Really enjoyed getting to sit down and get back at these posts again. There's something so comforting about searching through old photos and reliving moments from long ago. It's like cuddling up with a quilt sewn together with memories. First, today's card...
(click on image above for a larger view)
I decided to ink up Life, it's been a while since I played around with this set. I had forgotten how fun & versatile it is once you start playing with all the different pieces. Sometimes I forget that it is totally okay to stamp colors on colored cardstock, in other words, stepping out of my comfort zone and not gravitating to an expected neutral like white or cream. For this project, I stamped all of the floral elements onto spring moss cardstock. I used a strip of Ripe Avocado In Bloom paper at the edge of the cover. I like how the lines that make up the bloom pattern takes on almost a spring moss look when paired with the coordinating cardstock.
This Enchanted Evening Stitched Ribbon loop was adhered underneath the sentiment block. The edge of the sentiment block featured a strip of Enchanted Evening cardstock stamped with Polka Dot Basics II and trimmed with scalloped scissors (Paper Studio). Three vintage Enchanted Evening buttons were adhered as well with glue dots.
The natural accents along the bottom were created with the large leafy branch (stamped in ripe avocado) and the small single flower (stamped in enchanted evening). The small flower was stamped repeatedly to form almost a *hydrangea* type of bloom. I followed up by adding a small dot with my white gel pen at the center of each of them. I really like the way this finished it off and helped to connect the white of the sentiment block with the rest of the project.
These cards are a bit larger than an A2, measuring in at 6.5 x 4.25 inches. I brought some nice white catalog envelopes at the store the other day that I will be using to mail these.
Now onto who exactly will be receiving today's cards (once again, in no particular order)...
#17: Jen Labrecque
A sister represents one of the few people in your life that know just about everything about you. They experienced your childhood with you, giving them a different perspective than anyone else as to how circumstance and experience shaped you into who you are today. While I have one brother and one sister, I am admittedly closer with my sister due to age and gender. To begin, I thought it would be fun just to share a few different photos that show the contrast between us as little girls vs. all grown up...
1985, Jen & I at the beach on a warm sunny afternoon.
2003, Jen & I at the same beach watching over Owen & Hannah.
Summer 1987, Jen timidly approaches a canoe.
Summer 2006, Jen captains a schooner in Casco Bay.
Jen and I had so much fun together when we were small. Our own little land of make believe. Tea parties in our playhouse, building forts underneath the snow-laden boughs of our backyard pine trees, building Barbie wonderlands that took up our entire bedroom floor, dressing up and pretending to be fashion models and rock stars.We had a large open field on the other side of the woods behind our house, which we liked to think of as our own version of Little House on the Prairie. All of these happy memories are so, so, so precious to me. Like little splashes of color that embellish the canvas of my childhood. It wouldn't have been the same growing up without her and I count it among my blessings that I got to live the first years of my life by her side.
Flashing forward to today, circumstances have allowed us to have the opportunity to reconnect and reminisce about those good 'ol days. Jen's current job is with a luxury cruise line affiliated with National Geographic, visiting unique foreign locations world wide. As most ship duty goes, she works several consecutive weeks and then in turn gets extended time off. She has been dedicating some of her off-ship time living with us and it has been so fun to be with her for these extended amounts of time. We hadn't been together for long periods like that since we were teenagers! It's amazing to laugh together at funny memories, cry together at movies (we both LOVE movies!), cook each other our tried & true recipes and share favorite shopping finds. Having someone in my life that has known me this long, who has had many of the same childhood experiences as I have, makes me feel so connected. She knows all the background, no need to explain the history behind anything. That sister-to-sister connection I feel is so special, so real, so grounded. I only wish that everyone could have the same experience, because it is nothing short of amazing.
Sometimes someone walks into your life that you can't imagine ever walking out. A true blue best friend. Someone who after every phone conversation, every chat over coffee, you find that you have even more in common. Someone who can finish your sentences and read your thoughts. Someone that knows if you're putting on a smile to cover up the hurt. Someone who loves your children as much as their own. Someone you can always call when you need a good listener, no mater how late at night it is.
Wendy is that someone for me. We met at a playgroup when I was pregnant with Hannah. Our first common ground was that we were both originally from *up north* and now lived down south because of our husbands career choices. We hit it off instantly, finding that we both loved to be crafty. Sewing was the thing of the moment at that time for the two of us. Which carried on into other things such as soap making (insert giggle here! Yes, that's for you Wendy! May Christmas of 2005 rest in peace!) and most importantly, stamping!
