Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Connie Crystals - CHA Summer 2012

CHA Summer Show is geared a lot more to the paper craft industry than it is to general crafts so there are fewer bead manufacturers who exhibit. But without a doubt, the blingiest booth at CHA was Connie Crystal. You just about needed sunglasses to cut the glare - it was truly sparkletastic! Take a look at some of the wonderful crystal creations on the stand.
Crystal wedding bouquet
Red Christmas Tree. There was a blue Christmas Tree on the other side of the booth too.
Hello Kitty Bicycle - just too cute!
Mini bike
The spectacular bejewelled gown
I showed you the dress in the last post but take a look at the beautiful matching slipper.

This is just a selection of the many beautiful pieces displayed in the booth. Aren't they inspiring? They also hosted an easy but eyecatching Make It, Take It which I'll share later. In the meantime, check out their blog which features some pretty designs (with instructions) created by their Design Team. Why not have some fun creating some of your own sparkly goodness!

'Til next time.....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 3 - CHA Summer 2012

By the last Day of CHA things are beginning to wind down and there are fewer people on the show floor making it much easier to take photos. Here's what I liked today.

I found some great project samples at the Canvas Corp booth:
Burlap Jester Stockings from Canvas Corp
Burlap and Canvas wall art

Stretched Canvas shadow box
Graphic 45 always has beautiful themed display stands at their booth. This one was my favourite.
Wonderful Christmas Display at Graphic 45 featuring their new paper collection, Nutcracker Sweet
Heidi Swapp had quite a few new innovations which took my fancy. Firstly, the neon embellishments. Neon is a hot new trend but she cautions us to use it sparingly!
Neon Tapes and embellishments.
Heidi Swapp used Hero Arts new Neon  ink pads in for this hot look!
Day Glow Tape
Color Shine mists - designed to spray on Heidi Swapp resist papers but works equally well on canvas and leather!
Connie Crystal had the most wonderful display of crystal beaded objects at her booth. It is worthy of a blog post all on its own but here's the spectacular gown at the centre of the booth.
How about this for bead-dazzled - a beaded gown from Connie Crystal.
I'll share more pics in another post but in the meantime, why not head on over to the CHA Designers Pinterest Board to check out what some of the other designers found on the show floor.

'Til next time....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 2 - CHA Summer 2012

I'm back on the show floor for Day 2 of CHA hunting out great eye candy and new products to tempt you with. One of the new trends emerging is the use of colour. Even in the distressed Ranger products line there is a definite move towards strong colour. The vintage look is still around too but there is a shift towards the whimsical look. Here's today's selection:

Tombow's Irotjen Pencils in fantastic neon shades. They glow under a black light - a very fun effect!
Tim Holtz Bottle Brush Christmas Trees - before......
and after staining - very eyecatching display!
Queen & Co's very creative washi tape table - it took 5 hours to complete!

A whimsical ferris wheel at Prima
Check in again tomorrow to see more of the things which catch my eye.

'Til then......

Thursday, July 19, 2012

CHA Day 1 - Summer 2012

One of the wonderful things about CHA is the incredible amount of creativity on display. Some of the displays are so clever and eyecatching. Take a look at these wonderful things which caught my eye today.
Bejewelled and embellished pumpkins at DCWV. Love the black lace and creepy beaded spiders!

Bling by the sheet from The Buckle Boutique 'cos a girl can never have too much bling!

Prima Ballerina - hand decorated and beaded ballet slippers for comfort walking the show floor. 

Tonic interleafed flower punches. Punch out one of each flower, lay one on top of the other and then push the top petals down and the bottom petals up to create this clever, multi coloured flower.
Tim Holtz App - downloadable from iTunes and it's free!

I'll be back tomorrow with another instalment.

'Til then.....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome to CHA!

After flying across the Pacific and then half way across the US I've finally touched down in Chicago and I'm rearing to go for CHA. With the enormous banners on the outside of the building there is no doubt that CHA has come to town too!

The Donald E Stephens Convention Center is located just a few minutes from the airport so there is a lot of air traffic flying over and one of the ways they've combated the noise level is with this beautiful fountain which sits in the forecourt of the Convention Center. The sound of water splashing and tumbling is very soothing and of course cooling with the warm weather Chicago is turning on for us. If you sit and watch it long enough, you'll see it change colours. Here it is all bathed in a red/purple glow.

Today is Education Day and I booked myself into 3 sessions that centred heavily around social media: Things like building a better blog and how to manage all your different social media platforms. I didn't realise I had so many to manage:   Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, You Tube and of course my blog. I can use all the help I can get where social media is concerned so it was good to learn that there are tools to make the job easier and I'm hoping to implement some of them in the near future.

Tomorrow brings the opening of the show floor and I'm excited to see what's new. Look out for some posts about the things that catch my attention later in the week.

'Til then........

