Life is a Beautiful Thing

This past week has been filled with “all the feels” – there are so many wonderful things to celebrate and to feel happy about.  Earlier this week I shared with you the incredible opportunity I had to share crafting with the foster care families of Georgia’s Division of Families and Children at their annual celebration (you can see that post here).  What a thrill!  I’m still overjoyed from that day – and now I have a personal milestone to celebrate.

Today is a special day for me.  Fifteen years ago this week, I was on a cruise in the Caribbean when I suffered a massive stroke.  At 29 years old, I was healthy, happy and had passed my annual physical with no concerns.  When an artery in my neck unexpectedly tore (possibly from a years-old neck trauma), though, my body created blood clots to cover that tear.  Those clots, one after the other, traveled to the base of my brain and blocked the flow of blood.  I am so fortunate to have come out the other side of this experience with very few residual effects and am so grateful to be alive and healthy fifteen years later.

To honor this important milestone, I’ve created a sweet-and-simple card with some new products I love.  I think this just about says how I feel right now:

Colorful Seasons, Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper Stack, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingTips, Tricks and Reminders

  • Life is a Beautiful Thing.  Stampin’ Up!’s new stamp set Colorful Seasons is filled with lots of great sentiments and images that follow all of the seasons of the year.  Whether you want to showcase an Adirondack chair in Summer or soft, sweet flowers in Spring or gorgeous leaves in Fall or beautiful, lacy snowflakes in Winter, this set and coordinating Framelits have it all – and you’ll be happy to use it all year long.  What I love most is that the set seems to celebrate life at every turn – every sentiment seems to offer a smile or offer good advice for life.  I adore this stamp set and the entire suite of products that’s showcased with it in the catalog on page 147.

    Colorful Seasons, Stampin' Up!

    Colorful Seasons, Stampin’ Up!

  • Pick Pick a Pattern.  I don’t want to pick just one, but I think Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper is THE BEST!  Despite having lots of great papers from the new catalog to play with, I keep coming back to the fun, playful pages of Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper.  While most are childlike in their appeal (dinosaurs, mushrooms, bears at a campsite), this page of white patterns on a black backdrop are stunning to me – such a different page from the other patterns, but that’s what makes the paper so versatile.  Here’s  a look at Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper:Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper, Stampin' Up!
  • Color Combination.  I wanted something bold and bright to accompany this black-and-white Designer Series Paper.  I played with several different combinations until I arrived on this one.  I love the pairing of Bermuda Bay and Crushed Curry (they don’t seem like they’d go together, but they do!), but they are intensified when combined with the panel of black and big circle of white.  If you like this combination, too, please save this:Stampin' Up! Color Inspiration: Basic Black, Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry

BONUS – In my blog post write-ups, I normally focus on three things I want you to know about a project.  Since today’s project has such a profound meaning, I wanted to share one aspect of the design that I love.  I had created a straight-across-the-card-front-of-the-card band, but I decided to angle it just a little bit.  Why?  Because life can be a little wonky sometimes, and we can feel a little unbalanced.  We just have to adjust and keep going.  While the banner is at an angle on the card front, the sentiment is positioned straight up-and-down to find balance in the unbalanced band.

Stamp Sets:  Colorful Seasons  Papers:  Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper, Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Thick Whisper White  Inks:  Archival Basic Black  Accessories:  Layering Circles Framelits Dies, Stampin’ Dimensionals

Colorful Seasons, Pick a Pattern Designer Series Paper Stack, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

I’ve had a couple of scares over the years and have undergone lots of tests because of those scares.  In the end, though, there haven’t been any long-lasting deficiencies from the stroke.  I’m so grateful.  On a side note, it was after the stroke in 2002 and during my long recovery that I decided to spend some of my “down time” with a craft.  I wanted to make  Christmas cards and started buying a couple of Stampin’ Up! items from a friend.  I took a lot of time away, but I’m so glad I found my way back to this wonderful artistic expression.

ONE MORE REASON TO CELEBRATE.  In coordination with my (can I call it an) anniversary, I’m rolling out a short, but wonderful, promotion that will go live starting tomorrow.  Be on the lookout!  🙂

Thanks for stopping by today!


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2017 ANNUAL CATALOG PRODUCT SHARES & DSP SWATCH BOOKS.  Yesterday I shared my product shares and swatch books for this amazing, new catalog.  If you’d like to join in to get a taste of all the new papers and ribbons in this catalog, please join in one (or all) of the shares.   To learn more or to sign up, CLICK HERE.BRIAN’S BULLETIN.  I’ve created a fun newsletter and want to share it with you.  To sign-up to receive Brian’s Bulletin, please click on the link below:Brian's Bulletin Email Newsletter Sign-UpRETIRING LIST.  Stampin’ Up!’s retiring list was announced last month – you can see all the items that will soon go away here:

NOW AVAILABLE!  Stampin’ Up! is giving some great products an early release!  Until May 31, customers can now order select items from the Eastern Palace Suite!  There are two bundles being offered – and they are both AMAZING.  I can’t see why you’d pass up the Premier Bundle with the Eastern Medallion Dies – they are incredible!  To read more about this suite, CLICK HERE.