(Autumn 2003, our first craft fair booth shortly after final set-up)
One of my fondest memories was when we decided to try our hand at the craft fair circuit. We worked for weeks preparing for our first show. I stitched some purses and created a few stationery sets and card collections. Meanwhile, Wendy put together the same, along with some custom magnets and votive holders. We pulled nearly an all-nighter the morning of the show, so needless to say we were exhausted before we even arrived!
It took a few hours for us to unpack and arrange everything within our booth space to our liking (which turned out to be a fabulous prelude to future CHA preparations!). When the show finally opened we were happy to see that there was quite a bit of foot traffic, but unfortunately not many who actually purchased anything from us. You see...how should I say this... we were a bit too sophisticated for our market. Let me put it this way, the booth directly next to us had the best selling item of the show with constant purchases taking place. That *specialty* item was nothing other than redneck wind chimes, created from empty beer cans. I mean, how could we possibly compete with that?
So we left the show with a few lessons learned, but also a stronger bond. What an experience! And I cannot imagine doing it with anyone other than Wendy. We have been best friends for several years now, through thick and thin, out-of-state moves and everything in between. I value her friendship, her opinions and most of all her advice. Thank you, Wendy, for keeping me grounded, for always being there, for being that *someone* that I cannot live without.
#19: Julie Heskamp
Many of you have probably heard the story of how Julie, Jane and I met, forming the very beginning of Papertrey Ink. But it always bears repeating.
Mother and daughter duo, Jane & Julie, assist in the running of the family owned printing company in Cincinnati. Many times over the last decade, they had talked about one day printing their own line of stationery. They had made inquiries with a few local graphic designers, but had yet to meet someone who shared their vision. They decided to try an unconventional route, and seek out an artist whose work was closely aligns with their vision, rather than one whose qualifications fit more conventional criteria.
Julie, being an avid reader of Paper Crafts magazine, reviewed back issues and found that my projects had a signature style that spoke to her. She took a chance and sent me a note through a link on my blog. I was cautiously optimistic after receiving the email. A few phone calls later, we took a bold step and set up a meeting. Papertrey Ink's first official meeting took place in my dining room. Although the three of us had just met, our roles within the company that was about to be formed fell into place perfectly. Our excitement and passion for our company were eminent from conception.
So, as I said above, we started our company with a selection of stationery and pre-printed cards (which can still be found on our website HERE!) I'll never forget the night that Julie suggested we release a stamp set every month, just to see how it goes. I flat out said "NO!". I was a complete novice with the graphic design software AND how would I come up with ideas EVERY month? She kept insisting that it be something we venture into, and eventually I reluctantly agreed. Funny how that whole *trial* period worked out and ended up developing into the main portion of the company!
What started out as a venture into stationery turned into an expansion of the passion I have for stamping. Julie had the foresight to see that this was a direction we needed to go in. I put so much pressure on myself, I probably never, ever would have jumped into the stamp market if it wasn't for her. So if you enjoy your monthly Papertrey stamp releases, you have Julie to thank!
Not only does Julie know how to push me just when I need it most, she always knows just what to say. She is FANTASTIC to brainstorm with, we do it on practically a weekly basis. When we talk about the business, we could go on for hours with ideas and concepts to develop. Without her taking that chance, so long ago, and emailing me, a complete stranger. Without her suggesting a break into the stamp market. Without her dedication, Papertrey would not be what it is today. Therefore *I* wouldn't be where I am today. So thank you, Julie, for sending that email, for pushing me to my best potential and most of all, thank you for being my friend.
#20: Gayle Labrecque
(myself along with several of my cousins during Christmas Eve festivities, as my aunt looks on from the couch)
You know how it is when you are very young, and you have an adult in your life that you want to emulate when you're older? Someone that you look up to. Whenever you're around them, you secretly find yourself saying "I want to be just like her when I grow up."
Aunt Gayle is what I've called her my whole life. My Dad's sister. I got to interact with her most at the Christmas Eve celebrations that my grandparents hosted each year. She was always very crafty and she would usually bring whatever her latest *hobby* was along with her to work on throughout the day's events. Knitting, quilting, wool hooking, embroidery, etc... She always gave people the most beautiful homemade gifts too, which I would just eye with wonder and awe. I just KNEW I wanted to make beautiful things like that when I grew up! Little did she know that those heartfelt gifts and crafty endeavors would later on inspire a little girl to develop an entire career.
She was always so kind. I specifically remember her working on a very detailed embroidery project of some kind. So many tiny stitches. I, at 8-years old, asked her how she had the patience to do all that. I'll never forget what she said...
"You can do anything if you just take it one step at a time."
