Don’t tell my husband…
But I done went and did it. Actually, I don’t think he’ll be surprised.
What am I talking about?
Remember in a recent post I discussed how I had been reading through past blog posts starting from the beginning in an effort to get them categorized? One of the notes I took during that process1 was how much I used to love working with a·muse stamps. I can remember buying my first issue of StampIt! Magazine in the spring of 2006 and seeing this wedding card2; it was love at first sight. I did an internet search for the company that created the clean, sweet image…
Well, we all know how that story ends.
Fast forward from 2006 to March of 2011. I was as intrigued as everyone else in the stamping community when I read all of the announcements about the creation of a·muse|studio as a home party/direct sales company. My initial response was “Huh? You’ve gotta be kidding. Why would they want to go and do something crazy like that?” But… Having met Linda Hartwich at a couple of CHAs over the years, and knowing that my dear friend and boss lady, Miss Meowy, has a great deal of respect for Linda and her business acumen, I had to do a double-take. Of course, I have also always thought Julie Ebersole was the neatest chick around; for me, the words ‘Julie HRR’ and ‘a·muse’ are synonymous. I’m also a faithful reader of Joan Bardee’s blog, Paperlicious3, and she did fabulously detailed review of a·muse|studio’s cardstock and inks. Then, I saw that my fearless leader, Jenn Balcer (longtime SCS general manager and Dirty Dozen Coordinator during my stint as a Dirty Girl) had become a consultant. Just so happens, Jenn and I were due for a chat.
Next thing you know? Jenn’s convinced me that signing up as an a·muse|studio consultant would be money for nothing and chicks for free! Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but after weighing the pros and cons, it sounded like a win-win proposition. Here’s why:
- When have I ever had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a direct sales company whose products I already adore, have bought for years, and which involves my passion for stamping? Answer: never, and odds are, never again. The market is fresh for a|muse studio, and if I’m ever going to do it, now is the time when I’m only one of two so far in Oklahoma. Such possibilities!
- The only money I’d be out is the price of the start-up kit, which is on special for the time being. I easily spend that much over the course of a month or so in crafting supplies and materials. And, because I have such an inventory4 of a·muse stamps, many of which are being re-issued, my previous ‘investments’ can be utilized to support my new endeavor.
- Besides a consultant discount on a·muse’s proprietary products (stamps, dies, inks, papers, embellishments, and so on) I’d also have a discount on things like Copic markers and refills and Nestabililities dies. Can't beat that with a stick!
- Unlike some of the other direct sales stamp companies, a·muse|studio puts no restrictions on their consultants serving on other stamp company design teams. Which means I wouldn’t have to leave my beloved Cat’s Pajamas. That would be a deal-breaker. But again, that Linda is a smart chickie who knows that.
- Orders are made through a personalized website (here’s the link) and shipped directly from a·muse|studios; what could be easier than that? I remember all too well my brief stint in Creative Memories and having to sort through those boxes and make deliveries (*shudder*)…
- So many of my friends know of my passion for stamping and want to try it, but when they see the stuff I usually create, it seems too involved and they say, “Fuhgeddabout it.” I totally get that. I’ve been doing this for about five years now, and my projects have gotten increasingly complicated. That’s what makes stamping ‘stick’ as a hobby; if you catch the fever, you can do more, and more, and more. After all, when I look at someone like my friend, Amy Sheffer, or say, Becca Feeken, I feel like a pre-schooler. Granted, they have a more elegant, detailed style than I, but you catch my drift. Here’s the deal though: a person isn’t going to catch stamping fever unless she has success at the beginning and thinks, “This is fun! I can do this!” That’s where a·muse comes in: the images are darling, but still simple enough that a beginner doesn’t need advanced skills to feel she’s made something she could be proud to send out to friends. The a·muse style also doesn’t require an inordinate investment of time. It’s a great way to start stamping. Those that are ‘hooked’ can either stay with clean-and-simple stamping, or go on to develop a different style. Either way, I’m helping convert the masses; as we all know, the world NEEDS more stampers!
- If it doesn’t work out, no big deal: I can always throw in the towel with a month’s notice. I’ve bought shoes that require a greater investment and bigger commitment.
So, by now you’ve figured it out: I’ve become an a·muse|studio consultant, and I’m really excited about this fun opportunity5!
