Today is someone’s birthday. Not mine. I never talk about my birthday. But I love to talk about others’ birthdays. And today, Donald Kinney from A Photo A Day (and some other terrific blogs) is 62!
Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

If you have never been to his place, GO. NOW! He lives near San Francisco and is one of my very favorite photographers. He gets great images from the city, and many more from surrounding areas. My favorites are usually his captures of wildflowers, but he makes art of anything.  Worth the visit. Tell him Happy Birthday, and send him some virtual cookies!


For some randomness, I first need to clarify two things from this post. First, Chic is 7. I said she was 8. She will be 8 in a few months. I am not even sure what made me think she was 8 when I was typing, except that all the cousins  “her age” are already 8.

The second thing is that the picture of the bike wreck was a re-enactment without Chicklet in the trailer. I actually had my camera with me when the crash occurred. (I am lucky it did not get banged up.) But when my dramatic, overreacting girl is silent and not moving after a potentially bad accident, a camera is not what I am thinking about. So when I decided to tell the story, I tipped over the trailer after a later bike ride–after Chicklet was out–to get a picture. (She was all too happy to not actually be in it when I did that.)

And thanks for all of your kind wishes. For something so bad, it really was fine.

My last piece of randomness today is about tomatoes. I love home-grown tomatoes, and I grow them every year. My climate is not conducive to this, and the last two years I have not gotten any to speak of until mid-August. This is just wrong, but I continue because I need them, if only for a short while. And by now–only two weeks later, the nights are getting cool enough that they are already slowing production. I barely get enough to use for ourselves, definitely not enough to can, and rarely enough to give away. BUT… I LOVE to give away tomatoes. It makes people happy, and that makes me happy.  So I thought you might like to see this.


Since I do not have that many to give away, only 4-6 at a time (plus a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes), I decided to put them in cute bags. I made a bunch of these so when I have tomatoes, they are ready to go. This makes me even happier.

Now about a different me. This was me a while back.


I have been getting more and more tired of my long hair. I love it when I do something with it, but it takes more and more work to do that. Drying time if I style it is 45 minutes – 1 hour. (If I do not style it? Pretty much all day to dry.)  Needless to say, my schedule does not accommodate this regularly, so usually I just let it go. Some days are better than others, but the low humidity that makes every day a good hair day when I style it makes most days bad hair days when I do not. So for a while I have been thinking about cutting it off. But it was long enough that I wanted to make sure I could donate what was cut, and I was not sure it was QUITE long enough for that, so I was waiting.

But it kept bugging me. I finally decided to do it this fall. I was getting my hair trimmed last week. I would talk to the hair dresser about it and hopefully plan to do the big chop at my next visit.

But I went in for the trim, and my hairdresser, whose hair has been similar to mine since I met her, had CUT HER HAIR! While waiting I squirmed in my chair. I LONGED to have mine cut. But I had made no preparations. It might not be long enough. I did not have ponytail holders. Maybe I should wait and try to do it somewhat publicly to raise awareness and money for the cause?

So I sat in her chair and she said, “The usual trim?” I spilled my story, culminating with HER hair. She said she was SURE mine was long enough to donate. (10 inches for one place, 12 inches for another.) I asked if she had ponytail holders. She’s a hairdresser, of course she did!

So she made two ponytails and braided them. Just to be sure she measured them. TWELVE INCHES! Then she cut them off.


This is me now.


I did this 1-1/2 weeks a go. A few people who know me in real life might be surprised to see this. The crazy thing? I hate attention… HATE. IT. I sort of like being noticed, but hate attention. (How whacked is that?) So cutting twelve inches off my hair is a sure way to avoid attention, right? The only thing I really regret is that since this was on a whim, I did not have a chance to take a good picture of my hair from the back. If I started today, it would take about five years to get it back to the length it was. The braids were in the mail to Locks of Love the next morning. It is in my past. I am happy.

When I met Prince Charming, my hair was about the same length as it was before I cut it. We lived a long way from each other and only saw each other about once a month. After a few months I cut it quite similarly to how it is now and did not tell him. It was a test of sorts–to see if he would flip out because so many shallow men demand “their women” have long hair. He passed the test. In fact, he loved it. I obviously did not tell him it was happening this time, either, since I did not know myself. But he loved it again. He’s a keeper.


