Like many other creative individuals out there, I sometimes take my skills out of the craft room and utilize them in other places.  I have been known to work with wood in times past; for example, for my wedding my Mom and I built a cedar arbour.  BTW, my Mom is always involved in my wood projects because she's "the one with all the tools."  This time it is a desk, a cute desk, that my Mom could see had lots of possibility.  While my Mom will tell you she isn't crafty or creative, she does see see opportunities where others do not, and she will strive to make those opportunities become realities. Yeah, she's a really neat lady... one of my most favourite in the world, in fact ;) 

So, there is this desk, this cute desk, and just as I began polishing the opportunity into reality I realized that I best take a "before picture." Here they are:
Desk Before
Desk Top Before
I had already taken the knobs off, they were round brass with faux wood centres (Blech!) But isn't it cute? You may be wondering if this is relevant to a stamping, card-making, scrapbooking blog. Here are my reasonings 1. It is a crafty project, 2. When it is finished and beautiful it will be my new craft desk, 3. I saw a stunning little writing desk at Stampin' Up headquarters when I was there which inspired me to model the finishing of this desk. 

After three and a half hours of sanding this is what I accomplished:
I hope you can see the difference... I sure could.  The nicks and dings were all ironed out and it was smooth and soft.  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.  I have to pick up some new sandpaper this week and then I'll get back after it again.  There will be a few more posts soon (I'm sure) before the reality is real. 
Things may seem a bit quiet now that all the Convention excitement has slowed down, but in actuality I think it is the calm before the storm.  I have been making plans like crazy - working on new promotions, classes, opportunities, workshops, and more for the fall and winter. 
If you have a class idea, or would like to know more about a technique, or have friends that you would love to connect with over a super fun evening, or anything else - Let me know because I would love to meet up and find out how I can make your crafting dreams a reality :)   
The last day of I am's... First session was I am Making Money by Pam Morgan . Hmmm, definitely want to be taking that one. She highlighted several demonstrators who are doing business in many ways and shared some of their top tips. One of my favourites was to focus on my strengths. I like having the permission to do things in a different way than others. 

Next I heaed to another session with Emily Montoya titled, I am starting out.  I have to say that I really like her. She is an engaging speaker with a great sense of humour and a giving spirit.  She likened doing Stampin' Up as a business to playing a game, in that both have rules, strategies, and rewards - such a neat way of looking at it. 

The last session of the day was with Brian Pilling (the only session I attended with a male presenter) titled I am a leader. Only what he really wanted to call it was I am a bad leader as it discussed how to not be a bad leader.  This was JAM PACKED with info that I will be looking into in more depth because it's good to have these strategies in LIFE. 

In the last general session I thought I better take a picture of the crowd and the big Convention room for you to see what it was like. 
And this isn't all of it, obviously there are many more to the left and to the right as well.  I was on the top of the bleachers in the middle left, but there were  bleachers all to the left and right of me too.  Just HUGE! And everyone is so happy and excited, dancing, and it's like a huge party with 3500 of your closest friends.  Amzing!
During the last general session we found out that the next Grand Vacation getaway is 2014 is going to be............................drum roll please........................... A Western Carribean Cruise!!!!
That's worth working for I'd say. 
As well, everyone was was given a couple of stamp cool.  Here we are with our brand new Ronald McDonald House Charity set, Moving Forward.  Look for this to be used in my upcoming classes. 

Speaking of moving forward, I definitely feel like this Convention has inspired me to move forward with my business and has given me much more than a suitcase full of ideas, inspiration, and product. It has also given me new friends, and many memories to keep forever.

My first session today was I am earning an incentive trip with Karen Hauley.  Some of you may know that my leader, Desiree Spenst, earned the last two years' incentive trips. This year her family travelled (all expenses paid) to Walt Disney World Florida.  Next spring her husband and her will be travelling to Fiji!  Amazing! I love that Stampin' Up recognizes in such a huge way the work and accomplishments of the demonstrators.  The main idea from this session was to introduce what you do everywhere you go.  Oh, and I made up a new quote  
    "A goal shouold scare you a little, and scare you a lot"  
                                                                            --Amanda Turner
The original was "A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot" but our team has decided to adopt mine. When I think about the big goals I am setting for myself this year it scares me and then when I really think about them it scares me more.  LOL!  We'll be finding out tomorrow where the next Grand Vacation Incentive trip will be for next year. 
                                                                   Where do you think it will be??

The second session was with Jill Leigh called I am a first-time recruiter...which I am.  There were SO many ideas shared in this workshop...too many to list.  The main thing was to offer the opportunity to everyone, you never know who may be interested in joining Stampin' Up and earning all the wonderful rewards.  

