When I first started stamping the internet wasn't a useful craft tool at all. There was a newsgroup place where you could talk about stamps and post swaps but that was about it. If you searched for a stamp company you might locate the address of their headquarters but you weren't going to see their catalog or be able to order stamps from them. There weren't on-line shopping carts for you to purchase crafting items. What stamps you bought was up to what stores you had in your city and what they carried. One company would deliver to your town, anything you wanted that was in their catalog was yours for the ordering. IF you knew a demonstrator. Yes, I'm talking about Stampin' Up.
Finally, I wrangled an invitation to a workshop from a lady who taught stamp classes at the local store. I looked forward to the day with anticipation. I studied the map she drew to her house like it was a treasure map. I counted down the days and the hours. Finally I would get to see that Top Secret Stampin' Up catalog and perhaps even purchase some of those fun stamps!
The hostess came and went and came and went and time passed by. She sent a family member out for cookies and punch. The SU demonstrator was AWOL. Someone scared up a SU catalog and it was passed around the room for a quick peek. I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be, the fad at the time being the two step stamping, an outline stamp with a bold stamp to "color" inside the lines, with the idea being it be a bit offset to be whimsical or whatever (that drove my OCD nuts). There were some stamps that tickled my fancy though. I couldn't wait to have a catalog of my own to leisurely look through. After all it had many card samples in it. And what would we make?! How exciting!
The SU demonstrator never did show and after a few more cookies the workshop broke up and we all went home. I was one very sad camper. It was a good year later before I got my hands on a SU catalog, purchased through the mail from someone I met on-line in one of the swap groups. I ordered several stamps through her too. It was years after that before I got invited to a real SU workshop, where we made cards and talked each other into buying things.
The Fine Print: Bird stamps by Stampin' Up "For the Birds" set, purchased at a SU workshop that I go almost monthly. Cake stamp by A Muse Studio.