beauty lies within

expressing self by creating

spill the beans March 26, 2008

Okay, I can breathe a sigh of relief because I can officially state, “I mailed in my entries for the 2008 Artisan Award”.  

Let me share with you what I can…..the stats:  over 100 hours of work, took 2.5 months of creating (I’m not a last minute rush person who likes pressure), I like to believe it is the best work I have done to date, 3 hours of sleep a night, $46.00 in postage, over $700 for product.  Now, I shall shhhhhhh up and leave it in the hands of  Stampin’ Up! 

You may ask is it worth it, and I have seen mixed comments regarding submitting artwork to Stampin’ Up!  I don’t know if I can explain the feeling, but when you see your work displayed in an environment with people who share the same love for something, it is truly amazing.  To see the pages of my children last year hanging up so far away from my home, it is amazing and moving emotionally.  

I have received comments stating, “Why are you entering again?”, “Let others have their turn”, and some others that I wish not to share.  I must say, I create to inspire and share with others.  I owe so much to SU! for recognizing my work.  I wouldn’t be “known” if it wasn’t for submitting my work.  I hope that every time I post something you can walk away with an idea and want to go create.  That is why I do what I do.  I put the work out there to share.  I am always willing to respond to questions on “how to” do something.  I have my blog so I can do that with all of you:)

Now, I can get back to blogging and share some things.

I did do a workshop this month and it went really well.  There were 19 people who attended and it was a blast with a St. Patty’s theme.  I wanted to make “wow” cards that I consider easy. 

lucky workshop card  So simple and you get to play with all the different punches.  Showcases some of the more pricey stamp sets….but with these three sets (Holiday Blitz, Defining Alphabet, and Define Your Life), you can pretty much make a card for any occassion. 

scallop flower workshop card Card #2 is even easier.  I used a SAB set and showcased how ribbon can add so much to a card. 

I made packets for all who attended with all of their supplies and a step-by-step direction sheet for them to use and take home with them.  It had a finished pic of the card along with all supplies needed to create and re-create:

workshop directions  Go ahead, copy and paste.  They are easy cards and I don’t mind sharing:)

Here is the hostess gift I made for my friend:

hostess gift Yep, I did realize the top ribbon retired, but I wasn’t changing a thing once I finished.  It is a metal planter that you can purchase at any local craft store.  I covered with DSP and added all the details.  Everything inside coordinates except for the card I made her days prior to making the gift.  

hostess gift inside  There is a flower on a wooden rod that is cut out of the pic.  It basically was made with Stitched Exotics and coordinated with the theme of the gift.

I have so much catching up to do.  Hope you stop back later.  Have a wonderful day:)


50 Responses to “spill the beans”

  1. Emily N. Says:

    Good for you MJ! I’m sure that all of your hard work will pay off again for the Artisan award. Your work is truly amazing stuff! I hope and pray that SU recognizes you again for your amazing talent. The cards and gift planter are fabulous! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas with us. Those three stamps sets in the “Lucky” card are fabulous to do at a workshop! I may have to steal that idea from you in my upcoming workshop 😀

  2. Tanya Says:

    Holy!! I think what stopped me was the $700 in product!!! I cant wait to see what you come up with, I love stalking your site, and CASEing your work. As a new Demo, your ideas and helpful hints go a long way in making my life easier. I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel. I have learned so much from everybody’s experiences.
    Congratulations on getting your work submitted, I cant imagine the relief and satisfaction you feel. I am happy when my workshops are planned, cut and over! LOL
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Kelly Schelske Says:

    Yaaaaay!! I say go for it! Your work is absolutley amazing and you deserve the Artisan Award for sure!! Best of luck to you!!!


  4. LOVE this. I am inspired- I am going to make a similar tin and a card. Thanks you for all your inspirations and I am looking forward to drooling over your creations in Salt lake City this year. I hope you win!

  5. Deb K. Says:

    As a friend, I know personally the hurt you felt by some of the negative comments you received. Don’t let them get you down — you have an absolute heart of gold and are so willing to share your talents with others. We are all better stampers and artists in our own right because of you.

    These projects are amazing — as always. I love the simplicity of the cards and the WOW your hostess must have said when you gave her your gift. Well done! Well done!

    Breathe — and spend some time with the family — except for when you want to come over for some wine (whine) & cheese… 🙂

    All the best! You (and your submissions!) are in my prayers!

    Stamps and smiles! Deb

  6. Melinda Says:

    Your creations are always amazing. I love your blog and love that your passion reflects in your creations. Those that have negative comments regarding your submissions are just childish, selfish, and possibly jealous. I believe that those who are gifted with stamping should share with all of us and inspire those of us who love it but may need a little extra push. 🙂 I’m not an SU demo, but I look forward to seeing more of your fabulous creations on your blog and being inspired by them.

