Friday, August 13, 2010


This is has been a summer of a lot of changes, crafting, hanging with my crafty friends, Mom having cancer surgery, me battling my own health issues, but most of all, totally revamping my training and retail area here at the Conquest Keepsakes Paper Studio HQ (aka, the other 1500 sq. ft. in our walkout not occupied by mowers and bathrooms). Most of my friends/family/business associates know I have had a travel store for the last three years, Conquest Keepsakes (so original, I know) and I sell primarily vintage/multimedia art and paper products and teach paper crafting classes. I also have been teaching basic papercrafting at both Hobby Lobby stores here in Springfield. But some changes were in order...

Sometimes you just have to make a choice to do one thing well instead of a lot of things OK. Thus my decision to focus on vintage mutlimedia projects, mini-albums, and vintage jewelry making, and expanding the training area. To that end we have added Ten Seconds Studio products so we can create metal works of art that fit with our vintage projects and jewelry. We are also working on adding a couple of more product lines to deepen what we have to offer in this niche. If you like SteamPunk, this could be for you! Such a hot product area right now, I saw quite a bit of it at CHA this summer.

Speaking about things made from metal, I'll be going down to Texas in October to take the TSS certification course, which I am sure will be a hoot as Cheryl and Megan are very entertaining and quite versatile in what they do. I KNOW I will come back enlightened! At least about metal...

As I've said, this summer I've decided to get REALLY serious about making some changes in my training/retail space here at HQ. I have the technology and the background, so why not use it? So for the past couple of months I have worked on totally clearing the finished walkout basement area (bye bye mancave, or at least relocated), rearranged the tables, spanked out the Sharp projector, set up the video camera and lit up the screen with artsy projects (instead of SciFi and Photoshop). Delightful! So now I can teach 12 to 14 victims, er, clients, at a time, utilizing the video cam to show everyone the techniques we are using and demo products. Now we've gone from 6 to 12, effectively doubling our training/crafting/cropping space. With this setup, I can even monitor my wireless IP Surveillance camera. :-) A girl's gotta know when FedEx and UPS hits the door! I could even do some Death by PowerPoint if I were so inclined (and believe me, I'm NOT).

It really does feel good to go back to my roots in technology, instructional design, graphic arts and marketing and using more of that to promote my crafting/artsy business. I taught graphic arts software for 20 years, so it has been nice to put all those art classes in college to work and teach something that doesn't involve the computer. Using your hands to create art and tell a story is so gratifying to me! I still love my Mac and graphic apps, but I am really excited about expanding more in this vintage direction by enlarging the training area, branching out into metal art and offering products that are out of the mainstream and harder to find! My love has always been teaching hands-on, and with all the wonderful products on the market now, there is plenty of room for everyone to be involved. It is my goal to teach techniques and products that are not currently offered by the big box stores, or even the local scrapbook stores. Like I said earlier, everyone can't do everything, so I have directed my efforts to fill in the gap between crafting and art, using found objects and items out of the mainstream. The full store is set up when I am not traveling, so it's a one stop learn and shop! You don't know what it is? We will show you! Then you can become addicted as I am. :-)

Along those lines, Conquest Keepsakes is holding an open house Crop & Craft August the 28th from 9a till the cows come home (your guess is as good as mine!), but we're shooting for 5-6p. We will be doing demos, make-n-takes, door prizes and other fun things to introduce the newly expanded and high-tech advanced classroom area, along with our expanded store offerings. We will have a new schedule up shortly now that summer is coming to an end; for local classes, road classes, club crops, and events (including Hobby Lobby classes too) for Fall and Winter. If you like Tim Holtz, Ranger, Ten Seconds Studio, Maya Road, Graphic 45, 7 Gypsies, Suze Weinberg, and everything else distressed and vintage, this is for you! We have a class schedule that will keep you hopping, so check back often! We've expanded into jewelry making and soldering, so we are sure to have something to interest most of you beyond scrapbooking!

We'll be posting pics of the new space within the next few days. There are still a few things that require assembly. I just LOVE directions that consist of pictures of what's in the box, and... nothing else. NOT!

We have some other "new" things coming, so don't be surprised when... or I could show you some sneak peaks of.. well, I'll tell you about it later!

Keep the faith! ~Vicki

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