Friday, February 3, 2012

The fourth and final day of the 2012 show is now over. It's been a wonderful experience and I can see why people keep coming back. The Americans have a lovely, warm, hospitable culture and we have been made to feel so welcome.

First up, I wanted to make it my mission to find out about Smash Books - and they got me excited. After seeing them at the EK Booth, I then started seeing them everywhere! They are basically a journal with an embossed kraft cover and a coloured fabric spine. The inner pages are a mixture of plain, kraft, grid and designs. The idea is that you SMASH your ideas, notes, journals and bits and pieces into this book as a memento of a particular event. I might do a smash book of this trip. There are smash bits and pieces that you can purchase to help you – pockets, washi tape, tag stickers etc. We will try to get our hands on the range for you as soon as possible. There is a great You Tube clip that shows you how to use them.

Today I started out at the Penny Black Booth. They are industry favourites and have been around for a long time. They have met the demands of business by creating clear and cling stamps for their customers – although I’m still a favourite of wooden ones! They have a new range of whimsical people stamps too and I love their male themed range. Penny Black have a Board Programme where they come up with a great selection of stamps and paper that create a lovely set of cards. They included instructions and I think these would be well received in NZ.

American Crafts are a large organisation and they also have Crate Paper and Studio Calico under their umbrella. In these mergers, the old owner still works doing the designing and the brand remains the same, but the business, manufacturing and marketing side of things gets taken over by American Crafts. They also put out their own huge range of albums, glitter papers, thickers, ribbon, brads and other embellies. They have also released 6 new lines – Daydreams, Garden CafĂ©, Chap, Fresh Squeezed, Dear Lizzie Neopolitan, Gardenia and Amy Tangerine. I loved this last line – it appeals to those who are joining in with the huge smash book craze over here and really appeals to a younger unsophisticated audience. It’s FUN!

Pebbles products are also fun and their new ranges were Floral Lane, With Love, Country Picnic, Hip Hip Hooray, and Fresh Goods. They have also released a new baby range called New Additions and I loved their cute fabric puffed embellies. They reminded me of an pin cushion! Their products samples were delightful and they have also released a range of chalks.

Crate Paper has also produced some really stylish lines – Paper Heart, Pretty Pantry, Story Teller and Random. We’ve got Random arriving instore next week. They produce a range of papers, chipboard, stickers and embellies. Their collections usually consist of a theme interspersed with floral patterns.

Studio Calico are well known for their Mister Huey range of mists. They have a variety of opaque mists and some with a clear colour with shine. Their white mist is particularly great for use on coloured surfaces. They also have a fabulous range of small wooden flourish shapes and I’m really excited about getting these in store (little cameras, stars, birds etc.). Studio Calico’s new ranges are Classic Collection Volume Two, Take Note and Abroad. I LOVE the new abroad range and we’ll be stocking this one for sure. They have also released 4 journal books with an embossed cover in a variety of sizes. You can buy their Fab Rips which are fabric rip strips with adhesive on the back of them to create the spine. Clever! This is their version of the SMASH BOOK craze. The fab strips can be also used to make rosettes and pleated ribbons etc.

Lindy’s Stamp Gang were not known to me – but they have a delicious range of products which caught my attention. Their glimmer sprays are FULL of rich colour and glimmer – some of them have 2 and 3 tones in them giving moon shadow effects. They also have 2-tone embossing powders and my favourite was Magical Micas. It’s a powdery substance which you put on your paint pallet and then mix with your H20 pen. Then you can paint the colour onto flowers and anything else that you would like to have some colour and sparkle. The depth of the colour really is impressive with this product.

The Sizzix Stand was a large one and had loads of activity going on. At each stall I always asked for a sales rep to show me the ranges and collections – just so I didn’t miss out on anything! There were a couple of new innovations that were interesting. There was the usual array of new embossing folders – some fun ones with sewing elements, clocks, prints and buttons, along with all of Tim Holtz wonderful lines.

