Monday, July 30, 2007

Dream Big! Stampin' Up! Convention 2007

So, I've made it back from Denver and before I head off for my next adventure (family reunion at Itasca this week) I thought I'd fill y'all in on this year's convention.

PK and I made it a little vacation for just the two of us. In fact, we put about 900 miles on our rental car in one week! We had a great time together, but I'll talk more about that in a later post. This post is about convention. Being an SU! demonstrator is not just about getting a discount. I've made so many great friends through this little business of mine (even if I haven't made a single cent!). Convention always invigorates and excites me about crafting. It's something I need every year to spark my creativity and imagination. These women are so kind, generous and inspiring people (and great artists too!). I can't help but be happy in the presence of so many of them.

So, here are some photos to help tell my convention story for 2007. Enjoy!

Convention Swaps
Every year we demonstrators spend weeks frantically stamping cards to swap with eachother at convention. we use them as displays for customers, to spark ideas and to inspire eachother. It's definitely a highlight of every convention. This year I managed to make and swap about 200 cards. Here are the designs I made to swap with my fellow demonstrators. I promise these photos don't do them justice.

Me at convention

Convention Art Displays
Throughout the convention center, SU! always posts artwork they've received throughout the year for us to take photos of for inspiration and ideas. I can only imagine how many samples they get. For the first time this year, I found one of my very own creations on the display boards....and not just one...TWO! You can imagine how excited I was!

Convention Make-N-Takes

Another highlight of convention is the make-n-takes we get to make with all the brand new products.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I Am the Greatest Mom Ever

Friday night, kids and their parents all over the world lined up to get their hands on a book....a book...not the latest, greatest video game or toy....a 736 page book. CT and I made our way to the local bookstore where he's been on the waiting list since last December. It was a madhouse. Kids, teenagers, adults and one helper dog all crowded in the bookstore aisles. Silly costumes next to tattooed teens next to grandmothers. It was crazy. It was beautiful. As the hours slipped, I started to feel my own excitement grow. I haven't read any of Harry Potter books nor have I had any desire to. Yet here I was packed in between the biographies and the Bibles with 2 Harry Potters, a Dumbeldorf, a Malfoy and my own redhead about to come unglued as the minutes approached midnight. I felt a little camaraderie with these literary mavens all glued to their watches. At 11:00 the store calmed a bit and the noise level decreased to a quiet buzz. I quickly realized that this wasn't just about one book. This was mass imagination....all America caught up in one make-believe place and time far, far away. It was about getting us all to read enjoy time with ourselves and our own thoughts and dreams. And it was working. As I looked around the patient and inpatient alike were each immersed in the pages ripped off the shelves around us. Kids reading about Abraham Lincoln...a dad smiling as he flipped Dr. Seuss....a teenager eagerly paging through a book about the Iraq war...and a little boy clutching a pop-up book as he slept under a table. It wasn't about ONE book. This single purpose had brought us all to the place with nothing to do, but read. It was inspiring. One fictional little boy managed to get us all to do what countless libraries couldn't....even if only for one night.

When the countdown to midnight began, the books landed back on their shelves and everyone counted aloud together...some shouting with way too much enthusiasm for the time of night. When the first book was finally sold, a cheer went up and we all settled into wait for our very own turn to pay our money and hold that book in our hands. Kids all around me begged their parents to stay up all night to do you say "no" to that?

Hours continued to tick by and the crowd began to thin out. The cheers had stopped and now each person sleepily stepped to the register, paid and quietly left the store. Finally at 2:30 CT and were the next in line. I looked down at him as he anticipated this event he'd been waiting so long for. "I've been waiting since December, Mom, and now I get it," he said as he stepped up to the counter. He took the book out of the bag and hugged it tight to his chest. Then he stood up on a nearby chair and yelled as loud as he could, "I got it!" to the now meager crowd. Those of us who were left responded with a quiet cheer and CT beamed like he had received a standing ovation. He waved goodbye as we made our way out the door to our car.

So, bring on the overpriced book. Bring on the movies and the expensive memorabilia. Bring on the spoilers. Bring on the fanatics in their costumes. Bring on the mania and the hysteria, Harry Potter. I can stay up all night for days waiting in a hot stuffy bookstore. I can take the whining. I can take the waiting. I can take the sore feet and the overflowing restrooms. I can take it all....just as long as that kid keeps smiling like that.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kelly's No-Good, Really Bad Morning

Wednesday Morning:

  • 6:20 a.m. - Woke up 15 minutes late
  • 6:40 a.m. - Rushed around to get CT ready to go to day camp
  • 6:55 a.m. - Rushed so much that when I arrived at day camp, I was too early and it wasn't open yet
  • 7:02 a.m. - Realized that my shoes already hurt my feet
  • 7:20 a.m. - Realized that I forgot to make a promised call to a friend about feeding the devil cat while I'm on vacation next week
  • 7:35 a.m. - Arrived late to work despite being early to drop CT off....there must be a rupture somewhere in the space-time continuum, because I don't think this is even possible
  • 7:45 a.m. - Realized that in my rush that I forgot to brush my hair this morning....serious bed-head
  • 7:50 a.m. - Explained hair situation to boss....she has no solution and won't let me go home
  • 8:00 a.m. - Realized that I am out of Diet Coke at work and I have to shell out a whole $1.25 to get one from the machine
  • 8:01 a.m. - Found $1 for Diet Coke, but can't find a stupid quarter anywhere
  • 8:05 a.m. - Went to get change from front desk for Diet Coke, but receptionist is late this morning
  • 8:15 a.m. - Rushed to meeting (Diet Coke in hand...finally!) with boss at a co-workers cubicle just about 10 cubes and a couple of rows over from my cube
  • 8:40 a.m. - Walked away from meeting with boss trailing behind me, but discovered that I'm lost and cry out "Where am I?" to which the surrounding 10 cubicles erupt in a fit of laughter and my boss responds "Kelly, you are on a planet earth. It's real nice and you might consider staying awhile." I would prefer not to stick around, thank you very much.

And it's not even 9:00 yet.

Ok, so it's not an awful day yet. My car is still running and I rolled the windows up before the rain started. But my brain is so busy these days that every little road block just exasperates me. It's going to be a long day.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today's Favorite Quote

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.

-Carl Sandberg

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