Two days ago it was my “Blogiversary.” There was another post scheduled for that day, and I do not get terribly wrapped up in these things, so I did not say anything. But I want to say something now because I will do a giveaway, and I LOVE to do giveaways!

But first, you must endure some of my chatter mostly about our trip. It will be a hodgepodge as this blog has seemed to be over the past year. (Or you can skip to the giveaway stuff at the end!)

Chic~Turtle

Chic found a turtle just as we were headed to church. Since turtles are not common in our world, I HAD to let her play with it a few minutes. (We were late to church.)

We were almost 2 weeks in Missouri. (It WAS two weeks if we count the travel days.) When I make these trips, the purpose for them is for my business, but that only takes a day. The rest of the time I visit family and friends, shop (I hate shopping and rarely do it here, but there are necessities so I do it in Missouri where I have more time, and the stores I like are closer) and maybe spend a day or two in Branson. (My dad loves to take us to Branson.) But this trip was a little different.

Remember Grandma D and on her birthday she was in the hospital after a botched surgery? Well, that has not gone well. She almost died three separate times since that surgery. (Needless to say, they are not paying any of the medical bills.) I realized right away that it was going to be a burden for us to be there so long, so I decided to do the cooking and some cleaning. Prince Charming scanned some of my recipes, e-mailed them to me and that’s what I did most of the time. I did not cook EVERY day, but quite a bit, and made enough that they should have had plenty for at least a week after we left. We did not go shopping the entire time. That was fine, but there were a few things I needed.

Scissortail Flycatcher on wire--click photo to enlarge

Scissortail Flycatcher on wire--click photo to enlarge

The girls and I drove to Missouri not long after school was out, then Prince Charming flew in after two weeks. He was there one full day, but we had lunch with a former professor of his that day and planted two letterboxes. One is in honor of the Scissortail Flycatcher that we always used to see on a road on which we lived. I took my bike on this trip in hopes for some exercise (moderately successful) and found the bird in two other areas I had never seen before. My camera lens is not made to get good bird shots, but these are not bad. I like the still one, and the other one is a bit blurry, but you can at least see the tail action. It is so interesting to watch them fly.

Scissortail Flycatcher in flight -- click photo to enlarge.

Scissortail Flycatcher in flight -- click photo to enlarge.

It also must be noted that I have wonderful friends in Missouri. During the two weeks I was there, my children were whisked away from me four times (in addition to the two times I needed babysitting), and three of those times included overnight stays. (It gives a parent pause to think about the advantages of moving back to the land of heat and humidity–and no job for my husband!)

My brother and his wife also live there. His wife is who went to Silver Dollar City with us. We could not have survived the day without her! But since my girls are never in Missouri on their birthdays, they decided to have a birthday party for them. The girls were so excited, and it turned out to be a surprise for yours truly as well, since MY birthday is never when we visit! Wasn’t that thoughtful?

BirthdayCake~Candles

During all the cooking I sliced my finger with a very. sharp. vegetable peeler. I am no wimp, but this was a bad cut. WARNING! GORY PHOTO AHEAD. I’LL LEAVE SOME SPACE SO YOU CAN SKIP IT IF YOU WANT. It was about 3/4″ long, 3/16″ wide and 1/8″ deep. It bled like crazy. I finally managed a bandage and antibiotic cream, and the picture is of it after two days of this. There was barely any healing at this point.

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The reason I am even telling you this is because Grandma D had a liquid bandage which I put applied on the 3rd day. I did not take pictures of the healing progression (I really am not a very good blogger, but I will say that I have other things going on all of the time), but in ONE day the cut had reduced in size by more than half. Three days later, it was all but healed. Now I can just barely see where it was, and I do not even think it is going to leave an ugly scar. (Bump. I really don’t care about scars, but I have a bump on a finger from a childhood cut.) This blog is NOT about product endorsements, but if you have never tried this stuff, it is SO worth it! I made Prince Charming buy some. I think it will also be great in our dry, dry winters when our fingers have big, ugly cracks in them. Oh, it hurts like the dickens to put it on if the wound is as bad as mine was, but if you do a little Lamaze breathing, you can survive, and it will be well in no time. (I know this is not a new item, and I had heard of it but never tried it because I had no idea how well it worked.)

LiquidBandage

Time for the giveaway information!

First, I do not like to do this to get more traffic or comments, so you are required to E-MAIL ME if you want to be entered! Just e-mail louisestamps at aol dot com and let me know you want to enter. (Please put “giveaway” in the subject line.)  There will be two winners. Prince Charming will draw names, and the first one has first choice of what s/he wants.  The other person will get what is left. (But I do not make slouchy things, so I think that is OK, and it is free, OK?)

