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My Story

Hi friends, new and old! I’m so glad you’ve found my little corner of the blogosphere!  Welcome! If you don’t know me, I’m Julee, a lover of crafts, coffee, and Hello Kitty.  Once upon a time I was owner/illustrator/one woman wonder for Verve Stamps. I closed the business June 30, 2018, just shy of our 11 year Anni-VERVE-sary.

Now I spend my days hanging out with my cat, Moka, crafting the day away. And drinking coffee to keep me going. Lots of coffee. I take it black and strong when it's hot and as an Americano iced. I'm also referee, chauffeur and Mama to my sweet not so little anymore 11 year old identical twin boys. They're in a full time gifted classroom, and super competitive in all sorts of sports, games, and chess. They definitely keep me on my toes!

I grew up in a small town and would love a simple, quiet life with lots of colored things to line up in a rainbow. However, after 15 years of quiet, the Lord decided to entrust my husband and I with the care of extremely energetic identical twin boys. They’ve turned our once quiet home into bustling, raucous chaos and have grown our hearts 3 times bigger than we ever dreamed possible. 

I've never really considered myself an artist. At a young age I was told I didn’t have any artistic aptitude, and during a school fair project in 2nd grade, my gifted and talented teacher actually brought in a Kindergarten student to do the artistic portion of my assignment. I was crushed, and convinced that I couldn't do art, so never tried.  In junior high, I somehow managed to win a poster contest that everyone was required to enter, and was so proud of myself and my poster... a huge drawing of the state of Idaho. I still doodle the state of Idaho whenever I'm given a pencil to this day. {grin}

I went to a small liberal arts college, but never took an art class.  I'm extremely shy and thought maybe communications classes would help me overcome my fear of speaking in public, so spent most of my electives on those classes. It didn't help, and I still shake like a leaf even just talking on the phone or ordering at a restaurant and have been known to pass out in the middle of giving a presentation. It's truly embarrassing, especially since I KNOW it's all in my head.  Anyhow, in college, I started out majoring in literature, then religion, then social services, then managerial accounting and finally took the shortest route to a degree, which with the classes I had taken became a degree in business communications.

In college, a friend down the hall introduced me to stamping and invited me to my first ever stamp party.  It was D.O.T.S. then (now Close to My Heart), and I was hooked. I bought a stylus and a bone folder (I still have both today), at that first party because it was all I could afford.  My friend and I would spend weekends and holidays stamping together with clearance JoAnn's finds and embossing with her toaster.  My first purchased stamp was one for the back of cards that said, "when you care enough you make it yourself." Those early stamping sessions fostered a love of creating and opened up a whole new world to me. Stamping allowed me to feel like an artist without the fear of failure, since the stamps were created by “real” artists.

After college, I’d stamp in the evenings after work while my hubby played computer games or worked late.  I joined a monthly CTMH stamp club and slowly started building up a crafting arsenal. My husband saw how much I enjoyed creating and gently nudged me in the direction of web and graphic design. I took one two hour class on Adobe Illustrator and it was like my soul had finally found the air it was needing.  It was truly life changing to see the way that every object is made up of shapes and that through the magical digital world someone like me who can't draw a stick figure with a pencil, could draw on a computer! I then headed on over to Barnes & Noble and purchased some technical books and taught myself HTML and what I needed to know to switch careers and become a graphic designer.  I found a place that was looking for someone with both administrative skills and graphic design skills and somehow convinced them I knew what I was doing!  {grin}

After a few years of designing in the corporate world, I decided to take a little breather. My husband had been through several lay-offs over the years and had finally gotten an amazing opportunity along with a retention bonus that allowed me to take a little time off and try some free-lance work.  I had every intention of going back to the corporate world after the year ran out.  But during that time, I stumbled across Splitcoaststampers and started a brand new love affair with stamping, eventually deciding to start Verve, and illustrate my own line of stamps!

My very first upload to SCS. A sketch challenge card.  Until this point, I had been a casual stamper, but faithfully started doing the daily challenges.  In less than a year, my style had really evolved and I had started my own stamp company. My one piece of advice to someone just starting out, is just to practice, practice, practice. Do challenges. Try new things. Have fun!

The next almost 11 years with Verve turned out to be such an amazing ride. I had no idea the number of lives that would be touched, friendships that would be made and the different path my life would take opening our virtual doors.  Through it all, I've tried to fiercely protect my love for creating. It's a passion, but when you make a hobby your business, it's hard to keep that passion pumping.  I'm beginning to rekindle my love for cardmaking, and as always, I try to make sure everything I create has kindness at the heart of it.

As a stamper, I love to experiment in my art and try new things, and often blur the lines between styles  I love adding a touch of grunge to shabby chic, then surprising myself with a clean and simple design here and there.  I love paint, ink-stained fingers and am totally hooked on mixed-media. When I have a spare moment, I'm usually planning my next project.... or collecting more art supplies!

So that's my story, in a nut shell. This blog is where I share my creative soul with the world. And on this little blog, in between the hustle and bustle of life, every once in a while there's a little nugget of clarity that comes forth... a blending of poetry and art.  Thanks for stopping by my little blog... Poetic ARTistry.