Welcome to my personal blog!

Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you 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 like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that 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 nice visit!



A Family Moment

My church teaches that families can be together forever, and today I got up early and flew to St George, Utah, to be with my brother and sister-in-law when they were sealed to each other, and to their twin babies, Jace and Jenna.

Cody is the youngest of seven; I’m the oldest, and I loved this photo of us with the twins (four months old).  

We used to think we were a big family—until we met Shelley. Shelley is one of 16 children, all from the same mother and father! You can see it’s a pretty large group.

Although not all of my family was there (Dad was in the hospital and my brother Kurt and my sister Vonna couldn’t make it), it was one of the many occasions when I’m reminded how much I love my family.  


A Bootiful Banner

Here’s the “bootiful” banner I promised; I can call it that because Sara made it! 

As you know, I don’t typically provide instructions for projects I show. If I felt like I had to do that, I would end up never posting projects! But I did want to note a couple of things about this banner.  

The stamp set and bell accents are from the Baroque Motif stamp set; it’s one of my favorites, and I’ve used it a lot this year. I stamped the swirly image on the front of each pennant, then I adhered the lace pennant on top of the card stock pennant with Sticky Strip on the back. Once I attached the lace, I adhered a one-inch black card stock strip, punched with the scallop border punch, then doused with Black Chunky glitter to finish the pennant off with a little bling.

I tied the bells (made from the circles from the pennant die) at the bottom of each pennant to the larger rhinestone brads that are attached to the pennant. I used embroidery floss to do this. (I usually use embroidery floss when I craft because thread is usually too thin, and when I do need thread, I can just use one strand of the floss.) I threaded the floss through the larger need from the Crafters’ Tool Kit. That’s also how I attached the teardrop crystals to the bell accents, as well as the fabric on the bottom. 

Finally, I created the lace accent on the front of each pennant by cutting both sizes of scallop circles out of different types of fabric (tulle, etc.), then laying them skewampous (is that a word?) on top of each other and sewing a circle in the middle of the layers, using a single strand of floss and very large stitches. Then I pulled the floss to gather the fabric, creating a layered fabric piece to put behind the letters, which you'll notice also have a little glitter bling. 
I hope that's enough insight to help you make this if you want to. I'm planning on making a banner for each of our girls!


Kansas City Kindness

Well, our first regionals of this year are over, and Kansas City was wonderful! The weather cooperated beautifully, although I only got to enjoy it on the short walk between the hotel and convention center and back. I would have liked to spend a little more time outside, but I was having far too much fun inside with our wonderful demonstrators!

We always tell our first group of the year that they are our “guinea pigs,” because we’re presenting the regional curriculum for the first time. Although we did make a few minor adjustments between Friday and Saturday, things went very well.

I love the mix between business and stamping we have this year, and I thought the workshop wows and best business practices shared by local demonstrators were wonderful! We’re doing our evaluations online this year, so we haven’t received any immediate feedback, but I’m looking forward to reviewing the feedback we do get to see if those who attended shared my feelings.

I demonstrated a “bootiful” Boo banner that Sara created for Halloween, which I would love to share with you. Unfortunately, the photos are captive in my camera, and my technological skills and knowledge are being challenged. I have vowed to conquer the camera this weekend, however, and I promise to show you the visuals of my project by Monday.

One thing that made this regional memorable is the outpouring of genuine concern for my father that I felt from every single demonstrator I talked to. To a person, they expressed thoughts of love and kindness—much like the expressions I’m reading from you here on my blog. How sweet and dear my friends are, many of you whom I have never met. These experiences remind me again about what kind of people we associate with and what kind of people we are all trying to be, and I thank you for your inspiring examples and warm expressions of love.


Things Will Be OK

My appearance yesterday on “Good Things Utah” went well. Television appearances are always a little stressful (although I’m much more comfortable with them now than I was years ago!), but I enjoy them and I love talking about Stampin’ Up! and sharing creative ideas with people.

Everyone loved the Spooky Spider jar, and they made me promise to come back and show how to do the adorable advent calendar that Jill demonstrated at convention.

