Back in the Air Again…

Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a good week! It’s Friday again! I can’t believe how fast this week has gone by. I’m so sorry I’ve been absent for most of the week; I was vacationing in San Diego visiting my cousins. I’m currently on a flight from San Diego to Dallas/Ft. Worth and then on my way back home to D.C.

While I will be happy to be home, I have to say that the last nine days have been amazing. From starting my trip in Salt Lake City at Inspire. Create. Share 2014, to then visiting San Diego, Legoland and Disneyland, it’s been quite a packed few days.

I promised last week that I would provide a recap of my first Stampin’ Up! Convention, and I do not want to disappoint. However, before I move on to my Thursday recap, I wanted to share this picture with you. It’s a picture of Pluto and me at Disney’s California Adventure.

Pluto and Steven

Pluto is my favorite Disney character since my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1998. I’m not sure why he’s my favorite but I guess it’s because he’s the most “normal,” meaning he doesn’t stand on two legs and talk all goofy (lol); rather, he’s like a regular dog and Mickey’s best friend. I hope you enjoy!

Moving on to Convention!

Thursday was a most wonderful day! Wendy, Pauline and I woke up extra early and enjoyed a good breakfast at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center – to make sure we were good and nourished for our long day ahead. We headed over to the Salt Palace Convention Center at about 8:00 a.m. While we were waiting for the Main Stage doors to open at 8:30 a.m., we were swapping cards. I made about 50 general swap cards and was happy to be able to distribute them. In general, the cards I received during the general swap were beautiful and I was happy to swap with everyone. I received a lot of great feedback about my card too and many people were happy to see a male demonstrator.

Thursday’s General Session started at 9:00 a.m. and it was amazing! To start the General Session, company employees from various departments appeared on stage. Departments such as information technology, human resources, sales, demonstrator support, etc. were announced overhead and then ran down the main aisle to great audience applause. I know from running a small business that the success of the business depends on everyone, and it was nice to get to see the people that help support Stampin’ Up! everyday and make my creativity with great products possible!

After the introductions, Shelli Gardner came on stage and welcomed us to Inspire. Create. Share 2014. Now, if you’ve never heard Shelli speak, all I can say is wow. I’ve heard her a few times on YouTube videos, at the Catalog Premier and on the Grand Vacations trip, but not otherwise live in close audience. Shelli is not only an amazing speaker, but she’s also very motivating. Her enthusiasm not only impresses me as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator but also as a business owner myself.

One of the big things that was announced and unveiled at the first General Session was the 2014 Holiday Catalog. This is the first time Stampin’ Up! has unveiled the holiday catalog at Convention and it was amazing!

While I cannot show you individual pages of the new holiday catalog yet, I can tell you that it’s amazing. The products being offered for the holidays are awesome and (IMHO) much better than last year. The kits are awesome (more about those later) and gift wrap is back for this year.

The holiday catalog will be available to order from on August 28th. In the meantime, I’ll be doing a holiday preview in August where I’ll have some of the holiday items on preview.

In the meantime, and as a little sneak peek, here is a picture of the cover of the 2014 Holiday Catalog. I hope you enjoy:

Holiday Catalog Preview

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming holiday catalog, dates you can order, or if you’d like to be put on my mailing list to receive a new holiday catalog in August!

After the General Session concluded, our group, including Pauline and Wendy, and Cathy, Jane, Kim and others moved to Hall C where we had our first of two Inspire. Create. Share 2014 Workshops. At this workshop we made cards using the new Kinda Eclectic Stamp Set. This stamp set is a wonderful addition to anyone’s stamp collection and includes beautiful stamps that can be used in any design.

Here is a preview of the stamps available in the set:

Kinda Eclectic

Unfortunately, the cards I made at the first workshop got buried in my luggage before I could take a picture, but I’ll be posting a picture later of the cards that we made at this great workshop.

