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Brandy Jesperson

I know it’s cliché, but time flies when you’re having fun. I distinctly remember talking with the Paper Crafts team and dreaming up a blog full of interactive challenges, beautiful pictures and prizes galore! Sure enough, two blinks of an eye and one year later here we are! 

One of our goals when we concepted this blog was to encourage people to serve those around them. After all, card making is innately generous. We make cards for our loved ones to celebrate events, give condolences and simply say “hi.” 

As I think back over the past 12 months, we’ve not only had the chance to give back, but we’ve also had a lot of fun doing it. So put on your magical time machine hats (you’ve all got one, right?) and join me for a quick trip down memory lane.  

Last Fall Kelly joined forces with some crafty friends to crop for Cystic Fibrosis. Not only did all the proceeds go to a great cause, but it was also a chance to meet new people and create into the wee hours of the morning!

Here's Roxanne (Becky's sister), Kelly, Megan, Brenda and Becky.

In November we continued our tradition of decorating and donating a tree (complete with oodles of donations from manufacturers and designers) to the Festival of Trees. All the money raised at this event goes to the patients at Primary Children’s Medical Center, and over the past three years our trees have made more than $5000 for this great cause. 

Ta da! What do you think of our finished tree?

Even our Go-to Gals got into the act this year! Ms. Maren shared a delicious assortment of chocolate-covered creations (accompanied by a hearty dose of papery goodness) ideal for teacher gifts. With two former teachers on our team, we love and respect the fine people who teach our children each day.

Switch out the tag and you've got a yummy Valentine's treat!

In December we joined forces with Creating Keepsakes magazine and Creativity Heals. This program encourages people to donate time, creativity or extra crafting supplies towards improving the lives of others. We invited all of you to donate cards to Operation Write Home and were blown away by the generosity you showed on our blog and Facebook pages. We’ve been associated with this charity for years and love their support for our nation’s armed forces. We also donated hundreds of cards to this charity following our World Card Making Day Card Contest in October.  

All of these cards were sent in to Operation Write Home.

At each turn we have been struck by the kindness and willingness to give all of you readers have shown. Thanks for making 2009 a year of giving back. As a thank you I’d like to give ONE lucky person two copies of our new special issue Stamp It! Cards, two Fiskars stamp sets and two of our sassy Betty t-shirts. All that I ask is that you keep one prize package for yourself and give the other to a friend. To be eligible to win, please leave a comment telling me how you like to give back to those around you. Perhaps we’ll be able to take something YOU do and work it into 2010. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Thanks and love,

P.S. It’s time to announce the 10 winners from Jennifer’s Sharing the CHA Goodies post and the five winners from Kelly’s January/February I-Spy post!

Jennifer’s winners:

1. Diane S. (Jan. 29, 7:59 p.m.)
2. Carisa (Jan. 28, 3:17 p.m.)
3. Brandy Jarvis (Jan. 28, 2:12 p.m.)
4. Tammy Wisterman (Jan. 28, 8:08 p.m.)
5. Carol (Jan. 28, 3:31 p.m.)
6. Iris Soscia (Jan. 28, 1:48 p.m.)
7. Diana N. (Jan. 28, 6:40 p.m.)
8. Sue B. (Jan. 29, 7:56 p.m.)
9. Letisia Chubbuck (Jan. 28, 6:43 p.m.)
10. Jennifer Hansen (Jan. 28, 11:15 p.m.)

Kelly’s winners:

1. Carol H. (Jan. 29, 9:53 a.m.)
2. cards4ever (Jan. 29, 10:39 p.m.)
3. Wendy M. (Jan. 30, 8:47 a.m.)
4. Kerry A. (Jan. 31, 9:43 a.m.)
5. Mary Ashby (Jan. 29, 8:04 a.m.)

Congrats, winners! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to discuss your prizes and get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Magazine Monday and day one of Paper Crafts Connection’s Blogiversary Celebration! Tomorrow, February 2, marks our official one-year anniversary, and I don’t about you, but time sure has flown by!

