Thursday, February 28, 2008

Five, Six, Cha, Cha, Cha...

Well, I've got to wrap this up, so I thought I'd post some of my favorite photos with friends - old, new and newly met.

CHA was a complete and total blast!! I had all the fun with none of the pressure of being a store owner, buyer or having to watch a budget. As you have already seen, it was great to get there and already know someone there, my friend Tracy, and to see her designs displayed at the Dream Street Papers booth. I even met her friend, Audrey, who has a new book out Paper & Pixels, Scrapbook Layouts (which just may bring me into the digital scrapbooking age). Dream Street has done tremendously over the last two years and it's such a kick to Tracy's dreams come to fruition as a design team member of this new and growing company.

I also met a new friend, Stephenie at the Fiskars booth. Stephenie is a Fiskateer, one of the original and we have in common another friend, Kelly Edgerton. My biggest hope for this CHA was that I would get to meet Kelly in person. We're Internet friends, connected by scrapbooking and other things we have in common. My biggest disappointment of CHA was that Kelly could not attend this year - I was bummed. I had so hoped to finally meet her in person. In talking with Stephenie I found out that she also e-mails and is friends with Kelly. I did a great M&T at the Fiskars booth, got my name engraved on my own personal pair of Fiskars scissors (Alexa don't take or you WILL be on a slow boat back to China!) and made a new friend.

I did know another person at the show, Debby Shuh. I've tried repeatedly to turn this photo around and it just won't turn! It's right side up in 'My Pictures' files but as soon as I import it into the blog is just lays down! I'm so sorry Debby! Debby was my first scrapbooking contact, friend, here in Buffalo. I walked into Michael's, not a month into our move here and saw the most fabulous layout on the wall of the store and saw it was a class you could sign up for! I was in paper heaven! Debby is known nationwide for her creative scrapbooking, is a member of the design team and works for Anna Griffin Papers, has done more CKU's than I can count and teaches at stores all over the country and has recently taught a class in Florence, Italy!

I also got to meet someone who I know, but didn't know me (until I blabbered and stammered my way through introducing myself to her!) Nora Griffin. Nora lives in California and was working in the Maya Road booth when I stopped by. I love Maya Road! Nora is tremendously talented, has the cutest little boy, Mac and the sweetest husband on the planet (giving mine a run for his money), Sean. A little over a year ago, Nora and Sean were at the end of their quest to have a baby through adoption when the birth mother changed her mind - after the little girl had been given to the Griffins. Nora shared her story with the scrapbooking community and as the mother of an adoptive daughter, I was immediately caught up in their story. I admire Nora's ability deal with adversity, accept what she cannot change and embrace the blessings she has and make the best life she can for herself and her family. Plus, she is so darned organized and always planning and doing for others. She makes me dizzy just reading her blog!

Now, could I say what I just wrote coherently, to Nora at CHA - NOPE! I embarrassed my way through introducing myself and anything else I attempted. Nora was most gracious and even took a picture with me.

A couple of posts ago I introduced you to Tim Holtz.

Tim is a fabulous designer for Ranger Industries. Tim also has his own line Ideology, Distressable, and containers for his products with Cropper Hopper. Tim is a natural teacher, tinkerer and has a fabulously inventive mind. My second biggest regret is that I didn't get to do something with him at CHA or see any of his demos. If we are really lucky, Sharon might get him to come for a class at Buffalo Stamps and Stuff. Elisabeth was so excited to see him and watch him work and wanted a picture. It was the end of the day and I was afraid he'd walk away so I dived in and asked for a picture also (even though my camera was out of battery power) to stall him until Elisabeth was ready.

That's it for now. I think I need one more CHA post with photos. Maybe some more food, me and Oscar, we'll see...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pause for technical updates!

As you can see I have a new color layout and my old blog template. The template is me. I like it better than the new one I posted at the beginning of the year. The color scheme is Alexa's. She came in while I was contemplating making a change and this is what she came up with. She wanted me to let you all know that if she had more time she would have come up with something better, like pink (but I don't like pink so she graciously stayed away from that color). Let us know what you think - Comments are encouraged! Even anonymously ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Three, Four, Cha, Cha, Cha...

On my first full day I spent most of the time in the far right corner of the auditorium. To try and give you an idea of how big this place was try and imagine four football fields side by side. labelled A, B, C, and D. Basic Grey was in the far right field- D, back right hand corner. Dream Street, Tracy's booth was in the far left field, A. So it wasn't as easy as it sounds to go from one booth to another. You had to go around walls with concession stands and bathrooms, etc.

I was determined to see Tracy so I started working my way over around to Dream Street around 2:00-3:00 in the afternoon. Again, you'd walk one booth and see four, five, six different places you wanted to stop at! Do a make and take and you'd be there for 15-30 minutes. Finally around 4:00 p.m. I'm at Creative Imaginations doing a M&T . I looked to my left and there was Dream Street! When I finally finished my M&T (and they had some really cute ones at their Cafe Press booth) I walked into Dream Street and saw Tracy. We didn't start talking for two minutes and they started to flicker the lights! "The Convention Floor is closing for the day. Please make your way to the exits!"

Wait a minute! I've barely talked to my friend - all the way from Rochester, NY and I have a ton more to see! Thank goodness there were two and half more days! Here are some more photos including my first effort at stitching a 12x12 layout. Story to follow!

