering the dimensionals and buttons to the carpet.  The glue was headed for my heat gun.  I pressed the off button, but it didn't make a difference.  Then I pulled the plug out of the outlet, but the glue kept flowing and was headed for the foyer near the front door.

I jumped over the glue on the floor, and knocked over the open gallon of glue.  I didn't stop to pick it up. I figured it was more important to get a towel to wipe up the glue before it hardened.  I got a towel from the kitchen, ran back, and tried to jump over the glue again.  However,  I missed, and my foot slid in the glue and I fell and burned my hand.

Quickly,  I got up, ran back to the kitchen, and ran cold water over my hand.  I ran back, headed towards my craft room.  I stopped when I got to the foyer.  Glue was everywhere, running down the foyer.

source unknown
 
I couldn't get close enough to see what the MAN looked like without walking through the steaming hot glue.  Was I smelling something burning?  I was afraid the MAN would burst into flames.  I didn't know what to do, so I called 911.

"911. What's your address?"

I gave her my address and then the operator said, "Thank you, ma'm.  What's your emergency?"

"My MAN is completely out of control.  There's glue all over the floor and its headed down the hallway towards the kitchen and my hand is burnt."

"All right, M'am. I've alerted an ambulance. Listen carefully.  I want to make sure I understand. If you are telling me that a man is in your house and burned you with hot glue, just say to me: "How long will it take for you to get here?"

"What?  I don't understand.  Listen, my hand really hurts and I can smell something burning.  How long will it take for the police and ambulance to get here?  Someone needs to stop my MAN from setting my house on fire!"

"All right, M'am.  I understand.  Stay calm.  I've alerted the police to the situation.  I'll stay on the phone until the police arrive."

I was so relieved that help was on the way that I didn't notice she was sending the police.

"Thank you!"

And then I started crying.

"Ma'm, have the police arrived?"

"Yes, I hear them pulling up."

"All right then.  I'm hanging up now.  Good luck."

source:  http://auto.howstuffworks.com/police-car2.htm


Even though it all happened lightening fast, it felt like everything was in slow motion.

I opened the kitchen door leading to the garage, leaned into the garage, and opened the garage door and ran outside.  I didn't know why the police were there, but I didn't want them coming through the front door because they would just run into the glue.  The police car came to a stop in our driveway and two officers jumped out with their guns drawn.  Right after that, two fire trucks and an ambulance pulled up, sirens blaring.  Before I could say a word to anyone, John arrived home from work and came running over to me. 

One police officer, with his gun pointed right at John, ordered him to lie on the ground.  John's eyes opened wide.  He looked at me and then back at the police.

"Sir, get on the ground now!"

John dropped to the ground and started yelling, "This is my house. This is my wife.  I'm a lawyer! What is going on?"

While one police officer frisked and handcuffed John, the other came over to me and looked at my hand and asked me if John had burned my hand.  Suddenly, I realized that the 911 operator had told them that John had thrown hot glue on me.

"Listen," I screamed.  "You're making a terrible mistake. This is my husband!  He didn't do this to me.  It's the MAN in the house.  It's out of control."

Both officers, still with their guns drawn, ran into the house, leaving John writhing on the driveway and yelling.  Unfortunately, the police headed towards the front door, which I had opened earlier in the day.

"NO!," I shouted, but too late.  The police ran into the foyer, which was covered with hot, bubbling, glue.  One officer fell down into the glue.  The other kept running, tracking glue everywhere.

I left John, still handcuffed and yelling on the ground, and ran through the side door into the kitchen.  I could hear one officer yelling; the other was upstairs.  I could also hear the MAN, still gurgling and making weird sounds.

***

An hour later, and the police, fireman, and paramedics were gone.  The MAN was sitting on our patio in the backyard, cooling off.  I didn't have a chance to see how my cardstock layers looked.

Much of our first floor was covered with glue, and as advertised, it was permanent.  John called our homeowners insurance and they agreed to send a disaster recovery team to the house on Saturday.  He seemed a little upset, so I told him, "Listen, John, this isn't my fault.  I followed the directions!! And the MAN comes with a lifetime guarantee.  That must be worth something!  I'm sure the manufacturer will pay us a lot for all of this!  We should hire one of those disaster lawyers and sue them.  We'll make a fortune!"

