Have you tried the Big Shot Embossing Mats yet? They are new as of June, and a fun way to get more milage out of your dies! Check out the video below to see the dies in action!
We used them at the VIP Club this month where we made three cards. The first card used the Springtime Impressions Thinlits dies. The second card used the new Blizzard Thinlit die from the Holiday Catalog. And the third card used the Puzzle Pieces Thinlits.
When you purchase them, they come with three components: a hard white plate, a ticker rubber grey mat, and a thinner rubber blue mat. I cut up the directions from the packaging and slipped them into a clear mount stamp case, then labeled it along the spine to store in a tub with my other Big Shot accessories. Such a fun addition to add to crafting! Happy embossing!
Today kicks off the Holiday season!
See the Holiday Catalog here or contact me to get a copy!
Host a card class for your friends in September and earn the Dashing Along DSP for free!
I heard I would be spoiled on this trip, but I am still amazed and grateful. In addition to the free flight and cruise for two, I received $289 in product, plus the 5 logo gifts. Several have asked me what my favorite part was of the trip. It would have to be combining my favorite things together: my husband, traveling, eating, and Stampin' Up! I mean how many times can you go see the world and then come home to gifts? Like the tooth fairy, but much better!
As we were waiting at the airport to fly out of Seattle, I saw Shelli and Sterling Gardner, the founder and her husband. I just had to go and say thank you. I told her this was my first trip and, with a tear in my eye, how thankful I was for the opportunity. She said she hopes this is just the first of many. I told her I was sad not to earn Greece, but I would be working towards Maui! As expected, she was as sweet as could be!
I am truly grateful for all Stampin' Up! has done for me and my family. I am so thankful to have a meaningful hobby that lets me meet new people, do something creative, and encourage others through cards. I love having a business that makes a difference, and enables me to travel and be a part of something fun! The next event I am traveling to is Orlando, Florida this November for the 30th anniversary celebration for Stampin' Up! It's not too late to join the IN Stampers and come with us! We even have a free place to stay!
Thanks to my parents who watched my boys while I was gone, to my husband Nicholas for letting me have the "endless parade of stampers" every month, to my upline Chris for motivating me and encouraging me to earn this trip, to my IN Stampers team who are always there to stamp and be a part of the fun, and to all my friends and customers who help support this crazy habit of mine. And if you have never stamped before and want to try it, I promise you won't regret it! Plus, with all these goodies, I plan to offer 5 extra classes this fall, in addition to the five I offer each month!
And thanks for reading my blog...for those who commented, stay tuned this week for a drawing for a free stamp set! Happy stamping!
Before arriving at our final port of Victoria, British Columbia, we grabbed breakfast and headed to Base Camp. I spun the wheel and won some Bermuda Bay Mini Striped Ribbon! When we got off the ship at 9:30, we explored Victoria for about 3 hours. We walked along Salish Sea to Fisherman's Wharf, up Government Street to Bastion Square, through Fan Tan Alley to Chinatown, over to Beacon Hill Park, and then along Waterfront Trail back to the port at Ogden Point. The landscape and weather was beautiful, 82 degrees, sunny, with a light wind.
At 12:45, we boarded a bus for our last excursion to go zip lining at AdrenaLINE in Sooke, BC. After a 45 minute bus ride, we put on our safety gear and then took an ATV ride up to the top of the peak. There were 8 zip lines, the longest was 1000 feet, the tallest was 150 feet high, and the fast was 42 mph! I had never gone zip lining before, so it was a fun experience to check off the bucket list! We didn't take any video when we were there, but here is a video I found on YouTube showing the zip lines we did. We were 11 minutes late getting back to the boat, so thankfully we booked the excursion through Royal Caribbean so the boat wouldn't leave without us!
Sadly, it was time to pack and get ready for our last dinner in the Sapphire Dining Room. We continued to eat with our new friends from New Zealand. The last dinner was maybe my favorite: caprese salad, chicken marsala, and tiramisu. I came back to find my last pillow gift: the Dashing Deer bundle and a map to scratch off all of the places we've traveled. Where to next?
On day 6, we finally slept in until 7:45. After breakfast in Windjammer, I headed to Base Camp. My spin of the wheel earned me a beautiful sheer black ribbon with glitter embedded into it, which we will for sure be using on a Halloween card in an upcoming class! It was also the day to pick up our swaps! If you didn't see the video of the ones I received, you can view it here. But below are pictures of ALL the swaps created by the 400+ demonstrators hung up on display boards. My favorite was the Alaska card made using the A Little Wild stamp set and the Lined Alphabet stamp set. Since I didn't receive this one personally, I am not sure who made it!
At 11:00, Stampin' Up! hosted a Share Fair, where 8 demonstrators were chosen to have a table displaying projects they made and products they used to create them. My favorite was the table of Amy Combs, a demonstrator from California. She made an adorable Christmas banner which I plan to C.A.S.E. and offer as a class this fall. In case you didn't know, CASE means to Copy And Share Everything.
