Friday, January 12, 2007

Garden Whimsy Spotlight

What?? Two posts in one day?! Well, I don't like to leave too much text on here... you all come for the PICTURES, don't you?! So I will go ahead and reach into my files for a card that never got posted. You can tell this one is older because the photo was taken outside instead of under my new Ott light!

This is a fun technique called Spotlighting... where you draw attention to one small piece of your image by coloring it in, while leaving the rest very plain (or uncolored). I used Garden Whimsy on this card, and inked the flower in Going Gray (or Basic Gray... can't remember) onto Naturals White cardstock. That was then layered onto Basic Black. Then I inked the flower back up with a Rose Red marker and stamped it onto some scratch paper. I punched the colored tulip out with the 1 1/4" circle punch and matted it onto Basic Black that I punched with the 1 3/8" circle punch. I lined it up with the gray flower and popped it up with dimensionals (which is why you see the shadow so prominently in the photo). The Rose Red strip below the flowers was dry embossed using the Crop-a-Dile and layered onto a Basic Gray base. The ribbon is the Basic Gray Taffeta, and the sentiment is stamped with Rose Red, sponged, and punched with the Large Oval punch.

There. I feel better about leaving you now! ...but I'll be back on Monday. I've got another mailbox to show you!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Questions & Answers

Welcome! Thanks for coming to take a look at the answers to all of the questions asked in the comments to my blog candy post!

I have placed them in the same order they were asked. Let's get started!

Do you find that offering Stamp-Kits via mail to be a positive approach to helping customers?
For my non-local customers, absolutely. Ideally, I'd like to have all of my customers here in person so I can help them with specific techniques, but that's just not possible for people across the country... and even some of my local customers can't make it on a particular date, but they still want to make the cards. Offering my Stamp-a-Stack cards by mail is a way for them to still make quality homemade cards. I include detailed, professional instructions in all of my kits, so I'm confident they will be able to complete the cards even without my presence. (and I'm always just an e-mail away, should they have questions!)

What do you think about the stamps possibly being offered as individuals and as sets?
Personally, I like them being in sets. I like that they all coordinate and work together so well. Purchasing them individually would surely be more expensive in the long run. Plus, if I bought all individual stamps, how in the world would I store them?!

How do you go about finding customers?
I found you, didn't I? :o) Word of mouth is huge. So is getting my cards in front of people. I try to mail my cards regularly, which always generates questions, but posting them here on my blog seems to bring the widest audience. I've had many people become a customer just from finding me here online - and even a few have become demonstrators!

Do you wish Stampin' Up would go totally to die cut stamps?
I will admit that it is much easier when the stamps are die cut. But I just figure that in order to do that, there will probably be a price increase. I'm not looking forward to that, so if we can continue to be "treated" to having the mini catalog sets die-cut without raising the price, then I'm happy with that.

What do you like best about being a demo?
I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I have always loved to be creative. Being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator has beautifully combined these two passions of mine and I couldn't be more happy with how it's turned out! And, to be completely honest, my "Love Language" has always been "Words of Affirmation"... I get that daily in this business through the kind comments of people like YOU!

What would you like to see Stampin' Up do differently?
Hmmmm. That's a tough one. Several of the things I've wished for are slowly coming true within the company, so I have to think of something new to wish for... OH! I know! I wish they would bring the OLD Corner Rounder punch back out of retirement! That answer may not truly fit your question, but it is certainly something I've wished for!

Are you going to convention?
Yes, I will be there!! For those of you non-demonstrators, convention is where all of us gather together for awesome training, fellowship, awards, and fabulous freebies! I can't wait!

Do you think they will ever give us a choice to buy unmounted or mounted?
I honestly can't answer questions as to what Stampin' Up! will do in the future. I will have to wait and see just like all of you. But personally, I don't want anyone to mount my stamps except myself! I like to be in control of how they are mounted (ie. on the side, at the top, in the middle, etc.), and if they mounted them for us, this flexibility would be gone.