  7. cassie Says:

    I just joined SU so I don’t really know what you are talking about with the Artisan Award – but I’ll find out. I hope you keep sharing b/c I love visiting and seeing what you are up to. Just recently, our computer was out of commission and hubby and I were talking about how much we missed being able to get on. I realized that I don’t *need* to blog hop and look at cards — but it makes me happy and brings some beauty to my life. Good luck with winning – I can’t imagine how many projects you created with a bill like that.
    Do you or have you shared those on your blog? I don’t know if that a no-no or not!
    Make it a beautiful day!

  8. Elizebeth Says:

    Wow, congratulations on finishing your projects and feeling so proud of them!

    You should enter as many years as you want, your work is inspiring! It should be seen as many places as possible!

    I’m in a bit of shock over the $700 though, I wish I could see what you made now!

  9. Renée Says:

    Good for you! At first, I, too, asked myself “why is she entering again?”. But, you are a fabulous artist with the freedom to enter again and even win! If SU has issues, they can make a rule about not being allowed to enter again for a certain amount of time if you are chosen as a winner. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made (seeing the $$ spent, I’m extremely curious!)! Good luck and thanks for showing these fabulous projects!!

  10. Donna Says:

    more power to you, girl! We all have reasons we do what we do…and what motivates one may or may not be what motivates another. You have to truly believe in your heart it’s worth it (and you do) so I wish you the best! I’m truly inspired by ALL your creations and I realized a long time ago sleep is more valuable to me than winning an award – you can never get that back hard as you try (see now you know what I am motivated by) HA!

  11. Heather P. Says:

    I’m sorry to hear that some people were so negative! You create such beautiful items, and as long as they don’t have a rule against previous winners entering again, then why NOT go for it?! 🙂

    Good luck, MJ!! 🙂

  12. Angie Tieman Says:

    MJ, I’m reaching out and sending you some big hugs! I’m stunned and speechless that you would receive negative comments about entering again. Besides the fact that you are seriously one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve come to know…(and that doesn’t even matter, you could be a total beotch and still have the right to enter again)…how someone could presume to share opinions on whether YOU should enter again or not is beyond me.

    Like Shelli told us last year, they wanted to give this award to celebrate and recognize people who rejoice in the “art” of stamping, so the artists would have prizes and recognition like the “business-minded” demos. Do people think when Cristina Crawford earns “Demonstrator of the Year” that she should step aside and not try again the next year because she already won before?! Mind-boggling!

    Sorry I got a little long-winded, but that really riled me up! Hugs to you and I won’t even say good luck, because I know you don’t need it! 😉

  13. Jill Kirk Says:

    You are AMAZING. Who are “they” to tell you not to enter. Hello. That is rediculous. This is your hobby and passion and you can do whatever you want. You deserve all the credit and recognition because you are fabulous at what you do! If someone wants to out-do you they can go right ahead and try…but until then keep doing what you’re doing because I LOVE IT and I know millions more do to 🙂
    I just got my on stage and the first thing I did was look through to see what you had won! I knew you’d be in there somewhere and I love it!!
    I really wanted to enter this year too and give it a try but didn’t pull it off in time…I am in NYC so I definitely can’t, but maybe next year!

  14. Amanda Angert Says:

    MJ, keep on doing what you love!! I can’t believe people would say such mean things like “Let someone else have a turn”. How rude! You are amazingly talented and deserve to win, whether it’s your first time entering or fiftieth! Good luck to you! And your blog ROCKS! TFS!

  15. becky SCS belledancr Says:

    Hi MJ
    Congrats to you on all your work for your Artisan’s projects. I’m sure you will recognized, well deservedly so for all your craftsmanship.

    Very sad to hear that you would get any negative comments or criticism. There should be no room for negativity whether we you are doing this as a hobby/craft or even a business.
    Thanks for sharing your projects, ideas & yourself with us through your blog. I enjoy it!

    You go girl! Let yourself shine!!! Show your stuff!
    SCS belledancr

  16. Jennifer Scull Says:

    just another stamping supporter chiming in to say ‘ you go girl’!!! you are probably the MOST talented stamper I know, and if anyone deserves to win 2 or 5 or 20 times in a row, it is you. You have the most generous spirit and want to truly share your gift with others, not out of selfish reasons or motivations, but because you can’t imagine NOT giving a part of yourself. that is just who you are!!! and that is why you are so loved by so many here on your blog! so when you’re down & troubled, and you need a helping hand, well come on now sing along with me……………………. You’ve got a friend!!!!!

    hugs and smoochies!

  17. Silke Ledlow Says:

    Hi MJ – I hope you win the Award!!!! You are so super talented and I can’t wait to see what you came up with…hope you blow them all away – LOL!!!

    Great cards you all did on the WS – nice hostess set too!!!

