Counting My Blessings

Greetings from the beautiful state of Utah.  Today I am writing from Salt Lake City where I am awaiting the start of Stampin' Up's On Stage Convention which begins this week.

I love attending Stampin' Up! events.  One of my favorite things to do is to "Swap" cards with other demonstrators.  This year I brought 100 cards to swap, that is a lot less than the 300 I have brought to events in the past.  The reason why I love to swap is that I only had to come up with one idea and when I trade my idea with other demonstrators, I come home with a variety of different styles of cards that I can share with my customers.

Today I want to share with you a card I made for a private swap I joined with my advisory board sisters.  This card is one that I made a few months ago at the end of my treatment for breast cancer.  It was inspired by two unexpected gifts I received in one week.  The first gift was from Jill.

Glass Pineapple Gift

Glass Pineapple Gift

Jill knew I loved pineapples and was in the middle of decorating my new Stamp Studio.  I hadn't owned a completely clear pineapple like this one, so I was so honored she would think of packaging this one up and mailing such a special gift all the way from Florida.  I was truly blessed.  

The second gift came from Leanna.  Leanna gave me this beautiful blanket that she had crocheted in a pineapple pattern.  

Special Gift from Leanna - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Special Gift from Leanna - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was brought to tears by this special gift because Leanna had an injury awhile back and crocheting (something that is her passion) has been more difficult for her to do because it can be painful.  So to think she took the time to make me this beautiful vanilla colored blanket meant so much to me.  It was truly a labor of love and one that I will treasure.

The week I received these gifts, I created a "punch art" pineapple thank you card that was inspired by these two thoughtful gifts.

Punch Art Elegant Pineapple Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Punch Art Elegant Pineapple Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card was created with Very Vanilla Card Stock.  I textured the base with the Layered Leaves Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder.  I then aded another vanilla layer that had a  Gold Foil Base.  The pineapple was created with the largest oval from the Layering Ovals Framelits.  When I cut the Oval I made sure a small portion of the bottom was off the edge so it would produce a flat bottom.  If you just cut out the entire oval you could also use scissors to cut a tiny piece of the bottom off to make it flat, either way works!!!.

Let me tell you about the paper I used to cut the oval.  It is a piece from the Bundle of Love Specialty Designer Series Paper which is item number #144143 and a part of the Bundle of Love Suite pictured on pages 102 and 103 of Stampin' Up! Catalog.  If you aren't planning a baby shower or wedding, you might just skip over this paper, but DON'T.  It is GORGEOUS!!!! It is a heavyweight paper that has gold foil design on one side and 6 vanilla/soft sky and 6 vanilla/blushing bride on the other.  The gold foil designs are so beautiful and shiny and really stand out on your projects!  

To top off the pineapple I used our new Lemon Builder Punch and cut out 5 leaves from Gold Foil paper to create a pineapple crown.  The finishing touch was a double flower created with the Blooming Heart Thinlits and a Thank You sentiment stamped from the One Big Meaning stamp set on a piece of Vanilla Card Stock that had been trimmed using the Triple Banner Punch.  A jewel Rhinestone was added to the center of the flower to add the final bling to this elegant pineapple card.

I am really thankful for these two beautiful friends who blessed me with unexpected gifts and support during a difficult season in my life.  

November is the time of year that we remember to be thankful and count our blessings.  Today, at the start of this new month I am doing just that.  Feeling thankful to be here in Utah as a result of doing a job that I love.  Thankful for the friends who have become like family both in my downline, customers and other demonstrators from around the world.  Grateful to God that I am healthy and feeling better than ever!  Blessed to have just celebrated 29 years of marriage to my wonderful husband and elated to be in a season where both of my children will be getting married soon!  God is so good and I am truly counting my blessings today.  

Jill and Leanna took the time out of their busy schedule to do something special for me.  They not only inspired this card but also they reminded me of how important it is to be a blessing to others.  Today I am inspired by their kindness and hope you will feel that way too.

