Thursday 9 October 2008

I'm back! And what a blast it was!

Yesterday I got back from 6 days in New Jersey to go to Ranger Industries for their Ranger U education event. This is 3 solid days of technique sessions covering all things Ranger.

Suze Weinburg taught her Melt pot magic, Claudine Hellmuth helped us do wonderful things with her new paints, paint brushes and sticky-backed canvas, and Tim Holtz did all things powder (Perfect Pearls and EP's) as well as his signature lines Distress inks, crackle paints, reinkers in mini misters plus Adirondack things like colourwash, dabbers, pigment and dye inks, alcohol inks....etc etc......OMG we did so much stuff and ended up with great projects from Suze and Claudine to remind us of their sessions, and a massive tag book from Tim's mega techniques.

The new format of this event was superb, and my classmates were all so nice and friendly - we had lots of laughs! Lin, Lisa and I loved the Apple Sangria from Appleby's across the road from Ranger! I guess you can tell that!

Ranger welcomed us the first night with a BBQ cooked expertly by Justin, drinks kept topped up by Alain, and all the extended Ranger family young and old-er came and socialised with us too. We loved it!

Night #2 Linda (LB Crafts) and I were invited out with Lisa Kettell (our table buddie) to go for a meal with Suze and The Lenster (her DH Lennie) , and so we went to their fave Japanese restaurant Koto. I LOVE Japanese food so much, so this was a real treat for me, as there are none near me unless we trek into London, so I savoured every sushi and sashimi mouthful. In fact you can see pics of us on Suze's blog.

After the meal Suze wanted to show us her gorgeous home (what an unexpected and very cool treat for us), so we were invited over to see all the cool stuff she has collected on her travels all over the world. Wow doesn;t even come close! Lin and I were dumbstruck ...yes i know that's hard to imagine, but I think I walked around with my mouth open the whole time.

Lennie gave me some of his own wine (he belongs to a group who bottle their own) and it was superb! Then Suze showed us her studio - what a great set-up, and I got to show her the bead technique I have been teaching over here for a while. She named it the "Leandra Bead" and as she loves black I made her one with a black base dipped in gold perferct pearls, with a touch of metallic foil for that bling zizz! Then next day she turned up at Ranger wearing it as a necklace! How cool was that!

For Ranger U graduation a bunch of the crazy classmates who hang out in the hotel lobby (a lot!) dreamed up the idea of making our won graduation hats, so after about what seemed like half an hour, we finally figured out how to fold paper hats! Yes really it took us ages to "get it", then the next day we had to hide them in our "bun" ovens (ie sit on them) and try to decorate them in secret so the "teachers' didn't find out! Suffice to say there was a lot of colour spraying going on in the ladies loos! And so that is why we look a bit silly in our graduation photos. We gave TIm Suze and Claudine their own so they could play along too....In our grad phot is the lovely Lori (Ink about It), Lin, Lisa and Leandra...the 4 L's!!!

Linda and I did some retail therapy on Monday - but that's another whole story! So now back to the reality of getting caught up on work. Mark did really well staying on top of everything....even the washing, while I was away. Of course he left the ironing for i did that yesterday after I got home and it kept me awake through the jet lag.

Oh and I almost forgot...yesterday was Mark's after the kids and he opened all the goodies I brought back for them we went out to Zizzi in Brentwood for a meal (Italian). The kids devoured all the olives, bread and salami starter in a snap, and then we all tested each others meals and desserts. It was a really great evening, and much better than me trying to cook.....remember by now I have been awake for about 40 hours solid, so that was pretty good going to even make it to the restaurant. I think the glass of bubbly, followed by a scrummy italian red wine was perfect to make sure I slept well when I got home!

If you want step outs of the "Leandra Bead" then you can see it in this month's Craft Stamper (November issue). Also Jo Firth-Young Has a great article in there (the cover article actually - YAY for Jo), and we are doing a special offer on the stamps used in her pop up check it out now and don't miss out!

Today we went out and filled Mother Hubbards cupboards with food, so now I'm catching up on emails and realising there is a heck of a lot to get done before I'm off once again! I have a couple of gigs in the UK this month, then it's off to France next month!

Keep stamping...have you got the Xmas bug yet???