John walked over to the counter.  He picked up his car keys, turned to me and said, "M, your stamping days are officially over.  Find another hobby."  And he walked out the house.

Next:  Chapter 16








Feb 19, 2016

Winners of Essentials by Ellen Blog Hop

Ellen Hutson LLC has selected and announced the winners of the blog hop. You can find a list of all the winners and links to the products, designers, etc. on this blog post.

Happy to say that the winner from my blog is Judy, who posted on February 11th at 6:51 pm and said "Love the butterfly card!"  Judy, please read the instructions on the Ellen Hutson classroom blog post on how to claim your prize.  Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who commented!

Feb 16, 2016

Just for You



Used a Hero Arts "coloring layer" set, For You Flowers, to create a focal point at the bottom of the card. 

I have not had great luck with layering stamps.  However, I got this the first try.  I followed the pictorial directions on the back of the set and placed the layers over the previously stamped image.  Using the MISTI ensured a near perfect alignment.  I'm pretty dependent on the MISTI -- what a great tool.


I used Altenew inks for the flower and Memento Pear and a green from the Hero Arts poinsettia kit for the leaves.  I rubbed the Pear ink on a strip of white cardstock to add some green to the bottom.

I love how this turned out!  The white space on the top two thirds of the card is the perfect balance for the sentiment and flower.  It also works with this week's fantastic MUSE card challenge #153 by Tracey McNeely, which you can find here.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Ok!

Feb 14, 2016

Stamping Destroyed My Life: Chapter 14

If you want to start this story at the beginning, please go here and follow the links.  And thanks for reading!

Chapter 14:  Things Are Getting Sticky

Gina called.

"I just got an email from GDWS that you are no longer a demo.  What happened?"

"What else did the email say?"

Gina responded, "Nothing.  It's just a form notice they send whenever someone joins or drops.  What happened?  I thought you were going to stay a demo forever!"

"Well," I said, "I got tired of all the workshops.  Cutting cardstock, rounding up hostesses, etc.  It ended up being way too much work.  I don't think people realize how hard it is to be a demo.  I mean, I loved it, but with the kids and all, I decided this isn't my time."

"Really?" Gina said.  "I'm so surprised.  I guess I'll recommend some other demos when I resign. Well, you have to do what is best for your family.  But, I think you have a knack for sales.  I hope you go back to it someday."

Gina was right. I did have a knack for sales.  I was only a demo for a few months, but I now had 5 thousand dollars in my own craft account.  I had earned it fair and square working my tail off at those workshops.  Sure, I spent a lot on those workshops, but with the tax breaks, I had come out ahead.

"Gina, I'd just like to thank you.  If it wasn't for you, I'd never have heard of stamping."

"Oh that's so sweet of you to say.  So, you're going to keep stamping?"

"Absolutely.  I love it!  But I'm going to be very careful how I spend my money. I've sold some of my GDWS stuff, and am going slow in buying more things.  In fact, I'm trying to learn as much as I can before I get really into it.  I was so busy selling stamps that I never took the time to really learn all about stamping.  And, seriously, there is a lot to learn.  Speaking of which, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"My mother in law told me that the birthday card I sent to her fell apart after a couple of days!  The layers just separated. I was so embarrassed.  What kind of glue should I use?"


source: hateessays.com


Gina laughed, and said, "First of all, we don't say glue.  In the stamping world, we refer to adhesives.  Glue sounds too much like kindergarten."

"Oh, thanks for letting me know.  That's what I like about you.  You know so much!  So, what gives on the adhesive I used?"

Gina replied, "To be honest, the topic of adhesives is very controversial.  I lost a friend over it!  She just wouldn't stop using one of those kiddie glue sticks and it was so embarrassing to stamp with her. Now some folks swear by Scotch double sided tape.  But, I'm not a fan.  It just isn't that strong.  I use an ATG."

"What's an ATG?"

"Well, ATG stands for Advance Tape Glider.  It is a big plastic holder with two rollers and you insert a ginormous a roll of super strong tape in it. It lasts forever and your layers will not separate.  And, it comes in Precious Pink!"

