Feb 23, 2014

Celebrate the Every Day: The Power of a Card

If you've seen the Stampin' Up 2014 Occasions Catalog, I'm sure you know that it is beautiful. Each time I look at the two-page spreads on pages 2 through 17 I find something new to drool over. The samples, the colors the products are all some of the best I think we've ever had.

While I was at Leadership in Houston last month (you can read more about that trip herehere and here), I took a class called "Maximizing the Occasions Catalog" with one of my favorite presenters, Carrie Cudney. Honestly, I really debated once I arrived whether or not I wanted to stick with that class or "cut class" and go to a different one. But it turns out, I'm very glad I went. Sure, I learned some great tips and tricks for the product in our new Occasions catalog (and some interesting tid-bits such as the fact that the light-up arrow on page 2 was made with Stampin' Up paper), but I really learned a lot more about the SU philosophy and, it turns out, it perfectly coincides with mine.

Many of you may already know that I spent 13 years as a journalist working for small town weekly newspapers (covering things like the Miss Apple Peach Festival and the local felting class) and graduated to news anchor/reporter for one of the main radio stations on Cape Cod (covering things like the death of Ted Kennedy and the impact of 9-11 on the Cape). Now I'm a Public Relations Specialist for the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and tell stories about our guest artists, the featured music and orchestra members.

I grew up writing in journal after journal after journal. I still keep a "quote a day" journal and a more general "diary" type journal that I write in when the mood strikes. What I'm getting at with all of this is that I like telling stories. I like making connections. I like words and documenting life.

I have to be honest and say that before I took the Leadership class, I didn't notice that the theme of the Occasions catalog was "Celebrate the Everyday." Sure, I read it on the cover... but I was too excited to see the new goodies to really take in what that meant... and then see that it connected to much of the "content" in the catalog.

So let's start with the first two-page spread on pages 2 and 3. It's titled: "What can a card help you say?" And yes, there are the obvious: Happy Birthday, Thank You, Get Well. But what else can a card say? It can say I love you, I miss you, You're my hero, I'm sorry, I'm thinking of you, You're cute, I owe you... basically that you're important. You see, each of is going about our lives, playing the main character in our story, and by connecting with someone in person or via a card, you have a supporting role in their life. It's making a connection. One that I cherish. What makes it even better? Cards are personal. If I sit down at my craft table, I envision you in my head and then make something especially for you. Then I plop a (postage) stamp on it, send it in the mail and get the warm fuzzies when I think about you opening that small little envelope (that's clearly not a bil!l) and the smile that will bring you. That's a connection. I can personally impact your day doing something I love. Making something with my hands. Writing a quick personal message to you. That's the power of a card.

It's not just paper, stamps and ink. We make a difference each time we drop a card in the mail.  Who could you make smile with a hand-stamped card? What connections can you make? Whose stories do you want to be part of?

Let's revive the letter (or card) writing movement. Leave a comment below for who is going to receive YOUR card.

Feb 19, 2014

Whoa Baby!

Howdy friends... and happy Wednesday! Tomorrow is my Friday and I have a "me" day planned for the real Friday so I am gearing up to make it through tomorrow.

Doing some prep for my Stamp Club tomorrow night helped, though. I love planning classes and imagining the happy faces of my customers as they make the projects.

Today's card isn't actually one we're doing in club. It's one I actually made for my group meeting last month and since I have a lot of friends having babies (or grandbabies in some cases), it will come in handy for me.

I absolutely love the "Baby, We've Grown" stamp set in the Occasions catalog. As soon as I saw it I knew it was going to be in my collection :)

This card features all sorts of new goodies from the Occasions catalog including some of my very favorite (um, hello gold sequin trim. You are beautiful! And Essential Wooden Elements? I think I love you...) Gee, can you tell I'm sort of giddy that tomorrow is Friday (for me!)...

Another favorite I used on this card was the Fresh Prints Designer Series paper Stack - see I told you there were all sorts of new goodies on this one! What's that? You don't have a new 2014 Occasions Catalog? That's very sad! If you don't already have a demonstrator, I'd be happy to send you a copy for free. Just
e-mail me with your mailing address and I'll pop one in the mailbox for your pronto!

Have a great day tomorrow... even if it's not really Friday!

Feb 17, 2014

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Is there really a time limit on the day that you can share your love of someone with them? I mean can I only send a card to a friend to tell them I love them on Valentine's Day? I'm hoping not... as I have some really cute cards to share and I don't want to have to wait until next year!

I spent the weekend making up the remainder of my Valentine card kits from my marathon of card classes the week before. I thought I'd share a few with you...

This one was for my honey...
Sorry about the picture... I was taking advantage of the natural sunlight in my room, but aparently there was a bit of a shadow in the lower corner. Anyway, I love the chevron punch... have you seen that one yet?

This punch is almost like two in one because you get the negative image chevron punch like pictured above, but then you also get all the pieces that are punched out, which you can then use on another project (I think those little mini "arrows" are great for scrapbooking!).

For my card above I used a strip of Soft Sky cardstock inside that peeked through when the card was closed.