After the appearance I grabbed a quick lunch with Sage and Shalae; we met at Gardner Village, one of our favorite places to shop. It’s an historic old flour mill that’s been remade into a wonderful restaurant surrounded by restored cabins and buildings that house boutique stores. Love it! We could spend hours there strolling though all the shops. Unfortunately we didn’t have that kind of time yesterday, because I had meetings back at Stampin’ Up!, but lunch with the girls (and Jason and Kona, who had invited themselves at the last minute) was great.

On my way back to work, I got a call from my brother, who had spent the last nine days on the Bonneville Salt Flats here in Utah helping my crazy father try to break a speed record. Well, he broke the record—but in the process, his car caught fire and Kurtis called to tell me they were flying my dad by helicopter to the local burn unit at the University of Utah Hospital.

Needless to say, my plans changed abruptly; I headed for the hospital, where I spent the rest of the day and much of the night with my dad. As I drove to the hospital I knew in my heart Dad would be ok—and if he wasn’t, well, I still knew things would be ok.

Thankfully, I’m happy to report Dad will be fine. He has 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands and face, but it appears he’ll be able to recover quickly and completely. The hours I spent with him in the hospital, rubbing his feet, whispering quietly that I loved him, and gently placing a cool, damp cloth on his forehead reminded me that we are all here for one reason, and one reason only—to love and care for others.

I left the hospital this morning to head to our first regional of the year—Kansas City—and I would never have left if I was worried at all. I wish I could be there with him, but he’s surrounded by other loved ones, and that’s the first place I’ll head when my plane lands in Utah on Sunday morning. And in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy every moment with my friends in Kansas!


Advisory Board Adventures

First, can I just say how much I love my family?!

Sunday when I got home from Founder’s Circle I got to spend the afternoon and evening with family. Sage and Jason and Shalae and Jon and all their kids were here, and it just doesn’t get any better. I sat in our house, with the doors open (don’t you just love the fresh fall air?), feeding Phoebe, watching the boys run in and out, and talking to the grown-ups. The only word I can think of to describe how I felt is giddy.

After we hugged everyone good-bye and watched the kids blow us kisses, I turned to Sterling and said, “Life is so good! ” I just can’t get enough of my family, and it was great to be home!

Of course, I never stay home for long, and Monday I was off again—but for a great reason! We had our Advisory Board retreat yesterday and today, and it was wonderful! I love the chance to get to know these demonstrators better, and although it’s a very full and busy two days, I enjoy every minute.

As I arrived on Monday morning, I parked in my usual spot, which is a fair distance from the building. About halfway to the front door, the gray clouds started dumping, and I was pretty focused on getting into the building and preserving whatever poof I had left in my hair. Just as I got to the front door, this black van drove up, and I glanced over. I knew immediately who was inside, because the outside was so cool! Yep, the transportation service had gotten hold of some Décor Elements, and there was a beautiful array of white flourishes dressing up the dark tinted windows of the van. I loved it—it made quite a statement!

We packed a lot into the two days, including a brief overview of each of our departments, several little mini-tours (including listening in on Demonstrator Support calls and spending a few minutes on the pick line!), and lots of discussion. We love to have our Advisory Board members come because it gives them a new perspective on the business and it gives us different perspective from a new group of demonstrators. Because of confidentiality issues, we can’t talk a lot about what we talked about, except to say that they will be wonderful advocates and representatives for all our demonstrators.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the retreat for me is the “My Favorite Things” night where we all get together and share our favorite things, so we can get to know each other better. This is a time when I really connect with the Advisory Board members on a very personal level—and I love it! The evening always stretches far into the night, but it’s worth the lack of sleep.

We ended the retreat with a dinner at one of my favorites restaurants—the Roof. It’s a very nice buffet dinner, and we reserve a private room that has a beautiful domed ceiling with acoustics that allow us to all sit at one table, speak fairly quietly, and still be heard. It’s intimate and personal, yet very classy—the perfect way to end a fabulous event!
I’m tired, but I can’t go to bed quite yet. I’m scheduled to appear tomorrow morning on “Good Things Utah,” a morning television show here on our local ABC affiliate, and I need to finish preparing. I’m demonstrating Décor Elements, but I’m cheating a little by displaying Jill Kocherhans’ projects from her convention presentation. I’ll be showing them how to do the Spooky Spider glass jar, and I think I’ll also adhere a couple images to their set. Maybe they’ll leave the décor up for several weeks—a little free advertising never hurts!