Wow! Feel like I have been gone forever. I thought I was going to have to formally introduce myself to my honey! lol. We got in from Orlando after a 3 hour drive (it generally only takes 1.5 from my house) fighting rain and rush hour traffic at both ends but we made it safe and sound. Two friends from the east coast (Roz and Kelcey) met us at my house and we all headed to the Sponge docks and ate at Mikinos across from the river. I truly believe we were all way too tired to even eat. The food was great but our eyes all seemed to be too big for our tummies.
The house Sonia found for us in Orlando was wonderful. We each had our own beds and there was a pool to boot. And yesterday, before Chris has to go to the airport to return to Ill.,she spotted a little gator swimming in the pond behind the rental house. The only problem with the house was that it did not have internet and we had to go up to the club house use our laptops.
CHA itself was both good and bad...good because of the smaller size and fewer vendors buyers got more individual attention and the lines for make n takes where you can test the products were tons shorter than in Chicago last year. It was bad in that it was a true reflection of our economy. The booths all seemed smaller, the product releases less but G-a and Sonia found some lovely new items to include in upcoming kits for KnKclub.com There are a couple of new companies to keep an eye on: Harmonie, based out of Canada (acrylics and stamps taken to a whole new level) and Niki Sivils whose bright and cherry paper lines are just what is need in these times. My attention was grabbed by SEI, of coure, and G45. SEI 's foiled papers and the little red birds...be still my heart and G45...yum!
I took 3 of my 4 classes. The one at 10:30 on Monday was a bit of a blur. Claudine Helmsmith (sp) always does a great teaching job and the STudio line of paints is amazing. I also got a big jar of multi-media stuff which could soon become my very favorite product for paper to canvas,wood, etc. My second class was the next day at 7 am and was by Melodie (?). The class was a trifle on the chaotic side as the instructor did not have the prototype and have quickly made another which did not follow either the papers we were given nor the printed instructions. Half way through the class we were told to just "go ahead and stamp". The poor woman at the end of our row was having a bit of a melt down when nothing seemed to match and she wanted an exact duplicate. Kip, you did not miss anything! Play with the kit as I know you can do much better that what I was given.
The G45/Twinkling Ink class was at 7pm that same day. I dropped Pam off at the ACOT cocktail party, had one beer, and headed off to class. These are two of my very favorite classes and while we were given amazing products (and in all our classes this was true), the presentation was disorganized and lacked continuity. We were told that CHA gave the vendors' shippers the wrong address and that all the class room supplies had been returned.and that, after being tracked down, had just arrived in time for that class. While we waited for the first fifteen minutes of class for instructions to be printed off for the project, we were given a history of the company and how Twinkling Ink was developed. I had to leave early to pick up Pam at the party but Roz, Kelcey, and Sonia bravely carried on. Another project to be finished at leisure.
Pam and I circled Orlando for about two hours going down ever road possible in the exact opposite direction of the one we needed to be. When we cruised by Disney World for the second time, which turned out to be miles and miles from where we were staying, we did like ET and called home. Pam swore she saw a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign and heard cows but I think it was just a hallucination. She was navigating in a strange city for both of us and I suppose me being night blind also contributed to the problem. Thankfully G-a and Kelcey talked us through a return to where we should be. At one point we were seriously considering renting a cheap motel room until first light! lol I am convinced that the girls laughter at the house over our misfortune was the homing device that got up home.
Both Pam and Kip tried out the swimming pool, and Chris and I dangled our feet while we had our first coffee together in the morning. Chris got in from Ill the night of our marathon road trip but had stayed up to say hello. I met some of the DT from Scrap Gal, a very nice and friendly message board and many, many of the fun gals from ACOT, along with Penny, Jack Flash an Suzanne who, in addition to Roz and Kelcey were guests of KnKclub. These women along with the DT were on a mission to try make n takes and see how compatible products were for our kits. Not all things ship easily or work well with others and we did find some cool things to suggest with a wide variety of tastes which is great!. The more input G-a and Sonia have, the more versatile the kits and the more appeal they have to a wider audience. These two woman, along with Pat their rep, and assisted by Chris with her sharp eye, have some amazing things to share. We have a mystery guest designer that is going to blow the socks off all of us
I have reached a few conclusions:
1. 5 days is far too long for me at an event like this. Last year, I was only able to stay in Chicago for 3 days and I think that is a much better time frame for me. After the 3rd. day lack of sleep kicked in and down time on the floor seemed to stretch out far too much esp. when it is followed by periods of frenzy shopping and looking
2. Two of the women on our team I only get to see once a year: our DT lead, Pam, and our Card Designer, Chris. I chat with these women lots on line often daily and we have formed a friendship over time (I've know Pam for about 5 years online and Chris over 2 having been on various mbs and dts with them both) but nothing beats face to face. We tried to spend as much time as possible together. And so, pals...til we meet again next year!
3. Our guests were amazing. Kelcey has an incredible sense of direction (unlike me and Pam ! lol) and helped me get Pam to the airport without a hitch. Roz and Kelcey were a joy to do make n takes with our last full day at CHA and helped pass time while G-a, Sonia and Chris made mad dashes to meet with vendors and place orders. We missed you Jill and your eye for goodies as well. Hope all is ok with Tink!
And on to the Consumer's Show: to me it was like a giant flea market. While several of the booths were the same set up (Provo showing the UDO and the Gypsy and doing similar demos and make n takes), many vendors were selling discount products from previous years. Lots of local lss had booths and I love Scrapbook Shoppe (love Julie the owner) and Violettes had to be my two favorites. I did make a couple of small purchases at Crafty for some altered art stuff I want to make. Over all, I think the Consumers' Show has possibility and potential but it needs to look less rag tag (perhaps move the kids play area out of the center and better align the rows. There were tons of women there and they were buying and buying.
So, it is good to be home! Sweet! Home! I'll try to get some pics up on my blog ASAP. Love to all and I missed you!