I've had a blast. Since the end of January I think I have been home for maybe 3 weekends!
End of January was CHA in Anaheim, California, USA. I got to go on my own this time which was really cool fun (of course I did miss Mark being with me) but I got to hang with the Artgirlz, and Jenny S from Paperworx, New Zealand, and all the other girlies I bumped into along the way, so it actually was mega chilled. We didn't exhibit this show for 2 main reasons: the US economy has made it hard for them to import while their exchange rate is lower than usual, and the UK trade show 'Stitches' was the following weekend, so there was no time to do both shows with only one day in between.
The big trend at CHA this year was clear stuff, as in acrylic books and stuff. Also felt was huge with all kinds of trims, borders, accents and even 12 x 12 stuff. Then there was the bling. Basically brads were like jewelry , so the bigger and blingier the better. Stamps as a category is still strong. Scrapbookers are getting into stamping big time now! Also lots of fabric trims, eg velvet - velvet brads, velvet ribbons etc. And the lush, bling, glam stuff was seen on papers with gold embossed layers or flourishes, sparkles, glitter, etc as part of the design. The other trends I noticed as far as design elements go were houses (shapes for chipboard, stamps, clear layers, on papers etc) and butterlies/ dragonflies are doing the rounds again.
The following weekend we were exhibiting at Stitches in the UK (Birmingham). I was expecting a quiet show, but we actually were so busy I didn't get to walk the show at all! Stitches is always fun, as Tim and Alain from Ranger are here, so we usually get to go out for a few meals with them while the show is on. It's taken a few years, but now Tim actually really likes Indian food!
2 weeks after stitches I was teaching for the weekend down at Portmouth at Jendenink. We made this charm bracelet. It's a fondue system with the melt pot. Make a paper bead, dip and voila! Sometimes we add gold leaf or perfect pearls to the bead to glam it up a bit. So cool, and a fun way to use the melt-pot for sure.
The weekend after Jendenink was SMAC. This is a trade show in France. We have a distributor in France called ACICAM, so 2 times a year we release new stamps for them. We translate existing PaperArtsy stamps into French which they sell to French shops. So at SMAC we released another 20 stamps, and we even did a French catalogue for them, as they now have about 60 designs (over 180 individual images and 25 minis).
SMAC was great as we stay at a hotel opposite the Louvre. Although the down side was the train took about 45 mins to get out to the show each day, but of course it is super cool to be in Paris too. Suze Weinburg and her husband were here this year, as well as the Ranger owners Alain and Justin, so we had some fun nights out with them all. Suze and I swapped some great melt-pot ideas, and she was blown away with the show, it is really the most beautifully presented show on the world calendar! Go here to see her photos of the show, and here for her newsletter that week. Mona from Creative Imaginations and I planned all our make and takes together, along with Tim's grungeboard, and Ranger products, so I really enjoyed all the cool stuff I got to demo with at the show.
The show trends are so different at SMAC to other shows. Felt was big at this show last year (and still popular this year) but the beads were truly incredible. The main thing I saw a lot of was interior decor items, and texture. People love to add that personal touch to their homes, and they use a lot of scrapping style stuff to do it in a very stylish and classy way. Also people in Europe are not scared of colour, so everything is bold and very beautiful. So inspirational.
So we got home from SMAC, and then 10 days later we were back for Version SCRAP. This is a scrapping show in Paris, with classes and workshops. Mona was still in France working for ACICAM in between the 2 shows, and so we co-ordinated for classes again.
I did this cute flower class (left) with some Creative Imaginations products. And a mini transparent book which was really popular too.
We also did loads of different make and takes on the booth which people could book in to do also. I caught up with Celine Navarro who I also briefly saw at CHA, so that was cool.
As it was school holidays Mark and the kids came over too, and the daughter of our distributor took them to Disney Paris for a day out on Friday. We kept it a secret, and they were so excited. Our kids are now 7,9,11,13 years, so they are a great age for theme parks!
We got back from this latest adventure yesterday. How to blast 3 months in one easy step! LOL
This weekend its Ally Pally, a Stamping and Scrapbooking show in London. I shall be there demoing for LB Crafts on their stand, so if anyone is nearby, come along. Its a great show!