Counting my blessings!

Cindy

 

 

 

 

Stamp Studio Blessing

This past Saturday evening I had a Stamp Studio Blessing.  I purposely planned this for the eve before the "Grand Opening" of my new stamp studio.  The blessing was led by one of my dear friends, Pastor Alec Shimizu from New Hope Leeward, who is like a brother to me.

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Alec has always been an encouraging friend but during my recent diagnosis with breast cancer he was especially caring and supportive and for that I am so grateful.  

Alec and Cindy - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Alec and Cindy - www.stampedwithaloha.com

As we discussed what would take place at the blessing, Alec explained that he would open up with prayer and then ask me to share a little about my history as a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator.  Some of the things that came to mind was how I had initially started just to get a discount on product.  Then I remembered all the other blessings that have happened such as traveling the world and making amazing friendships.  While all of these things have been amazing parts of my journey, the purpose behind why I do what I do is so much bigger than that.  

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was reminded of that purpose the day before my blessing when I visited the YWAM base with two friends who were classmates of mine 30 years ago.   We attended a Discipleship Training School in the late 80's.   I hadn't seen one of these friends in 30 years so we all had a lot of catching up to do.
 

YWAM 30 year Reunion 

YWAM 30 year Reunion 

As we reminisced we spoke of a time when a lady named Diane Littleton came to pray over us.  After Diane would pray over each student she would share about what God spoke to her as she prayed.  As she prayed for me she said, "I see you surrounded by hundreds of women, you are being an influence and encouragement to them".  When she was done I smiled and inwardly thought that she must have gotten that message about someone else because I am not someone who is comfortable being in front of a large group of women and I didn't feel a call to be involved with women's ministry.  

Then I thought about where I am today.  Through my experience with Stampin' Up!  I AM surrounded by hundreds of women.  Amazingly beautiful women who are my customers, downline, sidelines, sister demonstrators, wonderful family, and amazing friends.   What Diane prayed has come true.  It made me think that sometimes we don't think we have the ability to do something, but with God's help, we can overcome those insecurities and fears.  I love the fact that God led me in a very creative format to show me how he could use me to bless others through sharing inspiration and creativity with ink and and paper.  I love what I do and hope I can be a positive influence and encourager to everyone I meet.  

For my new space, that is my hope.  I want to be more intentional in helping others as God leads me to do so.  I want to make a difference.

As we closed our time together, Alec had us all go around the room and pray.  We prayed over every inch of this new space as you can see in the photo below.

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Even as I look at this photo of this special moment, I am reminded of the peace and joy that fills this space.   I love how everyone, young and old are smiling.   It is my hope that everyone who steps foot in this space would feel loved and encouraged as they create projects designed to encourage them in the process and bless others when they are used.

Pastor Alec - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pastor Alec - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Alec closed with a prayer of dedication and then we enjoyed dinner and fellowship.

It was good to have my sisters here to celebrate with me.  I love how we share so many different life experiences together.

My Ohana - www.stampedwithaloha.com

My Ohana - www.stampedwithaloha.com

 Karin and family brought the beautiful lei I am wearing.  Karin said she picked an orchid/rose lei so I could wear it at my open house the next day. 

Cindy and family brought me this beautiful white and gold pineapple.   What a special momento to commemorate this special day.

A special gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

A special gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Someone recently asked me why I like Pineapples and I told them it was because they represent hospitality.  I hope that everyone who comes into my home and studio will feel welcomed, taken care of, and loved.

Alec and Lynne - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Alec and Lynne - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Alec and Lynne blessed me with this beautiful orchid.  I hope to make a card for them inspired by this beautiful gift.

Cindy at her Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy at her Stamp Studio Blessing - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I am very thankful and blessed to do what I do as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  I love that I have a job I can use to not only be creative but to inspire others, encourage others, and do my best to make a difference.  I am thankful for this new space that has been dedicated to God because I recognize all that I have, all that I am is because of Him.  