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.

This has been a crazy week. If you read my blog regularly, you might be getting the idea that my life is crazy all of the time anyway. This week was no different, but added into the mix was an unexpected stamping project.

On Monday the school secretary called me and said, “The principal talked to you about invitations for the Thanksgiving program, right?”

The definitive answer there would be, “No.”

Now I will admit to having conversations with people all the time about some stamping project or another and forgetting it until the last minute, but just the sight of the person will jog my memory. This time there was no memory to jog. It did not happen.

We chatted a few minutes to come up with some kind of idea. One of my questions was, “How many?” The secretary replied to me that there were “about 30.” That was no big deal. Thirty of any design is nothing to pull off. They needed to be sent out Wednesday.

I could not even begin to work on it until the evening because I was catching up on something else all day. So I came up with this card (based on the secretary’s specifications).


The coloring and cutting would take a little time, but there were only 30. I prepared enough stuff for 36 to be on the safe side and took it all to school Tuesday morning because the secretary was going to work on them as she could. When I got there, she said the number had increased to 46. I did not panic. I could easily do ten by myself to be ready for the next day. (Glad I had done the six extra.)

When I picked up Chic in the afternoon, there had been 30 new invitations added. (If you are keeping track, we are up to 76 now. Remember we started at 30?) The secretary had gotten most of the stamped images colored and was working on cutting them out, but nothing else was done. I took home the brown cardstock and stamped the leaves on it that night and assembled everything except the people (including the wording inside.) She finished the coloring and cutting at home.

Wednesday, the day the invitations were supposed to go out, I showed up with the “original” 46 mostly finished and supplies to do the next 30. It was “art day.” I managed to do the rest of the 30 between art classes. (I am fast at stamping.) When I took them back, they needed 14 more. (90 total. I started with 30 and now it was 90!) The secretary was feeling bad about all of this so decided to do a computer invitation for the final 14. Bless her.

I have to tell you things like this pop up once or twice a week every week of my life. It is no wonder I cannot get anything accomplished!

But for something wonderful…

smooth and creamy!

smooth and creamy!

When the weather is cool, we have soup and  homemade bread every Friday night. I love this about cooler weather. I have lots of wonderful soup recipes because I am the type that gets, ummmm… bored with making the same food all of the time. I am always willing to try something new that sounds good. Tonight I tried a brand new recipe that I saw on Madge’sblog. I HIGHLY recommend you go check it out. I was going to show you start-to-finish pictures, but you might remember I only have a 55-200 mm lens. I did not have time to make sure every picture was perfect, and several were not, so all you get is a somewhat fair picture of the finished product in the pot. The whole family loved it. It is perfect for a chilly evening. I just made simple whole wheat bread to go with it, and it was perfect. The soup is very creamy; I modified it slightly, but not enough to even talk about, really. Anyway, go get the recipe and make it. I can’t imagine not loving it!

One last note: Many of you know I have joined the SkyWatch Friday and My World Tuesday team. This means I am not getting to my comments as quickly as I would like, but know that I will.

This was SO. MUCH. FUN for me!!!

Why? Because it let me see what some of you like and what some of you think about me.

But first, let me tell you about something else that has affected this contest.

Last Sunday was my daughter’s Fall Festival. (This is a mini carnival of sorts.) It is an annual fundraiser, and I was in charge of it this year. One of the activities was a Silent Auction. When we decided there would be a Silent Auction, all people involved were supposed to bring 3-5 items to be auctioned. These items would come from businesses that the people themselves do business with–hair dressers, oil change places, etc. There were also supposed to be quite a few items left over from the last silent auction. I personally drummed up 6 items, but guess what! No one else drummed up ANYTHING! I thought it would be OK because of the previous stuff, but when I was putting it all together on Friday, I realized there were only five items from the previous auction. What should I do?

I do not like asking anyone for anything, so the fact that I had six contributions myself was enormous. It was too late to have Prince Charming do my work for me. So I decided to make a couple of things and donate something else I had already made.

