CHA 2015: Hero Arts

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Hero Arts usually starts the year with a HUGE catalogue and release. This year? Mixing it up they will release four (quarterly) catalogs and space things out more. I’m all for this – just like I’m all for many of the fantastic products they have in this initial offering.

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I love the animals and their big heads (above) – not sure how much I’d be using them but oh they are cute. The two stamp sets that caught my eye and had me really excited? See below.

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The amore stamp is exactly the kind of thing I want to see more of. Not just the word, but the inspired styling that reminds me of paper banners from Mexico. I wish we saw more Spanish inspiration (also Polynesian, Scandinavian, Egyptian, Greek….) to freshen up designs and just add new ideas to our usual mix. Below is a screen shot of the Hero catalog so you can see these two stamps (one a clear set, the other wood mounted)


Hero hit upon an up and coming trend – succulents. Is it Jennifer McGuire’s known love of these plants? An attempt to mix up the usual flowers and leaves offerings? I’m not sure – but Hero Arts and several others all have an offering that involves these plants.

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The cactus you see there? A stamp + a two part die that allows you to build that dimensional beauty. Brilliant! Not pictured here – Hero Arts also has several new stencil designs, and a new range of ombre ink pads I need to try out.

The new products begin shipping to stores February 2 – I can hardly wait!

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Also shipping net month, Hero has partnered with Kelly Purkey with a new “clearly Kelly” signature line.


From stamps for your planner to project life, the offerings are what you’d expect from Kelly. Lots of fun sayings, little details like geo tags, and plenty of good food mentions.

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I will probably be passing on the clear stamps – when looking at my existing stash of older stamps by Kelly, I already have some food/travel sets that while not exactly the same, are fairly similar so I can’t really justify new ones.

What does have me excited are these 4×6 cling background stamps! Yes that’s right. 4×6 size so if you’re a scrapbooker there is no more “1/2 inch too short” issue! Fun designs that would be great in many ways.

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The Kelly Purkey line will also ship next month – so watch for it in stores soon. If you’d like to see the full Hero Arts catalogue visit their website – it’s full of lovely goodies!

CHA 2015: Tim Holtz Ideaology

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If I were giving out awards to most photogenic booth, it would (no contest) go to the Tim Holtz Ideaology booth. There is such a perfect balance here of color and texture, detail and simplicity that let the products shine and the samples put me in awe. Truly the best designed booth at the show – and one I think you’re going to enjoy the photos of!

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Now it’s not just a pretty booth – it is full of new items from Mr. Holtz and I found many treasures that simply must come join me…

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Little vintage jars? Yes please! Also on display some colored versions of Tim’s new white roses (YAY!) as well as the already available previous releases of stars and gumdrops – both absolute favorites and heavily used items in my stash.

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CHA tradeshow musings…

I’m home from the annual Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show (CHA) in Anaheim and wow what a trip! There were a lot of great moments, conversations, products, and overall I’m so excited for 2015 as a creative person.

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I did notice that a lot of companies were absent from this trade show, and it got me panicked for a few minutes about things going away. Then I stopped and thought about it for a while and decided that it wasn’t things going away – it is evolution of the industry. When I first started going to shows as a buyer it was spending HOURS in hotel rooms pouring over catalogues and then rushing around turning in orders and running all over because you simply couldn’t see the whole show (there was so much!) and there was so much duplication. 6 paper lines that were all essentially the same. For every color/theme imaginable. 14 different stamp companies all offering the same basic product. It was a LOT. Too much, really, and it makes sense that things scaled back and thinned out.

Now what I see are small companies that are able to sell to stores, or directly to consumers (or both!) and give us all a lot more ways to get products. I see less “That’s just a rip-off of last show’s designs from —-” and more of companies doing their own thing. I see less pressure to be flashy and gimmicky at the shows and to simply present your best offering.

I like what I see. I also really like that attending a trade show is now one great option, not the only way. I really like that more avenues are open – thank you for that, internet.

There’s one thing I’m going to say I don’t like, and that is I don’t see as much innovation and big risk taking overall. We are never out of ideas. There is never ever no room for improvement or no place for fresh ideas. There were quite a few things I’d have loved to see and didn’t. I noticed a lack of a lot of fantastic materials from buttons to metal accents to interesting paper materials that add so much to the texture of our crafting. A lot of booths it was simply “more of the same” and not in a good way.

Despite that- there were some wonderful things being done, made, and shared. Those are the things I will focus on and report on here because that is my deal! I look at, find, and seek things to like and people to praise. Now home a full day from this show I find myself inspired, full of energy and ideas, and hopeful that I can bring even a small fraction of my creative thoughts into reality.

