I was not going to go at first. Then I heard that Motivet , a super new Canadian stamp company was gonna be there. I had wanted a few images but my credit card charges a foreign money conversion fee and then the whole border tax issue and the stamps became way too expensive. So when I saw the name on the vendor list, I started making plans. I was going to attend if only to get some of these cuties. Make sure you click the link and see the entire lineup of stamps. There is also a blog.
So after getting my goodies, I went to visit my friend Stacey's Sweet Stamps booth. Now I can get stuff at Stacey's store in Fowlerville whenever I want to make the trek, but I am her eyes at the show. I let her know what is cool and new. I decided to only visit the booths I KNEW had stuff I might want. I didn't buy at all of them but I did go over each booth looking for unusual and whatever wasn't available locally (which is lower Michigan to me). I also found this stamp at Stacey's booth that I hadn't seen before and bought it. So make sure you check her online shop.
She has lots of old fashioned images, others that are perfect for Pergamano and layerable stamps for making medallion cards.
My first stop was at Rubber Cafe . There was some very nice images on cling and a fun demo going on.
But the guy ringing things up was so out of his element. Very little was priced. And when he did ring things up that were priced, he rung up wrong. One thing this booth had was the Glu Glider Pro. I have wanted this for so long but Hobby Lobby was always sold out of the smaller one. This booth had a special on it. However when I asked the proprietor if they had the re-positionable glue runner, she barked back "Why would I want that? The stuff would fall apart". This exchange will segue into the later part of this post, but looking back, I should have walked away instead of spending money here. Not because of the products however, so if you like the images, buy them. I got my future son in law a cute little biplane stamp here.
I then took a pee. :)
I stopped outside the toidy area at this vendor The Stampsmith . At this booth was the only make and take I did. Most of the others were charging for them (more later). Stampsmith uses photos to make stamps. On this page, go about a third of the way down to chalk colored images. This is the technique we did only we used cat stamps. Yes-these are stamps!!
This is done on glossy card stock and you MUST try this! I was skeptical. Until I colored the cat eyes with blue chalk and it popped off the paper. I will post an image later this month of the finished project. My only objection at this booth, was the fact she had a Fred Astaire stamp but it was only available as a full sheet. I didn't want the others-just Fred. I love Fred.
Next was Grey Wolf Graphics . I have loved this company for a long time but they never had a web presence. And when they finally went to get a web site, someone else was squatting on their name. So they had to play around to find one that would work. If you love nature, this is the place for stamps. Love lighthouses, especially Great Lake Light houses, shop here. And for silly like below, well, guess you know where to go.
Another fun vendor is Stamping Sensations mostly because many of the stamp images are so adaptable with Flower Soft . Poke around and look at this site. This was the first time this company has been back in several years. A while back, there was a tragedy that happened during the local show and they had to pack up mid convention and go home. I don't have the details but they shut down the company for a while as they dealt with other issues. I for one, am very glad they are back. The stamps themselves are on blue or purple rubber and so very well made. Go look. I will wait.
My second of three must see vendors was Impression Obsession. If you are a reader of any of the stamp magazines, You will have seen an ad from them using this stamp and Flower Soft.
I was obsessed with getting this stamp and I did. Then the vendor gave me a fall 2009 catalog of new images coming right about now. If the images had been at the convention, I would have purchased them all and then felt guilty, so so guilty but I love house stamps and, well do look at the catty online. This is a huge PDF so be patient. How easy it would have been to blow a bazillion at the booth. Just the nicest people , too.
Lastly almost by mistake , I stopped at Just Imagine which had punches from Europe. I love punches but could live without any more. Until I saw the demos. You can use each of these punches 4 different ways and are they ever worth the money . As soon as I was done here, I high tailed it back to Stacey's with my report. I told her if nothing else, to check out the punches. And guess what, if you are in mid Michigan, you can now buy the punches from Stacey at the store or buy online thru her website. I am doing the happy dance because I want more! She also had at this booth some weird little scissors which work so well with those delicate corners or cut outs a lot of people are doing called Dufex . I don't have a photo for you but you may have seen this online or in stores where images are layered and shimmery. You MUST try it.
So I had a full circle and I missed at least half of the vendors, many on purpose like SU, CTMH, and any of the local stores selling what I can get anytime. Other than Stacey, who was vending her own line of stamps, the locals just brought the crap they wanted to dump. No different than usual. I might have looked at a few more but I was tired. My tootsies hurt. I was hungry. And the smell of hot dogs was making me sick. I also knew I was stopping at Marco's on the way out to purchase my stash of paper and that was a stash I did not want to schlep all over the convention arena.
