Never Too Old

Hi friends! Ten years ago today I started a company. I didn't set out to start a company. I just wanted to get some art products at a discount that weren't readily available in my area and sell them to a few of my online friends so I could offset my craft spending. Then, as an afterthought, I had the idea to make a little stamp set. It was red rubber and had just a few little sayings I wanted for cardmaking and a little frame that fit inside the word window punch.

I worked tirelessly for several months building a website and just a couple days before the launch we did a few test orders and guess what? The shopping cart took the money, but there was no record of the order! Absolutely none! No name, no products, no number, no address, nothing taken out of inventory... NOTHING! Ack! I was pulling my hair out trying to figure it out with no luck. The software did not have support and so my wonderful husband calmly just said, "Let's look at your options, we can either spend the next day trying to make this work and hope for the best, or we can start fresh". So we quickly evaluated other shopping cart systems, selected one, and he sat with me for 24 hours straight while we built an entirely new website from the ground up.

Talk about the kind of love that holds you up when you've grown too weary to stand. I hope everyone feels that sort of love at some point in their lives. Although Mark doesn't stamp or help with the business (aside from appearances at early release parties, occasional tech support and one week where he bravely took on shipping duties while I was away), without him Verve just wouldn't be possible. He's the dreamer when I'm all out of dreams. He's my cheerleader when I'm too tired to get back on the court. He's the voice of reason when I am too emotional to see clearly. And he knows when it's time to keep trying to fix things and when it's time to just start fresh. Building and maintaining a business is HARD work, and a supportive family makes all the difference.

So Verve was born at 12pm Mountain on August 1, 2007. Our first stamp offering was red rubber, but by the end of the year we had switched entirely to clear stamps. I still can't believe the huge support this amazing crafting community has given us! Ten years has made me stronger than I ever thought possible. I'm a very shy and private person and this business has pushed me in ways I never knew I could grow. Thanks so much for your part in this incredible journey!

For my project today, I'm sharing a mixed-media canvas I made for myself. This quote is from Words of Wisdom (also available individually on clearance in the New Dream plain jane). I just love it and it speaks to my heart about not giving up, no matter how old I am. As motherhood has changed me, I've found myself being less goal oriented and my dreams have shifted to dreams about the boys' future rather than my own. I just want them to have the opportunities I missed out on as a child because we were too poor and lived in too rural an area. While it's good to have dreams for the boys, I realize it's important for me to have my own goals as well. So this little piece is going in my office to remind me that I'm never too old to dream, and never too old to start again.

The making of:
I started with a blank 8"x8" canvas, primed with heavy gesso.  Next I added some torn Postale tissue paper with matte medium and then scraped on some mini art stones mixed with 3D Matte Gel in opposing corners for a bunch of texture.  Next I spritzed on green and teal shimmer sprays.  The outcome was softer than I would have liked, so I covered the entire piece in watercolor gournd and then spritzed again. That made a big difference in the vibrancy of the colors.

I dry brushed on some brass rust paste to add to the patina effect and added some Daniel Smith watercolor for that deep teal color.  Lots of fussing around with brass, then spritzing, then watercoloring until I achieved exactly the look I was going for.

I embossed the sentiment in metallic bronze on deli paper, then added it to my canvas with 3D matte gel. I didn't remember to lighten the area below it, and it was super hard to read the sentiment once it was glued down. So I mixed the green spray with some white acrylic paint and painted over the area, then stamped over it in white paint. It's a pretty lumpy surface, so this was pretty tricky to do.  I still didn't feel like I could read it well enough, so then embossed over that in metallic bronze.

The whole look of the piece was inspired by the little paperclay embellishment I added below this sentiment. I made it with the IOD keyholes mould and some paperclay.  Then I used watercolor ground, and the same colors of spritzer and rust paste to give a patina effect.  Love how it turned out. The sentiment is grounded with a bit of embossing powder all around it, then I added my collage elements.

The collage elements start with a layer of cheesecloth, then a die cut star that I spritzed to match, then I added a few paper flowers and spritzed and coated with brass paste until I acheived the look I wanted.  I'm so happy with how it turned out and excited to hang it in my office to look at each day.