So, do you want to see my new space?  Since some of you have asked.  Here are a few photos!

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

The counter and cabinets on this wall are all new.  There is lots of storage both in the tall cabinets and in the deep drawers.  The ink pad holders are old.  They were custom made in Hawaii many years ago by Randy Pang.  I just painted them white to match my decor.

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

The dry erase boards at the back of my studio were made when I took the existing tall cabinets and turned them around to provide hidden storage behind this wall,   I then used the back of the cabinet as a dry erase board by adding a panel that could be used this way.  This has been really helpful in keeping me organized.

The paper storage pictured here is from Stampin' Storage.  A wonderful company that creates custom storage units for crafters.  The middle drawer has a pull out section where all of my scrap paper is kept in hanging file folders.  

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

On this wall I have all my punches in a punch unit I purchased from Stampin' Storage.  My stamps are stored on CD racks my friend Cindy found for me years ago on Craig's List.  The large TV is great for playing the music station during a class.  I also like watching tv sometimes when I work, its usually Hallmark Movies or Football.  Yep!  I love them both.

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This hidden desk area has another small card rack where I store personal cards that are ready to send.  I also have a business supplies tucked in these older cabinets that I moved to this area.  To save space I hung extra chairs on the wall and I have a bulletin board where I keep some encouraging words to look at as well as a photo os my favorite inspirational quarterback, Russell Wilson.

Card Display - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Card Display - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This wall contains card samples where I can show my customers what is coming up.  The cards in the middle will be my next stamp a stack class which is this Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy's Stamp Studio - www.stampedwithaloha.com

One of my favorite things in this space is this custom sign by Soha Living.  Its a fun way to remind people of the positive spirit I hope will invade this space.

Well, in my next post I'll share a little about my Pink With Purpose Event.   Although I don't have any card samples to share with you today, I hope you enjoyed a closer look at my new space.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and allow me to share about my Studio Blessing.  

With Love and Stamped Blessings,

Cindy



 

The Land of Smiles

Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles" so Phuket was the perfect choice for Stampin' Up! to schedule their 2017 Grand Vacation.  One of my goals every year is to achieve an incentive trip with Stampin' Up! and this one will go down as one of my favorites.   

As we prepared for our trip I knew one of the benefits to being in Thailand was that I would receive a copy of our new Holiday Catalog.  This catalog will be available to my customers in August.  It is always fun being with other demonstrators when a new catalog is revealed.  The first things we do is go through the catalog page by page, creating a wish list, marking and bending pages as we go!  So when I saw these adorable pineapple emoji tabs at Walmart in Hawaii, I couldn't resist creating a pineapple topper to package them as gifts.   That way I'd have a useful gift for friends who would be marking every other page in their new catalog, just like me!!!

Pineapple Emoji Tabs - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pineapple Emoji Tabs - www.stampedwithaloha.com

To create this pineapple I used an Oval from the Stitched Shapes framelits.  Prior to cutting it out I took a piece of Crushed Curry card stock and used my Simply Score board to texture the paper with crossing lines.  The sunglasses came from the stamp set "Pocket Full of Sunshine" which has coordinating framelits to make cutting out the glasses a breeze! The mouth was made with a 3/4 inch circle punch and the crown of the pineapple was made using one of our newest punches the Lemon Builder punch.  Aren't these pineapple emoji tabs cute?  I just love all the smiling faces and know exactly where I am going to stick them in the new catalog!

Speaking of smiling faces.  There were lots of smiles all around in Thailand and a huge smile on my face because I was SO happy to be on this trip.

Welcome to the 2017 Grand Vacation in Thailand - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Welcome to the 2017 Grand Vacation in Thailand - www.stampedwithaloha.com

When I found out that I had to have a second surgery following my lumpectomy for breast cancer, I thought for sure this trip would be impossible.  Thankfully my doctors agreed that if I took certain precautions they would allow me to travel prior to starting my radiation treatments.