  1. Congratulations on this day of celebration for you and for sharing the story of your former health issues. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Wow, Brian. I had no idea of your ordeal but am so glad to see that you have had no long lasting effects. What a reality check. Really enjoy your cards and all you share. Thanks so much.

  3. We are ALL so grateful for your recovery. What a perfect card and beautifully crafted!

  4. Life throws us a curve ball at time. You have faced it head on and have found something to balance out your life and make it meaningful to you and those around one. Brian, you are a very special person and I am so fortunate to have discovered crafting and you! Enjoy this anniversary day!

  5. Happy Anniversary and many more. I check your blog every day and so appreciate your artistic talent.

  6. So happy that you are healthy and involved in SU. Congrats on the milestone.

  7. Yes, you certainly may call it an anniversary! Wishing you many more!

  8. Beautiful card. Really says it all. So glad you are living happy and healthy and sharing the joy through stampin up!

  9. Beautiful card. Beautiful story. We are blessed to have you in our little stampin’ world!

  10. Congrats on your anniversary and wishing you many more. Thanks for sharing your story and your creative talent with us. Today’s card’s sentiment is perfect for your celebration. I love the color combo and I can see that DSP stack has lots of possibilities. Enjoy your day!

  11. Robbye Hamilton

    Brian, I had no idea that you had gone through that. I know I’m just one of many that is overjoyed things turned out the way that they did. Your card says it all.

  12. Jennifer Spiller

    Happy “living” Anniversary!! I’m so very thankful that you lived and made it through such a scarry time. Not only did you survive but, you foun your way back to paper crafting because of it. I’m so happy that I got the chance to call you friend. Love you muchly…??????

  13. This post just touched my heart this morning. 13 years ago, on June 7, when I was 29, I was in a car accident and received a traumatic brain injury along with other injuries. I have found Stampin’ Up to be a major source of joy and healing since I was re-introduced to it last year. I love your card and am thrilled we can both agree that “Life is beautiful” Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. Oh my Brian – I can’t imagine my world without your inspiration and artistry in it. You have brought so much joy into my life and the lives of others. We are all thankful that you are healthy and enjoying life. The card you made for today is a perfect way to celebrate!

  15. Life is a beautiful thing, and good health should be celebrated!!!
    I enjoy reading your blog. You and your crafting bring SO much joy to others. Congratulations on 15 years.

  16. I am thankful God saved you to create and inspire with your awesome creativity! Thank you for sharing your story and your talent!

  17. I am grateful that you are healthy and happy and making the world a better place every day by showing up as you!! <3

  18. Cindie McDuffee

    Only you could have me see card making as profound……..
    “the sentiment is positioned straight up-and-down to find balance in the unbalanced band”
    That sentence is profound for me on this Saturday morning. Thank you for your blog, your humor and your wisdom. Glad you are here to share the gift of you with us.

  19. You are remarkable in so many ways! Thank-you for sharing your story with us and may we all keep in focus all the good there is each day.

  20. There can’t be a follower of your blog who wasn’t moved to read your story. May you celebrate many more anniversaries and may you always remember how what you do touches us all in so many ways. We are so blessed that you share your talent so generously!

  21. Brian, it’s such a great feeling to hear success stories, happy endings, what a treasure you are for sharing your story. So grateful you recovered. Honoring your celebration with a special card, GREAT!

  22. Happy Anniversary! Yes, it is a good thing to celebrate……LIFE! My son also had a stroke at a young age….46 years old. A few years older then when you had yours…..but still way too young! He had a stint put in his carotid artery & is doing well with some health changes. Life IS a beautiful thing!! Have a great Holiday Weekend!! Enjoy your cards & inspiration.

  23. So glad to have you in our lives. Such a moving story and a beautiful card!

  24. Rosemarie Cowit

    Wow. I cannot imagine how terribly frightening having a stroke nust have been at such a young age and on a cruise to boot! So glad you are fine and healthy today. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!?

  25. Thanks for sharing your experience, Brian. I had no idea you had been through all this & I’m so happy that you’re with us! You’ve inspire me so many times!

  26. Brian…your story was very inspiring…from your frightening near death experience, you decided to live life to it’s fullest and you have spread your zest for life to so many through your blog…Thank you for sharing your story!

  27. Hello, Brian. Thank you for your inspiring story of a return to good health. I have to believe that your story will bring hop to someone reading it. Congratulations on your “anniversary” and may God bless you with many more years ahead, allowing you to share yourself and your talent.

  28. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that yes, life is indeed to be celebrated as beautiful every day. Congratulations on celebrating an important anniversary. Thank you for sharing your artistic talents and positive attitude with many of us!

  29. I knew there was something very special about you – but didn’t know why. You show such joy and love in all that you do. You are always kind, thoughtful, and open to others. I am sure I am not the only one who feels blessed to know you (even though we may only know you through your blog). Thank you so much for sharing your positive outlook and spirit with us.

  30. Like many others who have posted here, I didn’t know about your stroke. I am so happy and thankful that you overcame that very frightening experience and are here to share with us your joy for life and your delicious wit. We are blessed!

  31. Ginger Touvonen

    As I read your recap of that unbelievably scary medical emergency while on a cruise, it gave me goose bumps because my daughter-in-law experienced a similar happening after a Chiropractic appointment. Truly a miracle Brian that you recovered and are such a vital cog I. The Stamping World. Saying an extra prayer of thankfulness tonigh!

  32. You no I don’t comment on posts often, but I had no idea you’d had a stroke in the past. I think we’re all thankful you recovered! Now if only the same could be said about your internet 🙂

  33. Praise God for a complete recovery! I didn’t know anything about your stroke, but is it possible without the stroke, and the subsequent down time, that you never would have gotten involved with Stampin’ UP!? I think the entire StampinUniverse (I just created a word there, you’re welcome!) is glad you get to share your talent with us. I do believe there is always something good to come out of even tragic events in our lives. TFS your story!

  34. God was not finished with you yet!
    Thank you for sharing your gift with the world!
    Pray we will see many more years of your work.
    Blessings. Suzie

  35. Brian, love the card, love the fact that you’re still here to make it!

  36. Brian, love the card, love the fact that you’re still here to make it! Thanks for sharing your ‘bonus’ years and your talent with us!

  37. Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you so much for sharing a bit of what makes you you. You are generous, talented, funny and loved by many. God is good!

  38. Love that you are here with us now. Love you!

  39. And life is beautiful with you in it Brian!! So happy for a positive outcome 15 years ago! Love your card!

  40. What a story, Brian! So glad you are healthy now and giving back! Keep up the great work!

  41. Wow, Brian! So happy to hear you recovered from the stroke fifteen years ago! And, that you are happy healthy and enjoying SU! My brother survived a massive stroke in 2006. Thank God two of my sisters were with him at the time. Love your card with wonderful design and awesome color! Thank you for the inspiration and you being you! God Bless!!

  42. Chris R. from Iowa

    Wow Brian that is amazing! I am so glad you made a full recovery. My dad had several strokes before he died. So, this is always on my mind. No wonder you seem to live life to the fullest! Great card too!

  43. Brian, thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. I am so happy you are ok, and have no ill effects. I cannot imagine how scary that was but I am so very happy I met you and have you in my life. A beautiful way to celebrate life…and your card is amazing, as always. Thanks for sharing so much of you, with us. Blessings my friend. Hugs!

  44. Wow! Congrats on a virtually complete recovery! How scary that you were on a cruise, but the ship doctors obviously took good care of you.

  45. Oooh my friend , I’m so happy to have too ,
    Your such a beautiful person inside and out , that god has to keep you well and healthy praying that you stay this way , we love you
    Take care my friend
    Hugs and more hugs
    Frenchie ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  46. Lorraine Branch

    So happy and thankful to have ‘met’ you, Brian! You make me smile every day, you make the world a better place – this is why you’re still here! All ten feet of you! ?

  47. The world is a better place because you are in it! You inspire so many people every day, including me! I’m so glad that you were okay and are still okay 15 years later!

  48. Thank you for sharing this Brian. Life is so precious right? Sometimes, even though it is hard – it is good to remember what is the most important things in your life. This past week, as you know, as had some huge changes for me and I am so happy to have been able to share those changes publicly as I know it may help others that are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Thank you for sharing this personal situation that you went through, so happy the outcome was a positive one! I would have missed out on incredible wit and sarcasm otherwise.

  49. Our anniversaries that remind us how precious and wondrous life is should always be celebrated so joyously–and beautifully, the way you did with this lovely card. Yep, life can still be pretty wonky at times, but thanks for the reminder to be grateful!

  50. I almost didn’t open your blog post from your morning email even though I loved the cards you shared. When I went back and looked at your post again and this time opened the blog post, I was delighted. A friend/customer of mine has suffered three strokes but has recovered with some changes to her physically and emotionally. Some negative and some positive. After her last stroke she awoke from a three week coma and could see perfectly. She had worn glasses for years but today doesn’t own a pair. Of course, I’m going to case your card and share with her your story. Thanks for all that you give us with your talents.

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