Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stamp Camp rundown

Warning - this is a long one. You might want to grab a cuppa!

I had the most amazing weekend at Stamp Camp. It was so worth all the time and effort and preparation. Myself and 33 team members and their guests all spent from 1pm Friday to 4pm Sunday stamping and scrapping to our heart's content. The whole weekend was an absolute delight. We had the loveliest bunch of people, all so generous and sharing of ideas and creativity.
I drove up with my stamping bestie, Teneale. I always feel like Thelma and Louise when we hop into her cute little car (that she insists isn't little) and hit the freeway. It was a big relief that everything fit in there (only because she took out the back seat!). I had all my punches, inks and ribbons, my Big Shot and dies and almost all my stamps....LOTS of stuff!
The Hunter Valley Retreat is the perfect stamping location...kangaroos grazing in the lovely leafy grounds, a giant hall to stamp in and a Dining Room with a fireplace and lounges to relax in.
The hall was set up for us when we arrived, so we just unpacked the stamping gear, and then grabbed a cuppa and sat in the sun, greeting people as they arrived...not a typical Friday afternoon for me, that's for sure!
This is what everyone received when they arrived, along with their room key and nametag:
Their first Challenge - a Mystery Box! All the MasterChef watchers out there will recognise the symbol (which I got from the Masterchef website and printed onto brown paper bags). On the weekend we were going to find out who was going to be crowned out Top MasterCrafter. I thought it would be a fun (and timely) theme to base the challenges around :o)

In the bag was some cardstock (Soft Suede, Kraft, Pink Pirouette, Regal Rose, Very Vanilla), some ribbon and a Sweet Treat Cup. They could use all of it, or just some. They had until 11am Saturday to finish the Mystery Box challenge.

We also had 10 Shoebox swaps - 10 boxes each containing a card and all the supplies needed to make it. You could grab a box, take it to your table, make the card and then swap the box for another one when you were done. Each card was made using stamps from the new catalogue... I loaned my Convention award sets out to 10 lovely team members to have a play with. They are all so clever, and the cards were all fabulous. It was great to be able to be productive, and not have to think!

We had a yummy Gourmet BBQ dinner on Friday night - marinated chicken, steak, salads, potato bake, caramelised onions...yummo! The best bit was that we didn't have to cook OR wash up!

We all stamped until the wee hours on Friday night, and woke up to kookaburras, a yummy breakfast and a pressie on our tables, left by the Stamping Fairy:That stamping fairy sure is clever, finding classy black-capped water bottles, and dressing them up in their own little Stampin' Up! aprons...and how did she know we would all need chocolate and a sugar hit after our late night? ;o)

We voted for the Mystery Box winner at 11am, and the winner was Kari, with an amazing card that had a Sweet Treat Cup filled with teeny tiny handmade cupcakes made using the Boho Blossom punch. Kari very kindly gave us all an impromptu lesson on how she made them on Sunday. As the winner, Kari got to choose the Sketch that everyone had to work with for the Invention Test. For this challenge, they had to use the Sketch along with 1 stamp set, 2 punches and 3 colours from the "pantry". The challenge closed at 6:30 before dinner.

Lunch on Saturday was gourmet open sandwiches. Honestly, these were the best sandwiches I've ever had. The chicken and avocado on pumpkin bread was my favourite. Yum!

We had 4 Presentations throughout the day on Saturday. Nikki wowed us all with the Black Magic technique, then Kerry made us all long for the Ornament Punch. Liam showed us her amazing Waterfall Backpack, and Robyn demonstrated some gorgeous Traditional pop-up cards. Clever, clever, clever! I had to masquerade as Juliette, who was stuck in hospital with a broken ankle :o( and demonstrate her gorgeous Top Note purse.

Our dinner on Saturday night was a Christmas in July theme. I set an extra Challenge to bring something Christmassy along to the dinner, so we had a table full of gorgeous cards, tags, decorations and gift ideas. We had a yummy Roast Pork dinner with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pud, custard and ice cream.

In between dinner and dessert, it was the perfect opportunity to play some Stampin' Trivia. I had them stumped on some of the questions! Just when I was about to let everyone go back to the Hall, Joelle surprised (and embarrassed!) me by saying a big thank you on behalf of everyone and presenting me with a sash (complete with handmade rhinestone pin) and tiara. On the sash was written in sparkly silver glitter "Best Demonstrator in the Universe". Isn't she so sweet?! (if a little prone to exaggeration!!) And then, as if I wasn't embarrassed enough, they MADE me sashay up and down wearing my sash and tiara. You all know how much I love the limelight...NOT. Very red-faced, I was!

