Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ooooo New Toys to Play With!

Whew, what a weekend we've had. It was the open days at Graphicus on Friday and Saturday so the run-up during the week had been ultra busy getting everything ready.

I was eagerly waiting for a delivery to arrive from the USA. Knowing that it had left the USA by air on the 25th of November, I had fully expected it to reach us by the end of that week. On past experience, the company we order from are pretty good at getting stuff to us quickly, on one occasion we placed an order on the Friday and it was delivered to us on the Monday! So when it hadn't arrived by Wednesday I began to get impatient. Why?.... Because it had all of the Tim Holtz new stuff in there, Stamps including the Christmas Stamps, the full range of his Masks, the Ideology range, Seasonal Grungeboard, Grungeboard Books, the brand new supa dupa Pink Bind-it-All, DreamKutz, Storage Tote and the Corner Rounder to name just a little of what was in the shipment. To cut a long story short, the shipment had arrived in the UK on the 28th and was sat in a corner of a warehouse in Manchester! Arrrrggghhhh! Don't you just hate it when that happens. Rob, (the man who can) said he would do everything he could to get it overnighted to us so we'd have time to check the delivery, price it all and get it out on the shelves for Friday's event.

Thursday morning we woke to the most horrendous weather.... Snow, Snow and more Snow! Very beautiful but I have quite a drive to work and it normally takes me about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes in traffic and on country roads. So I left early at 0700 hours and joined the slow moving traffic, it was truly awful. It took me three hours forty five minutes to get to work and then I got my car stuck as I drove into the car park. I couldn't move forwards or backwards. The guys at the Carrosserie Car Company next door came to my rescue and got me out of the snow drift so that I could park... thanks Guys, I really appreciated it after the drive I'd had.

Needless to say, there were problems getting the US shipment to us from Manchester. We had a phone call to say it wouldn't happen that day but they would try for the Friday.

I was keeping my fingers crossed the shipment would come in time for our 11 o'clock kick-off on Friday and sure enough it did, just at the time I should have been starting the demo's. But after seeing what Tim has been doing with all this fantastic stuff on his blog I knew our customers would be straining at the leash to get their hands on it, after all, I was too!

Annette and Lesley got the demo's underway and the rest of us set to and got it checked, priced and on the shelves. Several things found there way to my shopping basket of course and I was able to demonstrate the Christmas Stamps, Masks, Grungeboard and Ideology line together with the Distressed Inks I love so much, Stickles, Prima Flowers, beautiful silk May Art Ribbons, Hambly Rub-Ons (see the lovely White Grungy Alphabet on the tag above - yummy) and lots of other lovely stuff.

I was surprised that so many people braved the weather to be with us. It had stopped snowing and the roads were in the main, much improved. But so many people had driven considerable distances, some from the Midlands, others from the West coast and a couple of ladies who's flight home from Egypt on Friday was so badly delayed due to the weather that they hot-footed it to be with us on Saturday instead.... now that's what I call dedication!

Glenda decided to give everyone a special treat just for the weekend and released a limited number of a brand new A4 themeplate that is absolutely amazing... it's called the Harlequin Rose and it is not going to be available until the 14th of January, 2009. I am going to be real mean and show you some of the sample pieces I made with it on Saturday while demonstrating.

This is a white tag that has a semi-gloss finish and I was asked by a customer if alcohol inks would work on this surface. Well, what better way of finding out than to try it. So I took some Red Pepper and Butterscotch alcohol ink and applied it direct to the surface of the tag using an ink applicator and felt pad. Then I overlaid it with Gold Mixative and a couple of drops of blending solution and cold dried it. I then inked the large Rose Collage image from the Harlequin Rose themeplate with Ranger Archival Black ink (a beautiful black ink that is fab on alcohol inks) and stamped the image onto the tag. I built a decorative corner from Prima flowers and gold and green leaves and finally added a gorgeous silk bow tied from May Art ribbon.

Here's a different colourway, still using the alcohol inks but this time it's Lettuce, Butterscotch and Pesto with Gold Mixatives and finished with a different Prima collection. Oh boy, do I love these stamps. I'm so sorry to do this to those of you who haven't been able to get your hands on them yet but please.... get your new 2009 diary and mark up the 14th of January, 2009 or put a reminder on your PC in Outlook or something similar so that when you switch on your PC on the 14th you will be reminded to order your new themeplate. After all, you've got to have something to spend that Christmas pressy money on don't ya? The only other way to get hold of this themeplate NOW is through the Graphicus Guild.

I am desperate to play some more with these beauts but there's a Christmas tree or two (or even three or four) waiting to go up at home. I do intend to get me some play time over the holidays so look out for some more samples with this set. If the light is good enough I might even do a step-by-step for the blog or if you're real good and you're on Santa's 'Nice' list, it could be a video! Let me know if you want to see more, there's a lot of lovely stamps on this themeplate!

On this tag I used Alcohol Inks in Cranberry, Caramel and Gold Mixative with Tim Holtz and 7 Gypsies stamps (all available at Graphicus).

The background on this tag is the Distress Inks applied with the blending tool, Tim's mask and stamps and finished with a piece from the Ideology collection. The script stamp in the background is an Elusive Images stamp from the Antiquities themeplate. Don't they go well together?

More of Tim's stamps inked with the Clear Distress Embossing Ink pad and black embossing powder. The background was created with with paint dabbers.

And finally, I was also playing with some of Stampsmiths photo-realistic stamps on Saturday and this is one from their Christmas plate, it's new for this Christmas and is a beautiful collection, elegant and artistic. If I'm not too busy tomorrow I will try to get these onto the Graphicus blog with full details of the products.

A little word of warning though... the Tim Holtz products were absolutely flying out on Friday and Saturday, I think we sold out of the Christmas stamps completely and the masks were close behind. If there is anything you want urgently, get in touch with Graphicus quickly. If you don't know what the product is that I've used don't worry, pick up the phone and ring - we'll help identify it for you. I don't think any of the new products are on the website yet but I'm sure Carrie will do her best to get everything that's still available photographed and uploaded this week.

Happy Christmas Crafting to you all!