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Classes, Make ‘n Takes, Swaps, and Shopping at the 2023 Edison, NJ Stamp and Scrapbook Expo

Oh Stamp and Scrapbook Expo... where do I even start?! It has been years since I attended an in-person craft event (since before Covid). Not that there haven't been any, but the SSBE is really the only one close enough to me, and I didn't go last year because I was having a difficult pregnancy where I was sick all the time. Otherwise, the crafty events I've attended have all been virtual the past few years. It was great to just get out of the house without any restrictions like a newborn to care for!

To start off, I signed up for 4 classes - ALL Rubbernecker just because they had the most technique-driven classes where you got the most bang for your buck. I attended the following classes:

  • Ultra White Felt Paper with Color Fuse

  • Winter Wonderland

  • Faux Watercolor with Color Fuse

  • Floral Stencil Cards

With the 4 classes, I received two free gifts, a shopping bag, access to the show floor both Friday and Saturday, as well as a button keepsake. If you're familiar with the Expo buttons, you know that you get a button for taking a class, for returning to the Expo, for doing make 'n takes, for shopping, among other things! Those were the 4 buttons I collected, so I was able to earn the "I Conquered" medallion lanyard as a keepsake. I've gotten them every year since they started with them except for any Expos I did not attend.

In addition to the SSBE buttons and keepsake lanyard, my friend Allison put me in charge this year of the Expo Fan Pin Swap. I made lanyards and name tags for everyone, and we all created a unique pin to share with 7 other people. It's supposed to mimic the collection of buttons at the Expo and the occasional swapping of buttons that occurs, although I didn't swap any this year. The pin swap was definitely a fun experience and a great way to enjoy other people's crafts!

I also did a few make 'n takes on the show floor, most of which cost $5 each. One was CTMH cards and although the cards were cute, the quality of the products provided weren't great. The images were poorly stamped and some didn't match the picture provided or the example card. Not worth the $5 in my opinion. Another one was at Chalk Couture which I thought was cute! It was a kitchen "paddle" and you got to pick which stencil you wanted to use so I did the pizza one so I could display it in my kitchen! I also stopped at a booth to get a Simple Stories card kit. It was a $15 value for only $5 which was nice. There were other make 'n takes but nothing that really interested me or that I hadn't done previously.

I also did a little shopping - nothing too crazy! I maybe spent $100-$150. Of course I got something from Rubbernecker because I got a 10% discount from taking their classes and their products are super cute! Such a fun booth because they had so many sample cards displayed! I also picked up another stamp and die set from a random booth which reminded me of my daughter, Stella, because of the stars 🥰 I picked up some adhesives at Bee Creative to take advantage of their Buy 3 Get One Free deal. I stopped by "The Ton" booth to pick up some embellishments. Lastly, I picked up some scrapbook paper kits in hopes to scrapbook my new daughter's many photos that we've printed!

As for the classes, they were all great and such a good value. They each came with supplies to make 3 cards, instruction, and stamps/dies/stencils to keep and take home. They didn't really present any new techniques I didn't already know or use regularly, but it was fun just to create the cards and get some new crafty goodies along with them. My only complaint would be that the instructions were not printed for us. We had to view them on our phones, so I often got behind because my phone would close and lock and I'd have to reopen it a ton of times. They did give us QR codes that made it easy to access the instructions online and print the PDFs once we got home.

Overall, I did feel like the expo cut some corners this year to reduce costs to them, which is understandable. The "guide" wasn't really a guide. It was two pages and just had a map and list of make 'n takes. You had to view the actual class schedule online. Also, there weren't any giveaways in the classes that I took. Though the classes came with substantial products, they were pricey averaging $50 each. There were a lot less vendor booths and a lot of big names were missing like Queen and Company, Heartfelt Creations, Art Impressions, The Stamps of Life, Craft Fancy, Craft Fantastic, etc. It was good to still see Keep It Simple, Krazy Kreations, Rubbernecker, Bee Creative, and Stamplistic. Food was lacking. There was only one food vendor which was pretty generic. In the past they've had empanadas. I did appreciate that the classes were in actual rooms and not separated by curtains in a large room.

