Thursday, November 19, 2009

KMC Stampers Group on Yahoo!

Well, I've gone and thrown more fuel on my calendar fire and decided to start a Yahoo group for Stampin' Up! demonstrators located in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. I know this group will ebb and flow as members PCS in and out of the community but I thought it would be nice to have a forum just for demos in our area. I think there are enough of us in the area that if we banded together to support one another, not only would our businesses be more successful but it would be a great way to meet other demos and possibly draw attention to our orphaned group here in Germany from SU! headquarters to get more support for regional training, etc. We'll see how it goes and how much enthusiasm it draws! I'm excited about getting it going and hopefully there will be enough interest that this can become a real means of support for SU! demos in the area.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inspire. Create. Share......A lot!

These past few weeks since Joe has returned from Afghanistan have been full, full, full! Enjoying family time, volunteering at the high school, working on various home and crafting projects, and just trying to readjust to having my honey home again have made for a very busy time but all worth it, believe me. With Joe gone for the majority of this year, it made "me" time difficult and Joe has always supported my interests, especially my crafting, because he knows how much it helps to keep me de-stressed with the amount of time he's elsewhere. Well, it was announced in September that U.S. demonstrators stationed with the military overseas were being given the opportunity to attend the first ever European Stampin' Up! Convention and I was just dying to go. It's difficult for U.S. demonstrators overseas not to feel a little estranged from the training and support available to us if we were living in the U.S. (which SU! is improving on all the time so I really shouldn't complain!) so what demonstrator wouldn't want to be a part of a such an amazing event?! Anyway, Joe made sure I paid for my registration as soon as possible and this week was the big event. I am on a euphoric cloud of experience ecstasy and I never want to come down from it!

For those of you not familiar with Stampin' Up!, it was co-founded over 20 years ago by Shelli Gardner and her sister, Vonna. I'm pictured here with Shelli Gardner (eek!), who is as sweet and lovely in person as she is in every photo I've ever seen of her. The European Convention was a PHENOMENAL experience and one that I'm so glad I was there to witness.

Called Paper, Pad, and Marker, this ice breaker event helped me to jump right into the flow of things and start talking to ladies while I made a helpful tool to use in workshops. I was welcomed to the room by none other than Pam Morgan, our Vice President of Demonstrator Relations, who asked for my information to possibly set up an event at Ramstein for military demos living overseas!! I hope that comes to fruition because I am beyond excited that we could have an event for our group.

I met many lovely, friendly women from France, Germany, Great Britain, and Scotland. (Pictured here is a group photo of the demos from the UK) It was amazing to see how the love for crafting and stamping brought all these women together, sharing ideas, inspiring each other, and making new friends. It was a momentous occasion and probably did more to promote international awareness and peace than any meeting of the U.N. has ever done. Maybe if we all got together and crafted, the world would be a more peaceful place :) I felt a little out of place at first since there were only a handful of U.S. demos attending but that didn't last for long as ladies allowed me to sit with them and were welcoming and friendly. One of the things that touched me the most was how many ladies shared swaps with me, even though I didn't have the time to make any before going to convention. I have many, many photos of projects to share but it will take me several days to get them all in order so I'll just past a few for now and then post more as the week progresses. Here's just a few highlights:

What a lovely way to present a box of sweets! Each flower was so detailed and could be a card embellishment all by itself.

One of the highlights of convention is the number of samples available for viewing. How can you not be inspired after viewing so many beautiful cards, scrapbook pages, and 3-D projects?

This paper is no longer available in the U.S. Stampin' Up! catalog but it's still one of my favorite papers. The colors are so bold and what a delightful color combination.

This is a PAPER birdcage! Can you say WOW!! Talk about vision and creativity to create something so intricate. It certainly surpasses anything I've ever thought of creating. I have oodles of photos to share but wanted to share just a few to get you drooling for more. I'm so thankful that I have a husband who is willing to support trips like this to re-charge my creative batteries and enjoy the things that interest me. And I'm beyond thrilled that Stampin' Up! so generously gave me the opportunity to be there for such an exciting event.
Keep on the lookout for more photos this week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kreativ-Welt Wiesbaden

This past weekend was the first time I've ever had the opportunity to attend the Kreativ-Welt craft fair in Wiesbaden even though I lived there for three years and I was absolutely AMAZED at the event. It was very well organized and featured almost every kind of craft imaginable: fiber crafting, scrapbooking, rubber stamping, floral arrangements, jewelry making and beading, ceramics, home decor, quilting, felting, sewing, wood working....two floors of crafting goodness right at your fingertips! Of course, I primarily went for the paper crafts but the creative juices were stirred at the variety of other crafts represented. (European flower arranging vendors really sucked me in!) Even IKEA was there, featuring easy and inexpensive projects for decorating your home. I was rather surprised that Stampin' Up! didn't have a booth there since they are trying to build such a strong presence in Europe but Creative Memories had a booth for signing on European consultants, which I wasn't even aware that they were trying to tap into the market here. What's difficult living overseas is the distance between crafting stores, what is offered, and of course, the expense of shopping in euros. In the States you can find a Michael's, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, etc. in almost every major city as well as a few privately owned paper crafting stores but mega stores like that are just not part of mainstream European shopping. In a way, I think they should be just because there's such a desire for crafting products overseas...much evidenced by the number of shoppers at the Kreativ-Welt over the weekend. People actually brought large rolling shopping bags! There were a couple of products that I purchased which would surely be less expensive purchasing through a website in the U.S. but were things I had never seen demo'd and decided the extra cost of purchasing them here was rather gratuitous since it meant that I wouldn't have to wait! The biggest product I wanted to try was Glimmer Mist, a liquid spray which leaves a lovely metallic sheen on your papers and is perfect for distressing. Got a couple of bottles to try for Christmas projects and perhaps I'll have something to show on my blog later. I apologize I don't have any tantalizing pics to show of the event but I had a brain cramp and forgot to bring my camera. Anyway, it's something to look into attending next year if you're living overseas...well worth going to if you're interested in many different kinds of crafts. We had a great time at this event and even the kids got to purchase a few items. Alex put together her own ribbon necklace and Jordan got us hooked on a wooden table-top fussball type game with magnetic figures that we ended up purchasing for home. Of course, I had to bribe Joe with Sushi World to get him to go but he even admitted to enjoying it more than he thought he would. A good way to spend the weekend, I'd say!

Number of cows visiting my pasture...


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