Most of you know when I visit your blog, it is sporadic and I try to catch up what I have missed. This is not because I do not feel like blogging/visiting or because I am goofing off.  It is because I am busy. Granted, much of it is self-imposed busy, but busy I am.

Last week I looked at my life since Thanksgiving, and there have been THREE days since then in which I did not have a specific deadline of something that HAD to be done on a day. Now I do not have a “real job,” so my deadlines are not usually reports or presentations; they can be anything. (For my church treasurer job, I do have reports and presentations due at least monthly, however.) It may be a Friday, and those days always mean a ton of food has to be made because I cook for Friday and Saturday on Fridays.  My point is that the things I have to get done may not seem like deadline material, but for me there is always a reason something has to be done by a specific day.

So I thought I would show you some of what I have been doing for the past three months. (It is MARCH? Christmas is just around the corner!)

It started with Chic’s birthday. Since it was the Christmas season, she requested poinsettia cupcakes for school.

There are 13 children in Chic's classroom, but her teacher refuses to do cupcakes before school is out. (What's wrong with lunch?) This irritates me because when Chic gets cupcakes for a birthday, there is never one for her sister. I made sure every sibling of every classmate had a cupcake, too. (I wanted to leave out the teacher, but I was polite.)

Remember my Elf Escapades? Here are a few things I made for that.

Clockwise from top left: Napkin rings, box to hold napkin rings, "Merry" bag for the 12th night, tree bag. I made all the things shown. I loved it, but it does put a dent into one's time.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Napkin rings. 2) Box for napkin rings. 3) "Merry" gift bag for the last night. 4) Evergreen tree gift bag.

This was the best Elf Victim yet! On the 9th or 10th night, I was met at the door by this.

Sorry for the lousy picture, but I didn't want to get caught! This was the 12th night of Elf Delivery, and the front door and garage door of this house were OPEN! I took Chic with me for the experience, but it didn't help with the stealth. On the door are all the notes I left with gifts (the notes appeared on the 9th night), and there was a gift for me, too. I have never been so wonderfully welcomed!

Next is the Christmas ornaments and boxes. Since 1995 I have made a Christmas ornament yearly. It started as a gift to the infant daughters of very close friends and has grown to a few other girls (some now in high school) like my daughters and niece and some other special friends/family (aunts, etc.).

This year I made 36 "icicles" and boxes to hold them all.

For the staff Christmas party at school, there was an ornament exchange. This is the box I made, and inside was one of my annual ornaments, left over from about 3 years back.

This box was very last-minute, but I just loved how it turned out.

This is the holiday treat we give E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. They are called pizzelles and are Italian, waffle-like cookies made in a special iron.

I can't remember how many of these we made, but I know it was over 1000. I made the first 1/3 of them, then Prince Charming did the rest. (Bless him!)

Don’t forget the school treats. I made about 30 of the ones on the left for Chic’s classmates/friends plus the kids in my class at church. (She painted the sticks.) Chicklet’s class treats were on the right. I only had to make about 10 of those.

This is one of my favorite things–a gift for my nephew. When we visited Missouri in November I learned that he (who is Chic’s age, eight) is really into seeds. I was walking around my yard one day and noticed so many seeds. I started to gather them for him, then I thought I would just make that his Christmas gift. So I made seed packets (with pictures if I had them–stamped or drawn if I did not) for all of them and instructions for growing.

I never realized how many seeds I had in my own yard!

Next is the annual gift. Last year I made “winter” banners as holiday gifts for close friends/family. This year I did “spring.” (Can you guess what it will be next year?) I made 17 of these. Each one takes 2-1/2 – 3 hours. Call me an idiot!

Another rotten picture; I was pressed for time. But the good (?) news is that I have an extra of these. If you would like to be in a drawing for it, e-mail me at louisestamps at aol dot com to let me know. You have until Monday, March 8, to e-mail me.

Let’s move to Valentine’s  Day! (We left shortly after Christmas to drop off Chic in Tennessee. I was home one day before a business trip, then 1-1/2 weeks before visiting Chic. January was a blur.) These are the boxes I assembled for my Valentine’s for all the students in my art classes.

I made up about 55 of these boxes.

These are the cookies that went in the boxes above. VERY. BAD. to have these things in my house! Very bad!

I have no idea how many cookies I made, but it was about 8 or 9 batches. (I did double/triple batches in the mixer so I cannot remember.)

These are boxes I made for special people such as my friend in TN who is taking care of Chic and some special people at church. I made them from flat, chipboard hearts.