The next card I wanted to share with you is one I made for a friend. I still love to give Valentine's Day cards to my friends. Did you give out those cute little themed Valentine's Day cards for your classmates when you were a kid? It's one of my fondest memories of grade school. We'd spend one afternoon decorating our paper bag and then attaching it to the front of our desk (don't forget the plethora of stickers and hand-cut construction paper hearts!). Then I would spend multiple evenings selecting the perfect Valentine for each student in my class ("Suzy should get this one because she has yellow hair like this little girl," "Ben should get this one because he has a puppy, too!" You get the idea. I really made this into a serious project!)

Anyway, here is a "friend" card for someone who must have a big heart (because the card does! wink, wink)....

I actually initially designed this one for a workshop card, but decided it was a little bit too involved for 10 people to make at once (tag punchheart framelits, itty bitty little banner)... so instead I set it aside to reward a special friend.

Here is a close-up of the card:

Lastly, I thought I would show you one more Valentine's Day Card. This one features the adorable little bird from the "Love You More" Stamp set. Unfortunately, this one isn't available anymore... but don't worry, I'm sure we'll have some adorable stamp sets next year, too!

This one is a pretty simple layout... that's why I chose this one to be one of the cards I featured in my Valentine card making sessions in two different private classes. I used the marker to stamp technique where you color directly on your stamp to achieve a multiple-color image. I actually used the Fresh Prints Designer Series Paper stack for this card -- so I brought a variety of the patterned papers and ribbons for everyone to experiment with. It was really fun because it looked like we all made a different card even though we used the same layout.

Well, that's all for today... I'm off to prepare for my online party tomorrow! My very first... hope it goes well! If you want to join us, just let me know and I can add you to the Facebook group where it's all going to happen tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (just for about an hour)!

Feb 15, 2014

Stitch Fix Review: Flashback

Hello there! And Happy Snow Day. Again. Boy this winter has been brutal for the Northeast. Today's snow storm actually gave me the night off (even though it is Saturday). The Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to have a concert tonight, but now we'll have a double header tomorrow!

So I'm taking this evening to catch up on some long overdue projects. This blog has been so horribly neglected these days -- I actually have a backlog of posts to do, but I have to admit that blogger is really annoying me. It's been super problematic lately to post. It kind of makes me not want to visit my little spot... which is very sad. I might have to consider switching my blog platforms so blogging isn't such a chore! Any good suggestions for a good blog platform?

Anyway, I'm actually behind in my Stitch Fix Reviews as well. The one I most recently posted was actually number 5 -- and I never showed number 3 or 4! I'm going to share number 3 with you today. Unfortunately, I never took pictures of number 4. I did keep one item from that one, but  I don't have a picture of me in it yet -- I'll have to take one.

A quick recap of Stitch Fix... it's this really fun clothing subscription service. You pay a $20 styling fee and your own personal stylist selects five items for you based on your style profile that you fill out when you first sign up. If you decide to keep any of the items they send, your $20 fee goes towards your purchase. If you buy all five items you save 25% on the entire box of goodies! :)

I can't tell you how much fun it is to come home to that fun little box sitting on your doorstep:

So my month #3 had some fun options in it... let me share:

First up was this Honey Punch Cross-Back Sweater. This was fun. It laid a little funny in the back and was super sheer. Of course you would wear a tank under it, but I felt like some of my "love handles" were showing! Not a flattering look. So this was a return.

This was the back:
Sorry, I didn't take pictures of me in this round... I ran out of time. You have 3 days to try everything on and then pop it back in the pre-paid return envelope. For me it's not as much fun to see a review without seeing it on the person, so I will try to be better about trying everything on from now on... this time you'll have to take my word for it!

Up next was this Hazel Mathew Lace Print Knit Dress. This looked promising when I pulled it out of the box, but it was a little tight and not as flattering as I had hoped once I got it on. It was also a little on the short side. Sorry... I don't have all the documentation from this Stitch Fix box so I don't have prices. But this one went back, too.

Then there was this 41 Hawthorn Ivy Tulip Tab-Sleeve blouse. I had seen this on other Stitch Fix blog reviews and it looked so stinkin' cute on some of the other bloggers, but for me not so much. I felt like it made me look grandmotherly... I'm not sure if the print was too big for me or what, but just wasn't good for me.

So this one was sent back as well. You may notice that there is a little "postcard" attached to each of the items. That is a styling card... it's super helpful for those like me that don't have much fashion sense (I'm just now learning the concept of two items "going together" rather than matchy matchy. I have to admit my card/scrapbooking skills have been coming in handy with this new skill!)

Next up I had this blouse. I don't have the name of it anymore (or price). This one was a bit too boxy for me and I had just switched up my hair color when I got this box and it was bright red... so I kind of clashed with the shirt! ;)

Last up was this necklace. I was actually really excited to see this when I opened my box. It looked so fun and different from what I already have. Unfortunately it was a bit short and looked a little like a chain-link fence around my neck... it went back, too.

So if you've been keeping track, this was the first Stitch Fix box where I returned everything. Bummer. But it was still fun and to have a fun shopping session in my home to try on some new items that pushed my comfort zone a bit... the $20 is not a big deal for me. 

You can read more about my other Stitch Fix boxes here and here. Do you want to try it for yourself? I'd love if you use this link so I can get a little credit for my next shipment! The great thing is that there is no committment. You can try it once and never again or you can sign up for a monthly shipment as I have now.

Anyway, I'll be back to posting some crafty stuff soon... tonight was just not a good night to try and take pictures! I hope you stay safe and warm if you are in the path of the latest snow storm... I think I might go get "inky" now!

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