Testing the waters...

It has obviously been a very long time since I have posted. I had fully intended to keep this blog up-to-date when I returned to full-time work, but..

Stampin' Up! is on the brink of releasing a brand new catalog - just a mere few weeks away. I have pre-ordered some items and expect them early next week. The idea of dedicating time in my craft room, like I used to, is exciting, and something I desperately need. The idea of actually posting a project is both exhilirating and intimidating. I hope it's like riding a bike. 

I celebrate 15 years as a demonstrator this year, I think it's time for me to get back to the craft that I loved all these years.

Stay tuned...I hope the next time you visit you will be looking at my most recent creation.

Mary Ann



Craft room makeover

Well, it's been a long time coming, but after 12 years as a demonstrator, I finally got my dream craft room. We moved about a year ago to a home that had a "media room" and my husband graciously gave me that room to call my own.  I worked with a wonderful rep from More Space Place who helped me design a functional and organized room.  I am so happy with the results!  It honestly has made crafting more efficient and a lot more fun!  Take a look:


 The picture above shows my crafting table put away in the cabinet allowing for ample space for me to move about in the room. In the second picture the drop-down table provides ample crafting space in length and width but tucks away nicely in the cabinet when not in use. It is based on the idea of a murphy bed.  I really love how everything has a place and is in easy reach.




 Above: I had a window seat made that is comprised of file drawers.  Two of the drawers hold designer paper and the third drawer are files pertaining to business and personal use.

Below: On the opposing wall from my desk is my die cutting station.  I had the cabinets raised so I could stand at the counter without any discomfort in my back.  All of my die cutting supplies and embossing folders are within easy reach either in the cabinets above or in the drawers.




Behind the closet doors is where all of my card stock is stored.  I was able to purchase paper racks from a store that went out of business many years ago. The doors are kept closed so the sun doesn't fad the paper.

Thank you for letting me share my new room!  I have taken a bit of a break from stamping over the past several months but am happy to be back at it in my new room.  


Mary Ann



The circle of life

My sweet girl and crafting buddy went to Heaven yesterday. After a 6-month battle with Lymphoma, Kayla is finally at peace.  I miss her deeply.  My heart is broken and my emotions are raw, so I am taking just a short hiatus from crafting to re-group.

Thank you to all of you who have emailed me offering your support in the past.  I am profoundly grateful for your kind words.

I'll be back soon.

New siggy

Confronting the Big "C" - a non-stamping related post

It has been an emotional few weeks at the Reiner house which has contributed to my lack of creativity and posts. I have debated whether to post anything personal on my business stamping blog, and ultimately decided I would simply to explain my sudden absence for awhile. Thank you to those who have sent me emails inquiring about where I have been lately.

For those of you who know me, even remotely, you likely know of the special bond I have with my dog, Kayla.  For more than 12 years we have been a dynamic duo.  Trust me when I say, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have my furry friend now that she is well into her mid 80's (in human years). But perhaps it's because of that length of time that has made this past week so difficult.

Kayla has cancer.  Lymphoma to be exact.

And my heart is broken.

The good news, if it can be called that, is that lymphoma can be treated.  Not cured, but treated.  After speaking with many doctors, conventional and holistic, all agree that Kayla is in fact very sick, but by all accounts still has some good days ahead.  No one knows for sure how long or what to expect, but I have committed to the fight for as long as Kayla is willing to fight.  I know, without question, she will tell me when she has had enough. 

For those of you who are not dog owners/lovers, I recognize this post may come across as "over-the-top".  It wouldn't be the first time I have been accused of such a thing.  I'm okay with that.

I will do my best to use stamping as a distraction, and it will be just that.  Kayla has spent endless hours with me in my stamp room and will continue to do so.  We will do our best to come up with something clever to post.

My faith has brought me through some very difficult times and will continue to guide me through the days and months ahead.  Below is one of my favorite quotes and I have had it on my desk for years.  I read it daily and wanted to share it:

"There is nothing -

no circumstance, no trouble,

no testing

that can ever touch me

until it has first come past God

and past Christ,

right through to me.

If it has come that far,

it has come with a great purpose."

- Alan Redpath

Thank you for allowing me to share what has been so heavy on my heart.  I have met so many wonderful friends as a result of this blog and in the stamping community.  I appreciate the concern so many of you have expressed in the last couple of weeks.

New siggy

Papercrafting with new friends

I had the pleasure of crafting with a group of women at the Renaissance Senior Center in Orlando yesterday.  They were so welcoming and made me feel right at home.  The majority of the women were working on scrapbook pages, but there were a couple of card makers too!  It really was a fun way to spend a few hours of my day.  Here's a great group shot of my new friends:

I really had no idea what to expect when I got there, but I quickly realized there would be as much socializing as there would be crafting!  I learned some great tips, new product ideas and met some incredibly talented women.  I hope they meant it when they said I was welcome to come back because I will be!

Thank you, Ladies for a great day!  I look forward to seeing you again!

New siggy 

My birthday present

Yesterday was my birthday and while I intended to post a picture of my present I was simply having too much fun with my family. That's why I'm a day late getting this up.

One of the things I have always struggled with is taking good, quality photos of my projects. I quickly learned a beautiful project can look bad if the photo isn't taken in the correct light. Bad lighting doesn't do a good project justice  My husband caught on to my struggles and decided to end my woes.  So, he bought me this...

I know, you're thinking, "What the heck is that?".  It's a light box!  A portable, light-weight light box - and it's awesome!  I know it looks heavy and bulky, but it literally is only a couple of pounds. 


