Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Save Your Stamping Stuff in a Fire

1) Keep things in covered tins or plastic containers that seal. Things that were sealed, survived the smoke and water damage. My stash of retired stuff might have survived as it was in sealed plastic boxes. I haven't gotten them back yet, but its possible.

2) Keep your stamping space away from the kitchen. My husband's office was next to the kitchen and didn't make it. My space was in the basement and we could save some stuff.

3) Have awesome parents who try to clean the stuff that the insurance people say is unsaveable. You get to keep your punches and Big Shot thinlets that way. 

4) Be sure your local fire department sees the need to rescue the stash. Mine put everything they could under tarps. They must have known how important my Stampin' Up! Stuff was.

5) Send cards out when you make them. I had hundreds of cards that my awesome insurance adjuster counted as "waterlogged." 

6) Be aware that any cards on an awesome display rack may incinerate, but the metal display will survive. 

7) Acrylic blocks can be saved. They don't seem to hold smoke. Wood blocks, not so much.

8) Keep an inventory so you can just give it to the adjuster. I circled everything I owned in the catalog and it was painful to see all I had lost. 

9) Keep a stash of thank-you notes in your fire lock box. You'll want to thank people for all they do for you after the fire and the thought of buying them (gasp) is horrible. 

10) Keep scrapbooks in a sealed tomb or digitally. They don't like water and smoke. At all. 


Although the list of things lost is sad, I can rebuy what I love and I was able to save some things. 
-punches
-thinlits
-some embossing folders
-acrylic blocks

Things I lost
-big shot (the rubber handle stinks and the rollers are rusty)
-paper cutter (stinky and rusty)
-project life kits (duh, paper!
-all of my paper and Designer Series Paper 
-inks (they absorb the water and smoke like no other!)
-stamps (rubber loves smoke smells, photopolymer loves it more)
-anything else I had that was papery

What I gained is more space and a fresh outlook on what's important. When I needed help finishing my sister's wedding favors, Demonstrators and Friends rushed to help. When I needed thank-you notes, a great friend sent me a box full of them--with envelopes and stamps! When I needed to drop out of a blog hop, demonstrator friends were supportive. Demonstrator friends have sent me Rich Regal ink pads, a stencil, and more from their own stash. It's overwhelming, but awesome.

Happy Living!

Sara

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life Unexpected

On Wednesday, July 8, I was stamping project for the upcoming Stampin' Addicts Blog Hop when my whole world changed. My husband, who was cooking dinner, yelled "Fire!" I thought he was joking, but ran upstairs anyway. He wasn't.

The pan on the stove was aflame. He was trying to remove the pan and cover it with a lid, but the spatter cover prevented a seal and flames just came up higher around the sides. He picked up the fire extinguisher and held it about 2 feet away. Our kitchen was tiny, he couldn't get farther away. I made him stop because somewhere in my head a voice kept repeating, "Don't use use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire." We had the right kind for a grease fire, but he was so close, the grease could have just sprayed him. At the same moment, we knew it was too big for us. I ran to call 911 on the phone, and he got our roommate Don out the door and safely across the street. He then came back to try from farther away. By then the smoke was thick and getting lower. He tried in vain, but he is still my hero. He got Don and I out. I called 911 hysterically. She told me to stop yelling and I hadn't realized I was.

Although it was mere minutes, the fire trucks seemed to take FOREVER! I just stood there crying until I sat in the grass crying and watching the house burn. I could hear dishes falling and cabinets burning. It was the worst feeling of utter helplessness I have ever felt.

Our local volunteer fire department came and immediately got to work. A neighbor who was a retired fire fighter came to help them. I was astounded at how this group of men were running towards a house that we just ran out of. They just got to work. Throughout the entire night, they were awesome. They had to change their plan when the electrical lines fell down as they crossed the driveway.

It felt like hours before it was put out. Probably because Bubba told the paramedics that I was in shock. They didn't like my high blood pressure and I did my best to deep breathe it down. Seriously, that was a challenge. In the ambulance, you can't see anything, but you can hear some yelling, so it makes an anxious person worse. They were understanding, though, and let me out.

The next couple of hours were a waiting game. Little did I know the waiting would get worse over the next few days. Neighbors helped out, including Sarge and Diana across the street. His yard is always perfect and we messed it up. But he was understanding. Other neighbors offered help and support. We had no idea that was the start of an outpouring of love and support we would encounter.

The American Red Cross team helped us get a hotel room in Shawano for the night and some food money. I took Don away to McDonalds for supper. I was a mess and I think people knew it because they were very helpful.

The firefighters brought out items they thought were important as they found them after the blaze was out and they were looking for hotspots. One brought out a wedding canvas and somberly gave it to me. I took it and thanked him. I felt bad because it was a friend's of Bubba's wedding picture that he took as their photographer, not ours. But I didn't want to tell them. They also found my wallet, a big blob of sooty, burnt fabric. Half of it was still ok, so I saved my check card and my driver's license. I kept in the hallway to the basement on a hook, which was mere feet from the main fire. How it made it, is unknown.

The firefighters also covered and moved everything they could in the basement to try to keep it dry from the amount of water dripping down. The basement was still in 2-4 inches of water, but they tried. I think those big tarps saved some of my belongings. Not much of Bubba's and Don's was ok,  but we did try to get some clothing. It stunk though, and the next day, I gave to the laundry people to clean.

Sleep that night was elusive. There were just too many things that were unknown. We had never dealt with anyone who had a fire or knew what to do. I called the insurance company and immediately felt better. They took over the hotel room; they found a team to board our house up the next day; they got the adjusters assigned and in motion; they connected us with a laundry company that got all of our clothes and bedding the next day to take to launder the stench out; and they got the cleaning crew who would take some furniture in the basement and try to remove the smell and smoke damage.