Do you think sales will be affected or have been affected by the different stamp companies popping up?
Every industry will have competition. That's the American way! But given the fact that Stampin' Up! has been around for 20 years, it's obvious that they're doing something right!

What is your favorite color combo in Stampin' Up!?
My favorite is probably Earth Elements with Rich Regals following close behind. I've never been much of a Bold Bright person, but that's the beauty of creating... you can take something that you don't think is your style and suddenly discover, "HEY! I think I like this!"

What's your absolute favorite Stampin' Up! product?
Ooooooh... that's tough. Hmmmmm. Do I have to narrow this down to just ONE?! I'm assuming you mean accessories instead of stamp sets, and I think I would have to say the Watercolor Wonder Crayons. They are so fun to use, and they really make a huge impact on my cards. I reach for them often, and as you have seen in my recent blog posts, I even offer a Watercolor Wonder Club where you acquire all the tools you need to use them over a 4-month period, including a 2-hour training class where I teach several different techniques.

What is your favorite stamp set current or retired?
This is a hard question, too! There are a lot of sets that I love. I would have to say that a current favorite is Baroque Motifs. It is so elegant, but can be dressed down if necessary. It makes a beautiful background, or a gorgeous main element. Any way you use it, your card is going to turn out fabulous! As for a retired favorite, well, I was really sad to see Artifacts go. It was my favorite set for making masculine cards.

Do you find blogging to be an effective way of improving your SU business?
Without a doubt. I've met so many tremendous people, with many of them becoming customers and even some becoming new demonstrators on my team. Having my blog means I can reach people all across the US (and even the world) instead of just here in my own town. In addition, having a blog keeps me accountable in that I feel an obligation to keep it current, which keeps me working. Don't get me wrong - I'd probably "work" anyway because it's more like PLAY to me!

Don't you wish that the In Colors would stick around longer than a year?
Personally, no. I love that we get a new set of In Colors each year because it's something fun to look forward to! Don't get me wrong, I like stability, but I get that with our fabulous standard 48 colors that never change. But once a year, I think it's so much fun to have 6 new colors to play with and combine!

Will SU ever offer a group of stamps that you could choose which ones you wanted to make up a set?
Again, I cannot answer questions as to what Stampin' Up!'s future plans are because I simply do not know. And that's a good thing for me because I really like the suspense of what each new catalog will hold! I think, however, that the option you describe could prove to be a logistical challenge. But then again, Stampin' Up! is full of surprises!

I like the way you watercolor your images... what is your technique?
Thank you for your compliment! Watercoloring is probably my favorite thing to do. I do not have any formal watercolor training, but many years ago I dabbled in acrylic and oil painting. I'm certain that some of that training helps me in my watercoloring. My favorite way to watercolor is with the Watercolor Wonder Crayons and an Aquapainter. One of the best tips I can pass along is that wherever you want your coloring to be the darkest, that is where you put your brush (be it an Aquapainter or a paintbrush) down first. You can then spread the color to the lighter areas. Another thing I do is use several different colors. For instance, in this post, I wanted my Morning Glories to be blue, but that doesn't mean that a touch of purple won't help to make them POP! And one last tip - and this is the hardest part for me: Don't overblend! In other words, the more you "work" the color, the more "blah" it's going to look. Leave the definitions of different colors and tones. It adds interest.

How did you first become involved with Stampin' Up!?
I started attending workshops at my neighbor's house when we moved into this neighborhood several years ago. I fell in love with the products - especially the cardstock and colors. After attending her workshops for a couple of years, I finally decided that I'd like to start paying less for the products! My initial objective was to have a good supply of all 48 colors of cardstock. I figured I'd be a hobby demonstrator, but that lasted about as long as it took me to open the box containing my new kit! I was so excited and I wanted to tell everyone about it. I held a Valentine workshop shortly thereafter and just like that, I had a new business! Most of the people who came that night are still my best customers. If I would've known how much fun and how profittable this business was going to be for me, I would've done this a LONG LONG time ago. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made... and I always have a good supply of cardstock!