Sharon wanted to look at 12x12 printer, scanners for the store. I decided to check out HP and Epson as they had booths. HP had a very nice M&T, but their 12x12 didn't copy and scan. I knew Epson was there as there were icecream cone photos on the floor directing you to their booth to get the 'scoop' on Epson copiers! Ice cream and scrapbooking, yum! Well it turned out Epson's printer didn't copy or scan either, only print but, they had a M&T where you could create a digital layout and they would print it out. Epson partnered with three or four paper lines, 7 gypsies and Heidi Swapp were two with pre-set layouts and all you had to do was plug in your pictures. So I sat down, gave them my SD card and TA-DA!! my layout! They let you do the moving and helped with directions. Then they printed out your layout on 12x12 and if you took it to the paper booth, in my case 7 gypsies, 7 gypsies would give you an embellishment package. to finish off your layout. Off course I chose me and Tracy and here is the finished project.

Tracy sent me stitching links and directions and this is my first effort so forgive the uneveness of the seam, but not to bad for a techno challenged old broad!

For dinner two of our nights we went to a restaurant right in the parking lot of our hotel complex, Bucca di Beppo - or Joe's basement!

Wonderful food! Family style and very cute. They take you through the kitchen first and they tell you there are no windows because you're in Joe's basement, duh! They also have a Sophia Loren room, dedicated to the most famous Italian face since the Mona Lisa and if you have a big group you can eat with the Pope, honest...

Well, it's a smaller room with a large round table and a plaster bust of the Pope under glass in the center of the table and pictures of the current Pope and former Popes all over the walls! The food was wonderful! Best chicken parmaiagna (sp) I've ever had and meatballs the size of baseballs. Occular proof below!

One night we had dinner with friends of Sharon who both own stores in New Jersey. Jane on the left and Dawn on the right were so fun! We had a great dinner and a really fun time.

LtoR: Me, Elisabeth, Mark, Jane, Dawn and Sharon

That's a some'a meatball!!

Tomorrow (if I get the chance) Friends I met, from home, blogs and friends of friends!

Monday, February 18, 2008

One, Two, CHA, CHA, CHA!

What a blast! It's like being a kid in a candy store. Thanks to my boss and store owner Sharon, I was able to attend the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in Anaheim, California. Sharon, her husband Mark, myself and Elisabeth from the store all went. Sharon and Mark went early and started in San Francisco and then traveled down to Anaheim and we met up on Friday, the day before the show started in Anaheim. Sharon goes to CHA (or 'cha' as we call it) to see all the new lines and products for stamping, scrapbooking and papercrafting. This year we'll be going a little out of the box with air brushing and soldering tools!

Anyway, Sharon signed us up for classes on Saturday before the show officially opened on Sunday and I did two classes, making mini albums in each. One was for Daisy D's, one of my favorite paper lines, although I don't really care for their 'Wonder Years' line this spring. The other class was with Imaginisce, who makes some really cute papers and had some fabulous samples displayed. I was waiting outside the room to go in for this class and there was this bubbly young woman waiting also. She told me she was going to help out with the class. She was so excited, emphasized she wasn't going to teach it, but was just so happy to be there. Turns out as the class began she was introduced to us as the designer of the paper we were using! Her name is Sara and I'm embarrassed to say I don't know her last name.

I was the 'Basic Grey Runner' for the store. Sharon had an early appt. with a vendor and Elisabeth knew better! Basic Grey, one of the premier paper companies determines when you will receive your order by a number you can get at their booth. Women are lined up at the door waiting to get into the convention floor so they can run to Basic Grey and get a low number.

Sure enough, they let us in and all those twenty somethings and thirty somethings ran for the back of the auditorium because, of course, Basic Grey was in the far right hand corner of the convention floor all the way in the back along the back wall.

I take off and let me tell you, there was too much of me and my girls bouncing up and down to compete with those young chickies! So I jogged a little, walked a step, angled my way back to the booth and huffing and puffing got my number - 793. It's not as bad as it seems. One of the women waiting to go in told me that they started with number 750 so I was number 43! Not too bad for an old broad like me! My good luck was confirmed when Sharon placed her order and was told by the sales rep that she had "a very good number" - Misson Accomplished!! Here are some photos of Basic Grey projects. They have several really nice lines that don't look anywhere as good on the web site as they do in person.

That's enough for today. Tomorrow I'll continue with my CHA journal with my first digital layout and dinner at Joe's Basement.
Lastly, I started off my NASCAR season with a 3rd place finish for my man 'Smoke' at Daytona, WaaHooo!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's been awhile...

First, Alexa's birthday party went great. The kids got to swim in the pool at the Millenium Hotel and we were able to surprise Alexa with pierced earrings! We went from the party directly to the mall where she got her ears pierced, and it didn't even hurt! Now, two weeks later, she has about 26 pairs of earrings! Most are from Claire's, multiples on one card and buy two get one free. Mind you, it will be over two months before she'll be able to wear any of them. Then Mom made the ultimate faux paux (sp.?) by leaving on her birthday, for CHA.

That will be my next post, but for now, it's time to Boggity, boggity, boggity!!! - the Daytona 500 is about to start and I need to get my seat, my soda and my munchies so I can root for my guy, my man, my driver -- Tony "Smoke" Stewart!!!!

Let's go racing!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Big Doins'

Alexa's birthday party is tomorrow. Her tropical themed birthday will be at a local hotel's pool. Goodie bags are set, paper goods are set, but I'm not caving on a specialty cake and struggling not to cave into buying her a new swimsuit just for the party. I'll update with pictures on Monday.

Sunday we've been invited to a Superbowl party, whooppeee!! One of our hosts is from the Boston area so I know I won't be the only one rooting for New England. My Tom Brady jersey is ready to go and so am I! GO PATRIOTS!!