Celebrating Sale-a-Bration

As you know, Mom’s fighting the flu, so she invited me (Sara) to guest blog this week and share a project idea with you. I thought I’d share a card I showed at our first-ever customer event, which we held right after our annual leadership conference. We had a ton of fun, and I think the attendees did too!

 

 

As you probably know, the whole point of Sale-a-Bration is FREE PRODUCT—anyone who orders $50 US worth of products gets to choose a free product from the Sale-a-Bration brochure. I created this card (and 19 other cards that were created from the same template using different color markers from the In Color set) from a bundle of products (see the supply list below) that totaled a little more than $50. When you order these products, you can get the Vintage Verses stamp set free. . .that’s the set I used on the card.

 

I love how quickly these cards came together, and I LOVE the idea of free stamps. A win/win for sure!

 

If you like things a little fancier, the second card is a step-it-up version of the first card. It’s the same basic template, with a few added embellishments. Mom mentioned that she loved the simple elegance of the first card, and—because she has a hard time with simple—she also liked the second project because she loves layers!

 

 

Hope you enjoy these cards, and I hope Mom feels better soon! Not because I don’t like to guest blog (don’t mind at all!) but because my kids are missing their grandma!

 

Thanks Card Supplies

 

 

Leadership Creativity

At Leadership I shared several projects, and thought I’d share them with you here as well. I intended to post these earlier, but I’m still not feeling great. . . I’m getting up every day and working, but I wear out pretty quickly!

Anyway, I’ll share a few projects tonight and then some tomorrow and Sunday as well, so come back and check them out!

 

 

 

Creative Challenge Change

Let me start by apologizing for being so slow with announcing both November and December Creative Challenge winners. The end of the year got away from me, and I got behind on a few things, including choosing Creative Challenge winners. Then, about the time I realized I was so far behind with the challenge, I headed off to Leadership, and then returned from Leadership as sick as I’ve ever been. . . so long story short, these winners are way late! So sorry—but congratulations are still in order! Thank you for sharing your creativity!

I’ve also decided to start off the new year with a Creative Challenge change. Originally, I started the Creative Challenge as a place where creative Stampin’ Up! stampers could share their ideas and enthusiasm and projects with each other (and with me!). Today, there are more places and ways for you to do that than ever before—demonstrators can chat and post in Stampin’ Connection, plus our blog, Facebook page, and website have several different places for comments and feedback.

With this in mind, I’ll be posting Creative Challenges on a less regular basis. Maybe I’ll post a challenge when new catalogs come out, or an exciting promotion, or when I need some serious creative inspiration! Because it won’t be quite so often or regular, I’ll make sure that I communicate the challenge on my Facebook page, as well as here on the blog. And I do hope you’ll still continue to share!

Thank you all for the hundreds and hundreds of amazing projects you’ve shared in the past, and thank you for continuing to share with me—and everyone else—in all the ways you do!

Congratulations again to our November and December winners!

November: Holiday Table Decorations Challenge

November 22: Melissa Davies

http://rubberfunatics.blogspot.com/2012/11/happy-thanksgiving.html

November 24: Elizabeth Price

http://seeinginkspots.blogspot.com/2012/11/so-shelli-creative-challenge.html

November 25:

http://lezardsdecilou.canalblog.com/archives/2012/11/26/25665333.html

November 27: Diane J. Ouellette

http://www.stampinup.net/esuite/home/djouellette/blog

November 28: Jean Fitch

http://jlfstudio.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/hanukkah-blog-hop-day-6/

 

December: Never Too Early for Love Creative Challenge

December 20: Meg Loven

http://lovenstamps.com/blog/2012/09/04/owl-occasions-scalloped-tulle-ruffle/

December 29:  Heidi Baks

http://runningwscissorsstamper.blogspot.com/2012/12/3-d-thursday-valentine-keepsake-box.html

December 31: Julie Davidse

http://stampinjul.blogspot.com/2012/12/love-is-in-air-blog-hop.html

Feeling Better--Finally!

I can’t believe it’s been an entire week since I’ve blogged! (The Q&A doesn’t really count, because I had that done before leadership.) I can’t ever remember being as sick as I’ve been this past week. . . flat in bed with fever and aches and a cough that just about killed me! I am a living example that this year is a bad flu year!

It has taken days, and I am so happy that I’m finally feeling better. I’ve still got a cough, but it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad to cough as it did a few days ago, so I’ll take it!

I’m still taking it slow; I tire easily. I went to church yesterday, and I was exhausted! The first time in a week that I’d put on clothes (PJs all week long) and make-up and done my hair. I took a nap when I got home, and it will probably be like that for a few days. But at least I’m finally among the living!