"Ooh, sounds crazy amazing!  Is it hard to use?"

"Not at all. It's very easy to insert the tapes.  They never tangle -- I've never heard of anyone having a problem with it."

"Wow," I said,  "That sounds great.  I have to get one."

"Well, wait a Minty Minute.  Some folks prefer a liquid adhesive and swear by Tombow Mono Multi in the green cap.  It is permanent when you press the layers together, but if you just let it air dry, it's temporary.  It takes up a lot less space than an ATG.  But no matter what adhesive you use for card layers, you MUST get some liner tape.  It is super strong and perfect when making 3D items like boxes.  And glue dots.  Oh my, how can I forget glue dots?  They can really come in handy when adhering small items."

I was surprised at how many choices there were just to stick stuff on paper.

"This is all fantastic, Gina.  I may get that ATG thing, and the liner tape, and the glue dots."

This was beginning to add up and it was just adhesives.

Gina was quiet for a minute and then said,  "Listen, before you shell out any money for any adhesive, I'm going to tell you something, but you can't tell a soul, ok?"

Hmm...nothing better than a crafty secret!

"Absolutely, Gina.  What's the big secret?"

"There's a new machine coming out next month that is going to revolutionize the crafting industry.  My friend invented the MAN!"

I was intrigued.

"What's the MAN?"

"It stands for Multiple Adhesives Now."

"What's so special about it?"

Gina responded, "It's the first machine ever to apply adhesive automatically!  Here's how it works. You plug it in.  There are two platforms on the left side, an upper and lower.  Place your bottom cardstock layer on the lower platform.  There's a grid on the platform and you put your cardstock on the grid exactly where it would fit on an A2 card.  Then do the same for the top layer, making sure that the top of the layer is face up.  Select the type of adhesive you want, liquid or tape or dimensional, and then turn on the MAN.  The layers go through the machine, adhesive is applied, and the layers of your card will come out at the end in perfect placement and solidly adhered.  It's the most incredible stamping machine ever!!!  And, it's small -- only about the size of a large toaster oven."

"Oh. EM. Gee!  Wow, Gina, that does sound incredible.   And all you have to do is turn on the MAN and you are done?"

"Yup. You just turn on your MAN and get a perfect outcome every time!  And the best part?  It's only $299 and comes in two fantastic colors -- Totally Tanned or Marvelous Mustard."

I had to have one.  And I had to be one of the first to have one.  If I wanted to become a leader in the stamping industry, I had to get the latest products asap, right?

"When will it be out?  How do I get one?"

"It should be out by May, and pre orders start in March. She's only selling them online for now, but hopes to get into Michaels or Hobby Lobby sometime later this year."

"Oh Gina, you're the best!  I'm definitely getting one!"

So I preordered a Totally Tan MAN.  I couldn't wait to turn it on!  It only cost $325 with shipping and handling.

And the best part?  I still had plenty of money left in my account to become a top notch stamper!

Next:  Chapter 15









Feb 12, 2016

love you more

Oh yes I do.


Wrote over the sentiment with the Pico IrRESISTible Embellisher to give it a nice glossy finish without the hassle of embossing.


  • Inked up the hearts from Essentials by Ellen by Julie All Inside with a pale pink #723 Tombow marker onto an A2 card made from Canson watercolor paper and then painted over with water.  
  • Rubbed a Ranger Distress Marker (Festive Berries) onto a palette and watercolored over the hearts to provide some dimension.
  • Using Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink, stamped the sentiment from Essentials by Ellen by Julie Love You So
  • Let card dry and wrote over the sentiment with Irresistible Pico Embellisher.
  • Thought about adding speckles but resisted. Sat back and left it alone.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!

Feb 11, 2016

Sunshine

An almost one-layer ball of sunshine.




Still have the Essentials by Ellen winter release out and this sun image from the adorable All Inside set was calling out to me on this sunny cold day.

Used Ranger Distress Stains (Squeezed Lemonade and Dried Marigold) to dab color on the sun images and the sentiment.  Added some IrRESISTable Pico Embellisher to the cheeks.  This stuff is like Ranger Glossy Accents, only better because it comes in a perfect applicator.



