Sunday, October 4, 2015

Anger Management

Today, my pastor preached on the emptiness of consumer culture and how when we're unhappy, we buy new stuff, but the joy of having it wears off quickly and then we need more new stuff. It's an endless cycle that never permanently satisfies.

Oh, my! The truth will set you free, but first it ticks you off!

A few weeks ago, I pulled every winter/holiday stamp and set in my hoard out for my hard push on Christmas. Here's what I found.

Clear and unmounted rubber sets. About 33 sets. I have more sets
than years Jesus lived on earth. How did this happen?!?!

Random wood-mounted Christmas stamps. Several of these are
old Stampa Rosa stamps...maybe they can be put in my coffin with
me. Can we take stamps with us?

Trees suitable for holiday cards. Stampa Rosa here as well.

More trees and winter stamps. A few Stampa Rosa ones in here, too.

So the question is "What does one stamper possibly need with this many holiday stamps?"

Even more important is this question: "Where will she start?"

Honestly, I wanted to go take a nap after pulling all this stuff out. It took several days of feeling very angry at myself before I worked up a strategy for dealing with this embarrassment of riches. Here's what I learned....

  1. I still feel compelled to buy new holiday stamps and feel ashamed of myself.
  2. Some of these stamps (mostly some of the sets) do not excite me. At all.
  3. Some of these stamps do excite me, but I wonder how I will ever make anything with them that is different from what I've already made with them. 
  4. The sheer quantity of stamps here is intimidating and stifles my creativity.

And that makes me angry.

So what does a girl do to manage her anger? She comes up with a PLAN.

And here it is: I'm going to use as many of these stamps as I can, and if I don't have fun using a set or stamp, it's going into storage. Next year, if I make all my holiday cards without retrieving any from storage, those stored stamps will be sold off in grab boxes. Gone. Out of my hair. Into someone else's...where they might be appreciated and loved and whipped into something useful.

The first set I played with was Candy Cane Christmas, which yielded these two acceptable cards (and several other not-so-acceptable ones).

This set is a keeper. Not only were these two cards fun to make, but they didn't make me feel as though my creativity was exhausted for future use.


Do you have a plan for dealing with the consequences of consumerism? Or do you just buy more storage?

stamps: Candy Cane Christmas, Faux Ribbon
ink: assorted pigment inks
paper: Papertrey
accessories: circle punch, scallop circle punch, dimensionals, rhinestone


  1. Like minded thinking - I have so many more stamps (not to mention the 100's of digital images) that I never have used and maybe never will and yet, there is that terrible thought process of "I need that new one. It is so much cuter or usable than the ones I already have." Actually most of my stamps were earned or won so I don't have a ton of money tied up in them but I am having a problem with die cuts. They are my real temptation. Thank you for your words and your pastors words. We all need a reality check. Love both your cards, BTW.

  2. My DH passed away 3 yrs ago and, after downsizing, I decided that the stash has to be used or disposed of some other way!!! (I already knew I had enough for 20 quilters to use over a LONG period of time). I have kinda been trying to make donation quilts (and pillowcases) but it's a SLOW go. Also donated fabric to various folks for their donation quilts. But it's going to need to go a lot faster than it is now or my kids'll have a mess to deal with when I'm gone. :-(

  3. I know the feeling too well of buying new craft stuff all the time. I certainly don't 'need' the stuff but I still keep buying. I did wonder if its about keeping up with the trends or being caught in a trap of thinking these items will make my work better, whatever it is, its a hard habit to get out of.
    I did go through all my stuff and sold a lot, what happened to all the cash I made - mmm yes, I bought new stuff - do I want to use it, sadly no.
    Lovely cards...shall look forward to seeing more xx

  4. I hear you. In the last few years I've been hoarding many stamp sets and other supplies. To minimise international shipping costs, I tend to buy in bulk, so when the parcel arrives, I'm overwhelmed with the choice of new products, while the leading crafters in the industry have already moved onto newer and equally wonderful releases. Although I'm not quite ready yet to part with what I have, I am trying to resist the urge to buy more stuff just because there's a sale going on and I'm trying to break into my never before used supplies, being cheered on by people like Darnell Knauss who is even hosting special NBUS challenges for her followers.