What is you favorite SU! color family and which one do you think you use the most?
I answered this above, but here it is again: My favorite is probably Earth Elements with Rich Regals following close behind. I've never been much of a Bold Bright person, but that's the beauty of creating... you can take something that you don't think is your style and suddenly discover, "HEY! I think I like this!"

Do you look up and use any of the wizards or templates that SU! gives in any of your creations?
I sometimes look them up, but I don't think I have ever used one. I prefer to design my own cards. They are wonderful tools though, and I highly recommend using them if you need great ideas for your workshops! (For those of you who are not Stampin' Up! demonstrators, the wizards we are referring to are cards and projects that Stampin' Up! has designed to aid in preparing for workshops. They are found on the demonstrator website, and are yet another tool that Stampin' Up! provides to make our jobs easier!)

What type of classes or camps do you offer your customers and do you prefer offering scheduled classes/camps or doing home workshops??
With my youngest son only 19 months old, it is hard for me to schedule too many workshops right now. I do look forward to the time when I can offer more, but right now I want to enjoy his baby years. For the time being, I offer regular Stamp-a-Stack classes in my home (we make 12 cards) as well as by mail. I also hold a monthly Girls Club workshop for local girls ages 8-15 (and their moms if they want to come). Sometimes I even have special workshops to make something specific, like these coasters (I'm having one of those in April). I am also finishing up a Watercolor Wonder Club that started in January, and I intend to have another club or two in the coming months... stay tuned for more details on that! Occasionally, I will do a home workshop (ie. a workshop in someone else's home), but I do not do as many of those as I do workshops in my own home. As to the second portion of your question, I prefer to hold workshops in my own home because I am always afraid that I will forget to pack something vital when doing one elsewhere! But with that said, I love to go elsewhere because that's the best way for me to meet new friends and teach them about stamping! The best of both worlds is when a hostess agrees to have her party in MY house - then they don't have to clean, and we're assured to have everything we could possibly need... it's a win-win for everyone!

I've often toyed with the idea of being a demo but.. Can you really make any money?
ABSOLUTELY!! In fact, as I stated before, I initially signed up only to stock up on cardstock... but when I decided to give it a try and do some workshops, I could quickly see the earning potential. Here I am, over a year later, and I simply cannot believe the numbers I am seeing in my bank account! I am here to tell you - you CAN make money in this business! ...and with that said, if any of you are interested in hearing more, I would love to answer your questions. My team is growing - and believe it or not, only one of my recruits is local! I am extremely dedicated to my job and would love to get to know you better and answer any questions you have.

I'd love to know how you store all your stamps and embellishments. How do you stay organized?
Ah, organization is one of the trickiest things to get a handle on - and also one of the most personal as everyone prefers a different system. I have several different methods and I have been wanting to do a post just on organization... so now that you've asked, perhaps I'll bump it up on the priority list! For now, let me offer these suggestions: Stampin' Up! carries several items that really help with organization and my favorite is the Stamp & Store Caddy. It fits right on my desk and holds all of my brads and eyelets. It spins easily, and I can quickly take the whole thing into the dining room when I hold workshops. As for my stamp pads and re-inkers, my husband built me a beautiful small cabinet that stores them all. It is very similar to one we saw on the internet. I promise to show photos when I get a chance to do that post on organization soon. Finally, one of the hardest things to store is scraps of cardstock. This has always been a challenge for me, but the system I'm using now has been working very well! I bought a box at the office supply store that is 8-1/4" x 11-1/2" x 5-3/4" tall. It was very ugly by itself (looked like one of those black and white marble composition notebooks), so I covered it with some old Designer Series Paper. I put in dividers so there's a tab for each color (I used the Stampin' Color Index Labels on page 193 of the catalog) and my scraps fit in behind each tab. The box is large enough to contain anything smaller than a half sheet, but still small enough to stay on my desk. I'll show it to you in that upcoming post. I hope this has given you a couple of ideas... but I promise to show you more real soon!

