Baby Cards

Every year, we have several babies join our Stampin’ Up! family. I like to congratulate our employees who welcome new babies into their families with a personal handwritten card, as well as a gift card.

I like to get the gift and congratulations out by the end of the year, so I’m frantically writing to meet that deadline.

This year, these are the cards I’m sending out. I thought I’d share them with you!

 

 

Hoping You Had a Merry Christmas

The Gardner family definitely did!

This was the “Gardner” year, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time! Two years ago, we spent time as a family at a cabin, and we had so much fun we decided to do it again this year. We definitely have a Gardner Christmas tradition in the making. . .

We’ve spent a week enjoying everybody’s company. Everyone has been here at one time or another, and it’s been delightful! We’ve visited, watched movies, and just watched the grandkids play together. . . talk about relaxing and getting away from it all! It’s been heaven!

Tomorrow we’re heading back to the real world. . . darn it! But I guess that’s part of life, right? We get to enjoy the holidays with loved ones, and then we have to jump back into real life.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures. . . was enjoying relaxing way too much! So instead of family pictures this year, I thought I’d share a few handmade tree ornaments, which we added to our Christmas décor.

The bird is an adaptation of a project I shared with you all earlier, and the tree topper and ball ornaments are new. I love them and thought they were perfect for our cabin Christmas tree!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

Another Great Family Christmas Party

Grandma Pat’s Christmas party tradition continues strong in our family—and it gets better every year! Idon’t have much to say this year. . . we do pretty much the same thing every year, which makes it very easy! Everyone comes to Kanab (we gather at the Stampin’ Up! facility there) with their assignment taken care of, everyone knows what to expect, everyone looks forward to getting together and starting the holidays off in a wonderful way!

   

We all start arriving on Friday night. Saturday is all about playing with cousins, chatting, and enjoying great food; we also have a wonderful Christmas program. On Sunday we go to church, eat a delicious brunch, and then help clean up before heading out in our different holiday directions.

This year there were a few things that stood out. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus visited for the first time, kicking off the Christmas program. All the kids got to sit on Santa’s lap, and Mrs. Claus gave everyone a candy cane.

Families shared different talents, we watched the younger kids act out the Christmas story, and we watched our annual family slide show.

Another thing that made this year different was that we didn’t do any crafts! Can you believe it? We had crafts to do, for both kids and grown-ups, but the kids had way too much fun playing together and the grown-ups had way too much fun catching up.

We also had more babies than I think we’ve ever had before (which is maybe another reason we didn’t do crafts—mothers and grandmothers were too busy taking care of the little ones!). With Shanna’s and Jared’s twins, we did our part to contribute to that trend.

We also had a little smaller group this year than normal. There are always a few who can’t make it. . .that’s just part of having such a large family. We had three of our girls missing, and there were a few others who couldn’t make it as well. We missed them all! (I especially missed my photographer son-in-law—it’s a lot of work to make sure you have everybody’s photos!)

 

So that’s Grandma Pat’s party; I hope you enjoy the photos. We’re heading back up north and looking forward to more family time in the coming days. I hope you all enjoy this wonderful Christmas week and that you have a joyful Christmas full of love and peace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Christmas Celebrations

As is our custom at Stampin’ Up!, we held our annual Christmas celebrations the past two days. Yesterday, we met as a group at the home office, and today we gathered together in Kanab for a fairly short (does an hour count as short?) meeting. I always look forward to opportunities to come together, talk about the great work we’re doing, and express appreciation for each other, but it seems especially appropriate this time of year!

In both meetings, we discussed what we’re doing at Stampin’ Up! to create fun, rewarding opportunities for people to discover and express their creativity. Three things we specifically talked about is our new iPhone app (Simply Sent—check it out if you haven’t already), our Google catalog (ditto!), and our amazingly successful Ornamental Elegance Kit (sold out in less than four days!).

We’re focusing on coming up with innovative, fresh ideas that establish Stampin’ Up! as a leader in the crafting and creative worlds, and I am so proud of what we’ve done this year! As I looked out at both groups, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation, and I am so thankful for the amazing people I work with!

As is also our custom at these Christmas celebrations, we honored Stampin’ Up! family members who have been with the company five, ten, and fifteen years. . .I love that part of the celebration! We have almost 50 employees who have been with us at least five years (including six in our international markets!), more than 25 employees who have been with us at least ten years, and 13 employees who are celebrating their 15th year with us! Woo hoo! We must be doing something right to be able to keep such great people around for so long. . . I know we’re trying hard to make Stampin’ Up! a great place to work!

I forgot to take pictures of those who received their service awards at our home office, so I’ll post those photos after the holidays are over when we’re all back in the office. But here are the photos from our Kanab gathering.

Thanks to all our wonderful Stampin’ Up! employees! I hope each of them—as well as our amazing demonstrators, customers, and friends—have a wonderful holiday!

Easiest Neighbor Gifts Ever!

Last week I mentioned on Facebook that I was scheduled to appear on “Good Things Utah” and I was planning to share our neighbor gifts. Well, TV being what TV is, we found out yesterday that our appearance is being rescheduled to early January (I’ll let you know when), so I’ll definitely be changing my projects and focus! However, I thought I’d still share our neighbor gifts here!

I have to admit, I kind of feel like I’m cheating—these have been the easiest neighbor gifts ever! Sterling has made his practically world-famous granola and I’ve used our Trimmings and Tags Holiday Bundle for the packaging. We just threw some granola in the bags, wrote our message on and punched a hole in the readymade tags, and tied it with the sweater trim. Talk about simple. . . practically nothing to it!

