Thursday 24 February 2011

Back from two days at Stitches!

Boy am I tired after two days solid of walking and talking at the big Stitches trade show at the NEC! I had fun though and enjoyed chatting to lots of my favourite peeps from the crafting world. The main trend I spotted was that vintage is still big, but this year the images are more quirky and masculine rather than shabby chic and feminine in flavour.

There are lots of fun new products for you to look out for (many of which are hopefully coming to a CS near you) – here’s a round-up of some of my favourites.

First stop of the day was a visit to PaperArtsy, as I’d heard from Mark that new products were afoot. As well as new Hot Picks rubber and matching dies (LOVE the oak leaf dies), there are a few new and interesting product developments from PaperArtsy this year. First off and probably most exciting are the paints – they are beautiful chalk-effect, ultra matt finish which stamps like a dream and they can be used on pretty much anything (even, according to Mark, your radiators if you are that way inclined!). To go alongside these are a crackle medium which you can DRY WITH A HEAT GUN (woop woop – I hate waiting) and a lovely shimmer glaze which you can apply over any colour paint to create a mica-like effect. They have also produced metal sheet which is pre-made into a tape sandwich, developed again with a surface that stamps beautifully. Finally (I think these are totally ace) are the Flexiblocks – ideal for those large stamps that are so hard to stamp perfectly with a solid block. Leandra can explain better than me – check her video here.
I also spent quite some time talking to Sarah at Crafty Notions who also has lots of fabulous new items on offer. Her multi-surface paints are stunning on fabric and the colours are out of this world – so vibrant yet sophisticated. Sarah has new stamp plates, featuring unique designs from her own collections of vintage ephemera – I love the ladies which are shown in the pic here. The new silicone moulds are fabulous with UTEE, gorgeous gilding flakes are available now in big flakes for gilding larger areas, and new colours of Dotties have been added to the range. My must-have however is the range of Gleams – metallic rub-on paste, again in a range of simply gorgeous colours.

Sheena Douglass was demonstrating at the show, showing off her new Paint Fusion concept based on traditional folk art. The finished designs look amazingly professional (gutted I forgot to get a picture) but the techniques are surprisingly easy – in fact I think even a non-artist like me could tackle them. I’m not giving away too much here as I have asked Sheena to do a step-by-step for you for the magazine! Don’t like painting? Check out the stamps anyway as they are really pretty and very versatile with or without the Paint Fusion. Keep an eye on Sheena's Blog for more info.

Crafter’s Companion have become UK distributors for Core’dinations cardstock and there are a couple of fabulous new cardstock stacks to watch out for – the Tim Holtz Distress stack co-ordinates with his inkpads (how awesome is that?) and the Jenni Bowlin and Basic Grey embossed card ranges are stunning when sanded. They are also distributing the e-craft die cutter which looks like a seriously impressive bit of kit, and (so excited about this) TWINKLING H20S! I personally love these paints and have for years – so glad to see them back! Also coming soon are some alcohol-based refillable markers at a price you will not believe!
Creative Expressions have some great new substrates in the Eco Green range (coming soon to a magazine near you). Their new chalk mists in adorable sherbet colours and the paintable drawing inks with mica are interesting addition to the Cosmic Shimmer family. The big news however is the new Tatty Button stamps – these are so beautifully drawn. The Tatty Button character is so unique and whimsical, I am sure these will have wide appeal even amongst those who are not into character stamps.

Last but not least I had a good chat with the lovely Sue at Imagination Crafts (this woman’s enthusiasm is so infectious!), who has some wonderful new things on offer. The new Stencil Paints come in the most lovely colours and work beautifully; alongside Silkies are Chalkies, matt effect paint which gives a far superior image to regular paint when used to stamp with; and finally there is a new embossing fluid which can be applied through a stencil and then embossed with powder – this looks so cool!

Other things I loved:
-New Prima masks, yum (these are out already and I’ve already had a play).
-Stampendous range of really big stamps, mostly florals. These are cling mounted ones, really stunning designs.
-Artemio die cut wooden shapes, including birds, trees and leaves. Not exactly a new idea but beautifully done with elegant designs. Their rustic hanging wooden frames are rather nice too.
-7 Gypsies printed kraft tissue paper; this is just stunning and I NEED it!
-Of the new lines from Tim Holtz, the kraft resist papers are simply gorgeous and if you are an art journaler or scrapbooker the Distress Stains could be for you, as they enable you to ink a very large area very quickly.
That’s it from me – if you read this far, well done! Would love to know your highlights if you visited the show.

Katy x