If any of you are persuaded by my reasoning and feel this might be the kind of opportunity you’re interested in exploring, feel free to drop me an email. We can correspond that way, or if you’d rather, send me you number and I’d be happy to give you a call. If you’re already convinced and looking for an upline, I’d be thrilled to serve as that for you.6 And if you just want to do a little plain, old-fashioned shopping, hit the button on my sidebar or this link and get after it!
I'm going to end this lengthy post with a little walk down memory lane to show you a few of my favorite a·muse designs over the years…
This is the first card I ever made with a·muse stamps, and was made for the first SCS challenge I ever participated in:
I have an abiding love for happy octopus and/or jellyfish images, not to mention the color combo of Orchid Opulence, lime green and orange...
Here's where my a·muse cards begin to get a little less clean and simple. Still, I think these show the versatility of the images. A great image is a great image, regardless of the stamper's style, know what I mean? And I love the symbolism behind bees and beehives (industry, diligence, social organization, hope, etc.):
I made this one to celebrate the cuckoo clock I bought during one of mine & Carter's trips to Frankenmuth, Michigan. I *love* cuckoo clocks so much; they're homey and comforting. Of course, I tire of the cuckooing very quickly, but fortunately you can turn that part off. Still, you have to pull the 'pinecone' thingys twice a day, which I think is a good reminder of how quickly time passes.
The last one I'm going to show is a card I made for my last Dirty Dozen gallery. It shows two of my favorite things: books and faux postage. Guess who I sent this to, to thank her for all she had done for me during my tenure as a Dirty girl? You got it: Jenn Balcer. Full circle moment, or what?!
- Which is still not finished; I get caught up reading all of the comments all over again, too. Then it makes me wonder what some of those folks are up to these days, so I click on their blogs and start reading, and the next thing I know, an hour has passed… you feel my pain, don’t you?
- I cannot believe I found this magazine! I have thrown away countless papercrafting magazines over the past five years. Yet somehow, I still can show you exactly which a·muse image turned my head… spooky! The designer of the cards featured in this issue of StampIt! is Linda Beeson.
- Joan and I have a lot in common. We’re both lawyers, although she practices and I don’t. She lives in the D.C. area and works in D.C. for a government agency. I grew up in Alexandria, VA (my dad was an engineer with the Department of Defense), and then later returned to the D.C. area briefly as a newlywed. We’re the mothers of sons. We have aging mothers who live with (in Joan’s case) or near (in my case) us, and who occasionally drive us batty (Joan’s FAR more patient and a much better daughter than I am). She’s a great writer; I enjoy good writing and like to think I can string a few words together in a pleasing manner. And, oh yeah, we’re both members of that high-niche group of crafters who refer to themselves as ‘stampers.’
- See what I mean? ------->
- Does this mean all you’ll start seeing on my blog is a·muse and a·muse only? No, silly. I’m still a loyal member of The Cat Pack and plan to be until the moment I PERMANENTLY retire (as opposed to temporary retirement, like that period between Sept. of ’09 – July of ’10) from designing. Now that I've reduced some of my design team commitments, I also plan to do more stamping/playing just for fun; after all, isn't that what this is supposed to be about? So you never know what you might find when I pop up in your reader or in-box. You will, however, be seeing more a·muse designs around these parts in the future, and I consider that a good thing. :)
- My aforementioned cyber-friend Joan B. is calling her team “Team Paperlicious,” which I think is really cute. “Team Mother’s Little Helper” is a mouthful, and “Team Carole” reminds me of a bookclub I was once active in, in which the founder referred to it as, say, “Mary’s Book Club” (that’s not her real name, btw). That always irritated me to no end. I don’t really know why, but it did. Which is why I’ll never be a household name like Donald Trump or Lilly Pulitzer. So be it. Anyway, the team name I’ve come up with embraces my philosophy of both stamping and life: TEAM WABI-SABI! I've frequently mentioned my admiration for the Japanese philosophy/aesthetic of wabi-sabi, but for those who need a primer, it's basically this: beauty lies in imperfection, impermanence, and authenticity. It's being content with what is and living in the moment; it's small moments of celebration. Wabi-sabi isn't mass produced or disposable. Examples of wabi-sabi to me are: cracks on the spine of a much-loved and often-read book; bite marks and scratches from Hot Wheels on a coffee table (especially if your children are now much older); "every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face" as opposed to botox injections. You catch my drift. :)