Saturday 14 April 2012

Ally Pally spring 2012 here we come!!

No more sleeps!

Today we head up to Alexandra Palace for the great Big Stamping and Scrapbooking show. This year, as Lin from LB Crafts has retired we have her spot at the show, and she will be there with us as our chief it will be just like old times for both of us.

It's been many years since we exhibiting at Ally Pally, so we are really looking forward to it!

Hope to see you there either today or tomorrow!


Tuesday 10 April 2012

Version Scrap {2012} -EPIC

So much activity here the 2 weeks before the Version Scrap show in Paris which was the weekend before Easter. This is our 6th year attending this show - initially to teach, and for the last 3 years as exhibitors. We love a long weekend in Paris, and we had 8 staff working the stand with us this year to ensure the whole event ran smoothly. This year we stayed at a funky hotel near the Bastille, and the pics above show (kind of) are the dimensional tiles decorating the walls of the Bastille Metro station. 
Couldn't get enough of these flowers at the show - I bought a whole bag full, and a great prices too! Version Scrap has very long show hours (9am-7pm) for 3 days, and the day before the show opens (build up day) in the evening the stands have to be ready to open for a VIP-entry session from 6.30-9.30pm. I have yet to figure out how to get VIP tickets to give away - every year we ask, and every year we get nada, but we still sell loads of stock on the night! So someone must be giving them away!  We had the lovely Donna Downey demo on our stand - a real crowd pleaser!
From L-R: Donna Downey (talented designer and hilarious demonstrator, and very good at sharing her teaching space - another story!), Dounia (translator, and PHD student in Archaelogical Chemistry - brainiest on the stand!), Sally (aka StampSally - translator and long-time customer and all round crazy Brit living in France), Leandra & Lin.
 Crowds gathering as word spread Donna is getting out her Pan Pastels on the PaperArtsy Stand.
And before you know it we are mobbed - lady in the pink top is Madeleine, our make and take co-ordinator who does a mighty fine job of teaching the ladies with our newest products and ideas.
So here is the stand almost ready at the end of an 11 hour build up from 7am on only 3 hrs sleep the night before. Behind Paul is the demo desk area, and that is the half-way point of the stand, the orange carpet is all our space. And below, an already tired Lin waiting for the VIP onslaught to commence for 3 hrs of demoing - this is an EPIC way to start a show!!
As well as exhibiting, Leandra taught 2 different three hour classes (a students' projects below left, and the other picture to the right is ready for the layout items to be dropped on top of the background). We offer a constantly changing Make and Takes programme on the stand with a different project every 2 is Paul (from Go Create) above right with queues of ladies waiting to do his session, and sporting a t-shirt that is somewhat borderline attire for a French show! Cheeky chappie.
Madeleine runs the make and take for the whole show with help from Paul and Dounia. Audrey, as well as helping Mark on the till, took sign ups for Make and Take, and was our chief shop-lifter spotter - she accosted and then made them pay, and then handed them over to security. We were all impressed, as she was physically the smallest on the stand!
This lovely lady came all the way from Italy to the show, and is a big PaperArtsy fan. Look closely at her arms!! She went to a crop, and the mother of the lady running the crop made removable 'sleeves' for all the participants to wear. They are so comfortable, and a brilliant way to not get paint all over yourself when creating!! I *need* a pair!

Mark always manages to sneak off next door to the farmers' market to partake in a typical French lunch. In this case, roti chicken stuffed with seasonal stuffing, fresh salad, and amazing gratin potatoes. Plus the obligatory vino. He was most amused by the rabbit dissection. With eyes intact. Quite unnerving. And he always buys loads of jams to last us the year ahead.
And a trip to France isn't complete without a spot of flambe! Lin and I both scoffed this dessert on Sunday night. Kirsch-tastic.
One can only say the NEC and other exhibition venues in the UK have a LOT to learn regarding food options for lunch. Who could say no to a sit down plate of stunning food with beer or wine! How civilised! And right up my alley!
So the fave booth of the show for Lin and I went to 'Scrapbuttons' Funny thing was, as we were oohing and ahhing over their booth, they arrived back with a PaperArtsy shopping bag having just reciprocated on our stand ... I know @ladybugNina will love the mustache - that picie is just for her! and we are loving the multi-layer badge idea!! @Mr_PaperArtsy is already testing that idea out on his badges! Baskets of badges in Fabric, paper, and so much more. Awesome!
And the next favourite had all these findings - a lot of the same stuff as beadtime, but more filigree and cabochon stuff, clock faces, cameos .... and some wicked printed fau leather ephemera items....and the dolls....i don't get the dolls...but they were on this stand too....what do you do with them????
Because I worked out a schedule to ensure we all got lunch this year, Lin and I were much more focused on shopping in Paris this year! Craft shopping. Usually when we go to shows we are not that bothered about buying loads of stuff, but this year, there seemed to be lots of new products that we just had to fabric, flowers, wood buttons, vintage printed felt, printed tiles.... and the most amazing artwork on the stands too.
We both forgot to get back to the lady who does plaster castings of really cool vintage stuff. *Slaps forehead* (pics above and below) she was our favorite stand last year....
They certainly have a knack of displaying stuff beautifully on their stands. Above right is a washi tape piece of art, and above left could be right out of a Cath Kidston shop! We both hammered the washi tape stand.....OMG you should have seen the designs...even a London Underground map roll of washi tape.... no I didn't buy that as it was uber expensive, and i had no idea how i would use it - well i had no time to THINK about how i MIGHT use it.....
This year they had a massive exhibition of 1metre x 1 metre scrap pages! Here is Lin next to one just to prove they really are that big!

Back to shopping....this display is from a hardware store hidden in Paris that Sally showed us on Monday, and to the right is a display of gift bags/boxes in a store that is a bit like HobbyCrafts only nicer. Why can't they do that here?

Eggs. chocolate. errr YES!!

...amazing chocolate displays..... these should have seen the look on the kids faces...thought i was giving them hard boiled eggs this weekend....but of course inside is amazing layers of chocolate, ganache and mmmmmmm delish......

Oh, and despite having a very tiring, but fantastic time in Paris, we did have our little drama 2 hrs before leaving the UK! In true Franich style Hugo broke his arm at school (well another child broke Hugo's arm - not intentionally of course) requiring Mr PA to take him to A&E for X-ray etc just as we were about to leave....well as we were running a bit behind it did give me a couple of hours extra to pack more last minute things....but we did forget the make and take desk...we managed to improvise at the show....He' still hurting quite a lot, but the chocolate eggs provided a good distraction....

Well as it is only 3 sleeps till Ally Pally build up I need to shake a leg and get ready. A big delivery just arrived with more new goodies just released from CHA, so do drop by to see us at The big Stamping and Scrapbooking Show, Alexandra palace, London, Sat/ Sunday this coming weekend. We are stand 46 - the spot that LB Crafts used to have is now the PaperArtsy spot!!

See you there!