When we were all back in the hall, we voted on the Invention Test entries. The Top 2 would face off in a Pressure Test against a Celebrity Crafter! It was a close contest, but our Top 2 were Kari and Amanda. They had to immediately come up the front for the Pressure Test. Their Challenge was to recreate Teneale's gorgeous Convention 25 minutes. Quite a challenge, since one of them had never even embossed before! Add to that my impersonations of George, counting down the minutes (on a clock drawn on the Whiteboard) bouncing on my toes, yelling "Come on! Get something on the plate!" and it was heaps of fun. They both managed to do a really good job - in the allotted time too. I put their cards up on the stage, one marked "Blue" and one "Red" with Teneale's perfect one in the middle, and we went up and put a blue or red punched circle in the voting box.

To draw out the suspense, I did all the thankyous next, for the Presentations and Shoebox Swaps. They all got a voucher to use on New Catalogue goodies. Everyone who did a Christmas Challenge entry also got a cute little box filled with a chockie and some bits and bobs. Then I awarded the Mystery Box and Invention Test Prizes, and finally announced the Top MasterCrafter.....Amanda! Amanda was crowned, and given a Certificate and a voucher to spend on some new goodies, and she will also get a Guest Appearance on my stay tuned for that!

After all that excitement, another late night followed. On Sunday morning the very busy Stamping Fairy had been again (where does she find the time??). These were on our tables:

She even made an escape hatch for the lollies:Sunday was a much more mellow day, spent finishing off projects, and with people leaving as they needed to. We had a farewell Morning tea. We had all brought along slices and cakes for the weekend and there were tons still left, so we had a feast on Sunday. It was Robyn's suggestion to do this, but little did I realise, she had an ulterior motive. While we were all chatting over a cuppa, Robyn presented me with a box of thank you cards made by everyone there, and what she said was a "small" gift. I opened it to my Ipod nano!! How sneaky are they??? I was just gobsmacked (and a blubbering mess). I'm sitting here listening to my hot pink Ipod right now :o)

So, if you've made it this far, you can see why I said it was an amazing weekend. I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep, and they're already asking me when the next one is!


  1. OMG!!! Marelle that sounds like one SUPER weekend! Thanks for sharing it with us:)

    Oh and you so deserve your not pink Ipod! Now you can sing while you create!!! lol


  2. oh and that was HOT PINK!!! I so need another cofffee! lol


  3. What a fun and eventful weekend. I will make it next time I promise. No bushwalking for the 8 weeks before hand!!! I am so proud of my Mastercrafter Amanda - she is so good.

  4. It was an absolutely fabulous weekend! Made extra special by the very lovely Marelle, but with a sad note for a lot of us, as our dear friend Juliette could not be with us. Thank-you Marelle (and stamping fairy) for a fun and wonderful weekend...put me down for the next one! xx

  5. Sounds like an amazing weekend Marelle! :)
    Lisa Martin

  6. Your weekend sounds fantastic. I need something like that to go on. How lucky your girls were to share your new stamps, I'm jealous. Love your blog, Marls

  7. What a great run down of the weekend. Glad you are using the hot pink ipod - at least you know how to use it lol
    kove Rob

  8. Kathryn Brennan29/7/10 7:42 pm

    That sounds like so much fun, Marelle. I can't think of many jobs that would involve such enjoyable team-building exercises.

  9. Wow! Marelle, your ideas are amazing. Your ladies are very lucky to have you as their source of inspiration.

    Elli :-)

  10. Congratulations, Marelle, on a superb event. I have thoroughly enJOYed reading your post and feel a little envious of the magic you all shared. :)

  11. Yes, it was FANTASTIC FUN and when is the next one anyway???????? Thanks for all your hard work "boss"!

  12. Marelle, Marelle, Marelle!!!

    What a weekend....

    I have never laughed so much in my life and hands down the best stamp camp ever... I will never forget Friday night with our house work dancing or our "sleep" time giggles….. Too much fun!

    I stand by thye fact NRMA don't classify my car as a small car! {lol}..... its huge :0)

    You did a great job and thanks for all the hard work :0)

  13. Sounds awesome fantastic to be able to get together and share all that fun and experiment with new stamp sets :) What a great thing it is to be a SU demonstrator.
    Michelle O

  14. Wow! Marelle, it sounds like a once in a life time experience, I loved reading all about it and thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful activities you got up to. I agree with Karen, you certainly deserved that gorgeous hot pink Ipod, I hope you're enjoying it. Inky hugs from Charmaine :-)



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