Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back From CHA

Hope you've had a good week! I'm home from CHA and, wow, what a great show. Things were hopping at the Art Gone Wild & Friends booth (that's our "parent company") , and we really enjoyed meeting new customers and seeing old friends. Here are a couple of photos I took before the show opened on Sunday morning:


I'm not sure how much you know about the history of our company, but I started Inky Antics in 1997 and then sold it four years later to Ted & Michelle Cutts. They'd already had their own stamp line they started together called Art Gone Wild.

Speaking of which, AGW just introduced a cool new collection of stamps by J. Claire Studio. The lovely J. Clare sisters came to the show on Monday:


I'd pursued other ventures for a while but couldn't stay away from the stamping world (I missed it too much!), and I came back to work for Ted about four years ago. In the meantime, Stampers Anonymous had joined the family. Here's a picture of Ted with Wendy Vecchi, artist extraodinaire (and a super nice person, to boot!) who designs the Studio 490 Collection for Stampers Anonymous:


And most recently to join the AGW & Friends group is Darcie's. I goofed and didn't get a picture of Darcie at the show, but these are some of the beautiful projects using her cling mount stamp sets, patterned papers, and original templates:


So that's our story AGW & Friends story in a nutshell! Now that CHA is over, we'll be scurrying to add the new goodies to all of our websites as soon as we can. (Preorders from Stampers Anonymous Supplement 8.4 are already being taken, and we'll get the other updates posted shortly.) I'll be sure to keep you "in the know" here on the blog!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congratulations Again & Sneak Preview #6: Tweens

Here are your random numbers:
6

Timestamp: 2009-01-23 13:49:15 UTC

* * *

Congrats to Deloris, who left comment #6. You've won yourself some stamps from the new flyer! :-)

Thanks to our other participants and, remember, I'll be posting ideas, news, and more blog candy soon...and it's always a surprise as to exactly when, so keep checking back with us regularly because I don't want you to miss out on anything!

Since I don't have a laptop, I won't be writing you again until next Thursday when I come home. For now, I'll leave you with a sneak preview of the Tweens collection by Tammy DeYoung:


Heather McNally did a great job on these! We're grateful to all six designers who created samples using the new Spring '09 collection and look forward to sharing more of them with you after CHA. In the meantime, we always welcome your comments. See you soon, dear readers!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sneak Preview #5: Design Critters & Robots

I'm almost set to go to California tomorrow with lots of Inky samples and, of course, our Spring '09 flyer. All the new stamps will be available to order on our website in early February, but until then I've got a double sneak preview to whet your whistle! Kendra Wietstock designed two different batches of cards using Ronnie Walter's Design Critters and Tammy DeYoung's Robots collections. These are just a few of Kendra's delightful creations:


Gotta love those cute animals and little robot guys. Don't they just scream FUN?!

Oh, and don't forget about the blog candy posted yesterday. The clock is ticking...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Congratulations!

We've got stamp winners! Congrats to Polly in Texas, Donna in Washington, and Karyl in Florida. Please email me at inkyantics@aol.com with your last name, address, and item numbers/names of any three wood mounted stamps shown on the Inky website.

And thanks to everyone for checking back today. I sure appreciate your warm support and enthusiastic participation. If you didn't win in our first blog candy drawing, here's another chance...with a super quick turnaround this time! We'd love to hear which Inky stamps are YOUR favorites, so just leave a note in the comments section of this post with the item number/name of your most treasured, well loved, and often used Inky Antics stamp. (Yup, feel free to list a couple if you absolutely cannot narrow it down!)

You've got until this Thursday at midnight Central time to enter. I'll randomly choose one person on Friday morning, who will get to choose any three stamps from our new Spring '09 flyer (which will be released in early February...but the winner gets to peek at it ahead of time!). I'm leaving for the CHA show on Friday afternoon, so if I don't hear from the winner by then, I'll get back to you on Thursday the 29th when I return.

By the way, if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in), be sure to add your name or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. Good luck, everyone! :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Behind the Scenes at Convention

I'm back from the Mesquite show and wanted to thank all of the great folks who stopped by to shop and visit with us! Special thanks to my lovely friend Tex for her invaluable help all weekend long. We worked her hard, yet she kept a sunny smile on her face the whole time:


If you've ever wondered what conventions look like from the inside, here's a peek into our little "show on the road" world. Although I live in Minnesota, our main building is located in Cleveland, Ohio. Usually I fly to our shows and then meet the rest of the crew there, who drive out with the Inky booth in a cargo van and a big moving truck...just like they did this time:


We were so busy unloading on Friday morning that I forgot to take a picture until the truck was almost empty. Oops! Now, of course Inky doesn't take up all that room. We have three sister companies (Stampers Anonymous, Art Gone Wild!, and Darcie's), whose booths also travel with ours.