After the Workshop, our group split up for a bit. Some went to some breakout sessions that were being held. I attended my second Convention Swap.  It was the All Occasions swap. We were asked to make cards that celebrated all occasions, such as birthday, holiday, thanks, etc. I made 25+2 cards for four groups and swapped with some truly amazing and creative demonstrators. In a later post, I’m excited to showcase some of my favorite swaps from this event.

After finishing at the swap, I accidentally (lol) ventured into the Gathering Place where the Convention Store was located. Now, for this year Stampin’ Up! did something a little different. In conjunction with unveiling the holiday catalog, Stampin’ Up! allowed demonstrators attending Convention to purchase select merchandise from the catalog. If you carried it with you, you were not charged shipping and you even received modified host benefits.

Well, as I wrote in text message to a few of my friends, the Convention Store got me into a little trouble (i.e. they gave me a BOX to carry out my goodies instead of a bag or two!)

Convention Store Sign

Needless to say, I needed a quick stop back at the hotel to drop off my new toys. I met Wendy at the lobby and we ventured back to the hotel for a quick pit stop!

After unloading my Convention box, we ventured back over to the Convention Center. Upon looking at our schedule we realized that the time we had scheduled to visit the home office in Riverton would not be sufficient in order to make it back for our 7:00 p.m. class (that we had paid for). To remedy this, we stood standby for an earlier bus and were soon on our way to Riverton.

It took about 25 minutes with traffic to arrive in Riverton but was well worth the time and the trip! The home office is beautiful. The 2-story water effect on the lower level is amazing and Wendy and I were both wow’ed by the distribution center! If you’re familiar with Amazon’s distribution center model, Stampin’ Up! uses the same model. The distribution center is divided into various zones. Your order being fulfilled is transported by conveyor and if an item you’ve ordered is in that zone, your box drops to a lower belt and lights light up letting the zone fulfillment person know which items to pick. They’re then placed in the box and reset to the upper conveyor. We were told at the distribution center that as many as 18 pickers could pick your order if it’s a large order! The center was truly amazing.

Upon returning from the Home Office, Wendy and I grabbed a bite to eat and then made our way back to the Convention Center for our 7:00 p.m. class. At the class we worked on a Simply Created Kit to be released in the 2014 Holiday catalog called Watercolor Wonder. In a previous post, I previewed a card made at this class and I’ll be excited to further work with this kit when I return home. As an aside, I must tell you that this was Cathy’s favorite kit of all at Convention. And Cathy, if you’re reading this, I’m so excited to see all the fun projects you’ll be making with watercolors! 🙂

Finally, our busy first “official” day of Convention ended with drinks at Spencer’s in the Hilton. For our drinks we were joined by others we had traveled with for a larger group and had such a great time in each other’s company. We all agreed that one of the best parts of Convention is the company, catching up with existing friends and making new friends!

The first day of Convention was so great. I’m so happy to share it with you. I’ll be back later on in the flight or this evening to post about Friday! Also, I plan to clean up my Stampin’ Studio (new name I learned in Convention) tomorrow and I should have some new projects for you by the end of the weekend!

Please enjoy your weekend. Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Weekly Deals – July 22nd

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello Stampers!

Happy Tuesday! I am currently writing from San Diego. I’m up early (it’s only 5:00 a.m. here) waiting for a ride to Disneyland! I’ve had a great time in San Diego so far and can’t wait to fill you in. Before I depart for Anaheim, however, I wanted to post this week’s Weekly Deals. These deals will be current through Monday, July 28th at 11:59 p.m. MT.

07222014While my comments about this week’s Weekly Deals will be short, with Halloween and the fall holidays fast approaching, consider stocking up on the Pumpkin Pie or Crushed Curry 3/4″ Chevron Ribbon, both on sale this week. Pumpkin Pie adds a nice ribbon embellishment to a Halloween card, wreath or other project since it is Stampin’ Up!’s “official” color of Halloween. Crushed Curry is rich enough that, combined with other festive fall colors, adds great ribbon embellishment for those “giving thanks” cards or other projects for Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy this week’s Weekly Deals! Also remember that Stampin’ Up!’s Designer Series Paper is still Buy 3-Get 1 Free through the month of July. You only have 9 more days to stock up on Designer Series Paper with this great deal! Don’t delay!