We will get our clothes back if they could save them. They also sent back by Friday afternoon, our "emergency clothes." The smell of freshly laundered clothing was never so delightful.




The next few days were full of small blessings. I shopped for some fresh clothes for Don and I as well as some food for the hotel room. We found things in the mess that could be saved. We had hope. The insurance adjusters couldn't come until Monday and Tuesday the next week, so the waiting began.

We had each other. Bubba and I make a great team when challenged. We watch out for each other and take care of things as needed. We laugh and hug tears away. We also focus on the here and now and the positive. Sure, most of what we own can now fit in half of a trailer, but we have each other and Don.

Don has been hilarious. He always looks at the bright side of all situations. He called our hotel stay a vacation. When Bubba made a joke  about him not cooking anymore, Don said, "Amen." When I asked him if we should get him a swimming suit so he could go swimming in the hotel pool like we did a few years ago he said, "Those are good memories." He clearly didn't want new ones.

We have an amazing family. My mom came with coffee cake and scotcheroos as well as a kit of office supplies so we had scissors and envelopes, and a notebooks. I could start tracking everything with the insurance on more than hotel notepaper. My nephews texted me good wishes. My sister Nicole and Greg found Bubba a phone and brought it right over. My aunt and uncle and cousin brought quilts and cookies and love.

Additionally, we have an amazing friend support system from all over the country. The very first night a friend of Bubba's started a gofundme campaign to help us raise funds for necessities. Watching that fund grow so quickly made us cry, everytime we look at it. The Oshkosh-Menchaca-Hill Family held a food sale in our honor and gave us a place to hang out Saturday, during what we call the WAITING GAME. We could do nothing at the house until Monday. Photography friends have a gofundme campaign to help Bubba rebuild his photography business. I have had offers and gifts from Stampin' Up! Friends.  We are so lucky to have this community of love surrounding us.

Thank-you all!

Love from us!

Sara, Bubba and Don

PS For you stampers out there, I used the Project Life Ipad App with Cinnamon Kit to make my pages.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Double Two Step, Thank-you Kindly

Simple is better.

This stamp set, Garden in Bloom, produces elegant cards with ease. Stampin' Up!'s Two-Step Stampin' product lines have always been fun and this one is no exception. I've made a few cards and I've seen a bunch and they are all amazing. 




This card should be called the double two step technique because I stamped the white layers as if they were one layer and then added the Crumb Cake matte layer between them. Any gaps that formed when stamping get covered up, but the line the matte creates is pretty cool. The "Double" part is that I also used two step stamping! The Lost Lagoon have centers of Hello Honey and a Basic Black outline. The yellow flowers are So Saffron, then Hello Honey, and finally, the Basic Black outline. 

Isn't that bee darling? I am allergic so don't like them near me outside, but on a card, they are as sweet as can be!

This is the last card in my DIY Stampin' Celebrations Project Kit available for July while supplies last! 


Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Happy Stamping!

Sara



Monday, July 6, 2015

Going on an Elk Hunt...

Well, I'm not, but my dad does every year. I was so happy to see a new sketched animal set in the 2015-2106 Annual Catalog! I was thrilled and couldn't wait to ink it up!


I watercolored the elk using my aquapainters. First, I used Smokey Slate for the rock (which aren't really gray in Elk Country--more tan, but this is art, not reality). Then, I used Tip Top Taupe for the body. The head was colored with Early Espresso and I just blended that into the Tip Top Taupe a bit using my aquapainter. The trick was having the correct amount of water in brush. That just takes practice. I also added a little Soft Sky around the Elk to add dimension and anchor him as the real artists would say. 

The Designer Series Paper was fun, too. I needed 32 card fronts for my class, so I couldn't use the same pattern on every card.  Guess what? Stampin' Up!'s coordination within a paper pack make it unbelievably easy to mix and match! Stampers even mixed and matched more than I had planned. (Two sides=more combinations). I feel a Probability Math Problem Coming on... 

Back to Stamping. This card took about 10 minutes to create. Really. I love simple cards with punch!

Shameless Plug: If you want the supplies to make this card, feel free to buy the July 2015 Stampin' Celebrations Project Kits here. I only have a couple left!

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Happy Stamping!

Sara


Friday, July 3, 2015

NEW: DIY Stampin' Celebrations Project Card Kits Available!

Thanks to the encouragement of some customers, (Thank-you), I am now offering card kits for my monthly Stampin' Celebrations Classes. You can purchase your own DIY Stampin' Celebrations Project Kit for $18.



In your project kit you will receive:
  • 3 different card kits, with all the the pre-cut card pieces and accessories for you to complete 4 cards of each design.
  • An instruction sheet that gives basic tips and tricks to finish your cards. Pictures of each card will be included to help you duplicate the card. 
  • Die cutting, shape punching, and texture embossing will be completed for you (without stamped images). 

You will not receive:

  • Adhesive. It doesn't mail well.
  • Stamped images are NOT included in the card kits in order to comply with Stampin' Up! copyright/angel policy. You may purchase stamp sets in at lilyinkpad.stampinup.com or you can substitute images you own.
Other important info:
  • US Mailing Addresses Only
  • Available while supplies last
  • All sales are final
  • Kits are available on or around the first Friday of each month. 


Here are the stamp sets for this month's kits!

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog




Thank-you!

 Sara Mattson-Blume Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cupcakes and Sprinkles Part 2

I am in love with the Ronald McDonald House Charities stamp set called Sprinkles of Life, so I decided to use it again:


and the inside:


 and even the back:


Who wouldn't want to get this card in the mail?

I used the sketch challenge from As You See It: 

I love the simplicity, yet detailed nature of this card! 

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog
Happy Stamping!

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