Quote of the Week

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Friday, September 4, 2009

Farwell! No, HELLO To The Freedom of Expressing My Own Creativity!

I feel the need to warn you that the following post bears a lot of feeling and a bit of ranting and raving. Feel free to bypass that for the card at the end if you wish.

Hello Friends!

I'm sorry that it's been a few days since my last post. I had to take a some time to unwind, think, cool down and regroup. I found out on Wednesday that Stampin Up had changed the policy regarding demos and their personal blogs. I have been with SU for 6 years now and have been mulling over the decision to leave for about 2 of those 6 years. In being a hobby demo over the last 4, I have found it increasingly difficult, with all of the changes the company has made, to maintain that level of participation. Each time they make an announcement they have always been reassuring that they" love their hobby demos." However, actions speak louder than words...even words spoken in a big cheesy grin. I decided last month that I would quietly leave Stampin Up as a demonstrator, even though I managed to officially meet the requirements in sales. In light of their recent policy announcement though, I find that hard to do.....leave QUIETLY that is.

I am thoroughly disgusted that this company would think they have the right to dictate what I say on my PERSONAL blog. To me this feels like an infringement on my FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Does that seem a little drastic of me to say? Maybe. But it's how I feel. I want to be able to share in this place, MY place, ALL the things I love. Do they realize all the wonderful things that happen when people link to each other in this crafting world? Do they understand what can happen when we all support each other?

I am appalled by their sheer audacity. How dare they think they can tell me I'm not allowed to link you to PINK CAT STUDIO, a company that is donating money in memory of a little boy who lost his life to cancer this summer. You can view that stamp and information HERE. Or to Jennifer McGuire who is having a card drive for a little girl with brain cancer.

Does this mean I can't participate in challenges? Because that's how I found out about THIS CAUSE. An Etsy shop that donates money to help fund a school for children in Morroco. They have a direct link on Traveling Mamma's Inspiration Challenge blog to this Etsy shop where cards are for sale. Therefore, it becomes a violation of SU's new policy. I guess that, technically, I can still participate in these challenges. I just can't share with you any of the information on how you can also be involved.

Imagine the affect this policy could have on the number of people who learn about these great charities and events. Not to mention all the knowledge and inspiration that can be shared through blog hopping, regardless of what company they endorse.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I should be able to link to the person who has inspired me with something fabulous. That is the kind of example of what may NOT happen because of this new policy. Lauren Meader has some great templates. She deserves CREDIT for sharing her talent regardless of who she designs for. I think I have made my point and I think I'm done with my linking tantrum now. Wait...maybe not.

Julie Tilman is one of my favorite people in the blog world. She amazes me with both her creativity and unselfish personality. She inspires me in more ways than one. Now here's the lesson folks.......She HAS her own company and yet she constantly endorses other companies; Stampin Up included. Why does she do that? I don't know her answer, but for me it's because of something I tell my kids all the time. "There is a place in this world for everyone!" We all have the ability to learn from each other and that includes ALL aspects of life. Not just in this little tiny piece of the world called stamping.

I'm sure it was never the intention of SU to have this kind of effect, but that's what happens when you try to control too many things. When you think only of yourself and not how every little thing that you do affects the world around you in some small or BIG way.

What I've learned in this world of competition is that no one ACTUALLY wins. What happens is that people LOSE sight of what really matters.

I want to maintain the vision of why I stamp. It's for my own therapy, yes , but also to bring a smile to someone's face. To let people know that they are special. To give them something from my heart. I've stopped smiling being a Stampin Up demonstrator. That's how I know it's time to say, "FAREWELL!" This policy was the validation I guess maybe I needed.

I read Jen Del Muro's feelings on this whole situation and felt happy to know that I wasn't alone in my own thoughts. She's said it probably nicer than I could have....

To quote Jen, "They need the demos more than the demos need them {in most cases}. For now, SU and I! are parting ways........I do have a ton of the paper and will continue to use it here and there, but once it’s gone it’s gone. There is more to this creative world than just SU!. It took me a long time to realize that, but I am glad that I did. That’s just my two cents. I know that not everyone will agree, and that’s ok. This world would be pretty boring if everyone thought the same way! I hope that if you are a demo that you are able to come to a decision that you are happy with and benefits you."