That has pretty much been my mantra my entire life. You can achieve anything, ANYTHING at all, even if it is beyond your wildest dreams, just by taking my aunt's advice. Just break the goal down into small manageable pieces, and take it one step at a time.
(Aunt Gayle helping to design & create place cards for my wedding over ten years ago.)
Another favorite memory of my aunt is the help she gave me with wedding preparations. She took the time out of her extremely busy schedule to help design & create the 75 place cards needed for the reception. Not only did I appreciate her generosity, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with her as well. She is such a wonderful sweet person, and I love any chance I get to interact with her.
(the handmade candles along with the floral arrangements Aunt Gayle prepared for the ceremony)
She happened to be into candle making at the time and made our unity candles from scratch. They were elegantly simple & beautiful. She knew just what to take into account when creating something along the lines of our style. Aunt Gayle also arranged all of the flowers on the candle table along with the accents woven along the edge of the arbor where David and I would stand during the ceremony. It all turned out perfect. I couldn't have done it any better myself. I was truly blessed to have her help that day.
(Aunt Gayle & shucking corn over conversation during my last visit in 2007)
Whenever we get the chance to go back home to Maine and I visit with my father's side of the family, one of the things I look forward to most is seeing Aunt Gayle again. To talk about what kind of crafts she is into at the moment. Her warm smile. The way she dotes on all three of my children. I just love her to death! I am so thankful that she unknowingly instilled those first crafty inspirations in my head when I was so young. I don't know if I would be where I am today without that type of role model to look up to. Thank you, Aunt Gayle, a hundred times over, for everything.
#21: Jennifer Ellefson
I regret that I do not have a single photo of Jenn and I together. You see, we've only met once in person, but I feel as though I have known her for nearly a lifetime. We met at a CHA, long, long ago when I was still with Paper Crafts magazine. She was very sweet and her contagious smile instantly made an impression on me.
Flash forward a few years later and Jenn is an irreplaceable asset, to not only me, but Papertrey as well. By her willingness to take on new responsibilities each month along with a dedication to complete all tasks thoroughly and skillfully, she has built a repertoire with us that cannot be expressed in words.
Not only do I value Jenn as an employee, I value her judgment & opinions as my equal. I don't hesitate to contact her for advice whenever I am making big decisions. She is always objective, honest & thorough, which is just invaluable to me.
She's also a friend. Jenn has the uncanny sense to just listen when I need to talk, and knows when to interject advice or opinions when I need them most. It is unbelievably reassuring knowing I have someone there, covering all these bases at once. So, thank you Jenn, for being of such importance in my life & always being there to help me in any way you can. Your help and support is just what this girl needed!
#22: Dawn McVey
(Dawn & I the first time we met)
There we are! Two peas in a pod from the day we met! World Card Making Day in Kansas City! Dawn was so cute that day. All smiles. She brought some of her card samples along to show me and I couldn't believe the caliber of her work. Not only that, but I appreciated her style and felt we were a lot alike. I gave her my phone number that day, and the rest is history!
She called me a few weeks later and we chatted pretty extensively. Let's put it this way, EVERY time Dawn and I get on the phone together, you're talking at least 60 minutes of chit chat. AT LEAST! We've been known to run into the 2-3 hour time frame as well! I loved being on the sidelines to watch Dawn blossom into the industry favorite that she has become. From her publishing achievements to the development of her successful blog, to her popular stamp line through Papertrey. She has done so much in such a short amount of time. I'm just so darn proud!
One of my favorite memories is of the CHA Summer Chicago show we went to last year together. She was like a deer in headlights the entire show, as it was her first *real* look at the industry that she had grown to love so much in just a few short months. It was an absolute pleasure to see everything anew through her point of view those few days. It inspired me and allowed me to experience CHA in a whole new light. Many late night talks with her were one of the highlights of the trip. We talked about anything and everything, and it was so special, so memorable for me. We just *click* co well together.
(CHA Summer, Orlando, 2009)
So, how do you thank someone for being themselves? And in turn bringing out the best in you? How do you repay someone for helping you to see the bright side of life, seeing the glass half-full, not empty? I find myself calling Dawn often, especially when I need a pick-me-up. She's just as good as sunshine on a cloudy day. Thank you, Dawn, for leaving a lasting impression on me. For being the positive energy in my life. Thank you for being your thoughtful, sweet self. I'll never forget you, my texting, iPhone loving, flip flop wearing, raspberry fizz concepting, potato soup eating, stamping friend! :)
Well, that wraps it up for today, folks! I'll have more for you within the next few days! Thanks for sharing in my continued journey!