Wednesday 24 February 2010

Back from Stitches

Well we had a fun day yesterday at the Stitches trade show at the NEC although we were totally exhausted by the end of it!

We talked to lots of lovely people – I so love chatting to craft retailers; they are so excited and enthusiastic about what they do and it’s so infectious! I met some new people I’d not chatted to before too. There was a real buzz and business seemed to be brisk so perhaps we are now coming out of that nasty old recession after all.

So, what were the highlights? Well, I saw more things I might need to buy than last year so I am going to be quite broke when all the yummy lines finally hit the UK! Some lines are over here already, and it seems most others should be here by the end of April.

Encouragingly, there were lots and lots of paints, mediums, and technique-based demonstrations, suggesting arty stamping techniques might be becoming more mainstream. It also looks like stamping is still growing in popularity as there were plenty of stamps on show. I also noted there were more unmounted, cling mounted and clear stamps than traditional wood block. I hope more manufacturers move this way as although I love my wood block stamps they do take up so much space!

Things that interested me included:
-Imagination Crafts have a lovely range colouring/stamping mediums which work together beautifully. My favourite was the Silkies which can be applied directly onto a stamp and produce a result like screen printing. They also have a glitter glaze which dries completely flat.

-Crafty Notions have some really gorgeous looking masks which are not ready yet but do watch out for them. They have also added to their Kabuka stamps range and the quirky fat sparrows stamp is just fab! Lots more Crafter's Workshop templates on demo here too with some great new designs available.

-Hobby Art had a new clear set of Scene It stamps on show which are just gorgeous – I have persuaded the lovely Jenny to show them to you in an article in a future issue (no getting out of it now Jenny!). I am told there are yet more releases to come in the Scene It range. They have increased their clear range in general, including a beautiful floral set.

-I got to play with the brand new watercolour pens from Sakura. These are amazing pens – they blend beautifully and even someone who is artistically challenged like me can get good results (I know, they let me have a play – lucky me!). These are on my shopping list.

-I love the look of the Tattered Angels Chalk Spray – not sure how to describe these. They are like a thicker version of Glimmer Mist with a more opaque, chalk like finish with that trademark Glimmer Mist sparkle. Rather nice colours among the samples I saw.

- Tattered Angels also have large stamp packs – I personally am in love with the Tattered Angels stamps and screens combos and the new designs are simply delicious!

-I cannot get enough backgrounds so the new big unmounted background stamps from Darkroom Door caught my eye.

-Sizzix were showcasing some great looking new dies. Of course you have probably seen the Tim Holtz ones already but there were also some great label shapes I really liked the look of. Of Tim’s dies, I loved the extended ones which include a row of tickets and a film strip.

-The new Tim Holtz line of papers are worth a look. I’d only seen small pictures online and these were nicer than I expected. They are nice quality, matt finish, thick and sturdy, double-sided papers.

-New Distress Ink colours – again previously only seen online. I can now confirm I do in fact need them all! They are well thought out to fill gaps in the existing range and I particularly like that the range includes a really true, bright red colour (Barn Red).

-If you love your cute stamps, Nikki and Friends stamps and the new Milton & Co collection from Wild Rose Studio are really worth seeing. The Nikki and Friends range has a more grown up, sassy feel, while Milton and friends are out and out adorable little critters. Oh and of course not forgetting the gorgeous Beatrix Potter collection from Crafter's Companion.

-Green lines were in evidence too – there is a range of environmentally friendly dye inks and paints in the pipeline from Creative Expressions and Fiskars had some recycled scissors on display.

-I really liked the look of the EK Success fold away punches I saw at Personal Impressions – they are really, really compact for the size of the punched shapes you get. Some nice designs too. Great for the crafter with limited storage space.

-Finally, I love my cling stamps so I was delighted to see more ranges from Stampendous and Penny Black in this format.

I'm sure there are lots more things I have forgotten and will come back to me later. It was quite a day of information overload!! A lovely day was topped off with a tasty lunch sponsored by the folks at Fiskars. That was a nice touch and a welcome break from pounding the aisles!

Phew! Sorry for the monster post but I hope some of that was interesting. Apologies if I've gone and tempted you to part with your pennies!!!

Friday 5 February 2010

New issue out today

It's the first Friday of the month again, and you know what that means? Yep, it's Craft Stamper day! The March issue is officially on sale today, packed with lovely projects for you to try. I hope you will enjoy it and be inspired to get out those stamps.

Don't forget that we have a web extra section on the website for those projects we just couldn't fit into the magazine pages.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Please welcome...

...Anneliese Bates to the Craft Stamper Design Team! You might remember a rather spectacular Grungepaper bag a few issues back? Well that was the work of the lovely Anneliese,. I have now invited her to be a member of our Design Team so you'll be seeing more of her in the coming months!

Anneliese's work is a little Tim Holtz-ish but with a decidedly feminine side and a touch of vintage charm. She has a beautiful eye for colour combinations (see her Treasure Box article this issue for a striking and unusual example), and is a whizz with Distress Inks - do stop and watch her work her magic should you come across her demoing at a show. You may not know that Anneliese is also a very talented scrapbooker - watch out for evidence in an issue coming soon! As well as all this, she is a very sweet and warm person and lovely to work with.
Here's what Anneliese said about joining our little team: "I was really excited when Katy asked me to join the team at Craft Stamper, as it gives me even more opportunities to get inky fingers and experiment with all that luscious stash out there, I love trying new products and seeing what I can do with them, what a wonderful way to spend my days, I am so lucky!"

Pop along to Anneliese's blog for more of her work. Anneliese also teaches classes at Artist Trading Post.

Monday 1 February 2010

Please welcome...

I'm delighted to be introducing you to a new member of the Craft Stamper DT today - the lovely Linda Elbourne. Linda is not only a fabulously talented artist, she is funny, hard working and such a positive upbeat person: in short a pleasure to work alongside. Her artwork has quite a unique style and she is an upcycling guru so look out for lots of projects where she uses old junk to make lovely things. Her bean tin creations adorn our front cover this month.

Here's what Linda has to say about herself: "I have been crafting since forever in one form or another. My passion for stamping took over about 5 years ago. I am a Ranger girl at heart and love nothing more than trying new things and getting inky and messy ... My style is eclectic ... if that is a style :0) and I will give anything a go at least once! I am a massive fan of Craft Stamper magazine, in fact I can honestly say I gained most of my stamping knowledge from the wonderful articles and I continue to learn and be inspired every month. I am extremely proud to have been asked to join the design team."

If you'd like to see more, check out Linda's blog. Linda also teaches at LB Crafts.