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I spent the last few days in Chicago at the Summer CHA show, soaking up the new crafty goodies and talent, and suffering through (for those short walks from the hotel to the convention center!) the 99 degree heat, only to return to 101 degree temps here on the east coast! We don’t have central air so I’m holed up in the one room with an AC unit, musing about my trip.

What a great trip it was! I was a little apprehensive on my way there and my first look around made me realize how much things have changed in the past few year. Many of the familiar big names weren’t there: Making Memories and Basic Grey to name a few. The show was smaller than other years, with less fanfare, less craziness and there were far fewer over-the-top booths. However, I thought it was a very good show – there were plenty of wonderful new products and companies to hold my interest.

My favorite trend of late is the collaboration between different companies: e.g. Core’dinations with Tim Holtz (kraft core – drool!!), Pink Paislee (modern prints) and Jenni Bowlin’s minis (in addition to their earlier collections with Jillibean, Fancy Pants etc); Unity Stamps with so many companies it’s hard to list them all – Jillibean Soup, Bella Blvd, Simple Stories, Echo Park to name a few; Spellbinders who collaborated with Want to Scrap to produce a line of chipboard shapes called Nestaboard that coordinates with Nestabilities templates; Hero Arts and Studio Calico teamed up so that Hero Arts will be producing stamps for Studio Calico.

Another big change I’ve noticed from previous years is how popular mixed media has become – some of the biggest booths in the show were for companies that sold paint and ink (e.g. Ranger, Faber Castell). Even more companies have their own spray ink – October Afternoon introduced their line of “Sprinklers” at the show. I had the most fun I’ve ever had at CHA, trying out the new line of stencils by Julie Balzer for Crafter’s Workshop. They’re available in both 6 and 12 inch sizes. I’ve known Julie online for years and have met her in person a couple of times and boy, does that girl know how to entertain! I’m counting the days until I can take a class with her – she tells me she’ll be coming to Right at Home in Massachuesetts soon. My partner-in-crime (Emily) and I made a tag each on the first day of the show. It was so much fun we made even more on the 2nd day – things got a little crazy there as you’ll see from these pictures that I stole from Ronda (thanks R!).

I’m happy to report that the white pants escaped unscathed. The same can’t be said for my hands however! This was a whole new world for me and if definitely won’t be the last time I play with paint and ink – thanks for inspiring a new love Julie!

There weren’t any paper lines that blew me away but there were quite a few that I really liked. I liked everything from Jillibean Soup, especially the Sweet and Sour Soup collection. I was thrilled to see new chipboard alphas and I love, love, love the new soup labels.

I really liked the new lines from Lily Bee – which is a bit of a departure for me. I think I’m going to settle on Memorandum as my favorite – the colors and patterns are beautiful.

Crate Paper didn’t disappoint – the new Random collection drew me in. They always have such wonderful subtle patterns and I enjoyed the unusual color scheme.

And for my final fave, I’m going to go with Amy Tangarine line from American Crafts. This one screamed fun fun fun! I know it’s random but I loved the fact that she has a pack of leaves as embellishments. I’m not a big fan of flowers but I love leaves!


That’s all for now – if I think of anything else I will update later 🙂