Here is the link to the Designer Series Paper Sale:

DSPBuy3Please enjoy this wonderful day. I’ll be in Anaheim at Disneyland today and tomorrow but hope to catch up on my blog posting soon!

I’ll say hi to Mickey Mouse for you when I see him!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

Watercolor Winter Simply Created Card Contest

Hello!

This will be a brief post as I’m about to get on a flight to San Diego! Sadly, Inspire. Create. Share 2014 is over! It was a truly great event. It was a true blessing to be able to attend Convention and spend 4 days with people who love Stampin’ Up! as much as I do. It was also very motivating. As a new demonstrator, it was great to meet people who have been doing this for years and learn what has made them so successful! Finally, it was inspiring. The cards and other projects that I received in swaps, took pictures of or talked to the creator about are simply amazing! I’m truly grateful for the opportunity!

I’m excited to share the rest of the event with you in my daily recaps! I’ve posted about Wednesday already, and will be adding recaps for Thursday, Friday and Saturday soon! Stay tuned.

In this brief post, however, I wanted to ask if you’re on Pinterest to consider visiting the following link and liking my project I made during the Watercolor Winter Simply Created Card Contest.

Here is the link:  Click here to vote for Steven’s card!

Here is the picture of my card:

Pinterest CardThis contest was asking for entries for alternative uses/creations from the Watercolor Winter Simply Created Card Kit, which will be released with the 2014 Holiday Catalog (preview coming soon!)

Thanks for your support! I appreciate your support and for visiting my blog. I’ll be posting more from San Diego soon as it’s time to board my flight!

See you soon!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Live from Convention!

Hello Everyone!

Happy Friday! I’m sorry I haven’t posted here since my plane ride but it has been quite busy, busier than I thought! Convention has been wonderful in so many ways – the general sessions, make-and-takes, seminars, but most importantly the company and great existing (and new) friends. It’s been a blessing to be able to spend these past few days with people who share the same passion for creativity and stamping as I do!

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting Convention recaps one day at a time. I have quite a few pictures to share and stories to tell and I’m excited to share this experience with you. I’ll be wrapping up by sharing some of my favorite swaps that I’ve collected from here at Convention.

Let’s get started with Wednesday (travel day to Convention):

Convention started out unofficially on Wednesday night. After picking up our badges and goodie bags filled with make-and-take essentials and our schedule, Wendy and I attended the Paper Pumpkin Night Out. We got to preview and make the Paper Pumpkin kit for September. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for all my Paper Pumpkin subscribers, but I can tell you that a.) it helps hold some yummy goodies; b.) it is Halloween related, and; c.) depending on the stamp, it will give you quite the scare!

After picking up our badges and bags, we came back to the Hilton for our very first ‘scheduled’ swap! This swap was so much fun. For it we had to make 25 cards and 12 3-D items. Here is a picture of the card and 3-D item I made for this swap:


Hilton Card Swap

Hilton 3-D

The card was made using the Corner Garden (Background) Stamp Set (Item #134045 – wood or #134048 – clear). The greeting was stamped with the Big News Stamp Set (Item #134015 – wood or #134018 – clear) using Jet Black Staz On Ink on vellum. The card base is Wild Wasabi and the card front is Soft Sky.  The butterflies are punched with the Elegant Butterfly punch (Item #127526) and adorned with Rhinestone Basic Jewels (Item #119246).

The rainbow 3-D is actually my own design.  The box is a piece of Soft Sky cardstock cut to 6 inches by 5 inches and then scored to make 1/2″ sides. The clouds were punched in Whisper White cardstock using the 2-3/8″ Scallop Circle (Item #118874) and cut in half. The sun is punched on Hello Honey cardstock using a 1-3/8″ circle punch (Item #119860).  The rays of the sun are punched using the banner punch (Item #133519) on Crushed Curry cardstock. The greeting is from the Gifts of Kindness Stamp Set (Item #130441 – wood or #130444 – clear) stamped in Night of Navy ink on Whisper White cardstock. Finally, the rainbow is made from Real Red, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive and Pacific Point cardstock using a series of cuts in a lock-in design with hot glue to hold it together.  The rainbow is made extra colorful (and yummy) by adding red, yellow, green and blue M&M candies.

