Welcome to my blog!

I invite you to share your thoughts, but I do ask you to keep your comments appropriate. I won't feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn't mean you can't be honest—I want honest feedback—but I also like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means if you have to say something negative, say it nicely! :-)

More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a fun chat!



Come and Gone. . .

Another convention—no, not convention, it’s our Inspire. Create.Share. annual event—come and gone. It’s always bittersweet when one of our events ends. . . we look forward to it, we work hard for it, and when it’s over, it’s good to be back home! I think most of our demonstrators feel the same way.

I thought (and heard many demonstrators agree) that the new format was very welcome. There was plenty to do (more than anyone could do in the course of three days) and that meant something for everyone, lots of options, few lines, ample space, and less rushing around. I definitely felt a more relaxed atmosphere as demonstrators were able to pick and choose what they wanted to do, and there was more free time to do it in.

I enjoyed watching demonstrators participate in our optional Wednesday night Paper Pumpkin Night out, as well as the Awards Night after party. We had tons of demonstrators attend—and stick around longer than usual. Lots of music, dancing, treats, and things to do—including stamping!  I didn’t even get halfway through the room during the after party. Chatted with demonstrators, took photos, and watched everyone have a great time. (Who tried the bull riding?)

I didn’t make it to all the classes, workshops, and Make & Takes, but I attended what I could and, as usual, was so impressed with what I saw and heard.

We also streamed three of the four main stage general sessions, which was a first. I heard that demonstrators around the world enjoyed it! I know that Shanna (now living in Florida) was looking forward to watching. This is the first convention she’s missed (other than when she was on her mission), so it was nice to have her participate in some small way.

An event highlight (for most of us, I think) was the announcement of this year’s incentive trip—a Mediterranean cruise! There was a lot of buzz about that, and I know that people are already planning ways to make sure they earn that.

And, everyone seemed to love that we unveiled the Holiday Catalog. In addition to simply holding the catalog and browsing through it, several presentations featured Holiday Catalog product PLUS attendees could actually purchase Holiday Catalog product at the store. Woohoo! It’s always fun to be the first to get your hands on new product!

The Gardner family ended convention as we have for the past several years—gathering for dinner as a family (the grown-up Gardners) on Saturday evening to celebrate Sage’s birthday (which regularly falls around convention) and then attending the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Music & the Spoken Word on Sunday morning before heading home, ready to jump right back into things on Monday!

Hopefully you’re ready to jump right into things too!


Off to Convention

\I’ve spent today in downtown Salt Lake City,  getting ready for our annual North American convention. Only this year we’ve changed the name—it’s not convention, it’s Inspire. Create. Share. 2014!

Can’t wait to start greeting our demonstrators. In the meantime, today and tomorrow are full of rehearsals and prep and setup and all that fun stuff that we get to do to make sure that this is one of the best Stampin’ Up! events of the year. Dozens of Stampin’ Up! employees have converged on the Salt Palace to get it all ready, and dozens more will be involved in the coming days.. It’s a very exciting time for us!

And a busy one. I am now in what I call “event mode.” I won’t be posting again until this fabulous event is over. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Better yet, I hope to see you and give you a hug!



A Night at the Theatre

Last night the Gardner families (plural—Sterling and I and all the girls and their families who were in town) headed to Hale Center Theatre, for what has become a favorite family tradition. We always enjoy this evening because it’s fun to see everyone dress up a little (not Sunday clothes but a step above play clothes), learn basic audience etiquette, and enjoy some of the best theater that Utah has to offer.

And this night was no exception. We made it a little more special by having dinner at Tsunami, one of the grown-up Gardners’ favorites. We seldom take the grandkids before, so they were super excited, and the grown-ups looked forward to dinner too. We had great dinner conversation, and we especially enjoyed watching the grandchildren interact in little bit more formal environment.

After dinner, we headed to the theater. As always, Hale Center delivered above and beyond our expectations. The show—Mary Poppins—was one the kids were familiar with, so I think they were interested from the very beginning. And they stayed engaged the entire show, even though it was quite lengthy (almost three hours). That’s quite an accomplishment because several of these kids are normally in bed by 8 p.m.!

We didn’t sit all together; each of the families were located in different sections, so we all met together afterwards. Several of the kids took pictures with some of the actors. In fact, Seth knew the boy who played Michael Banks, so that was quite exciting for the grandchildren to “know someone who knows someone.”

Before heading home, the grandkids hugged each other goodbye, almost like they don’t see each other very often. I smiled, because really, they see each other all the time. But I love that they love being together and doing fun things like this!

Sara did great too. It was her first big venture out since her appendectomy on Monday, and she looked great. But I could tell by the end of the evening, she was ready to head home. She’s still thinking convention next week is a go—and knowing her it will be. But I will be right beside her, sending her back to her hotel room if I think she’s overdoing it. (Isn’t that what a mother is for? Smile.)


Another Batch of Birthday Cards

Time for another round of employee birthday cards! As you know, I send out birthday cards to our employees, and I switch them up every month or so.

Here’s the most recent batch—a couple different versions of the same basic card. I love the simplicity of these cards; they’re quick and easy to make, yet still colorful and fun.

I appreciate everything all our employees do (especially this time of year—our annual gathering is next week and we can’t wait!) and am grateful for the opportunity to thank them by recognizing their special day. 


A Fabulous Fourth

I mentioned yesterday that we had a great Fourth of July weekend—we spent the holiday with family and friends and it was wonderful to just relax, enjoy being together, and celebrate the country we live in.

On Friday we gathered with Sara and Shalae and their families, and we each had invited friends over as well, so we had quite a crowd. We swam, played, had a taco bar “BBQ” and watched the fireworks together.

On Saturday, it felt almost like Christmas because Sterling and I just vegged out all day; I didn’t even get dressed. Sterling read a novel while I puttered around, doing a little bit of this and that. Sunday we went to church, ending the week on another patriotic high.

I wore red all week and enjoyed listening to patriotic music and felt deep gratitude for the blessing of living in the United States of America. I know that many of my blog readers don’t live in this country, and I do strive to always keep things universal and international. But every once in a while I hope you’ll indulge me when I get a little country-specific. I am so grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country, and I am especially thankful for the many people who have sacrificed much—and continue to sacrifice—to guarantee those freedoms continue.

It was nice to reflect on those things this weekend and to celebrate together with people I love.