I made 8 of these boxes.

Something had to go in these boxes, so I made homemade truffles. It was a first for me. Slightly time-consuming, but really no more so than anything else I do.

The dark ones are Oreo truffles and the light ones are Italian truffles.

As I was making the heart boxes above, I kept thinking of other people for whom I would like to make some. The problem was that I only had chipboard hearts to make eight. But I had regular chipboard, so I die-cut square scallops to make four more boxes.

The left one was for someone VERY into brown, so it does not look much like Valentine's Day.

There were also quite a number of Valentine treats for classmates of which I forgot to take pictures.

The below items are also for special people for Valentine’s Day. They are super fuzzy socks wound to resemble ice cream. I made “cones” for them and packaged them. I also put chocolate oil on them. One recipient still has not opened hers because she thinks it is so cute. I made 18 of the bigger ones for adults and 6 of the smaller ones for children.

Clockwise from top left: 1) All of the socks put into their "cones." 2) The finished packages. 3) Notice the finished packages have "sprinkles on the cones. I made them by punching out holes. 4) This is some of the paper left over after the punching.

Being so industrious means that eventually the holidays will slow down and I can move on to other things. The next two are “name frames” I made for girls I visited a year ago. I took pictures of their rooms and just now got around to making the 8″ x 10″ art for them.

Clearly Kendra's mom is good at decorating!

Kayla is Kendra's older sister who had just redecorated her own room. (The decorating thing must be genetic.)

Just last weekend Chicklet was invited to a birthday party. She could not go because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK THIS WEEK!!!!!!! But I made a container quickly to take on Friday and filled it with craft items. I thought it turned out well.

This is a large canister that used to hold SlimFast. I love the size of these so I collect them to decorate at such times.

This week I am not doing anything of the sort because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK!!!! We have had several other activities already and have more on the agenda.

If you comment, be honest with me. Tell me if you love this or hate it. Tell me if you think I am insane. If you knew me in real life, would all of the above make you love me or love to hate me? (Your answers do not matter that much because I do these things because I love to do them, but I am interested in perceptions. I have all viewpoints in my “real life” acquaintances.)

Next projects? Easter!

2009-01-17ornamentboxes

Soulbrush in the UK tagged me for a photo meme. I have actually done this one before but had to cheat because of the photo, but I decided to do it differently this time, and lo and behold, an acceptable photo was in the right spot. This one is the 6th photo from the 6th folder. I chose the 6th folder in 2009, and the above photo was there. I find this slightly amusing because I took the picture just because. All of the boxes are ones I made to hold Christmas ornaments for my girls. Yearly I make ornaments for a LOT of girls and make boxes for them, but for my own girls, I also make boxes for their loose ornaments that are special. I do this to keep them safe and to have a place to write when, where and why they got the ornaments.  When I was putting away holiday decorations, I decided to take a picture of all their ornament boxes that I had made.  I do not know why, but it was useful today!

I never tag others for memes, but please do not hesitate to consider yourself tagged if you want to display the 6th photo from your 6th folder and have no other good reason to do so!!

Next, Fishing Guy mentioned that I keep talking about my stamping trip in other posts, but I have not showed what I stamped, so I told him I would try to do that today. So here it is:

2009-02-03bagboxstampstamppadThis was a box that was part of the make-and-take at St*ampin’ Up!’s Leadership Conference in Orlando near the beginning of January. The only thing stamped on this box is actually the “good friend.” Everything else is chipboard covered with Designer Series Paper or colored in some other way, or just Designer Series Paper as a layer. Below the box is a stamp pad and the stamp I  used for this box. (Please note that all stamp designs in these photos are copyright St*mpin’ Up!)

We also made the things in this box which included three cards, another, smaller box and ten little bookmarks that go in the smaller box.

2009-02-03bagboxcontentsI LOVE all of this! I must first say that I would have never purchased this stamp set just looking through the catalog. But it was part of what we received for attending the Conference, and now I love it. I love this whole set of stuff so much that I am going to have a class duplicating all of these things either in April or May. Also, I modified the colors on the smaller box and small bookmarks, and will make several for Valentine’s Day teacher gifts this year. I LOVE the idea of having a box full of bookmarks. I am always losing them, so ten is perfect. And I also love that I do not have to go shopping for other items for this gift because I have all the supplies at home. (No trip to Target, the $100/hour store!)

