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!



Greetings and Highlights from the Land Down Under

Greetings and highlights from the Land Down Under!

Sterling and I have had a wonderful time in Palm Cove! Although it’s winter here in Australia, it’s been a very pleasant 26 degrees Celsius with overcast skies—perfect for walking along the sandy beaches and dining outside overlooking the ocean.

Wednesday evening, after arriving and taking a little snoozer, everyone joined us for a welcome barbeque dinner—fabulous food! We have 25 achievers this year compared to last year’s eight and many more spouses too. Afterward, we all donned “jersey shirts” with team colors (like Bravo Burgundy—our team) printed on the back and played Lawn Bowls—a popular game here in Australia. I tried to get photos, but my camera wouldn’t cooperate.

Yesterday we all journeyed by train up to a little village named Kuranda. We shopped and ate traditional Aussie food, held an adorable little Koala, and fed and petted baby kangaroos—my first time ever!  By the way, did you know that Koalas sleep 20 hours a day. Wouldn’t that be the life?



We then headed down the mountain by way of Skyrail, stopping along the way and learning about the wonders of the rain forest—fascinating stuff!


Today and tomorrow are free days, aside from this morning’s swapping and Make & Take time. Here are two of the three projects we made. I was too busy taking photos to make the third project—a gift box.


The swaps were unique and beautiful. One particularly caught my attention—I'll bet that you can figure out why! (Shoes and chocolate—a perfect combination.)


Finally, here’s a photo of a very happy group of demonstrators after two hours of swapping and stamping with a brand new set!  


I don’t plan on doing more than visiting and maybe a massage before our final group event on Saturday night. Then Sterling and I get up at 3:00 am to travel home. So, I’ll finish highlighting our Australian adventure when I return.

In the meantime—g’day mate! (Is that how you write it? Well, you know how it’s said!)


Check Out My Creative Challenge Project

Just wanted to let you all know that I've posted a project on my Creative Challenge site. Just click on the SoShelli.com Creative Challenge link on the left to check it out.  And I'd love to have you submit your own Celebrate submission as well!


Causes for Celebration

Since we seem to be talking about celebrating a lot this month, one thing I'm celebrating is that I finally sent out my 150 Gardner family greetings—a one-page, typed update of our family (printed on hand-stamped stationery, of course) along with a family photo.

I wanted to get them out in the spring but fell short. Instead I finished stamping the stationery and writing the update while watching the Olympics (can you believe Michael Phelps? WOW!), and for a person who rarely watches TV, I feel so patriotic while watching the Olympics. I also enjoy watching the world come together in a special way.

Another reason to celebrate? I’m off to Australia to spend a few fun-filled (and maybe a little relaxing) days with our top-achieving demonstrators there, along with their guests. I’ve included a photo taken during the Awards Night at the Australian/New Zealand convention in the spring so you can see who I'll be celebrating with.

I’ll try to send an update from the Land Down Under. If I don’t, you’ll know I’m having way too much fun in the sun!

Happy stamping while watching the Olympics!


The Behind-the-Scenes Shot


Every once in a while, I schedule a photo shoot to update my head shots used in different places (catalogs, magazines, web sites, etc.) at Stampin’ Up! You’ll even notice one on this blog!

I smiled when I saw this photo from today’s shoot. It’s a family affair, and everyone pitches in. My son-in-law Jon, my personal photographer, was taking the pictures, and Shalae was helping out—even at nine months pregnant, she’s a team player. It was almost high noon, and after make-up and outfit changes, we’d been at it for almost three hours. She did an incredible job of standing on the wagon wheel, balancing the scrim and her ready-to-burst tummy, and ignoring the hot summer sun.

I thought you’d find this shot as heartwarming as I did. And you’ll also be ready to celebrate when I share the news of baby Phoebe’s birth, which should be any day—and not nearly soon enough for Shalae!

So when you see this head shot of me show up somewhere in a magazine or online, you can smile because you know what was going on behind the scenes! 


The Larsen Family Reunion--and a Little about Shanna

This weekend was a first—the first Larsen reunion without one of the four Larsen sisters—without my mom. We had a great time visiting around the campfire (I still smell like smoke when my hair gets wet) and roasting marshmallows, but it wasn’t the same without Mom. She’s been to every reunion since we began many years ago, and she usually coordinates everything for the potluck dinner as well as the craft. Needless to say, we did a little scrambling to organize our traditional potluck dinner (we all snuggled and ate under the canopy of one of the trailers during a rainstorm), and I grabbed a few of the convention Make & Takes for our craft.

The weather, other than the one time it rained, was perfect; the scenery was breathtaking; and I thoroughly enjoyed vegging. In fact, the first day I fell asleep while visiting because I wasn’t doing something with my hands. So, out came the projects, and I didn’t miss anything else.

I’d love to show you lots of photos, but do you think I took a single photo of the mountains or the trails while riding on the four wheelers? No, of course not! I did focus on the people though. That’s the important thing, right? Except that I’m not in a single shot. Usually I ask someone to include me in a photograph so I can prove I was there, but not this time. I hope I’m not the only one who repeatedly makes that same mistake. I took photos that I think will be meaningful to Shanna, and we all recorded a little something on a cassette for her to listen to because she couldn’t be with us.

That reminds me, one of you asked about Shanna. She is serving a mission for 18 months in Spain for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She’s been gone for 3 months, 13 days, and 12 hours (but who’s counting?), and I miss her tons! Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m thrilled for Shanna and know it will be a wonderful growing experience for her. I just miss her. Maybe I’ll adjust to her being gone, but it hasn’t happened yet, so beware of my blubbering!

And speaking of Shanna, I think I wasn’t as clear as I could have been and one of you thought Shanna wasn’t included in our Gardner Girls Gathering photos (the photos on the photo fan I posted last week). If you look close, Shanna’s the one on the far right. In fact, I didn’t notice it until today when I looked at the photo of the fan again, but the girls are all in age order (except me, of course) starting with Megan on the far left, then Sara, Shalae with Cooper, Sage (and me), and finally Shanna.

And I know my girls are reading my blog because I was reading one of the posts that commented on the photo fan and Washington weather. The comment noted that since I was making one fan, I just as well make five. As I read the post, I thought it sounded like something Sara would say, and lo and behold, it was her! I did laugh out loud, Sara!

I swore these wouldn’t be long posts, but once I get typing, I just don’t want to stop—kind of like the way I talk…

I’m signing off!