(booth map, paper flowers at Anna Griffin, sweet pink bike at American Crafts, paper cakes at K & Company)
Well, I hardly know where to begin. The Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) trade show in Anaheim, California was something else. If you can imagine a fairly good-sized convention center, with rows and rows of booths, filled with craft supplies, projects, interesting displays and make n' takes, perhaps you can get some idea of the scale. I don't have the precise figures, but I estimated the number of booths on our directory and came up with 600 vendors. We were there for two days - Sunday and Monday. On Sunday we walked up and down every single aisle. Sachi took a workshop around lunchtime and learned to make three different books. I kept walking and then when Sachi joined up with me, I sat down on the floor and sorted through papers while she walked the last few aisles. The first day is mostly for scouting so we didn't write too many orders, just looked to see what there was to see. And was there ever a lot!
(paper crown at Prima Marketing, paper flowers at Graphic 45, Vintaj booth, fun tree at Unity Stamp Co)
This is only our second year so we don't have a lot to compare it to but it is so great to see the creative projects that people are coming up with. There is a huge range of people and products, starting from typical scrapbooking (though don't dismiss them because they are making some great patterns and textures, and also fun things to do with them as you will see in the pictures), "kitties and bunnies," mass produced craft supplies sold at Jo-Ann's and Michael's (I'm not knocking them, just trying to convey the range), Mod Podge, a life-size cardboard cut-out of Mark Montano (author of the Big Ass Book of Crafts), the REAL Mark Montano, plus tons of other craft-world superstars like the Crafty Chica, Tim Holtz, Claudine Hellmuth, authors of various fun crafty books (like the teacher for the felt necklace workshop that we took on Monday: Stefanie Girard, author of Sweater Surgery).
(fun tile frame and paperclip owl at Tim Holtz, Vintaj charm)
Pretty much every single booth has a "make n' take," a table filled with their products for you to sit down and try out. Vintaj had great charms to stamp and decorate with inks, there was jewelry, paper flower pins, cards, all sorts of things to make. You could spend the entire time just making stuff.
(7 Gypsies receipt holder and stack of letters, Girls' Paperie loveliness, nest & eggs at K & Co.)
And also being inspired by the great merchandising. 7 Gypsies had an awesome booth filled with vintage treasures and great inspiration, ditto for the Tim Holtz booth (I SO covet the pile of suitcases, and also the pink typewriter at the Girls' Paperie and the crown at Prima Marketing).
(paper cones at Graphic 45, paper medallions, paper roses at Cosmo Cricket, paper garlands at American Crafts)
I didn't quite exceed the weight limit, but our suitcases were much heavier on the return trip, thanks to all the catalogs that we picked up. After our first day, I sat down and made a list of all the booths to return to and orders to place. We paced ourselves a bit and have set some aside for future orders (in the summer when we are looking for a fresh burst of crafty goodness) but placed orders for at least a dozen brand new companies, as well as orders from some of our favorites. Sachi filled her little notebook with ideas for new craft table activities and I emptied my closet of wool sweaters to felt and cut up into necklace pieces.
(bird silhouettes from K & Co, papers flower extravaganza at GCD Studios, Vintaj lovelies)
I'm thinking about a bird theme for the Mother's Day window and I was very inspired by the various paper projects, including fun bid silhouettes from K & Company, and sweet little birds under glass at Vintaj.
(paper garlands and PINK! typewriter at Girls' Paperie, lovelies under glass at K & Company)
My personal favorite is from Jill Schwartz. I've been coveting her jewelry since the first time I saw her booth at the New York Gift Show. It's fabulous, but usually beyond my price range. WELL, she is pairing with another company and has designed jewelry components for the rest of us. Oh. my. goodness. SO lovely! The booth itself was a treat for the eyes - all sorts of trinkets piled in cake plates.... I pretty much ordered the whole line and can't wait for that to arrive in the store. It will be fun to make jewelry with that and Vintaj pieces combined (Vintaj also had an amazing booth, naturally - the mind reels from all the options!).
(yeah, that's right, these are all from Jill Schwartz!)
In all, I'd say it was a very successful trip. After two days at the show, we had three full days to explore southern California. With the exception of one day with rain, the weather gods cooperated and gave us sunshine and 60s. We spent time on the beach in Venice and Malibu, and got to see the great exhibit of lamps at LACMA, eat cupcakes at Frosted, meet up with friends, do some shopping, and enjoy the company of the adorable girl. I was ready to come up, though not quite ready to come back to work, but Sachi and I are both excited and refreshed (at least in terms of crafty inspiration) and ready to start unpacking boxes (as soon as they arrive) and start some new projects.