MOOD WHEN DONE = Sunny

Feb 10, 2016

For You Flowers, Hero Arts


Used the For You Flowers, Coloring Layers set from Hero Arts to make this quick card.

Masked the flower to tuck the leaves, speckled some Ranger Distress Black Soot Paint.  Other supplies include Paper Source Luxe gold glitter tape (found it in my Christmas stocking!), Lawn Fawn stitched rectangle dies, and a Paper Source Antique gold envelope.

This is going in the mail today!

MOOD WHEN DONE = pensive about life today

Feb 9, 2016

Essentials by Ellen Winter Release Blog Hop


Welcome to the Essentials by Ellen Winter 2016 Hop!  Thanks for coming over from the fabulous blog of Joni Nina Andaya.

I’m honored to showcase the Totally Fabulous dies and the Up the Happy stamp set and coordinating Up the Happy diesJulie Ebersole designed all of these products, so you know that they are fun and beautiful.

Totally Fabulous Die

This die cut through this Essentials by Ellen crystal clear cardstock like the soft butter sitting on my counter waiting to become chocolate chocolate chunk cookies.  

Painted watercolor paper with a variety of Ranger Distress Stains and then misted from the bottom with a gold spray.  That gold spray (linked below) worked magic; it's like a special sauce ....




Up the Happy Stamp and Dies

This stamp set makes me smile (check out the sentiments), so I created a pile of fun butterflies.



You like?

I also get to give away an Essentials by Ellen stamp set!  The winner may choose ANY Essentials by Ellen brand stamp set (maximum value $15) currently in stock at Ellen Hutson.com. To enter my giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by February 16th!

There is also a Grand Giveaway in the CLASSroom!  To enter, be sure to leave a comment THERE, also by February 16th; ALL winners will posted at the CLASSroom on Friday, February 19th!

The next stamper on the hop is the talented, prolific, and super nice Laurel Beard. If you get lost, grab a cookie, and visit the CLASSroom blog for a complete list of all the designers.  Or, you can see them here. 
MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!

Supplies for Totally Fabulous Card:


Supplies for the Up the Happy Card:







Feb 8, 2016

Hero Arts 2016 Catalog Blog Hop


Hero Arts is celebrating the launch of its fantastic 2016 Catalog.  I made a few cards as part of the hop.  You can find the products here.

For the first card, I embossed the gorgeous Antique Rose Stem on vellum cardstock, and tied some white twine to the panel and then adhered it to a striped gray card. 


Made the stripes by applying a Hero Arts White Dauber to the gray card.  That white dauber is fantastic!



And then I made another, because, well pink!


Since I had the stamp out, went on to stamp the Antique Rose with 3 colors of Ranger Distress Stains onto watercolor paper.





The Hero Arts 2016 Catalog is now available in the Hero Arts Store (it's been available at retailers for a few weeks).  Lots of fantastic items in there, particularly if you love flowers!

To celebrate, Hero Arts is having a blog hop and prizes and is giving away four $25 shopping sprees.  The winners will be drawn from comments left across all the blogs in the hop (linked below).  Comment on this post by 11:59pm, Sunday February 14th, and Hero Arts will announce the winners on the Hero Arts blog the following week.  Hop along and comment for more chances to win!

Honored to be among this list of fantastic stampers. To see all their awesome creations, check out the following:

Hero Arts
Lia Griffith
Kelly Purkey
Jennifer McGuire
Yana Smakula
Lucy Abrams
Kristina Werner
Kathy Racoosin
Mariana Grigsby
Debby Hughes
Nichol Magouirk
Joan Bardee  (me)
Lydia Fiedler
Sandy Allnock
Julie Ebersole
Amy Tsuruta
Kelly Rasmussen
Suzanne Dahlberg
Wanda Guess
Clare Prezzia
Tami Hartley
Libby Hickson 


Hero Arts Supplies:
Other:
  • Vellum, Red & Gray cardstocks
  • Watercolor paper
  • Versamark and Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink
  • Memory Box Dots Stencil (to place the black dots with a Micron marker)
  • White cord
  • Ranger Distress Stains (the dauber type, NOT the spray type): Twisted Citron, Abandoned Coral, and Spiced Marmalade.  The bottles look like this.
MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy

Feb 7, 2016

Stamping Destroyed My Life Chapter 13


If you want to start this story at the beginning, please go here and follow the links.  And thanks for reading!