Most interesting was the Pop &Cuts innovation. It’s a big thick Sizzix die with a large square hole and metallic plate bottom. This is for the shaped dies to fit inside it to create cards which pop out at you when you open them up. The mechanism is clever and you can buy different dies with different designs. I watched the lady demoing this product and I really liked the concept. I just don’t like the price! It will be $100 to get the first plate with the first die. Thereafter the die is $39.90. Fortunately the first design is the very popular Labels One style (Spellbinders) and will have wide appeal. I may have to give in myself and get a set of these!

Sizzix have also developed their Fun and Frame line which are matching cut and stamp sets. These sorts of sets are becoming very popular and I liked their fun designs. They have also teamed up with Hero Arts to product and Stamp and Emboss set and a stamp and cut set. They have teamed with Basic Grey for a matching line as well. Their new Happy line is a lot of fun – with dies for the scotty dog, and owl, bird, fence and more.

I was excited about the Sweet Treats range as well. These dies are BIG – but they are designed to create fun party favours and boxes etc. One of the dies even cuts a cake stand!

ColorBox is a long player in the craft industry and I thought that they had gone quiet of late – but they have teamed up with Heidi Grace and produced some beautiful lines. She was one of early favourites in the scrapbooking world and she’s expanded her range to paper pad and matching embellies. Her new ranges are Antique Papier, Victorian Parlour and DayDream, Tweet, Wild Indigo and Sweet Clementine. I was really excited to see her Project Template Packs. There are 4 different packs (Albums, boxes, garland and celebrate) and there are approximately 10 template designs. In each.

Art Institute Glitter was being used by lots of other companies to help sell their projects. Their glitter is really unique and I like it a lot. As well as usual art glitter, they sell microfine, vintage glass range, dazzlers (like chunk shapes) and fantasy fibre.

Anna Griffin's designs were beautiful. It's odd that we don't see much of her stuff in NZ anymore - but her work is lovely and very popular in America. We might have to see about getting more of her goods in stock.

Cheery Lyn Designs are an Artfull Crafts favourite. It was nice to catch up with Mike again after meeting him first in Auckland last year. These guys create high quality dies and I know that our Timaru ladies love them! They are doing a Design Team callout in March for any of you who are interested. They have also produced MASSIVE dies. We’ll it’s not quite the truth. They are producing a normal set of dies – but they are more like the corner of a frame. Then you move the die around the 4 corners to get the BIG overall effect. I’m not sure if that makes sense - but the photo should say it all. You’re only limited by the size of your cutting plate.

Magnolia Minis was probably one of the most exciting stalls I came across. We like Magnolia Stamps and will be stocking them in the shop – but the minis are going to be top of our list. I’ve never seen anything so cute as these sweet designs. 

Hero Arts are another great stamping company who have teamed up with Sizzix and Basic Grey to produce stamp and cut sets. They are seeing a trend towards vintage style background stamps and their cupcakes are always popular! I really liked their new concept called "Add your Message". They are basically a coloured printed card set with a space for you to use the stamps provided to fill in the message. It’s a good introduction to card making for time-poor people. The new “Art of the Card” line is also gorgeous. I loved the untitled keys and postmark stamps.

Clearsnap are the manufacturers for Smooch – one of our favourite products for adding rich colour to your projects. They have just produced Smooch Glitz for this show – same concept but with glitter accents. They have also devised scented embossing powders – just the 3 flavours at the moment – but I think the concept is super fun!! They also produce some Mixed Media inks and embossing powders for Donna Salaza.

Reminisce is a company who sticks to a simple formula of great travel papers and stickers. The ranges are excellent and we think you will like their product very much – especially those who have done lots of travelling.

Hemptique are not a well known name (yet) – but hemp twine is becoming a popular product of choice. They also have a great range of twine colours. I’ve got the catalogue being emailed to me and I’m looking forward to seeing what other products they stock.

Our Daily Bread is another big stamp company and all of their stamps and sentiments are Christian themed. Their designs are very pretty and their range is huge. There has been some demand in NZ for some Christian-themed craft products, so I will see what I can find. There wasn't a lot at the show (some at Clear Scraps, SRM Stickers and some other small stamp companies) but I will keep my eye out for them in the upcoming months.