The swap also featured some extras. First, it was a PJs swap. We were invited to wear tasteful PJs. The swap was in public so you had to be fully dressed and somewhat appropriate for walking around a public hotel. I wore grey pajama pants and my Oscar the Grouch t-shirt. I’m sorry, for privacy reasons (and my own bashfulness), there are no pictures; however, rest assured, those of us that did dress in our PJs had a blast and some of the PJs were extra cute. I even won a prize for most comfy PJs and, outside of my hotel room being almost 80 degrees, they are quite comfy!

Second, we had a contest for the best card and best 3-D. While I did not win in either category, it was fun to vote and pick our winners. I voted for Wendy’s 3-D item and a card made by Pam R. Pam R.’s card won in the card competition and as one of my favorite cards so far from swaps at Convention 2014, I’ll be featuring her card in a future swaps blog post! Wendy’s 3-D was a can of (gummy) worms. I’ll also be posting her 3-D project as it was one of my favorites. Stay tuned!

After our PJs swap, our group including Wendy and Pauline, retired for the evening with great anticipating and dreams of Thursday’s Opening Session!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Wednesday recap!

Some exciting things to look forward to in my Thursday recap include:

  • Opening Session and the Holiday Catalog unveiling!
  • All the trouble I got into at the Convention Store!, and
  • Watercoloring woes!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back before the weekend is over with more to share!

Having a great time here in Salt Lake City!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

From 35,000 feet!

Hello Everyone!

Well, I am on my way to Convention! That’s right, as I write this post, we are at 35,000 feet about an hour and a half into our four hour flight to Salt Lake City.

In my downtime here on the plane, I wanted to post and talk about my final swap I made for Convention. I made this card for general (unscheduled) swapping and literally squeezed it in at the last minute. My flight this morning was at 7:54 a.m., with arrival to the airport at 6:00 a.m., which meant I had to be up at 4:15 a.m. to get on the road in time to make it! Even with an early wake-up, I was up until 11:00 p.m. finishing this card up.

Here it is. I made 50 for general swapping and am very pleased with how it turned out:

Open Sea Card

For this card I used The Open Sea Stamp Set (Item #128454 – wood or #123032 – clear), Work of Art Stamp Set (Item #134111 – wood or #134114 – clear) and Four You Stamp Set (Item #130535 – wood or #130538 – clear) for the ‘hello’ greeting.

The card base is Basic Black cardstock. The card front and compass background is Kraft 12″x12″ cardstock (item #133674). The card is also embellished with Basic Black Baker’s Twine (Item #134576).

While it is difficult to see, the background of the Kraft card front is actually stamped using the charter page stamp from The Open Sea Stamp Set and So Saffron ink. Up close, this adds a pretty cool effect. The sea is stamped with the horizontal brush line from the Work of Art Stamp Set with Lost Lagoon ink. To get the effect, it took 8 or 9 impressions with the stamp to add depth to the sea. The globe is stamped with Night of Navy ink and the compass, ship and greeting are stamped with Jet Black Staz On ink.

(Aside:  Now, some of you will be surprised that I used Staz On ink rather than the Memento ink available in this year’s catalog. Many of you know that I prefer the Memento ink to Staz On because Memento is water based and easier to clean and work with. However, for this card, Staz On worked better after testing because it gave a clearer, crisper image when stamping on the Kraft cardstock.  For stamping black ink on Kraft cardstock, I would highly recommend Staz On ink for a clearer, crisper image.)