Did you every buy a stamp set thinking you would love it and then get it home and can't make it work for you?
Yup, guilty. But you know what? I think it's exciting to have a challenge like that. I'll give you an example. I bought the Unfrogettable stamp set a LONG time ago with the highest hopes of making some really cute things with it. Well, it just wasn't happening. I couldn't make anything work like I had in mind. So I put it back on the shelf. There it sat until I pulled it out to try again. And guess what became of that second chance? This card:

I personally love this card! And I think I love it even more because it was one of those challenges that I overcame! So, you see? Just because a stamp set isn't working for you on the first attempt, that doesn't mean it should remain on the shelf for all eternity. Pull it out again later and give it another try! You obviously saw something in it that you liked, otherwise you wouldn't have purchased it in the first place!

How do you think up such great ideas?
Well, it's always easier if I have a particular event that I'm trying to create for (ie. masculine birthday, specific holiday, sympathy, etc.) because then I at least have a starting point. If I don't, then I start by picking out a stamp set that I'd like to use. Next, I choose colors. They sometimes change through the process, but it gives me a starting point. The color coach is an excellent resource for this and I use it often. Next, I work on my main image - if it's something that needs to be watercolored, then I do that... the rest of the card gets built around it. Finally, I just play with different elements and let the project "speak" to me! I will lay different things down on it and sometimes it says, "Oh yeah!! That feels great!!", or it could say, "You're close, but not quite there." But other times it says, "Are you insane??" My creations are always honest with me! :o) Now, if I'm REALLY stuck, I will surf the internet looking at my favorite blog sites. That usually sparks a new idea that I can run with. But I'm careful not to spend too much time looking, for fear that my creations will look too much like theirs.

What is your middle name? Do people ever call you Chelle or Mish or something like that?
You are the first person to ask a personal question! My middle name at birth was Louise, but I changed it to my maiden name when I got married: Guvernator. I know it's a mouthful, but I am proud of my heritage and wanted to keep my maiden name. Plus, it makes for a cool initial... Michele G. Force.

My family nickname - the name I was called up until high school - is Miki. My father wanted that to be my given name, but fortunately my mom stepped in and insisted I have a more formal name! To my family and childhood friends, though, I am (and always will be) Miki. My husband nicknamed me 'chele (pronounced "shelley"), but no one else uses that. At this point in my life, the name I go by the most is "Momma". :o)

Do you find the economy affecting your business?
I guess I don't have anything to compare it to - I have only been a demonstrator for just over a year now. I consider myself quite successful, so I guess I'd have to say no! Everyone tends to make time and money for the things they love to do - and making beautiful, homemade cards is not only fun and rewarding, but very economical considering you can make a card for less than .50 cents instead of buying a sterile, generic one for $3.00 or more!

How often do you hold classes/workshops/parties?
I typically hold 1 or 2 Stamp-a-Stack workshops in my home each month, along with a Girls Workshop, and sometimes a Stamp Camp of some sort. I haven't done very many in-home workshops lately, but that's because my schedule has been very demanding. I'm eager to get some scheduled, though, as there's a great Hostess promotion going through April 30th! See this post for details!

How many customers attend your events?
It always varies. If I happen to pick a bad night, I may only have 2 or 3 who can make it. Other times, I have a full house! A "full house" at my own home would be about 8 ladies as that's all that my dining room table will seat comfortably. But when I hold specialty workshops (like my Coaster classes), I can have upwards of 12 or 15! Eeeeek!

How many downline do you have in your area?
Believe it or not, only ONE of my downline is local! All the rest are in another state - or even out of the country on military leave!

Is Stampin' Up! a company where you have to have a considerable downline to make any real money?
My initial response is "nope", but I hesitate to answer that way because you will always make more money when you have a good team - not only because of the commissions you make from their sales, but also because it creates a learning opportunity for yourself. When you have a team, you ALL benefit from each other's ideas and areas of expertise. In this way, you become a better demonstrator yourself. For me, I didn't have anyone under me for a long time and I still made good money. I guess another piece to this question is what you consider "good" money... if you are just wanting to support your own hobby and have some spending money on the side, you can easily do that without a team. If you are needing to help pay the bills and support your family, then recruiting would certainly be a good idea.

