Thursday, April 19, 2007

From ugh to better

I'm going to start by saying that I've come a long, long way in my stamping career and it's only been a few years since I started. In November 2003, I met a few friends for lunch and shopping. We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco which is located at the very top of Macy's in Union Square. After lunch, we walked around a bit and went to Macy's Christmas Lane. My friend (who is a Stampin' Up! demo and my upline) looked at every card and her basic comments were "this is cute but I could totally make this at home". My other friends were also crafty and kind of went along with her. I'm the least crafty/artistic person on the face of the earth and listening to the 4 of them talk I had big thoughts in my head. I thought, and thought, and thought, and then finally thought "how hard can this be?" So, I told dh what happened and then I told him that I was going to make our Christmas cards that year. He just kinda rolled his eyes and said "cool". I thought back to my friend who made my baby shower invites while pregnant with ds #1 and I remembered her saying "it's not hard, I just stamped it and embossed it and then printed everything on the computer and put it all together" and went from there.

I went to Michael's, JoAnn's,a rubber stamping store, Michael's, JoAnn's. . .and back and forth until I'd found the right stamp, some pigment ink, embossing powder, a heat tool, markers, scalloped scissors, and cardstock----many trips later I sat down to create and 7 hours later, I finished my very first hand made card that I was totally and completely proud of! So, I started mass producing. . .about 5 hours in, I realized I'd only finished 3 cards. . .hmmmmmmm, maybe this is harder than I think. I find a few ways to streamline the process but I can tell you now that the 50ish cards that I sent out were still being finished and mailed around December 24th and I started right after Thanksgiving (with the same layout, stamps, ink, cardstock, etc).

Not to be deterred, I still continued to shop and the owner of the rubber stamping store was a kind, kind lady who loved to stamp and she sat with me and told me "honey, you don't need everything right now" but she showed me a few things and gave me a stack of magazines. I went home and flipped through them all for a few days and went back and told her--"I wanna learn about Pearlex!" She said that they didn't have Pearlex but had Perfect Pearls and showed me how to use it in a few different ways then I happily spent some more money and went home and made birthday cards for friends who had birthdays (end of Jan/beginning of Feb). These cards wowed me!!!!! White card base, black card stock, Perfect Medium and Perfect Pearls--woohoooooooo!!! I was a card maker who could make cards that you'd buy in a store that looked just as nice.

Now, it's February 2004. My friend invites me to a Stampin' Up! event and it's a 10/10/10. I'm totally stoked since she sent me the catty in November, right after our lunch thing and there's so much I want but I'm still overwhelmed. I've gotten better, but I'm still skeptical that you can really make a card in 10 minutes, let alone 10 cards that take 10 minutes or less. I was right because I spent 3 hours at her 10/10/10...if we weren't friends, I'm sure she would have sent me home.

I came to her next event in March 2004 and dh and I had spoken about it and he realized that I really and truly loved stamping so he told me to go ahead and sign up as a Stampin' Up! demo because it would save me money. I'd get a discount on stuff to use and I'd already been spending well and above the minimum quarterly quota for stuff that I had no idea how to use. I told her that I was signing up and then I became a demo.

Shortly after, I discovered SCS and I've truly learned how to stamp. I still go to my upline's events cuz I totally love stamping without having to think and cut cardstock but I strive to create and make things that take my breath away.

and I know this is a totally long, long story and if you've read this far, I love you to death. I have absolutely no artistic background. I never took art in school since my electives were focused on extra science and stuff that would get me in a good college and I just wasn't crafty growing up--I'm too impatient.

Card #1 is after 3 1/2 years of stamping and random buying. I hate it!!!!!! It's all about what I want to buy but I can't make it work. This is why I went to SU with the coordinating ink, paper, and accessories plus stamps sets that worked together.

Card #2 is much better but it's a SU image so I feel that SU saved me :-) I will not tell you how long this took to make and I'm only about 80% happy with it. I kept smudging it and aligning it wonky and stuff. . .paper piecing is cool but it takes some concentration to align things plus the time it takes to cut the images out. I definitely will be doing it again but there's a part of me that is going, hurry, hurry, hurry, while I'm stamping.

Both cards: Card base is Cool Caribbean by SU. The designer/patterned paper is Basic Grey's Phoebe collection (Looooooove their 6X6 pads but I'll buy and and not know what to do with them). Card #1 is all Versamagic/Brilliance inks along with the Celebrations stamp sent from My Sentiments exactly. Card #2 is Birthday Beauty by SU stamped onto Whisper White with Versafine Onyx Black ink (after a few smudge tries). The dress and sash are also stamped with the Versafine Onyx Black ink on some Basic Grey Phoebe scraps and then paper pieced on the girl. I used SU markers to color her in and then applied stickles in Fruit Punch to her crown, sash, flower, and shoes (along with some circles on the background paper). The card and focal image is edged in Brilliance Pearl Beige ink.

The primas also have Fruit Punch stickles in the centers (and this is my mom's favorite part of the card). The prima'd piece along the side as well as the focal image are popped up on dimensional.

For those of you who hung out this long, thanks so much and leave me some insight! My goal for the remainder of the year is to get better at stamping and card making so I welcome any and all constructive criticism.


  1. i think you are too hard on yourself! Both cards are great! One a bit busier than the other but great none the less! Busy is good once and a while!

    I would be honored to receive either of them in the mail! So keep on creating!


    bobbie Ü

  2. I read your whole story - I love it! I'm so glad you ventured to try stamping & learn a little about yourself in the process-you ARE creative you just had to have the right outlet to bring it out. I love it when people get more confidence in their abilities just by trying. One thing I don't like hearing is, "I can't" because I feel if anyone jurs tried - they'd be all the better for it. I love your cards & enjoy your sharing.

  3. I like both cards but I know that sometimes you just have that "it's not quite right" feeling....I am soooo with ya there.

  4. your entire story because I feel much the same way. I *LOVE* stamping, and after going to one show, and hosting one show, I signed up to be a SU! demonstrator. Unfortunately I often feel that my cards are mising that "something" to make them truely great. It's nice to see that things get better with practice, and that even after 3 years you aren't always happy with the results. That gives me some encouragement.

    Tamara :)

  5. We are our own toughest critics! I think the cards are great. Like you said, SU is awesome because you don't have to be an artist (lord knows I am not). I think you are putting too much pressure on yourself. When I find myself sitting down and trying to create cards like some of the great cardmakers on SCS and I get very frustrated. ONce I back off myself and just let myself stamp, some of my best stuff comes out. Keep up the great work and don't be so hard on yourself.


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