But THEN guess what! NO ONE BOUGHT THOSE THINGS. I am not even offended by this because I realize the type of crowd I am apparently dealing with (starting with sad lack of volunteers and continuing with kids who came to do my activities on Sunday without tickets of any kind with their parents looking at me like I was crazy for expecting them to have tickets). So what this means is that I am including two of the three auction items in this giveaway! (I selfishly kept one of them that I REALLY liked and cannot duplicate because it was made out of retired items that I entirely used in the process of its creation.)

Here are the new items that are now included in the giveaway:

Thanksgiving Shadow Box--click to enlarge

Thanksgiving Shadow Box--click to enlarge

"JOY" Pennant Banner--click to enlarge--the letters are in chunky clear/white glitter

So instead of one winner, there are three! I am so excited by this I can hardly stand it!

The first winner is the only person who correctly guessed my favorite card. Here is the favorite:

8 - It's a Sign

I mentioned that this is quite unlike me, but I have to say I love the color combination here. They are not even the colors to which I am normally drawn, but I just like it. I also like the layout. This card makes me happy.

And here is the winner:

(NOT my handwriting!)

(NOT my handwriting!)

Painted Maypole gets first pick of what she wants.

The thing about your responses that made them so interesting is that lots of you guessed what my favorite SHOULD have been. Here are three that could have easily been my favorites, and people who know me well would have chosen one of these.

Because I love trees and leaves.

Because I love trees and leaves.

10 - Snowburst

I love the sparkle as well as the subtle coloring on this one.

Everyone loves this; why wouldn't I?

Everyone loves this; why wouldn't I?

So the next drawing was from the people who guessed the customer favorite correctly. There were seven of you who correctly identified that card which was Pretty Amazing (the one with the butterfly above). Those seven are Chrome 3D, Jeri, Shimmy Mom, Stacy, Lynn, JessicaStephany and Christopher. (Apologies to Stacy and Christopher for whom I had no readily available URL’s.)

Here is the winner of that drawing:

(Prince Charming did the drawings.)

(Prince Charming did the drawings.)

The cute thing about this is she sent me an e-mail before her trip telling me to just leave her prize on the doorstep because she knew she would win.

Well, Jeri, YOU MIGHT get a choice. I’ll have to get back to you. If Painted Maypole chooses the Shadow Box, you get your choice of the remaining items. But I regret to inform you that if she does not, you get a paper item because I cannot afford to ship the shadow box to you. Unless POSSIBLY it is somewhat reasonable to a base and I can ship it there, but the US Postal Service has started shipping based on distance which is not pleasant even within the “lower 48.” We’ll talk.

So the last drawing was from everyone who entered. And I do not really apologize that you will get whatever is left because in theory you would not have gotten ANYTHING. So I hope you love what is left, because I do. The winner of the drawing from everyone is:

I just have to say that Jan leaves me the nicest comments, and I KNOW that even if she hates what I am sending her, she will say something lovely about it. She is just a wonderful lady!

One final note. Whomever gets the Shadow Box will have to wait until after November 6 for shipment because I am having a class for making it on that date and need it for an example. It will hopefully ship right away on the 7th. (Prince Charming is my shipper, so I am somewhat limited by his work schedule which has apparently been extra crazy lately. I believe him because I have not been getting lots of e-mails from him with articles to read–for which I never had time–and cartoons.)

This was so much fun for me that I think I might start stock-piling things to do it again in the future. I am not sure if it will always be a contest, but I will think of something.

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments and especially to the ones who entered!

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.

You might remember a while back I mentioned I was doing this swap. Well, I did it, and the time has come to talk about it!

First, let me tell you about my Swap Partner! The poor girl lives in Ohio and was RIGHT in the path of Hurricane Ike which was RIGHT before we were supposed to send out these swaps. She was out of power for an entire week. (As many others were.) And after that, she was just so swamped with getting back to life as normal that the Halloween Swap sort of went on the back burner. If you ask me, that is more than a little understandable. The point here is that I do not have it yet, so I cannot rave as I properly should. It will probably arrive tomorrow when this post goes up, but I will be half-way to Missouri by then and not able to see it for a week.

