Thank you so much for all of your birthday wishes yesterday! I feel so blessed to have so many online friends & readers who took the time to wish me happiness. It meant SO much to me as I read through them all and felt the warmth & love you put into your words. So thank you, to each and every one of you!
David & I went out last night and had a fabulous dinner at one of our favorite Nashville restaurants. We got the best table in the house and had an amazing waiter to top it all off. Getting to spend quiet time with David like that, paired with wonderful food & wine was the perfect ending to such a special day.
Now onto today's cards. I used a few of my favorite Papertrey classics.
I used Background Basics: Retro with our Fresh Snow ink for the background stamped onto the kraft card base. The leaf image is from Beautiful Blooms. And last but not least, a sentiment from Heart Prints Sentiments. I used some scalloped scissors to trim the top of the spring moss mat. A bit of random stitching on the sewing machine finished everything off.
The flower was created by stacking individual punched aqua mist cardstock blooms. The punches are the Retro Flower Punches from EK Success (I used the Whale of Punch, Medium, Paper Shaper) . I used a glue dot to attach a small Aqua Mist Vintage Button to the center. To add a bit of dimension, I curled all the petals slightly with my fingertips.
For some fun blast from the past photos, today thought I would share some family shots from throughout my childhood...
So fascinating to see how everyone changes over the years. When my siblings & I were young, who knew the different paths we would be on today?
Now onto today's card recipients...
It doesn't even seem like my mother should be on this list, because she's off the charts. I mean, how much more influential can you possibly be, after bringing me into this world to begin with!
I think the best place to start is with sharing a bit about what I love about my mom. This photo is exactly how I like to remember her. She is ALWAYS smiling, and she has the BEST smile. The kind that just makes her entire face radiate with happiness. I loved being the cause of that smile when I was growing up. It just made you feel like all was right with the world to have your mother smile down upon you like that.
She has been (and is) very nurturing. There's always been so many cuddles & hugs. So much love, patience and understanding. Kind words at just the right time.
She's always worked so hard to keep our family happy & healthy. She chose to be a stay-at-home mom, even after gaining her bachelor's degree in college. Insisting upon family dinners every night. Fresh baked goodies from the oven on occasion when we got home from school. Every day I strive to try to be the mother she was.
She has always provided guidance in subtle ways, that I didn't even realize until I was much older. Some lessons weren't REALLY learned until much later in life, where I was able to see situations from a different point of view. Sometimes I have found my own solutions to some of my biggest problems by just thinking about a situation or scenario that happened when I was a child.
In turn, getting to see her play the role of grandmother to MY children has been so rewarding, eye-opening and touching. A bond was formed that we never had before. A common ground, where she had been through what I was going through. Offering advice & most of all empathy. Also, because of the relationship with my children, I now know how my mother feels about me. I know why she said or did some things that I wasn't happy about at the time. I guess that level of understanding comes with age and maturity really. But what an epiphany. Knowing that there is someone in this world that loves me THAT much, unconditionally is truly inspirational and something that can give anyone strength to get through anything. If that's not influential, I don't know what is.
(Emily, far left, and I with friends at CHA)
How to laugh. How to not take life (or business) too seriously. That's what Emily has taught me. I'll never forget the day we met. It was at a CHA show a few years ago. We bonded immediately and made arrangements to get together later that night with a bunch of other mutual friends. We talked non-stop about business, about the industry, about cocktails and SO much more. It was the beginning of something really special which I hold close to my heart, even today.
One of the best things about our relationship is that even if we go months without speaking or years without seeing each other in person, we always pick up right were we left off. We have so much in common, yet so many personality traits that are opposite. It makes it fun to learn each others points of view on certain situations and opportunities. I look to her for both professional and personal advice. For a good laugh when I need to loosen up. And most of all, someone to celebrate my triumphs. Thank you for always being there, for being understanding, for being open & honest, for ALWAYS being you and teaching me how to be the same. You've made such a difference in my life, probably more than you will ever know.
#9: Ms. Joanna Hopkins
(a grainy yearbook photo of the art department from my high school, including Ms. Hopkins)
My high school art teacher, albeit somewhat unorthodox when you think about teachers, was one of the people in my life that taught me the most about art and it's many foundations. She wore Birkenstocks & socks with an endless array of Beatles t-shirts and long flowing gypsy-like skirts. She didn't have the type of personality that you would bond with emotionally. She was very distant and a bit overbearing. But she KNEW what she was teaching and HOW to teach it, and really, that's what matters most. I have never had any formal art training other than what I received under her guidance while in high school. So everything I know today is based on things she taught me so many years ago.
(an excerpt from the recommendation letter Ms. Hopkins wrote on my behalf)
One of the most influential things she did is a memento I still have to this day, tucked into my top desk drawer. A letter of recommendation she wrote on my behalf during the last months of my senior year, 1997. She wrote about specific attributes she thought that I had to offer to the art world. The strengths she felt I possessed for this field. Gosh, I can still remember reading that letter for the first time, just like it was yesterday. It was my very first affirmation. An actual hold in your hand, official statement from a professional, who felt that I had what it took to pursue art in some way or another as a field. A real honest-to-goodness art career. It was like I had gotten *official* permission to dream big. That if I worked hard enough, I could really do something with what I loved.
