July 30, 2009

CHA - Day 3

Today was pretty quiet at CHA. We were there early this morning to get all of our order placed and make sure that we got all of you ladies the best stuff that the show had to offer!

I thought that I'd better give you the answers to all of the pictures from last night's blog. I was very impressed with all of your guesses, most of you as usual were very accurate. Here is where we were:
  1. The monsters pictured are the Sassafrass monsters from the Monstrosity line.
  2. April and Scarlet are with KC from My Minds Eye.
  3. April and Scarlet met Christine right outside of the 7 Gypsies booth.
  4. We were with Summer and Kimber at the Jillibean Soup.
  5. Almost everyone got this one....yes, we are with Jenni Bowlin.
Thanks to everyone who took part in our little sleuthing excursion. It was a lot of fun to go through all the pictures of the day and put it together. Don't forget, we will have a little challenge at the end of the week for all of you that followed the blog all week.

Well, we left the show around Noon and took off for a Studio Calico team building exercise. I have been researching Air Boat tours off and on all week, and we finally decided to use a company called Spirit of the Swamp Air Boat Tours. They offer one hour tours on beautiful Lake Tohopekaliga. We saw 3 alligators, 5 bald eagles and lots of other native birds and wildlife. We had a great time and I thought that I would show you some of the photos from the day. Stephen is not only a wonderful graphic designer, he is also handy with a camera. Here are some of the pictures that he took today....they are awesome!
Here is the high powered machine that we rode in today. Captain Harold and his wife Debbie took us out in this mean machine. The boys asked lots of questions, they were really pumped up when they saw it. Air boats actually glide along the top of the water and are able to go over land if necessary. They have no reverse, so you have to be able to turn around or hop land wherever you go. We also found out that the engine is a Corvette engine...Captain Harold was really surprised when we told him that we were from Bowling Green, KY...the home of the Corvette!

One of the best things about the tour was that each of us was given a headset so that we could hear Captain Harold and each other without having to scream over the engine. Here you see me giving the thumbs up that my headset was working properly. Captain Harold and Debbie were great guides and gave lots of interesting facts about the local wildlife and water plants.
This is Stephen and Greg as we were flying across the lake. Captain Harold called it natural air-conditioning, it sure did feel good....it was about 90 degrees while we were out there.

Stephen took this picture of Greg & April when we stopped to look at some little baby birds.

Here are a couple of the beautiful landscapes that Stephen photographed this afternoon. Look at those gorgeous clouds reflected in the water!

Here we are looking at a Mama Gator protecting her nest. She was laying in the water staring at the bank making sure that we don't get too close. Captain Harold told us that based on the size of her head, she was long enough that her tail was right up to the side of the boat underwater.

Last, but not least, here is a group photo taken by Debbie. We had a wonderful time and learned a ton about the Florida flora and fauna. Thanks Greg & April for such a wonderful team building experience.

I have one more picture for you. This was taken by Stephen at CHA...take a look, what do you see?

OK ladies, I'm out of here for the night. Tomorrow morning we are headed over to the CHA Consumer Show. We wanted to check it out since it is a first time event. I'll tell you a little about it Saturday. I won't post tomorrow, we will be driving 12 hours to get home and it will likely be the wee hours of the morning. I'll also post my quiz questions on Saturday. Please check it out because I've got some great prizes for those that take the time to answer! I've picked up several cool things this week and I'd love to slip them in your shipping box next week! Thanks again for reading my long winded posts....I've enjoyed all of your comments and praise.


July 29, 2009

CHA - Day 2

This is a covert post....you have to be a special Studio Calico detective to be able to decipher the subtle images that I have placed within this message. Instead of being way, way obvious and telling you the products that we are looking at, I decided to make you work for it a little. As we traveled from booth to booth today, I took pictures of April and Scarlet with some familiar faces. Some of them are our very own subscribers, some are famous designers, some are on the design teams of some of our favorite manufacturers. Take a look at the pictures and you should be able to tell where we were visiting and then maybe guess a few of the products that you may see in future kits. The boss ladies forbid me to give you too much information, so I have to be a little sneaky!

I found these little guys hanging out people watching. I wonder what manufacturer dreamed up these little monsters.

Here is April and Scarlet with our friend KC. You may have to do a little sleuthing to find out what manufacturer signs his paycheck.

Scarlet and April met a new friend today....she came to know about Studio Calico via Stephanie Howell's blog. They met her outside of a booth that you might be interested in.

We found these designers (Summer and Kimber) working at a booth at the show. They are both big fans of Studio Calico and led us right to all of their most interesting products.