Here is an idea of the prizes:

1) Handmade cards. There will be these four, but I will probably throw in a couple of others for which I did not immediately have samples.

4Cards

2) A Banner. But not this one or one even like it, but you get the idea. I have not made it yet, and I decided to wait because the winner can pick the colors (within reason). It will be a “SUMMER” banner (NOT “MERRY”). It is a home decor item–large enough to fit over a double window or in a hallway. Each pennant is about 6″ wide and 9″ long. (I did not measure, but am doing this from a memory. I am too lazy at the moment to get out something to measure.)

MerryBanner

You have a week, through Wednesday, July 1, to e-mail me. If these things do not interest you, but you think they might interest someone you know, consider entering to give as a gift.

I am also thinking of adding a third prize, but you can tell me if you would be interested. I am not a great photographer. I take some very good pictures, but I do not edit them (other than occasional cropping when I am not too lazy) and I have still not figured out all the manual settings on my camera. I hesitate to do this one because I am so small in a big photography world. But I know a few have really liked some of my pictures. So I could also make a set of cards from my pictures. If you want to enter and that interests you, let me know. It could be a “Louise’s choice” thing, or the winner could choose from pictures I have posted.

OK, I think that’s it for today. But I forgot to tell you THANK YOU for hanging with me for a year. I went back and read a few of my first posts, and many of my readers are the same. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you come and read the drivel things I write and look at my photos. If it were not for you, I know I would have quit blogging entirely the couple of times I have had to take extended breaks due to my crazy schedule. YOU keep me coming back! Thank you.

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2009-04-02intissue

Reader, have you ever thought about hanging up the blogging hat and just quitting entirely. I have. In fact, it might cross my mind (in a big or small way) every day. When I started doing this, I said I did not have time for it. I still do not. I have less time than I had for it when I started. Yet I continue. And today makes eleven posts in eleven days.

This warrants a new paragraph. I think once, way back last summer, I might have done six posts in six days. But that was only once. And it was summer. How some of you people post daily (or MORE than daily) is beyond me. I have barely been able to keep up with posting, let alone visiting others (which is much more interesting to me than posting).  My hat goes off to ALL of you who post frequently. (But to those of you who don’t, please don’t start to get a hat off to you! I am thankful some of you post less or I would NEVER catch up!)  I had no intentions of posting eleven days straight, but that whole cruise business happened, and I had the memes, so I just had to do it. And in the midst of it, the reason for today’s post happened, so here I am… again. (But I will not be here tomorrow.)

So anyway, the topic was blogging. One of the reasons I do not quit is because I find it relaxing. My life is stressful and busy. Even though a lot of the time sometimes I should be doing other things besides visiting you and reading comments, I do it because I enjoy it, and it is relaxing. It is one of the calm places in my crazy life.

But the reason I really cannot stop (at least at this point) is because I LOVE the blogging connections.  And this is what I hear from every other blogger I “meet.”  (I have not actually met any in real life yet that I did not know before, but I would really like to.) And one of my more recent connections has been so fun and enriching that I just must share it with you.

When I did this post, I got a comment from Daryl (who I am sure almost all of my readers know) saying that she had never seen a rainbow. Oh MY! Right away I e-mailed her a few of my best rainbow shots and told her if she corresponded by using actual pen and paper that I would be happy to make some cards for her using some of those photos. (We know that usually I use rubber stamps to make cards, but I do make them out of my photos if I really, really like the photos.) I must admit I was a bit hesitant to do this because she lives in New York City. She has so many amazing sites in front on her all the time. Why would she want homemade rainbow cards from a pseudo-photographer? But her response was not only gracious (which I am sure it would have been no matter what), but excited. She wanted to TRADE cards. She would do cityscapes for me, and I would do rainbows for her! Oh, the excitement!

At my first opportunity (several days later), I made the cards for her. I had Prince Charming mail them for me. No sooner had they gotten in the mail when I thought maybe I should have included something BESIDES rainbows. After all, their differences were subtle. She might get bored with all rainbows. But it was done, so what could I do?

The same day I got her package. It came UPS, and I was not expecting anything UPS. The new UPS guy handed it to me. I looked at the address information rather confusedly. When I saw where it came from, I slammed the door and ripped it open. (Very impolite.) I will admit I had to re-wrap it to get the first picture because I was so giddy with excitement.

