Finding Your Inner Artist

Is your head tipping a bit to the left as you look at this card?  It’s not a particularly WOW! card and the photography is definitely lacking.  Perhaps this card was created by a paper crafting newbie?

In fact, this card WAS created by a paper crafting newbie–ME.  This is one of the first cards I ever posted to Splitcoaststampers (SCS) in August of 2007. I only had a few Stampin’ Up! stamp sets and a modest amount of supplies. My Stampin’ Pretty blog didn’t exist and a small built in desk in our tiny guest room sufficed for my stamping space.

I remember how I mentally paced wondering if anyone on SCS would comment on my card once it was uploaded.   My journey into stamping and finding my “inner artist” would never have blossomed without the kindness of a few fellow stampers who left me words of encouragement, even at the very beginning.  I gained the confidence to stick with a growing passion and discovered a creative side I thought I had left behind in elementary school.

The thrill of new products and satisfaction of finding time to create are just as powerful as they were in 2007.   Sharing new ideas and projects with my blog readers and downline members continues to invigorate me each day.   So for those of you who are just getting started or haven’t played with paper for awhile, I encourage you to grab some ink and stamps this weekend and let your “inner artist”  take over.  I reach out to you with a virtual pat on the back to assure you that your beginning efforts will blossom into something not only beautiful but a new level of creative understanding.

Mary signature MaryEndOfPostOrderButton


  1. Great Card Mary! Very nice! I’ve been following and loving your blog since you started! You are an inspiration to all!

  2. barb hendrickson

    What a blessing, mary. Your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated. 😉

  3. I love it Mary. I keep some of my first cards too; as a reminder of how far I’ve come. I thought I was “the bomb” using deckled scissors and a crimper on some of those first cards. Just proves that we are artists that are on a journey, not just “cardmakers!”

  4. Tanja Fussell

    Great post, Mary!

  5. Nice encouragement!

  6. Mary,
    Even back in the day, you had some lovely ideas for a newbie! I wish I would’ve saved one of my first cards, but they were SO elementary, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s fun to see where you started and how far you’ve come through the years. Thank you so much for having such a wonderful blog. I thoroughly enjoy it and it has helped me through some difficult days. I’m back to stamping again this weekend after being away from my rubber FAR too long! Thanks for inspiring me!

  7. Hi! loved your post! I’m at that stage right now, love making cards but at the end they don?t have that magic touch, I thought it was because some creativity chip was not working in my brain but now I’m starting to believe it might just be a little dusty, thanks for your message and for your daily work inspiring others. Please, if you find the time step by my blog and give me an opinion. thanks again.

  8. cami eastwood

    Mary I really coundn’t agree more. I appreciate your sentiment. I’m a stampin up demonstrator going on 8 years and am looking forward to sharing ideas with artist with less and more experience than I. Thats what stampin up is about. Being apart of the stampin up experience has changed my life. Thanks for encouraging us with your simple straightforward approach everyday. I to look at my early work and am thankful to all of my stampin up family who took time out to teach and encourage me.

  9. Mary, Mary–this is why your blog stood out when I was searching for a demo–your heartfelt encouragement comes across in every post and the information you provide and your personal touch to everything you do makes us all believe we can do it, too. Thank you so much for sharing this–and your talents, skills, and insights ….and I’m going to go do some stamping right now!

  10. Mary your card is beautiful! Thanks for the encouragement. I havent even updated my blog for a while because nobody was reading it anyway. I know that is my fault and I plan to start daily updates once the new catalog is up and fully runing. I am going to spend the next week creating cards that I can photograph so I have plenty of options to get myself started. I hope to be 1/10 as successful as you in 5 years! Congratulations on your fortitude and thanks for being my upline! Hugs!

  11. What a wonderful, humble post you shared today. Many thanks.

  12. Well done! As a former preschool teacher, I always worried that the joy and uninhibited expression of my 3 and 4 year old artists would be lost as they grew older and learned too many rules. After I retired, I devoted myself to finding that child again and I think you’ve captured the happiness that brings.