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Peek at a Retreat Project

I've been invited to teach a workshop for the upcoming Southside Stampers Stamp Camp. My brief: a mixed media project other than a card.

Now this is a stamping group so when they asked me what I had planned for them, I held my breath as I told them it was a resin jewellery project.  It's a quite a step away from their comfort zone but the organisers were delighted to hear that I'll be introducing them to resin.

Of course, it still needs to be papercrafting related so here's a glimpse of the gift box they will make to present their resin necklace in.

I'm off to CHA in a couple of days to check out all the latest "must have" crafting items so look out for reports in upcoming posts.

But in the meantime, I have a "to do" list a mile long so it will be busy, busy.

'Til next time.... from CHA....

Monday, July 9, 2012

What is that Finding? - Bolo Slides

And more importantly, how do you use it?

Ever come across a jewellery finding and wondered what on earth it is used for?

If you're not familiar with bolo slides, the image above might be a bit of a mystery. 

Bolos, also known as lariats, are typically worn to give a country and western flavour to an outfit and in fact the bolo tie is the official neck tie for the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. But they are not only used for fastening bolo neckties: You can use them in your jewellery making too. 

Turning a cabochon or pendant into a lariat instead of a necklace gives it a totally different look. With the addition of the dangling stringing material, it has a whole new appeal. And the beauty of using a bolo slide is that you can adjust your lariat to whatever length suits your outfit - wear it high for a formal look or wear it lower for a more casual look.

So now that you know what this strange looking finding is, it is much easier to work out how to use it; just thread a thick cord - in this case, deerskin - through the slots of the finding. If your stringing material is thicker than this, then that is all you need to do. You'll be able to slide it up and down the cord and the tension will hold it in place.

For the deerskin lace in this piece, I needed to add a half knot to hold it in position. You can still slide it up and down the lace, but with a heavier pendant like this one, you may need to tie a knot so that it doesn't slip.

So attaching a bolo slide to the back of your cabochon makes your necklace a much more versatile piece of jewellery. And it's a simple and stylish way to wear a special pendant.

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, July 6, 2012

Designer Showcases

Part of my preparations for each CHA show involves putting together a Designer Showcase. I've written about these preparations on previous occasions but you might be wondering exactly what a Designer Showcase is.

Well, it's an event where CHA Designers showcase their services and design skills to potential clients in a table top format. Essentially it's a room full of some of the most amazing three-dimensional craft portfolios from some incredibly talented designers.

Well that might explain what a Showcase is but the next question is, what do you include in a showcase?

Well, that's up to the individual designer. There are no rules and what works for one designer doesn't suit another. For me, I'm still formulating my idea of what a good showcase for me is.

I laugh when I think back to my first showcase which had SO MUCH going on in it that it looked more like a craft stall than a Designer Showcase and all that was missing was price tags! It was still successful but I learned that sometimes less is more!

Each of my successive Showcases has improved and for my last one, I created a colour theme. It really helped me decide what to take and what to leave at home. I chose red and white because it was just before Valentine's Day and it has been my most successful showcase to date.

For the upcoming Summer CHA show, I've designed my Showcase around a theme again. But this time I've chosen a strict colour palette as well as a theme. The theme pulls a Showcase together. It's not essential, but for me it keeps me on track and makes the Showcase look cohesive.

I had a trial set up last night to see how it's all coming together. Here's a little peek.

As you can see, it's black.... with a little bit of white.... and a touch of pink. What you can't see is that it's themed as a DIY wedding, with lots of beautiful bridal paraphernalia at the other end of the table. Most of that is new so for the time being it's not on show.

It's also a mix of old and new projects... some papercrafting, some home decor projects and some jewellery. My local beading shop is loving me - I've visited them almost every day this week in the quest to find just the right beads to finish the new projects. I'd love to earn Frequent Visitor points to go with the loyalty points I've earned this week!
Doing a trial set up also gives me the opportunity to photograph it so that I have a plan to work to when the time comes to do the real set up. And of course, you can see whether or not it works. I have to admit that I wasn't sure that a black backdrop and a black cloth were a good idea as black is notorious for sapping the life out of everything. It might look a bit dark in the photo (which was taken at night in poor lighting), but in daylight everything is popping against the dark background.

There are still a couple of gaps to fill but soon my Showcase will be ready to pack up for the trip to Chicago. So right now, it's back to the work table to complete another project or two.

'Til next time.....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CHA Sneak Peeks

It's July and Summer CHA is just around the corner and that means sneak peeks of new product releases from the manufacturers. That's exciting for any addicted crafter: new tools, new papers, new embellishments... lots of goodies to make you drool. If you'd like to be amongst the first to see some of the new releases, then check out this great roundup of all the sneak peeks over at Scrapbook Update.

I'll be heading off to CHA next week and I can't wait to show you what new and interesting things I find. In the meantime, why not head on over to Pinterest to check out the CHA-W 2012 Board where you'll find some great eye candy from the Winter Show.

'Til next time.....