The only thing I have to add is that I will no longer endorse Stampin Up on my blog. I will still use the things that I have (because I have acquired a LOT in 6 years) I just won't make mention of them any longer. It is the very thing they have asked me to do, just in reverse. That may seem childish, but I believe in sticking up for what you believe in and I am a kid at heart after all. This is MY blog and I want to share ALL the things I love about this craft, about this life and about this world. I won't allow someone to take that away from me, regardless of their intent.

I hope that I have not offended anyone. That was not what I wanted. Sometimes you need a good little tantrum to move on. I apologize that you had to witness it.

I hope you come back to visit with me though because....

I have a HUGE announcement coming on Monday Sept 14th. It is something I am very excited about. Fortunately, the new policy will NOT apply to me and, therefore, ruin something I have been working hard on. I hope to make a difference in the life of someone; someone special. I hope that you can join me in making a difference as well. Please stay tuned for the SPECIAL EVENT!

Now after all that I do have a card to share. I used the Viva La Verve Sketch and got my inspiration of colors from a comforter I saw on a movie. Funny where inspiration will strike:) Over at Paper Maniac LLC they have an embossing challenge going on as well. You can enter for a chance to win a gift certificate to the new online store!

I used my Creative Memories cutting system along with a few Verve stamps. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This is for her. I added some glitter along the edges of the main image and some Taylor's Twinkles in black along the bottom. It's a pretty simple card. I hope she likes it.

Thanks for hanging in there through all my ranting and raving. I feel better now.

Change is good. I look forward to growing in my creative process and my own personal journey. I hope you will come along for the ride.

See you soon!

I decided to add some more glitter after looking at it all day. So here is the revised version.

What's In It?
Stamps: Serenity (verve)
Paper: DCWV off white textured, blue bayou, soft sky, black
Ink: versafine black, soft sky, versamark
Other: sponge, dazzling diamonds, glue pen, Taylor's tiny twinkles, CM cutting system, black satin ribbon (walmart), dimensionals, clear EP


Meredith said...

Good for you!! Close to My Heart has some (in my opinion) stupid policies too! Maybe both of them are afraid of a little healthy competition...LOL!

Missy Hep said...

WOW, I too am with CTMH, I always thought the key word was "INDEPENDENT" but a lass I am wrong. You go girl, I love your blog and will be back soon!! Can't wait for the 14th!!

Aunt Linda said...

Nikki: I have never been more proud of you and the special caring person you are. I think you should run for a political office maybe president... Love you bunches Aunt Linda

Debi said...


I am so proud of you. You are someone that believes you need to stand up for your rights. I think that you have made the right decision to leave Stampin Up. You are to creative to let a company dictate what you can and cannot do.

Love you,

Patti said...

I think there are many that share your opinions. I have never been a demo, but I learned about SU! products and even found a demo and bought some based on visiting people's blogs.

I love your card. It is simple, yet elegant. I am sure your friend will appreciate the card and your support too. Thanks for playing in Paper Maniac's first challenge.

kathie said...

You rock. I heard a little of this through Jen's blog and don't know all the details but in my opinion any company that strives to stifle the creative exchange between artists is full of bunk. I will no longer credit an Stampin Up products and will no longer purchase from that company if they are trying to dictate what crafters can or cannot say/do/share on their private blogs as long as it is not detrimental to the company. I can't wait to see what you will be bringing us next and congratulations on having your say!

Sprytebyrd said...

You took the words right out of my mouth and worded them so much better than I ever could have, Nikki. My thoughts are exactly the same and I am still trying to write my own similar blog post, but I am having a hard time with the words and not letting my anger get in the way. Perfectly written, my dear!
I also love your card, as always! So simple, yet so beautiful!
Thanks! Dee

Angie Cortes said...

I am sorry you were forced to make such a decision. I completely agree with you!!

Your card is just gorgeous!! So elegant!! Thanks for playing along at Paper Maniac!!

Micki said...

You are so right and it feels better after throwing a little tantrum. Like you, I have tons of SU products which I will use until they are gone but will not give credit. I love your cards and look forward to your posts.

KT said...

You're not alone! My guess is that SU will be "modifying" their new policies in 2010 if not before! Love your work - keep those creative ideas coming PLEASE :-)

KT said...

PS Nikki - you may enjoy reading this blogger's comments regarding this same subject: http://christinecreations.blogspot.com/2009/09/change.html

Nancy said...

I think being able to speak your mind on a personal site is so important. I applaud you speaking up and taking a stance. I will no longer be buying stampin up materials. By the way, Sherri has a competing company and that seems okay. Well no more SU products.