  18. Missy Says:

    Thank you so much for not listening to the naysayers. Your work is incredibly inspiring! I cannot wait to see what $700 worth of SU product looks like in one gathering! I’m sure you will win because your stuff is always so awesome!! Thanks for all the time you put into this blog and all the ideas you pass along to others. 🙂


  19. Kenna Says:

    So sorry to hear about the negative comments! Please keep entering and sharing all your beautiful work.

  20. Danita Says:

    MJ, you dont know me but I certainly am a fan of your artwork. I did see your work last year that you submitted and as always it was gorgeous!!! Good Luck this year!!! I am sure SU will be smart enough to see the cream of the crop!!! Have a great day!!!

  21. Charmaine Says:

    OK…so here’s my thought on the “you entering again” thing. Why is it anyone’s business? Secondly…those folks should strive to do better and challenge themselves…knowing that you’ve won in the past and the great work you do…they should want to create things that would be as good as what you do so they have as much of a chance at winning the award. If no one is challenged to do better…to beat you…then we wouldn’t see the great work we do from people like you.

    Enough said…keep up the great work!


  22. MJ – I am constantly amazed by what you produce. I have even tried to “simulate” you and put the zillion of layers on a card and it nevers has the beauty that yours have! Guess I need to stick to simple. I can’t even imagine what you created this year…how do you come up with your ideas?? Anyway, you have every right to enter the Artisan award every year! Good luck and I hope to see your creations in the On Stage mag announcing the winners…by the way, congrats on having your amazing box with cards (gorgeous by the way!) shown in the latest On Stage. I actually have some questions for you, so I may be emailing you (if you don’t mind!)
    Andrea (craftyengineering)

  23. Jamie Says:

    Thank you for continuing to share you beautiful work. You constantly inspire me to create and if I’m not creating, I’m smiling at the awesome stuff you post. TFS!

  24. Conniecrafter Says:

    I just loved the tin for the hostess gift, that is just darling!

  25. elizabeth Glass Says:


  26. Linda Georgeson Says:

    MJ- I check out your site on a regular basis to get inspiration from your wonderful projects. Please don’t ever stop submitting to SU. I’ve used many of your ideas in my stamp camps, and the ladies adore these projects. They are definitely a “cut above”. Thanks for sharing, and good luck in the contest!!

  27. Regina Davis Says:

    Your work is beautiful and should be prominently displayed. Would you mind explaining what the 2008 Artisian Award is though? I’m very faithful to SU, but I’m not demonstrator so I’m not familiar with this award. Will your work appear in the next catalog? Where does your work end up? Is there a big prize for you? I’d love to hear more details.

    Take care – Regina Davis

  28. kearneykrafter Says:

    I do love that you share your work….your projects are very beautiful, artistic and I’m so glad you are willing to share w/us. I have recently sent in a pkg for a contest at CTMH, so I know how you feel with wanting to get it “just right.” Good luck you you, thanks again for blogging and keep ’em comin!

  29. Jukie Says:

    You have as much right to enter as anyone else….one would wonder if those concerned were worried that you were a better artist then them….its nothing more then good old fashioned Bullying… good for you for entering again and I hope that you are as successful as you wish to be!

    Your is wonderful and your willingness to share is inspiring.

    Thank you. xx

  30. Marie Says:

    You are truly an amazing artist, and I love seeing your work on your blog, and in SU publications. Keep on going, keep on doing, keep on winning! If I were to join in on your passion of entering, I would rather go up against someone like you who loves it, and is one of the best, than someone who finds the negativity in everything. Can’t wait to see the reveal!

  31. Jen Ofiana Says:

    Hi MJ!

    Glad you can breathe again and even blog! And as for the entering again issue. It’s not even an issue, so I would ignore anyone who has a problem with it. You are an amazing person and artist and the award is for EVERYONE! You have the same right anyone else does. Amazing that people would even comment on it.

    Hang in there and keep doing what your doing. You always inspire me and I can’t wait to see what you came up with!!

    -Jen Ofiana

  32. Abbie Says:

    Hi MJ!

    Sorry others are threatened by your wonderful, creative mind.

    Please, DO NOT STOP submitting your work. You deserve ALL the awards you win. I for one, would feel cheated if you stopped, because I consider it an honor when I win, knowing I’m up against such a wonderful artist(s).

    Thank you for sharing your creativity. You are always an inspiration!

    Abbie Stinson

  33. Dawn G Says:

    Hi MJ,

    I checked in on your website and read your article on some peoples negativity for you trying for the artistian award and I just wanted to say that your talent needs to be recognized.

    There will always be people that will try to knock you down!!!

    It’s easier to be said then done but don’t let these jelous insecure women put you down. You are recognized for a reason… 🙂

    P.S. I copied one of your snowman winter card layouts and changed it into a easter theme with soft subtle colors and the new designer paper. You can check it out at

    Have a great night and I hope you win!!!

