I've been thinking about this off and on lately, and today I decided it was time to put some thoughts to paper. I know I may never be as good a stamper as the girls of the SCS Dirty Dozen. I may never be published or be on a design team. I can't afford to keep up with all of the latest trends. That can be hard sometimes when I'm surfing blogs or visiting SCS, because I think, oh, I could be so much better, or my cards would get more comments, if I had this or could do that. I try to remind myself that I stamp as a hobby, for fun and as a way to stay sane. It's a creative outlet that has allowed me to meet new people and share something I love with friends and family.
Sometimes, though, I need outside validation that the gifts and cards I make aren't ending up in my friends' recycling bin or their next garage sale. (I can't be the only one who thinks that, right?) I mean, I make all this stuff, and mostly I send it off to friends and family who live far away, so I never see their reaction to it or know if they're just saying they like it so they don't hurt my feelings.
On my last couple of visits home to Oregon, I received just that kind of validation. Here are a couple of examples: When my 16-year-old cousin opened her Hollywood birthday card, she and her stepmom both said "Wow! I bet she made that!" When my friend's husband opened the small matchbook gift card I made for their baby's gift, he said "You'd never know that wasn't bought at a store. You did a really good job." When I went to my mom's house, the giant paperclip I'd made for her was on display, along with the paper Easter basket and Mother's Day cards I'd sent her. And my dad, who I do not have a close relationship with, has saved every card I've sent him for the last four years, and he made a gallery for them which now hangs on his wall. He's such a guy -- he took a piece of foam poster board and covered it in black fabric (with staples, I think)! But then he layed out all the cards in a geometric pattern of veritcal, horizontal, vertical, and tacked them to the foam board. I can't tell you how that made my day!
I wanted to share that with all of you, partly because writing it down helps me remember why I do this, and partly because I think it's good that we remind ourselves that stamping and crafting is really a heartfelt endeavor as much as it's a creative one. The one thing it's not is a competition -- there is room for all kinds of stampers, of all skill levels and budgets. I guess that's why I love it still, after all these years.