But she sent me pictures, and I think I can adequately rave from those, though I know it will be better when they arrive.

These are the packages she sent to me. OOOOOOOO, it makes me want to tear right in and rip them open! I love tissue paper tied with ribbon! (I must also say that I did not send my package so cutely wrapped. I will show you what I sent later, but there is no picture of wrapping because I was more than a little, uh, not impressed with how I did it!)

This is the whole pile of stuff. You must know that I LOVE Halloween. It might be my favorite holiday. I love the weather at Halloween. I love the moon at this time of year. I love the festivity. I have never thought of it as evil or scary, just festive and fun. So this pile of stuff makes me giddy!

Here are some close-ups. The first is a box of wrapped Hersheys Nuggets. I LOVE it that Angela is a stamper like me because just knowing what this is, I know it is SO cool. Her style and taste are much different than mine, and she is more artistic. From the picture I can tell these are beautiful. Unfortunately, they probably will not last very long under my care, but at least there is a picture by which to remember them! And they are in a very cute tin, which makes it even better.

This one is a paper bag Halloween Journal. Do you love it? I do! I LOVE black cats. That really has nothing to do with Halloween, but I currently have two black cats and had another before these. This is just TOO cute! Maybe I can fill it with pictures of my black cats? Or maybe my children? I do not know. I will probably just use it as a decoration for a while. It is definitely worthy of doing that.

I think this one might be my favorite. It is a collage just for the sake of art. I. LOVE. IT! And the girl on it has red hair which is icing.

The last one is something she said EVERYONE needs… a pooping cat. Is that hilarious?! I think so. I have never seen such a thing. (But I never shop which could possibly be part of that problem.) It being a black cat and all is good enough, but there appears to be candy (poop–I just will not think about that) attached, so it is even better!

Here is what I made for her.

This cookie jar was SOOOOO easy; it took about 5 minutes which put me into a mood of guilt over it. I used a Decor Elements piece from St*mpin’ Up! to do it. When I sent it to her, I put a ribbons on the lid. I apologize that I did not send hers with cookies, but I was using it as a display for an Open House when I made it about a month before I shipped it. Unfortunately I ate all the cookies before then. Yes, I think I ate every single one. No, a few customers ate some, but they were polite. I am not so polite when it comes to cookies. You MUST go to Angela’s blog to see how she is using this cookie jar. (She also has a better picture there than I do of the other item I sent.) I love what she did! I would have never thought of it on my own.

The other thing I made was this “Spooky” banner. These are wonderful. I used a special pennant die for the St*mpin’ Up!/Sizzix Big Shot machine to cut the pennants. This was so. much. fun to make! It took quite a lot more than five minutes to make, so my guilt was significantly eased. (I could not get the “Y” to show up, so I just left it out. I am too tired and have to drive all day tomorrow to try to figure out what the problem is.)






































Heidi at Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly!! is hosting another swap for Christmas. Go check it out. I am sure it will be just as much fun!

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.


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!




This was not the post I planned to do today.  This is a post of desperation springing out of the fact that the one that I thought I was doing last week had technical difficulties.   But I never posted it last week.  Then today, the one I thought I was doing was missing.  Yes, it is just gone.  I have no idea where.  I have no idea why.  I am glad this one was in my draft folder.  I was going to put it out tomorrow, so it is just a day early.

On Saturday weeks our family is heading out for our annual family vacation, the stimulus for which is my annual stamping convention.  The convention is usually held in Salt Lake City.  That is twelve (ish) hours from here, and there is a whole lot of beautiful scenery between here and there.  So instead trying to find daytime childcare so I can go to this, we make a vacation out of it and have a blast. 

At the Convention, there will be thousands of stampers which to the naked eye would appear like a pit of lunatics.  On the first day there will be a frenzy of “swapping.”  “Swapping” is trading samples.  This is one of the best ways to get cool ideas, and for me, it is a way to get a lot of samples to use in my business.  Swappers make a certain amount of identical cards (or whatever moves them), then trade with others.  There are extreme swappers who bring 1,000 cards to trade.  Louise would not fall into that category.  I take 100 cards to trade because 100 cards fit nicely into my sample basket.  (AfterConvention I have an Open House, and one activity for that is to allow my customers to pick  through the basket and take whatever they want which makes room for the new things I get.)   