Chapter 13: "A heat gun and a pile of catties"

Dee, Mand, and Delay
111 Ink Lane
Burlington, Vermont 05401

Dear M:

This firm represents Get Down With Stampin, hereinafter referred to as "GDWS," "company," or "client." Our client has authorized this firm to notify you that your demonstrator relationship with GDWS is hereby immediately and irrevocably canceled.  Within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, you must: (1) notify all demonstrators on your team that you are no longer a demonstrator, and (2) return the GDWS pen to this firm.

GDWS takes this action based on your violation of Section V, Paragraph 9 of the Demonstrator Agreement, which states in whole:

Demonstrator shall act in all times with the best interests of the company, and shall maintain the highest ethical standards when conducting business as a demonstrator.  

The specific instances of your behavior upon which GDWS bases its conclusion are:

1.  You were observed by an employee of our client pulling the fire alarm at GDWS.  Upon investigation, GDWS was able to establish, through a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, that your fingerprints were, in fact, on the alarm handle. 

2.  You were also observed by a GDWS employee taking a pen from the desk of Senior Designer Sean Fetterman, and confiscating that pen as your own.  That pen is valued at $2000.

Your actions indicate a lack of moral character and are inconsistent with the requirement to represent GDWS in an honest and ethical manner.

At this time, GDWS has concluded that it would not be in its best interest to file a criminal complaint against you.

Sincerely,


Maroon Mand, Esq.

****

I was in Andy's office the next day and steaming mad. I plopped that letter on his desk.

"Read this and let me know if they can get away with this crap."

I was pacing.

"Whoa, M.  Calm down.  You're making me nervous. Sit!"

Andy read the letter, set it aside, and said, "Well, I wondered what happened when you were up there.  Do you want to contest these allegations?"

I couldn't wait to tell him my side.

"Yes.  I mean I pulled the alarm; I did.  I know it was wrong. But no one got hurt and I went back and fixed the problem."

"Just tell me what happened."

"I needed to get in the designers' building alone so I could plant a camera.  I just wanted a few pictures of the designs that haven't come out yet.  So, yes, I pulled the fire alarm."

Andy looked at me like I was G. Gordon Liddy.  "Are the cameras still there?"

"No!  I went back the next day and removed them.  There was one in this guy's office and one in the ladies' room and I removed both of them and destroyed them.  I didn't get any secret information. I swear.  Can't we just explain this to Kitty and Jackson.  I'm sure they'll understand.  I mean, I think they like me and I did my best to fix everything."

Andy asked, "What about the pen?"

"It's a stupid pen.  It has the Get Down logo on it and I thought it would be a fun keepsake.  I thought it was like a Bic pen. I had no idea it was worth $2000."

Andy responded, "Do you still have the pen?"

I took it out of my bag and showed it to Andy.

Andy said, "Well, why don't you give it to me and I'll return it to GDWS and you can take care of notifying your team that you are no longer a demo.  I guess no harm no foul."

What kind of lawyer was this bozo?

"No harm no foul?  Wait a minute! I've been hurt by this big time!  I needed to make a lot of money as a demo before I started my own company.  I had plans, really big plans, for my own stamping company, and I gave them my intellectual property.  Now all I have for all my hard work is a heat gun and a pile of catties!!"

Andy held up his hand.  "Gee, M, what do you want from me?"

"I want you to fix this!  Get Down lured me up there with a quick flight and a one night stand in a so called Bed and Breakfast, when really it was just an old house with faded quilts and good food.  I mean, my bedroom had Lazy Lavender walls with Breathtaking Blue trim!  Ick!

And that Kitty and Jackson were all friendly with me.  They sweet talked me into giving them my secrets for a successful workshop.  Then they turn around and pull this stunt.  I bet it was Laura.  She was watching me like a hawk. She knew I was a threat. She's going to use my ideas and every demo in GDWS will sell 5 times as much because of me, and I'll get nothing.