OK, I had to give you at least one really easy one....here is your softball! Here the boss ladies are featured with one of our very favorite manufacturers.

Everyone always asks for a me to post a picture of myself on the blog, so here is one of me and Melissa. She works for the supplier pictured above. She is also a kit packer, so we always get together and talk about packing and share strategies. Our new motto is "Kit Packers Unite!"

I thought that I would leave you with one last image. Stephen just took this picture of all of us sitting around the conference room table in the hotel room. Scarlet and April are sitting on one side planning add-ons, Greg is sitting at the end of the table in his hand-me-down Dr. scrubs reading the message board, Hannah (Stephen's wife) is catching up on email and facebook and I am sitting at the other end of the table blogging like crazy.

OK, that is all for tonight. Tomorrow I will have a visual puzzle for you and some pictures of our team building exercise. We are planning to take an Air Boat tour and see some local wildlife tomorrow afternoon.

See you tomorrow.....Lorie

PS - This message will self-destruct in 30 minutes!!! Hee Hee!!

July 28, 2009

CHA - Day 1

The first sentence of the blog post is always the hardest for me....I just never know where to start.

Tonight, I am going to start with bagpipes....have you ever heard bagpipes? I've heard them at parades and once at a funeral, but I don't usually associate bagpipes with a Crafter's convention. For some reason, it is a tradition to open CHA with a bagpipe serenade just before the doors are opened. Picture 300 people standing in a line, shifting from foot to foot, waiting patiently to get in the doors and see all of the goodies beyond.... Now think about the mournful sound of bagpipes.... I don't know about you, but it just doesn't go together for me...I could not wait for them to stop playing and just let us in the door!

We finally got in and found lots of goodies and some good friends too! I know that you guys don't really have any interest in seeing any sneaks of new products (hee hee, ha ha), so I decided to just show you all of the folks that we met instead.

Emily found our new friend Stacy Michaud. Some of you may remember Stacy as one of the winners of the free 6 month subscription that we gave away for National Scrapbook Day.

Later on, Scarlet and April found Laverne Boese. Laverne has been a long time subscriber and is always a joy to be around. We even talked her into joining us for dinner later (scroll down for those pics and a good story).

Here you see Scarlet with Rebecca from Sassafrass. I know that none of you will be surprised that we loved the Sassafrass release. I can say with some certainty that you will be seeing pieces of it sometime in the future.
We had so much fun at the show today. It was very laid back and we had more time than normal to browse each booth and really talk to the designers and manufacturers. We also took the time to create several of the make-and-takes. Here you see April working on a necklace at the Ranger booth featuring Claudine Hellmuth's line of paint and sticky back canvas.

We also went to a booth that will be releasing a new screen print process. They have created a sticky back screen print that can be reused up to 20 times. They are also releasing paint to go with the canvas. Stephen and his wife Hannah took a moment to make a shirt. Here are a couple of pictures of their creative process and the end result.

Finally, after a long day of treasure hunting, we decided to call it a day and go and get some dinner. We invited anyone that wanted to join us to come to Fudruckers and have a burger and a little fun! When we picked Fudruckers, we were unaware that there are two locations that are about a half hour apart. We left the hotel in two vehicles, IPhones in hand with directions at the ready. Unfortunately, our wires got crossed and Stephen, Hannah, Scarlet and I went to one location and Greg, April, Tina and Emily went to another. Ours was the right location because when we got their Cindy Liebel and Wendy Bretz were there waiting for us. We called Greg and eventually, they navigated their way over to where we were. Sometime later, Laverne and her friend Mary Lou joined us as well. They too had gone to the other location and had just missed Greg and company. Finally, we were all in the same place and we had a very enjoyable dinner.

During dinner we had a TGM....those of you that read April's blog know what TGM's are. They are Typical Greg Moments...here's how it went. Greg went through the line and ordered his meal and added a chocolate milkshake. When it was delivered to the table he was excited about his milkshake, but decided to save it until the end of his meal. In the meantime, Emily went through the line and ordered a double chocolate milkshake...a special that they have for a limited time, but not listed on the menu. She gets back to the table and her milkshake is delivered a few minutes later. Greg sees this milkshake, which is twice a dark as his and with Hershey's syrup on the top and decides that he wants one like it instead. Here is where the TGM comes in....if a normal person asked to have a brand new milkshake just because he thought that another one at the table looked better, the restaurant would say sorry, enjoy what you ordered. But Greg, being Greg, turned on the charm and the "milkshake guy" took back his regular chocolate shake and brought him a brand new double chocolate shake plus the extra that was left over in the mixing cup! He leads a charmed life. Here is a picture of "milkshake guy" bring food to our table and making sure that we had everything that we needed.