So the bad things. Sometimes even the good things get stomped down by the bad ones, right? Some are easier to overlook. Some not so much. My biggest beef over all was how horribly rude everyone was. The worst bunch of snarky bitches I have ever seen at a convention much less any shopping venue. This crossed evenly between the shoppers and the vendors. Most of the shoppers are women. If there are guys, it's mostly (90%) poor schmucks dragging their partners bags. And rolling their eyes. If the guys are shopping, they are usually so darned nice and I think it's because they feel great about being accepted into a hobby that is predominately women. And the male vendors-again terrific. Especially Greg Smallwood from Marco's. Everyone just loves him.
I got to the convention late-on purpose. I am entitled with a prepaid ticket to early admission. But it's usually such a free for all mass rush, that I get scared. I don't like crowds and tend to hang way back. Panic attacks are not unheard of with me in a stifling arena. So I arrived 45 minutes after the pay at the door people got in line. And I still had to wait another half hour in line. There were a lot of other women who had the same idea I did about getting there late and they were not happy. We never did figure out what the problem was for the slowness. Honestly, I was there before the big rush and as I went in, I looked back and saw the line going out the door and wondered what I did wrong. I hate standing in any line as my back will hurt. And I made a mad rush to the toilets after all that.
I gave my admission card at the front table as that is the way the door prizes are drawn. Only as far as we could figure, none were given out. One year I won $100 gift certificate to Marco's. I could have really used it this year. Oh well.
Back to the rudeness for a minute. There are rules at these conventions. No strollers unless you have a kid in them. No rolling bags. No one enforced them this year. I had several ladies in wheel chairs roll into me. Not once did anyone apologize. I always look out for chair users and will let them go ahead of me in line. No one ever says thank you. Some of the women would sit for many a moment in the aisles and no one could get around them. Just parked. Then we get to the ONE who really appalled me. She faked being unable to walk and I heard her bemoaning how horrible it was not to be able to walk. Until a seat opened up at a free make and take with a mile long line. She jumped out of the chair and bowled people over getting to the end of the aisle. I grew up with a severely handicapped and wheel chair living brother. I so wanted to slap this woman who would dare to use this ruse to get her way. To me this is like my other brother using my mom's handicap sticker to get the good parking spots, even tho my mom is dead. And didn't ride in the car for two years.
Other pissies-vendors charging 2 bucks or more to do a make and take. Now I have no problem with this for non-spenders. There are always a good portion of convention goers who do not spend a penny. They park their butts at the vendor booths and monopolize and use up all the freebies. That gives many of us no chance of sitting a spell and learning anything new or fun. But if I spend $50 or $100 at your booth, let me do a dollar make and take free. I spent! At your booth! Reward me! Thank me! Make me want to come see you again. Didn't happen.
More rudeness on the visitor end. Groups of women would congregate in booths and chat and look over each others bags and no one could shop. I wanted a cattle prod at times. There was 6 hours for me to shop, observe and make my decisions of what to assess Stacey on. No wonder I can't see it all. Several times I asked ladies if I could scoot in and get a product and you would have thought I asked for their wallets. They actually sneered at me. I finally asked the cashier/vendor if he could snag my paper for me. Otherwise I think I'd still be waiting.
When I decided to venture the hour and a half to the convention, I think I kind of knew I would not be going back. Attending alone is no fun, and no cajoling could convince anyone to go with me, not even the offer of a free ticket and lunch. I hate to drive, I hate I96, and did I say I hate to drive? But I also can't afford it much anymore. Retirement is not fun in any way but it has hurt the wallet incredibly. The nail in the coffin for me was the fact they are moving the convention to south of Detroit to Monroe, which would add another hour in horrible traffic. At the Fairgrounds no less. When the convention was at Gibraltar Trade Center, it was smelly musty, not enough toilets and horrible parking. The new arena Rock Financial Center was so much better. Now we regress back to smelly and musty? Not gonna happen for me.
Let's go back to the vendor who wondered Why would you want repositionable tape? I told her to do masking and she rolled her eyes. I save my masks, don't you? Then I get home and find her crazy husband/cashier overcharged me some mucho bucks. Wondering why I didn't walk away? All for that stupid tape gun.
Vendors B-. This was a good cross section this year.
Vendor attitude B- I give Marco's an A++++ with a star! And I love you Stacey (and mom).
Organization C- Could have been better in so many ways.
Customers F- The rudest bunch of women I have ever run into at any convention I ever attended. Some say its the economy. I think many are always like this.
New and Fun things to purchase. C+ so much of the same stuff. I was tired of seeing Flower Soft. All the demos were this pretty much.