Q & A

I thought it was time for another Q&A. There weren’t a lot of questions the past few months, but here are the answers. As always, any product suggestions I’ve passed on to the appropriate product department. And I don’t respond to questions regarding how to make projects I’ve shared—if I felt like I had to do that, I’d probably stop posting projects! Sometimes I have the time to mention the products I use or share tips and tricks; other times I just don’t. But I’d rather share the projects and at least let it spark creative ideas for you than not share it at all. I hope you understand.

I like your holiday vignettes. Do your girls’ vignettes have this same shabby chic style? I would love to see what their vignettes look like. . .

Whether they like it or not, the girls’ vignettes are the same style as mine because I’ve given them most of their décor items. (smile) I think most of them have one vignette, which they put on a buffet in their entry or another similar area; I have several vignettes, because I’ve been collecting for more than 30 years! I’m sure their vignettes will grow—and reflect their own taste and style—as time passes. In the meantime, they’re appreciative for what they have.

And sorry. . . while I’d love to visit each of them and take pictures of their vignettes to show you, I just don’t have the time. I’m sure you all understand!

I love the wedding card you showed. I hope you don’t mine if I CASE it. .

Of course not! That’s actually why I share projects with you, so you can turn around and create them yourselves, either exact duplicates or with your own little variations. As far as stamping goes, duplication is a wonderful compliment!

Can you share information about the organization that you went with to Guatemala. I’d like to check into getting involved or maybe making a donation. . .

Of course. Their name is Smiles for Central America.Our experience with them was wonderful, and I’d encourage anyone else who can to share their talents and resources as well, if not with this group, with others who are involved in making a difference. You can reach them at smilesforcentralamerica@gmail.com.

For those of us who aren’t in the know, can you define what a “Rising Star,” as well as perhaps other groups or terms. How does someone earn the Rising Star trip?

Great question. Rising Stars are demonstrators who have been with Stampin’ Up! for 18 months or less and who have met certain criteria in building their business. Everyone who meets that criteria earns an incentive trip; this year that trip was a visit to the home office. Our business opportunity provides several different titles (or levels) that a demonstrator can achieve, based on her sales and leadership. Each of these different levels offers a variety of rewards and recognition. It’s an exciting—and fulfilling—opportunity! If you want to find out more, check out http://www.stampinup.com/home/join.

I loved the matching brooches that Shannon and one of the Rising Stars are wearing. Where those Make & Takes?

Those were gifts that our events team gave to the Rising Stars as well as several of our home office staff who were involved in the Rising Star trip—it was an amazing event, and I loved being part of it! Can’t wait for next year’s group!

Do you have any retired sets that you especially love and continue to use even though they’re no longer available?

That’s a big no-no for me! I feel like I need to show and use current product as much as possible. And that’s not hard to do—there are always new products that I love. I do take all the retired sets and store them in my garage for posterity, and there has been a time or two over the past 25 years when I’ve rummaged through those boxes looking for one particular set, but very rarely.

I am a frequent Stampin’ Up! customer, and I was disappointed about the recent Stampin’ Up! clearance sale. For two days (Saurdayt thru Monday), my demonstrator tried repeatedly to order several sale items and your website told her the items were sold out, yet they continued to be offered on the clearance rack. What is going on? Can’t you update the website so it accurately reflects what is available?

The website is supposed to accurately reflect our inventory so our demonstrators (and customers) know what is available in real-time. I apologize for the problems you experienced, and I’ve forwarded your comments to our IT department; I’m sure that they’re already aware of it and are working on ensuring that it won’t happen again.

I have a question about the embossing folder. Whenever I try to use it with Whisper White, I get creases, regardless of what kind of sandwich I try to use. Do you have any helpful hints or tips I could use so mine turn out with no creases like yours? I’m not feeling any love for this embossing folder right now. . .

I smiled when I read this because I’ve felt your frustration about this same issue. In fact, if you look closely enough, you’ll find that my card has creases too. I don’t have any suggestions. . . I’ve tried using different pieces of material as shims with various results, but I’ve simply accepted the creases. The problem is not unique to our folders; the more detailed the image, the more likely you are to get those creases. It’s kind of like when some types of fabrics or clothes have a note to expect some variation in colors or patterns. . . but I love the look so much that I just accept that as part of the charm of the  project.

 If anyone else has any suggestions, feel free to chime in and share your ideas!

The ornament you showed on your glitter blog was gorgeous. How did you get the “Believe” paper inside to unroll?

Take the bone folder and “curl” the paper with it before rolling it up and tucking it inside the ornament. That breaks the fibers in the paper and makes the paper softer, creating a tendency for the paper to unroll naturally. Also, several people asked how I adhered the glitter—I find our Multipurpose Liquid Glue (with the green lid) works best with glitter.

Could you tell us who is is in the ribbon-cutting picture at Brick Canvas? I think Thurl Bailey is in the picture. Am I right? (I love his voice!)

