Estella Banks
Chief Creative Officer & Founder
Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
To e-mail me, click here
(714) 264-0026

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pssst... where have you been!?

Okay. So I was doing pretty well last week with posting semi-regularly and then silence. Not a peep out of me and not a peep out of you either! :-) Communication is a two-way street as they say.

So in the August 2008 e-Newsletter "Be a (Nearly) Perfect Neighbor," I was sharing an example of why knowing your neighbors is important...

I recently realized that besides the possibility that our neighbors are super cool people, who could possibly enrich our lives in some way, we just downright need to be inter-connected with those who live around us. Case in point... while in flight to Salt Lake City to attend the annual Stampin’ Up! convention a couple of weeks ago (so much fun, by the way … details are here on my blog), the Chino Hills Earthquake hit…

We were none the wiser ‘til we touched down in Utah and I received a text message from my sister. Her message read, “R u okay?” I responded “Yeah, y? What’s up?” Then the news came. An 5.8 earthquake had just hit. Mind you, we’re standing in the aisle of the plane, bags in hand, waiting to get off the plane. I must have been reading my text messages out loud because those around me were looking at me with questioning eyes. Some of them got on their cell phones to check in back at home.

Now, I'm thinking about how blessed are we to be completely out of range during the earthquake (don't know too many people who enjoy them)! My mom and daughter are fine, I'm fine... I wonder if our "stuff" is fine? Then a slight mental panic sets in.
Our stuff... it'll be days before we return. Do I need to worry about the condo and its contents, or is ignorance really "bliss?"

Enter our neighbor, L.J. Ms. L.J. contacted me a couple of years ago by pure coincidence through the Stampin' Up! demonstrator locator on the Stampin' Up! website. She had been to a stamping class or workshop recently and enjoyed her experience. So she searched for a demonstrator in her area. When she contacted me and I realized that we were neighbors, I was so excited because I'm thinking "Stampin' Buddy"!!! I did my best not to "bother" her too much, seeing that I could throw a stone across the walkway to her patio and kitchen window.

During the past couple of years we have had several cordial exchanges in the alley, at the local church where she works with the child and have even crossed paths at a stampin' class. Thankfully I had her number with me in my PalmTX, so I called to get the neighborhood scoop and hoping that she could check out the environment for me. I left a message for her and she returned my call later in the evening after returning from work. She agreed to scan the area that was visible to her and them she reported back to me that all was fine as far as she could see. Just this small gesture of neighborly helpfulness put my mind at ease. A simple phone call for a favor and kind follow through was all that was needed to allow us to enjoy our vacation. A huge THANK YOU goes out to our sweet neighbor L.J.!

The point of this long story is just to say that you never know when and how your connection with your neighbor may hit that crucial moment when you find that you can help them or they can help you. You just never know! Get to know your neighbors -- they could be uber cool and helpful, too!

By now, you're probably wondering, "does this chick ever stamp?" The answer is yes! Here is a sample of a project that my cousin Joy inspired me to do. My cuz and her husband are practically still newly-weds with one year of bliss under their belts, but let it be known that no grass grows under their feet. These folks are BUSY! They've recently launched a catering and event planning enterprise called Manna Feast ( Their food is excellent and the ambiance is so carefully prepared and executed; you would be amazed!

So back the the inspiration... Joy has been planning and preparing a British Carribean Tea Party and wanted to present some super special invitations to her client. Joy saw some samples in the new Fall Winter 2008 Idea Book and Catalog that she wanted to see. So I set about recreating and CASE-ing the catalog sample on page 134. She scoured the catalog for other stamp sets that we could use to create the look that she wanted to achieve. After a few e-mail exchanges, here is what I finally presented to her as the "final" sample. She also requested a table place card and a cellophane bag favor tag.

Paper: Only Orange, So Saffron, Gable Green and Whisper White cardstock.
Ink: Only Orange Classic Stampin' Pad
Stamps: Frames with a Flourish, Floral Background, Sincere Salutations, and Pun Fun
Accessories/Tools: Corner rounder punch and 1/8" Handheld Circle punch (to create"lacy" scalloped border), Paper Snips, Paper Cutter and SNAIL Adhesive.

Here are all the pieces together.