  13. I agree with all of the above, Mary. Thank you so much for the encouragement you give each day. I love your style of stamping. Watching your blog every day has encouraged me to start my own blog and venture into the area of blog challenges. I love getting those comments on my cards, yes, my cards that I came up with on my own with the aid of a sketch. And, I love stamping because I feel like an artist, even though I can’t draw hardly anything. It really has brought out the hidden artist within me and the stamps are doing the work!

  14. Remember, cards styles were way different in 2007, so don’t be so hard on yourself! I do agree that you should take the same general layout, and remake the card with today’s styles and products. That would be fun to do and see. Have a great weekend!

  15. Mary – you inspire in such a beautifully gentle way. i can remember attending my first SU party and telling my daughter that we are buying 1 stamp set and that’s it cuz you can go buy a card for $.99. I bought Nice and Easy Notes (1996) – a variety pack (b’day, get well, etc). I made one extremely simple card – stamped an image & colored. Nothing else. But when I finished, I was hooked cuz I created it. Now over a hundred stamp sets later, I just made a Hershey kisses card with the silver glimmer paper and the Blossom Petals Builder punch. Thanks for your inspiration. It keeps me going and maintains my sanity in my hectic life!

  16. Beautiful post Mary. So affirming and generous. Another glimpse at your wonderful heart. TFS!

  17. I still have my first card from June of 2008! It’s not great but it WAS my very 1st card and I’ll always keep it. As you, I have much improved! You don’t have to be creative although it certainly helps. It’s a learned skill. I’ve shown people my 1st card and explain this to them as well when they tell me they aren’t creative.

    Thanks for sharing your first card Mary! Even your 1st card was GOOD! I still have that particular ribbon and I still love it! In fact, my 1st card has same ribbon on it! I too think I’ll show my 1st card on my blog! What a great idea! 🙂 If anyone else is interested in seeing it, visit I’ve just started a new blog and may add it this morning as well which is

    I hope you don’t mind that I share that Mary. I’d love for you to visit my SU blog and see a twist on one of your cards I cased and naturally I gave you credit! 🙂

  18. Mary , what a great idea to share your first card -what a motivating force. No matter how busy I am in the morning I always log in to check your blog( thanks for ;posting early) . So nice to know that you will have posted and I have a little bit of inspiration to carry me through my day -seeing patients in my office -not creating cards but I’m always thinking how I can decorate the walls with the stamps and paper.:-)

  19. Thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement, Mary. I think your early card looks terrific! I laugh at myself when I spend hours making a card that doesn’t turn out quite as amazing as I had hoped. But my husband always says, “Did you have fun doing it? Then it was worth it.” I love your blog and the great ideas you share. Thanks.

  20. It would be fun to see what you would do with this card now Mary. You could see the artist in you even back then.

  21. My beginning efforts were really pathetic. I remember crying after spending an entire evening making a baby congratulations card for a friend. I wasn’t happy with the end result, and I’d spent so much time on it … frustrating, to say the least. But I kept at it and somewhere down the road (for me, it was probably a year and a half after I started stamping) I turned a big corner. A year after that I became a demonstrator and was pushed to a new level again. Now – 15 years after beginning – I am a decent stamper. I’ll never be a “WOW” stamper because my artistic talent is pretty shallow. But places like SCS and blogs like yours have helped me tremendously. I’m a darn good copier (!!) and once in a while I even come with a totally original creation that I’m proud of.

  22. With all of the tools and beautiful products from Stampin Up, anyone can make a beautiful card. I never thought my cards were that great until I started using Stampin Up products and of course, I had you for inspiration. Thanks Mary, for all of your help in the past, now I get so many compliments on my cards and people are asking me to make more. Thanks again for helping so many of us novices out here.

