Thursday, January 28, 2010

CHA, CHA, CHA* (Part I)

I went to the CHA show in Anaheim for the first time this past week...Flashback to my life's earlier sensory overloads: Sears' toy department when I was a child, Disneyland, Cirque de Soleil, New York City and Hong overworked eyes didn't know where to focus first.
“CHA” actually refers to two shows: the Craft SuperShow and the Craft and Hobby Association 2010 Winter Convention & Trade Show. The SuperShow is a 2 day crafting extravaganza open to the public, held on January 22 & 23. On January 24, after the SuperShow closed, the Convention and Trade Show opened, and ran for 4 days.
More than 100 vendors presented products at the SuperShow and hosted “make & takes” where crafters gained hands-on experience using the latest tools and materials. Imagine your favorite big craft store, multiply it by about 30 and throw in the noise level of a professional sports event. Aisle after aisle was filled with papers, scissors, fabric, glues, containers, clays, books, paints, brushes, markers, rubber stamps, yarn, metals and tools for every imaginable craft. Oh, and glitter….glitter in every possible color and applied to every possible surface. Large groups congregated around demonstration sites and loud cheers and hoots accompanied the raffle prize drawings that seemed to occur every 15 minutes. Crafting celebrities were everywhere: conducting seminars, signing books, demonstrating products and walking the floor.
While I usually don’t last long in places with so much stimulation, I had no problem at the SuperShow. I wanted to absorb it all and store it away for later inspiration. Who knows what color, image or new gadget might provide the spark for something fabulous in a month or two. My first wander around lasted 4 hours and I never took a break from the sights and sounds.
At 7:00 on Friday I attended the Inspired at Home Pajama Party Live!, hosted by Tiffany Windsor, daughter of the famous Aleene, inventor of the super-tacky glue we all love. 100 attendees gathered around 10 tables, enjoyed their exclusive make-n-takes, made new friends and collected their SWAG. I was lucky enough to join the PLAID Enterprises table where I tried out the coolest tool: Simply Screen. This is a silk screening product used to make very professional looking designs on all types of fabrics. We applied our designs to a sleep shirt. It was so much fun to see how each person chose different parts of the design and different colors. There were plenty of raffle prizes, and lots of screaming. Our SWAG bag was a pink knit pillowcase filled with goodies.
After the party my fellow Swarovski Ambassador, June Beach and I went to the hotel for drinks, dinner and more fun. She introduced me to a crowd of industry people and we stayed up much too late gabbing at our own "Sparkle Sister" pajama party. The next morning we picked up right where we left off. Coffee, Facebook entries and some sorely needed primping occurred simultaneous with nonstop conversation. Then June whipped up a fabulous necklace because she didn’t have anything that looked “just right” with her outfit. She is such a talented designer and skilled jewelry maker, her wrapped loops are perfect! We were off to the show again; June was working and I was back to wandering around, trying to absorb even more.

And then, it happened! I met the Queen of Crafts herself, Carol Duval. OK, I about fell down when I saw her…and yes, I did the whole overwhelmed gushing fan bit with her. I’ve been a Carol Duval fan for many, many years, long before her hit TV show helped launch the HGTV network, and the careers of dozens of craft celebrities. Our Swarovski Ambassador Lisa Pavelka was a regular guest on the show.  Almost everything I know about crafting techniques I have learned from watching Carol’s show. She is just as gracious and lovely IRL as she is on TV, and she even consented to a picture of her, me and another crafting maven, Mary O’Neil.

On Saturday afternoon I taught four Needle Felting make-&-takes at the Craft-N-Spin(TM) booth. Again, so much fun and so many new friends! Before I knew it the SuperShow was over and it was time to help break down the booth and go home.

After, along with thinking about all the crafty goodness I saw, I was also thinking about how to incorporate CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements into all the new craft ideas. My new chandelier design T-Shirt that I won at the Pajama Party Live event is waiting for the addition of some Flat Backs. I think along with standard Xillion Rose shape I’ll add a few Teardrop shaped Art. 2300 and Marquise shaped Art. 2200. My needle-felting skills will be put to good use with some CRYSTALLIZED™ Yarn. So many paper crafts were being featured, and every time I saw a new paper punch design or rubber stamp I thought…Crystals…they were just missing that extra sparkle. As I watched a demonstration on a vintage technique of Hairpin Lace Crochet I thought how nice the scarf would look with a combination of Round Art. 5000, Bicone Art. 5328, Teardrop, Art. 5500, and Polygon, Art. 5203 beads on the fringed ends. And I am absolutely determined now to make some tassels with all the beautiful fibers I saw, and use my favorite Briolette pendants, Art. 6007 and 6010.
Like the SuperShow itself, I've probably overwhelmed you with information here, so I think I’ll wait to post Part II, the Trade Show. In the meantime, here are a few pictures from Saturday. I apologize for not taking more; I was so busy looking at everything I forgot to take my camera out!
                  * a special Thank You to my friend Haley for the reference.

My Make-N-Take buddies

Mike in the Craft-N-Spin booth

My new BFFs at the Pajama Party Live! Event


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing the event.

  2. Diane,
    You are so wonderful! Thanks so much for the compliments, you know how I feel about you, you fabulous super talented sparkle sister!

    What fun we had!!!!