We stayed for a week at the beautiful Angsana Laguna Resort in Phuket, Thailand.  

Angsana Laguna Resort - Phuket, Thailand

Angsana Laguna Resort - Phuket, Thailand

Although the resort was amazing, the resort was not the main reason why I was so happy to be in Thailand.   The main reason I was so happy to be there had everything to do with the people I would be with.  

At our general session on day one, it didn't take long for the tears to flow.  As I began to look around the room I felt so much joy as demonstrators I've known for many years greeted me with so much love.  Many ran over to hug me and whisper in my ear, "I'm praying for you".  One who was stuck in the middle of a crowded row waved and blew me a kiss.  All the love made me feel so appreciative to be there at that very moment.  It reminded me of why I love being apart of such an amazing company filled with even more amazing people who have become very dear friends.

Then I found my Advisory Board sisters, Kim and Linda.  It was such a blessing to finally reunite with these two special women who have blessed my life for so many years.  

You know what I love... As we posed for this photo take a look at the two demonstrators behind us?  

General Session - www.stampedwithaloha.com

General Session - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Now look at them again!  I am glad that this photo showed this candid moment of how much love  we have for one another, especially when we have opportunities like these where we can meet together face to face.

General Session - www.stampedwithaloha.com

General Session - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Today, I want to highlight a few of the things about Thailand that I absolutely loved.  

The first was visiting the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary.   I highly recommend visiting their website to learn about the good work they are doing to rescue and protect these magnificent creatures from abuse.  

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary - www.stampedwithaloha.com

We got to feed them and observe them up close as they walked through the sanctuary.  We watched as they played in the mud and even went into the river to cool off.    It was such a great experience and one of my favorite days spent in Thailand.

Exploring at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary - www.stamepdwithaloha.com

Exploring at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary - www.stamepdwithaloha.com

I love adventure and being at this sanctuary was just amazing.  Definitely one of the highlights from my time there.

Another thing I loved about Thailand was the FOOD.  Thai food is by far one of my favorites.  After we visited the sanctuary, they provided a huge vegetarian Thai lunch for us.  It was SO delicious.  

Thai Lunch at the Elephant Sanctuary

Thai Lunch at the Elephant Sanctuary

There were so many choices, it was hard to pick so we had to try a little bit of everything.

We found a restaurant near the resort that we loved too.  It was called the Corner Restaurant.  The first night we went there Derek couldn't decide what to get so he ordered two entree's and both were equally delicious.  We loved this place so much that we went there more than once because of their excellent food and service.

The Corner Restaurant

The Corner Restaurant

Speaking of food, that reminds me of another favorite thing I did in Thailand.  I spent an afternoon learning how to cook Thai food at the Brass Wok Cooking School.

Brass Wok Thai Cooking School - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Brass Wok Thai Cooking School - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Our instructor Pua was so passionate and talented and it was wonderful to learn from her.

Brass Wok Cooking School in Phuket, Thailand.

Brass Wok Cooking School in Phuket, Thailand.

It was great to learn how to prepare several Thai dishes using colorful and fresh herbs, spices and vegetables.

Fresh Vegetables at our Thai Cooking class

Fresh Vegetables at our Thai Cooking class

We made many delicious Thai dishes, my favorite was this very refreshing Green Papaya Salad.

Making Green Papaya Salad 

Making Green Papaya Salad 

After each course we would get to sit down and enjoy what we had just learned to make.

Sampling our food at the Brass Wok Cooking School

Sampling our food at the Brass Wok Cooking School

If I had more time I would have signed up for more classes as this wonderful cooking school.

Whenever we go on any type of incentive trip with Stampin' Up! you can expect to be spoiled.  They give us gifts daily in the hospitality room and pillow gifts each night when we go to bed.  One of our pillow gifts this year included an free ticket to an excursion the next day in Phang Nga Bay.