The other pieces basically use the same materials. The only addition is the use of the "Dare to be Fabulous" text from the Fabulous Flowers stamp set on the place card and "a Fabulous Gift for You" text from the Taking Care of Business stamp set on the cello bag favor tag.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the samples and have learned that I must print the client's name on the place card as though it were the final product. It's easier for everyone to visualize what to expect!

Thanks for stopping by today and hanging in there with me! Next time I'll share some of the Techniques Class samples from previous and hopefully a sneak peak of the projects that we'll do this weekend at the Technique Class/New Catalog Unveiling. Would you like a copy to take home? Let's talk! Call me for details.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prize Patrol on the Loose!

I promised to share with you some of the free gifts that I got at Convention, just because I was in the right place at the right time (must be present to win)!

During each convention there is one general session per day and the rest of the day is set aside for business-related classes. One of the cool things about convention, besides the AWESOME demonstrations by the corporate creative types, is the Prize Patrol. This year we were given colored wrist bands; my wrist band was "Neon Blue." Right before a break or during a transition from one speaker to the next, the prize patrol was on their job. Well, after almost three days without a prize, my belief that a prize was coming my way was beginning to dwindle... But not all hope had been lost... It happened on Saturday afternoon right after Carrie Cudney presented a demonstration featuring gifts from the kitchen. She had just shown us how to make a cute cupcake ensemble complete with cake mix, etc. It was approximately 2:30 pm MST... Carrie announced the winning color... it was neon blue... I jumped from my seat in the front row (of my section) and started jumping up and down. The prize patrol (a.k.a. Stampin' Up! staff members) came running out of the black curtained area into the aisles with shopping bags in their hands. I was in an accessible area so I got mine right away ... Here is what I got. Isn't that the coolest? The prize package includes the Crazy for Cupcakes set (Item #111618, $23.95), the Cupcakes Stampin' Around Wheel (Item #113121, $6.50) and a spool of 1"Chocolate Chip Double Stitched Grosgrain Ribbon (Item #111849, $8.95, 10 yds) all available in the new Fall-Winter 2008 Idea Book and Catalog. Here is the card she made with the Crazy for Cupcakes stamp set. She used Dazzling Diamonds on the cupcakes so there is plenty of sparkle! It is such a cute card.

Later that afternoon, we got another super surprise! It was near the end of the last general session. We had been given a hint at a one of the business classes earlier in the day that something fun would be happening later. I believe the presenter's exact words were ... "I know something you don't know" ... sung in a very taunting tone! The other class participants were begging to hear the news and she said no way! Anyhow back to the general session. So it was nearing the end of the convention and Shelli Gardner, the CEO and Co-Founder, came onto the stage to bid us farewell and make the traditional next convention dates announcement. Well, while she's on stage talking to us we hear the sound of a doorbell and onto the stage walks a man in a brown UPS uniform with a Stampin' Up! box in his hand. Here is what happens next:
Shelli: "May I help you?"
Mr. Brown: "I have a delivery."
Shelli: "Who is it for?"
Mr. Brown: "Um, let's see. There's no name but they told me that it's for... EVERYONE!"

At this point the whole room of 6,000 women (and a few men) goes CRAZY!!! There were cannons shooting out confetti and music to match the excitement of the occasion. It was so much fun! So what was all the excitement about, you might ask? More presents! UPS purchased and gave to the demonstrators a FREE STAMP SET. They selected the new Ronald McDonald House Charities stamp set, Say It with Scallops (Item # 111678, $17.95). (Talk about a win-win!) This set coordinates with the new Scallop Square punch (Item # 112081, $15.95) that will be available in the new Fall Winter 2008 Idea Book and Catalog. Do you have your copy yet? Contact me to find out how to get a FREE copy! (714) 264-0026 or

It was an awesome conclusion to a spectacular week. I do hope that one or two or three (or more of you will consider joining me at convention next year August 5-8, 2009). Let's chat so you can learn more about how you can attend.

Coming up next time... British Caribbean Tea Party Ensemble inspired by my cousin Joy Jones-Harris, Co-Owner of Mannafeast, a full-service global chic cuisine catering and event planner.

Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Photos, ya gotta give me photos!

Hello again! I was reviewing my previous post as I traverse this blog journey and realized, what's a blog without photos? BORING! Tee hee. I have to laugh at myself sometimes!

Here are some photos of the convention trip and a sneak peak at some of the new goodies.

The welcome sign at the airport. Isn't that sweet?