In years past I have stayed up until midnight or later the night before leaving for Convention making these swaps.  Or I have done them on the airplane or car on the way.  Now I have a much better system.  One of my customers is a terrific stamper and loves to do it, so I just get her the stuff, and she makes them for me.  No stress!  Done on time!  I took her the supplies last week, and she will be making 100 of these cards.  I “pay” her in stamps and supplies.  It makes us both unbelievably happy.


My rules for making 100 cards for swapping is that they look good, but are relatively simple and not super-expensive.  This one fits the bill.  And lest you think I thought this up on my own, this was my inspiration.  The changes I made were to make it not look like the original and to reduce the cost.  The heart in the original is made of chipboard and chunky glitter.  That would have added quite a bit of expense to the project.


As it is, I am happy with the results, although it is not the post I was hoping for today.


By Louise Cannon


Something that makes me about as happy as anything else in the world is stamping.  It is my business, but with having a child in school (and volunteering a huge amount at the school), I have less and less time to do it.  But when I do it, life is good.  It is sublime.  All my cares and stresses go away.  It is the best therapy I can imagine.


So it is only natural that there will be a stamping post here from time to time.


The first rubber stamp I owned came my way in 1985.  It came because it was a frog, not because I was a stamper.  I would not become a stamper until 1996.  (Story for another day.)  But the point is that I have been making things using rubber stamps for more than twelve years.  And as I mentioned, my “job” is even about stamping.


When I started stamping, there were not a lot of resources for ideas.  This meant that I came up with my own ideas for things to stamp.  And THAT meant two other things:  1)  I spent way too much time coming up with ideas (not my forte), and 2) the things I stamped were not nearly as cool as they could have been.


As time went by, there were more and more resources for ideas which saved me loads of time and allowed me to copy some of the coolest things in the world; most of my stamping projects are inspired (a little or a lot) by things other creative people have designed.  (In the stamping world we call it C.A.S.E.—Copy And Share Everything.)  Don’t get me wrong, I am a good stamper.  I have done it long enough that I am fast and good at it.  But to come up with the ideas?  Well, why bother most of the time?


Today’s creation is out of my own head, however.  Sort of.  It is not the latest technique or coolest idea out there; usually I make much more elaborate cards than this.  But I love this one anyway.  Why?  Because I was inspired on my own to do it!  And what’s more, when I saw the inspiration, I wanted to make the card, knew how I wanted to do it and had everything I needed to do it.

Some images © SU! 2007


There are a lot of things I love about stamping, but one of the big ones is that I have so many stamps and accessories and tools that I can pretty much do anything I want.  Although this card is simple, it is exactly what I wanted.  (And it looks so much better in person, but you will have to trust me on that.)


Now here is the best part.  The thing that inspired me was this picture.  It was taken by  Tom Wigley from Welcome to Wigger’s World.  (Thanks, Tom, for generously letting me use this.)  He hosts Sky Watch Friday every week where you can find some absolutely incredible pictures of the sky.  There are a lot of wonderful things to see there, but this one just caught my eye.  Maybe because when I saw it, I knew I could do a close duplication.  Maybe because I love flowers and sky.  Maybe because it looks like Queen Anne’s Lace in the silhouette (though I don’t think it really is), and I love Queen Anne’s Lace (which we don’t have here in the desert).  I don’t know why.  But I loved it.  And it inspired me to go stamp something from my own head. 


I had no idea this blogging thing was going to inspire me so much!


By Louise Cannon


Note:  For those non-stampers out there, the technique used to get the background “clouds” is called “Polished Stone.”  There are many ways to do this, often involving alcohol inks.  I do not own any alcohol inks, but I do this by putting a generous amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, then putting 2-4 drops each of 2-3 colors of ink on the cotton ball, then daubing it all over glossy cardstock.  When it dries it can look like many things including marble and clouds.  Different colors create vastly different results.  By the way, I use inks made for stamping, not just any ink.  Any ink might work in one way or another, but time to experiment is something I do not have.