Finally I made it to the Authentique! I love this company and even though they are a new brand company, the people involved are seasoned crafties and they know what customers love. Their paper has a beautiful texture (like a thick linen/orangepeel effect) and their designs are stunning. Their new ranges are Genuine, Celebrate, Loyal and Delightful. I think they are all delightful! And fortunately for me, David the Sales Manager was happy to sell me some of the product off the stall (the show was about to end – so it saves him taking it home!). I got one of all the products they are releasing – papers, stickers and a 6x6 pad. This brand is going to be one of our favourites!

So the trends I noticed today were: Party stuff, flags and banners, baby collections, themed collections (summer, spring, travel, Easter etc), 6x6 pads, collections packs, and SMASH BOOKS.

At the end of the day I decided to go and reconnect with a few people I had met and I found myself at the Prima Booth! They served cake and I enjoyed catching up with Adrienne and Sue from Scottie Crafts. It's amazing that you can walk the floor for FOUR days and only see someone in the last few minutes of the show!

I ran back to Basic Grey and took the photos I promised yesterday:

And finally I ended where I started this show - back to Kaisercraft. I really like the people at this company (and the products of course), so I offered to help them pack down for a little bit. Once the show ends people just rip into the pack down! I took aside some of the cards that Betsy and I had on display to bring them back for the shop. I'll get the rest of the projects later (my suitcase is going to be a bit heavier on the way back home as it is!).

These photos show the size of the convention centre. It goes as far as the eye can see in one direction and then the same in the other!! Within minutes of the show closing the guys were rolling up the carpet!

I know that some (most) of the photography is NOT great! I have a new camera which I'm not used to and the lighting at CHA is very very difficult and patchy. There is general lighting in the venue and then each stall has their own spotlighting - which makes it difficult on reflective surfaces etc. So I do apologise for the lack of quality - but hopefully the quantity made up for it!!

All up it was a wonderful experience. I loved meeting the kiwis who travelled to attend, the designers and owners of businesses that I admire, seeing all the amazing products that are going to be released in the next 6 months, and of course seeing work from Lowri, Besty, Sandy and myself at a variety of stalls across the floor. We're hoping there will be even more next year! Here are a few more shots of some of the work that the Artfull Crafts Team had on display at this year's CHA:

After the show we headed out with Jacob and Jonathon to an Ice Hockey game. It was a home game for the LA Kings and the two teams were 2 equal until the LAST second when the Kings scored!! It was a magnificent ending! The venue seats 18,000 and there were about 14,000 fans there. At any time there was a pause in the game, there was entertainment, lights, music, competitions and more. It was quite a crazy experience!

I’m going to keep blogging the rest of the trip on the website (not on the Artfull Crafts blog) so feel free to follow our progress there. Next up is a trip to San Diego Zoo followed by days at Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm and a Cruise :-)

Leave a comment if you have enjoyed hearing from your Artfull Crafts foreign correspondant (and you wished you could have come along!).


  1. Interesting to hear more about the Smash books as they seem to be the new big thing. What a busy few days.

  2. I haven't been able to go to bed until after midnite each day as been following your AWESOME trip thru CHA. You have done an AWESOME job been the foregin correspondant for all of NZ & Artfull Crafts, so now look forward to seeing some of the new products in store/online in the near future.
    Now to the 2nd part of the holiday been a tourist and relaxing on the cruise, as I am a cruise nut. Enjoy and thanks again Liz & Graham..

  3. Wow so much seen in the final day. Hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation and super excited that you are bringing in Abroard.

  4. Thanks Liz for taking the time to update us each day about the show. I've really enjoyed your pictures and notes about the upcoming ranges, makes me really excited for the months ahead! Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  5. Love smash books and all the bits that you can get with them. If you stocked them that would be very very very exciting. Love Studio Calico stuff as well they have nice papers, love the colours and that they are not always bright

  6. I like the idea of the smash books. Tim holtz, I love his stuff. Prima it's great to hear that they are coming back, and I will come to their class. The canvas one that has taken over tattered angels and 7 Gypsies looks very interesting as well.

  7. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you.

    Event Flipbook Booth