Friday, March 13, 2015

Hello to my StampNation Friends!

I'm excited to announce that Catherine Pooler over at StampNation has done a "Member Highlight" on me today! I will post that below, but first I want to give a shout out to my SN Sistahs and Brothah who may stop by. 

Hey, there! So glad you decided to check out my blog! It's in serious need of updating (hangs head in shame), but I have high hopes of bringing it current over the weekend. Same story with my Pinterest page. Given a choice between stamping and blogging, stamping always seems to win... but I'll work on getting into a routine of posting as I go.

I invite you to become a subscriber of my blog by simply entering your email address over to the right. Then you'll receive an email anytime I update. I think it's safe to say there won't be a ton of emails, and I do (of course) promise not to share your info with anyone else.

Here's my bio as published on StampNation:

Joyce has been a part of our StampNation family for about 6 months now and she has made herself quite cozy over there. It's been a delight to get to know her, though this feature has taught me a ton of stuff about this fabulous lady.

Let's learn a bit about Joyce and get a bit of stamp history while we're at it! I just LOVE hearing stories about how people got started stamping and card making!!

"I bought my first stamp when I was in high school in the 1970s. It was from Inkadinkado, who was then selling from mall kiosks, and featured a rainbow coming from behind a cloud. Little did I know this single purchase would become a lifestyle!

I was fascinated when I learned that there were a few different colors of ink besides black, and my first non-black color was a dark blue. (Why do I remember this stuff?) I bought it at the same time I bought my second stamp, a stamp that would get me through college. It said simply SEND CHOCOLATE.

I survived college despite some unhappy run-ins with the Art Department who persuaded me I would never be an artist. The last homework project I completed was to make a set of four cards, and I remember being intrigued with the whole idea of useful art – something I could create and then send to someone else without appearing to be too full of myself.

Then life happened, and creativity got swept under the rug.

Fast forward to the early 90s, when a co-worker of mine (I was working at Harley-Davidson at the time!) said, “Hey, I found a store I think you might like” and took me to a local stamp store. I knew the second I walked in that this would be my new home. The store owner sat me down and taught me how to make a card with stamps, and I was hooked.

I ended up working at that store, and throughout the years at several other stamp stores in my hometown of Milwaukee. Despite being painfully shy, I enjoyed teaching classes and doing product demos. I had the best job in the whole world because once I finished my chores I was being paid to make cards!

I uprooted myself in 2001 and moved to Columbus, Ohio. Settling in was rough, and it took several years for me to get back on my feet and back into stamping. I had to put all of my belongings into storage for awhile, and the hardest part was being away from my stamping supplies. One of the biggest thrills of my life was opening that first box of stamps after having been separated from them for so long. I actually cried because I was so happy! (I know… corny.)

Making cards is my bliss. It’s when I’m happiest and when I feel the most useful. I am disabled (with advanced osteoarthritis, fibro, side effects of diabetes, and a few other diagnoses) and stuck at home most of the time, and sometimes I struggle with depression. I’ve learned that the best way to lift my spirits is to break out some stamps and ink and get busy! If I could, I would do nothing but stamp all day every day, but unfortunately “life” and my health seem to make a lot of demands on my time and energy.

This past year my apartment building was renovated. It was a nightmare having to pack everything up in April, live out of boxes for four months, and then move back into my apartment again in July. I had a little bit of help packing from the movers, but I’m unpacking all by myself now and the process is slow. I’ve dug out most of my basic supplies, but some are still in hiding. I keep wondering what rule of the Universe makes things hardest to find when I need/want them the most.

I’ve been a member of StampNation since September 2014, and I am so happy to be here. I feel like I’ve finally come home! Being housebound, I’m not able to play with other stampers, so SN fills a social void for me. This is even more true thanks to the miracle of Skype! (I’m looking for friends to Skype with – so if you’re interested in trying it, give me a shout.) I also love StampNation because I’m learning so much from Catherine and the Dream Team and everyone else! When I spent my first $1 for a three-day pass, my head nearly exploded! Eureka! I knew I had found gold!

For me, stamping is about creativity and self-expression, but it’s so much more. I believe I am most strongly connected with my Creator when my hands are busy creating. Is it any wonder that stamping brings me so much joy?"

Thank you, Joyce, for sharing a piece of yourself with us!
Here are some of Joyce's beautiful creations. You can see more of her work by visiting her blog or on Pinterest.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
After submitting my bio, it occurred to me that I forgot to mention what a big part Stampin' Up! has played in my stamping and learning. I signed up to be a demo in the early 90's, but led very few workshops because of my shyness. I struggled over this for many years before I made peace with being simply a hobby demo. I had to give up my demonstratorship when I first moved to Columbus, but then picked it back up again in 2006. I happily submit orders for anyone who asks me to, but I do not hold workshops or "hard sell" to anyone. I'm perfectly content with my demo discount. That being said, if there is something I can help you find in the Stampin' Up! product line, I will be glad to assist. I am so grateful to SU! for all the techniques and training they've provided over the years, and I really can't recommend a better company to work with.

The other thing that I just touched on at the end of the bio is the spiritual aspect of stamping for me. I am not particularly religious and do not consider myself to be Christian, but doing any kind of art or crafting for me is, like I said, a way of reconnecting with my Creator. I have found stamping to be a very healing activity in so many ways. It takes my mind off my pain and focuses it instead on creating something that will bring joy to others. It challenges me to do my best work, something I would be proud to share. I get to learn new techniques and ways of doing things, and sometimes I get to try mediums that are new to me. By problem-solving on a small scale I gain confidence in dealing with problems that aren't necessarily crafting related. Any way you look at it, stamping is good for my soul!

Now that you know a little more about me, I wonder if you view my work differently. If so, I'd love to hear how! Please consider leaving me a comment below.

Stay tuned for a bunch of catch-up posts showing what I've been up to since Christmas. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Warm smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce