My Story

Amy Ulen in the Close To My Heart art studio.

The oldest scrapbooks I created date back to high school, but I’m sure I must have contemplated memory keeping in junior high, because I kept my playbills and other memorabilia from the MJHS drama productions. Those are scrapbooks in the truest sense of the word. Although the scrapbook I made when I was an Honored Queen for Job’s Daughters has decorative elements, I didn’t start decorative scrapbooking in the modern sense until the late 1990s when my friend Mary introduced me to Creative Memories.

Those early albums make me laugh now with most of the images cut into shapes or trimmed with decorative scissors. And don’t even get me started on the stickers…LOL! I’m glad it didn’t take me long to move past that style of scrapbooking.

Tag made with CTMH clear stamps in 2004.
Tag made with CTMH clear stamps at the Seattle CKC in 2004.

In 2004, I attended a Creating Keepsakes Convention and was introduced to Close To My Heart’s clear stamps! That was a life-changing moment. I know it sounds dramatic, but it really did change my life. I still have the cute tag that I made that day. Up until that point, I had been using the Stampin’ Up rubber stamps and was constantly slouching in my chair trying to line up the stamps. Being able to look through a clear block and a clear stamp to line up the two images on this flower was mind blowing to me! Luckily, I met Carol Thompson walking from our hotel to the convention center later that day. She had a CTMH bag, so I struck up a conversation with her. She gave me a catalogue and her card…and the rest is history!

Carol Thompson and Amy Ulen at the 2012 CTMH Convention.
Carol Thompson and I have so many incredible memories together!
Here we are at the 2012 CTMH Convention in Dallas, Texas.

After several years of hosting CTMH parties, I finally signed up as a consultant in April of 2007. My goal was simply to meet my minimums so I could enjoy the consultant discount. Little did I know that my passion for the products and teaching scrapbooking and stamping techniques would lead me to so many new friendships.  I had the good fortune to travel to a variety of CTMH events and was even asked to teach at the Studio J Boot Camp in 2011, Convention Extravaganza in 2012, and on the main stage at Convention 2015.

Amy teaching at Boot Camp
Teaching at the 2011 Studio J Boot Camp
Blurry photo of Amy holding a sign.
Extravaganza 2012
Friday Main Stage Presenters, Convention 2015

The Creativity Playground

Alas, all good things must come to an end. As much as I loved the 13 year I spent as a Close To My Heart consultant, I realized in 2020 that it was time for me to move on. What I enjoyed the most as a consultant was the opportunity to teach stamping and memory keeping techniques. What I enjoyed the least was the selling aspect. Honestly, I was never very good at it. LOL! What I have realized over the past couple of years is that I can still hold workshops and online classes without selling product. I’m a teacher and that’s what I want to do…teach!

So, I started to transition away from Studio Scrapping in late 2019 and moved to The Creativity Playground. Eventually, I’ll get back to teaching workshops and creating online classes, but my goal for now is to drop the side-hustle lifestyle and simply focus on helping people improve their mental health by engaging in creative play through paper crafting.