This trip included a scenic boat ride.

Boat ride to Pha Nang Bay

Boat ride to Pha Nang Bay

Our boats let us off at a floating dock where we put on life jackets and prepared to go kayaking.  

Pha Nang Bay Excursion

Pha Nang Bay Excursion

It was very relaxing because each kayak had a guide.  As our guide led us through the water he even sang to us.  He told us to put our feet over the edge of the boat and relax.  

Pah Nang Bay Excursion

Pah Nang Bay Excursion

That same day we also visited a floating village called Koh Panyee.  

Koh Panyee Floating Village

Koh Panyee Floating Village

This village had a school and even a floating soccer field.

Floating Soccer Field -  Koh Panyee

Floating Soccer Field -  Koh Panyee

Our guide told us whoever kicks the ball off the field and into the water has to go in after it.  So in order to play soccer, you must know how to swim.  I guess learning to swim is really important if you live on a floating village.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

While on our way to another island to enjoy lunch on the beach we passed by James Bond Island where the movie Man with a Golden Gun was filmed.

Derek and Bruce 

Derek and Bruce 

I over heard the guys joking, "I'm surprised the island is still here". one of them said,  "Didn't it blow up at the end of the movie"?

Stampin' Up! really made us feel special at our farewell dinner.  This is always a surprise!  I am not one who LOVES surprises but everything about this night was really special and fun.

Blue Elephant Greeting

Blue Elephant Greeting

When we got off of the busses for our final night event we were greeted in a very extravagant way.  There was music and many Thai people lined up in beautiful traditional colorful clothes.

We were given fancy juice drinks to enjoy.

Drinks at the Blue Elephant

Drinks at the Blue Elephant

We were also presented with beautiful fragrant flowers.

Thai Flowers at the Blue Elephant

Thai Flowers at the Blue Elephant

Receiving these flowers reminded me of our Hawaiian Lei greeting but these were worn around the wrist and they smelled like Jasmine.

Thai Dinner at the Blue Elephant

Thai Dinner at the Blue Elephant

There were food stations everywhere serving the most delicious Thai food.  

Soap Carvings at the Blue Elephant

Soap Carvings at the Blue Elephant

There were also craft vendors demonstrating and selling their handicrafts.

Live Music at the Blue Elephant

Live Music at the Blue Elephant

There was a live band that entertained us the entire night.

Baby Elephant at the Blue Elephant

Baby Elephant at the Blue Elephant

There was even two baby elephants at the party.

Celebrating at the Blue Elephant

Celebrating at the Blue Elephant

It was a wonderful night where we got to enjoy all of this beauty under a huge tent.

A Magical Night at the Blue Elephant

A Magical Night at the Blue Elephant

It gave us the opportunity to visit with one another and enjoy a last night of celebrating together before we all went our separate ways which is always a sad day!

I was glad I got to spend some one on one time with my friend Genevieve who is from Canada.    She has been an inspiration to me in many ways! 

Genevivie and Cindy at the Blue Elephant

Genevivie and Cindy at the Blue Elephant

The word "inspire" means to FILL someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.  When I attend these events I truly leave feeling inspired.

Special friends, Rich and Dawn

Special friends, Rich and Dawn

I am inspired to give thanks for friends who show you how much they care.

Demonstrator Friends

Demonstrator Friends

I am inspired to celebrate the joy of friendship.

Advisory Board Sisters

Advisory Board Sisters

As well as the blessing of Sisterhood.

Georgia and Cindy at the Resort

Georgia and Cindy at the Resort

Because of my current health challenge, I was also inspired with Faith and Hope to be an encourager to others in the same way that so many others have been for me.

Again I want to say "Mahalo" to all of my demonstrator friends who showered me with such love and encouragement during our special time together in Thailand.  I also feel grateful for all of you at home who were apart of praying with me and for me so that I would be able to go.