CHA 2015: Stencil Trend going strong with The Crafter’s Workshop

Stencils remain a favorite product of manufacturers and consumers – including myself! What I love about stencils is that they:

  • give me a creative use for all my color mediums
  • add anything from background design to texture
  • are fairly inexpensive and take up almost no space
  • are wonderful on everything from cards to scrapbooks to mixed media and into home décor.

Long lasting, easy to clean, and way cheaper than a stamp of this size – it’s easy to see why they’ve become so very popular. There is one company that stands out as the original innovator of bringing in artists to design signature stencil lines, a company that really was first to bring stencils out of “something cutesy to do on your wall with paint” and into the paper crafting industry.

The Crafter’s Workshop.

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All their designs are 6×6 (the size I most often use and my preferred stencil size), and also available 12×12. I find the larger size to be too big in most cases for my projects even when working on layouts – but that’s just my own personal design preference. I do have several of their stencils in a larger size because the format and scale worked better for me. At this show they did not disappoint – especially with fantastic designs from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Rebekah Meier – artists who really help them to stand out from all others.

Because it is the artists themselves who are designing these they tend to be so very useful, and wonderful designs.

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In addition to their traditional stencils they also have new smaller offerings too. I like these a lot – some I will simply need!

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These six are Rebekah Meier’s, and below you can see Julie’s “Balzer bits”.

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Julie had some fantastic sample layouts in addition to her products.



What I especially like about these two artists in particular and TCW in general is that the styles are wildly different, and yet equally useful for any type of project imaginable.

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I believe this stencil (not branded with any designer name) is the work of TCW’s owner – a fantastic lady and designer as well! I really love that circle and the patterns with this. So fun.

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Here are some of Rebekah’s stencils. She also has (with another brand) a fabric elements line… sadly I couldn’t get anyone to help me at that booth so I don’t have more information. Back to stencils! This one has ideas just brewing away for me…

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Most especially what it has me thinking is that we will see more global architecture, color, pattern, and motifs in general showing up as a future trend. I love that!

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I believe I left the booth wanting about 30 of the new designs – so many to love! The good news is, these are all shipping right away so there won’t be much waiting to do! There are loads of lovely stencils out there from other companies as well – you’ll hear more about them in other posts. It just makes me so happy to see the company that first hooked me on stencils and showed the industry how cool they could be doing so well still, and releasing so many great designs.

CHA 2015: Hot Product Hazel & Ruby Washi

CHA awarded company Hazel & Ruby with an award for best new product in general crafts yesterday at the annual trade show. What was this product?

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Huge rolls of washi tape. Available in several sizes, the company intends these to be used for décor – anything from adding strips to your wall to decorating dull furniture. I poked around the booth and was inspecting their samples pretty critically – that’s what I do – and I’ve got to say I’m impressed. I walked in expecting to dismiss it but I found two things.

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1. I was intrigued by the idea and the possibilities it presented in my brain.

2. It is stickier than normal washi so I believe it will stay put relatively well, and I’m told it will absolutely NOT leave residue behind when you remove it.

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This company really is doing their best to come up with interesting and innovative products and to encourage crafters to think bigger, to create and decorate their spaces with a bit of simple DIY creating.

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In addition to their décor washi, they also released new wrap it up designs, and stencils as well.

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I came home from the show with a roll of the new washi to test out – so I will be trying some things with it and reporting back soon.

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This is really just the start of my CHA show 2015 coverage – we’ve got so much to talk about!

CHA 2015: Marion Smith Designs Color Lab

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New to me company Marion Smith Designs has a lot of lovely florals and absolutely the most beautiful booth background/walls as well.

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While her flowers, bits, and papers are lovely (and the papers are quite thick- nice!) it is her Color Lab that caught my attention.

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All of the elements can be purchased separately (pigments, bottles, etc)- but you can get everything you need in one kit ($24.99). What I think is really cool about this aside from the idea for both us as consumers and store owners with limited space – is that the one kit has everything I need to make 30, 50, as many colors as I can dream up!

Available now – isn’t it always fun to find new products that are shipping and ready? Blue Moon Scrapbooking carries the kit as well as many of her other products.

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Essentially the Color Lab kit has pigment colors that you can use to make your own mists, color paints and pastes with, and simply make your own custom colors. The kit comes with a recipe card to help you get started on color making. This is incredibly exciting to me, and I love the idea of such a small amount of product being able to do so much for me to make colors and extend the paint and paste possibilities with very little space and cost.

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There were so many bottles of mist on display – all made from the kit. Wow!

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I’m ordering one today from Blue Moon (link) so I can test it out myself and report back on how it works!