What ribbon are you going to be doing for your next ribbon share?
Not sure yet. I'm sort of thinking of doing the Taffeta, but don't hold me to that.

Any ideas as to what the new In Colors will be?
I have no idea, but I'm sure I'll love them as I have the last two rounds!!

What is the WORST part about being a Demonstrator?
You know what, I answered this question to someone not long ago and I was completely honest with them as I will be with you here... the worst part of this job (for ME) is that I love it so much that it tends to take me away from my family too much. I sometimes feel like I spend more time in my stamp room than I do in my living room... and that's not right. It's a priority issue, and one that I need to keep in constant check.

Of course, another bad part of the job is when those dreaded creative lulls hit... but they're always temporary!

The second part of this person's question was about how they lost money in a different company because they had to keep a large inventory. I informed her that it is against Stampin' Up! policy for us to keep inventory, so no worries there!

I'm sure you keep very busy with 3 boys, so when do you get to stamp?
You make time for the things you love to do. I love to stamp, so I make the time! It's mostly when the big boys are at school and the baby is napping. Or else I wait until all 3 of them are in bed at night... and that usually makes for a very late night for me!! Woohoo!

Why does SU! only offer a few die cut stamp sets? Do you think they will offer all their sets this way?
Again, I cannot tell you what Stampin' Up!'s future plans are, but given that they certainly have the capability of die cutting the stamps, it makes sense that it could be in the future for all stamps. As I stated earlier, though, I imagine that if they DO start to die cut all of their stamps, then we may be looking at a price increase along with it. Who knows... I must wait and see just like all of you!

What do you like most about being a SU! demo?
Creating. And teaching. These are two things I love to do, and this job marries the two beautifully! This job is most definitely the best fit for me! ...oh, and the part where you get all these boxes arriving at your door and you feel like a kid at Christmas every time you open one? Well, that's pretty cool too.

I would like more info on embossing, and using the heating tool.
Great question! There are two types of embossing - Dry Embossing, and Heat Embossing. Since you mentioned the heating tool, I am assuming you are referring to the latter. It's a beautiful technique that gives your cards a very crisp, professional look. And it's simple to do! Using our Craft ink pads (or VersaMark works well too), you simply stamp the image you want embossed and then immediately sprinkle it with some embossing powder. The reason you need to use the Craft pads as opposed to the Classic, is that the Craft ink stays wet long enough for the powder to stick to it. The Classic ink dries almost instantly and therefore you can't get the powder on it fast enough. I typically use clear powder so the color of the ink shows through. Once it's powdered, you just hold your heating tool over it about 3-4 inches away for a few seconds. You'll see the powder begin to melt and turn shiny. When the entire image is shiny, you're done!

I was wondering as a demo, how do you select which stamp sets you are going to order?
Oh, another excellent question! The simple answer is, "the ones I like the best!"... but the more business-like answer (which is what I'm assuming you are wanting) is that I must have an idea in mind to use the set for. There's nothing worse for a customer OR a demonstrator than to purchase a set and never end up using it. As a demonstrator, I personally have no use for retired sets. I will not make cards and projects with sets that my customers can no longer purchase - how frustrating would that be?! So I am also careful to not buy a bunch of sets before the retirement list comes out. I typically like to have a couple sets of each type... line images, solid images, something masculine, something for baby, sentiments for all holidays, birthday sets, a get well set, a good sympathy set, etc. I, by no means, have every set in the catalog... but I DO have most of the ones I like! :o)

What's your favorite paper?
Oooooh, tough question! I'm assuming you mean Stampin' Up!'s Designer Series Papers, and my favorites change all the time! I would have to say my favorites right NOW are Cutie Pie, Berry Bliss, and Flowers for You... but I am also getting quite fond of the new Summer Picnic pack that's in the new mini catalog!