So that is what we stamped at Leadership  Conference, but there was a whole lot more to learn. Lots of new products (I am most excited about some new dies for our die-cut machine and the CHOCOLATE glitter–color, not flavor!) and great break-out classes to help with motivation in January and give new ideas.

And some of you have asked about my “job.” No, I don’t work at Universal Studios! I was just there for a party that St*mpin’ Up! threw for some of us.  It was just one of the many perks. (My best perks have been two cruises to Bermuda, but I had a conflict for the first one so have only been once.)

This is a card we made at a recent Stamp Club class.

This is a card we made at a recent Stamp Club class.

I am a St*mpin’ Up! Demonstrator which means I teach people how to create all kinds of things (cards, gifts, scrapbook pages, gift packaging, home interior items, etc.) using stamps and paper crafts. My pay comes from commission on the things I sell to people who want to do their own things. I have always said that I am not sure why St*mpin’ Up! pays me because it is so. much. fun! But I am glad they do. (Because I usually just put the money into more stuff!) There is a part of me that must say that I am not a sales person. I could never be a sales person; my personality would not support it. I teach people how to have fun and find a creative outlet, and the sales just come. (The fact that I will not even put the name of the company in here without an asterisk should tell you about my lack of selling personality!)

So how do I go about this? The “meat” of the business is in-home “workshops” in which I go to homes and teach people how to stamp. Sort of like a Tupperware party, but it is a fun, creative evening. My business also includes a monthly Stamp  Club in which a group of people commit to being in the “club” for a year by purchasing a small amount of product monthly. For this they get a free monthly class. It is a BLAST! Some of my Stamp  Club members have been in the Club since it began about 6 years ago. The other major aspect of my business is classes. Normally I have some sort of class monthly at my house. I charge a fee, and people come to make the projects. My customers LOVE this because I prepare everything for them so they do not have to think; they just come and create. I love it, too, because my life is so crazy in other areas, this gives ME time to create and to also  hang out with the girls. (I know I would never make such time if it were not my “job.”) Customers do not have to order from events, but can order any time (even online), but I really like the events because they are a stress-reliever for me.

And lest you start leaving comments about how artistic and creative I am, please be aware that I rarely come up with my own project ideas anymore. There are so many resources provided by St*mpin’ Up! that I do not have to think myself–just copy. I will admit to occasional “tweaking,” but usually not much.

So tonight I had a class for  Valentine’s Day Projects, and below is what we did.

2009-02-03v-dayclassallAbove are all the projects. The class was $15, and they made everything–except they only did one of the bowls. (There are two to show two options.)

2009-02-03happyheartThis was the simplest card we made. After I made this one, I actually changed it so that the greeting inside the heart was on the white shimmery paper instead, in red ink, to match the cardstock and ribbon. We all liked that version better. (But I had already taken this picture.)

2009-02-03heartbowlraisedflowerThis version of the bowl used stencil paste over a brass stencil to make the design. I got these little bowls at Michael’s for $1 each.  They would be adorable with ANYTHING in them. (My favorite would be Valentine-colored Jellie Belly’s. But the teachers in my daughter’s school will not be getting them because the contents would require a shopping trip which I am not willing to make. And I would like bookmarks  myself anyway!)

2009-02-03heartbowlrub-oninteriorThis is the inside of the brown bowl. This is a rub-on–a quick and easy way to decorate nearly anything. There were also white ones so they could put one on the inside of the stencil-pasted bowls, too.

2009-02-03hugskissesWhen I saved this card in a smaller size, it altered the color a little. The real thing’s colors are a bit softer. But it is cute even like this. It is difficult to tell, but the big heart is covered in iridescent glitter.

2009-02-03pantiesEvery Valentine’s season I do a “naughty” card at one of my classes. This is always a favorite, and I love this year’s version. (I always love them!)

So that is all about my “job.” I have many “jobs.” The two most time-consuming are the art teacher at  my daughter’s school and the head treasurer at my church. Both take a LOT of time and have no compensation. That is fine, but the time they take makes my life unbelievably hectic. Stamping sort of unravels some of that. It is therapeutic. It makes me happy. In fact, I am always happy when I am stamping–nirvana happy. And I get paid enough that the largest room in my house is devoted to my stamping hobby/business/addiction, and I have never, in 13 years, spent my personal money on the gazillion things in that room. (Maybe someday the ENTIRE room will be tidy at the same time and I will be willing to photograph it for you!) And yes, this can take up a lot of time, too, but it is WAY more fun that anything else I do that takes up a lot of time.