That letter will ALWAYS be one of my most prized possessions. I have Ms. Hopkins to thank for inspiring the very first nuggets of motivation. She helped me to believe in myself and build my self confidence as a young woman who was about to step out into the real world a bit unsure of herself.
#10: Cath Edvalson
My dearest, dearest Cath. Where to begin? So we met under very um....er....shall we say interesting circumstances. I had already been working for Paper Crafts magazine for some time before Cath got hired on. It's so funny to look back on it now, but we actually had a bit of a communication issue to start, as she was trying to let me know of some revisions to make as interpreted by her boss. Normally, that type of first meeting would lead to an unstable beginning for a relationship, but not with Cath & I.
(an example of some of my contributions to the PC101 column)
We worked together on the PC101 column every month for nearly 2 years. We would brainstorm the topics and how to execute the visual interpretation of the theme. I've never had so much fun collaborating with anyone on projects as I did with Cath. We were in sync, totally in tune. We knew what the other meant before they said it. We visualized the same end result, just from a brief verbal discussion.
Having the opportunity to work with someone of Cath's caliber has been one of the biggest honors of my career. She's passionate about the industry. She's genuinely kind & caring. She offers compliments & criticism in such a specific, personal way, even when acting as your editor, that you really feel as if she is in tune with your style and technique. She's so good at trend-watching (as demonstrated on her Moxie Fab blog and monthly article in Paper Crafts). She's funny. Like really, really funny (which is evident on her personal blog too). Whenever we get together for even just a few hours, the corners of my mouth begin to ache because of all the laughter that takes place between us.
Cath has been so influential in my life because she helped me to see what the definition of motivation & passion. So thank you, Cath, for helping me to see these traits in living color.
#11: Georgie Stimson
(Georgie & her daughter Norah)
Sometimes you never know how one small gesture can really impact someone's life. Something Georgie did many years ago, a small random act of kindness, is a memory I hold near and dear to my heart even to this day. She may not even remember it, but I certainly do and will never forget it!
(the prize winning page, featured in the May 2003 issue of Creating Keepsakes)
When David and I first moved down south from New England, I was becoming more and more interested in exploring all the possibilities in the world of scrapbooking & paper crafting. I was thrilled to find a local scrapbook store to got to. It was like a whole new world had opened up to me. Georgie Stimson, owner of Memories in Bloom, was quick to extend kindness and provide any help I needed whenever I shopped there. After some encouragement and a few gentle pushes, Georgie convinced me to start entering some of my work into contests. Once particular contest I entered in the beginning of 2003 was sponsored by Frances Meyer Inc., a popular sticker & paper manufacturer back in the day. A few months after entering, I was notified that I had won first place along with a prize of $2,000!
(the card from Georgie that I still treasure today)
The very first person I called with my news was Georgie. She was so excited for me and congratulated me wholeheartedly over the phone that day. A few days passed and when David brought in the mail delivered that day, I was surprised to see something from the store. It was a card from Georgie and the crew. Congratulating me once again on my win and wishing me continued success for the future. Having someone you look up to provide you with such words of encouragement is such a blessing. Knowing that there's someone out there that believes in you, reassuring you that you are going down the right path, is just the kind of stamina one needs to keep going, keep reaching, keep dreaming. I refer to this card often, when I am struggling or in need of a pick-me-up. Every time I read it, it's like Georgie is standing beside me, telling me to continue on because she'll always be there believing in me.
#12: Martha Stewart
(the cover of my very first issue of Martha Stewart Living)
I'll never forget one summer afternoon in 1998. I was working in Portland during the college break, staying at our family's summer island cottage. I had just returned from a trip to town where I had picked up a new magazine. I had heard of Martha Stewart before in media murmurings here and there but didn't really know much about her. After settling into lunch in the living room, I began flipping through my very first issue of Martha Stewart Living. As soon as my eyes absorbed all of the simple beauty on that very first page, I knew I was hooked. For the very first time in my life, I had found someone, something that I identified with when it came to my style. It was like someone had reached inside my head, into the depths of my creativity, and spilled the contents across the pages bound in front of me.
Soon after that first issue, I began following everything having to do with Martha. She is a savvy business woman first and foremost, which I think is a testament to any woman wanting to make headway in a typically male-dominated business world. Her taste is impeccable, showing me that anything and everything in the world around you can be beautiful and tasteful if you just put a little extra thought into what you do, what you create. I use these lessons often as I try to build my own career and business, together with my partners, Julie & Jane. I know Martha has inspired hundreds of people around the globe, but I needed to throw my praises into the ring as well. Because without her to serve as daily inspiration for both my work and dreams, I wouldn't be where I am today.
I hope you enjoyed everything I shared today. Do you have anyone that touched your life in a seemingly small way? Something that you remember even to this day? Have you ever mentioned it to them? Or thanked them for it? Use one of those cards in your stash, or make a new one, and express your gratitude! And remember to mail it!
Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing more tomorrow.