Beverly Stewart - Beverly Stewart
McKinney, TX
My journey to card-making started early in life. Like many of you, I have been a paper crafter since I was born. First it was crayons, then scissors and paste. Tempera paint, when I was allowed to use it, was a little bit of heaven. My grandmother did her share by giving me some elementary art lessons and letting me sell my crayon creations in her booth at the San Antonio River Art Show. I outsold her by quite a bit because I was only charging a nickel for my pictures. She pretended to be miffed, but secretly was quite proud. My Dad was a school principal and the teacher supply room seemed like paradise to me. I learned how to use the mimeograph machine and made myself useful so I would have permission to go in. My junior high art teacher spoke her criticisms of my work gently and I learned to edit my work under her skillful teaching.

Graphic design has always fascinated me. I do not know when it started, but I do remember as a child critiquing (to myself) the bulletin boards in my classrooms. I would note to myself what I would do to make them better. By the time I was a young teen, I was doing bulletin boards for my mom (a teacher).

When I got to high school I was known for my posters and made quite a few for pep rallies and car washes. I was timid about criticism, so never took any art classes in high school. In college, one of my classes required us to collect poetry for children (for later use in our classrooms.) Mine became mini-posters with poetry and magazine illustrations. Also in college, for cheap entertainment, we spent quite a bit of time looking at cards and reading them. We would present them to each other, then put them back on the rack for people with more money than we had. Birthdays became very important celebrations during that time period and I did spend a bit of money on store-bought cards for my closest friends.

When we were broke newlyweds, I cut up old Christmas cards to make my own. They were postcards so the postage would be cheaper. After childhood cards, these were my first endeavors in the world of card-making. (Though I had always loved stationery and letter-writing.)

When computers came along, it was the ease of the graphics that I thought most useful and the most fascinating. I became an aficionado of fonts. I used Print Shop to make Christmas cards and invitations. One lady told me that she had the same Print Shop program that I had, but somehow cards always looked better when I made them. Soon, I became the go-to lady for shower invitations in my church group.

I even did a stint with my father-in-law. He had a side-business type-setting and burning rubber stamps for businesses. At that point in 1985, I had a few basic colors of stamp pads and some word stamps that I had burned for myself. Though it attracted me very much, my empty wallet forced me to resist artistic rubber stamping.

In 2001 I was invited to my first Stampin Up! party and I went with a grudging spirit because I knew I would need to spend some money to help my friend reach her party totals. I was smitten!! Sitting there after everything had been cleaned up and still poring over the catalog, my demonstrator knew I was hooked. I still had limited funds, so I learned how to make the most of limited supplies and scrimped and saved to buy each next stamp set. (My wish list was long!) Finally, I signed up to be a demonstrator in 2006. By this time, I had more money to spend, so with the demonstrator discounts, my collection expanded quickly.

We had moved to Texas in 2003 and one of my two kiddos went off to college that year too. Between those two events, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. That is when I discovered Splitcoaststampers. I looked and looked and looked, though some would say I lurked and lurked. My shyness had taken over again and I was too timid to post any of my creations. Also, I had to learn how to scan and post online (which I had never done before.) Figuring out the world of chats and posts and online social interaction was intimidating and it seemed to start with figuring out a user-name.

A lot of people here assume that my name is Ruby because of my user-name. Anonymity seemed good on the world wide internet. I settled on something that told who I aspired to be. Ruby-heartedmom comes from Proverbs 31 in the Bible. The Proverbs 31 woman was always my ideal. She was industriously running her own businesses (several of them), managing her staff and looking after her family well. If you want to give me a compliment that touches my heart, tell me that I am measuring up to my heroine in Proverbs 31! She is worth more than rubies!

Now that my user-name was chosen, I was officially a member of Splitcoaststampers. According to the gallery, it was 2006 before I ever actually posted anything. My first post was a CASE. My apologies to whoever it was I CASED because I did not realize I should give you credit. That first post changed my life! Splitcoaststampers was a whole new world to explore and to participate in! Now with over 4,000 cards in my gallery, you can track my progress as a card-maker. Some of it is not so great to look at, but I leave them all, the good, the bad, and the ugly, in my gallery as a monument to the history of my journey as a card-maker. Something to love about Splitcoaststampers is how they let anybody (even me) post on their site and we are all better because of it.

Challenges have always been my favorite things here! There is something magical about participating. POOF! It makes you better than you thought you could be. Simply by putting some limits on your creativity through a challenge, you find in yourself the capability to be MORE! (Hmm? There may be a life-lesson in there somewhere!) Virtual stamp nights (or challenge over-load weekends) were my favorites to begin with, but as I got busier, it was harder to clear out enough time to participate in something with such close deadlines. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Dare To Get Dirty has been my favorite week of the year since they began!! (If you reading this on the computer of a friend, join the Fan Club now so you can participate!)

My gallery contains many Artist Trading Cards. I faithfully make one almost every Monday. If it is a busy week (and most are busy these days) Monday morning is my one time I usually make some time for being creative. I first heard about ATCs on the Technique Challenge. They were an answer to the question of how I could remember all the techniques I was learning on Splitcoaststampers. My solution was to downsize each technique to an ATC. Today, my collection numbers almost 900 ATCs and they take up three fat albums. Browsing through them is a fun trip down memory lane and reminds me of all that I have learned from Splitcoaststampers.

Yes, I am a southerner. I was born in San Antonio, Texas. I have also lived in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. I have collected many friends along the way. Lots of friends to send cards to!

My children are grown and are split-coast themselves. I have a son (and his family) in Tennessee. My only grandchild resides there too. She is 5. My daughter is a graphic designer for movies and television in Hollywood. Her artistic skills have far outgrown mine! One summer I picked her up from college in LA and drove her to Orlando for an internship. So I know all about split-coasting! My husband and I live in the Dallas area. He is a programmer and I teach homeschool classes in humanities and history. The classes are mostly high school, but have recently added middle school and elementary levels to my responsibilities. Last year and this year I have been writing a curriculum for middle school that combines history and worldviews. Teaching is where my heart is and my classroom motto: Live with your brain turned on!

Card-making is my artistic outlet and, besides spending time with family and friends, is my favorite thing to do. I love that when I have finished with a card (satisfying my introverted creativity cravings) I can turn around and send it to someone and they get to enjoy it too. When you think about it, you get twice as much for your hobby dollars that way. As I tell everyone who mentions the expense of my hobby. It keeps me out of the mall!

If I find any spare time, I turn my design skills and the photos my daughter-in-law take into photo books and calendars for family. I love watching them unwrap a photo book and immediately open it up! There is something timeless about a photo book that draws in the young and the old. When I have a spare minute (not often), I like reading (usually audiobooks these days) and writing down family history stories.