You are right! Thurl is a past Stampin’ Up! board member and a friend of mine. I invited him to emcee our grand opening, and he graciously accepted. In addition, my son-in-law Jason (Sage’s husband) is the third from the left—he managed the entire construction project and is currently the general manager of Brick Canvas. In addition, Karen and Alan Ashton (owners of Thanksgiving Point) are on Sterling’s left. Most of the others in the photos are local dignitaries and business leaders—I really appreciated the support of our local community.

Was Sidney’s carnival party held in your yard?

Yes, in both our front and backyard.

Do Sage and Jason live near you? It seems like your girls and their families spend a lot of time with you and Sterling. How do the hubbies feel about spending so much time with the Gardners?

It just so happens that we were together as a family when I read this question (I think we were having a meeting or on a family vacation or something), so I asked the boys how they felt. They laughed and said they loved spending time with us. (Of course, what else could they say, right?)

In all seriousness, one of our favorite things is spending time with our family, so we do plan lots of activities. In addition, we have several Stampin’ Up! events throughout the year that the girls and their husbands are welcome to attend. We invite everyone to all of these activities, but we also make sure they know they don’t have to attend every one of them, and we completely understand when they don’t. As a grandma, I know how much it means to spend time with grandchildren, and I want to make sure our grandchildren get to know and love all of their grandparents!

The girls do all live close to us (Sage and Jason live the farthest, about 20 minutes away), so we enjoy lots of opportunities to see them. And we’re so thankful that we get along well almost all the time! We invite them over most Sundays for dinner. . .some Sundays they all come and some Sundays no one can make it. We’re fine either way; we just like to extend the invitation. And we have been told we’re pretty fun to be around! (smile)

 

Leadership Conference--Making a Difference for 25 Years

That’s right! This is our 25-year anniversary, and we started things off right with our annual Leadership Conference!

This year we met in Orlando, with demonstrators arriving all week long! Most of the home office staff were on site by Tuesday and Wednesday, setting up, rehearsing, and getting ready. Thursday was the official start, with an estimated 1,500 demonstrators checking in and getting ready for the perfect start to an amazing year!

In addition to check in, on Thursday we had classes, a senior executive/counselor and above meeting, and an Advisory Board meeting. (We also had an Advisory Board Reunion luncheon on Saturday—I LOVE seeing all these amazing women again, so grateful for them for all they’ve done.) The highlight of the day for me, however, was our service project—staff and demonstrators joined forces to stuff 2,000 bags full of fun Stampin’ Up! product that was sent to kindergarten through third-grade teachers throughout the Orlando area. (LOVE our new Stampin’ Up! trailer that we’re using this year to ship and deliver our stuff, including the service project bags. . . )

I loved working alongside our wonderful demonstrators who took time out to participate in this service project! It was especially fun to finish the bags off with a tag with a handwritten message; I got a little thrill thinking of the teacher opening the bag and getting excited about the things she could do with the great product inside!

The service project was just the first of many things that helped focus on this year’s theme—Making a Difference for 25 Years! I really love this theme, and loved the way it was presented throughout the event. To be able to look back at some of the things we’ve done together, and to hear about how Stampin’ Up! has made a difference in the lives of demonstrators, as well as how our demonstrators have made a difference in the lives of those around them, was humbling and heartwarming!

From main stage presentations to classes and the Share Fair and more, we had a wonderful time. I love all our Stampin’ Up! events—each for different reasons—and what I love most about leadership (besides the opportunity to be with our demonstrators, of course!) is the focus we have on business. There’s plenty of stamping and new products and all of that fun stuff, but we do talk about building a business and sharing Stampin’ Up! more than at any other event, and I do enjoy that specific focus.

As I hoped, I was able to talk to dozens of demonstrators (some who have never missed a leadership conference!), and so many of them mentioned how much they enjoyed this particular leadership and how they needed it to “fill their cup” and focus after the hectic holidays. It really is an ideal time for us to gather together and start the calendar year off with new excitement and commitment.

This leadership stands out for several reasons. In addition to the fact that it was the first event of our 25th anniversary, I felt like there were several very strong, specific, and fundamental messages that we shared with our leaders. I was especially proud of Rich (our president) and Pam (one of our VPs) who both delivered messages that were sensitive but essential. Rich talked about getting back to the “pearls” of what Stampin’  Up! is all about—the things that we all love most about what we do (the stamping, the fun, the relationships, the people, etc.) and how we may have gotten distracted through the years by other less-important things.

Pam talked about building a Stampin’ Up! business based on doing what is right—both for you and for those you work with. We’ve called it the “Golden Rule” in the past, and we continue to feel strongly that doing what is right is at the heart of what we all do.