  5. I also remember a useful tip that Jennifer McGuire once gave, and which I have not put into practice yet: if you like a stamp set (or other supplies), think of 5 ways you can/want to use it and write it down on a post-it note. If you decide to buy the set, you can store the note with the set as a reminder of why you wanted the set in the first place and how you envisioned using it.

  6. I have a nice storage cabinet that holds all of my stamps. When I want something new, something old has to go...and by go I mean it goes to my 9-year-old neighbor who comes to do paper crafts with me around all of the major holidays. She's overjoyed with each thing I give her and I have room to get something new. This works great with anything new for the house or clothes, too - when something new comes in, something old gets donated or thrown out!

  7. There are times when I do not have enough money to even post a card. Putting a meal on the table can be difficult but God has always met our needs and many times given us wants as well. My computer was a gift from a friend! I have discovered that less can be more when crafting. Simplicity in crafting changed everything, which is how I found your blog! Give your unwanted stuff away to those who cannot afford to buy their own things. If you haven't used it in a year donate it. Be blessed!!!!!

  8. I think all us wonderful stamping people would have to admit to having something in the too much quantity. I went thru and cleared out a couple of boxes full of papers, stickers, cardstock, stamps etc that I gave to the lady who does craft with the kids at Elysha's disability program. Hope fully she can use there or elsewhere. I am like you and think work your way thru see if you enjoy using it then keep it. If you get it out, look at it and put it aside for later then you need to rethink that one.
    I think today with the temptation of releases every month from so many of the big trendy companies we are lucky not to be mired in debt, not because we re greedy or buying because we are down just simply because they all look so wonderful. Very good marketing.
    But what I love about coming to visit you is the fact that you dont follow trends and buy cause its pretty but because you can see multiple uses for it. A thought we all need to keep in mind.

  9. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your pastor's words about excess consumerism. I admit I have too much "stuff" and it's weighing me down: owning me, instead of me owning it. A few weeks ago, after a move to my new apartment, I went through my paper stash (my biggest weakness) and gave away about 40 pounds of paper. It went to a Christian school where I'm sure the money for the arts is dwindling as it is in public schools. Now I must do the same with all my embellishments and stamp sets. Thanks again for the "poke."

  10. lol - loved this post - very true too - I havent dared to start Xmas cards yet ! been too warm to think about it over here in Scotland - which is unusual :) - now dreading to see how much I have been hoarding ....... eek

  11. To funny - I literally pulled out my Christmas stash yesterday. I did ask myself what was I thinking, over a few of them..... I do have to say, my motto for 2015 "Use what I have" has been great for me not buying. :)

  12. If you think of the stamps as a type of collectable that just has the possibility of also being used then you can let go of the anger. Nobody really expects a postal stamp collector to put their stamps on an envelope and mail it.

  13. Oh my, you have seen into my mind !! We recently moved and fortunately I gave a ton of stuff (paper, stamps etc) away....but I also accumulated more "stuff" in the last year. I recently pulled out my Christmas "stuff" and also was amazed at what i had and to top that off, a new Christmas set is arriving today from my nemesis, Amazon Prime !! I even have some of the older wood stamps in your boxes !!

    Didn't know they were stampa rosa...learned something !

    I am comforted to know I am not alone. sigh

  14. I hear you ! My 'Christmas Clearance' started last year. I decided to make all my cards different, thereby using as many stamps as possible. If I chose a stamp that I couldn't make work in a pleasing way it went into the giveaway box. I still have many that I didn't even get to. So will be doing the same thing this year. At the same time I am creating a catalog of the stamps I am keeping, so if I am tempted by the 'latest and greatest' I can check it against what I already have on hand. HOPEFULLY, this will tame the binge shopping I seem to be prone to do. Love the cards, as always.
    Lu C

  15. I recently watched a video where someone in the industry stated that we only use our stamp sets once or twice. The point she was making was to invest more in high quality supplies rather than stamps themselves because the cost per use of stamps is so much higher. That is probably the reality and it has been for some of my impulse stamp purchases. But I really try to use them quite a bit. That said, after months of buying almost nothing, I went on a buying spree the last month that has made me uncomfortable. I don't think it is anger at all, rather for me, it is anxiety. So I'm done with the purchasing for the year. I limited myself to buying 4 or 5 Christmas sets and that's more than enough combined with the others I have.