I hope you all enjoy this card and feel my excitement as I successfully completed all the swaps I signed up for and committed to, plus had time to squeeze in a general swap! I’m so excited for Convention and can’t wait to arrive in Salt Lake City. I’ll be posting over the next few days the news, tidbits and other information I hear and learn while at Convention. I’ll also be posting pictures of the rest of the swap cards (and the 3-D project) I made for Convention. Some of my blog readers are in these swaps and I did not want to spoil the surprise!

Have a great Wednesday. For my Maryland friends, enjoy the ‘polar vortex’. It is supposed to fall into the 70’s for the next few days. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to 95-100 degrees of dry heat in Salt Lake City and 70-75 degrees in San Diego with not a drop of rain in the forecast. Woohoo!!

Wishing you a happy day!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Weekly Deals – July 15th

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello and Happy Tuesday again!

I hope this blog post finds you well! It finds me quite busy. I’ve been working most of the day to finish up on last minute swaps (I’ll post about that later) and finishing up at work for my upcoming vacation!

I can’t believe that I leave for Convention tomorrow. My upline, Wendy, and I have been talking or texting almost daily in utter excitement. I feel like a kid waiting for summer vacation or Christmas to approach and have stopped just short of having a countdown!

Before I leave for Convention though I wanted to post this week’s Weekly Deals.  These deals are good from 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 15th through 11:59 p.m. (MT) on Monday, July 21st.

Here are the Weekly Deals for July 15th:

07152014

It appears from the Weekly Deals this week that it’s “punch week”! Both the square punch (Item #124094) and the triangle punch (Item #133375) are great deals for the price and can be used for so many different designs, on scrapbook pages, cards, or for your best memories in a Project Life album!

I encourage you to take a look at these Weekly Deals and see what might be of interest to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me. Even though I’m at Convention, I’ll be checking my phone and email regularly and I’m happy to assist you however I can.

Also remember that for the month of July Designer Series Paper is Buy 3, Get 1 Free. This is a great deal and this year’s Designer Series Paper designs are amazing. They really make a page pop-out and add extra color and life to your favorite project.

Here is the link to the Designer Series Paper sale:

DSPBuy3I hope everyone has a great week!  I look forward to posting updates and information while at Convention. If you have any questions or need any further information, please feel free to contact me! I’ll be available this evening before I leave for Salt Lake City, then checking in while I’m away!

Have a great day!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Card Swaps are Finished!

Hello!

I’m happy to report that 269 card (and card fronts) later, my scheduled card swaps are finished! I don’t think I’m finished with making cards for swaps yet, as I want to prepare a few for general swaps, but I’m happy that I’ve finished my committed swaps! In the end, I’ll probably make 30-50 general swap cards on Monday and Tuesday to take with me. The way I packed, they’ll be easy to fit in at the last minute.

So the last card that I designed was for an All Occasions swap taking place on Thursday. I signed up for all 4 groups being offered and had to design four different cards in quantities of 27 (25+2 hostess cards).

Here is my final design:

Camping

This isn’t an overly sophisticated card, as you can tell, but I like it because it reminds me of calmer times. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone camping, which I define as a tent in the woods, but I have fond memories of Cub Scouts at Camp Tuckahoe and other camping trips!

The trees and tent are stamped in Early Espresso from the Lovely as a Tree Stamp Set (Item #128655 – Wood or #127793 – Clear) and The Great Outdoors Stamp Set (Item #132091 – Wood or #126562 – Clear).  The “sky” effect is a stamp from the Work of Art Stamp Set (Item #134111 – Wood or #134114 – Clear). The greeting is from the Project Life Remember This Photopolymer Stamp Set (Item #135786). The card base and greeting base is Island Indigo.  The card front and greeting front is Smoky Slate.  The moon was stamped with the Whisper White Classic Stampin’ Pad (Item #101731).

I hope you enjoy this card and, like me, this card has you reminiscing of calmer times! I still have my 3-D project to finish, which I’m excited to post when it’s complete, and then on to packing and getting ready! I’ll definitely be back one more time before leaving for Convention to post the Weekly Deals and another update; see you soon!

Have a great week!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven