This month finds me celebrating a milestone anniversary as a Stampin’ Up! Independent demonstrator. Stampin’ Up! is a papercraft company based in Riverton, Utah, and 20 years ago I came upon one of the company’s annual catalogs. I had been enjoying the hobby of rubber-stamping for several years by then but had no idea a 250-page catalog filled largely with beautiful stamps and pretty papers existed. I was hooked immediately and within a few days filed my paperwork to become a consultant.
I knew at the time that taking cardmaking and scrapbooking parties into people’s homes would keep me from becoming isolated. An introvert diagnosed years before with depression, being alone was common for me – and I was ready to fight it. I also thought it might be fun to make greeting cards for craft fairs and to host cardmaking classes.
What I didn’t foresee and now think of with a smile are the friends I have made through scrapbooking events. I met a pocket of women from nearby Santa Claus, who invited a friend and me to scrapbooking weekends in a cabin in the woods one year and in a condominium in Branson, Missouri, another. I have scrapbooked in the gymnasium of the community college in my hometown and at a golf resort in Kentucky. A group of gals from nearby Petersburg alternately gathered to scrapbook in a church basement and at the community room of a large power plant in town. I felt a little silly every time I drove up to the guardhouse at the power plant, surrounded by tall towers puffing white smoke, and announced, “I’m here for scrapbooking.”
Stampin’ Up! and Creating Keepsakes conventions have taken me to Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Nashville and St. Louis.
Early on I met a gal who had just retired and was ready for a new hobby; she continues to send me a Christmas card each year. Another of my customers who has been with me nearly from the start made birthday cards for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as long as her eyesight let her, and I enjoyed sitting on her porch with her when I would drop off a supply order. In her 80s, she buys many of the cards she sends now, but I still look forward to seeing her familiar handwriting on any envelope in my mailbox.
Over the past dozen years, I have made more than 340 6-by-6 scrapbook pages as birthday presents for my seven youngest nieces and nephews. When I started doing that, the kids didn’t each have a phone to take their own photos. Had they, I might have been dissuaded, but now I know how much those printed photos mean to them and that when they flip through the scrapbooks they are flooded with scores of happy memories.
By Christmas 2003 I had stamped Christmas-themed Bingo cards, and playing Christmas Bingo has become a family holiday tradition that my youngest nieces, nephews and greats- have grown up with. Most of those kids are now in their late teens and 20s, but they still participate when I throw together a craft to make at family gatherings.
I worked in newspapering for nearly 25 years, but 20 years with Stampin’ Up! is the longest I have had any one job. As I reflect on the people, the experiences and the creativity it has brought into my life, I am grateful.