That's when I started stamping, or at least it seems that way. When I started stamping, wood mounts were THE way and anything else was highly frowned up. Acrylic stamps didn't exist and if you wanted to go "unmounted" you used what I considered an insane system of grooved acrylic blocks and velcro called "halos". So long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, or probably closer to 12 years I went to a Stampin' Up! party and fell in love. Over the course of five years I accumulated an amazing amount of stamps I didn't love, joined in more swaps than I can count and generally stamped my brain (and possibly fingers) out. It was a rare envelope indeed that left our house uninked. My husband insisted the bills go without stamping and as I'd never gotten around to buying a personalized address stamp, I let him have his way.
I stamped and even did a stint as a Stampin' Up! demo. The last was probably my downfall. I sat down one day and realized that most of the stamps I owned were not purchased because I loved them, they were purchased because they would hopefully benefit a business I no longer had time or heart for. I did the unthinkable...I stopped stamping. It wasn't a gradual thing. I simply stopped. I turned my love of paper towards scrapbooking and proceeded to spend the next several years (yes, years!) selling off an amazing collection of stamps. In all that time, I've only come to regret two sets that went the way of eBay. I haven't regretted them enough to hunt them down and buy them again, though. :)
I didn't sell off my entire collection of stamps. I simply kept those I absolutely loved. My collection is quite small now, and fits in a couple (three, I believe) IRIS drawers in among my collection of scrapbooking supplies. When acrylics made their big boom in the scrapbooking arena, I bought a few. Not a large collection and I was more selective. I bought only stamps I was sure I would use for my scrapbooking projects. I have frames, journaling blocks, swirls and the like. My acrylics fit neatly into 1 single 12x12x2" storage drawer, including acrylic blocks.
So where does this bring me? Well, back to my roots, so to speak. I never stopped loving stamps even though I walked away from them. About 2 years ago, in a fit of boredom, I strayed off my normal scrap blog roaming onto a blog of cards. I read and hopped and read and hopped some more, slowly renewing my love affair. I bought a few acrylic CTMH stamps through my friend Becks when she decided to try out her hand at demoing. I was very careful to stay the path of stamps I felt I could use in my scrapbooking, but it was a path my heart simply wasn't completely devoted to. Personally, I think the baby stamps did me in. It only took a couple of "welcome baby!" cards to pull me back to my beloved inks and stamps.
I'm in love once again. I've found my way back to the heart of my crafting spirit. It's pretty cool, really. As with any one who has seen a love put to the way side, I'm more cautious. It takes me far longer to consider a stamp for all it's merits and decide to buy. I have carts and wish lists littered across companies that are rapidly becoming my favorites. While I can see the appeal of acrylic, true rubber will always hold my heart. There's just something about the smell of deeply etched rubber that makes my heart go pitty-pat. The advent of EZ Mount cling foam has served to make them dearer.
And with all that said...I leave you with a card I made this weekend with one of the first stamps I ever bought. It's dated 1995 on the mount from Stamp Oasis.
Here's a shot of his little friend that's destined to grace a card front in the near future. Possibly on a different bit of paper, though. I'm not convinced that the one he's on now does him justice.
Both of these little guys (gals?) are colored with prismacolor pencils that are blended out with baby oil. The white cardstock is Pure Luxury baseweight, courtesy of Gina K Designs (love this stuff!). The waver is on BasicGrey Bittersweet and the flyer is on Prima at the moment.