I was asked when did you start stamping? Well, pull up a chair, grab yourself a cuppa and let me tell you a story! You might have heard this one before, but for those of you who haven't...let me continue. I've always been involved in some sort of layout and design. I was in the military for 8.5 years as a Graphic Specialist. Then I worked in advertising for a few years and then went to work for a newspaper as a cut and paste associate. I continued with the marketing idea with MWR (Morale, Wellness, Recreation) at Norton AFB. I would write, design copy for this particular division for almost 3 years. I knew there was something better out there, but just didn't know what. Meanwhile, my love for genealogy, and photography continued to grow. Everything has to be documented. Then we moved to the UK. Oh the photo opportunities were unbelieveable. And every time you turned around, one of my kids had some sort of field trip, which meant, more photos. And if the photos were not permitted, there was always postcards. Now, remember, this was before the digital camera was available.
Then in December 1998, my mother passed away. I took it kinda hard and the best way I found to cope with the lost, was to throw myself right back into my genealogy. We were just introduced just a few months earlier to the wide wonderful world of the internet. I wasn't having much luck in finding those long lost dead relatives, so I started calling aunts and uncles and asking questions. I found out alot about my parents, those early years. Then my aunts and uncles started sending me pictures. My one uncle, Uncle Fred, he had gobbles and gobbles of pictures, that he sent me. I felt somewhat selfish in hoarding all of these pictures, so I decided I would make a scrapbook for each of my brothers and sister and share with them all these pictures and our heritage.
So in my quest began. Every time we would go into town, I had to go to Michaels, and see what new things for scrapbooking they had. I'd buy a bit of this or a bit of that. Then I was introduced to ebay. WOW, I didn't even have to leave the house, I could order right there from home and have it delivered. This went on for a few years...the collection portion of my journey. I kept saying, one more thing and I'll be ready. Just one more thing.
Then in January of 2002, my best friend asked me for some help. She and her husband were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They rented a local hall and she and I made up the invitations to their party. Then Janet wanted to put out on display, a few pictures of their wedding so share with everyone. She asked for my help and instead of using just a few pictures, I ended up sorting through her tub of pictures and getting them organized. Instead of just showing them getting married, I took them on the long road of how they started out getting married and their journey of 25 years. I took all those papers and stickers and did 30 pages in 5 days time. Then, with the help of my children, we attached those layouts to butcher paper and that night, it was on display for all to share in their journey.
That is when, the bug really hit me. I had done this for Janet, so why not do it for myself. But I still didn't know where to start. I still didn't know what to do. It was so overwhelming for me. Then one day, I picked up a magazine, "Simply Scrapbooks". It was their premier edition. In leafing through the magazine, I came across an advertisement. I was so enthralled with the artwork in this ad. I said to myself...this is what I want my pages to look like. There was a website listed and I went to the site and just drolled over the artwork I saw there. I knew then, I had to have more. Little did I know, that this company was not a scrapbooking company, but a rubber stamp company. But they had papers and I thought I could learn to use both the rubber stamps and papers and create the pages I was so desperately trying to create. There was a toll free number I could call for find a consultant in my area. This wonderful pleasant sounding individual was so kind and courteous, that I knew I was at the right place. This gal gave me the number of a consultant in my area and I called her that evening. She came right out and we spent hours talking about scrapbooking and stamping. When she left that evening, my head was a spinning. This is what I wanted. I wanted to be a Close To My Heart consultant. But I had done other home parties and they didn't end up so pleasant. I was so afraid to take that plunge. Well, my soon to be upline and I discussed and talk about it and finally I sent off the paper work to become a CTMH consultant.
So in March 2002, I had my jumpstart party. I invited a few friends and what a time we had that afternoon. My upline showed us how to create cards, and a scrapbook page with just stamps. I was just so excited. Then right in the middle of my party, the man in brown arrived with my package from corporate. The box was full of papers and catalogs and a stamp set that had a strawberry in it. I knew right then and there I had made a good choice. Meanwhile, my husband who is my biggest supporter and who was as addicted to ebay as I was...found a gal selling her rubber stamps. They were all from CTMH. She was leaving CTMH and selling her stamps. He surprised me with this big box full of stamps. I was thrilled. So I set up a table in the closet of the spare bedroom and stated to play. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I had never made a card in my life. I knew my graphic design was going to help me with my scrapbooking, but what about the cards? So, I sat and watch the video that came in my kit. I kept saying, I can do that...I can do that. So, two weeks after my jump start party, I had my first gathering. I used that strawberry stamp and made the cards I thought people would enjoy seeing. The night before my first party, my DH came home from work and saw all the cards I had created and he said to me. "If I didn't know better, I would have thought you bought these at a store." What better compliment could anyone ever ask for?
So, for the past several years, as Close To My Heart has grown and changed and improved, I like to think, that I do have grown and changed and improved. I am sure I still have alot to learn, but for now, I am a happy camper, just sitting and stamping and scrapbooking. My rubber room was once a closet, now its expanded to the whole room, and this is my happy space.
I don't seem to have any of the original layouts I started doing, but these layouts were from the early years. I use to do 8.5"x11" layouts, but since 2004, I started doing 12"x12" layouts.
Well, that's my story. Thanks for letting me share.
Until next time,