Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hello To All You Paper Crafters!

Welcome to our blog! I hope to share with you my love of Rubber Stamping and Paper Crafting. With all the excellent inks that have been developed over the past few years, Rubber Stamping has no limits to what surfaces it can be used on.

I must admit, I've had a dream since I was a young child; to put beautiful images on paper! As hard as I tried, I finally had to admit defeat! I can't draw a straight line to save my life! The pictures and images were in my head, but I couldn't put them to paper. (what ended up on paper was a far cry from what I wanted it to look like!) Then, in 1995 I discovered Rubber Stamps! My dream had come true! I could put a beautiful stamped image on paper and, using various techniques, I could make the final result my own! I was hooked! I used rubber stamp images in scrap books, journals and cards and progressed to stamping on furniture, walls, candles and glass to decorate our home. I was in heaven! But, then I found there was a down side to my wonderful was getting kind of pricey...(remember how we were going to save money by starting to make our own cards?) As well as being rather expensive, I had another problem! I was running out of room! I needed more room for my wood mounted stamps!
For about 4 years, every Christmas, Mother's Day & Birthday I had the same thing on my Wish List...another storage cabinet, tool chest or iris cart to store my wood mounted stamps in.

I was being overrun with my wood mounted babies....but you can never have too many rubber stamps, right?....on one of his frequent visits into my stamping studio in the basement, Gord asked if Rubber Stamps multiplied like seemed to him that every time he came in, there seemed to be more rubber stamps....Yet he said he didn't remember seeing me buy any more. How could this be? (Amazing how quickly I could get a rubber stamp through the cashier and bagged and into my purse, or stuck into other bags...he didn't even see it- lol ) I must stress I have the most supportive husband in the world! He spoils me rotten and even though he may complain that my hobby was slowly taking over the house, he is the one who offers to build me a stand, paper rack, or rack for ribbons, etc...He has come up with some wonderful designs for items that help me in the studio! From a drying rack for my 'wet' projects in progress to a wooden glue gun holder, complete with ceramic tile base! (and a smaller one just perfect for my Ranger 'Heat it' tool).

We moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta in 2000, when Gord retired. We built a house and he helped me plan a beautiful studio with lots of room for my hobby. But as my hobby expanded, I needed more carts and storage cabinets for my stamps. He kept asking how many stamps I had, but of course I told him I had no idea at all...

In 2002 I discovered something that changed my life forever!...In the USA, stampers were buying unmounted rubber stamps! and they cost 50% less than wood mounted stamps! (I could now buy twice as many for the same amount of $ :) But, (isn't there always a 'but'?) I found that they weren't available in Canadian stores! We (Canadians) had to order from the USA, pay high shipping, and in some cases, duty, then pay an extra $5.00 at the door to Canada Post for 'brokerage' charges!
I decided that something had to be done about that! So in 2002 Integrity Designs Rubber Stamps & Paper Crafts was born!
Our goal was to provide Canadian Stampers with the same affordable high quality unmounted rubber stamps and stamping products that were available to our friends south of the border!
I found several wonderful American stamp companies that made high quality, deeply etched stamps, that were also home-based and run by women! Perfect! Who better to promote than another woman?!

The rest is history as the old saying goes. We started selling unmounted stamps and inks to local and area stampers and scrap-bookers, then of course had to bring in some of the wonderful products that were constantly being made available. We then expanded and started bringing in the wonderful products that were almost impossible to find in Canada, and on and on it went..! We now carry imported Hand Made papers from Thailand, specialty Cardstock, EZ mount and acrylic mounts, storage systems, as well as embellishments, Metal & Gold Leaf and adhesives. We are happy to be able to offer inks from Clearsnap, Stewart Superior, Ranger & Tsukineko. Before I sell a product, I like to try it first. If I don't think it is a great product, I won't sell it. I broke my 'rule' once, and brought in a couple of mini butane heat tools for a few ladies who wanted them, without trying them myself first. I heard great reviews about them from a few people, so relied on them. It came back to 'bite me in the butt'! lol I won't get into the details now, but they didn't work as well as we had heard they would.

We also offer classes to our stamping friends and customers who live in the area, as well as schedule classes for 'out of town' stampers & paper crafters. This has worked out well, Just let us know when you'd like to come to Medicine Hat, and what class you're interested in, and we'll do our best to accommodate your schedule.
Through the years, I've met some wonderful artists who has inspired me to push myself to work with mediums that I was unfamiliar with, and I've enjoyed the challenges that brought. I hope that this blog will offer you some ideas that will get your creative juices going!
With that said, Welcome to my blog, I hope you visit often.
I also hope that I can establish a routine so I can add to it often and keep it updated! I will do my best!

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