It was just over a year ago that I started building this blog, page by page and link by link. We knew we wanted it to be an extension of the magazine, and because we’re not limited to page count here, we knew we could give you more of everything you love about Paper Crafts. And because of its viral nature, we knew there was potential to reach paper crafters from all over the world on a daily basis. No pressure at all!

So, a year later, I’m sitting here trying to sum up 263 posts, which collectively contain 26,872 comments! And while certain posts are more memorable than others, in a way, all of them are like little babies that I’ve created and sent out into the paper crafting world for love and acceptance. And you’ve all embraced each and every one. Even the ones that were silly and lame and had nothing to do with paper crafting. Does anyone remember our Return of the Jedi Braid post? Like I said, there’s been some random ones!

That said, there’s also been some amazing ones. Too many to individually mention, but I went through our archives and pulled my favorites. In true Letterman style, I bring you PK’s Top Ten Paper Crafts Connection Blog Posts of 2009:

1. Happy World Card Making Day – Oct. 3, 2009 (Of course this would be my #1! So fun to celebrate this holiday with the whole wide world!)

2. Freebie Friday – Giving Back – Sept. 18, 2009 (You may think I picked this as one of my favorites because it features a scrumptious Johnny Depp card, but the real reason is because I so enjoyed giving my time to a wonderful charity. Brandy will talk more about our inspiring Creativity Heals campaign tomorrow!)

3. Magazine Monday – The Paper Crafts Office Tour – August 17, 2009 (As a request from one of our readers, I went around the office and took pictures of our lobby, break room and all of our individual cubes. It was a lot of fun!)

4. Freebie Friday – And the Gallery Idol Winner Is – July 31, 2009 (Oh happy day for Rae Barthel!)

5. Welcome Go-to Gal, Teri Anderson – July 23, 2009/Welcome Go-to Gal, Jessica Witty – July 21, 2009/Welcome Go-to Gal, Betsy Veldman – July 16, 2009/Welcome Go-to Gal, Maren Benedict – July 14, 2009/Welcome Go-to Gal, Kim Hughes – July 9, 2009/Welcome Go-to Gal, Kim Kesti – July 7, 2009 (July, 2009 was a very busy month in Paper Crafts land! In addition to the weekly Gallery Idol challenges and posts, we also welcomed six talented ladies to our family – the Paper Crafts Go-to Gals!)

6. Tickled Pink – June 23, 2009 (National Pink Day just happened to fall during our Card Creations 7 promotional week in June. In true girly fashion, Brandy spotlighted some pretty pink projects, gave away some pink-alicious product and then posted a picture of us in our finest pink garb.)

7. The Lone Design Man – May 7, 2009 (Matt, our lone man on the team, dishes secrets on what it’s like to work with seven hormonal women. He also shows some of his amazing openers that are featured in our magazine!)

8. Freebie Friday – Get Your Blinkies Here – April 3, 2009 (Here we showed readers how to upload their very own Paper Crafts and Moxie Fab World blinkies! If you still don’t have them on your blogs, what are you waiting for?)

9. Freebie Friday – The Big One – March 20, 2009 (This post related to our Stamp It! Cards promotional week generated more comments than any other to date. I wonder if this jackpot of a giveaway had anything to do with it!)

10. Happy Birthday, PK – March 12, 2009 (As a Coca-Cola fanatic, this post literally leaves me feeling effervescent!)

Can I tell you how hard it was to only pick 10 posts?! Luckily, we still have the rest of the week to touch on highlights from the past year. And since no celebration would be complete without presents, today I’m giving away three fun prize packages! Leave a comment telling me one of your favorite Paper Crafts Connection blog posts from 2009. I’ll pick three random winners to each receive one of our new “Betty” t-shirts, a Paper Crafts Connection button and Cosmo Cricket’s Earth Love collection. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Tuesday, Feb, 2.

Happy Monday!

P.S. We just launched our February Gallery Challenge today! Since it’s the season of love, we want to see your best Valentine’s Day projects. For inspiration, please turn to the Valentines for Everyone on Your List and Vintage Valentines features in our January/February 2010 issue. This three-week challenge will run through midnight (MDT) on Monday, Feb. 22. Click HERE for all the details! (January’s winners will be spotlighted next Monday, Feb. 8.)