How do you find time to do so much stamping?
Well, usually when all the boys are in bed! Either that, or when the big boys are at school and baby is napping. Those are really my only two opportunities each day. And believe me, I take them and milk the time for all it's worth!!

Do you think SU will ever bring out clear stamps?
I don't know. I'll tell you my opinion, though. I hope they don't. I have personally used those kind and although they do allow the visibility (which is nice), they have NEVER given me the quality image that Stampin' Up!'s stamps do. And quite honestly, I don't have any trouble lining up my stamps the way I want to. And if it's imperative that I have something lined up PERFECTLY, then I just use my Stamp-a-ma-jig. That works better than clear stamps anyway!

I would like to know if u know what the new in colors will be for this year.
Nope. I will find out when I attend convention in late July. I can't wait!! ...well, yes I can. I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the current set of In Colors!

Is SU! ever gonna try clear?
A lot of people ask this, and the answer is... I simply do not know. Personally, I don't like the clear stamps. Don't get me wrong, the ability to see through them for positioning is nice, but I've never gotten near the quality of image as I get with Stampin' Up! stamps. With that being said, if Stampin' Up! can create a clear stamp that has the same quality rubber and construction as their wooden stamps, then I'm all over that! I guess time will tell. I have to wait and see just like you.

When is the retirement date this year anyway?
The current catalog will be good through August 10th, with the new one starting on August 11th. Start stocking up on those In Colors now!

I'm wondering if you have any fabulous ideas for a great, original baby announcement?
Congratulations on the upcoming blessing! A fabulous idea, huh? Hmmmm... Well, let me first offer the suggestion of including a photo of the new baby. I, personally, always prefer baby announcements that have a photograph so I can hang it on my fridge. I will also suggest keeping it S-I-M-P-L-E!!! With a new baby, I guarantee that you will prefer to spend time with him/her (do you know yet?!) than finishing 100+ announcements. The more you can do ahead of time, the better! Get those envelopes addressed now!

Okay, for ideas... I always like the softness that vellum gives. Maybe you could stamp onto vellum and then color the back like I've done in a couple of my recent posts... (but keep it simple!). If the image you stamp is small enough, it could go down in the corner with the photograph behind - and attach them both to a piece of cardstock with some soft Taffeta ribbon at the top. We carry it in pink and blue - or even white. You could print the details of the baby on the back to save cardstock, or you could always make it a card and put the details on the inside. I see this all in my head, but I may not be explaining it very well. Another idea I always like to do is a pocket card. You can make the outside however you want - keep it soft and simple - and then on the slide-out portion you could attach the photo and print the details on the back of the cardstock (not the photo). Again, I see it in my mind... give me a call, Cara, and I'd be happy to go into more detail and we could even get together sometime to draft up a couple. I'd be more than happy to help you!

Can I buy US products from Australia if they are things that are not sold here?
It is strictly against Stampin' Up! policy to sell current products across International boundaries. I know there are demonstrators who will do it, and that bothers me. Not only are they taking money out of Australian demonstrators' pockets (usually the products will be available in that market eventually), but they are violating their agreement with the company they represent. I have many friends who are demonstrators in Australia - if you ever need one that will take excellent care of you, I'd be happy to give you some referrals.

Do you have any tips for someone who is considering joining SU as a demonstrator (particularly if they don't know that many stampers and are worried about minimum sales)?
I didn't know many stampers when I signed up either! But the best way to remedy that is to hold an Open House and invite EVERYONE you know! When I did mine, I had a tremendous turnout... and I think it was partly due to the fact that I stated up front that I would NOT be accepting orders that night. It was just a night to come and play with absolutely NO pressure to buy anything. I had people who WANTED to place an order and I told them that I would gladly take their order next week, but that I wanted to honor my original statement. Many of those people are still my best customers today. As for the minimums, I'm not sure what they are in Australia, but here in the US they are quite do-able. It's over a 3-month period, and while I can knock a pretty good dent in the minimum with my own purchases, I have never - not even in the very beginning - had any trouble at all making that minimum in just 1 month's time instead of 3. When you love what you do and you share what you love, I guarantee you will find those customers... and as for not knowing any stampers?? Well, I think it's time you introduced it to those around you - maybe they have just never tried it before! If you do not currently have an Australian demonstrator, I would be happy to recommend a dear friend who is very successful and would be an excellent choice for an upline. Just let me know.