And did I ever have reason to be excited!!! I got these giant, beautiful scenes on notecards. (On very nice cardstock, I might add. I know a little about cardstock, and this was good.) They are all so DIFFERENT. (Adding to my consternation about the similar rainbows.) They are all so rich in color and city life. I. LOVE. THEM!

2009-04-02cellopkg

I have seen some of these pictures on her blog before.

2009-04-02doorsrain

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The carousel picture above is MUCH better than it shows. It had a bad glare on it when I took the photo. I have decided to give it to Chicklet for her upcoming birthday so I can use it, but it will not actually be removed from the house!

When I opened the package, I was sure I knew my favorite, but in the end, I picked three. I truly love all of them, but there are three that stood out for one reason or another.

2009-04-023favorites

click photo to enlarge

The first is the perspective and the depth-of-field. I love the blurry foreground. The second is just pretty and enchanting. Who would not love this? In the third, look at the sky!

The cards themselves are not the reason why blogging is so enriching. It is the connection with the person who made them. I love this community, and I love getting to know individuals better. So time or no time, I will continue. And I will be a better and richer person for it.

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Note: I think Daryl is going to post her version of this story sometime today. (I am sure in much more efficient form!) She is going to add an interesting twist to it, so if for some crazy reason you do not already visit her regularly, you should pop over and see what she has to say today. (And her “Toonsday” today is hilarious!)

Later note: Daryl’s life is so fun and exciting that something came up today, so she’s going to do her post tomorrow (Wednesday, 8-Apr-2009, around noon EDT.) But you still should check out the “Toonsday” today.

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.

World Cardmaking Day was October 4. I am only posting about it now because I want to show you what I did. At the time, I did not have time to post. We had guests in town. It was a special event weekend at church. It was Balloon Fiesta. There was too much going on.

For this annual event (this is the second year I have been aware of it), I have a Pajama Party. I invite all my customers to come to my house in their pajamas from 8 p.m. to midnight where they will find piles of supplies and tools to make cards. I try to have 8-10 different cards. This year I had 10, and I found a few leftovers from a workshop I had done earlier, so I put the stuff out for that.

The rules are they can make as many as they want of any card (there is enough stuff in each pile for 10-20 cards, depending on my supplies and whims) for $1/card, until supplies for that card run out. If one person wants to use up everything for one card and there is nothing left for anyone else, that is fine. No one has done that, but those are the rules. Some people come and make 4 or 5 cards. Some people make 20. Some people make one of everything. Some people only make the ones they really love or know they need.

So what about the giveaway? Well, I have wanted to do a giveaway for a long time because I LOVE giving things away.  I love giving away the produce from my garden, things I bake, things I make, just about anything. I have been hesitant to do so here because I do not want it to seem like I am just trying to get extra traffic or comments or whatever. (Not that I think that is what is going on with every blog giveaway, but I know it can be perceived that way, so I have avoided it.)

But then The Farmer’s Wife gave me an idea by not having people “sign up” through comments, but through an e-mail. So that is what I decided to do. Below I will show you all the cards that my customers made at the World Cardmaking Day Pajama Party (none of which were my original ideas, but I do not think any of them were EXACTLY like the ones I used as inspiration), and if you would like to win one of each card, you can e-mail me (louisestamps at aol dot com)… but there is a catch! To be eligible to win, you have to guess which one was my favorite! (Hint. If I were guessing, and I know ME quite well, I probably would guess incorrectly.) I will choose a winner from the people who guess my favorite correctly.

BUT, since I am not sure how many people will even want these cards enough to guess, and how many of those will guess correctly, you must guess also which was the most popular with the customers. (It is a different one than my favorite.)

If no one guesses either of those correctly, then I will just draw a name from everyone who entered.

Before I show you the cards, let me say that I am not discouraging comments, but in order to enter this contest, you must send an e-mail. I will not take entries from the comments. Back to commenting, I always love your comments, so please do not hesitate to do so if you wish, and if you think I this is cheap way to try to get traffic or comments (though I am trying for it NOT to be), you can let me know that as well. (But please be polite. I am a big girl and can take criticism, but prefer if it is done politely.) I have in mind some other giveaways I would like to do periodically (more cards and also other stuff), but will refrain if it seems to be a negative thing.

So here are the cards!