Both Rich and Pam received standing ovations (definitely a rarity), so I think our demonstrators also recognized the power and importance of what they said. We also reiterated—several times—that everything we are doing (and we’re doing TONS of fun, new things!) is designed with one end result in mind: to reach out to new customers and bring them back to our demonstrators!

A few other things that made this leadership special was our first-ever pajama party general session. It was actually just a normal general session scheduled in the evening, but the fact that we all got to wear pajamas did make it seem more cozy and warm—and fun! Loved seeing everyone’s jammies!

We had more giveaways than we’ve ever had at any event, sometimes several giveaways in one session! In the spirit of focusing on the “pearls” of Stampin’ Up!, we devoted fewer of our resources to some of the “packaging” of leadership (bags, Make & Takes, set, etc.) and focused on what we all love—Stampin’ Up! products! I think everyone loved that!

Our Managers’ Reception was definitely fabulous—especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan! We had the entire Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios all to ourselves for an entire evening! No lines, free treats, all the shops open. . . it truly was amazing! Hopefully all our managers and above felt truly recognized and rewarded for all that they do! (Note: I can't post any photos of this event because of the approval process required by Universal, but once our photos are approved, we'll use them in other publications.)

I will remember this leadership as the one where I actually bent over double in a coughing fit on main stage! Never had that happen before! When I left for Orlando last week, I only had a tickle in my throat, and if I had had any idea I would be as sick as I got, maybe I wouldn’t have gone (so perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t know!). While I wasn’t feeling my best, I still enjoyed experiencing leadership, especially spending time with our demonstrators. Although I warned all the demonstrators that hugs were not recommended, a few took the risk and since I love hugs, I didn’t refuse! I just hope I didn’t spread too many germs!

And, although it wasn’t directly connected with leadership, we had a customer event (Celebrating Sale-a-Bration) on Saturday night after leadership was over. Many of our leadership attendees signed up and brought guests, and the crowd was great! I have to say that the mood at the customer event was incredible—one of the most fun events I’ve ever been too! I’m not sure if it was because we were all punchy after leadership or because we felt more comfortable (several of the presentations were ones that we had shared at leadership) or just because we were doing what we loved best (stamping!), but we really had fun. . . on stage, back stage, and (hopefully) in the audience.

So now I’m home—thankful for the opportunity to spend a few days with some of the most amazing people I know! I’m so grateful to be able to work with people who share a commitment to truly making a difference—in lots of different ways! I can’t wait to see what the rest of our 25th anniversary year has in store. . .

 

 

Fancy Friends

Our Fancy Friends kit is a result of our first crowd sourcing attempt (we called it “Pick a Project”), where we asked our demonstrators to propose some kits for us, then we invited them to vote on their favorite one. This kit was the top vote getter, and we’re pleased to offer it.

Here are some samples made from the kit—the kit is simple, and there are great project possibilities! These projects are pretty self-explanatory, although I did want to mention that the ink squares on the one project was simply made by using the Spot as a stamped image.

Check out the kit and see what you can create for your friends!

 

 

A Great Morning on Good Things Utah

I spent a few minutes on “Good Things Utah” this morning, one of our local morning TV shows. I mentioned in an earlier blog that we were scheduled to appear right before Christmas, but we were rescheduled for today.

I used to appear on the show fairly frequently, but it’s been a LONG time, and I have to admit I was nervous enough this morning that I had a hard time eating breakfast! The minute I walked into the studio, though, I felt better—a few familiar faces greeted me and the new hosts were equally friendly.

The focus of today’s segment was Valentine’s projects, which I LOVE! Of course, expressing our feelings for those we care about all the time is ideal, but having one day that focuses on sharing love is definitely a great idea!

I walked in with a smallish box, and Rox, the producer who I knew from previous appearances, was so surprised—usually I walk in with huge boxes and large projects. These Valentine projects, which were all created with product in our two Valentine’s promotions, are so incredibly easy and VERY affordable. . . .and they fit in a small box! I loved walking in without struggling under a load!

The hosts I appeared with on air—Brianne and Gretchen—were wonderful to work with! They asked all the right questions, raved about the price, and commented that the projects looked easy enough that even they could do them! (Which is, of course, exactly what Stampin’ Up! is about, helping people discover that creativity is for everyone! Plus, I suspect that both of them are more creative than they admitted to being.) Check it out here. . . .

It was definitely fun to be back at Good Things Utah, and maybe I’ll be showing up there more often! They hinted at inviting me back, and maybe next time, I’ll even be able to enjoy my breakfast!

 

 

Start Off the Year by Sharing

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve! Sterling and I spent the night ringing in the new year at home. Nothing too loud or outrageous, just quiet and cozy.

I did finish the employee baby and wedding cards that I mentioned earlier. I showed the baby cards so I thought I’d start the year off by sharing the wedding card as well. . .

Hope you all have a great New Year’s Day—and an even better new year!