What started out as an empty, cavernous room quickly got filled up with carts, boxes, and cabinets full of stamps and accessories:


Here are Lee and Joyce moving a table in the Stampers Anonymous booth. Joyce was especially excited to have her picture taken (ha ha...not!):


Then we began to unpack. And unpack. And unpack! Things started coming along by early afternoon:


At 4 PM, I stopped with our booth set-up to teach my card class:


Mom and daughter took a moment to show off one of their finished creations:


After class, I had just enough time to clean up the supplies and then put out materials for the Make It/Take It Project Night. Tex continued helping get the booth ready while I was gone, and she did a wonderful job:


On Saturday morning, I got my demo table organized before the show opened:


And by 10 AM, we were ready to rock! The show went until 5 PM on Saturday and then 10 AM to 3 PM on Sunday. After the show was done, we did it all again but in reverse. Tear-down took about four hours, which is pretty typical. Then I had dinner, hit the hotel hay, and flew home this afternoon. It was a hectic but fun weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sneak Preview #4: Worldly Women

Before I head to the airport today, I just had to share this with you. Kerry Donovan-Casey created an adorable altered lunchbox tin:


That funny lady and saying on the front is from the latest addition to the Worldly Women collection by Nancye Williams. Her designs always make me laugh! And look what's inside:

Mmm, cookies! Did you see the second part of that saying? Here's a closeup:

Isn't that hilarious? Kerry thought of the perfect project for these two stamps and executed it beautifully. Here's another saying from this collection that would work:

You could fill the tin with cupcakes or a big slice of birthday cake! Or change the theme completely and make a gift for your favorite stamping buddy:


Bet you could think of all sorts of stamps and accessories to put in there! What about creating a matching card with the same lady above and using this saying:

So many ideas and so little time! Must. Make. Time. :-)

Update on 11/23/09: Unfortunately, the lunchbox tin has been discontinued by the manufacturer and we are no longer able to get this item in stock.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First Convention of the Year

Hey y'all! We're fixing to get back on the road again and start our roundup of 2009 conventions. Tomorrow evening, I'm heading to sunny Texas for our first show at the Southwest Rodeo Mesquite Convention Center this weekend. Yeehaw!

If you live near the Dallas area (or even not so near), we'd love to have you join us there. I've been busy preparing materials for the More Inky-active Cards: Surprising Sliders class I'm teaching on Friday afternoon:


Two other classes earlier in the day are being offered by one of our sister companies, Art Gone Wild! There's also a fun Make It/Take It Project Night event you can sign up for. (You'll get a chance to try out the CarlaCraft Binding System at Inky's table...shh, the rest is a secret!)

On Saturday and Sunday, there will be lots of demos to watch and shopping to do! Be sure to visit our booth and introduce yourself to me. Mention that you saw this blog entry, and I'll have a little goodie for you as well. :-)

Speaking of goodies, don't forget about the blog candy drawing we're doing next Tuesday. You still have time to enter...get the details by scrolling to our first post at the very bottom of this page or by clicking here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sneak Preview #3: Beach Girls

I just heard the weather forecast on the radio today, and it's going to get colder this week. I mean Seriously Cold. They're predicting 0 degrees as the high on Thursday and -16 degrees as the low. Sheesh, tell me again WHY do I live in Minnesota? Okay, maybe it's because I was born and raised here. And I've never lived anyplace else (well, except for that one semester during college in Wisconsin...but it's just as cold there, too). Oh, and I suppose the fact that so many of my family members and friends live here also has something to do with it. ;-)

Still, it doesn't stop me from wishing I lived in a warmer climate or could take a vacation to the Caribbean, like right this minute! Since it doesn't appear either will be happening soon, for now I'll just have to dream about it. In the meantime, I'm looking at the Beach Girls collection by Tammy DeYoung and can easily imagine myself in a situation like this:


Or this:Or even this:
Well, probably not that last one because I am seriously terrible at volleyball. But those other two scenarios look pretty darn good to me!

The images (10 of them) and sayings (12 different ones) are all separate stamps so you can mix and match them. What do you think? Are you feeling the rays of sunshine yet? :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Valentine Monkey" Box in a Bag

This is the project we made at We're Stampin' Mad today:


Thanks to all the ladies who attended! If you'd like to make the "Valentine Monkey" Box in a Bag at home, you can download a .PDF file of the instructions by clicking here.

At the end of the day, I popped next door to Beadbury and took a photo:


They offer lots of classes, too. Here's just one of them:


How fun is that! Makes me want to get into beading and jewelry making. Hmm...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Make & Take at We're Stampin' Mad

Yesterday I went to We're Stampin' Mad in Osseo:


Nope, that's not my SUV...but notice the white stuff on it? My car has it, too. The weather keeps getting warm, cold, warm, cold here in Minnesota, and that means lots of salt on the roads. (No offense to the owner of that vehicle. Mine looks waaay worse. It's impossible to do prevent it this time of year unless you're going to the car wash every day. And who has time for that!)

Anyway, I digress. I met with Jackie, the owner, to plan for a make & take event I'm hosting at the store this Saturday from 10:30 to 3:30. Here's a picture of Jackie:

Isn't she cute? Jackie is amazing and so full of energy! Interestingly, I took my very first stamping class from her, way back in 1995 when I first discovered this amazing hobby. Since then, she's opened Beadbury. It's located right next door, as you probably noticed above.