Later in the meal, Stephen decided that he wanted a milkshake too...he went up and ordered and then patiently waited for the "milkshake guy" to deliver. In the meantime, we decided to take group pictures. Greg was taking pictures and a man in a read shirt passed our table...Greg hollered, "Hey, catch the "milkshake guy!" The only problem was that is was not the "milkshake guy" passing by, it was another customer in a red shirt that looked somewhat like the milkshake guy. He was very good natured about it and ended up taking our group pictures for us so that Greg could be included. After a couple of minutes, he walked back over to our table and said, "Hey, I may need to loose a few lb's, but I do not look like the milkshake guy!" April found this all so funny that Emily caught her in a rare moment of hysterical laughter.

As we were leaving the resturant, we decided that we needed on more group picture. Believe it or not, "fake milkshake guy" was leaving with his family and offered to stop and take our picture again. After the photo op, we asked his wife if she liked to scrapbook and she said yes. We gave her a business card and told her to send us an email with her name and address and we would send her some goodies because they were such good sports! All in all, we had a fun day and it ended on a great note.

For those of you that are avid blog readers, stay tuned all week! Make sure that you pay special attention to all of the CHA posts. I'll be posting a quiz next week and will have a drawing for some great prizes for everyone that answers all of the questions about our CHA week correctly!! Trust me, this is a prize that you want to win!!


July 27, 2009

Reveal Night at CHA!

This morning at the crack of dawn, I got up and loaded my suitcase into the car and headed over to April's to leave for CHA. We all piled in and were on the road by 5:45 am. April, our own personal Garmin, planned out our trip to the last detail....she even planned at stop at Panera in Atlanta so that we could go live at Noon! Unfortunately, the Panera was owned by someone that did not care about Studio Calico and limited our online time to a measly 30 minutes and had all of the power outlets in the restaurant disabled during their peak time!! Whaaaaa??!?!?! Needless to say, we ended up across the way over at Taco Mac. We used their power outlets and WIFI and told Panera to take a hike! This worked out great for me, I had one of the best steak quesadillas ever...man, it was really good! After lunch, we hit the road again and decided to let Greg navigate for a while so that we could all take a nap.

He got us down the road and we ended up getting into Orlando around 8:00 pm. We got checked into the hotel and headed out for dinner. We ate an insane amount of food, including this Orange Creamsicle Cake that was to die for, and then we headed back to the hotel for our big reveal party!! It's now 5 min to midnight and we (April, Scarlet, Greg, Stephen, Emily, Tina and I) are sitting around a conference table in one of our rooms, most of us in PJ's. Laptops are all over the place and the sound of frantic typing is filling the room! Greg is grilling the designers asking for new ideas for products, lines, items to add to the shop and so on.... Scarlet is putting all of the last minute touches on everything, getting it all ready to go at midnight... April is monitoring the message boards and answering emails... Stephen is trying to follow all of the conversations, but he is losing...he's very tired and having a hard time keeping up... And last, but not least, here I am blogging....trying to give all of you ladies an inside glimpse of what it's like to be here in the midst of all of the chaos!

I am so happy to be here again and so excited to share all of the wonderful goodies that we will see while we are here at CHA! I hope that you will all follow the blog this week and share in the experience with us. I'll be here every night.....I'll try to give you some sneaks and tantalize you with visions of what you may see in future kits.

See you tomorrow night!

July 26, 2009

Layout of the Week

The layout of the week is brought to you by Amy Coose, made using the May Kit, PLAYGROUND.

This layout has been added to your favorites more than any other layout in the SC community gallery for the week of 7/19-7/25.

Congratulations Amy! Because of this you have won a $10 gift card to be used on any new purchase at Studio Calico.

Want a chance to win next week? Be sure to upload your projects to the SC gallery, and support your community by adding special projects that catch your eye into your favorites! It could be YOU next week!

Please note, winners are not allowed to win more than once in a four-week period.
Winners are not limited to those using Studio Calico kits.

Reveal Night Giveaway

Just leave a comment here for a chance to win!

July 25, 2009

Fun with Claudine Hellmuth Studios

I was lucky enough to get into Claudine's class at CHA Winter. Better than that, I was smart enough to take pictures of the entire project as we were going through it. I knew someday I'd have a reason to use those pictures. But the best part of this story is I was given permission by Claudine to share with Studio Calico a tutorial of the techniques she taught us. I think you'll be surprised at how versatile these products are, I've definitely been more adventurous with them since I took the class. I hope through this tutorial you'll find yourself wanting to try some of these techniques as well.