Hey did you get a load of those shoes? Hey wait a minute, did you stamp them? You betcha!

On the train to Ogden...
Is that a sneak peak at the cover of the new Spanish Catalog... Celebrando Creatividad??? You are sooo observant! (Believe it or not, this photo was not staged just for my blog! My DD (dear daughter) was practicing her photography skills and snapped this photo. Pretty good, huh? And so timely!

Here is the cover of the new catalog! Now before you go getting all excited, this is the special edition of the catalog that Stampin' Up! gave us at the convention. Not all of the catalogs are spiral bound. (It is such a nice touch though, don't you think?) Notice the cool scalloped edge... just a hint of one of the new tools inside (pssst, it's a punch).

Here are some of the stamp sets that we received at convention to use in our Make and Take classes:
Inspired by Nature (double mounted see the next photo below for the grass). This set is an example from the new Silhouettes Style Watch. Very chic!

Inspired by Nature (reverse side of the flower above).Eastern Blooms from the Eastern Eclectic Style Watch.

Flight of the Butterfly. This is a fun Two-Step Stampin' Set.
My Convention bag contained all the goodies you see above.
Okay, that's it for today. Next time you'll get to see a gift pack that I won and a stamp set that UPS gave to everyone in attendance as a thank you for the great volume of business they do with Stampin' Up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

News from Stampin' Up! Convention "Celebrate 2008"

Dear Stampin' Friends!

I am so excited to be able to report to you from sunny Salt Lake City, UT. We've been here since Tuesday (traveling with my Mom and daughter). I'm in Salt Lake City because I'm attending my second Stampin' Up! Convention, entitled "Celebrate '08."

Stampin' Up! is celebrating its 20th year of stampin' fun in October 1988. This convention has been a fun reminder of how far we have come in 20 years, me included [if I were brave enough, I'd post my high school graduation photo, but I'm in SLC! :-)]. There are so many awesome things that Stampin' Up! (SU!) is doing that I am soooo very excited about.

Allow me to recap just a bit...

Last week, SU! announced that we will soon (in the fall) be able to offer online ordering!! That means, you can shop from the comfort of your favorite slippers and armchair. This announcement made dance, since I know that my own comfort level with online ordering has increased over time as I've had successful transactions. I look forward to offering another method for you to get your hands on your favorite products! (Just remember how much fun the hands-on make and take workshops are though! Have you scheduled your Totally Hands-on or Girls Night Out workshop yet?)

Wednesday (July 30) was check-in day. I received a copy of the new Fall-Winter 2008-2009 Idea Book and Catalog and three new stamp sets from the catalog!!! Each convention attendee receives stamps sets that will be used in the demonstrator make-n-take sessions during convention. I think that is the coolest!

Yesterday (July 31), we received a few new product announcements but nothing like what will knock your stampin' slippers off like the announcement we received today (August 1). Okay, so here goes...

Would you like to discover how SU! makes home decorating fun and easy? ... with Decor Elements, of course!! These exclusive coordinating images are a super simple way to add flair to your walls. Available in Chocolate, White, and Kraft, coming this fall the line will be expanded and various other colors will be offered as well. When you have a chance, I invite you to view a short video about the current Decor Elements offering on my website.

Shelli Gardner, the CEO and Co-Founder, announced the launch of Shelli's Signature Collection, a line of products that span the entire Stampin' Up! product line, including stamp sets, home d├ęcor, and accessories. "These will be products that I either personally love or, in some cases, even played a part in developing," Shelli explained during the announcement.

For the second time, Stampin' Up! will partner with Country Living magazine to offer an exclusive holiday kit. The Holiday Collection Stampin' Kit will include exclusive stamps, a combination of Designer Series paper, and coordinating accessories that will only be available by purchasing this kit.

Today (Friday, August 1) was super awesome as well! The most amazing announcement this morning was that I get to offer you more fun and time-saving tools like the Sizzix BigShot made for Stampin' Up! This die cut machine will be available on September 2, for those who already know what this baby can do. I was amazed as I watched the demonstrations this morning. Shelli showed us several samples of projects done using the BigShot, which can cut over 50 different types of materials including thin sheet metal, felt, chipboard, etc.

Photos and more to come later!

So are you as excited as I am? I hope that you will find that the new toys and tools will make you smile, either because you were able to complete a project that made someone else smile, or because you deserve it!

Something to think about...