  34. Desirée Says:

    I’m really glad you are entering for the Artisan Award despite some negativity towards you – anyone who is willing to put in the work (and money!) for such an endeavor is fully deserving of winning! Thanks for sharing your amazing work on this blog:)

  35. Lisa Says:

    You go girl!! I absolutely LOVE your work, you are truly a talented person, and you DO inspire me with your creations, so I’m thrilled that you are going for the Artisan Award!! I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

    Lisa Beeman

  36. Lori Craig Says:

    WoWZA!!! WoWZA!!!! WoWZA!!! So proud of you for entering..I know that we will be blown away when we get a chance to see your stuff! Congratulations on the entry achievement! That is a total, complete accomplishment!

  37. Lisa Henke Says:

    First let me start by saying, I am a HUGE fan of yours. Your work just blows me away. I figured you had to be up to something since we hadn’t seen “regular” posts from you in awhile. glad to hear you entered again, I would be shocked if you didn’t win again. Can’t wait to hear the good news!

  38. Belinda Says:

    Good luck !

    I’m not an SU demonstrator so what exactly is the Artisan of the Year award?

  39. Dawn E. Says:

    I wish you the BEST OF LUCK on the Artisan Award!!! You put a lot of love into it and that is what counts. I think I’d get emotional too seeing my daughter up on some display board or in print!
    Your card projects are fabulous!! I love how you do your sheets! Fabulous idea!
    I have one of those tins in my stash but I can never get it covered nicely. I’m not good at cutting paper to fit a cylinder or slope. Any tips?
    Thanks for sharing all your awesome work!!

  40. jenn Says:

    MJ, you do such beautiful work and pour everything you have into it . . . all of your heart is right there in cardstock and ink. You have my best wishes and support!

  41. Beate Says:

    MJ, I am excited you entered again. You are such a gifted stamper and you share so many great ideas with all of us! You are truly amazing and deserve to win. I can’t wait to see your name as one of the winners and see all the wonderful things you created! You rock girlfriend.
    P. S.: It’s Friday morning! Did you have time for the sketch???
    Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs and smiles

  42. Kris Says:

    I just want to say Good Luck and I think those that would say anything negative should maybe try to come up with something creative and enter themselves. It sounds like alot of time, energy and money were spent and your work is great. You deserve it. I will enter some day as well, when I am not in college and my 4 kids are a little older! How I envy your perseverence and dedication!Kris

  43. Jackie Pedro Says:

    I am floored that you would receive negative comments about entering the Artisan Award contest again!! You are one talented lady and deserve all recognition that comes your way! I know it might be hard to just let those comments go, but just know that there are many stampers out there that are routing you on….You go girl!!

    These cards are darling, btw!!

  44. Ann C. Says:

    I really enjoy your blog and your beautiful creations. You are obviously extremely talented and I say – GO FOR IT! Let others go for it too, anyone who wants to. If you win it 12 times in a row, then good for you!

  45. Mary Ann (mastamper @ SCS) Says:

    Let me chime in with the rest! Please do keep submitting your work. As Charmaine said in post 21, the naysayers should be inspired and challenged to do better if they want to win the award.
    TFS your talent and work with us.

  46. Joanne B. Says:

    I have to say, I am shocked and appauled that anyone had anything nasty to say to you. I just am always in awe of your talent, and I love coming here to be inspired by the beautiful things you create.

    Not only am I glad that you entered the Artisan Award contest, but I very truly hope that you win. Your talent is so deserving of recognition!

    All the best….

  47. Nancy Riley Says:

    MJ, I can’t believe anyone would criticize you for your Artisian Award entry! Anyone who is willing to go through what you went through to submit your best work, deserves Stampin’ Up!’s fair consideration! You sure have my interest perked … can’t WAIT to see your entry project …l’m sure it’ll knock my socks off!

    Love your class projects, and especially like the altered tin! TFS!!!!

  48. Amanda Says:

    GOOD LUCK on your Artisan Award entry. I cannot even IMAGINE the work and creativity you put into it!! Your blog inspires and amazes me everyday!!!! I can’t even CASE your stuff let alone come up with something as beautiful as your stuff from scratch!! LOL!
    I LOVE the hostess “bucket.” That is awesome!!!
    Keep up the great blog!

  49. Your work is so beautiful!! It’s really sad that people said such ugly things to you. The nerve! The amount of time, money, blood sweat and tears shows in everything you make. There will always be haters out there!! Just do what you do and ROCK-ON!! I hope you win the award again:)

  50. Amy Says:

    Mary Jo!

    Congratulations to you for being as beautiful a person on the inside as all of your creations…giving of your talents so freely to others’ enjoyment!


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