I want you to write a letter to them demanding that they not use the information that I gave to them and reimburse me for my ideas.  How much do you think I can get?"

I sat back and took a deep breath, waiting to hear what Andy would say.  Everyone was always suing everyone else.  I wanted a piece of that action. 

Andy was quiet.  And, after a moment, he raised his voice a bit and said, "Good grief M.  You pulled a fire alarm.  And planted cameras!! That's serious."

I couldn't believe I was paying this guy.

Andy continued.  "To answer your question, yes I could write that letter.  Lawyers can write pretty much anything.  However, you pulled a fire alarm when you had no reason to suspect a fire.  That's a crime.  And, then there are the cameras.  Should we say, please forgive her for pulling a fire alarm because she fixed the problem by removing secret cameras that were taking pictures of your intellectual property?  I don't think so."

I thought about it.  Finally, I sighed, and said, "Ok, I screwed up.  I screwed up big time.  But what about the information I gave them?  Do you think it is right that they get to keep it and give me nothing?"

Andy laughed.  "M.  I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher.  Are you really asking for my opinion on what is right?  If so, you are in the wrong place."

"Look," he said, in a more serious tone, "You willingly gave them those ideas.  You didn't tell them they couldn't share them, did you?  Maybe you should just consider your workshop tips to be fair compensation for whatever you did up there."

I replied, "Well, ok.  I guess.  But I thought you could get me some money for those ideas.  I mean, I only gave them to GDWS because I was a demo, part of the team.  I'm prevented from earning more money as a demo.  I had 3 workshops scheduled for February!  It just doesn't seem fair. It's a restraint of trade or something, isn't it?"

Andy shook his head, leaned across the desk, and said, "Listen, M, sometimes you have to just quit while you are ahead.  And, trust me, under these circumstances, you are ahead."

source:  noisetrade.com
I gave Andy the pen and instructed him to return it to GDWS.

Goodbye, GDWS. I hardly knew ya.

****

Email

To:  All Members of My Stamping Team
From:  M
Date:  February 1, 2002
Subject:  New Venture!!

Team Members, I wanted you all to be the first to hear my fantastic news!  I've decided to resign as a GDWS demonstrator. The company has great products and I wish them and you much success, but it is time to exercise my creative muscle and move in another direction!!  I am in the process of investigating several other opportunities in the stamping industry.

Thank you so much for joining my team.  I have 3 workshops scheduled for February and am willing to sell them to you for $400 each, or $1000 for all 3.  Otherwise, I'll just cancel them.  Each one has a fantastic hostess with many guests scheduled to attend and is certain to generate high sales and many opportunities to recruit.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested. 

ps  Please do not distribute to anyone my secrets for a successful workshop.  You may continue to use them, but those are my intellectual property and I will take action to protect my property if needed. I'm sure you understand.

pps.  If anyone wants to buy any of my GDWS stamp sets, ink, cardstock, eyelets, brads, ink refills, buttons, or ribbon, please let me know as soon as possible.  An extra discount on anything green.

****

I walked into my craft room and boxed up my GDWS supplies.  They filled 8 big boxes.  I'd have an awesome yard sale and get rid of anything that my team didn't buy. I kept the things that I could use, like adhesive and scissors and of course the heat gun.

At first I wanted to cry.  Then I toughened up.  I was fine with not being a demo for that company.  I never liked their shades of green anyway.  Too many greens with blue undertones and, frankly, I prefer yellow undertones in a green.  More realistic.  And their ribbon was too narrow.  I like a nice big grosgrain.  It makes such a statement! 

Now I just had to deal with John.  That night, after making one of his favorites, Chicken Crepes,  I casually mentioned to him that I was thinking of no longer being a demo.

"Johnny, I have something on my mind.  Doing workshops and all that has been taking up so much of my time.  I'd like to scale back and spend more time with the kids and just make cards for fun.  What do you think?"

John looked away from the TV, and said, "Yeah, I guess. But I thought you liked it.  And what about all that money you spent?"

