It has taken a while to get this post up. My wife, Kim and I went to the 2011 Stampin’ Up Convention in sunny Melbourne a couple weeks ago. I didn’t really know what to expect aside from a lot of women and plenty of card and scrapbook crafting. I also had a suspicion that I would be in the vast minority being a man in a female dominated pursuit, and I was right about that.
Our first day was rather huge. We got to the convention centre a little early, but we weren’t the first there. As we approached the check-in area all I could see were women. It was a massive crowd and they were all swapping their cards with each other. We both took a moment to get settled (taking off the layers of clothing required when venturing out into sunny Melbourne), and then we got our swaps out.
Kim and I had done 50 swaps each and we also had 40 odd swaps from our friend Sharnee who couldn’t make it till later in the day. We proceeded to head into the crowd to swap our cards, I was more of a bag holder as Kim took point. Most people were shocked that I was there for more than just holding the bags. There were at least a few women who asked me if I had a brother as their husbands would never come along to a convention with them.
We went from one side of the crowd to the other then back again, by which time we had nearly run out of swaps. We held onto 2 so we could put them in the swap box so they could be displayed on the boards. Once we were done swapping we lined up to check in. The lines were very long and it seemed to take forever to get anywhere. I could see that everyone was getting a bright orange bag which didn’t look very manly at all. I was hoping that there would be another option available for men but my hopes were dashed. There were three men in the crowd and we all got the very feminine orange bag (needless to say my bag stayed in our accommodation for the duration of the convention).
Once we checked in we headed upstairs to line up again. This line was to get into memento hall. This was again a massive line and it took a very long time to get in to the hall. Once we did get in there we found some nice things to buy and I then told Kim to go find a seat while I paid for it all. Sure enough as soon as Kim left the room the line for the checkout started moving at full pace, I didn’t have a long wait at all. I think I impressed who ever served me when I was able to recite my wife’s demonstrator number from memory.
When I came out I found Kim talking to a very nice lady who happened to be a mid wife. If you don’t already know Kim and I are expecting our first child in September. The standing in line most of the morning had worn her out a bit so we sat down and chatted while we went through all our swaps. There were some very good cards in there as well as some great ideas.
While we had been lined up for memento hall we had seen Shelli Gardner posing for photographs with who ever wanted to. It was nearly lunch time and the crowd had reduced quite a lot so we lined up to meet Shelli and get our picture taken with her. She said she had seen me in the line, which wasn’t hard as I towered above most of the women there, not to mention I was 1 of 3 men. But it was nice that she had noticed.
After a nice lunch over at the Crown we had our first general session. The stage was done up really well and was a wonderful backdrop for the general sessions . There were some absolutely amazing ideas shared on stage on all the days of the convention, but the first day and the first demonstration certainly set the scene for what was to come.
That night we also went to my cousin’s house for dinner. That was a wonderful meal to finish off a fantastic first day. But that wasn’t the end of it. Later that night I felt the baby kick for the first time. 🙂 He or She must be a stamper in the making. 🙂
The next day started with a great general session. Shelli started it all off and was showing us some wonderful things. Towards the end of her demonstration she got rather embarrassed when talking about tweezers and forests which got the crowd laughing as they were thinking of something else entirely.
After Shelli there were two workshop wows, the second of which was to be done by my good friend Sharnee Torrents. She did a fantastic job up on stage. Both my wife and I were mesmerized and nearly forgot to take any photos.
After the general session and some lunch we had our make-n-takes to do. It was good to finally get some stamps and ink put together. As we finished Kim and I signed the anniversary cake that was sitting in the room. I had to have some fun with it and signed “Man stampers unite!”.
Near the end of the day we had some time to go around the swap boards and have a look without too many people around. There were a lot of fantastic cards up there and some amazing ideas. It would have take forever to go around and photograph ever single card. I started to taking photo after photo but decided that the best thing to do was to find the cards that stood out to me and photograph them only. I did take a few shots of the boards as a whole which I can zoom in on at a later stage, but there were so many I’m sure I’ve missed some great cards.
These two cards were our swaps for the convention. Kim put a wonderful faux suede card together which I think might have been the only card on the boards of its type. And I came up with the rather monochromatic card. All I know is my card paled into insignificance compared to many of the other cards on the boards and those that we got via swaps. There is a lot of talent out there which means we all have to try and improve to keep up. I know that my card ideas have slightly improved since the convention as I am trying to incorporate all the different techniques I saw while there. That doesn’t mean the cards I’ve put together have all worked, but with each card I learn something which helps me improve.
To finish the convention off there was a massive dinner and presentation. I was lucky enough to accompany my lovely wife to the dinner and sit with a wonderful group of women. We both had a fantastic time and I felt it was a shame that the convention had to end there. It would have been great if the convention could keep on going for another week. 🙂 Well maybe no that long, but you get the idea. It was also nice that I got a little smile from Shelli who was sitting only a couple tables away.
If you ask my wife I was also picked up at the dinner as I was stolen away to have my brain picked over what makes a manly card. Even now I’m getting ribbed for that, lucky I can take it.
To top the evening off we Kim and I had our photo taken in front of the stampin’ up sign outside the dining room. Then we got in on another photo of all the Tasmanian’s at the convention, there wasn’t a lot of us.
At the end of dinner we all made our way into the auditorium for the presentations. There were a lot of awards to be handed out and it seemed like there was a never ending stream of people on stage. But for us the most important person up there that night was Sharnee. Luckily for her she had her very own paparazzi as her sister Sarah is a professional photographer and I don’t mind taking a photo of five hundred. Each time she went up on stage both of us got up and split to different locations to photograph Sharnee on stage. I think she felt a little special after that.
So that is my wrap up of the convention. If we are lucky we might get back to another convention sometime but we don’t think it will be next year as bub will take priority. It was certainly a great experience and we both came away with some wonderful ideas but more importantly we met some wonderful people.
I know this was a long post so congratulations to you if you made it to the end! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂 Here are a couple more photos I took of the convention centre that I quite like.