It was the best of times, it was the...BEST OF TIMES! LOL!
Yes, Dawn's downline meeting with Shelli Gardner (may she live forever!!!) and Sara was absolutely fabulous!
First of all, I left very early. The road I had to travel, Telegraph (aka US 24) had been reduced to two lanes for half of the way to where I was going and it was just going to be hitting the beginning of rush hour. So I thought it might take me an hour instead of the 45 that Mapquest was saying, so I left an hour and a half early.
But it only took me 35 minutes. I got there VERY early.
I was prepared, though. I had brought a book. I didn't want to go and interrupt what Dawn was doing or anything. So I read and waited until 4:30 PM, then I went into the hotel.
There were other ladies there who were talking to the lady at the desk, who was saying, "I don't know if they are letting people in yet, I will have to ask Dawn over there." And sure enough, I looked around and I could see that Dawn was sitting at a table behind a curtain, so I walked around the curtain to say hi and OMGosh, there was Shelli (may she live forever!!!) Gardner and her daughter, Sara!!! In the flesh!
I managed to not SQUEAL and fall over, but managed, by a supreme effort of will and determination, to act quite calm and friendly. Like I said, I didn't want to make Shelli (may she live forever!) think I was as stalker or anything! Dawn said, "This is Jan Tinklenberg" and I said, "Hi! We've met before, actually, but it's been a long time." Shelli (may she live forever!) and Sara excused themselves so they could go up to their hotel room and get ready and I followed Dawn into the room.
Dawn was welcoming people in and I gave her a copy of the new book, Interactive Cards, as a thank you for inviting me. She loved it and asked me to autograph it, which I was glad to do!
After Shelli and Sara came down, most of us were there, so Dawn asked us to start swapping. Shelli (may she live forever!) said that they hadn't brought swaps, but we assured her we had planned for all of us to make enough to give her and Sara each one. They were excited and loved all the swaps, which were all beautiful.
As I was sitting there, Shelli (may she live forever!) said, "Jan! You've got 'Color Renovation Celebration' on the back of your swaps...you must have created these quite recently, like in the past two days?" I said that yes, I had, in fact, I had made them all the night before, staying up until 3 AM to finish them. Shelli (may she live forever!) loved the color combination!
After that, Shelli (may she liver forever) and Sara were taking pictures of Dawn's cards on her card tree, so I was talking to the ladies at my table and brought out the cards that were returned to me from CardMaker that had been used in the Interactive Cards book to show to them. Shelli (may she live forever!) and Sara came over to see and oohed and ahhed and Dawn brought over the book for them to see and they went through it page by page! Shelli (may she live forever) knew who I was, from the article in Stampin' Success as well as having won the contest on her blog once and told me that she loved all of my work...it was so wonderful to me to hear her say that! I pointed out that Wendy Weixler, my fellow demo and one of my very best friends, also had a card in the book and she said, "Wendy, now she's another one of those ladies...the ones that could win my contest every time they enter it because their projects are always fantastic, but I can't let them win every time!" We talked some more about submitting work for publications and what you have to send in to the publisher and how much work is involved for the little amount of money you get.
Anyway, after a while of chatting and talking, Shelli (may she live forever!) got up to talk and told us all about how the company was started and why she loved her job and Stampin' Up! Then she took questions from us. My question was, "Did you bring any of the new colors that we can see?" At first, Shelli (may she live forever!) didn't think she had, but then she remembered there was a color chart with cardstock samples on it in her briefcase, so she sent Sara upstairs to get it and we passed it around. The new colors are WONDERFUL and I can't wait to get my hands on 'em!
After that we had make and takes, which Dawn demonstrated. She also gave us some gifts!
We all did make and takes, including Shelli (may she live forever!) and Sara.
Then it was time to take pictures.
The really thrilling thing about the whole thing, for me, was that having Shelli (may she live forever) and Sara there was just like being with a couple of girlfriends that you know at a workshop. I felt like we really got to know each other a little, not at all like being at Convention or Regionals where you are another person in a long line of people that Shelli (may she live forever) has talked to. I can imagine it is hard to remember names and faces and details, but I really remember that the first time I met Shelli (may she live forever), she asked me how long I had been a demonstrator. When I said 3 years, she said, "And we've never met?" That more than anything else impressed me at that time. I struggle to remember people's names and sometimes totally blank out even with people I've known a while!
Some of the pictures I took did not turn out, which makes me sad. And I wish I had taken MORE pictures, especially of Dawn's daughter, Jessica and her best friend, who were helping out and were so fun! But if you want to see pictures of them, you can tool on over to Shelli's (may she live forever!) blog, SoShelli.com. You can see even more photos on Dawn's blog, Dawn's Stamping Thoughts.
After the pictures were taken, it was time to set up for the workshop. We were not allowed to attend the workshop as well, it was only for customers. Shelli (may she live forever!) and Sara started setting up for the workshop. I took some pictures:
All in all, I won't ever forget this event...I just can't explain what a wonderful time I had and it was so nice to meet all of the ladies who were there as well, including some of you who read my blog! Dawn is such a sweet person and I was so happy to have been invited!