1 - Die-Cut Pumpkin

1 - Die-Cut Pumpkin

2 -  Fresh Cuts

2 - Fresh Cuts

3 - Harvest Home

3 - Harvest Home

 

4 - Owl Together Now

4 - Owl Together Now

5 - Pretty Amazing

5 - Pretty Amazing

6 - Simply Sent Holiday

6 - Simply Sent Holiday

7 - Stitched Exotics

7 - Stitched Exotics

8 - It's a Sign

8 - It's a Sign

9 - With Gratitude (Leaves)

9 - With Gratitude (Leaves)

10 - Snowburst

10 - Snowburst

11 - Die-Cut Frankenstein

11 - Die-Cut Frankenstein

 

If you would like a set of these (one of each), e-mail me at: louisestamps at aol dot com with:

1) Which one you think is my favorite.

2) Which one you think was the most popular with my customers.

And, it is OK if you want to enter but do not live in the U.S. This will not be terribly heavy so should not cost a fortune to send, but do not expect me to send it the fastest method if you should win!

Since I have a completely insane 7 days ahead of me, I will leave this open through Monday, October 27.

Edited: If you would like to leave a comment, please tell me YOUR favorite. I always like to know what things other people like.

letterboxing bag

letterboxing bag

Seems like lately I am starting my posts with something other than the title suggests, but I’ll get to that.

After my last post someone asked if I would show the supplies we take with us when hunting for letterboxes.  So that is what you see above.  We put it all in the orange bag so it is easy to carry (and also fits an extra camera lens).  The two ink pads leaning against the bag are the ones Prince Charming and I  use for our personal stamps.  (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.) My personal stamp is standing up, with the frog on it (Potted Frog).  Prince Charming’s has the rubber side up.  The plastic bag on the upper right is wet paper towels to clean the stamps when we are finished at a box.  Below that is a pile of log books.  Mine is open to show a page (true letterboxers are probably gasping at that.  So many on one page!  I’m just like that; I can’t help it!)  We just use sketch pads for our logbooks right now (and Chic and Chicklet’s are decorated so there will NEVER be a question as to who owns which!)  Lots of people use very nice hardcover journals, but I have not wanted to splurge in that area, although stamping in them might be a tiny bit easier.  And you can see the stamps are not “girly.”  Men can get into this as much as women!  To the left of the logbooks is the compass.  Not all boxes have clues with compass headings, but some do, and sometimes it is necessary to have one.  To the left of the compass are the markers we use for the letterbox stamps.  I like having several colors because one never knows what kind of stamp will be in the box.  Often they are nature-related which are typically browns, greens and greys, but they can be anything, so I like to have plenty of ink colors.  We color on the stamps with the markers so we can have more than one color on the stamp if we wish.  I love using the markers for letterboxing. If I had that many colors of ink pads it would be more expensive, heavier and take up more space.  No, you can’t use just any markers, but there are markers made for rubber stamps.

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Tonight I am having a Stamp-A-Stack at my house.  Monthly I have some sort of stamping class at my house, and for September, it is a Stamp-A-Stack.  For ME that means that guests (customers) will come and stamp 15 cards.  There are five designs, and they will make three of each design.  This is probably my most popular type of class because often when people make a card (or whatever we stamp), they like to keep it for a particular reason (have the idea for future reference, too pretty to give away, etc.).  But with a Stamp-A-Stack, they go home with THREE cards of the SAME design, so they can keep one and give two away!  (Or for the more practical ones, they can give three away.)

When people arrive they will receive a bag with all of their cardstock supplies.   These will be cut for each project.  Guests love coming to my house for these classes because I do all the prep work for them. 

Then guests will split up and go to different areas staged for each card.  There are supposed to be 11 guests tonight, and there are five cards to make, so there will be two or three people at each station at a time.  (Most of the photos in this post will enlarge when clicked.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s an up-close look at what they will be making.  Do you love them?  I copied (in great or small degrees) all of them but one.  I wonder if you can guess which one is original?  Probably not, unless you know me fairly well.  I am sure some of the customers will guess.

Are you wondering where the fifth card is?  It was a straight-copy, so you can just look here to see it up close. (While you’re there, you might want to look at some of her other stuff.  She’s an amazing stamper.)  And while I am talking about that, one of the cards I mostly copied from here.  She has some awesome stuff, too.

So that is what I will be doing when this post goes up.  And in case you think I am too on-the-ball that this stuff is already set up, well….  I have to leave in ten minutes to pick up Chic from school.  Then we have to run some errands.  Then she has gymnastics.  I will get home 30 minutes before this class starts, so everything has to be ready before I leave.  And I wanted to post today, but obviously the class had to come first, so I had to get it done and set up.  If I did not have all the other stuff to do, I promise that I would not be set up until 6:20ish.

I hope YOU are doing something fun tonight, too!