  23. Mary it’s funny this is your post today (for me anyway). I am on a 2 week at home vacation and I’m cleaning out my entire house, including craft room. Selling what I no longer use (or have never used) … also at your suggestion by the way (when I was in awe of watching you build your new space). Anyway, I just came across some of my first work… oh boy! Times have changed. I laughed out loud when I saw them…. crooked, colored in “too heavy”, you name it. I have come a long way but I still do fret just a little deciding on what to make, how to design it and for sure, what paper to use. But I love it when I can take an entire day and go hibernate…today is one of those days I think (in between laundry). Thanks for always inspiring and encouraging us. Your post starts my day off so well… You’re one of the best! Happy Memorial Day…

  24. Mary, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your artwork and your words of wisdom. I don’t often comment on blogs, just sit back and admire the artwork, but I have to say, you are amazing. You are inspiring. Thank you!

  25. Hi Mary, I, too am new to your blog and have loved everyone of them. Stamping too me is a great stress reliever. I have a spot in my bedroom that’s my “little” area. I have already used a couple of your ideas. Checking your blog every morning starts my day with a smile! Thanks, Mary!

  26. Your discovery is our gain. Thanks for all the inspiration you give us every day. You are the greatest!

  27. Oh Ms Mary , I have some like that , one day we should all post our first cards . That would be fun. I live your story , that should be a book . Call a diary of a wonderful stamper .
    Think about it !
    Hugs Frenchie ,
    True … We all need to Remmber how we all started , and give all the new stamper , they will do good , and how Beauitful there cards are now .

  28. I cringe just thinking about my first cards. Thankfully, SU! continues to provide awesome products and people like you continue to inspire. Thank you!

  29. All I can say is so glad you didn’t quit, I check your site everyday, often right after my morning cup of coffee. I don’t stamp everyday but sometimes I see just the right card that encourages me to get my work done so I can take some time to stamp a copy of your card. Keep up with the inspirations.

  30. So true how “not sure” we are when we show what we’ve done. I’ve been scrapbooking for 5 years now and I’m still anxious everything I make a new card! thanks for sharing your story and creativity. I am a daily reader of your blog too and I very much like what you do. Your videos are awesome too.

  31. Thank you Mary for sharing your story?.I felt the same way about the upload of my first card to SCS, which was only a few months ago and couldn’t believe a couple of people commented on it. My confidence is growing daily and your blog is truly an inspiration. I’m glad I found you via Pinterest! Creating cards is my therapy. Discovering this inner creative side has also pushed me to be more daring with art projects in my classroom with my 4th/5th graders.

    Thanks again for your kind words of encouragement.

  32. Great post! Love looking at one of your early endeavors!

  33. Does the saying…..You’ve come a long way Baby ring a bell? It does for me! Your story touched me in a very familiar way and accepting the fact that we all have a beginning and know that our journey continues every day with this passion we have for papercrafting. I love that even after all these years we continue to learn and experience that WOW factor with all the cards we create – LOVE THIS HOBBY! It has allowed me to meet you and many other stamping friends. Thanks for your friendship Mary – You inspire me and help me to be all I can be with this fabulous hobby we call PaperCrafting!

  34. A very touching and encouraging story. I think your first card is beautiful. To be honest I thought it was suppose to give that appearance. Proves in time, if we stick with it, stay encouraged and do it from the heart; we will grow. Thanks for the encouragement.

  35. Mary…..thank you for the reminder about my first card with Stampin’ Up! I had been a scrapbooker, NOT a cardmaker when I signed up. I had to make a card for my upline’s demo meeting swap. I had no supplies then (my husband says I have a “store of my own” in my craft room now!!) and could not even think of what would make an interesting card. My first card was absolutely pathetic and I remember being so embarrassed when I got all the cute cards at the swap covered with glitter, cute stamp images, ribbon, brads and pretty papers. Unfortunately I threw all evidence of that first card away. If I had it today, 8 years after joining SU!, I would frame it and hang it in front of my stamping area as a reminder of how very far I have come!! Thanks for the reminder this morning!! By the way, I think YOUR first card is lovely!!

  36. nancy thompson

    I love the word set with “giggle” in it. Just wish I would have purchased it way back then!