Here's the finished project. I'll start in the upper left corner and work left to right down the canvas, each mini canvas square is a different technique.

The first mini canvas shows the gesso product. I applied a semi thick layer of gesso over the canvas and then with a toothpick i drew some funky patterns in the gesso. Try writing your name with this technique. It's of such a texture that it will hold the pattern well. I let it try, this takes a good chunk of time, so plan accordingly. For my numbers canvas created for the Playground kit, I let the gesso dry overnight.

Once the gesso was dry, I took some paint and sprayed it with water to make it thinner. I was using a craft sheet from Ranger--I have since purchased my own and highly recommend them!

I painted the watered down mix over the gesso and then wiped it off with a paper towel. Because of the bumps and valleys in the gesso, you get darker and lighter parts once you wipe the paint off. It's a very cool technique. I used this same idea on one of my projects for the Over the Rainbow kit, except with sculpey clay. The thing I love about the gesso is how much texture you can get with it. You can also stick things in it before it dries like beads and buttons and they are stuck! It's definitely pushed me and made me try more artistic techniques. I love it.

This is the dictionary page. We attached it to the mini canvas with the gel medium. It dried very quickly. Then we took a couple strips of masking tape and taped over parts of the paper then pulled them off to get this distressed look.

Again, I watered down the paint using the mini spray bottle from Ranger.

And paint a thin layer over the page. It absorbs it so nicely.

This next mini canvas shows you how differently the sticky back canvas takes paint compared to regular canvas. The heart is die cut from Claudine's sticky back canvas and then stuck to the mini canvas. I used the sprayer to water down some red paint and then did a wash over the whole thing. The sticky back canvas pulls in a lot of the paint for a rich intense color. The regular canvas takes on a lighter color of the red. I think it makes for a really nice contrast.

The next project shows you how the paint can be used as water colors. We each got a small square of Prima's Paintables paper and again using the sprayer, I watered down dabs of paint and started painting away. So much fun to see it act like a watercolor paint!

We attached the paper to the canvas with the gel medium. It's the perfect liquid glue.

Moving on to fabric. You can do some very cool things with gel medium and fabric. I was able to mold the fabric to the canvas and then trim off the excess. It is stuck solid. How fun would it be to add some pleats and tucks to a project this way? The gel medium dries clear and incredibly stiff, it's not going anywhere.
Tape with a wash over it is such a fun look, it's similar to the gesso project, just using tape to create the texture. I watered down my paint and added a thin layer.

At this point, we were supposed to stencil a flower on with the white paint. I'm not terribly good at stencils, so I had to make a small adjustment...

See how I added a layer of white paint instead? :) I dry brushed over the stenciled area and then tried the technique again with the orange.

This following canvas is one of my favorite techniques from the class. The reason you can't see anything in this picture is because the white paper is attached to the mini canvas, image side down, with gel medium. Why, you ask? Well let me first state that the white piece of paper is a photocopied image--and it must be a laser jet photocopied image or the technique won't work nearly as well.

So we took the image, painted on a thin layer of gel medium and attached the paper to the canvas, pressed out any bubbles and then let it dry. It took about 30 minutes.

Once the paper was totally dry, we sprayed water all over the paper, using the spray mister to get nice even coverage. You can see the image better now, but wait, it gets better!

We started rubbing the wet paper off with our finger, and voila, the laser printed image stayed on the canvas. How cool is that?

This is the finished product. Isn't it a fun technique? I'm not sure how it would work on paper, but it was definitely fun to do on canvas. I had prepainted the mini canvas before I started the process.

Using Versamark and clear embossing powder, you can stamp any image on a piece of cardstock and then with a head gun, emboss the image.

We then painted over the entire piece of paper and quickly wiped the paint off.
It left a layer of paint everywhere except where the embossed image was. So cool!

The last canvas shows the translucent quality of the paint. I painted over a Prima flower and you can still see the printing, but now it has an added dimension. This quality takes some getting used to, most acrylics are more opaque than Claudine's. You can obtain an opaqueness by adding a couple of layers of paint. But the translucent quality allows for a lot of fun options to try.

I glued both the flowers and the button onto the canvas with the gel medium. It dries clear, so you don't see any of the white that is in this picture. And that stuff really sticks! In fact, all of the mini canvases are glued to the main canvas with the gel medium, and 6 months later, they have not moved at all. It's very impressive.

So there you have it, nine things that you can do with the Claudine Hellmuth paints, gel medium, gesso, and sticky back canvas available in the Studio Calico Shop. I challenge you to come up with more!