"Well, the good thing is I broke even and this entire demo thing didn't cost us a dime!  I got that free trip to Vermont, met a lot of people and made some friends.  I did spend a lot, but I also made a lot.  I know the extra money would be nice, but I'd rather not turn a hobby into a business.  I kind of like the idea of just stamping for fun.  And I can sell some of my Get Down stuff that I won't be using.  Besides, if I make much more, it will just put us into a higher tax bracket."

"Whatever.  That makes sense."

I could tell he was half listening/half thinking about work.  Perfect.

Frankly, I was Easy Eggshell ecstatic to no longer be a demo.  The trip to Vermont was fun and all, but really, once I learned to stamp, I realized that I liked it a lot.  So I decided to just focus on making cards for fun and look into the blogging thing.  Who knows, maybe some day, when the kids were older, I'd start my own company.

I sold my Get Down supplies and got over $600 for them.  I also sold my workshops for $1000.  Finally, I did our taxes, deducted all my stamping expenses and ended up with a $40K refund!!  I used it to pay off the credit cards.  I had $5K left over, which I put into a separate bank account.  

From now on, stamping was going to just be fun and relaxing. The drama was over.

Next:  Chapter 14

_________________________

Contest Winner!

Wow, your guesses were awesome and had me laughing. You are so creative!

Some of the guesses were close and it was hard to pick a winner.  The closest were from:

1.  Tanis Scott wrote:  "The law firms tells M that GDWS is suing her because they have video footage of her pulling the fire alarm, and snooping around."

2.  Diane wrote:   "The law firm tells M that GDWS is severing ties with her because of her appalling behavior when they graciously invited her to visit GDWS headquarters....(they viewed the video they have all over the place!)

3.   Betty Keefe wrote:  "The law firm tells M that she is being sued for industrial espionage in the amount of $1.5m because her activities while visiting GDWS were all filmed on their CCTV."

4.  Mary WP wrote: "The law firm tells M that she must cease and desist from working as a GDWS demo immediately AND pay the company back for all expenses incurred for her trip up to see them. The reason being security cameras caught all her shenanigans at the offices with the fire alarm and setting up her "spy equipment". Not to mention word has gotten back to them regarding her PUSHY sales tactics with her hostesses as well as charging them for valet services and GDWS feels M is NOT the kind of person they want representing their company. She is destroying their "warm and friendly" reputation and are suing her for $2 million in damages."

While no one guessed the exact plot, I think that Diane had the closest guess -- severing ties (not suing), based on M's behavior in Vermont.

Congratulations Diane.  Please email me at imakeitalk@gmail.com and I'll arrange to send you a nice box.
 


Feb 4, 2016

Adore You, from Concord & 9th


Used the awesome Love You, Mean It set from Concord & 9th to make a Valentine for the husband.  

Stamped the sentiment and hearts first and gold embossed; watercolored with Spun Sugar and Spiced Marmalade Ranger Distress Stains (I should send the bill for my Distress Stains to Julie Ebersole, as her use of them has definitely inspired by purchases) on watercolor paper.  

Randomly inked the edges of the panel with Versamark and gold embossed and adhered the panel on an A2 white card.  I wanted the loose, random look.  Hope he likes it!
 

MOOD WHEN DONE = Pleased!! (This is the second version of the card.  In the first one, I tried adding embossing powder randomly on the front of the card, the way Carly did on this fabulous card, but literally made a hot mess!)

Feb 3, 2016

Answering a Question About the Blog and Design Work

A kind reader, Julia L, posted the following comment last month:

Now, I would love your thoughts on how you're getting all this "press". :D The design challenge work, the design teams. Are you just stumbling into this? I know you're pretty well known in the crafty blogosphere so I know you are working hard for it. I know it is a lot of work to put together a blog and with your extra feature of your fun novella it is even more work. This work is maybe why I don't still have a blog even though I have dreams of starting one up again some day.
So maybe more what I'm looking for is your experiences of doing your blog (the several incarnations), the relationships you've formed through this, and how you're getting recognized by some of the companies out there... Hero Arts, Ellen, etc... Maybe food for thought on a new blog post perhaps!

My response:

Thanks for the questions.