After a relaxing day of reading, sitting in the hot tub, and eating, we attended a few more shows after dinner. The first one was Battle of the Sexes. The host would ask for a number of male participants and an equal number of female participants, but when you volunteered, you didn't know what the challenge would be. Of all the game shows, this one interested me most, but I probably wouldn't have volunteered until a stranger behind me wearing the same jacket as me said, let's go represent Stampin' Up! I couldn't say no! So I went on stage with a demonstrator who turned out to be a new friend, Lori Mueller. We were told our challenge would be to tie a string around our waist, with a pen hanging from the back. We had to run to the end of the stage and squat down so the pen dipped into a water bottle, pull it out and run back to tag the next in line. I was the last of the four girls, and when the guys jumped out to a big lead, I was expecting to not to have to go at all. But then the third in line for the guys proved quite terrible at this "skill," so we were able to catch up and I helped the girls beat the guys in this challenge. After 5 challenges total, the girls won!
The next game show was called The Quest and I don't think I ever laughed so hard! The room was divided into 6 sections and the host gave us a "quest" and the first section to produce his request won that challenge. (Think: find someone in your section who has dentures and bring them to the stage! Someone took theirs out and threw them to the team captain who didn't catch them, so they went skidding across the floor!). And to top the night off, I returned to another Pillow Gift, the Making Christmas Bright bundle from the upcoming Holiday Catalog!
We set our alarm at 5:15 to sit outside on the balcony as we entered Tracy Arm Fjord, a "long narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier." At 6:30 we had a quick breakfast, and headed to the deck for about four hours as we traveled the inlet. Once we reached the end of the passageway, the boat slowly rotated for about 40 minutes so we could take pictures from all angles, before heading back out. We saw several seals, otters, bald eagles, a whale, and even a few mountain goats. It was truly breathtaking!
After taking in all the views, we spent the day hitting all of the activities on the boat. I first stopped by Base Camp and won a pack of cards used for pocket scrapbooking (I can't wait to start my Alaska scrapbook!). After lunch, we went to a Love & Marriage Game Show, and while Nicholas wanted to participate, I am so glad we didn't! At 2:00, we went "Spirit of the Seasons," an ice skating spectacular. It really was much better than I anticipated! At 3:00, we went to a Rock the Room Game Show. At 7:00, we went to a Magic Show by Leo Ward which was quite entertaining, seeing wedding rings disappear and $1 bills turn into $20s.
Dinner was formal night again. We had sat by ourselves for the past several nights at an 8 person table, so we were thankful when we were approached by three sisters who were also at a table by themselves to see if they could join us. After introductions, I recognized Jackie Noble from hearing her name called several times to walk across the stage at Stampin' Up! events. She is one of the top five demonstrators in New Zealand and I was thankful to chat business for a bit and learn from another achiever. After dinner, I discovered a wireless speaker (and some red ribbon) as my Pillow Gift. What songs would you add to make the perfect playlist for crafting?
After breakfast, I headed straight to Base Camp and this time I won a 12x12 pack of paper from the Holiday Catalog. We arrived in Skagway at 10am and immediately boarded a bus for our excursion. We headed to Alaska 360 where we signed up for a sled dog demonstration. I knew nothing about the Iditarod, so it was fascinating to learn about how to qualify for the race, what equipment they wear, how they train, and what is involved to cross the finish line. If you know me, you know I did not participate in the 40 below experience! We saw the dogs take a quick race around a rock track. Then, we got to hold puppies who were two weeks old. As you can imagine, Nicholas has been asking lately for a pet, more so than normal.
After the demonstration, we boarded a bus for a tour up to Klondike Summit. We actually crossed into Canada briefly, so coming back we got to take our picture in front of the "Welcome to Alaska" sign. At the top we saw great views, waterfalls, and the White Pass & Yukon Railway train.
Once back in town, we did some souvenir shipping and ate some crab & spinach dip at Skagway Brewing Co. We arrived back on the ship in time for a showing of Black Panther at the Palace Theater. We then went to dinner (eggplant appetizer, Tandoori chicken salad, chocolate pear mousse) and went straight to bed (using my new Pillow Gift, a blanket to keep us warm the next day while cruising!).
As we crossed into Alaska, we gained an hour of sleep, which meant I was up at 5:30am. We had breakfast at Windjammer and headed straight to Base Camp (my spin of the wheel won some Petal Pink Rhinestone Gems). I read more of my book before heading to a "Card Making Class." I felt sorry for the Royal Caribbean employees who led a crayola construction paper-ish class with a bunch of Stampin' Up! demonstrators, mainly because no one told her her enrollment would go from the usual 5 to about 45.
After lunch, we arrived in Juneau and got off at AJ Dock. I was ready in my long sleeve shirt and pants, but it was so warm I had to stop and buy a t-shirt. We were told repeatedly that the weather was unusual, sunny and mid-80s all week with not one drop of rain. (The only time I was ever cold was due to wind on the top deck of the ship). We waited 25 minutes until our bus departed for our first excursion, Whale Watching. We saw a few Humpback Whales, but they were hard to get a good camera shot. Then we found some orcas, who stayed on top of the water longer. On the way back, we saw a few more Humpbacks. Once back on land, our bus took up to the second part of our excursion, a Salmon Bake at Gold Creek. We ate salmon with brown sugar glaze cooked over an open fire, plus a bunch of sides and blueberry cake. We could have stayed to roast marshmallows, but we were on to our next excursion in downtown Juneau.
