Saturday, January 30, 2010

CHA SuperShow • Winter 2010

Due to the resounding success of its very first consumer show in Orlando this past summer, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) organized a second consumer show which preceded the trade show in Anaheim this month. Supported by manufacturers, local retailers, chain stores and even designers, the show is an opportunity to educate consumers about products and teach crafting techniques through Make-It Take-Its (MITIs) and demos. I taught two free workshops on the show floor for example: a Spirelli (string art embellishments) workshop and a Brushstroke workshop. There was a workshop every hour for both Friday and Saturday. There was lots of excitement on the show especially at the Cricut booth. Since the consumer show was before the trade show, it was the consumers who saw the Cricut Cake first and boy were they excited!!

It was busy everywhere, but for me the most exciting area was the KidZone. KS Productions, the company who has been bringing "Hands On Crafts for Kids" to PBS stations across the US for over 10 years, worked hand in hand with CHA and manufacturers to have MITIs for our youngest crafters. I spent all day Friday helping little ones make Monkey bookmarks. I can't put into words what a thrill it was to watch those tiny hands paint and glue, so here are some photos to share. There are no names, of course, but I did ask each parent for permission before taking these photos! If you are a manufacturer reading this, these will be your customers in the not too distant future, so please remember this when asked to support a childrens program of any kind.

Future Arts & Crafts Teacher! Tara Smith and Keri Cunningham from CHA

Boys and girls, moms and dads even grandparents had so much fun making ants, octopuses, bracelets, necklaces, bulletin boards, pencil toppers, frames, sand art, bookmarks and more. In this hi tech era of computers and hand held games, etc. let's not forget how much fun it is to craft!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hey Presto!

I'm home! Finally, after 6 days of non-stop creativity and inspiration. I haven't missed a CHA show in almost 20 years. Each year is different, but still wonderful. Here's a few notes on some of the new tools, etc then you'll see a gallery of photos from the show from a variety of booths just to give you a taste of what it was like to be there.

PRESTO PUNCH: This is a new tool from Spellbinders. It's an electric punch so all you have to do is press a button and out pops your cut and embossed shape! All you'll need in the future for small shapes is one "Presto" punch and the small dies instead of bunches of punches.

CRICUT CAKE: This really "takes the cake" to a new level. For those of you who decorate a lot of cakes, or have a store, you'll have to put this on your shopping list! I wonder if it will ever be used for a cake challenge on the Food Network.......hmmm - I'm still waiting for one (for our industry) that cuts felt and wood....

: These are two new products from Zutter/Bind it All. You can see from the photos that the Hang it Alls are a "hook and link" concept to join clipboard wood pieces together to make a wall hanging and the "Distrezz it All" will distress the edges of multiple pieces of paper for that cool, shabby chic/vintage look.

i-top, BUTTON /BRAD Maker: Imaginisce has developed a tool to make custom buttons and brads. I've used the Badge-A-Minit button maker for years (I love to make photo buttons for embellishments and refrigerator magnets) and have demo'd it on Scrapbook Memories, but this tool is so much easier to use. The tool is at the back of the Make It Take It table. Sorry the photo doesn't really show what it does.

ECLIPS: The Eclips is an electronic die cutting system from Sizzix. It is easy to use and non techies will love it! Check out for all the details on this and other fabulous new tools and there will be segments on how to use it on the new series of Scrapbook Memories which will start to air in late Spring.

LEVER PUNCHES: These have been around for years, so they're not new, but what is new is that McGill has them! It's worth mentioning since they have always had great punch designs and now they'll be easier to punch.

GCD STUDIOS & Melody Ross: The chatter here is all about the tools Melody has developed for adding texture through debossed images/patterns to chipboard. Add the small metal stamp to the basic tool then just hammer away for great effects.... There are wonderful designs to choose from, including alphabets and the packaging is to "die" for - the designs are packaged in tins like the ones you get when you buy jewelry from Brighton. Love those tins!

THE CINCH: Innovative as ever, We R Memory Keepers has come up with a tool to make book binding a "cinch". I wish I knew what happened to my photo :( but look for it at your local store and on HSN (the tool, not my photo.......)

XYRON Creatopia: I first saw a full page ad for this new machine in a fall issue of Martha Stewart Living and looked forward to seeing it in person. I'd describe as an All-In-One. Xyron has always had interchangeable cartridges for their original machine, but now the range of cartridges has widened dramatically. Not only are there different adhesive cartridges, including one for fabric, there's one that cuts and embosses using existing dies and embossing folders, one that cuts paper with and/without decorative edges, one that adds texture patterned borders and a cartridge with new rollers that will allow you to add adhesive to surfaces up to 1/2" thick.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but I'm going to go ahead and post what I have so far, then add to this later. I still have a whole bunch of photos of the show to post that will give you a taste of what it was like to be there, as well as photos of the Super Show, so check back soon!

Yours truly,
Julie :)


The following photos are in no particular order and taken throughout the show. There's a variety of booths, some of which I'm sure you'll recognize. Enjoy!

Have to say a little bit about the following photos. This is the Kaisercraft booth and it has become an annual tradition to stop by for a photo with Melissa Kennedy.

And finally a project from Tim Holtz featuring his new Sizzix dies
with its quote from Gwen Stefani.

There was SO much to see and I took lots more photos, but instead of posting them all here please check out Julie Fei Fan Balzer's blog at You'll also love her commentary. Julie is a regular guest host on the new series of Scrapbook Memories for the Artist to Artist segments. I just love her style and I know that you will too.

A few final words about trends: There were flowers everywhere made from paper, yarn, ribbon, fabric, felt, canvas, even newspaper and more Vintage than ever. Jewelry is popping up in what once were typically "scrapbook" company booths. Making Memories had a wonderful line of jewelry pieces for example. K&Co, which is now part of EK Success Brands had a really cool jewelry program a few years ago, so perhaps now would be a good time to bring it back.... There were also a lot of canvas surfaces to work on - not just bags, totes and wearables, but journals, pieces for wall art, etc. "Peace" signs, neon, Vintage buttons and Vintage bling, more glitter paper and adhesive sparkle for either wearables, or wall art. Speaking of wearables, you have to check out this photo. It was taken by Julie Fei Fan Balzer and I borrowed it from her blog. It's a dress made from newspaper that was in the "I Love to Create" booth, influenced, I'm sure, by a design from last season's "Project Runway". Reminds me of the old joke, "what's black and white and read all over"............ Wearable ART.

The industry is changing... mixed media now rules and it's a very fun Kingdom for our creative souls. So spread your wings and soar!!

Yours truly,
Julie :)