The last session of today was I am Reaching Out with Emily Montoya and it was about how to reach out to those in Generation Y.  Even though I am a Gen Y I haven't had the experiences of many of those in my generation, so it was really interesting and reflective.  Many ideas around comunication and tools for effective communication - like texting. 
This evening the rest of my friends went to an additional optional class, but I had opted out and instead went for dinner at Squatters (the oldest brewery in SLC) with my family who lives in Salt Lake City.  I don't get to see them as much as I would have like, so we really enoyed our chances to visit, catch up, reminisce, and of course, eat. :)

So, this is the day I was expecting.  Craziness! The energy was out of this world.  The first general session was in this humongous room with at least 6 jumbotrons and a main stage. The place was filled with 3500 Stampin' Up Demonstrators from all over North America - so cool! Got to see Shelli Gardner for the first time and she introduced Jason Dorsey, one of the best speakers I have ever heard.  He spoke about different generations, but managed to bring people together.  This kicked off an amazing Convention and provided a great topic of conversation with strangers.   

The theme for Convention was "I am" so all of the breakout classes used that as a jumping off point for their title. Today at Convention I attended the I am Savvy class with Donna Griffith, Meg Wheelerand Laura Milligan.  They showed a ton of ideas using ribbon, fabric. Here is one idea for a class that I will be holding in August.    

The next class was I am doing business My Way - another reoccurring theme this year.  Bonnie Thurber hosted it with Ronda Wade and Tami White.  They gave some very helpful tools. 
One of them that I will be trying is hosting private classes for individuals.  Another will be to shorten the amount of time it takes to complete projects. 

The last class of the day was I am open for Business with Carrie Cudney.  The main tip I got from this session was to not be afraid to try new things. 

Today wrapped up with the Awards Ceremony where my dear friend Desiree Spenst, not only marched across the stage for earning a Grand Vacation to Fiji and being a part of the Top 20 Demonstrators in Canada, but was also asked to join the Advisory Board for Stampin' Up! We are so proud of her!

Advisory Board. Desiree is third from the left :)
Early morning this morning. We lined up early and went straight to Momento Mall, a place to buy exclusive Convention goodies.  Desiree and I then headed to a focus group where we discussed the catalog - that was a cool experience.
Then we went to join the rest of the group and accompany Desiree to the Awards booth.  We were all so ridiculously thrilled when she found out that she earned the Founders Circle!  It is the most prestigious award that Stampin' Up! grants.  She is one of the top 20 demonstators in Canada!  We are just ridiculously proud.   

We had celebratory lunch across the street at Toasters. Then, we made our way down to the Make and Take area and started some of the make and take projects with our NEW stamp sets!  Here is Heather, Desiree, and Holly working away.  Pictures of projects will have to come after I get home as I couldn't get mine finished.

 Then we got to go on the bus tour to Riverton to the Stampin' Up! Home Office.   There we got to see a bunch of really cute home decor ideas. 
Here is the distribution centre where they fill the packages.  They have a conveyor belt that circulates throughout the warehouse (can only see it going up a bit on the bottom right of the picture). 

The idea room was my favourite place in the place. Very creative, open, fun, spontaneous, invigorating.  I'm gonna change the name of my craft room to my "idea room" when I get home.  Here is me, Sarah, Desiree, Heather, and Holly chillin in the idea room. 

Lastly, we headed out to the street sign and had some "rockin" pictures taken ;)

Well, that's it for tonight. My brain and body are so very tired and I have to get up early as the Sessions all start tomorrow.  More to come tomorrow....
We've arrived in Salt Lake City!   

Stampin' Up! Convention begins tomorrow (Yay!).  
Today has been spent meeting new Stamping friends.  To celebrate I am offering Ribbon Shares.  

Stitched In Color Satin ribbon (5 colours) - 2.5 yards each colour - $20 
Stitched Grosgrain ribbon (10 colours) - 2.5 yards each colour - $23  

For those who would like BOTH ribbon shares (and I know you do) then you can get them for $40!  

If you would like even more ribbon, you can grab two shares and I am happy to snip one 5 yard long piece for you.   

Let me know by the time I get back from Convention - email me or facebook me!

In the middle of the month I post a colour challenge designed to inspire.  
Enjoy creating with these vibrant and summery July colours
Shared from The Colour Suite from Scrapbook and Cards Today
When we arrived home from our Alberta trek this is what I found in the mail!  It's my name tag for Stampin' Up Convention in Salt Lake City next week!

I can not believe it is here already.  I remember when I first heardd about the annual Convention from my leader, Desiree.  I thought to myself, actually I said aloud to her, "Oh my gosh, that would be such a fun trip." And now here it is time to pack up and jump in the car.  

I've been told that this is going to be quite the experience, so I am thrilled that the day is almost here.  I'll be posting lots and trying to keep you updated as much as possible.  

It's been awhile since I have had an opportunity to blog.  We have been travelling and working and have had not time for stamping, crafting, OR blogging.  Our family along with our nephew travelled through Banff and Jasper National Parks and have taken a TON of pictures (just preparing for a new family vacation Scrapbook). Here is a taste of the scenery and wildness.  
Can you see why I'm stocked for the next scrapbook??