We boarded Mt. Roberts Tramway to take a cable car to the top of the mountain. I sat in the restaurant to finally check my email (since we did not pay to get internet on the cruise ship) while Nicholas took photographs. After an hour, we went back down the tram and did some souvenir shopping in downtown.
We boarded the ship just in time for our 8pm dinner (yes, we ate 4 meals this day!), back to the hot tub, and then to the room to find my next pillow gift: Merry Christmas to All stamp set and thinlits! Stampin' Up! has allowed me to have a meaningful hobby and meet new people. And my husband really is fine with giving up the basement to an endless parade of stampers! Especially if it means he gets to go on his first cruise to his dream destination!
Day 2 was spent cruising at sea, so lots of time to explore, sit in the hot tub, read my book, and attend activities. We tried ordering free room service, but managed to eat a second breakfast in the Windjammer. I ended up eating pita, hummus, salmon, capers, cucumbers and tomatoes almost every morning!
After breakfast, I stopped by Base Camp to drop off my swaps and of course to spin the wheel. I won a punch that we'll be using to make a Halloween card in an upcoming class. Any guesses? Then, we had an Opening Session in the Palace Theater where we received the new Holiday Catalog (starts September 5th!). I didn't win a Prize Patrol, but we had plenty of All Attendee Giveaways. I am most excited about the YouPick Tool, a tool to pick up gems, glue dots, scraps, plus functions as a paper piercer and stylus. Even Nicholas won a prize, although he is not sure how to properly display the SU logo and asked if he would put an Alaska sticker over it! At the end I was called up on stage to help announce the destination of the 2020 incentive trip: Maui! Doesn't that sound lovely?
Afterwards, we went to an art auction, but I will be saving my money for the Holiday Catalog (my wishlist is $411)! After lunch, I took a nap while Nicholas played in a soccer tournament. After our daily time in the hot tub, we went to dinner. It was formal night, so we managed to get a little dressed up. After dinner, we went to Finish That Lyric Game Show, where Nicholas answered the first clue correctly with Right Said Fred and was thereafter a participant in the show! Unfortunately, he had the camera in his pocket, so I didn't get to take a picture!
Inspire. Create. Share. Coming back from Alaska, I am more inspired than ever, need some time to create, but have plenty to share! As most of you know, I am a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. I started this venture in 2011 when we moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. We were asked several times on the cruise ship: what is Stampin' Up!? We are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year as a company of more than 50,000 demonstrators in 10 different countries who "express their own creativity through handmade cards, papercrafting projects, memory keeping, and home décor."
In 2016, I set a goal to work towards the Stampin' Up! incentive trip which had been announced would be a cruise to Alaska. My husband, Nicholas, and I were turning 40 and Alaska had always been a destination to which he wanted to travel. That began a year where I worked each day to approach my hobby more like a business. Over the year, we accumulate "flex points" for sales and recruiting and then can redeem those flex points on various incentives. Instead of spending them along the way like I normally did, I saved them to try to reach 160,000 points, the amount needed to earn the trip for free for myself and one guest, airfare included! After a year of hard work, I crossed the threshold about 2 days before the deadline! Then began the year of waiting until departure!
On Friday, July 20th, 2018, Nicholas and I headed to Seattle where the Royal Caribbean ship, Explorer of the Seas was set to debark at 4pm. Of course I had to wear my KD Supersonics shirt, since I have long been in love with Seattle and was there 10 years ago (at the same time when KD, my former student, was named Rookie of the Year). We boarded the ship with 400 other demonstrators, their 400 guests, and 200 other guests of achievers (who paid their own way). So we totaled 1000 people on a ship that holds about 3100.
We found our room which greeted me with a cute Alaska sign on the door and our luggage had already arrived! I was so thankful for a balcony in our room where I spent much time each morning drinking coffee and finishing a 700 page book. After lunch in the Windjammer buffet, we explored the ship and found Base Camp, a room SU had reserved on the ship for us to come hang out, eat candy, see displays, and win prizes. Each day we could spin the wheel to win some product and my first prize was a pack of neutrals designer series paper. Before dinner, SU held an appetizer reception for us.
We had 8:00 dinner time in the Sapphire Dining Room (which was 11:00pm our time!), where we had the best seat in the house next to the window and even caught a glimpse of a whale jumping that first night! We dined with Tracy Penn and her husband from Australia, who both love tennis and attend the Australian Open every year, our next destination on our bucket list. After dinner, I discovered my first "pillow gift." SU spoils us with a gift each night on our bed. We received a much needed jacket, plus an embossing folder from the upcoming Holiday Catalog. For someone who goes to bed around 8pm each night, I don't think I ever slept so soundly...