As we worked on these last night—Christmas music playing in the background, occasionally chatting, Christmas still a week away so we weren't feeling rushed, and otherwise just enjoying the peaceful holiday atmosphere—I  realized that this is the way I’d always dreamed of doing neighbor gifts but never quite been able to pull off. And it’s only taken us decades to finally make it happen!

Now we just have to get them all delivered. . . .

 

 

A Whole Lot of Nothing!

I’ve been a bit absent on the blog for a few days for a good reason: Sterling and I (along with a couple of our girls and their husbands) enjoyed a little R&R in Hawaii! It was a wonderful trip, and talk about perfect timing! It was wonderfully warm and relaxing there. . .to fly home to snow was definitely a huge adjustment! I’m wearing snow shoes and layers of clothes and, well, I guess it’s time to just accept the inevitable—it’s winter in Utah!

Last year we bid on this trip to Hawaii as part of an auction at a charity event. The trip included a week at a condo along the beach and it had to be taken by the end of the year, so last week was the week! The condo slept six, so only two of the other Gardner couples could go. We invited any of the girls who were interested to put their names in a hat, and then we had a drawing—Shanna and Jared and Shalae and Jon were the winners! We definitely missed the others, but we also had a fabulous time!

Sterling and I have been to Hawaii enough times that we’ve seen most of the tourist attractions and when we go now it’s mostly for the warmth and down time. In fact, every morning when I asked Sterling what he wanted to do today, his answer was “A whole lot of nothing!” My thoughts exactly!

I did take work with me, of course, and spent several hours a day on that, but most of it was enjoyable work: I stamped a lot (birthday cards and gift envelopes) and did some reading. In fact, I read a novel (Redeeming Love) for the first time in years! We also managed a few Bikram sessions, sunbathed a bit, and only set the alarm one day! (On that morning, we woke up at 3 a.m. to go see the sunrise on Haleakala—a truly amazing sight! We’d seen it before, but Jared has never been to Hawaii, so he and Shanna took a few sightseeing trips, and we joined them on this one.)

Other than simply the rest and relaxation, the other highlight would have to be the food (what else would you expect from me, right?). We ate dinner out most evenings, found The Fish Market that a friend told us about, and discovered fish burritos! Who would have guessed? We ended up going back three times they were so yummy! And we’re also pretty picky shaved-ice eaters, so we had to find the perfect shaved-ice place, and once we found that, we were daily visitors there as well. And, although I’m not a huge luau fan, we went to a luau (again, so Jared could enjoy that experience) and it was even great!

That’s pretty much it—an amazingly relaxing week, which I enjoyed immensely and am very grateful for! When it gets a little too cold for my liking (which is pretty often during the winter), I can just picture myself back in Hawaii for a few minutes and warm right up!

 

My Holiday Vignettes

Several years ago, I shared several holiday vignettes at our convention, and since then, I continue to get requests to share them as each holiday comes and goes. I don’t always remember (rarely, in fact), but this year, I remembered!

So here they are!

There’s nothing particularly special about these. They are made up of different things I’ve collected through the year. Some are antiques, some are gifts with special meaning, some are just items I’ve seen and fallen in love with. You’ll notice they don’t even always coordinate; it’s a rather eclectic collection!

But I love having these set up every year—it always helps me get in the holiday mood! Hope they help you feel festive too!

 

A Special Card

Wanted to share this quick wedding card with you all. Shalae and I have a friend who recently got married, and we wanted a special card to give her. We both loved this one and knew it would fit the bill. I thought you might enjoy it as well. It’s certainly not “mail-able” as it is, but with a little creativity it could be.

So for those occasions when you’re looking for something special. . . .

 

Above and Beyond

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to tell you a little bit about the extremely nice driver Sara and I had on our trip to New York this week.

First of all, we didn’t plan on having a driver. We were just going to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. We were standing in a VERY long line for the taxis (they estimated it was at least a half-hour wait) when this man came up, motioned toward a line of town cars lined up nearby, and said, “Why don’t you take a car? It costs about the same as the taxi.”

Well, Sara and I didn’t really believe that, but after confirming it, we walked over to the first car in line and introduced ourselves to Ryan, the driver, who we proceeded to thoroughly interrogate. After we asked him all sorts of questions and asked to see his ID, we decided to give it a try.

He was amazing! He drove smoothly and efficiently, asked us several times if we were comfortable and if the temperature and music was OK, and patiently continued to answer all our questions throughout the drive. We chatted about where he was from (Ghana), why he was in NYC (his wife works in the fashion industry), and where he eventually wants to be (some quiet, rural town, away from the bustle of the city).

By the time we reached the hotel, we felt like we were old friends, and when I mentioned that I wished he could drive us back to the airport the next day, he gave us his card and told us to call him and that he’d do his best to work it out.

The next day when we called, he rearranged his schedule to accommodate us and was waiting right on time at the hotel. On the way to the airport, when we mentioned that we hadn’t had lunch yet, he helped us find somewhere convenient enough that he could park and wait while we ran inside and grabbed something. Then he drove us smoothly and safely back to the airport!

I kept his card and will absolutely call him again the next time we go to NYC. I’ll also share his number with anyone and everyone who ever goes to New York (Ryan Jordan: 917-676-2562); he was that amazing!

He truly went above and beyond what he needed to as a driver, and we were so impressed and appreciative. It doesn’t take much to make a lasting impression and to create both appreciation and loyalty in people who need your service. A great reminder for all of us who are in the business of helping others. . . .