  37. It’s so fun to hear your own stories about your first cards. Thanks for your kind words about the post and my blog. Ellen . . . I have plenty of 4 and 5 hours cards under my belt. Not so much anymore. However, I remember those hours of toiling over the design and which pretty paper to use! Hugs, M

  38. Mary, well said! It truly is a journey and there’s a remarkable difference between my first cards and ones I do now. I enjoy your post immensely and get so many great ideas and tips from you, plus I love your style. I have a stressful job and find paper crafts to be absolutely therapeutic. I’ve done crafts my whole life but this is by far my favorite. I may be slow but enjoy the time creating anyway. Thanks for your inspiration. And yes, I WILL be carving out some ME-time this weekend with my cardmaking supplies.

  39. Wow, Mary – thanks for the encouragement. And here you are, five years later – a rock star!!! 🙂

    Thank you always for being an inspiration.

  40. Mary, what an awesome post!!! I wish that I have saved some of my early “creations” but they were pretty bad and most ended up in the trash. I didn’t find Splitcoast until I had been a demonstrator for several years so I have no “archives” to search for the old cars but I do remember that I could never seem to stamp very well unless I was copying a card at an SU workshop or class, then I did just fine. Silly me, took quite a while before I figured out it was the nasty cheap-o white cardstock (sort of cardstock? it was the same weight but a terrible quality!) I was using. Once I started buying a good quality things did improve somewhat!

    Isn’t it fun (and funny?) to take a little walk down Memory lane? thanks for sharing! You certainly have come a long way, baby!

  41. Mary, WOW Thank you for your beautiful journey. I remember way back when I started.
    2006. I took a class at a Curves exercise place and said this was fun. I had a class of my own. My girl friend and I tried to make a card. Our husbands laughed at us because we spent four hours at my house with a few supplies and we made one card.
    It was ok. Thank you so very much for the encouragement. We went through three Stamping up ladies. We have both learned a great deal over the years. I love your site you have taught me so much. I am so glad you shared your story with all of us. I am having a friend over in a little while and we are going to be stamping. Have a wonderful stamping day.

  42. Mary … you could be a motivational speaker! Well said. Your words of encouragement are so nice. Thanks for all your postings of your cards and now, for your kind words of sharing your experience with us. “Stamp On”!!

  43. Hello,Mary: WOW, even then you were great!! I’m so happy you continued with this passion because now, you’ve inspired me to keep doing this hobby that I love. We all have to start somewhere but we need to keep at it to gain experience and get better at it.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.

  44. After a very frustrating day at work this week, I left on time (a rarity) with nothing but my purse (another rarity) with marching orders from a co-worker to go home and do something I REALLY enjoy. I ended up in my craft area and took a card design from an SU blog and made it 2 different ways from the original design. I was never good at art but cardmaking makes me an artist. I constantly work to remind myself I AM an artist who creates beautiful things. I just don’t draw, paint, or sculpt. Here’s to my fellow blossoming artists who use paper, stamps, DSP, etc. to create!

  45. Funny Mary, my son asked me abt my first card the othe day and I pulled it out. Lordy…what a difference. We all have beginnings…some may lean one way…others may never see the light of day…bit we all start somewhere.
    I am only relatively new to your blog, but I do like what you do. Thanks for inspiring the beginners, experienced, the colour co-ordinated and the procrastinators!!!

  46. Mary Frances Adams

    Thank you for reminding me of those first cards I stamped with the few supplies I invested in. That was in 2002. Now, my whole guest room has been taken over with stamping and scrapbook supplies. And yes, I plan to let that inner artist come alive over this holiday weekend! I haven’t had time to play for quite a while, and it’s time to have some paper therapy! Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  47. Melanie Simington

    Mary, thank you for the words of encouragement. As a newbie to stamping, they are wonderful to hear. I fret over every card I make and wonder if it’ll stand up to the “inspection” of the more seasoned club members. I follow your blog daily and love your projects. You are a great inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas and tips.

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