Two days after I got home I dropped a glass bottle of fish sauce on my foot.  I went to the ER because I couldn't walk and they took an X-ray and told me it was fractured!    Thankfully a visit to the Orthopedic Surgeon confirmed that it was not as bad as I had thought it was.  What I thought would be 8 weeks on crutches turned out to be 2 days on crutches, 4 days of walking with a boot and a couple days of limping around and now the pain is almost completely gone!  I was even able to go hiking this past weekend.

HIking in Maili, Hawaii

HIking in Maili, Hawaii

When I got to the top of the mountain, look what I found?  Someone had painted this pink ribbon on the wall.  It was an encouraging reminder that I was not alone.  

This whole week I've been anxious about starting radiation because there has been a delay.  But as I sat at the top of the mountain I was reminded to not be anxious about anything.  I know that God is in control and His timing is perfect. 

So as I wait on Him, I am enjoying the blessings that each new day brings as I continue to seek God and his direction for my life in the days to come.  I know that I can trust in His perfect timing which he so faithfully demonstrated when he allowed me to visit the Land of Smiles, a time I will forever cherish in my heart.

Pink Pineapple Blessing

One day while shopping at the mall this Christmas season, I came across a beautiful pink pineapple ornament and immedeiatly thought of my friend, Kim Williams.  She loves Pink Pineapples and even named her blog Pink Pineapple Paper Crafts.  I knew I had to get this ornament for Kim and since her birthday is just a few days before Christmas.  So I decided to make her a small gift that was inspired by the ornament I found.

Pink Pineapple Frame and Ornament - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pink Pineapple Frame and Ornament - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I used our Stampin' Up! pineapple stamp to create this artwork for Kim.  Did you know that if you have a good pair of scissors you can cut that stamp in half to make using it easier.  That way you can ink up the pineapple base and crown in separate colors and stamp them both at the same time without having to clean the stamp.... easy peasy!

Kim LOVES Bling.  Besides our love of pineapples, we actually share that in common, too... but if you look at her jewelry collection, I think Kim takes it up a notch compared to me with all her beautiful sparkly treasures.  Since I know she loves Bling, I wanted to make this Pineapple as sparkly as possible, so I added almost 40 jewel rhinestones in various sizes that I colored with a pastel pink sharpie pen.

Pink Pineapple Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pink Pineapple Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Do you like the Designer Series Paper I layered this gift on?  Well, it's new and it will be one of the items you can choose free with a $50 order during our upcoming saleabration.  Its called Inside the Lines (item #143830).  I JUST love it.  It will be fun to color for those like myself who LOVE to color but it also works great just as it is and it provided a great background for this jeweled pink pineapple.  

For the sentiment I used the set Flourishing Phrases because it reflected so well how I feel about Kim.  God certainly did brighten up the world when he made her because she is such a beautiful person who just sparkles with love and I am so blessed to call her my friend.

The one thing I really like about the finished project is the frame itself.  It is mirrored so that when Kim passes by it she can see a reflection of herself and remember how special she is.

 Speaking of special, Kim and I were both surprised to see that on the back cover of our newest Occasions catalog there is a photo of she and I.  When my catalog arrived, it was the most fun surprise to see that we were there on a page that is dedicated to sharing about friendship as one the benefits of becoming a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.

Join Stampin Up! and Make A Friend - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Join Stampin Up! and Make A Friend - www.stampedwithaloha.com

As I look at this photo of us in the middle of the page I am reminded that one of the greatest blessings of becoming a Stampin' Up! demonstrator 17 years ago was the blessing of meeting special friends, many who have become family to me like Kim has.  I am truly grateful for the $99 investment that not only enriched my life by providing me a job opportunity that I love but it gave me the opportunity to make amazing friends like Kim along the way.  People who truly have made a difference in my life.

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to you Kimberly Joy!  I hope you know how grateful I am for the blessing of your continual love and friendship.  

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com