I'd like to ask if this competition is open to those outside the US... I'm in Australia.
Of course! My blog candy doesn't contain any current products, so those outside the SU could still receive it. ...but it's not a "competition"! The winner will be chosen completely at random.

I placed 3 of my Pun Fun stamps on crooked. Can I take the stamp back off and reposition it or will my stamp not stick after that?
Fortunately, there are ways that you can reposition them. First of all, if you notice right away that you put it on crooked, peel it off right then and there. I do this all the time and as long as I do it right after it's been stuck on, I haven't had any problems. If it's been on there a while, then I've been told (although I've never had to do it yet) that you can put the stamp in the microwave for 5-7 seconds to soften the adhesive enough that it will peel off and still be sticky. Hope that helps!

Do you use products other than Stampin' Up?
Never. Not only do I feel that Stampin' Up! has everything I need (and high quality at that!), I actually PREFER to have a limit to what I use. I go into craft stores these days and I don't know about you, but I am personally OVERwhelmed at the choices. It's just too much. I'd spend way too much time trying to figure out what to use on my card, that I'd never have the time to actually MAKE the card!! I have everything I could ever need right here in this one catalog. I like it that way... and as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, why would I use anything else??! You will never see anything on my blog that you cannot get from Stampin' Up!.

Do you think SU will ever go to the acrylic side?
I've already answered this a couple of times - the short answer is that I just don't know. I have to wait and see just like all of you.

I'd like to know if SU couldn't possibly make smaller sets or individual stamps to make it more affordable for some of us.
I hear your pain... stamping can get quite expensive. I remember from before my Demonstrator days how I had to choose carefully what I wanted to purchase. Now, however, I have the freedom to order anything I could want - the income is certainly there. You may want to consider this at some point. As for now, I would encourage you to attend local Stampin' Up! Stamp-a-Stack workshops. This is normally where you pay a small supply fee to make several cards using the demonstrator's supplies. They are a lot of fun and provide you with a good stash of homemade cards to pull from when you need to - withOUT having to own all the stuff! Do you have a local demonstrator? Does he/she provide workshops such as this? If not, perhaps they wouldn't mind if you looked around for someone who did. If you happen to be in the DFW area, I'd be delighted to have you at mine!

Oh, I guess I didn't really answer your question! To be honest, I just don't know what Stampin' Up!'s future plans are. By the time they tell demonstrators of any announcements, it gets made public almost immediately... so we'll just have to wait and see!

My question is how do you do it???
You're so sweet. As I've stated earlier, you make time for that which you love to do. I love my family, and I love to stamp... somehow it all works out. Now, if I could only learn to love housework. :o)

Do you sell your cards? If so, how do you find a good market, and how do you price them?
I have never sold my cards. I have tossed the idea around in my head a couple times as I have a male friend who insists I could easily get $5-$10 for some of them. Personally, I can't even imagine paying $10 for a greeting card!!! But perhaps one day I'll explore this option in more detail. I'm sorry I can't help you with this question any more than that right now. I will mention, however, that if you are considering selling your cards, be sure that you comply with Stampin' Up!'s Angel Policy. Contact your demonstrator (or even myself) for more information, should you need it.

Do you think SU will come out with clear stamps?
Well, this has certainly been the most recurring question, hasn't it? Unfortunately, since I'm not on the upper management team at Stampin' Up!, I simply cannot say. But I'm satisfied - more than satisfied - with the product they provide right now, so I'm in no hurry. :o)

Well, I think that's it - we did it! Thanks for all the great questions - I hope you learned something along the way!