My Stamping Journey

Saturday, April 15, 2017 / 2 comments
How It All Began

In 2007 life was pretty crazy for me.  I was a stay-at-home mom to one and two year old boys and my marriage was rocky at best.  I was in a deep depression and plunging deeper day by day.  I took care of my family but did not take care of myself.  Being a one income family made it hard to do anything but stay home with the boys with the occasional walk to the park.  Life was mundane and hard and I realized quite quickly that I needed an escape or I was going to go mad.

As I was online browsing Facebook one afternoon, while the boys were taking their nap, I noticed one of my friends had posted a link to a scrapbook page that she had made.  I was instantly intrigued.   A lot of my family is very creative but I always assumed I did not inherit that artistic gene (with the exception of music) so the thought of me being good at paper crafting was laughable.

I decided to contact my friend and get some tips on how to start scrapbooking.  I scoured the web in search for beginner ideas and after some begging to my (then) husband for money I went to Joann's and purchased my first paper pack, adhesive, and a cutter.

I made a few scrapbook pages but realized very quickly that 12x12 scrapbook pages were just too intimidating for me.  So I decided to try my hand at cardmaking.

  My First Card

This is one of the first cards I ever made. It's nothing amazing by any means but it sparked something in me.  I immediately started making cards for everyone and for any occasion.  I loved seeing the look on people's faces when they would open the envelope and realize that the card was hand made.  Even from the beginning, I always tried to design my cards with a particular person in mind, and I truly believe the recipient realizes the love behind each one of my cards. 

Before I knew it I was stamping every day when the boys went down for their nap and after they went to bed at night.  I couldn't get enough of it!  My scrapbooking friend was also a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and I signed up almost immediately.  If I was going to do this stamping thing I had to get a discount!


Design Teams 

Before long I was asked if I would like to be on the design team for Sweet & Sassy Stamps.  I was honored and could not refuse the offer.  That's when my stamping career really took off.

I was on numerous design teams from 2007-2010 including Paper Pretties, There She Goes, and was the co-founder of Paper Makeup Stamps.  I recently found out that almost all the companies I used to design for went out of business but I will be forever thankful for the time I was on each of these teams.

I also did a lot of guest designer spots for several challenge blogs and companies including one of my all-time favorite companies, Verve Stamps which was a dream come true.  I finally felt like I had "made it" in the stamping world.

  ChristiThorsen_VSAPRBP3_Sympathy_for_Matt_April2010_001_by_Cici510  

During my entire design team time I remained a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and almost exclusively used the product.  I have always loved how everything coordinates and the colors and styles are unmatched.


My World Ends

In 2010, everything in my life changed.  I left a bad situation at home and moved in with my mom.  When I left, I ran with my boys and not much else.  It was not a good situation at all and one that I hate to think about even to this day.  I'll just say that I'm thankful that I had the strength to leave when I did and leave it at that.

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I brought what I could of my stamping supplies and tried to use what my mom had in her craft room but when I would sit down to stamp I couldn't do it.  My heart just wasn't in it anymore.

After a few months of struggling to keep up with design team demands I made the very hard decision to quit all of my teams and quit stamping for a little while.  I lost a lot of friends in this move but when you're going through a divorce I think that's part of the deal. Due to abuse on my blog from my ex's family I decided to completely delete my stamping blog.  I remember hitting the final delete button and bawling my eyes out.  I had everything on that blog.  Years of work and stories that I could never get back, but I felt like it was something I had to do to move on with my life.

Stamping had been an escape for me for years and I was tired of escaping.  I needed a clean slate.  A new beginning.  I told myself I would never stamp again.  If I didn't have the heart anymore why bother? So I said goodbye to Stampin' Up! and the stamping world.


Only By Grace

For the next nine months I was in a deep pit of darkness and depression.  Instead of escaping into stamping, I escaped into other means that would wash away my woes.  When I wasn't working I was sleeping and the only thing I cared about was hanging out with my friends.  I am not proud of where I was but I think I had to go through what I went through to realize what was about to be right in front of me.

In October 2010, my best friend got a new roommate.  When I first met Louie I didn't care for him at all.  It wasn't until December that we actually started talking and slowly began developing a friendship.  Despite the horrible first impression he gave me, we had a lot in common.  I didn't realize that this budding friendship would again turn my world upside down, but this time for the better.

April 1, 2011, after months of being almost inseparable, Louie asked me to be his girlfriend.  I couldn't believe it!  My best friend is asking me to be his girlfriend!  It wasn't until then that it really hit me.  I am falling in love with this man!  It was all over after that.

Two years later, on April 20, 2013, I became Mrs. Flores.  I married my best friend.

  IMG_0731 

A few months after we were married I became extremely ill.  I've had to have four surgeries over the years, including a full hysterectomy, which was devastating because I had wanted more children.  I, again, sunk into another deep depression but this time God intervened. 

Louie and me found a wonderful local church and we both have rededicated our lives to Jesus Christ.  I tell everyone that God sent Louie into my life, as my angel, to bring me back to God. 

My faith has always been important in my life but I left that life for awhile and God brought me back.  Now that my priorities are where they should be I am stronger and happier than ever.  I do still struggle with the medial issues that have plagued me for years, and life is not without its problems, but now I have a best friend and partner who will help me stand strong through the turbulent times.



There Was Still Something Missing

In 2016, as the dark cloud of depression started to lift, I felt this feeling like something had been missing in my life.  On a whim one Saturday afternoon, I decided to go online and check on some of my old stamping friends.  Man, was I shocked at how much things have changed!  I realized that I had been gone from that world for far too long, and I couldn't go back.  Still, that longing deep inside me continued to grow stronger and stronger.

During VBS at our church I struck up a conversation with one of the other volunteers.  We were both doing crafts for the event so of course the conversation was about crafting.  I mentioned that I used to be a stamper and she told me that she WAS a stamper!  Before long, we are talking about our favorite company: Stampin' Up! 

I couldn't believe it!  Here I had been thinking about stamping again and I meet a fellow stamper.  We exchanged phone numbers, and agreed to get together to stamp soon.  I went to a class at her house and that did it.  I was hooked again!


Here We Go Again

September 2, 2016 I (again) signed up to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and this time it's for the long haul.  I feel like I am home again.  It was a long journey that got me here, and one that I think is important for you, my reader, to know.  It humbles me to look back on my journey and to realize how far I've come but I am also not looking back.

I have decided to make Stampin' Up! a business this time around and I am so excited for the road ahead.  I have already started a group, The Sweet & Sassy Stampers, and am in the process of planning monthly card and scrapbooking classes.  I have an amazing upline who I know will help me achieve my goals and I can't wait to one day fill this page with all of my achievements with the company and my team.

Thank you again for reading my story and I hope you enjoy my creations! 

Happy stamping! xoxo
Christi

2 comments:

  1. Such beautiful post filled with lovely creation and precious moment captured!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I didn't expect to get so detailed but that's what happens when you write from the heart. :)

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