I put the card inside so you can get an idea of how much room there is inside.  I can easily photograph 12x12 scrapbook pages.  Here's a picture of how much light this box gives off:

There are a number of light boxes on the market and many of them require the use of lamps on either side of the box and have a number of components to be set up before it can be used.  What I love about this is the light is built-in, it takes about 20 seconds to assemble (although I probably will just leave mine up) and it all fits in to the base of the box that makes it easy to put away or take with you.  It's awesome and I love it!  It does cost a little more than some of it's competition, but the weight and ease of use is what sold me on it.  No regrets so far!

My hope is you will see an improvement in the quality of my photos going forward.  I know I always enjoy a project more on a blog when the picture is of good quality and you don't have to strain to see the details.

Enjoy the rest of your day.  I'm off to get some left over birthday cake...

Until next time,

New siggy 


I didn't expect my blogging sabbatical to last 7 months - weeks maybe, but not months.  It has been so long I actually forgot my blog sign-in and password!  With that cleared up, I am happy to be posting again.  While my intention is to post on a regular basis, I've noticed that as soon as I commit to it, life derails me and I once again look like a blogging idiot. So, just shy of committing, let's just say I hope to post more often than every 7 months.

In late August I received an invitation to return to a retirement community to teach rubber stamping.  I say "return" because I taught there for nearly 4 years until 2008.  I returned to many of the same ladies that were in my class previously and a few new faces too.  It was a great class and a great day!  It rejuvenated me in unexpected ways and I now find myself excited about stamping and teaching again.  That feeling has been a void in my life for a long time.  So without further ado, here is a "class photo" of my first camp in nearly two years!  A big thanks to these ladies and their community for having me back!

Stamp camp Oct2010 

There...I did it.  My first post in ages.  Check back later today so I can show you the cool Halloween project I just finished!


An 8-month vacation

It's been so long since I've blogged I've nearly forgotten how to.  So many things have changed on Typepad I've had to reteach myself how to manage this blog.  I'm still learning so please bear with me.

In addition to a vacation from blogging, I took a fairly substantial break from stamping too.  I stamped occasionally but not nearly as much as I use to. Since I am no longer actively holding SU classes, stamp camps or workshops, I am now able to create because I want to and not because I feel pressure to prepare for an event or to showcase a particular product or project.  Truth be told, it's been rather liberating!  I've actually found "the joy of stamping" again. (How apropos given the blog title.)

So, going forward, this blog will serve as my "playground".  I'll post my stamping projects and probably talk a lot about my family. I like to talk about other non-stamping things too like "The Bachelor" and other reality TV shows that I have strong opinions about (I'll address Jake as the new Bachelor in an upcoming post). Basically, it will be a hodge-podge of content.  This is a hobby for me now.  No selling, no pressure, just pure, unadulterated blogging joy.  I recognize this blog won't appeal to a lot of people and that's okay.  For those of you who will stop by - thank you.  My hope is to entertain you with some stories and to share my love of paper crafting.

My daughter leaves to go back to school this afternoon, so as soon as I become an "empty-nester" again, I will post a few cards I've been working on...that is, of course, if I can remember how to post pictures!

It's good to be back.

Mary Ann

stamping diversion

I suspect it is fairly obvious by now that I am taking a bit of break from stamping and blogging.  I didn't expect the hiatus to come on as quickly as it did nor did I think it would last so long, but we are in the midst of hectic yet exciting times around here.  Between prom, "homecomings" weddings, milestone birthdays, graduations and graduation parties my creative time has been nil.  I hope all of you will hang in there a little bit longer for me.  I'll be back the first part of June soon!

Mary Ann

Rollercoaster of emotions

This has been one of those weeks of extreme emotions.  The beginning of the week had me saying good bye to one of my friends after an awesome 5 day visit.  By Tuesday, my daughter and I were ramping up for Prom and getting all the last minute essentials in place.  Simultaneously, we were getting excited about my son coming home from college for a few days before he heads to China for 2 months.  The week ended yesterday with the news that my best friend had to put her dog to sleep.  By the time I finally went to bed last night, I was completely exhausted.

For some people, hearing about the loss of a pet isn't a big deal.  I'm not one of those people, but I have come to learn that a lot of people simply don't share the emotional attachment to animals like I do.  I recognize that there are some people who consider me "over-the-top" when it comes to what I will do for my dog.  I don't care.  I love her.  She is an integral part of my life.  (Don't even get me started about the whole Michael Vic story - I had a much better plan for him than a few months in jail.  But, I digress.)  So, when my friend told me of her dog's illness a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but feel her pain.  We talked every day and I received updates of hope and then setbacks.  She's 1300 miles away from me and I wanted more than anything just to be by her side.  Yesterday was the hardest day of her life when she had to say good bye to her constant companion, and oddly enough, I cried as if I had lost my own pet.  

I never know what to say to someone who is in the midst of grief.  My intentions are good, but I always fumble for words.  But then I realize there really isn't a lot people can say to make things better.  It's just something that people have to go through - it's a process - and a long one at that.  The hardest part about grieving is that we have to face the hard reality that the world doesn't stop to grieve with us.  It's almost cruel to know that the rest of the world keeps going even when we beg for things to stop - even for a moment.  I made a card for my friend today.  I have no idea what I'm going to say in it, but I know it will mean a lot to her just knowing that someone is acknowledging her grief.


I certainly didn't intend this post to be this long and I realize this is a stretch for a stamping blog, but at the moment it's a close to a diary that I have.  It's cathartic and I needed an outlet.

So as not to end on a down note, I wanted to share some of the joy in my life too...

Today is my daughter's Senior Prom.  She looked so beautiful and so happy.  I can't believe she is graduating in 4 weeks! 




Thank you for spending some of your time with me today. 

Mary Ann