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 Kong....my 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.