Jackie's store is crammed with tons of stamps, paper, cardstock, accessories, and other goodies:


And ideas...did I mention ideas? There are samples all over the place. It's a wonderful source of inspiration:


Julie is the store manager, and she's been there for 11 years. (Can you believe it? Wow, I think that's impressive.) If you've got a question about papercrafting, here's your woman:


For those of you who live in the Twin Cities area, please stop by on Saturday to say hello and create a FREE project with me. (And if you can't make it, be sure to check out the store sometime...you'll be glad you did. See those pink signs behind Julie? They've got classes and all kinds of other fun events going on every week.) Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sneak Preview #2: Chef's Choice

Ronnie's first set of the Chef's Choice stamps was released in our Spring '08 flyer. They were a real hit, and several customers commented how they'd like to see some girl chefs added. (We always appreciate hearing your feedback and suggestions, by the way!)

So, by popular demand, we're proud to present a little peek at the newly expanded Chef's Choice collection:


The chef shown below was a special request I made to Ronnie, just because I think it's hilarious. The saying is a single stamp, with space in between the two phrases so you can ink part of it at a time and stamp them separately. Fish you could have seen her surprised expression when I suggested these! (Okay, okay...I emailed her with the idea, but I couldn't resist trying to work in that pun somehow, LOL!) I think it turned out great:


And here's a card made using the cute little Shaker Chef and coordinating saying. This will be one of the four "action" cards we're making in the More Inky-active Cards: Secret Sliders class I'm teaching at conventions this year:

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Greek to Me!

On Saturday, my friend Peg and her family came over for dinner. Peg and I taught middle school together about a million years ago (where I also attended as a student, incidentally) before I started Inky Antics, and she's still in the same district but now teaching third grade at one of the elementary buildings. Here she is with her husband (Cory) and their two terrific kids (Jessica, 8, and Reid, 6):


We had a Greek-inspired dinner, hence the title for this post. I've always been an avid "foodie," and I love to read cookbooks, try different recipes, and go to new restaurants. Our menu consisted of several items:
  • Gyros-style meatballs
  • Tzatziki sauce
  • Hummus
  • Pita bread
  • Mediterranean stuffed chicken
  • Orzo with pine nuts and spinach
  • Feta salad with Greek dressing
  • Baklava
Everything was made from scratch, including the pita bread. That was a real hit with Reid, and he tried hiding a couple of pieces in Jessica's purse. We all had a good laugh and sent the extra bread with him in a Ziploc, which seemed like a better choice of containers!

My honey, Steve, made the tzatziki sauce, hummus, and meatballs. I did the rest, but I especially liked the baklava. I'd never worked with phyllo dough before (yes, we actually bought that part ready made, LOL!), and it was much easier than I'd anticipated. They're pictured here with the nut goodie bars that Jessica made last week with her nana, Kathy:


After dinner, we played Jumbling Towers (which is similar to Jenga) and Chutes & Ladders. Then we exchanged gifts since I hadn't seen Peg since early November. Our kitten, Oscar, decided the dog treats they brought would suit him just fine, too:


It seems like whenever we entertain, I cook way too much food. Since Steve and I are the only humans in our household, you know what that means...yep, lots of leftovers for days afterward! Luckily, neither of us minds them. Guess what we had for dinner last night:


You're right! How'd you know? ;-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sneak Preview #1: Groovy Owls

Inky Antics will be attending Winter CHA at the end of this month, so we've been scurrying to get things ready! (Winter CHA is a trade-only show where retailers check out what's new and place orders for products to arrive at their store.)

We are really excited to be releasing designs from Ronnie Walter, Nancye Williams, and Tammy DeYoung. There will be 8 different themes...which means lots of variety and fun stamps to choose from!

Here's a peek at the Groovy Owls collection from Ronnie Walter:


When Ronnie and I were first discussing this concept last spring (before the ink and paper had even whispered to each other...yes, the whole process takes a surprisingly long time because there are so many steps involved), I couldn't wait to see what she came up with. And she did an amazing job as always. I think they're adorable (or, as my talented stamping friend Debbie says, owl-dorable)...and the saying in the second picture cracks me up because I'm SUCH a night owl myself. But, more importantly, I can't wait to to hear what you think!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to the Inky Antics Blog!

Yup, it's official: Inky has entered Blogland, and I'm so glad you've joined me here! I've got lots to share with you, and I hope you'll tell your stamping friends to visit us, too.

But, first, how about starting the new year with some BLOG CANDY? Just sign up for our email newsletter (the link is on the upper right side of this page), and you'll be automatically entered for the drawing. On Wednesday, January 21st, we'll randomly select 3 winners to receive their choice of any three stamps on our website. Already a subscriber? You can still enter to win! Email me at inkyantics@aol.com and put "Inky Blog Candy" in the subject line.

Be sure to check back on the 21st to see if you've won. In the meantime, I'll be posting more news...including sneak previews of our newest designs to be released at the end of the month. I can't wait to show them to you!