I used to blog almost every day.  I wrote about my personal life, particularly about taking care of my mother and a bit about my childhood.  I posted every card I made and I made 4 or 5 a week.  Most of them were dreadful.  The blog was a great escape.  Three years ago (today), my mom died and I scaled back writing about my life, in part because there isn't much to say (trust me, that's a good thing).

Now that I am no longer taking care of my Mom (or my son) and have retired, I have a ton of time to craft.  I'm not in a hurry anymore.  I'm more careful with what I make and what I post.  I am a very slow crafter.  I post about a quarter of what I make, because most of it does not turn out well. Nevertheless, there are still times when I post something and regret it.  I look back and sort of shudder.

I'm better (still make mi$take$ though) about buying products that work for me.  I see what someone else made, love it, and buy that stamp set, only to have it leave me cold.  It took years for me to figure out that I can love a set and not be able to do a thing with it.  Now I try to buy what I love and what works with my style.

Recently, I've started to do a very small amount of design work, for which I am honored and very grateful, and frankly, a bit surprised.  I always wondered how folks got design work so I am happy to share my experience.  Both Ellen Hutson's shop and Hero Arts reached out to me and asked me to do some design work.  It was that simple.  I must admit, though, to a bit of screeching when those emails come in. My husband just doesn't understand!  The first time I designed something for Ellen Hutson, I was not happy with what I made and decided that doing that kind of work was not for me.  But I took some advice and just learned to keep on trying to make stuff that works for me.

It appears that most of the action in online paper crafting now appears to be on Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Facebook, rather than blogs.  I suspect that Instagram is the most efficient way for companies to quickly see a ton of work using their products.  Some companies, like Hero Arts, also have a Flickr group or look at Pinterest to see who is using their products.

I've made real life and online friends through the blog and love those friendships. It is one of the best things about stamping and having a blog.

With respect to Stamping Destroyed My Life, it is time consuming, but tremendously fun, to write. For me, writing is a thousand times easier than making a card, although there are similarities in the process.

I know where the plot is going (spoiler alert -- M is a mess!), but the first draft requires a ton of editing. Like stamping, a lot of what I write ends up in the trash.  The best part of writing that story is that I become "M" while I'm writing it. I start thinking like she does:  I am on top of the world, I am a genius, I rule the industry.  Or, I will get rich making cards, etc!  And then there is the side of M that is lonely, and just looking to fit in, to find her own thing.  We can all relate to at least some of this. Luckily, I can press "save" when I'm done writing, and go back to just being myself!

In many ways, despite the title, Stamping Destroyed My Life is my love letter to an industry that has given me so much -- a connection, friends, and a creative outlet.  What more can we ask of a hobby?

I hope I've answered your questions.  Would love to hear other bloggers' experiences!



Feb 1, 2016

Contest: Guess the Next Chapter of Stamping Destroyed My Life

EDITED TO ADD:  Comments are now closed.  Winner will be announced Sunday, February 6th!  How close did the winner come to guessing what's in the letter?  Hmm....


I'm really enjoying the comments I receive, both here on the blog and on Facebook, on Stamping Destroyed My Life.  I also want to thank those of you who are reading the story.

So, I thought I'd run a little contest.

Fill in the blanks in this sentence. 
"The law firm tells M that _________ because __________."

I'm going to make the comments non public so that each person can guess without being influenced, but I'll reveal them when I post the winner.  If more than one person guesses correctly, I'll pick a winner from the correct guesses at random.

Deadline: Friday, February 5th at 10pm US eastern time.

And what is the prize?  

I have a box packed with stamping goodies.  It includes nearly new or new inks, used (some stained) stamps, and some dies.

Anyone in the world is eligible.  Please post guesses only on this post!

Hero Arts Flower Challenge


Woke up this morning and saw that Hero Arts is having a Fabulous Flower challenge.  I am a very slow stamper but the idea for this card popped in my mind and I decided to make it before the day got away from me.

I wanted to make it in the "Kay Miller" style.  I'll never be Kay, but I solove her style and have been meaning to try my hand at it. 

Stamps and flower die from Hero Arts Graphic Flowers; Flower inks from Altenew; background inks are Ranger Distress Stains.  Border dies from My Favorite Things.  The layers are watercolor paper.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!!

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