Thought I'd follow in the steps of our fearless leader Stampin' Up co-founder Shelli Gardner (www.soshelli.com) and do a post answering questions I have been asked in comments. If you have questions you'd like me to answer, feel free to leave a comment and if they are appropriate and there is good feedback on this post, I will try to answer them in the next installment.
Where do you get your ideas?
I usually get ideas just by looking at the stamp sets in the catalog. They kind of suggest certain color schemes to me. After a while you get to know kind of what types of layouts work best with different sizes and styles of stamps, and that gives you a good place to start. When that fails, I sometimes use the Stamper's Showcase, a demonstrator-only gallery run by Stampin' Up. As of this morning, there were 188,000 samples in there. It is one of the best perks of being a demonstrator.
As a last resort, I will go visit other galleries or Google the set name, but usually it doesn't get to that point. Stampin' Up stamp sets are very well designed and usually include all the elements you need to make a card--a focal point image, smaller somethings to use for the background, a couple of sayings, etc. it's easy to pull things together that way. And with the new Color Coach, it's nearly impossible to run out of color combos to try.
What blogs do you personally follow?
I don't! There are no blogs that I visit on a regular basis. I do that on purpose because I don't like to absorb too much of any one person's style. I also just plain don't have time to visit theirs because I'm busy with mine. When I search, it is for a purpose, usually looking for very specific inspiration.
I think people spend a lot of time looking that would often be better spent actually in the stamp room developing their own style. Get into the habit of surfing just once a week and printing out cute ideas to try, and don't start your crafting session with a wasteful hour of computer each time.
How did you manage to swing the 31 Days of Doilies? That looked like a lot of work!
That was actually not nearly the work it looked like. 95% of the projects had been done in advance for my Convention 2011 presentation, so it was mostly a matter of photographing and writing up the blog posts. It wasn't like I just sat down and played with doilies for a month straight. When you blog, things can look artificially compressed into a short space of time, or spread out across a longer period, depending. I often schedule posts in advance so that I maintain the level of consistency that people really look for in a good blog.
There's so many cute things out there. Why do you choose to focus only on SU?
There are two main reasons for this. First, Stampin' Up sends me my paycheck every month, and no other company has ever done that! It only makes good business sense for me to buy from myself whenever possible. I get a great discount and a marvelous volume rebate. And when you take everything into consideration, SU products are a truly great deal.
The other reason is that I get SO annoyed when things don't match or coordinate. When you buy from many different companies, stuff just plain doesn't go together. I love how Stampin' Up colors coordinate and how the stamps come in sets. You can still mix and match, but the tones mesh together well and the sentiment will always suit the style of the card.SUCH a time-saver.
You know how when you are first starting out stamping or scrapping, and you buy a lot of junk just because you're a rookie? I'm well past the Walmart craft aisle stage at this point. I've learned that money spent on cheap tools, papers, adhesives, etc, is truly money wasted and it pays to order quality merchandise from a stable, reputable company.
You are a pretty prolific stamper. How do you manage to get all these different projects done?
I am a very fast stamper, quick to discard or set aside projects that aren't going right. Sometimes the faster you can give up on a bad idea, the quicker you can move on to a new one. I have to work quickly because I don't like to repeat projects, and I am continually working on a huge stash of cards for upcoming craft shows. And your speed and accuracy will definitely improve with practice.
Stampin' Up is also my full time job now. So I do have more time than many people to work on projects. But you know, we manage to squeeze in what is important to us. I don't really watch TV very much... you know that quote, "life is what passes you by as you're planning it?" I think it's more like "life is what passes you by while you're watching TV." Or Facebook, or incessant blogging, or whatever time-monster is gobbling up your time.
So what's a typical day in the life of a top 100 demonstrator?
Well, I don't know about typical, but I usually spend the morning entering orders, working on my schedule, sending reminder emails, making hostess calls, responding to questions from my downline, and doing other computer work. I try to take an hour off and do something totally unrelated to stamping or the business, like house cleaning, shopping, reading, or sewing. Then I snag a quick lunch and head to the stamp room to unpack from the night before, and prepare for whatever event is that evening until about three. If I have extra time or a night off, I work on upcoming events, designing cards, cutting the cardstock.
I try not to do anything business-related and just focus on family from after school until I leave at about six for that night's workshop or club. I couldn't do this job without Mike's support. He is great about getting the kids to bed by himself three or sometimes four nights a week. Stampin Up (at this level) is really a family effort.
About once a week my assistant Penni comes in for two hours and tries to get me back on track with larger tasks like my snail mail newsletter, cutting for big events, sending out the monthly birthday coupon cards and things like that. She also makes all my deliveries now, which has been wonderful (I bet you guys like it, too, since you get your stuff way sooner than I used to get it out!)
I can't nail down your style. What do you call it?
Eclectic! I love good design in whatever form it takes, be it shabby chic, clean and simple, retro mod, vintage/vintage nouveau or anything in between. I would be bored silly focusing on only one style. Some people like to concentrate on developing a signature look, but I purposefully set out to conquer new stamping worlds so I can be kind of a "Renaissance Girl" of stamping and better relate to my customer friends. If I have a signature touch it would be color--I have lot of it and I'm not afraid to use it.
Great questions! Keep 'em coming! As I tell potential new demonstrators, there is no topic off-limits with me in regards to Stampin' Up, except politics!