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! I love this special time of year. Not only am I mesmerized by the magic of the season, but I love how everyone seems to have a little more patience, a little more kindness and a little more love for their fellow man. 

Just this week Brandy announced our new joint venture with Creating Keepsakes magazine called “Creativity Heals”. The objective is simple: donate your time, creativity and supplies toward improving the lives of others. We’ve partnered with Operation Write Home, whose mission is to support our nation’s armed forces by sending blank greeting cards to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them. Thanks to all who have already sent off cards to OWH and to those who are organizing their shipments right now. 

Around the office, we also get into the spirit of giving. Last year a few of us participated in a Secret Santa exchange. My little elf just happened to be “Matthew McConaughey” and every day he would leave me a gift, along with a cute note. What was so remarkable was how well he knew me…he left me bottles of Coke, KitKat candy bars and even little treats for my dog Lexus. 

Just a few of the goodies my Secret Santa left under my tree.

Since I know you’re all dying to see the “note”, here’s a close-up view: 

Who knew Matthew had such a sculpted...sense of humor!

It turns out my Secret Santa was actually the sneaky Miss Susan R. Opel. At the big reveal, she presented me with a gorgeous card she had made. Inside was a gift card to one of my favorite stores. And while I was sad to see my daily visits from “Matthew” disappear, it sure made my holidays a little bit brighter. Just another reminder that gift giving can be so much fun – especially when it comes from the heart. 

I recently stumbled across our Simple Sentiments from Holiday Cards & More, Volume 4. One of my favorite quotes by Hamilton Wright Mabie is: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” And, of course, you can’t go wrong with good ol’ Dr. Seuss… 

If you would like to download these festive sentiments, please click HERE. Ready for today’s giveaway? I’d love to hear all the fun ways you’ve spread Christmas cheer to your fellow man. Leave “Santa” a comment and he’ll pick three winners to take home a copy of Holiday Cards & More, Vol. 4, plus some fun paper crafting product. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Sunday, Dec. 13.  

Happy Friday!

P.S. It’s time to announce the two winners from Teri’s Christmastime is Ornament Swap Time post! 

1. Savannah O’Gwynn (Dec. 9, 9:12 a.m.)
2. Shirley K. (Dec. 9, 7:28 a.m.) 

Congrats, ladies! You’ve each won a snowman ornament from Teri! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments! 

P.P.S. Here’s another freebie for everyone! This holiday, we invite you to share the inspiration of paper crafting with a friend or relative–at a GREAT DEAL! Subscribe or renew your subscription to Paper Crafts at our special low rate and we’ll give a one-year gift subscription to a friend absolutely FREE! That’s two subscriptions for the price of one! This special holiday offer won’t last long…so click on over today! Offer valid in the U.S. only.

Brandy Jesperson

The holidays are officially upon us and I can’t help but feel the magic of the season. The bell ringers are in front of my local Wal-Mart and tonight will be spent caroling with the youth in my neighborhood. We’re delivering treats to a few surrounding families in need of extra cheer. I sincerely believe that many ailments from loneliness to sickness can be healed with a dose of love and attention.  

This is why I’m so excited to bring you the “Creativity Heals” campaign created by our sister publication, Creating Keepsakes magazine.  

Creating Keepsakes recognizes the inspiring and healing power that creativity brings into our lives and the lives of others. Since Creating Keepsakes is encouraging everyone to donate time, creativity or extra crafting supplies towards improving the lives of others, we’ve decided to partner with one of our very favorite charities: Operation Write Home

This amazing charity’s mission is to support our nation’s armed forces by sending blank greeting cards to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them. As of November 29, 279,487 cards have been sent to deployed heroes! Let’s add to this number by donating a few cards of our own. I know you’ve got extra cards lying around so please put them to good use by sending them to a good home.  

I’ll be donating several versions of this card (sans glitter)

Drop me a line letting me know if you donated any cards. Everyone who donates will be entered into a drawing to win an assortment of paper crafting supplies. All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Wednesday, Dec. 9.  

Yours in festive giving,

P.S. We just added a “Creativity Heals” tab to our menu bar. Any time you want to learn more about giving back or to see what charities we’re supporting, please click HERE.

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