    Thanks for raising an important issue, Susan!

    ps the cards are great!

  16. I have been feeling "overcome" with all the new products being "pushed" out every week/month. When I started stamping (before internet even existed & there was not a shop on my little island) I was restricted to one shopping spree a year when I made a trip to South Africa. Now I cannot even process the amount of companies, nevermind releases. Yes there is lovely new stuff out there, and yes I do buy it. Sigh! But it is now becoming too much. So I need to find a way to stop this spiral of acquiring so much that one has not time to use it all - and to purge what doesn't get used. But as a veteran stamper of over 2 decades, I still go back to stamps that are decades old - some are firm favourites, others it's because it's just the right one for this card/project even though I may not have used it in years. I need to take some of James Clear's advice to Stopping the Diderot Effect.

  17. My consumerism is limited by my allowance. When my hubby and I combined households some years ago; we had a meeting of the minds about spending. Specifically spending on our hobbies and impulse purchases. So we came to an agreement of $40 per week each for allowance. That money has to cover my infrequent lunches out with coworkers, and I save some of it for girls weekends too. I can tell you that there isn't a lot left for this crazy hobby of ours.

    So, I try to be very careful about my stamping/scrapbooking purchases. I usually troll the blogs and stamp companies for quite some time before I actually buy something. My stash is fairly small compared to most stampers; but I still find that I have things that I don't use. I tend to blame it on my limited time in the craft room though; not my buying mistakes. LOL

    I also save some of that crafting allowance and set it aside for stamp shows in the area. Unfortunately I've been know to blow $200 at a show. I think it's that overwhelming OH WOW affect.

    I haven't had to purge yet; although I do donate some things that I think I won't use. My daughter's MIL has a wonderful paper crafting fundraiser every year for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and I donate things to that effort.

    Thanks for making me think.....

  18. I read your note and thought you were speaking about me.... Then I read all the other's comments and realized I had lots of company :-)

  19. So many tree stamps!! I have reached the ultimate point of stiffled creativity - not creating at all. I can't access what I have and lots of it I can't see myself using again. I don't plan to be as generous as you, nothing is being stored again for next year, it's use it or lose it!!

  20. This post resonates with me, and it reminds me of the third mistake in Sandy Allnock's recent video on three mistakes paper crafters make. (Selling yourself short, handicapping yourself with cheap materials and equipment, and spending time pinning and organizing instead of creating). So many of us amass equipment and supplies, organize them, store them, make notebooks or spreadsheets of what we have, and at the end of the day...or week or month...haven't created a thing. After going through everything (mostly consumable rather than reusable items), I made a "Use up or donate" list of things I'd forgotten I have, complete with locations of the items. It's forcing me to think creatively, has resulted in a happy children's librarian downtown, and has made me cut way back on purchases.

  21. Hi Susan! Another "same here" stamper... I allow myself to buy one new Christmas set every year, but I tend to use that set for almost all of my cards. My "local" stamping / scrapbooking store isn't that close, so I do a lot of choosing before I actually go out, and I almost always stick to that one set. My LSS also has twice-yearly garage sales, and I sell a lot of my excess stuff then, for store credit, which I then use for card stock, adhesives, etc. I've also donated to the Christian school in town, and to the women's shelter.
    Just don't ask about my quilt fabric stash!

  22. Hi Susan! Another "same here" stamper... I allow myself to buy one new Christmas set every year, but I tend to use that set for almost all of my cards. My "local" stamping / scrapbooking store isn't that close, so I do a lot of choosing before I actually go out, and I almost always stick to that one set. My LSS also has twice-yearly garage sales, and I sell a lot of my excess stuff then, for store credit, which I then use for card stock, adhesives, etc. I've also donated to the Christian school in town, and to the women's shelter.
    Just don't ask about my quilt fabric stash!


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