The first class that I took was Rubbernecker's Winter Wonderland. I really only signed up for it because the cards were cute, and I wanted to start some Christmas cards! It didn't really include any techniques or anything new to me. It included flower shaping which I'm familiar with because I have Heartfelt Creations products, so I actually brought my flower shaping kit to use in class although it was not required since they supply you with everything you need. With the class, we got a stamp set and a set of deer dies. Everything was already die cut for us and even one sentiment was preprinted onto the white paper (which is awesome because like I mentioned earlier, not everyone's stamping is up to par...). In class, I had time to shape the flower and leaves, put together the basic structure of the cards and then saved the stamping for when I got home. I also adhered the cards to my own card bases as I like to use Neenah 110# cardstock for my card bases.

The second class I took was Floral Stencil Cards. Again, stenciling and ink blending is not new to me. In fact, it's my favorite technique right now! So of course I jumped on this class as soon as I saw it. I even brought my own blending brushes to use but I ended up just using theirs since they were already inked up using their color fuse inks and mine have CP inks on them. The concept was simple. Each stamp set had a coordinating stencil. You used the stencil to ink blend different parts of the flower with different shades of one color. Sometimes there was a different ink pad to use, and sometimes we used the same ink but applied it more heavily to make it look like we used another shade of that color. We did some minor die cutting of our own. Everything else was precut for us. Even one flower image was precolored (preprinted again), but I would have been fine with it just being diecut for me to color in myself. I guess they wanted to make it possible to actually finish the cards in class but I always take my time and wait to finish them at home anyway.

The 3rd class I took was Faux Watercolor with Color Fuse. This class was meant to focus on their color fuse inks and using them for watercoloring. I'm not new to using inks as watercolors. I've done it with my CP inks, Lawn Fawn inks, and distress inks just to name a few. However, this class presented faux watercoloring using a stamp set to make it look like it was water colored more than it was. The concept involved multi step stamping and inking up each part of an image with the color fuse inks then spraying them with water and applying them to a stamped image on watercolor paper. The way each stamp was designed was to give a watercolor look once stamped and by using water with the ink, it was one way to actually watercolor. I finished the stamping and watercoloring in class, but put together the cards at home. We got 3 stamp sets with this class which was pretty substantial.

The last class I attended was Ultra White Felt Paper with Color Fuse. I attended a rubbernecker class years ago and was introduced to their felt paper then, so I already had some at home. Back then, they had red rubber stamp sets that came with two stamps: one outline stamp and one to fill in with color. We used color sparx back then with water, similar to the technique used for the 3rd class I took. For this class, we focused on how the inks could be used for water coloring, so we just pressed the ink onto the Misti (a slick surface) and used a paintbrush with water to apply the ink to the stamped image on the felt paper. We were told the difference between felt paper and watercolor paper is that felt paper quickly absorbs the color when applied to it and watercolor paper allows the watercolor to spread out. This wasn't really my favorite way to use this paper - I much preferred using it with to faux watercolor but it was neat to learn a new way to use the paper. It was pretty difficult to stamp the images onto the paper. I think because they were clear stamps and not red rubber so they didn't have any cushion and the paper was textured. I had to stamp the outline images at least 7 times to get a good impression which is why it's great that a MISTI exists! I even messed up a few images from pressing too hard and getting excess ink onto the paper. For this reason, I only completed one card panel in class and finished the rest at home with my own CP dye inks. We got 3 stamp sets with this class as well to keep and take home which again made the cost of the class worthwhile.

All of the cards came with envelopes. Everything needed was supplied and Rubbernecker was very organized with their supplies. I ended up having a large number of excess ziplock baggies from how much they used to separate things but that's fine by me because I reuse them! I will definitely be taking lots of Rubbernecker classes in the future. In fact, they offered more at the expo but I was at my limit with spending $200 on 4 classes.

Overall, I had a great time at the expo and definitely plan to go again next year. I hope as things start getting back to normal that the expo will improve again with time, but it's still a great event and the best local one to me.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy crafting :)


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Pam Watson

Hi, I'm Pam, and welcome to my Blog where I share all of my crafty adventures!



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