If you're still reading, thanks so much for reading all my rambling words! In honor of Verve's 10th Anni-VERVE-sary, all of our previously released stamps and dies are 30% off, and our July release is 20% off! Come treat yourself and say hi! I love to read the little comments when I'm shipping orders!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. Happy 10 year anni-Verve-sary, Julee!! That is a milestone to be very proud of indeed!! It has been such a joy to watch Verve grow and you were my very first clear stamp purchase (the serentiy prayer set). Loved the fact you had scripture in stamp form and your word art and uplifting sentiments are still a love of mine today ♥

    My dad was self employed/ran his own businesses all his life (5 major career changes and four of those after the age of 55!) so I know the drill well and have lived it all my life as hubby also runs his own business. Huge kudos to you as I know what it takes and what you go through ((hugs))!! Beyond blessed to know you and to have a teensy part in the Verve community of stampers :) New Verve always makes my day ♥

    Wishing you many more wonderful Verve years ahead and huge ((hugs)) to Mark (Mr Verve) for his unending support, logic and help.

    Keep dreaming those dreams for as the saying goes "dreams never die only dreamers do". Love you to bits xoxox

  2. Congratulations, Julee. I love reading success stories. Happy for you. Praise God for such an understanding and supportive husband. Thanks Mark, for encouraging her. A myriad of people have been blessed by her efforts.

  3. Happy birthday to Verve! What a great story. Here's to 10 more years :)

  4. Happy, Happy, Happy 10 years!! Wow, so hard to believe. I found Verve in 2009 so I was in close to the beginning 😀 Have always loved and always will your stamps/ dies!!! I too have gotten busier in the last few years and haven' been able to create as much but, that's okay...I still squeeze it in when I can and look forward to the time when I can be more productive!!

    I can't imagine what it's like to run your own business but, you have accomplished that!! Kudos to Mark for all he has done to help and support you!!

    BTW, LOVE your canvas...this is the type of art I would like to have a chance to try one day!!

  5. I remember those early years, and a delightful evening spent helping you and Mark put stamp sets in packaging. You will always have a place in my crafty heart!

  6. Congratulations Julie on 10 years!!! I still have that first rubber stamp set and every Verve set I've ever purchased actually. You have been a huge inspiration and influence to me throughout my stamping journey and I loved reading about your journey. Your creation is incredible and perfect to celebrate 10 years. :)

  7. What an amazing journey! Happy birthday Verve

  8. Beautiful canvas, I love the sentiment. Congratulations on 10 years and amazing story.

  9. Congrats on 10 years, Julee! What an amazing milestone, but with many more in sight. Wishing you continued success!!

  10. A lovely work of he(art). Congrats on Verve' 20th anniversary. Love Verve products and use them quite often. Thanks again for starting this great company and wishes for continued success.

  11. Happy anniversary! I follow you and though I am not a mixed media artist as you I love your stamps, sentiments and Bible verses. I use them often and am grateful for your heart to share with the works the love of Jesus!!

  12. Congrats on 10 amazing years with Verve! I'm so proud of what you have accomplished and I'm so glad you decided to take the leap and start on this journey! Very few people truly understand all the behind the scenes toil, stress, and sacrifice that goes into being a business owner. You are a rare individual that has amazing artistic abilities as well as an uncanny efficient ability to organize all of your inventory, wrangle QuickBooks and taxes, deal with your vendors, package each order with care and attention to detail, ship them out quickly, respond to customer service issues, maintain all the social media for Verve as well as its blog and your personal blog, lead the marketing strategy and implementation, and oh by the way be the best Mom and wife any kid or husband could hope for. So, just WOW! You rock!

  13. Congrats on 10 years! Can't believe it's been that long. I love your product & your customer service is top notch. And, obviously you have a wonderful & supportive partner - just read that comment by him! All my best to you both!

  14. Julee, what an amazing journey...CONGRATS on 10 years!! I loved reading your story which is full of inspiration, passion and perseverance! Mr. Verve is absolutely right -- YOU ROCK!

  15. Wow! What a wonderful story! Congrats on taking the plunge and building this company from the first stamp to now! You certainly are extremely talented and persistent! As a customer, we don't think of all that goes on behind the scenes. Congrats on your first 10 years! Wishing you many more successful years to come!

  16. Julee, I am catching up after being on vacation and am so touched and inspired by beginnings of Verve! Ten years is such an impressive milestone, and you are to be admired --- in addition to being appreciated. Thanks so much for the wonderful Verve stamps and dies and all the creative inspiration from your posts. I've enjoyed looking at your bright coffee cards and couldn't be happier that a Verve sketch has made an appearance. (Well, it's bittersweet since summer is winding down, and the beginning of school really eclipses lots of my crafting time....At any rate, I will come by to look even if my schedule doesn't allow for ink and paper.)


Thanks so much for taking the time to brighten my day with a comment! I love hearing from you.

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